three choices

May 7th at 5:20 AM…

The alarm sounded. So it was, time to get up, time to lace up, time to race.

But we weren’t feeling it. Matt wasn’t. I wasn’t. Maddie wasn’t. We wanted to stay in bed. We wanted to continue sleeping. Mentally we weren’t there. Blame it on the cold weather, blame it on the chance of rain, blame it on the life happenings at the moment.

We wanted to give up,

but we didn’t. We laced up and headed to the starting line.

7:00 AM…

We stood in the starting corral and we waited and we waited and we waited. Talking was at a minimal. But our mind was speaking, sending us bad vibes even though there was an occasional smile here and an occasional smile there. Snap that selfie. Make it look good for the camera. Our minds told us give in. You can turn around now, if you want.

We wanted to give in,

but we didn’t.

Then we heard those magic words…RUNNERS TAKE YOUR MARK!

7:23 AM…

We were off, off running through the streets of Pittsburgh.

Matt racing in his 8th marathon (26.2 miles),

me racing in my 10th half marathon (13.1 miles),

Maddie racing in her 6th half marathon (13.1 miles)!

We cruised down the streets, up the streets, over the bridges, around the stadiums and there were spectators everywhere! And they were cheering!

Cheering for us! All of us who decided…

not to give up,

not to give in,

but to give it our all!

On May 7th we had three choices: to give up, to give in, or to give it our all. And give it our all we did! When crossing the finish line we were in a state of dismay, but smiles were on our faces. For we knew that when we crossed the finish line, it was so much more than just that. It was the training we completed, the challenges we overcame, and the choices we made.


Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 7.50.04 AM

Matt’s stats

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Amy’s stats

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Maddie’s stats



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when i say good-bye

i say good-bye
after joyful times
a family get together
dinner out on the town
a celebration amongst friends
till i see you again
i said good-bye
not by choice
i wonder if you knew
our last good-bye
would be our last good-bye
tears in my eyes
a broken heart
i say good-bye
once more
a peaceful wish
knowing the end is near
tears i’ve swallowed
smiles i’ve faked
as each good-bye
brings a heavy heart
when i say good-bye,
in good spirits
despairing times
a good-bye
is a good-bye

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Everybody Knows

Everybody knows…

Maddie is her mother’s daughter.

It’s her petite frame,

the pointy nose,

and a mouth that mirrors her mother’s smile.

Everybody knows…

Maddie is her daddy’s daughter.

Those hazel eyes,

her fair skin that easily burns in the sun,

expensive taste that enjoys the finest life has to offer.

Everybody knows…

Maddie is her gram’s girl.

A knack for decorating cakes,

kindness that spills from the heart,

or the sizable purse she carries over her shoulder.

Everybody knows…

Maddie is her pa’s granddaughter.

There’s the fierce sense of determination,

her ability to assist others in need,

an everlasting love for man’s best friend.

Everybody knows…

Maddie is her nana’s girl.

The creativity that flows,

an artistic niche that proves amazing abilities,

an eye for all that is unique.

Everybody knows…

Maddie is her pappy’s granddaughter.

Always on time,

if not a bit early,

or impatient waiting for others.

Everybody knows,

everybody knows,

everybody knows,

twenty-one years have flown by!

You’ve captured the best of the best,

a perfect blend,

a shining star,

the Maddie we all love!


Cheers to 21 years! Maddie’s 21st birthday, April 16, 2017


Ode to Lynne for sharing the “Everybody Says” Dorothy Aldis in Songs of Myself compiled by Georgia Heard.


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Date Day

Two Sundays ago Matt decided to take me on a date. A real date that was just us, not a trip to the gym for a workout or out for a training run for our upcoming race. A real date!

As you can see from the photo, the sky was a brilliant crystal clear blue and the snow was still on the ground from our March Madness blizzard. The air was crisp and cool. It was a perfect day to go to the Dissolve Float Spa, and, well, float!


So what is floating???? That is what I was wondering when Matt told me about it. Basically you get in a “pod” the is filled with epson salt and warm water and you float. Honestly, it reminds me of a tanning bed only with water and without the harmful lights.

Truthfully I’m not one for a massage. Something about having a stranger rub his or her hands all over your barely dressed body just is not me. But the floating, that’s a different story. It’s therapeutic, it’s warm, and it’s peaceful. It’s also surprising how you just float in the water. My session was for an entire hour and it was just what I needed to break the winter blues. It did take me several minutes to settle into my float, but once I truly relaxed I enjoyed it. I think that the next time I go for a float the experience will be even better since I know what to anticipate.

After our float we headed out for brunch. We went to a new restaurant called The Handsome Cab. Our good friends introduced us to it a few weeks ago and Matt and I really enjoyed it. When he saw they offered a brunch, he made the reservations.


We started off with a cheese tray and Matt ordered the European Staycation wine flight. I had a refreshing Lady in Red to drink.

Then our meal arrived. Matt had Lox Toast Points. His entree was cured smoked salmon, shredded potato leeks, tomato, and caper cream cheese. My entree was a bit more simplistic. I ordered the Eggs Benedict Oscar. It was two poached eggs on top of a delicious Maryland crab cake. It was amazing!

We had a delightful afternoon and I’m thankful that Matt planned this time just for us. I am looking forward to doing something similar again soon!



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A Treasured Heirloom

There is nothing more special, more meaningful than a family heirloom. A treasure, a treasure from the heart, that’s passed down through the generations.

At our house we have a room that contains these special heirlooms. We call it the antique room or the doll house room. I love this room not only for it’s uniqueness, but for the stories that it holds, the stories that it tells. Believe it or not, even the plants have a story! Yesterday, I wrote about one of those stories and you can read about it here.

My daughter’s doll house is in this room. I would say that Maddie’s doll house is majestic. It has impressive beauty. There’s the tall columns on the front porch and the finishing touches give it that stately appearance.


Inside there are nine rooms. They have wallpaper, baseboard, chair railing, crown molding, and carpet. There’s even electricity!


And once again, Maddie’s doll house has stories to tell. For me one of the most special aspects is that her doll house was made by my mother-in-law long before Maddie was born. My mother-in-law added a special detail so that this part of the story would never be forgotten.


While Maddie’s doll house hasn’t traveled as far as mine or been stuck in an attic, it has been through a few “storms”. Those storms would be those little fingers of fellow cousins who just couldn’t resist touching, coloring on the walls, and, well, breaking the furniture. When Maddie would visit Nana and see the destruction, it literally broke her heart! Maddie loved going to Nana’s and playing with the doll house. Fortunately, Nana knew how much Maddie loved the house and she restored it in 2004. That’s also the same time it took residence in the “doll house” room at our house.

Today the doll house is quiet. Little fingers rarely visit it, but when they do, you can see and feel the excitement. This doll house has more stories yet to tell, and I while I’m doubtful it will always reside in my house, I can’t wait to see what stories we will write together in the future.




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This Old (Doll) House

We have a room in our house. A special room. A room we refer to as the antique room. What makes it so special is every piece of furniture in the room has a story, a family story from long ago. I love to read in this room in the afternoon. The brilliant sunlight warms my soul as I escape away to somewhere else.

But this room, this special room I speak about, also has another name.

The doll house room.

The doll house room houses two doll houses that are near and dear to my heart. One is mine and one is my daughter’s. You can read about it here.


My Doll House

My doll house was actually my grandmother’s doll house. It was hers when she was a little girl. My grandmother will turn 90 this year and the doll house, well, she estimates that the doll house is about 80 years old!

She says she doesn’t remember much about it, but she did have a few memories to share. It was hand-made in the late 1930s, early 1940s. My grandmother believes she was around 10 years old when she received it as a Christmas gift. She remembers going to the doll house maker’s to pick up the doll house and she remembers her mother was with her. This seemed to be a powerful memory because her mother died shortly there after. She wonders how much the doll house cost because she said they were so poor.

One memory that made her smile was that she remembers her cat, Tiger Tom, lying on the side porch and crawling through the rooms of the doll house. She speculates that after she married, the doll house traveled with her, my grandfather, and my mother as they moved up and down the east coast.  It’s been to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York City, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. My mother, on the other hand, does not remember the doll house traveling with them. She believes that perhaps the doll house stayed in the attic of my great-grandmother’s house.


side porch

As a child I remember sitting and playing with it for hours. I would rearrange the furniture again and again. Today the doll house is a magnet for little fingers that seems to be pulled toward it. Little ones can’t resist opening and closing the doors and moving the furniture.

It’s one my bucket list to someday renovate this old (doll) house. But for now, this old (doll) house sits in my house, the antique room, the doll house room.



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Friendship Friday


|ˈfren(d)SHip|  noun

people who share common feelings,

emotions, trust, and support

over an extended period of time.

As in: Meeting during the 6th grade

camping trip in 1982,

when we were 12.

Friends through junior high

and Miss Maylock’s English class.

Oh, Miss Maylock’s English class,

We still laugh about it today!

Listening to our favorite bands in our high school years:

INXS, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears.

Dreaming of the day we’d visit England or Australia.

Sleepovers, staying up late,

asking the Oujia board who would be our date.


As in: Drifting apart after high school,

a casual call here and casual call there.

Nicolle leaving for college,

me starting a career.


As in: Reuniting in the best year,

the magical year of 1996.

The blessing of a baby girl for her,

and a baby girl for me.

Moving into new homes,

just minutes apart.

Celebrating husbands who are friends.

Going out to eat,

or a carefree cookout by the pool.

It’s the 35 years of memories we made,

and many more we will create.


Nicolle & Me


Looking for some writing ideas for the SOLSC? Click here.



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A Promise Broken

I knew you would be leaving on this day;

I told myself you’ll be home before long,

before I even know it.

The calendar is marked,

so I know it’s true.

You’ll be home soon,

sooner rather than later.

We had a tranquil Sunday at home.

You did your laundry,

spent some time with the fur babies,

focused on your school work.

It was a quiet morning.

And then 3:00 PM arrived.

We packed your car.

You said good-bye.

I gave you a hug,

said, “I love you.”

As I watched your car back out of the driveway,

I promised I wouldn’t cry,

I promised I wouldn’t cry.

I turned and walked away,

through the garage,

into the house.

Then I ran!

I ran to the front door,

to catch one more glimpse!

Just one.more.glimpse!

I espied your car,

drift, drift, drifting out of sight!

And I cried;

I cried.

A promise broken,

a promise broken.


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Live Your Why

By fulfilling your why, you may realize that you can have an even greater impact than you have ever imagined. Surround yourself with things that remind you of why you do what you do and find something each day to help you live your why.

~Lucy West

Why I Write:

I write for me. I write because I want to capture my moments that have now turned into memories. I write because I want to tell my story. I write because I want to remember my story. I write because writing is thinking on paper.

Why I Read:

I read because knowledge is power. I read because I know that reading can take me away when I need to stay where I am. I read because I want to share the passion. I read because I believe I should exercise my mind everyday.

Why I Run:

I run because I can challenge myself in ways that I never thought possible. I run for the thrill and I run for the accomplishment. I run to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle. I run for mental toughness and I run because my body was meant to move.

Why I Teach:

I teach for my students. I teach because I understand their struggles. I teach because I want to celebrate their successes. I teach because I believe I can make a difference.

Why I Advocate for the SPCA:

I advocate for homeless and neglected rabbits. I advocate for them because they don’t have a voice. I advocate to show these precious animals that there are good humans in this world of neglect and abuse. I advocate because I believe I can make their world a better place.

Why I Will Always Be a Mom:

I will always be a mom because I have the best daughter in the world. I will always be there when she needs me. I will share in the highlights and lowlights of her life. I will always be a mom because I have been blessed to be given this role.

What Is Your Why?

Live Your Why!



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goodbye, hello


goodbye to a fun-filled summer vacation,

hello to the hustle and bustle of school days jam-packed with learning.

goodbye to Maddie once more,

hello to her junior year at college.

goodbye to the ARC ten miler race,

hello to Hershey 1/2 marathon training.

goodbye to our family vacation by the lake,

hello to a beach get-a-way for just the two of us.

goodbye to the fireflies lighting up the night sky,

hello to the cicadas singing in the trees above.

goodbye to summer reading of nine ten, riding freedom, and booked,

hello to the thing about jellyfish, moo, and because of winn-dixie.

goodbye to you again as i start the school year without you here,

hello to the memories we shared and your words that echo in my ears.

goodbye to the sizzling days of the august summer,

hello to the crisp days of september and fall.


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