Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Sometimes you need a crow bar

Rainbow over East Glacier, Montana


(photo: Behind us or ahead, the right ‘tools’ help us find perspective))

There is no greater horror to a middle-aged woman than swimsuit shopping. My own collection of swimsuits having seen much better days, I mustered the courage to venture out to see what was left on the sale racks.

My arm was loaded with at least a dozen choices as I headed to the too-small dreaded dressing room and it’s panic inducing florescent lights. If even one of the suits sorta kinda fit, it would be a miraculous day.

I remembered the 70s – my favorite decade – when a swimsuit consisted of a few scraps of fabric and a couple of strings. Now, struggling to yank these behemoths into position caused my wrist tendonitis to flare up. And then I heard it. First the whimpering sounds and then the cries for help from the adjoining dressing room. At first I thought I was imagining things, but then I heard it again.

“honey?….. HONey?…… DAN!!!!!…..” The cries became louder and more desperate. Then “Dan” answered. “What do you want?”

“Can you come in here please? I need your help!”

“You want me to come in to the ladies dressing room!?” There was panic in his voice.

“DAN! I’m stuck in this swimsuit! I need you to help me get out of it!”

I slammed my hand over my mouth so hard I cut my lip on my tooth.

As luck would have it, while heading out to the register I ran into “Dan” and his wife. She was a very lovely lady, about the same age and size as me. We locked eyes and immediately felt a sisterhood.

“Who the HELL sizes these things?” she asked.

“I know. I had to go up a size on a few of them, too.”

“Yeah. But at least you didn’t get stuck.”

Good thing. Gary was home mowing the lawn and I would have felt kinda funny asking “Dan” for help.

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Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Our parents

Nature path in Summer


As teenagers we did everything we could to break free of our parents. Now we do what we can to hang on for as long as we can.

Most of us who still have our parents are dealing with the emotions of seeing declining health and the frailties that come with old age.

Just this week, I came home from visiting with a friend whose father is now a dialysis patient, while her mother is battling Parkinson’s. When I sat down to catch up on some social media, I discovered an old friend’s father had passed. Yesterday, I spent the day transporting my parents to a medical facility. In middle age, hospitals, nursing homes and funerals become all too familiar to us.

Somewhere in our crammed schedules and busy lives, we need to find the time. Some things really can’t wait until another day.

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Guest Blogger Lorie Sheffer: Wonders to behold

Life size Simpson's character in car
Looking in rear view mirror at stoplight is usually not funny


It’s amazing how many things there are to see, if only we put down the distractions.

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Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Worms

Black Swallowtail caterpillar
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar (photo: Lorie Sheffer)


It was a logical question. Why do I always plant fennel in a few of the pots on my deck? I’ve made some wonderful salads with thinly sliced fennel bulbs and blood orange, but for the most part I’m not a fan of the flavor. And yet every year without fail, I have pots of fennel, and by early July they have been gnawed back down to the ground.

The first year I planted fennel I noticed the plants were being eaten at an alarming rate. They were covered in what appeared to be dried bird droppings, but on closer inspection turned out to be tiny bugs of some sort. Could have sprayed them, but chose to leave them. The bugs rapidly grew, in direct correlation to the shrinking of the gnawed fennel, into amazing looking neon green, bright yellow and black worms. Intrigued, I took a photo and then headed in to the computer for a little research. In a short time I had my answer to what these creatures were, and several weeks later I was treated to the beautiful finale of their life cycle, the black swallowtail butterfly. They were everywhere!

Lessons learned: If you want beauty in your life, then you have to provide an incentive. At first glance something may look like a mar on what you are trying to achieve, but if you just wait it out the results can be way better than your original vision. Today’s pest may be tomorrow’s treasure.

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Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: The end result

Philly public transportation
Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Love (photo: Lorie Sheffer)


Sometimes, maybe the reason we don’t try isn’t because we fear failure. Maybe the reason we don’t try is because we fear success.