Living Swell® creator Peggy Hall has positively inspired thousands of people just like you to experience an ocean of bright shiny health and happiness by simplifying the ins and outs of what it takes to be naturally healthy and radiant.

Peggy is a prolific writer, featured health expert for the ABC Radio Network, wellness expert for America Now television show, yoga instructor, healthy eating expert and creator of her own line of health and beauty products including her best-selling Youth Serum for firm, radiant skin, and Fat-Burning Fiber for regularity and weight-loss.

She is also an avid surfer, creator of the best-selling Yoga for Surfers® instructional DVD series, and the pioneer of the global surf + yoga movement.

Peggy is actively involved in animal rescue, is the founder of and lives in sunny Southern California with her husband, four cats and a dog.

Stress Busters
MiracleCleanse Products
Detox/Yoga Retreat
Wellness Products Thank You
Yoga -Surf Travel Info
Women on Waves Retreat
Detox Thank You
Three Day Detox Diet
52 Weeks of Weight Loss thank you
Wellness Consultation
Quit Fighting with Food final
Quit Fighting with Food Sales
Tips for Perfect Posture
Wellness Tips Thank You
FREE Wellness Tips
Retreat Thank You
52 weeks success
WOW Thank you
Sleep Slim
special gifts
general thank you
Three Day Detox
Dickie Smeets
Terms & Conditions
Refund Policy
Privacy Policy
Peggy Hall's Youth Serum

Gifts of Grief

It's been two years exactly since my mom passed away.

The reason I'm sharing this with you today is because it's possible that in the past two years you, too, have suffered some sort of loss --

...and possibly (hopefully) you have benefited from the gifts of grief.

Gifts of Grief?

A strange title, I realize it may be.

But there are gifts to be found, if we look for them.

When my mom died (peacefully, yet unexpectedly) my world crumbled in a way that was shocking to me.

Having previously lost my Dad (who was married to my mom for 50 years), and a sister (before she reached the age of 20) and my only brother (at 33, he should have been riding his golden wave)...

I was something of an expert at love & loss.

I knew that in time, precious treasured memories would lift me, would rescue me, like a lifeboat for the soul.

I knew that my life would go on -- different, changed, but go on it would.

I also knew that my heart would expand to accommodate the new pain and sadness, yet joy and hope would also blossom over time, and actually exist at the same time, in the same place.

But for some reason, the loss of my mom felt like the final blow to an already fragile heart that finally shattered under the compilation of so much loss.

Probably because in my other losses, mom was there to comfort me...

But not this time.

I don't share this in hopes of getting pity or comfort (though words of kindness from so many have been a healing balm in my darkest days)

...but I share in hopes of helping you, if grief has darkened your door.

Maybe you've lost a job, a way of living -- even a place to live.

Maybe you had to say goodbye to a precious pet or a treasured friend...

Maybe just the passing of time has reminded you that indeed, time is passing, and we don't live forever.

My mom told me, on her very last day, to focus on the positive, to look for the beauty.

I've really taken that to heart.

In fact, I started to count my blessings, instead of my losses.

And -- to grow from grief, instead of being buried under it.

My Gifts of Grief include:

 - the ability to comfort others, knowing the pain and sorrow of loss

 - the desire to let go of physical "stuff", focus on relationships and experiences instead

 - the pure joy of the simplest things, like a hot cup of coffee, fresh sheets on the bed, breathing in the aroma of night-blooming flowers...

 - no more procrastination, but renewed focus to get things done

 - my strengthened faith (many "Heavenly Hugs" have come at just the right time)

 - the ability to focus on what's important to me, without approval or permission from others

When I asked a dear friend who was no stranger to loss (not only are her mom and dad gone, but her brother and her husband) how she found the courage to face each day, she said:

1. Help someone else who is hurting
2. Have someone to love and be loved by (human or animal)
3. Have something to look forward to

This year, I'm looking forward to a Hawaiian vacation, then leading my yoga teacher training, and then relaxing and healing at my Oct. Women's Wellness Retreat in Desert Hot Springs.

Have you experienced the Gifts of Grief? I'd love to know.

Until then, please know my hope and prayer is that you'll find brighter days ahead, no matter where you are on this glorious adventure called Life.


Saying Goodbye to Gypsy

There is never a good time to say goodbye to a beloved pet. 

Daddy's little princess Gypsy, on her morning art tour in healthier times

An obvious statement, I know...

But I just got word from our vet that our precious princess little Gypsy (Daddy's girl and the sweetest, most delicate of our whole furry family) has a deadly cancer of the mouth with a very short time left.

How to describe the grief and dread of this painful loss to come?

How to describe the deep soul love between a human and animal?

No amount of pain or sorrow could even match the pure love, devotion and joy shared at the deepest soul level that doesn't even require words.

Hubby told me that he believes the deep soul bond between a human and an animal is ordained by God.

After all, God made animals before He made Eve! Man's first relationship with animals was perfect, whole and complete.

And every time we cuddle our kitty-cats, romp with our dogs or simply share a soul-to-soul moment that requires no words or actions at all, we experience a deep, soul-stirring connection that even death cannot sever.

Some of you know the anguish of anticipating an impending death.

I wish I didn't but I do.

I also know that no matter how deep the grief, every tear is worth it.

Over the years I've had my life enriched beyond measure by my furry friends...Taffy, Sophie, Scruffy, Bo, Keona, Shebekia (my dearest, deepest bond ever) Jessie, Hooney, Peanut...and my current furry family including Jasper, Gypsy, Elsie, Itty-Bitty and Teddy.

Now, hubby and I must face the the sad, sad heartbreaking responsibility of easing the transition of our beloved Gypsy fromher Earthly-bound physical life into her next adventure.

Writing these words makes it seem so clean, so practical, so right and correct -- while my heart is lurching and heaving and breaking into a million pieces.

Not another loss, please no...I cry and wail and heave and sob -- especially not of our precious Princess Gypsy, Daddy's little girl, the sweetest and most fuss-free -- and up until the diagnosis the horrid deadly cancer -- the healthiest and sprightly of all our brood.

I hear you, yes I do -- "It's for the best" "She's had a great life" "She'll be out of pain" "She'll be at peace".

Yes I know, but I don't want to feel better right now.

I want to feel the full weight of my loss, my pain, my sadness, my grief.

It's the least I could do, feel, experience as a tribute to her sweet, precious life, from the moment we saw her at the cat rescue, with her tiny kitten brothers and sisters, so composed, so intelligent, so curious and adorable.

Daddy picked her up, and from that moment on it was a soul bond never to be broken. Gypsy put her paws around Daddy's neck and hugged him, heart to heart, so tiny, so precious, so ours.

And she has been a perfect, trouble-free, precious princess ever since.

How to explain the loss we'll feel -- especially Daddy, when little Gypsy is no longer curled up at his side all night long, his arm across her lithe, silky body, as she completely surrenders in trust and comfort, knowing she is safe, loved, treasured, protected and cherished.

No more art tours in the morning, when cradled in Daddy's arms, Gypsy inspects with ceaseless interest the various paintings that they looked at the morning before. The colors! The light! Being carried and cradled by Daddy!

Such simple bliss brought great joy to us all.

Some people who have never know the deep soul bond of a precious pet might brush it off as "it's just a cat."

But there is no such thing as "just a cat."

Having had dogs my entire life and swearing I could never survive the loss of another one, I agreed to get cats, so I wouldn't lose my heart so completely. After all, cats are independent, right? I won't get as attached to them, right?

I was so, so wrong.

There was no way I could protect my heart from further loss.

You see, my kitty-cats curled up right inside my heart and will take an unreplaceable piece of my heart when they go. 

But -- every single tear is worth it. Every. single. tear.

The reason I'm writing this to you today is because we have to make the heart-wrenching decision to ease our Gypsy's transition.

In other words, euthanasia.

Having had to put other pets "to sleep" in years past, and knowing it was the right and honorable thing to do, nonetheless in our grief and despair, anxiety can cloud our decision-making and unfortunately create more fear and pain and suffering for our precious pets.

So, in my research to prepare for this heart-breaking time, I came across some extremely valuable resources that I want to share with you in case you are or will be facing this very difficult decision of having to say good bye to your beloved pet.

Here is a  wonderful website, Home Pet Euthanasia, which answers questions such as...

 "It it time?" (You might be surprised as I was that it's not always what you think)

 "Should other pets be present?" (yes, we will give our other kitties and Teddy a chance to say goodbye)  and many many more helpful resources.

A few observations of mine, supported by veterinarians and counselors, include:

- It's better to euthanize earlier rather than later. In other words, don't wait until the animal is literally at death's door before easing her suffering. Let your pet enjoy a high quality of life and don't wait until "they tell you" it's time, which in most cases causes much more suffering that could be avoided.

There are many reasons why to compassionately euthanize earlier rather than later:

 - Animals are masters are hiding pain and often will not cry or show physical pain.

Often, they are in more pain that we an imagine. Most people who have had to put a precious pet to sleep in the past decide to euthanize earlier the next time, realizing they had prolonged their pet's suffering in an attempt to delay their own loss and grief.

-When animals are so sick that they become emaciated, it is much harder to administer the anesthesia (the drug which is used for euthanasia) and often the procedure is more painful for the animal because it is harder to locate the veins due to dehydration and/or aging.

 - The more pain an animal is in, the more fear and anxiety they are experiencing. And even if there is not a great deal of pain the terror of something not being quite right is extremely distressing and agonizing.

In fact, some experts believe the terror and anxiety our pets experience when they are close to dying
causes far greater suffering than physical pain.

I never realized that before, but I'm so glad I understand it now so I won't be the cause of undue suffering.

Please read this: Understanding Pet Pain 

 - If your pet has a terminal disease and the treatments are causing a great deal of stress. For example, my Shebekia had cancer and could not tolerate the radiation treatments, so I stopped after the first one. Taking her to the treatment center and the fear and nausea it caused her was not worth it in my opinion to continue since she was terminal and it only interfered with the little time she had left, which she much preferred to spend sitting on the patio in the sunshine.

- Often you hear of making sure the pet is experiencing a good "quality of life". Here is a way to help you understand exactly what that means and helpful ways to measure it: Quality of Life

- Home hospice pet care is an emerging option and your precious companion can still get comfort care if the time is not yet to say goodbye. Hydration, nutrition, pain medication etc can be administered.

- If at all possible, have home pet euthanasia so your precious companion can pass in the comfort and peace of his own surroundings. Ask your vet for recommendations, do a google search or ask trusted friends.

- Prepare for the event carefully so it will be as compassionate and caring as possible. You own distress and carryong on ay upset your pet even more as they sense the emotional crisis.

- Finally, it's normal to struggle with feeling such as "I don't want to play God" and "I just want my pet to die in her sleep".

Once we take on the responsibility for a pet, it is up to us to ensure their well-being from start to finish. In fact, it is not just our responsibility and duty but our HONOR to do so. Who else should be charged with this essential task of ensuring a peaceful and dignified end of life?

Please take a look here for answers to these issues: Am I playing God?

As to wishing for a "natural death" you might be surprised, as I was, what I learned here and how in most cases, euthanasia is the preferred option to what often is more more painful event filled with anguish and suffering. Natural Death vs Euthanasia

Finally, it is perfectly natural to grieve deeply the loss of your beloved companion. Fortunately these days there are many pet loss therapy groups available which help support healing as you mourn the loss of your precious loved one.

This is the day no pet owner wants to face. I'm so very sorry if this is the case for you as it is for me and hubby and our little sweet princess Gypsy. Please know that our hearts and prayers go with you and we share in your sorrow of losing your precious baby.

Please share your own story below in the comments.

with love and hugs,


P.S> Our pets depend on us to ease their transition and prevent suffering. As hard as it is on us to let our precious pets go, it is much much harder on them to suffer.

Deciding on pet euthanasia can be one of the most heart-wrenching and soul-agony decisions we have to make. Please know that m yheart iw with you in your sorrow.

Compassionate, nationwide in-home pet euthanasia: Lap of Love 


Good-bye My Friend

If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don’t let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You’d not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.

Take me where my need they’ll tend,
And please stay with me til the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.

Please do not grieve--it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We’ve been so close, we two, these years;
Don’t let your heart hold back its tears.






On Angel's Wings...

I want to tell you what happened on the final day at my mom's house.

But first, (it will all make sense shortly) one of my favorite poems is this:

I have it taped to my computer so I see it constantly, letting it seep deep down as unvarnished Truth to keep my soul afloat when waves of grief pull me under.

Sometimes it seems all too much -- growing up in a family of six, now there are only two members of my original family: me and my sister. I imagine my Mom and Dad, sister and brother (and brother-in-law) enjoying a heavenly feast with assorted aunts and uncles and cousins and precious pets who have all passed on. Isn't that what is promised?

Loving so deeply comes with the price of pain and sorrow, something I learned at a very early age when my sister Cathy passed away suddenly as a teenager. I learned what the words "congenital" and "endocarditis" meant, and I learned that life was fragile and fleeting, and I learned that one day you could be camping on vacation and the next day be wailing at the morgue. A shattered world and shattered heart takes a lot of time to put back together, and it is never ever the same.

I also learned that sorrow can exist with joy, in the same place and at the same time. Laughter and tears and joy and loss get all mixed up together, creating a poignant, pain-drenched yet hopeful outlook that one day the tidal waves of grief will recede and the sun will shine again. 

And often right when we need it the most, help and healing come from the most unexpected places. I have filled pages of my notebooks with "signs and wonders" of uncanny events and circumstances and discoveries that defy being classified as mere coincidences. These heavenly hugs pull me back from the brink of despair and keep me afloat for another breath, as I try to keep my eyes above the waves, focused on Hope.

Now, on to the story, which is this:

Today was the last day at my mom's house (my childhood home). I took a final load of items to the Light House thrift shop, and left a key for the new owners along with a card sending them best wishes for making as many happy memories as we did in the 40 years we lived there.

I took one last look around the backyard, and bent down to turn over a ceramic planter to see if it was one my brother had made.

Out dropped this pair of angels wings! 

I can only say I was guided there by Spirit, as I never ever had looked in that planter in all the years it had been half-buried in the garden. (You can see it in the backgroud.) 

I certainly didn't know anything was in it, and I had never seen those angel's wings before.

Thank you Lord for the heavenly hug and a beautiful send off to this beautiful home. What has been a very painful event now will be remembered with a smile in my heart.

An added blessing to this story is that I had just come across a photo of my Mom standing in that very spot when the house was just getting finished being built. Here she is, waving with delight in the backyard of her dream home in Dana Point.

Where she is standing is the exact spot where the blue ceramic planter was buried, housing the angel's wings that came to me right on the day when I needed them most.

When I shared this story with my childhood friend, she said, "Hang on to the wings of memories, shall they soar forever in your heart!"


To add a final coda to this story, after I got home and shared this with hubby David, I picked up one of the countless boxes I have been sorting through. I came across this card from my Mom. 

I especially like the line, "I asked Him to send treasures..."




Celebrating the Amazing Life of Dickie Smeets

Mom was 86 years old in this picture, taken in her front yard in 2014

Many of you had the great fortune to know my mom Dickie.

I'm very sorry to let you know that my mom passed away peacefully the morning of July 17, 2015 at the age of 87.

She'd probably be upset at the fact that I divulged her age, as she never would tell people how old she was. She used to say, "Live your life, not your age." 

My mom viewed life as a grand adventure and never wanted to be left out of anything.

She lived life with gusto.*

When your mom is wrapped up in your daily life like mine was, the loss seems unbearable. The grief comes in waves -- sometimes I'm drowning and other times I can just keep my head above water.

I know the sun will shine again but for now my heart has cracked open and there is a raging storm inside... Pain and sorrow unlike any I have experienced before. Words are inadequate.

Mom and I spent our days intertwined...she'd join me for my yoga classes 3-5 days a week, then go for water aerobics, swim laps in my pool -- this, in between her book club, college classes, field trips, bird watching, art classes, card games, concerts, frequent travel and so much more.

How much fun we'd have doing the daily things like running errands together, going to the bank, post office, grocery store, sharing the coupons and cartoons and recipes she'd cut out for me from the newspaper, discussing current events (she was more current on pop culture than I was) browsing through clothing catalogs and travel brochures, sharing library books.

Reading was one of her great passions. She'd devour several books at once, reading widely and always being on the lookout for new and different authors. The library was her second home, and she was on a first-name basis with the librarians.

In addition to attending a variety of college classes, Mom loved to keep her mind active with word games, board games and brain teasers. Mom would try to outsmart the contestants on Jeopardy and oh how she wanted to go on Wheel of Fortune and win big! She also loved the horse races and the thrill of the cheering crowds. In her earlier years when Dad was alive, they were championship bowlers and loved the social aspect of it as well.

My mom's friends and extended family meant the world to her. She was a prolific letter and card writer and would complain that email was too removed, too detached and too impersonal. She saved all those cards and letters she got over the years and would have fun sharing them with us in recent years, and she was right! You could get the emotion and tone through someone's handwriting much more than through an email.

Mom intentionally cultivated a wide variety of friends, of different ages and backgrounds. She knew the value of staying socially active as she got older...and she always tried new things, new classes, new books, new places to visit. She was open minded and taught us the value of looking at all sides of an issue.

Travel was a huge passion of my mom's. She traveled all over the world with my dad, and sometimes with us, exploring China and Russia (back when it was difficult for Americans to get in) all of Western and Eastern Europe, Turkey, Morocco, all of South America, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji (her favorite). She traveled many times to Canada, Mexico, Hawaii -- and every state in the US except Delaware.

Once, while in Russia when it was still very much a police state, Mom was setting out on her own, camera in hand to explore the city a bit before the tour group was up and running. She accidentally wandered down the wrong staircase in the government hotel and ended up in the kitchen, open-mouthed and wide-eyed as the hotel employees stopped in their tracks and eyed her suspiciously. She stammered out something no one could understand, turned around several times and finally slipped away, biting her lip to keep from laughing out loud. Adventure was Dickie's middle name.

On many weekends, Mom would drive herself 100 miles to visit my sister Nancy to watch her theater performances, horse competitions, attend concerts and art shows and flower shows and explore new cafes and restaurants.

But she always loved coming home to her beloved Dana Point and on a daily basis would say how grateful and blessed she was to live in such a gorgeous place. She knew every inch of the city and loved taking visiting family and friends to the Dana Point Harbor and out for beach cookouts...which was her very favorite thing to do in the whole world. She loved the beach and the water more than anything.

Most recently Mom, Nancy and I spent two weeks in Paris, trudging up and down the Metro steps, exploring the city on foot, with mom dancing until 3:00 am, making fast friends with taxi drivers, restaurant servers and fellow Parisiennes.

She brought LIFE and LIGHT with her wherever she went.

This was a smart, vibrant woman who lived independently, driving herself everywhere, no eye glasses, no hearing aid, no medications, no nothing other than a complete fascination with life, opening to each experience and -- as a friend put it -- bringing a ray of sunshine with her everywhere she went.

My mom was an emergency room nurse for 40 years (she completed nursing school at Charity Hospital in New Orleans) and was as practical as she was fun-loving...and ahead of her time! She wanted to be a brain surgeon, but back in the 1940's it was very difficult for women to be admitted to medical school. (In fact, the first female neurosurgeon did not appear until 1966.)

What most people did not know about my mom was the amount of COURAGE it took for her to life her life with such enthusiasm and engagement.

It would have been far easier for her to just stay under the covers and hold back from life.

You see, my mom was too well acquainted with grief from her own personal losses (her husband/my Dad died in 2005; she also lost two adult children/my brother and sister; and a deeply-loved son-in-law/my sister's husband) she used her "will of iron" as she called it, to rise above self-pity and to keep going.

She was known as the Mighty Oak.

"Not my will but Thy will be done" was another of her sayings, and her strong faith kept her rooted and grounded in all the ups and downs in life.

She always looked to God for her strength and sought out beauty in simple things like flowers, music, and nature. She had a way of trying to put aside the sad memories and look forward instead.

One afternoon just days before she passed, Mom and I were in her backyard, listening to the birds and smelling the sea air when a few warm, soft, fat plops of rain dropped down. Mom sighed and said..."Life is Beautiful." I will remember that moment forever.

When moments of regret creep in I try to focus on the totality of her life instead of individual instances when I wish I would have done things  differently. Been more patient. More understanding. Less rushed. Less selfish.

But every life and every relationship has its ups and downs and ins and outs. Just because you have friction from time to time doesn't diminish the totality of the love.

Again that word "love" is so inadequate to express the deep, undying emotion that is in my heart and soul, my breath and blood and bones.

Dickie was a force of nature, a strong, opinionated woman who loved to get into spirited discussions. She did not sugar-coat things and you knew exactly where you stood with her. A perfectionist of sorts, she liked to be in control and to be right. (Hmmm...sounds like she passed those traits down to me!) I definitely inherited her passion for healthy living.

A few weeks before Mom passed away, my sister Nancy and I had a sense that her life was coming to its earthly end. She was in no pain, but bit by bit her body starting to wear out, especially her ability to swallow and eat. Not one to go to the doctor, Mom nonetheless went to different specialists to see what could be done. In the midst of it all, she kept her “focus on the positive” and lived each day fully, joyfully.

In fact, the last few weeks of her life were so full of glorious adventures and love and laughter – it was a perfect ending to her extraordinary life.

On what was to be her final day on earth, we went to the beach, enjoyed ice cream (mint gelato was her current fave) and went for a swim in my pool, which was her normal routine. She did her laps, did her yoga stretches and smiled from the inside out with a peaceful, ethereal glow.

There was nothing I could do to stop the sun from setting, other than to be fully present, connect with her heart and heart and soul to soul, breathing in her very essence to bond it to mine forever.

That evening she opened some birthday cards she had set aside to savor, and we laughed out loud over the funny cards, and shared a few tears over the sentimental ones. Our hearts were overflowing with the love of family and friends, the true treasures of life.

Mom (still in her bathing suit from earlier that day) headed into the kitchen to make up a batch of banana daiquiris, which had been a favorite treat she hadn't had in a long time. They didn't taste quite right, so we moved onto making frozen margaritas in my dad's honor, as those were his signature drink.

My sister Nancy walked in the door seeing mom there in her bathing suit, telling Nance, “I want to have a party!” And we did. A farewell party of sorts, though we didn't realize it at the time.

God orchestrated a perfect ending, just as mom would have wanted it...with no medical intervention, no suffering, no lingering.

My amazing mom passed away on July 17, 2015, experiencing a peaceful, natural death, with me and my sister at her side (actually sharing the same bed, holding hands with her.)

At one point, as she was relaxed and drowsy, Mom took our hands in hers and raised her arms skyward, in a "V for Victory" gesture. She did that two or three times.

My sister Nance and I looked at each other with eyes wide, not sure exactly what was to come.

...Some time later, Mom passed onto her new life exactly as she would have wanted to, on her terms and in her own way. We saw her take her last, quiet, peaceful breath before she was reunited with her loved ones forever.

Earlier that day we had all gone to the beach and then mom swam laps in my pool, which was her normal routine. 

Water and sunshine and fresh air were her favorite elements (along with her flowers and classical music) -- she told me they "opened her soul".

Her soul opened fully to her new eternal life, with me and my sister by her side. It was simply her time to return to God.

Dickie was a shining example of living life PRESENT each day, with courage and curiosity, completely engaged and participating in this precious gift of Life.

I actually thought she might outlive us all.

"Focus on the positive" was Mom's motto, and I will honor her by trying to do the same.

Many people told me I'm so strong...but I don't feel like that right now. Instead, I feel like a lost little girl who just wants her mommy.

I know it will get better.

With God's grace, the comfort of beautiful memories and caring friends, and realizing all the blessings of knowing this incredible lady, my mom Dickie.

with deep love,
~ Peggy (Smeets) Hall

* Back in the day, home telephones used "party lines" where more than one household shared the same phone number.  My mom and her sisters suspected that their neighbor friend Mary Ann was listening in on their phone calls, so they devised a way to catch her in the act by saying they were going to the movies "with gusto" and they went out dancing "with gusto"...and sure enough, Mary Ann asked, "Who is Gusto? I want to meet him too."

Now whenever I hear someone talk about doing things with gusto, I get a warm feeling in my heart and feel like it is an embrace from my mom, with a wink of her eye and wrinkle of her nose, like she always used to do when we would share a joke that just the two of us understood.


Mom was an emergency room for 40+ years, helping to save countless lives and comfort many

Born in Joliet, IL as "Bernice Elizabeth Ginejko"...known to all as Dickie Smeets

Dad and Mom after 11 years of marriageDad and Mom after 30 years of marriage (they celebrated their 50th anniversary before Dad passed away in 2005)

Dad (John) Mom, Nancy, John, Peggy, Cathy (late 1960's)

Mom with her 90-year old brother Joe, who gave her the nickname "Dickie"

After swimming her daily laps at the pool last summer (age 86)

Mom enjoying Paris (April 2013)

Mom did yoga 3-4 times a week for nearly 20 years (here at 86)

Mom (age 86 here) doing one-leg down dog -- her favorite pose
With granddaughter Jillian, Jillian's husband Jeremy, me and David in February 2015

Mom goofing around with me and Nancy in a photo booth (Feb 2015) 

My favorite picture -- Mom and me sharing our love of the water when I was about 2 years old. (My Dad is there on the left.)

P.S. Your caring words and prayers have been a lifeboat for my soul. 



Gone from My Sight

Gone from My Sight

By Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. 

A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. 

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”

Gone where? 

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side.  And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me – not in her.  And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”