Monday Motivation

While cleaning up my husband’s papers, I came across this piece of ethos amongst his notes while a student at a Dale Carnegie class. That must be at least 40 years ago. It applied then and it still very much applies today. What it means to be an American.

What it means to be an American


Happy New Year 2020

In a few hours, 2019 will be gone. Over and past. The New Year and a New Decade will be here. With it comes an opportunity to reinvent, refresh and renew. It’s up to each of us to make plans for a better YOU.

Have you had a stressful year in 2019? You’re not alone. I had a very stressful year. I hope 2020 will be better. I am making plans to do just that. For starter, I need something to keep my mind off my problems. To be able to relax, I found out that music is a good therapy.

A year ago, I bought a retro Victrola record player which plays vinyl records. Yes, I still have my old vinyls from the ‘60s. I intend to play most of them in 2020. They always bring back happy memories of the past.

When I lost my Mom a few days before Thanksgiving, my life changed drastically. With both my parents gone and being the eldest, I’m now the head of the family and it carries a certain responsibility. I do miss calling Mom. There were days when I thought of calling home, only to realize she is gone forever and I can’t call her anymore like I used to do for the last 52 years since I left home. There is one thing Mom promised me when she was alive. If I move back to the Philippines, she would buy me a piano. That’s not going to happen now so I decided to treat myself on my birthday a few days ago and bought myself a piano. It’s as if I fulfilled her promise to me. I always want to learn how to play the piano and with a piano at home, I should be able to do that. Where do I begin? As Fraulein Maria a.k.a. Julie Andrews from the “Sounds of Music” said, you begin with Do-Re-Mi.

Last May, my husband’s health turned for the worst and he decided to stay on the second floor for the duration of his illness unless he had to go see his doctor. That meant I had to bring his food upstairs. Most days, I made the trip upstairs 20 times a day and with 17 steps each way, I logged in about 680 steps a day just attending to his needs alone. I lost 16 lbs so far this year. Not good for me. At the rate I’m going, I will be back to when I was single, – 90 lbs soaking wet. Funny! But then I look at it this way. That’s a very good cardio exercise for me. Who needs the gym? I get my exercise right here at home and it is free.

There are a few book projects I want to do but so little time. I want to finish one book this coming year. I meant to do a final edit on one of them in 2019 but never did anything. I just had no time. I’ll make time this year.

There are piles of books I want to read. I barely met my reading goals this year. Most of my time that I was reading in 2019 were doing research for my blog. Blogging will take a back burner from now on. I am considering of spending less time on blogsphere and also engaging less on social media and political news in 2020. I’m sure others will not agree with me but considering what is good for me, I’m staying with my goals this coming year.

My garden did not get much attention this year either and I lost a lot of roses. The crazy weather did not help at all. I’m redoing my garden to include more shrubs and perennials, easy care plants. I promise myself to buy only 2 roses this year. I’m looking at David Austin English Rose catalog. I have enough plants to cheer me up and give me the outdoor exercise I need. I also got a beautiful red mini rose plant a few days ago. The sender wished me a Happy New Year but did not sign his/her name. If you are the mystery sender, I thank you very much. That’s very sweet of you to think of me and it cheers me up.

I have done a lot of volunteer work in NY and now here in SC. At this point of my life, I’m cutting back on that and leaving that to the younger generation. I’m still on the HOA board which is a thankless job. I just happen to like working with our property manager and our developer and I can watch where our money is being spent. I’ll stay on that since I can do it without leaving home which is impossible these days because of my husband’s health issues.

Lastly and the most difficult task I want to tackle this year. I want to organize my paperwork and my house. After almost 50 years of marriage, we have accumulated a lot of stuff. We downsized when we moved south but I still have plenty of things. I hate to think what my kids will do when I go so I’ll start unloading some of my stuffs now.

So that’s my plan for this year. I feel great already. Hope 2020 is a wonderful year for you! What are your plans for 2020? Share and comment below.

Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in the next decade!!


Logo Author Rosalind (2)




Limited Time Offer for Stop and Smell the Roses – One Week Only

Stop and Smell the Roses Front Cover


Starting Monday, July 16, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. PDT and ends on Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. PDT when it goes back to its regular price of $4.99. you can order the kindle copy of Stop and Smell the Roses for $1.99 at Click here to buy now.


Feeling stressed out? Stop and smell the roses and 100 other tips in a new motivational book to help you get inspired to make positive changes in your lives to make you happy, healthy and successful. In a frenetic world we live in, we find ourselves overwhelmed, overworked and stressed out. Isn’t it time to change our bad habits? Most of our health problems are due to our unhealthy lifestyle. Studies show that stressful living causes health problems.


Inspire yourself into a healthy lifestyle! Stop and Smell the Roses!


Do you know that roses have curative powers? In the olden days, roses were used to make all sorts of medicinal potions to cure maladies and drive away bad spirits. A bouquet of roses uplifts the spirits any day of the year. Even a single rose in a room will liven it up on dreary days. When we are in distress, a rose will cheer us up.


“Stop and Smell the Roses” includes some of the roses I grow in my garden. There are 33 roses featured in the book in full color. If you are unable to visit a rose garden, this is the next best thing.


Find out how you can improve your well-being by following simple tips for stress-free living. I invite you to my garden. So take a break and stop and smell the roses.


Take advantage of the Limited Time Offer. Get your copy today!


Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan

A Rose (Rosa Banksiae) and a Tip for a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle

Rosa Banksiae

Class: Rose Species

Syns:   R. banksiana, Banksian rose, Banks’ Rose, Lady Banks’

Cultivated since 1796


Rosa banksiae is one of the best shrubs for a wall and in a few years will reach the top of most houses. It produces an abundance of pretty small roses with the sweetest fragrance you can imagine. The flowers are borne on last year’s wood and so it is well-advised not to prune in the spring. Only dead or useless branches have to be trimmed. The date of introduction is not known but the double white form was first described in the Botanical Magazine for 1818 as Lady Banks’ Rose and one of the sweetest of roses. It has also been known as a native of China and had been introduced in 1807 by William Kerr. The double yellow was introduced in 1824.


Definitely not for the small property, this vigorous species rose offers a spectacular spring show in warm-climate gardens that can accommodate its rampant growth habit. There are four different forms of R. banksiae, varying by flower color and flower form.

·        R. banksiae normalis is considered to be the “wild” form, with single white flowers.

·        R. banksiae banksiae (also known as ‘Banksiae Alba’, R. banksiae alba, R.banksiae alba-plena, White Banksia, or White Lady Banks’ Rose) offers exceptionally fragrant, double white flowers.

·        R. banksiae lutea (R. banksiae lutea-plena, Yellow Lady Banks’ Rose) is the most well-known form of Rosa banksiae in cultivation with small, fully double, bright yellow flowers that come in clusters. They are only slightly fragrant.

·        R. Banksiae lutescens has single light yellow blooms.


All four have small, oval buds that open to clustered, 1-inch wide, rosette-form flowers, usually blooming in early or midspring to late spring. Slender, thornless canes carry semi-evergreen to evergreen, shiny, dark green leaves with narrow leaflets. They are rarely bothered by diseases.


All four forms of this specie rose have a vigorous, rambling habit and can grow up to 30 ft, so they’re usually used as 20 to 30-foot climbers. They need a sturdy support, such as a well-built pergola or arbor; they also like to scramble into trees. It is a great rose for zone 8 to 10.


I saw Rosa banksiae in Charleston, SC on my first visit there in 1989. We went on a House and Garden Tour and at one of the gardens we visited, ‘Yellow Lady Banks’ was growing almost to the roof of the house against the wall. We wandered along some tiny street and I saw ‘Yellow Lady Banks’ rose by the gate and I took the above photo. Fast forward to 2011 – when I joined the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society, I discovered the owner of that rose is one of our members.


Tip of the Day – Learn to be cheerful even if you don’t feel like it.


Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.




Chronic Kidney Disease


Dialysis Machine
Photo Credit – Fresenius Medical Care



Two years ago to the day, Feb. 1, 2016, my husband was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. He was not feeling well for months and his doctors could not figure out why. He was so sick that day, that I insisted I take him to emergency.

Within half an hour after he was wheeled to emergency, I was told he had to go to ICU. All his numbers at all tests were out of whack. That’s how bad he was. Long story short, he has been on dialysis ever since. I opted for home dialysis because I could not take it going to the clinic three times a week. This way, I can hook him up to his machine at night for 12 hours straight and I can still have my day free.

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease and unfortunately, he has Stage 5 End Stage Renal Disease. It sounds terrible but it’s the fact. He has no kidney function whatsoever. Death is such a morbid topic but I’m realistic. I told him he cannot go yet. I’m not ready. I stay positive. We used to joke about it. He said he did not think this was part of the deal when we got married. Well, for better, or for worst, in sickness and in health. .  .

Here are some facts about Chronic Kidney Disease per the National Kidney Foundation:

  • 26 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk.
  • Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
  • Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
  • Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
  • Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means CKD is present.
  • High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney failure.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Seniors are at increased risk.
  • Two simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.


When we go to the clinic for his monthly check up, I’m amazed at how many people are undergoing treatment. Help us battle kidney disease. Many Americans know nothing about kidney disease until it is too late.

Stay healthy, eat the right food (stay away from salty food), exercise and have a positive mental attitude.

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.




NaNoWriMo Logo
NaNoWriMo Logo

As a follow up to my blog of Oct. 12 when I was on the fence whether to take the NaNoWriMo challenge this year or not, I came up with my decision at the last minute, last night at midnight.

With three newsletters to write, I didn’t think I could manage to finish them before Oct. 31. With my imposed deadline, I worked diligently and focused to make it happen.

I did.

I actually work better on a tight schedule. All the time. 

I finished the Carolina Rosarian, a 16-page quarterly newsletter for the Carolina District of the American Rose Society.

I followed that with The Charleston Rose, an 8-page monthly newsletter of the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society which includes a revision to the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society Constitution and ByLaws. 

Yesterday, I finished Whitney Lake Gazette, a 12-page quarterly newsletter full of useful information for residents of Whitney Lake in Johns Island. I sent it out at midnight last night to all Whitney Lake residents.

I am the editor of all three newsletters, President of the Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society and Board Member of Whitney Lake Homeowners Association.

There were other things I had to do and I managed to squeeze them with my tight schedule. 


I’m back on my computer, typing away towards my 5th NaNoWriMo Challenge which journey I began in 2013.

Today, I did 2090 words so I’m on my way.



 Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer


How to Stay Debt Free While Living on Social Security and Stay Happy


Are you one of those people who can’t seem to keep up with your expenses? Keeping up with the Joneses will put you in the poor house. We had, even while my husband and I were both gainfully employed at that time. I was making good money and more so than my husband. But in spite of that we could not keep up with the expenses. We didn’t live a lavish life, just comfortable. We were the typical suburbanites but living in Long Island, New York was expensive.

It was time to sit down and evaluate our finances. I have learned my lesson the hard way and don’t want to be in a financial quagmire again. I’m a seniors living on social security and if I am not careful, I’ll be back in the same quandary as before. Here is how I cope with living with a tight budget.


Credit Cards – For years, I was living in a rich community but using my credit cards to the hilt to keep up with the Joneses. I had to admit that I was in deep debt all the time. I had a whole bunch of credit cards. Name me a store in New York at that time and I could tell you I had that store’s credit card except Bloomingdale. I had no idea why I didn’t have Bloomingdale’s card, maybe because it was my husband’s ex favorite store. I even had Bergdorf Goodman’s credit card. At some point, I had a substantial balance on each of them.

Now, I only have three credit cards but I only use one card that gives me cash rewards.


Car Payments – I also had four car payments at some points in time. I used to own four cars. Before my kids turned 26, all four cars in my house were under my name and I paid all the car payments, insurance and maintenance on all of them. Finally, I told my husband to transfer the two cars’ title to my kids. I was afraid if the boys had an accident we could get sued and we ‘d lose our home. He finally agreed.

When my husband finally retired, we gave up the lease on his car. Since he was not going anywhere, we opted for one car. I was selling real estate at that time (finally retired from accounting) so we worked out a schedule that he could only use my car when I didn’t have to go to work. It worked fine. We used to drive two Volvos. He had S60 and I have XC70. My two boys had a Blazer and a Jeep Cherokee Laredo.

Now, we only have one car and save money on car payments, insurance, gas and maintenance and repairs.


Home Mortgage – I did not realize how bad the situation was until about ten years ago when my husband got sick and retired finally and at that time we owned two houses. One was a vacation home which we used four times a year for two weeks at a time. I was getting very nervous and no matter how I calculated it we would go broke soon. I was paying bills out of one pocket into the other pocket so to speak. The Home Equity loan we had was fully used up and I was afraid we would lose our primary home. It was very stressful.

We were debating on which house to sell. Since we could not tolerate the winter months anymore, we decided to sell the house in New York and moved permanently to our vacation home in the South instead. Also living in the South is cheaper than living in New York. I would also get more money selling the New York house since at the time, the real estate market was down. We had lived in our NY home for 32 years and had big equity on the house. Meanwhile, our vacation home was under the water and we did not want to lose money on it. We had since recovered and we are now above the water and building equity.

Moving costs drained our budget for a good amount. We moved in three stages. When we bought the vacation home, we moved some stuffs to furnish it. The following year, we moved more stuffs. Finally when we sold the New York house, we moved stuffs for the third time. On all these moves, we used a moving company. That cost an arm and a leg. We also hired 1-800-junk for the final move to dispose the stuffs we could not move and to clean up the house after the moving truck finish their job. They junked three dumpsters and cost me $550 per dumpster. In spite of the moving costs, moving south is worth it.

Now, we’re down to one mortgage and we own a beautiful home with 3 bedrooms and 3-1/2 baths on a lakefront property.


Property Taxes and Home Maintenance

Living in New York and living in the South are night and day. Living in our townhouse now is much less expensive than living in New York. New York taxes are prohibitive. My taxes at the time we sold our NY home was about $8,000 a year and by this time could have gone up to maybe $10,000 or more. Our current property taxes in the South is $570 a year. That is quite a difference. My utilities are also down quite a bit from an average of $1,200 a month to about $250 a month. Our home exterior maintenance is paid by us in New York. Now HOA takes care of all that. Our HOA of $1690 a year is not bad at all since it covers exterior building repairs and maintenance including roof replacements and maintenance of the common area. I spent about $3,000 a year in New York just on ground maintenance alone.

Now, downsizing to a townhouse in South Carolina saves us plenty of money for home maintenance and taxes.


Clothing – Since we have a very mild winter, we do not need those heavy winter clothes. Our winter is so short, we could stay in our summer clothes with a few sweaters to stay comfortable. Winter outfits could put a strain on seniors’ finances who are in a tight budget.

Now, with a few winter clothes saved when we moved south, I don’t have to invest on more heavy winter clothes.


Community Involvement – While we were in New York, I was very involved in the community where we were constantly invited to fund raising events. Since I was an officer or board member on some of them, we had to go. They were expensive and in December, there were plenty of them. I’m still involved in the community here but the group I belong to does not go for expensive parties like in New York. We still have lots of fun. I chaired the Social Committee of my community for four years and we had a lot of fun activities without breaking the bank.

Now, I don’t go to expensive parties. I changed my lifestyle.


Entertainment – A year and a half ago, my husband was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease. He has to be on dialysis every day so we don’t go on vacation anymore. My relaxation outlet is gardening and reading. I have acquired more roses this year than at any time in my gardening years and I have also acquired more books to read although I purchased my books at a bargain bookstore on line for less than $5.00 for hardcover books. I also foray at book sales around the area. My church sells a grocery bagful of books for $5.00. That is the biggest deal in town. I usually get about 7-8 books per bag and I always bring home 2 bags. I don’t go to movies anymore. I can’t find a good movie worth the money nowadays. Once in a while, I watch TCM movies. They had better actors/actresses years ago. I also don’t watch TV. I turn on the TV only to see the weather forecast if there is a storm. My indulgence was watching Downton Abbey while it was on. I do read a lot.

So now, I save money on entertainment by reading. Lots of it. It enriches my knowledge and broaden my horizon without spending a lot of money.


Food – We don’t skimp on food. Since my husband got diagnosed with end stage kidney disease, we don’t go out to dinner anymore. My husband is on a very strict diet – no salt, less potassium, less phosphate. I learn how to cook with no salt. Everything restaurants serve now are too salty for our taste so we avoid restaurant food. We watch the food we eat. I buy quality ingredients and cook nice meals for us. Once in a while, I indulge myself with a rich dessert which my husband can’t eat. Wine is only for special occasion which my husband is not allowed so I don’t stock wine anymore. I can only drink half a wine glass for the whole evening so it’s basically nothing.

Now, our food cost is down because we don’t eat at restaurants anymore.  


Barring illness, I need not worry about my finances. I pray I can stay healthy for a long time. I eat right and don’t drink or smoke. I don’t take medication because I don’t have health issues. I’m very healthy. Knock on woods.

Out of the proceeds of the house sale in New York, we paid all our debts. We paid all the credit cards. We paid the balance on the car payments so now we own the car with no more car payments to worry about every month. We only have 71,000 miles on my 12-year old Volvo. We don’t intend to buy a new car for the near future. I’m happy with my Volvo. Our debt is just the mortgage on our house.

We pay my mortgage on time. We have no debt except the mortgage which I accelerate my payment to shorten the term. I pay my credit card (yes, one card) in full except on months that I have to pay life insurance (semi-annual) and car insurance (annual) but I catch up quickly and be on schedule in no time.

I don’t consider myself poor nor am I rich. I’m debt free and happy and contented with what I have. I have plenty of books to entertain me for the rest of my life and visit other places by reading. My garden keeps me in shape. It’s my exercise without paying the gym fee and I get beautiful flowers to enjoy. I don’t think I’m deprived of anything. I have what I want. A lovely lakefront home with gorgeous sunset, a fully paid reliable car, a beautiful garden, a library with 3000 plus books, a wonderful family and a few volunteer works I enjoy. What else can I ask for? Life is good!


Until Next Time. Stop and Smell the Roses

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer




Happy New Year to my friends and followers!

I’m looking forward to a great year in 2017.

Last year, I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. I made all my goals and then some. I made my reading challenge for the year. I published another historical novel, “The Wentworth Legacy” and started a new project, a nonfiction book to be published in late fall this year.

This year, I’ll be more focusing on my marketing efforts. I have expanded my email lists to include all the people I know from all aspects of my life and that can mean over a thousand names. It’s a great way to start. When I was in real estate, I was taught “marketing is a number game”. This applies to anything you do. The more you reach out, the more you will be known.

I also started a quarterly newsletter, “Writer’s Musings & Reflections”. It’s not your typical marketing newsletter. It’s more about me, my thoughts and useful tips I want to share with my followers. To subscribe, email me at It’s a great way to build up your sphere of influence, a real estate lingo. I remember I used to send out 300 snail mail newsletters every month when I was in real estate. It’s expensive but it got my name out there and it paid off. I was one of the top producers in my office. With the internet, it is easier. With one click, they will be out there and will still leave me with more time to do my writing and other things.

I plan to stay active on social media. I’ll keep on blogging and tweaking my website to keep up with the trends.

I plan to keep on reading and learning new things. To be a good writer, you have to constantly educate yourself. I’m a self-taught writer but I love to read and I learn a lot just by reading. I have no time to go to seminar or conference since I am a full time caregiver of my husband who has acute kidney disease. I write at home and in solitude.

To break off from my writing, I garden. I tend to my 70 roses and other plants. Looking at those beautiful blooms and getting my hands dirty and taking care of God’s acre as I call it is the most satisfying and relaxing feeling of all. I recommend it highly.

Happy Reading and Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady”

Author and Garden Writer


Motivational Monday – Dec. 26, 2016


Perhaps there is no more important component of character than steadfast resolution. The boy who is going to make a great man, or is going to count in any way in after life, must make up his mind not merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.

 By Theodore Roosevelt


 Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda R. Morgan, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer

My books in Kindle and paperbacks are available at Amazon.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple iBooks and Kobo can be found at Smashwords.

Sample or purchase my ebook at Smashwords.


Motivational Monday – December 12, 2016

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time-not tomorrow, nor next year, nor in some future life after we have died. The best preparation for a better life next year is a full, complete, harmonious, joyous life this year. Our beliefs in a rich future life are of little importance unless we coin them into a rich present life. Today should always be our most wonderful day.

Thomas Dreier


 Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda R. Morgan, The Rose Lady

Author and Garden Writer

All my books are available at Amazon.

You can also find me on Smashwords.

Sample or purchase my ebook at Smashwords.