Remembering Tanya on the One Year Anniversary of her Death

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my sister’s death.  I honored her memory by releasing a balloon at a local park.

I went to a local park to release the balloon instead of at her grave.  When I go to the Wegerzyn Gardens, I feel a lot of peace.  The gardens are absolutely gorgeous.


The forecast was for thunderstorms all day.  So I did not get the balloon until I was on my way from work.  Even though we did have some rain during the day, it was only overcast while I was at the park.  Luck was on my side.

Thank you for sharing in my special private moment.

Have a magical day,

P.S.  Tell your loved ones that you love them.  Tomorrow is not promised.

The Night My Life Changed FOREVER

Warning:  This blog post is going to be raw and real.  It’s difficult for me to type up but necessary.

Some of the details are going to be a little blurry.

August 28, 2016 was a regular Sunday.  I had church in the morning.  Then we were going to eat dinner at my mother-in-law’s house.  I had cooked balsamic pork roast for our dinner.  After dinner, the boys and I were going to go to see a Weird Al concert.  The Wee One had been to his first concert.  This was going to be the Imaginative One’s first concert.

My phone rang.  When I saw it was my mom, I decided to wait to call her back since we were going to sit down and eat.  Then my phone rang for a second time.  It was her.  I knew it must be important since she immediately called me for a second time.

I answered it.  That’s when she told me that Tanya had died.  I remember walking into my mother-in-law’s family room and sinking into her maroon chair after getting off the phone.  My body was numb and I might have yelled No.  No.  Hubby ran into the living room to comfort me as I tried to say the words that Tanya had died.

I was so numb.

My niece walked in from a Christian concert so bubbly and talking a mile a minute.  I remember someone telling her that what had happened.

I remember sitting on my mother-in-law’s rocking couch calling my best friend, Angie, to tell her that Tanya had died.  Then I went outside to the front area of the house to call my friend Molly.  While I was on the phone, the police from where my mother and sister lived called me.  They told me to get over to my mother’s house as soon as possible.

I remember sitting down and attempting to eat some of the dinner I cooked but not being able to.  I know I took a roll with me since I had to drive to their town.

Before I left, I wrote a vague Facebook update asking for prayers.  I didn’t want to put it out that Tanya had died until I got a hold of my aunt.

I took the longest way possible to my mom’s house.  It should have taken 45 minutes at the most.  Instead it took me close to an hour or longer to get there.

One of my co-workers kept in contact with me to make sure I had support while I was driving to my mom’s.

Once I got there, my mom looked as though she had aged 20 years.  She seemed so frail and fragile.  It was so sad.

(There is more to the story from the time I was at her apartment.  I don’t want to share it now.  Maybe I will share the rest of the story later.)

Mom was going to go home with me and stay with me until we could get her a new place that was closer to my house.

We went and got gas from the local Speedway.  I called my mother-in-law when I went inside to go to the bathroom.  She went to get some new clothes for my mom to make sure she was comfortable after the events from the day.

We drove home.  Suddenly I noticed rain clouds so we got off the highway and drove the side streets the rest of the way.  We needed to stop twice because it was raining so hard that I could not see the road.  In my grief stricken mood, I should not be driving when it was raining so hard.

After we stopped the second time, we drove through Wright State University’s campus.  I remember seeing a doe while we were stopped at the stop sign.

Finally we got home.  My mother-in-law showed up with the clothes.  Mom took a bath.

I walked into my garage and tried to call my aunt.  I was finally able to get a hold of her.  She made plans to come to Ohio to help support us.

I never ate that roll.  My blood sugar ended up tanking out in the middle of the night.

That night began the daily can’t sleep all night for the majority of the month of September.  I had to sleep with my stuffed Pumbaa from the Disney College Programs so that I could get any sleep.

My life changed that night.  For almost 39 years, I was a big sister.  Now I am an only child.

Tanya now visits me as a Monarch butterfly instead of me calling her on the phone.  I will forever miss her.

Dear God,

Please grant me peace as I remember Tanya’s life on Monday.  Grant me peace when I go and celebrate her 40th birthday next week.

In Jesus’ name,


P.S.  The boys did go to the concert.  In my haze, I got a hold of one of their friends.  We offered my ticket to him for free.  It ended up being his 14th birthday present from us.  He became a Weird Al fan after the concert.

Monarch Butterflies (Dealing with Grief)

As many of you know, I have a monarch butterfly tattoo on my left shoulder.  The top of the tattoo has purple dots because that was my sister’s favorite color.  One top wing has 2 dots which represents the fact there were 2 of us and she was 2 years younger than me.  The other wing has 4 dots which represents the fact that her birthday was on September 4th.  Our birthdays were also 4 months apart.  I was actually 2 years 4 months older than her.


Why did I get a Monarch butterfly on my shoulder?  One year ago on August 28th, Tanya left her Earthly body for her Heavenly body.  Every since her death, I’ve seen Monarch butterflies when I’ve needed her.

Today’s post is going to list the special times I’ve seen a Monarch butterfly since August 28th, 2016.

August 30th – We were cleaning out her apartment.  I was sitting in my car when a Monarch flew by me.

September 2nd – Right after her funeral, a Monarch flew by my aunt and myself.

September 5th – I was waiting at Young’s Dairy for my family from Pittsburgh.  A Monarch flew by me.

Sometime in September – During dismissal duty, another Monarch flew by me and up into the sky.

Last weekend in October  – Hubby and I were visiting Louisville to give me time away from all of the pressure I was feeling.  It was the 2nd month anniversary of her death.  There were a lot of Monarchs flying around purple flowers.

Thanksgiving – This one was truly when I realized it was her.  I cried tears in the bathtub in Cabana Bay Beach Resort because I was missing her.  Later that day, I was at the entrance of Animal Kingdom.  I saw a Monarch butterfly.  Then at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, I saw another one by giraffes.  She knew I love Disney and giraffes.

August 5th – I finally visited her grave.  Later that day, she visited me when I was working at a tent for DeMolay and Rainbow.  We are both majority members.

August 20th (Today) – I was missing her.  I went to talk to the Imaginative One who was outside.  Suddenly a Monarch was flying around the yard.  When she came to visit me, she would sit outside on our little patio.

Also in June – I was walking on the beach on the 10th month anniversary of her death.  Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder.  No one was there.  I know it was her telling me “Traci, I’m here with you.  I’m walking through life with you.”

Image result for monarch butterfly photos

Even though I know she is still with me, I still miss her.  I often have the urge to call her because I want to talk to her.  No one will ever understand the feeling of emptiness that I feel.

During the next week, I’m going to be sharing my feelings as the year anniversary of her death approaches.

Here’s the schedule for this coming week:

Monday – Menu plan Monday

Tuesday – Dealing with Grief Post – Don’t know what yet

Wednesday  – New series – My visit to Rochester, New York

Thursday – Writer’s Workshop

Friday – Dealing with Grief Post – Don’t know what yet

Saturday – More of my Folly Beach trip

Sunday – Dealing with Grief Post – Don’t know what yet

Monday – The night my life changed forever 

Have a magical day,

Grandpa’s Favorite

6. Share a favorite quote (or group of quotes) that you enjoy and describe what they mean to you.

I’m actually going to share a hymn not a quote.

This summer I had a chance to visit many places.  One of those places was Letchworth State Park in Castile, New York.  It’s been rated as the number one state park.  The park has been described as the Grand Canyon of the East.

We stopped throughout the park so I could admire the views.  Lots of photos were taken during our time during the time we were in the park.

The lyrics from “How Great Thou Art” haunted my mind during our visit to the park. Is though the lyrics were written about Letchworth.

This was taken at the bottom of the Helena Trail.  So beautiful and peaceful.

“How Great Thou Art” was my grandpa’s favorite hymn so anytime I hear the words I think of him.  He was a father figure of mind who was one of my heroes.  I was fortunately to have him in my life for 28.5 years.

Have a magical day,


Mama’s Losin’ It

Visiting your sister’s grave sucks

It’s been almost a year since she died.  I haven’t been where she is buried in that year.  I’ve been close but have not had the strength to go there.

Yesterday I took the time and visited her and my grandparents.  (Their ashes are buried in the same plot/ area.)

As I cried, I listened to the woodpecker pecking on the tree.  I felt the sun shining on my leg.

I asked for a sign from her.  She has shown herself to me as a Monarch butterfly at least 7 times.  On the beach, she touched my shoulder.  She is with me.

It was not until later that day that she showed herself.  I was working at the fair tent for the DeMolay/ Rainbow girls.  All of the sudden, a Monarch flew into the tent and immediately out of the tent.

She is with me.

Visiting your sister’s grave just sucks.  However, there is peace knowing that she is walking this journey called life with me.

Have a magical day,


The Imaginative One’s Confirmation

Last Sunday, the Imaginative One was confirmed at our church.  He was the only 7th grader.  The other two young men that were confirmed are in the 8th grade.

When I was confirmed back in 1988, I was a 7th grader and the other ones were 8th graders.  I think it’s cool that we both had similar confirmations.

From January until last week, Nick was on hiatus from weekend camp trips so that he did not miss very many classes.  He ended up missing two because of an ear infection and then for his cousin’s confirmation. Continue reading “The Imaginative One’s Confirmation”

Chicken Ranch Tacos (Day 7)


Welcome to Day 7 of 31 Days of Slow Cooking.  I’m featuring ranch chicken tacos today.

As you know I’ve been talking about whatever pops into my brain these last few days.  Today is a plea to God.

Dear God,

I know Hurricane Matthew is a given to hit the United States.  I’m just anxious about my friends and family that might be affected by this historic storm.  I’m anxious about the devastation to the area.  Orlando is my “home” and it might be hit.  Charleston, SC is another “home” of mine and it is supposed to be hit.  Please protect those cities and all of the other cities.  Please place your healing hand over the southeast coast.  Please protect over the residents.

In Jesus name,

Please continue onto the next page for the recipe of ranch chicken tacos.