Do you ever wonder how you keep all the balls up in the air? Lately it seems an invisible hand is silently inserting another ball. Not just balls to juggle, but glass balls. I am terrified I’m going to drop one.

We are heading down the home stretch at breakneck speed towards retirement. Dave officially retires March 31 after 25+ years in the Army. I will no longer be an Army wife. We will no longer get a paycheck. My heart races just typing that. So many of the benefits we counted on continuing past our military service have been cut, or are being cut. That it is a very scary world to live in. The uncertainty overwhelms me if I take time to think. My current mantra is “Don’t think. Just do.”  That doing is mostly paperwork. Boxes full of paperwork.

The kids are understandably nervous nellies. We don’t know what the future holds. Several organizations here in Germany have recommended Dave for a job, so we can stay. So Tess can finish out her high school in one place. So Dane can remain German as long as possible. So Cole can stay home till he is ready to leave. But no real job offers have hit the table, and the clock is spinning.

I think it is affecting Cole more than anyone. He is 19. He is a moose. He needs reassurance every day: “Mom? What will happen to me?”

And I tell him: “You will go where we go.”

It doesn’t seem to be enough, and his hugs are crushing me. He doesn’t know his own strength. He is like a puppy, grown into a big, huge mountain dog (my friend has one of these), still climbing into my lap at thunder storms and scary noises.  Though his scary noises are rain, ice & fog.  The last three nights we’ve had ice, then rain, then fog. Each night he was out in his very own, new-to-him car, and he couldn’t drive home: “Mom? Please come get me?”

I am beyond proud that he knows his limit and doesn’t get behind the wheel. I am thrilled he calls me to get him and bring him home safe. At the same time, the late night jaunts, combined with the early mornings with Tess, are pushing me to the edge of big, deep, hole and I’m scrambling to stay out of it.

Monday my cousins arrived, with two big, amazing pie’s in hand. I love pie. I love my cousin. On Tuesday their friends arrived, and we had a couple of much needed beers & laughter. This morning they left for a nice, long ski vacation and it was all I could do not to crawl in the trunk and play castaway. But in the snow, not a deserted island.

The only thing not made of glass, the only ball I am juggling that seems in stable orbit, is my baby, our store, The Studio. I can only thank my amazing Admin Team and Designers for supporting me and loving me during this turbulent time. They are the rock I lean on. Sometimes work is exactly what I need.

Actually, what I really needed today was a gorgeous, stunning, hand-crafted, hand-written card from Valentina. The post-woman just knocked and delivered a package to my door. I was already super excited to get the package, but then, when I opened it to photograph the paintings inside, out fell The Card. It isn’t just the time she spent making this for me, but the words inside are beautiful. Just what I needed. It made me cry, but in a very good way. It is the strength & love I needed to keep going. To keep juggling.


Hand-made by Valentina, all MINE!

A package all the way from Italy to Germany ❤


Hand-drawn by Valentina for The Dreamer: Drawing 01


Hand-drawn by Valentina for The Dreamer: Drawing 02


Hand-drawn by Valentina for The Dreamer: Drawing 03

Our Buy Virtual! Win Tangible! Contest is rapidly coming to a close.  The last day to enter is Friday, February 03, 2017 at midnight (EST, UTC-5). I will draw entries, one per any purchase in Valentina’s store, on Saturday morning and announce them in the Saturday, February 04, 2017 newsletter!

Read more here:


Buy Virtual! Win Tangible! Only at The Studio!