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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Veteran's Day 2017

VETERAN’S DAY 2017 ~ Presented to Holiday Village Veterans

“I (State your name), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the Officers appointed over me according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice so help me God.”

I know that you all still honor this oath and will until the day you die. I am humbled by that alone.

As we walk through our lives as free Americans, it’s important to remember all who gave a portion of their lives to our country. Those who signed the blank check for their own daily freedoms to become property of the United States of America for a specified period of time. Let’s not forget that the same check included their own lives. Those we honor today did NOT give their lives, but they gave years of living free to ensure that we all could do exactly that. They were in strict control of their military branch and followed and lead others in the commands of their officers and the Commander in Chief. How do you thank someone for that?

I suggest we begin by recognizing that sacrifice of the years given for our freedom and the families who waited for these Veterans to return, alive or not. All are worthy of our thanks and our continued respect. 

Today, I’d ask each of us to shake a hand, buy a cup of coffee, lunch, a beer or simply say thank you for your service. It isn’t much, but many of our Veterans have never personally been thanked. It’s way over due and honestly, even if they were thanked daily, would it be enough? 

I write words I choose and no one says I can’t say this or I can’t say that because each of these Veterans protected my right to speak my mind and publish those thoughts. No-one will tell me I can’t say something because the government wouldn’t approve. Because of these people the government doesn’t have to like my words. You don’t have to worry about what you say or to whom. Freedom of speech is something we take for granted, but if our military hadn’t gone to war to protect us time and time again, imagine who and what we might be as a country today. Our news certainly wouldn’t be what it is today. Thank you one and all who served, who sacrificed and who made our country stronger and safer. And continue to do that today.

You are each special and valued to those of us who gave nothing. We are all humbled by your existence. 

I know that some of you, most of you, were drafted into service, but you went. You served. You made us proud then and still do. You didn’t duck out of your obligation. You wore the uniform with pride and now you wear your history with the same pride and will always be a Marine, a Soldier, a Sailor, an Airman or a Guardsman.

I salute you from my heart and I thank you…each of you…for your excellence and your bravery. I thank God for returning you home to your loved ones and also to us.

God bless the USA and her Veterans.

Jo Heroux

11-11-2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Guns~Control or Complete Freedom to Possess

Las Vegas...after trying to come to terms with my emotions of three (yes, three) hurricanes that hit our citizens and devastated islands we called paradise, aren't we all just overwhelmed? Emotionally and maybe physically, as well, out of gas.

Would a more compassionate and more uniting leader have made any difference? Who knows, we don't have that option. 

But today I am hearing and thinking about gun control, again.

For the umpteenth time in the past few years we are talking about why we have so many more gun deaths than any other civilized country. The only difference seems to be that we have comparatively fewer restrictions and a cultural love of the all mighty gun. And it can be all mighty because the only defense of a gun wielder is another gun wielder. So why do we have this love of the gun? Why don't other countries? 

Why does every gun discussion come down to hunters and home defense?

For me...I was raised in a house with some guns. I was married many years ago to a hunter who owned a few guns. I never liked them. I shot a gun a couple times. I didn't like it. Having said that, I didn't care if they were in my home as long as they were safely stored and used appropriately. They were.

Today however, I do not want one in my home and I do care if anyone who wants one can buy one legally. I do care that many people do not safely store guns in homes where toddlers and teenagers alike could, and now and then do, kill themselves or siblings or friends with one which was stored unloaded and high away where they were thought to be safe. 

I have watched experiments on TV with kids of all ages "finding" a planted gun to see what they will do. Every time the kid will pick up that gun! Sometimes while saying they shouldn't touch it and they need to tell someone. They WILL pick it up. You cannot trust any child of any age to be in close proximity to a gun and not touch it.

I have no issue with hunters owning hunting guns. Give them a background check, put them through a training coarse, nationally register them and their guns, and renew those registrations annually or at least every two years. Just like your car. You can't drive without a training session, a license and a renewable registration.

Handguns are okay, too. Training, background checks and nationally registered with renewals...sure.

I would love to see limits on how many you can own. Like animals, you have to prove you have the right situation to own a bazillion animals. You'll lose them to rescues if you don't. You have to be inspected now and then for these situations and they don't kill people.

I agree that we have a gun culture in the United States, but I'm not sure why except that the NRA created it and our hunters loved it. Guns for guns sake...collectors...sure, but really, how many are there? And how much of this culture developed because Obama was going to confiscate everyone's guns? Or so said the NRA. Again, background, training, registration.

My boys all have guns and think I'm crazy and a flaming liberal. They are entitled to their beliefs. I am entitled to mine.The biggest difference is that my wishes might save a few hundred lives in the next few years and their's will only save them having to get background checks, training courses and registration. It will not change anything else. 

Gun shows? No. Gun stores? Yes. Internet sales? No.

I've never proposed people shouldn't be allowed to own guns. I propose that some people should not have guns and that often we could sort them out BEFORE they kill a group of innocent humans for sport or out of pure hate for someone or something they perceive.

I don't think all shooters are mentally ill. I think many are hare filled for a variety of reasons. I think our liberal gun laws allow them to fully execute their barbaric killing sprees. Remember none of the shooters used illegally purchased guns. That is an important factor.

So...it's a hot topic today. It's been a hot topic before. It'll likely be no topic in a few weeks because Americans have short attention spans. Congress has no interest even though two of them have been shot, seriously wounded with permanent injuries by legally obtained guns in the hands of haters with no value for human life, including their own, apparently.

I guess I just don't understand...empathy is non-existent in much of my country. The ability to be in someone else's pain is beyond the grasp of too many Americans. It just can't always be about "me" at the cost of innocent lives. Can it?

Back to that leadership question above. Maybe if we had that empathetic leader who could see the pain, feel the pain these shooters cause, maybe it might help sway Congress to act on our best interest, once. To find a compromise that would sit well with both sides can't be that difficult. Can it?


Jo




Thursday, May 11, 2017

MOTHER’S DAY 2017



Dear Momma,

This is the third Mother’s Day without you. It should be easier. It should be a day of me celebrating my own motherhood. I am a very blessed mom and raised some incredible humans whom I adore and I know they love and respect me in return. We have a good relationship and I am grateful daily for that. I feel much of that is because I had such a wonderful relationship with you. They learned, perhaps, watching us. 

I will not be with my babies again this year. I will not be in Michigan where I could go to the cemetery and sit by your stone and talk. I will be here with Roomy and our friends and most likely it will again be a painful day. We are going to breakfast at one of favorite ocean eateries, Crabby Joe's, with a group of friends. Few of our friends here have their children nearby. We are not the oddballs here, by any definition. We are living among our peers. My support comes from those who have been without longer than I have. They assure me it gets less odd. Less painful is what I’m hoping for. I am not expecting that for many years, I still miss you and can’t imagine that ever going away.

I do want you to know, I am sure you do, that I feel so blessed to have had you holding me up for nearly 65 years of my life. I know what a gift that was. Losing Dad at such a young age was so difficult, but we had each other from that day. Not the same. But something. I’m not feeling sorry for myself because my parents are both gone. I’m feeling loved because I had them. These particular parents were chosen for me. I am me because they raised me. That’s what I am thinking now. That’s how I deal. Gratitude filtered with heartache. Such great love is paid for with great sorrow. I would change nothing, except maybe to have been able to share Florida with you.

The family lunches on the deck are history. The Sunday’s with you, Roomy and I just hanging out are history. They are both wonderful memories and make me smile to recall. I’ll be doing that Sunday.  Maybe it’s time to change the guest list, but maybe host that cook-out lunch again. 

Anyway Momma, just wanted you to know that I still love you with all that I am and that I am still missing you every minute of my life. Florida would have made you so happy and I think of that every morning while my coffee is brewing, wishing I was brewing two cups.  Happy Heavenly Mother’s Day and please give Dad a hug for me.  ~ Jo




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring In Holiday Village

Our Home 
We've been in this little piece of Paradise now for 15 months.
WOW! Where has this time gone.
Our life here is slow and easy most days. We have flowers and new palm trees to care for, well, Roomy does most of that. We have a few activities that we enjoy and are looking for new ones to start here with our newish friends and neighbors. It's just a good life.

Our closest neighbors, two of them, leave for the summer and the rest of our street dwellers
stay as do we, for most or all of the summer. 

The Social Club stops activities in April. And starts up again in October. I am thinking of trying to keep things going at least a once a month pool party with shuffleboard or cards or something this year.  

We will be in Michigan for the month of July, of course, and I am planning to attend my 50th High School Reunion. Not sure why we are doing this 40 years early, but okay. I'll play along.

I have also started doing the Newsletter for the Community here and think it will help in a few different ways. One way is that I am meeting and getting to know more people because I am trying to collect info to report. The other is that because it's a monthly publication, maybe more people will want to joint in or even suggest new or different activities. Communication hasn't been good here and lots of times things are posted in the mail collection area and that's it. The sign out front will say what is coming this week, but no details, of course. So for new people it's hard to know what some things involve and whether or not inexperience is a problem or whether late joiners would be welcome. So I'm working to clear things up a bit and hoping to encourage more participation next year.

No remodeling plans for this year! Just enjoying what we have and where we are.

Can't believe sometimes that we live so close to the ocean and that it likely will never snow here.
It's our dream come true, no regrets.

Jo

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Serenity ~ Peace

Is the world different today? Is it just me? Does accepting facts comes harder as you age or easier? Letting things go isn't impossible. I've been doing for many years. The Serenity Prayer is my mantra. I live it daily, say it multiple times some days. I DO attempt to change the things I can. I DO accept the things I cannot change and I always ask for wisdom to know the difference. 

Maybe that last part is my hangup right now. Maybe I still think I can change my world. Not the entire thing, but my part of it? Maybe I still believe if I am kinder, less intrusive and more inclusive and make real effort to help someone through something, it will change the world. It will make a difference. Maybe I'm right. Maybe not. 

Does it really matter if I am a nice person? Does it really matter that I did a random act of kindness? It does matter to the people to whom I am nice, I guess, rather than being rude or just ignoring them. Although, maybe their life would be completely the same regardless of my attempts. Does it matter?

Ever thought about how you affect people you genuinely care about? I'm sure you could write a book about how people you love have made your life better, but what would they say about you? How much would their lives change if you just went away? Not died, just went away. Something to consider. Since our move to Florida, I've given this a great deal of thought. If not for FB, I'm sure I would be completely out of touch with many people I used to see or talk with regularly. People I thought would always be important to me. 

On another note...

I feel like many people that I admire are so excited about our new  
President and all he will change and improve while I am fearful of his views on things important to my life and also fearful of some of his choices for cabinet members, DeVos?, yet praying he will lead us upward rather than backward. I am praying his support system has compassion, which he seems to lack; they will have morals, which he also seems to lack. I am praying that I am wrong about so many things concerning him and also trying to accept the things I cannot change. Possibly we actually elected Ivanka and husband and they could have a better platform than the one we are seeing.
Accepting doesn't mean agreeing, it means understanding I cannot remove Trump/Pence from their leadership positions. I am not capable of getting Bernie Sanders in that spot and this is fact. Accepted. Have the wisdom to know the difference. Got that. Now I guess I need to pray for strength to accept my own truth. 

On a daily basis I still try to show kindness where I can. I try to lend a hand where I see or know of a need. I donate to causes I believe need my money to do good for our world. All these are things that show you part of who I am. The other parts of me are not so peaceful and not so tolerant and not so kind. Those parts of me are afraid and I am almost cowering away from what might be my reality. Our future is so much in question right now and I sincerely need peace in my heart. I also pray for that. 

I will continue to pray for the Lord to lead DJT/Pence in the way of the light and best interest of our country. I pray for intelligence to be the word of the day over unprecedented. Presidential is really nothing more than dignity and following protocol. Protocol that has real reasons for being set as the norm. Yes, norm would good, too.

Share your thoughts, if you'd like! As you can see here, my head is full of conflicting and confusing and frightening things. Maybe you have just the message I and many of my friends need to hear.

God bless America.

Jo



Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year 2017

It's fun to wonder what a new year might bring. It's also scary to realize as we age that not everything another trip around the sun brings is going to be awesome. Some things are better left unknown and even unexplored mentally.

Will we be better off on this day next year? Will we be just as healthy? Will we be together? Which of our friends will still be considered part of our life, not just part of our history? Who will we meet this year that will become irreplaceable in our lives?

A new President with a Congress of his party, well, kind of the same party. Not giving DJT a pass on being a Republican, exactly. Most of his ideas are just basically thoughts with no plan to actually implement, but that could change. Or so I am told by his supporters. I can't disagree because his very platform has changed considerably both during and post campaign. Since the election he has softened or adjusted his priorities. Much more middle of the road than the ideas that got the MAGA (make America great again) members excited and drew their votes. But no one seems to care because they won. 

Personally, I plan to just live my life right here in my little corner of the world and try really hard to stay above the water line of financial drowning and maybe even save a little more now that remodeling is over. 

I'm again, going to work on being kinder and less disagreeable. I'm going to work on just taking care of my own business more and other's less. I still hope to be able to lend a hand or two when needed, but just do so without adding my thoughts. Hope my head doesn't explode!

Down the road we go and lucky for us that we are still able to do so. Moving along with reasonable health and mental stability is a gift at this point. I plan to remember that more each year.

Wishing each of you, my friends and readers, a bright and shiny new year in which to grow and prosper and become the best you.

Look out 2017, cuz we are coming to conquer!

Jo

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

AS THIS YEAR DRAWS TO A CLOSE…



Looking back…

We have been in this house a year and 3 weeks. Wow. How is that possible? 
Our Michigan home


We left Michigan in January 2015 and headed to Ormond Beach and our new home and life. So much was left behind so that we could begin to build the life we had talked about nearly 30 years. A home in a warm climate with no real winter. A place where we could walk outside all year long in relative comfort. Where flowers bloom and grass is greenish all year. The ocean being 3 miles away was a bonus. A wonderful and amazing bonus.






The perfect Florida house

The house we loved was a cozy and beautiful home. We loved everything about that house. It was a typical Florida home with stucco and painted white with a lime green trim all around. The inside was three bedrooms and two baths, a Florida room, living, kitchen and dinette and a fabulous 14 x 39 foot screen porch all across the back with a lovely wooded view. It had fan windows in three rooms, which I loved. It was exactly what we dreamed of.

Within a few months we realized although the house was perfect and we did love it, it was not the neighborhood we needed. We needed friends. We had neighbors who spoke and waved,, but weren't interested in being more. No socialization with one exception. A single gal with two adorable pups who became and remain our Florida family. So glad we met and even gladder that we are still friends and within walking distance yet.

We put our perfect house on the market in August and started looking for our new community. The decision was quickly made that we would go to a 55 and older manufactured home community. Now, which one. There are many here in this general area.  

Located directly north and adjacent to our subdivision was the one we chose. We were going to move a few blocks by foot and a mile or so by car since no road connects the two communities.
The exact house would be determined by what was available when our home sold, which I believed would be soon because, well, it’s perfect.



It sold in October and we closed on Dec. 4 and moved into our new manufactured home on Dec. 4, 2015.

Our forever home (?)

Let me say here that I do not recommend moving twice in one year. It’s not fun. It’s not exciting. It’s not a new adventure. It is, however, exhausting and downsizing a THIRD time in a year is emotionally more than one should attempt.  

Leaving Michigan, we sold and gave away nearly half of our furniture. We moved the three bedrooms we would need and all of Momma’s furniture, our dining table and chairs and our recliners and a couch. We moved all of our end tables to sort here if they weren't all needed.

We got rid of nearly everything from the kitchen and baths that wasn’t going to be needed. Sorted towels by matching ability to new house and tossed or gave away the rest. Tossed, sold  or donated about four comforters with matching sheets etc because I didn’t want to use the limited storage for such things which could be replaced, if needed later. Kitchen utensils…from Momma’s house and ours were divided and cut to what I thought was bare essentials. Knick  Knacks were only moved if they held sentimental value to me. Momma was gone just two months and some things could not be left or given. Some things were needed even if they were not to leave a box once the move was completed. 

Downsizing again 8 months later…really tough. Lots of tears. The couches both had to go. Wouldn't work here. The recliners, wouldn’t work here. One, Momma’s recliner was coming and her wooden rockers, two, were coming. We bought a new couch and chair for this living room.
Tables…we had Momma’s on the porch and ours in the dining room.  Momma’s wouldn't fit here, we needed round. Ours came. Two beds came, Momma’s stayed in the house for new owners daughter. This kind of made me happy and sad all at once. 

Tossing, donating until we had everything here that we needed and what we couldn’t easily store, eventually, got donated, sold or tossed. It simply had to be done. It was draining. 

Other than the couch and chair, we bought virtually no furniture for this house until I figured out a way to fit in some shelves for photo albums. I cannot let go of those.

So here we are a year later…in this year we have made new friends and joined many social activities here at the park. We have some truly lovely people around us and we love this house. We put in a brand new kitchen and guest bath and new flooring in the guest room, bath and kitchen. We would still like to put new flooring in the living and bedroom, but nothing urgent.
We added on to our very small back porch and it is now a beautiful 12 x 20 and we practically live out here. We added vinyl windows so the cooler temps don’t send us inside anymore. It’s the best thing we could possibly have done here. This is our forever home, we hope.

We have made two trips back to Michigan this year. We will be spending July there each year as long as we are able to do so. We have a small travel trailer that we store and then park at Holiday Shores. We have time to visit with everyone who wants to make time for us and all the family did so this year; we hope they will again next year. It’s the perfect set up for us and Miggy.

(Oh, Miggy…our beloved Jake, the rat terrier of our hearts for 15.5 years, passed away in September and we adopted a Chihuahua/rat terrier from the humane society. He chose us right away and has held our hearts every since. Miguel Jose Heroux turned three, we think, on Sept 30 this year and we are so very blessed with this crazy puppy love.)

baby Miggy


And while all of this seems overwhelming…okay, it kind of was…it was all worth it. We had our typical Florida house, now we have our forever house, maybe. One never knows what He has in mind for one’s future so I’m keeping my options open.

New porch, tree, Miggy, Brie and Bella with us


Happy New Year all. Peace and love to all and my dear Lord, please keep a hand on our new President’s mouth and a whisper in his ear from time to time. Guide him to a most successful term, for all of our sakes.

Jo