• Cheryl

Happy belated new year!

I love New Year's. I know that, technically, you can "start over" anytime you want, but there's something about a brand-new calendar that inspires me. I love coming up with goals to accomplish over the next 12 months, both personal and professional, and trying to imagine where I might be by then.

One of those goals is "Anything But Routine." As I said in the season three finale episode, I've been considering a number of directions in which I might take the podcast, and have put it on hiatus until spring. This goes for this blog, as well. I want the two to be linked, two halves of a whole, and that hasn't really happened thus far. So until I decide what to do with one, the other is put on hold, as well. There's so much potential for both the podcast and the blog, and I want to make sure they're both the best they can be!

I'll be sure to announce when "Anything But Routine" is back online, and I hope you'll check in and see what's going on, and take the next step of this fantastic journey with me!

Till then, I hope the first few months of 2020 treat you well and give you lots of inspiration to achieve your goals for this new year!

Have a great weekend!


See you in a few months!

  • Cheryl

Christmas is only a few days away now, and I have enjoyed this holiday season more than I have in years! I love all the farmhouse decorations and listening to classic Christmas carols in the living room each evening, and I’m even enjoying the snow we’ve been getting lately - the last few years, winter hasn’t arrived until well after New Year’s, so having a white Christmas is adding to my festive mood. The presents are all wrapped and waiting under the tree, and the Christmas cookies are all baked as of Wednesday. It’s going to be hard when the holidays are over and “real life” returns - but at least I still have two more weeks!

However, as fortunate as so many of us are to be able to enjoy all the trappings of the Christmas season, we need to remember that there are also so many who can’t enjoy “real life,” much less Christmas, because they simply don’t have enough to eat. It’s easy to get caught up in the lights and the gifts and the holiday cheer and forget that this isn’t the norm for everyone.

There is still time to join in on Anything But Routine’s “Helping For The Holidays” mission and donate to the Franklin Street United Methodist Church Food Pantry in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. They always have plenty of people to feed year-round, but it’s especially crucial this time of year. So if you haven’t already, please consider making a donation for Christmas. You don’t have to live in the area in order to help - financial donations are used to purchase what food needs the area food bank can’t provide. If you’d like to make a financial donation, you may send a check, made out to United Methodist Human Services, with “food pantry” noted on the memo line. The mailing address is: United Methodist Human Services, Franklin Street United Methodist Church, 510 Locust Street, Johnstown, PA, 15901.

If you do live locally and you’d like to donate food or other supplies, you may take your donation to the Franklin Street church between 9:00am - noon, Monday through Thursday. The pantry is open each Tuesday morning, 9:30-11:30.

Christmas is a time for giving. Let’s embrace the spirit and give this basic necessity to others so they can better enjoy the season. And if you have indeed made a donation, thank you so much!

I wish you all a very happy holiday season - see you in 2020!


Help to make these racks as full as possible!

  • Cheryl

Today I leave for Arlington, Virginia, as I have on this weekend almost every year for the last ten years. Tomorrow morning, my family and I will bundle up in the warmest layers we can find and join thousands of other volunteers in helping to place more than 200,000 Christmas wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers, veterans, and their loved ones buried at Arlington National Cemetery, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.

This week's "Anything But Routine" episode talked about Wreaths Across America Day - I hope you've had a chance during this busy holiday lead-up to take a few minutes and listen. Even better, I hope you're able to take a break from holiday preparations and join in tomorrow morning at a military cemetery near you that's participating in this event - you can find the full listing of participating cemeteries at

Last year, my family and I participated in the first Wreaths Across America Day at Grandview Cemetery, in my hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It was wonderful, and that may be where we end up helping out in years to come. But there's something about Arlington I can't put into words. And not just Arlington itself, but Arlington after the volunteers have completed their task, and whichever way you turn, as far as you can see, are white tombstones with cheery live bough Christmas wreaths and red bows, no matter where you look, is beautiful, and touching, and humbling. Not to mention heart wrenching in the newer sections, where family members themselves decorate the fresh graves of soldiers lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places. Photos, and handwritten cards, and mementoes, and personal Christmas trees and ornaments - so many things depicting the collective grief of families celebrating the holidays one member short, and in some cases more than one. I always wind up crying when I walk through those rows. It makes being able to lay wreaths at the graves of those who no longer have family to visit and do it themselves that much more meaningful.

I'm glad we're able to make it back to Arlington this year. It's one of my favorite family traditions, and it feels so good to be able to do something special for those who did so much more that place a wreath somewhere for us.

If you're participating in Wreaths Across America Day tomorrow, or if you have in the past, leave a comment down below and let me know - I'd love to hear about your experience.

Have a great weekend!


Just a fraction of the thousands of volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery on Wreaths Across America Day

One of the many trucks specially painted and donated by trucking companies to transport the wreaths from Maine to Arlington