Archives for : October2016

Life is Filled With Transitions

Life is filled with transitions . . .

~ By Sharon Sheppard

Expanding or downsizing.

Starting a family or emptying the nest.

Starting a first job or retiring from a lifetime of working.

Sudden or long-anticipated.  Carefully planned for or blindsided.

Whether change is chosen or thrust upon us, delightful or tragic, change can be bewildering.

No matter how excited we may have been about that first job, when the day came, it was terrifying.

One of the scariest days of my life was my first day of teaching.  I was afraid those college students would quickly figure out that I didn’t know what I was doing.  And then what?

When I walked our youngest child to her first day of kindergarten, I heaved a huge sigh of relief, but I cried all the way back home.

I learned many things from my wise husband.  For example, when I dreaded something, he’s ask, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  And then, “What are the chances of that happening?”

When bad things happened, he’d say, “Is there a silver lining to this?” “What can we learn from it?”

Before I became a widow, my husband worked hard to prepare me.  But even though his preparation was enormously helpful, I found that few things could truly prepare me for the tremendous sense of loss.  Though I will never truly “have it all together,” here are a few things I’ve learned from my transition to living alone:

  • If you are a person of faith, cling to God. Let Him become more real to you than He has ever been before.
  • Become your own best friend. Learn to savor aloneness by developing hobbies, interests, and inner resources that don’t necessarily depend on other people.  What have you always wanted to do?  What gifts or interests do you have that you’ve never fully developed? Travel?  Music?  Fitness? Crafts?
  • Find new purpose in life, a reason for living. This may involve volunteering, reaching out to others in need, helping others less fortunate than you.  You’d be surprised at what a difference a change in focus can make.
  • Cultivate your senses and learn to savor—new tastes, textures, aromas, musical (either as a performer or a connoisseur).
  • Don’t wait for others to come to you, reach out. But work toward creating a balance between enjoying your own company and enjoying the company of others.


Alice Koller says, “Being solitary is being alone well:  luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice….  Solitude is an achievement.  It is your distinctive way of embodying the purposes you have chosen for your life.”







Hope for the Journey


Hope for the Journey

The more I know God, the better I know myself. The more I know myself, the better I know God. It’s funny how that works. The willingness to expose myself before a loving God is scary, but as I trust God to love me in my darkest self I learn to love myself and live in my truest self.

The journey in seeing the false self is painful, yet God is right there, loving and encouraging me. The benefit of the journey in is living in the light! When I walk in this truth and face myself honestly in the presence of my Loving God I am transformed. The love of God transforms me. The unconditional love of God transforms all who expose themselves!

Hope is a beautiful thing!

Terri Johnson
Life Coach & Addiction Counselor


Easy Pan O’ S’mores



One can hardly think October without thinking bonfires and S’mores. There is something very comforting about sitting around the fire sharing stories as the cool air and rustling leaves remind us these days are numbered. Yet, at least for these few hours with family and friends, “everything feels right with the world.”

Seems S’mores are a comforting treat that usually only happen around the fire in the fall. And just in case you don’t feel like running through the woods looking for the perfect roasting sticks, I would like to share with you a recipe for S’mores with three classic ingredients. So get out your 8” square pan, and let’s get the job done–start to finish in less than 15 minutes!


Easy Pan O’ S’mores

(6oz) Hersey’s Milk Chocolate bar, chopped

(9) Graham crackers, broken in half

(36) Marshmallows, large size cut in half and divided


Heat the oven to 350◦

Place the graham crackers on the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate and cover the chocolate with remaining graham cracker squares. Arrange 4 marshmallows cut side down on top of each graham.

Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool about 5 minutes…if you can wait!

Makes 9 servings




Daydreaming: Cheap Fun…

Daydreaming:  Cheap Fun . . .

By Sharon Sheppard

Rustling leaves of orange, amber, and magenta scud across the walk, begging to be picked up.  I bend down and choose the most brilliant specimens: birch, boxelder, and assorted sizes and colors of maple leaves–too appealing to pass up–and bring them inside to savor.

My thoughts wander to school days when we used to gather leaves for projects, learn to identify the trees that bore them, and carefully mount them with paste on colored construction paper.  Today as I reminisce about the simple, low-tech/no-tech autumn days of long ago, I catch myself yearning for some of those homespun pleasures.

It gets dark early in October in northern Minnesota, but inside it’s cozy and warm. I’m back in the kitchen of the home where I grew up, seated with my parents and brothers at our gate-leg table.  I can smell again the fragrant aroma of hot loaves of homemade bread being pulled out of the oven of the wood range, roasted grouse my dad or one of my brothers has hunted, potatoes dug from our garden, along with string beans Mother canned last summer.  Warm pumpkin pie for dessert.  Everything is homemade.

Good-natured kidding.  Silly laughter.

Simple joys.  Homemade fun.

No extra charge for the reminiscing.

We need time to dream, time to remember, and time to reach the infinite.  Time to be.    Author Gladys Taber (1899-1980)