Saturday, January 26, 2013

Traveling Alone

Traveling alone as a single woman can seem challenging, or for some downright impossible. But it doesn't have to be a frightening experience. I recently returned from a trip to Wales in the UK and in the next few posts I thought I would share some ideas about traveling in a foreign country as a woman alone.

First do good research in advance. If you are traveling overseas, check your passport expiration date. If your passport expires while you are abroad you have a very big problem. Check to see if you need a visa well in advance of the trip. If you need a visa for the country you are visiting, it may take some time to secure it.

Check the expiration dates on any credit cards or debit cards you will be using on the trip. If you debit card expires while you are abroad you may not be able to get needed cash. When your departure date gets close let your bank and credit card companies know that you will be in another country. If they see unexpected charges from a foreign country they may suspend use of the card until they can verify your transactions.  This can create problems paying for things and require you to call the company and confirm that the charges were made by you.

Good preparation can make a trip easy and fun.
For the next several posts I will give you tips on traveling alone as well as some highlights from my trip.  If you have tips for traveling alone, please share those with my readers!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

How Long Does Grief Last?

Grief is a very individual thing.  I recently had a widow ask me how long it took me to get over my grief.  So how long does it take to stop grieving for your husband?  It depends on a lot of different things.  Mostly it depends on the person who is grieving.

There is no set time to “finish” grieving.  For many of us there are events that will evoke the grief response for years after the acute grief has passed.  For me it took several years.  For you it may be different.

So what can you do to get through your grief?  First, be patient with yourself.  Grieving is natural and is different in different people.  Second, remember there is no “normal time” for grief to go away.  Don’t be overly concerned about people who tell you they got over their grief much faster.  Third, Grief groups can be beneficial in helping you through your grief.  If you feel you need more assistance seek out a grief counselor who can help your deal with your loss.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Saturday, August 11, 2012


I recently attended an Elder Law conference in Galveston, Texas.  My son and I have gone to the conference for a number of years.  Several years ago Galveston was hit by a major hurricane destroying or damaging many of the islands buildings.  One hotel, that was built on a pier over the water, was completely destroyed and set there damaged for several years.  Two years ago we noticed that the hotel was being torn down and last year the pier was being rebuilt.  This year the new pier was filled with amusement rides.  They had transformed the destruction into a Pleasure Pier, reminiscent of the boardwalk of the past.  The brightly lit roller-coaster and Ferris wheel can be seen for miles.

That is what widows have to do.  Out of the hurricane of destruction that follows the death of a spouse, we must build a new life.  For widows that can mean starting a new job, going back to school, working as a volunteer, or simply finding your passion and acting on it.

Just remember that out of the hurricanes of life each of us can build our own Pleasure Pier (read future here) complete with dazzling light and a joyful new start.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Award

I am excited to announce that my book, Alone and Alive, a practical guide to dealing with the death of your husband, won the 2012 Texas Association of Authors book award for Women’s Issues.
Sunday, August 5, 2012

Setting Goals

When we think about goal setting, we tend to think about business men and young people planning their lives.   But as we accommodate to the changes in our lives we often need to think about setting new goals.  For a new widow those goals may be career goals, financial goals or goals for addressing the changes in your personal life.

I recently read an article by Steve Hendon, business coach, who discussed goal settling related to the Olympic athletes.  He discusses setting challenging and specific goals:

"It's not uncommon for us to believe that goals should be realistic to be attainable, but Edwin Locke, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, and Gary Latham, professor at the Rotman School of Business, at the University of Toronto, suggest otherwise."

 As widows it is important that we set new goals, and many of them will reach beyond our comfort zone.  When your life is irreparably changed by the death of your husband, planning for your future and setting goals is essential.  So reach beyond your comfort zone and set some goals to help you achieve a happy future.
Go to to read Steve’s whole article on goal setting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thoughts on the Fourth of July

When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was check my personal email.  As I went through the 100+ emails that came during the night, I was struck by how many of them were headed, “Happy Independence Day,” “Happy July 4,” or simply “Happy 4th.”  The heading was inevitably followed by, “Save 25% on _______ [anything from boxer shorts to bass boats] during our spectacular Independence Day Sale!” 
That made me wonder if the 4th of July has become nothing more than a day to shop for bargains, cookout, and watch fireworks.  It made me stop a reconsider my on plans for the day, sleeping late, painting my den, and, yes, watching fireworks with Thomas.

But before I started my busy Independence Day, I stopped to remember those who have made it possible for me to live in freedom.  I cherish the freedoms we hold dear, and am grateful for all those down through the ages who have done their part to keep our county strong and free, whether they served in the military, in the legislature, in the judicial system, in our great workforce, or simple kept the home fires burning for those who did.  We all have our part to play to keep America strong and our freedoms alive.
So I will take this moment to remember and thank those in my immediate family who have served our country.

Harvey Shafer - WWII North Africa
Marion Shafer  - WWII South Pacific

Aubrey Shafer - WWII Europe
Earl Franklin Boyanton - WWII
Marion Boyanton - Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world

Ken Galen - Vietnam
Rick Carpenter – Iraq, Afghanistan

Kenny Galan - Iraq

Happy Independence Day!
Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I was talking with a friend the other day about hobbies. She has spent her whole life working and now is disabled and unemployed. She really never had any hobbies. She spent all of her time working, raising children and taking care of the house. Now she reads for recreation, but is becoming board.

When I became a widow I was frantically busy with work and raising a child alone. Now that Thomas is away at college, I have been looking for other interests to fill the time that used to be filled with band concerts, football games and Boy Scouts. I have renewed old interests and may find some new ones.

One of my requirements is that any hobby I chose must have some personal contact. I want to be able to engage in hobbies that bring me in touch with like-minded people. One hobby I have enjoyed for years is entering sweepstakes. Most of that activity is done alone, however I have joined a sweepstakes club that meets once a month. So I am doing something I like and meeting new people.

What kind of hobbies do you enjoy? What kind of hobbies would you like to try and how will that hobby help you deal with your free time as a widow?

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