Archives for Grandparenting: a second chance at impact

When a Little Bit of Heaven Came Down to Earth

Four years ago today, in the early hours of this July summer morning, hubby and I quietly and somewhat soberly drove the long trek to the Medical Center in Seattle where our son and dear daughter-in-law were preparing for an emergency c-section to deliver their second child due to some very unexpected and quite serious complications. They had taken up residence at the hospital for several weeks as the dedicated staff were relentlessly monitoring our dear daughter-in-law, measuring all the vitally important factors leading up to this day. The call came suddenly the day before – it was time.

In a glorious nutshell, all went miraculously well and now, 4 years later, Mommy and baby are healthy and thriving, (and big sister and she are pretty much inseparable.)


I can say of a truth I’m continually reminded that this little doll is a miracle from heaven, and the joy she brings to us is beyond comprehension. We don’t mark her birthday as just ‘another day’ we celebrate it with gusto!

Life has changed in a huge way for me. Grandparenting IS TRULY all it’s cracked up to be.Click HERE for six simple secrets to thrive as a Nana or a Papa 😀

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab my tried and true TRANSFORMATIVE freebie, 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Home Life by clicking HERE.

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Live Life this Summer!

There are days when my heart is so full, it could burst.
Today is one of those days.

I’ve been busy living life and pausing most of the rest.
We live in the Pacific Northwest – good lawwwwd this weather will torture your soul.
Promises, empty promises time and again of forecasted sunshine that doesn’t show up – or it shows up at 7 or 8 pm. Whoo hoo.

I’ve boxed with the weather here, but she always wins. No option but surrender.
I hasten to say the natural beauty here is unmatched. Hashtag paradise.

But there’s a price to pay for all this green. An infinity of misty, rainy gray days. Although we’re around 40th in the U.S. for rainfall, we’re in the top 3 (yes, with Portland) for gray days.
Can you feel my pain?

This weekend was our summer breakthrough weekend and when the sun comes out in Seattle, baby, you don’t hesitate to seize the moment.
You say “yes” to spontaneous walks with friends. You stop everything and sit in the sun with hubby, chatting about life and serving him a cold drink while he relaxes, drinking in the rays he’s been starved for all winter.

When the kids pop in to share your coveted private urban sunny balcony, you pull up more chairs and engage.

You silence your phone; you listen without distraction.

You clear the calendar, plan picnics and beach days and ignore email, phone calls and unnecessary chores. You fire up the barbecue at the last minute, because…sun, friends, and yum.

You play with your grandkids. You pause to hear the nuances of their beautiful childish amazement…an unusual rock, a new word, a bug, a flower, a story you’ve heard twice before; an ouchie they got a few days earlier. A song or rhyme or funny joke. Their wish is your command.

You make good food to share because…food! Right??!

I’d rather live life than write 7 poignant points about living life.
I’d rather live life than Instagram or Facebook or Tweet about living life.
I’d rather live life than take perfect pictures of living life.
I’d rather live life than dream of ‘someday’ REALLY living life.

I plan to be intentional about living life this summer with my precious people, discovering the hidden gems I’ve missed in the PNW, and endeavoring to be present for what matters most, so I’ll be adjusting my blog posts a bit and shaking up the every-Monday posting schedule as needed to flex with what presents itself in this glorious season in our city.

I encourage you to do the same wherever you may be living because we’ll blink and it’ll be pumpkin spice everything, the aromatic scent of burning leaves and football mania here in the US…and we’ll be glad we didn’t waste our summer on BUSY.
Let’s do this!

Your Two-Minute Takeaway
1. NO procrastinating. Ask for the extra time off you deserve. Refuse to allow your cell phone to determine your schedule. Plan ahead to make this season count with your spouse and kids. Don’t take no for an answer. You’re not promised tomorrow.
2. Unplug the kids. Seek nature. Think outdoors. Morning walks, patio, swimming pools, roller skates, jump ropes, barbecues, spray parks, ballgames, sidewalk chalk and reading aloud under the shade tree on a blanket. Camp out in the backyard. Ration movies so they’re truly unusual treats to enjoy together with popcorn and special friends.
3. Journal simply. Make notes at the end of every day on a spiral notebook, listing the true value you experienced. Simple, special, memorable, moments whatever they were for you and your brood. Cooking with the kids, Iced coffee, crossword puzzles, neighborhood pool fun, anything that spoke to your soul and filled up your cup! You’ll be amazed at what was accomplished!

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab my TRANSFORMATIVE spring freebie, 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Home Life by clicking HERE. 

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6 Secrets to Becoming an Irresistible Grandparent



They will tire you to the bone, break your stuff and trash your clean house, but there is nothing sweeter than the innocence of a child. Wet cement we get to put our fingerprints on. A hungry heart, ready to absorb all we are, all we give. A little friend, eager for our companionship in a cold and lonely world. Treasures without measure are these little people.

If you’re privileged to be a grandparent, here are 6 keys to building a positive, rich relationship with your precious little person.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff…(it’s all small stuff). Spilled juice, broken dishes, scratched doors, stained clothes – does any of it really matter? If you’ve got a Hummel you’re saving to sell for retirement, hide it somewhere safe of course, but when you boil it down, most of your worldly goods are probably like mine – fairly worthless. 

Hubby surprised me with a pair of polarized Roxy supercool sunglasses. One day at the park as I was rushing to make sure my granddaughter got the last available swing (Rawr!) they flew from my head to the concrete and incurred permanent scratches. I winced as I scooped them up for inspection. Did I act irritated and pissy? Of course not! Put it all in perspective. Guard those nasty negative auto-reactions of impatience and aggravation when your stuff gets ruined. Value those kids more than your junk.

2. Be a Good Friend:

For a season our oldest and only grandchild had a standing date with us on Wednesdays while her Mama held a part-time job. One day my 18-year old son commented, “when I hear you guys talking in the kitchen, it sounds like you’re talking to your little sister.” Even at age 3, she and I could already carry on a meaningful conversation. I realized I was enjoying a very satisfying friendship at a particular level with this vibrant toddler, and I treated her with gentleness, respect, and lots of laughter as I would any friend. As I cared for her, she became my best little friend, and to this day, we share a special bond that I endeavor to nurture. 

3. Be Prepared: My granddaughters were coming for lunch with their mommy last week, so I prepped everything ahead of time. Firstly I didn’t want to be in another room working and stressing out when they arrived, robbing me of just ‘being’ with them, and two, it seems to me that when we prepare for others it makes them feel special. Was it an extravagant lunch? No. Simple organic turkey and cheese sandwiches, chips, fresh veggies and fruit.

I pulled out two colorful, divided plates, cut the crust off the bread in Nanny fashion, and added a yummy dip to the veggie crudités, arranging everything attractively. To put the bow on top, I took out two clear little cups and created ‘mocktails’ with sparkling water, juice and a fresh lemon slice. When my oldest granddaughter walked in and saw this simple display, her face lit up and my heart melted. Score! 

It’s also helpful to arrange a few items in advance they can be occupied with such as puzzles, crayons and paper, little cars, building blocks or a whiteboard and markers. They can freely gravitate toward these items without asking, entertaining and contenting themselves. I also put my phone on silent and clear my mind, my schedule, and my tablespace of ‘work.’

4. Be Cheerful and Buoyant Life is generally stressful and filled with challenges of all kinds. In the presence of your ‘littles,’ choose to live with a smile on your face despite your problems and irritations. Bounce above the bumps you encounter together. Practice looking on the bright side. Fix your mind and your mouth on this ‘habit of happy,’ leaving your grandchildren with reflections of a Nana or Papa who was consistently full of grace.


If we’re grumpy grandparents, we leave a stain upon the memories we make with these little ones. Recognize moodiness and depression as predators who will rob your priceless relationship to your grands.

5. You Can’t Hide Your Crap from Your Grandkids

Robert Fulghum says, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Kids are incredibly discerning. During my sons’ growing up years, I made it my aim not to engage in gossip or expose them to extended family drama, always wanting them to see the best in others, and to shield them from unsavory issues. I was later enlightened to realize their keen sense of intuition was like constant radar, picking up the vibes, good or bad in those around them. 


The late Carrie (Reynolds) Fisher, Princess Leia of Star Wars fame and daughter of 1950s megastar Debbie Reynolds, illustrates this fact with a vivid memory of her grandmother in her book, The Princess Diarist.

One day when I was about 12 I was sitting on my grandmother’s lap – not a good idea at any age given that Maxine Reynolds was, to say the least, not a cuddly woman – when she suddenly asked my actress-mother, Debbie Reynolds, “Hey did you ever get those tickets to Annie that I asked you for?” She regarded my mother with suspicious eyes. (My grandmother had three looks: glaring suspiciously, glaring hostilely, and glaring with disappointment.)

“I’m sorry, Mama,” my mother responded, “Is there another show you want to see? Annie seems to be sold out for the whole month. I’ve tried everywhere.”

My grandmother pursed her lips, giving the appearance of someone who smelled something bad. Then she pushed air out of her nose and pronounced a very disappointed, “hmmmmmmmm,” and ended with, “it used to be something to be Debbie Reynolds in this town, now she can’t even get a few measly show tickets.” I involuntarily squeezed my grandmother as if to do so would push all future demeaning remarks out of her stocky little body. 

A sad story and all too common. Our grandchildren not only ‘hear’ what we say, but they observe and absorb so much more than that. Let’s be the best version of ourselves when we spend time with them, and work to become what we want them to be.

6. Seize the Day: Recently our oldest granddaughter, Jael, commented about her younger sister.

”Sienna was really into Elmo…but that’s OVER.” 

And just like that, my 7 year-old prodigy granddaughter set me straight on the bittersweet fact that our little Sienna is growing up and slammed the door on her ‘two’s’ without a thought of our pain. All-too-soon blankies and rocking sessions are gonna go, too. Boo-hoo.

Pardon my cliche, Nana and Papa but time is flying! This season of opportunity to build a relationship with your magical grandchildren will be gone in a minute. Everything changes in the tweens as their world widens and their lives get populated by so many others. Build a foundation that can last a lifetime **NOW** while your grands still think you’re the sun, moon and stars! 

I see grand parenting as a second chance to impact the world. Another level of parenting that is, indeed, grand. How could men or women in midlife ignore such a great calling as this, the role of grandfather or grandmother, trading it for temporal pleasures of distraction?

Your Two-Minute Takeaway 

  1. Which point spoke loudly to your spirit? Jot down the words that jumped out at you while you read this post and determine what adjustments you can make today to enhance your relationship with your grands.
  2. Do you live long distance from them? Consider FaceTime or Skype so you can interact, read them stories and share in their realtime lives. Look ahead and book an airline reservation or a road trip as often as you’re able, so you get it on the calendar and make it happen.
  3. Create little coupons for them to redeem special times with you like baking cookies, shopping for toys/trinkets at Dollar Tree, seeing a matinee or playing and picnicking at the park and remember to use them!
  4. Are your grandkids older and you long to make up for lost time? Don’t delay. Children are forgiving and flexible. Don’t let your insecurities and guilt keep you at a distance. Find what they’re interested in and nurture that desire whether it be crafting, electronics, the beach, music or horses. Find a way to spend time with them enjoying these things together.

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab my TRANSFORMATIVE freebie, 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Home Life by clicking HERE. 

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Don’t (entirely) Waste Your Summer.

When I was raising my kids, it was important to me to be intentional and aware of how our days were spent, even on summer break. That didn’t mean Sargeant Slaughter woke up the crew with a whistle at 6 a.m. on those Dog Days of Summer, but it did mean generally evaluating what we were doing with our time.

I’m a paper-list person so I kept a simple, cheap spiral notebook handy and I would make brief notes each day of what had taken place so I could scan and review and adjust if I felt we needed more balance. Nothing fancy, just for instance: June 20, 1996 boys helped me make a big breakfast – boys changed their sheets – boys wrote thank-you notes to grandparents – boys read for an hour after lunch – at the pool with the Smiths all afternoon – movie and popcorn – Daddy read Little House on the Prairie to us at bedtime etc. I’m also a save-that-memory freak, so I still have those journals. Hashtag paper tiger. 🙂

With a houseful of busy boys I wanted to be sure I wasn’t wasting our entire summer break frittering away the days zoning out on movies, video games, laziness of mind, body and spirit. I believe those blocks of ‘wasting time’ are valuable alternated with more thoughtful productive periods. Life is a constant learning process, whether the kids are watching a hummingbird for 10 minutes, building Legos, sweeping floors, chopping onions, swimming or digging tunnels out back with friends. I was never big on endless video game time; in my mind it was much more enjoyable and effective as a measured activity.

All that to say reading was always a key part of our lives. Reading all sorts of content; history, biographies, nature articles, animal stories, fiction, historical fiction, comedy stories were a constant in our boys’ growing up years and most always a habit first thing in the morning for a few minutes and after lunch so everyone could have some quiet time, thus Mom could also have some alone time.

I credit the habit of reading as a key ingredient in the building of the Mira boys and developing our family culture. Reading served us well and still does.

I recently began reading our 7 year-old granddaughter a favorite series of her father, the Exitorn Adventures, book 1 Brill and the Dragators by Peggy Downing. Once we began, she begged me to read another chapter each day and I love that! It will prove to be a pause of very special time for us throughout the summer and fall. 

Do YOU read?? What solid, valuable, real books are you reading? R-e-a-d seems to be a four-letter word that incites yaawwwwwwwwns because of either bad experiences or ignorance about what is available to the reader and HOW MUCH FREAKING ENJOYMENT IT BRINGS when you find the right book. If you’ve found reading to be a big fat bore, please don’t give up, please don’t settle for your past experience of reading. Much of what the world offers is CRAP. Yep. (And, P.S., audio books are changing my life by the way!)

This one (pictured at the top) The Wright Brothers,  the story of two American brothers, Orville and Wilbur, inventors and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful airplane (on a dime btw), is my current fav. It’s blowing my mind, changing my life, lifting me higher, fixing my gaze, teaching me more than I can comprehend, entertaining me to the point of outrageous LOUD laughter, carrying me on my bicycle rides throughout the city with joviality and, yes, tears all at the same time – the neighbors could be calling the cops as I fly by bahahahaha…David McCullough is a history author with no equal and I only wish he could live to be 1000 so that we could continue to expect his brilliant volumes to be released, for he is what I consider an expert and epic ‘documentor of history’ rather than a re-writer with a slanted view of history. He happens to be the narrator of this particular volume on the audio version of The Wright Brothers, and that makes this story even more precious! (My wholehearted secret wish would be for him to write the story of the Transcontinental Railroad that stretched from both my hometowns of Omaha, Nebraska and Sacramento, California)….happy summer reading to you and yours!

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    Grandparenting: a Second Chance at Impact

    I was blessed to birth five sons over a ten-year period. They each hung the moon for me. (I’m the former feminist who was never getting married or having children.) With the passing of time and my growing understanding of the power of parenting, I was passionately committed to seeing each one reach his destiny. Still am.

    But I wasn’t really clued in on the whole grandparenting thing. The manic addiction some seemed to have with their kids’ kids was a mystery to me. I’ve known lots of grandparents, but never really understood them. I just didn’t get it.

    And then, this.
    Yes! They stole my heart.
    Nothing is too hard: another storybook, another kiss, a nose to wipe, a diaper to change, another prayer, another hug, another flower to pick, just one more dance…they may call me what they like, play with my iPhone, break my stuff, eat my best snacks, trash my house, get crumbs in my bed…it’s all theirs.

    The mission of my heart?
    Love them.
    Experience them.
    Impart to them.
    Befriend them.
    Build a relationship with them.
    Is it a job? No.
    Is it work? Yes.
    Is it tiring? Yes.
    Do I ever get tired of it? No!
    I’m laughing out loud! This is like dessert to my crazy, colorful, incredible (often stressful and somewhat bizarre) life journey. Being a grandma. Or, in my case, a Nana aka Nannie.

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    Long Distance Mama Nana

    I think about my kids and grandkids for the millionth time and ponder their whereabouts.
    Lost in my head.
    Wrestling with how to fix this seemingly unfixable dilemma of being way too far away.
    I click on Facebook, Instagram…hoping to get a glimpse of them, but today….
    737 miles of painful, dead, silence.
    I’m alone and afraid.
    Is everything ok?? My Mama-Nana heart tries not to be anxious.

    Perusing my photo files, I’m reminded of how fast the little ones are growing up and I feel helpless, knowing I can’t freeze time until I get back to them. The oldest will have a new front tooth in place of her adorable toothless gap. The youngest will have gained at least 5 pounds on his itty bitty frame. The middle’s hair is growing so long; I’m afraid she won’t let me cuddle her for hours like she did 6 weeks ago. She’s fully embracing the twos and with that comes busy little feet wanting to move.
    I’m trying to think positively, but…I’m losing time.
    Missing out on so much.
    Not available.
    What to do.
    I miss you. Every single one of you, oldest to youngest, 32 years worth of ever-increasing, ongoing infinite love.

    I miss being there, just a few streets away. Even if you didn’t have time to see me for however long, it didn’t matter…I knew I was close by and available.
    If I suddenly had a pile of veggies and pasta and I created a masterpiece – I had someone I loved to inspire me while I cooked, because I knew I could share it with you.
    I especially miss spontaneous get togethers.
    Nothing fancy.
    Just an invite here or there that ended in relationship building.
    Together time. Hearing your hearts. Praying for you.
    There isn’t wine delicious enough, tennis exciting enough or sunshine bright enough to make up for my aching heart.

    So far away
    Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore
    It would be so fine to see your face at my door
    Doesn’t help to know you’re just time away

    Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
    Holding you again could only do me good
    Oh, how I wish I could
    But you’re so far away*

    *Song by Carole King, Published by Sony

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    Miracle Man.

    Haters gonna hate, but this guy’s got the goods. Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, added Super Bowl ring number 5 to his trophy case as he led his team to a stunning victory Sunday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in an epic contest that included an amazing comeback and overtime finish. No other quarterback in the history of the NFL can boast of 5 Super Bowl championship wins, not to mention all of his other accolades, too many to list here.

    I know, #notmyteam is trending, mouths are yapping, the gossip mill is churning but you can’t deny the achievements Brady has accomplished. And, C’mon, does anyone really believe he’s got what he’s got because he’s a cheater?

    I didn’t have a dog in the fight, so I’m speaking from neutral ground, but it seems to me it’s a lot easier to sit around yapping criticism about a winner than it is to become a winner.

    You know what really bugs me? Millions of men sit in chairs hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year watching, cheering, believing in, supporting and living through the dreams of men like Tom Brady, instead of living their own dream. Their fantasy football is the end all. Who-hoo.

    Your quarterback may not be Tom Brady; perhaps you prefer Ben, Russell, Drew, Cam, Aaron, or someone else. I don’t know and I don’t care, but what I do care about is whose quarterback are YOU?

    Every week, these guys on the field are somebody’s hero, someone’s leader, someone’s dream maker, their joy and delight, even their ‘jackpot’ if money’s on the game, while wives, sons and daughters, foster kids, nieces, nephews, neighbor kids, grandkids, young men at work, lonely widowers meander through life needing you to be their quarterback on the field, their leader, dream-maker and jackpot. Rather than living inside a football fantasy imagining Tom Brady’s cush life (even that’s in large part a fantasy, have you seen what this guy eats while you’re chowing on Big Macs checking scores?)  Click HERE to see what Tom and Giselle nosh on! And that’s only food.

    And all the men said, “but Denise, ‘perfect wife, perfect LIFE!'” And I say, “suckers.” Nothing’s ever as it appears, people, get a life. The public sees the surface of things through blips on a screen. Real life is lived every day behind the scenes where the human struggle that only Tom Brady knows about, plays out. On top of his personal life issues as a son, a father, a husband, etc., this guy’s the CEO of a huge empire with so much to be concerned about, I wonder if he can ever truly rest. Just worrying about weirdo stalkers would keep this couple up at night! Any hoo, how about you stop fixating on how lucky Tom is and you be that STAR for those who need you to be?

    Whose Miracle Man will you be in 2017? 

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    Natural remedies and our children.

    Yesterday I touched briefly on my passion for natural remedies and how life-changing and liberating they’ve become for me.*

    As a Mama, I’m especially delighted to see my adult children also pursuing health and healing outside of the traditional medical-pharmaceutical options for all sorts of issues from colds, sinus, flu, headaches, to menstrual cramps, muscle aches, and much more! I’m so proud of my daughters-in-law as they make huge efforts to learn about, then research and obtain the high-quality ingredients necessary to take such excellent care of their husbands and children. Natural remedies require considerable time and attention, versus popping pills and slamming cough meds, so the extra efforts are a huge commitment by these young wives and I admire their devotion!

    Seeing my grandchildren being nurtured and taught these gentle forms of healing by their mothers is pure joy! The little angels look forward to having these aromatic, therapeutic grade essential oils with coconut oil massaged into their feet at night, and are daily learning valuable lifelong habits of drinking lots of pure water, avoiding sugar, white flour and dairy, while loving their green smoothies, fresh pressed juice, fresh fruits/veggies and living in an atmosphere at home where the fragrance of lavender, peppermint and lemon is pervasive as their mamas diffuse essential oil in the house day and night to encourage health, well-being, and to purify the air.

    Today my daughter texted me this picture (featured image) of our precious little grandson having a ginger bath due to his fever. Ginger baths changed my life back in the 90s. Their effectiveness to fight illness and break fever was undeniable. Counterintuitively, the ginger bath was most effective when using the warmest water the patient could reasonably endure. (Treating fever with hot water seemed crazy!) But it worked almost miraculously.

    Click HERE to read about the healing marvels of ginger! If I don’t have ginger on hand, I use epsom salt and baking soda with essential oils. (Here’s more detail on detox baths: Click on the link for more on detox baths!

    It’s so satisfying to know that my grandchildren will be raised to understand that they have solid healing options that work, that don’t require a doctor’s visit and are holistic in that they enhance the health of the entire body, soul and spirit, without bringing any harm.

    *I’m not a medical doctor; these methods are a few of my personal applications for greater health which I share from my experience, not as a medical expert.


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