Carte Blanche & 87


I celebrated another birthday this week. This makes fifty-three so far and I ain’t done yet!  On the actual anniversary of my birth, one of the gifts my husband “gave” me was that I had carte blanche – we could do whatever I wanted. I got control of the channel changer AND the thermostat!  Hallelujah!

Carte blanche means the unconditional power to do as we please, or the permission to do something the way we want to, i.e., having control of the channel changer. Many of us typically put the needs and desires of others before our own. Now, there are times in our lives when situations demand our immediate and diligent attention.  New parents have to be on strict schedules of changing diapers and feeding. Those who have school-aged children have the challenge of juggling work and family. Taking care of ill or elderly friends can be overwhelming time consuming. And in relationships, compromise is crucial. At times, we just don’t have carte blanche.

How did this all start?

My son, Rocco, gave me a bracelet for Christmas that has the inscription “Carte Blanche” on it.  He said it’s like a tattoo and that I can’t take it off.  I don’t.  He knows that I’m the one in the family who’s most likely to hold back opinions and to help others before myself.  My stepson, Toby, told me he’d love to see me have a more care-free attitude and say whatever’s on my mind. He came up with the term “87”.  He said to imagine how I was in 1987 – pretty darn carefree and independent.


There seems to be a pattern here — a message people in my life are trying to tell me.

It felt good to have carte blanche on my birthday and “87” all day long!  But what if every day was like that?  What would you do differently?  Keep in mind that there are some things we can’t  eliminate no matter how much we’d like to.  There are bills to pay and people who rely on you.

If I could do anything I wanted I would exercise daily for at least ninety minutes.  Not hard-core kick-butt stuff every day.  Only when I felt like it.  I would go for walks more.  Enjoy nature.  Actually LOOK at flowers intensely and notice every little detail.  I would breathe deeply more.  And I would be more authentic to who I am and what it is I want out of life: to be happy and healthy.  You can’t take care of your family unless you’re healthy.  You can’t work and you can’t play.  For me, to have Carte Blanche is to be healthy so I can do everything I want IF I had the choice.

If I truly could “87” it, I wouldn’t worry about the haters – because they’re everywhere.  It’s taken me about fifty years to figure out that you can’t please everyone, so you may as well just please the one person that you know you can make happy — yourself.

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  1. Jill Baker July 17, 2015 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Hi Shemane – With a Carte Blanche day, I would spend the early morning on the porch with a cup of coffee and listen to and watch the birds. So relaxing! I would work in the flower garden for the rest of the day. I shed all my stress when I am pulling weeds and tending to the beauty of God’s creation… then relax in the tub in a bubble bath. Or I would drive to a beach somewhere and stick my toes in the sand! (and probably make a sand castle or two and watch the sunset).

  2. Susan Brenner July 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I would sleep in, take my 8 yr. old daughter to breakfast, take a long walk enjoying nature, have lunch with friends, go shooting, tan, have a massage, take another long walk, enjoy a nice dinner with the hubby, then have a relaxing evening!

    • Shemane Nugent July 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Wow! Sounds like an amazing day. Why not plan a vacation day like that? ; )

  3. Bill Bjornstrom July 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    I’ll continue, to live my life to the fullest, daily!
    So let’s party like it’s 2099!

  4. Debra July 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I would go back on another African Photo Safari. Maybe too much temptation for Ted!

    • Shemane Nugent July 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      I love Africa! So glad we have had the opportunity to travel there, but it’s a long flight!

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Dan July 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Shemane, thanks for taking the time to teach me a great lesson using your personal story of “Carte Blanche and 87”. In reply to your inquiry about what “I” would do…?….. choosing more recreation would help achieve better life balance coupled with continuing to improve on “not sweating the small stuff”. Thanks again for TidBit and best wishes always! 🙂 -Dan

    • Shemane Nugent July 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      I truly believe we are here to remind each other of those things. So, thank you, too!

  6. Jill Wheelee July 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Love this, Shemane. I’m sharing!

  7. Sandy Biddison July 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    It was great reading your carte blanch 87 thread. As I felt the same way. Needing to take a few minutes for myself. I’m 57 now, raised my 3 children and left with an empty house. Up until a few months ago, I haven’t pick up a pencil since I was 17. Now with all this time on my hands, I got back into sketching. Also tried my hand at wood burning. Inspired by your show Spirit of the wild”, I burned a wall arrangement using sliced logs consisting of deer, bear, bear prints, pine trees and a plaque unscripted with the words “Spirit of the Wild”! Everyone loves it. And while taking the time to make it, I find it absolutely relaxing. Thanks to you and Ted, for your inspiration in getting me back to nature! Happy Birthday Shemane and many more!!

  8. Marcia July 17, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    I know as I get older heatth is a big concern. For me at 62 soon 63 I want to be sure I leave all the information I can about my family tree for generation to come. I wish I could go walk the streets where I grew up sadly it’s now a high crime area. I have so many fun memories there. I still try to do all that I want To in my life. I have my own power. I now take care of my grandkids so my daughter can work and not worry. I teach them Mother Nature and respect. Someday that’s what they will remember me for. I live a open mined peaceful life. Read alot and laugh a lot. never let the hard times get you down. Use them as stepping stones.

    • Shemane Nugent July 17, 2015 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Your daughter & her kids are blessed to have a mom/grandma like you! Keep living & laughing!

  9. Anita July 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts I turned 60 last year and now I found out I have to have knee replacement surgery .I have lost 20 lb and am trying to lose 10 more before surgery it is tough to get in shape with one bad knee but I won’t give up

    • Shemane Nugent July 17, 2015 at 3:31 pm - Reply

      Keep up the good work Anita! My husband had a double knee replacement last year & it was tough. I think he should have done one at a time, but that was his choice. I know swimming is a great workout & will also help your knees! Good luck!

  10. Pete Miller July 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    How Are Ted’s Knees Doing?….That Had To Be Really ,Really Challenging…..Rocco And Toby Are Great Young Men…..Wife Would Like To Take A Glider Ride…..I Have To Admit That this is kinda Quite Scary…..Ater All The Glider is Pulled Up By A Plane And Then Released…..The Glider just Glides Down To Earth with No Assisted power of Any Kind……

  11. Debra July 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Wow! I really enjoy your posts, Shemane!! A Carte Blanche Life for me would mean, living a healthy, happy life forever. At least another fifty years (I’m 58, now. 🙂 ) I would be focusing on my favorite hobbies; writing, reading, art and photography; while listening to the music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I would be living on the central coast of California, northern Nevada or northern New Mexico. Having a great farmer’s market for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Yum!! Spending time at the mountains and the beach. Enjoying the beauty of all of God’s creations; savoring the flowers, wildlife, and sunshine; as well as, the rainy days.

    • Shemane Nugent July 18, 2015 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Wow! That sounds like a great plan! I love the mountains and the beach too!

      Many blessings…

  12. Patti Easton July 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    I feel pretty satisfied right now. This made me stop and think. Last weekend was empowering. I ran a 5K on Saturday and did a half marathon on Sunday. I wanted to know that I could. It wasn’t about time, although I beat my goal. Then Wednesday I spent in the raspberry brambles picking berries. Sitting on a stool, a bit sore, picking berries. There was a light rain and the birds were singing and you could hear the drops on the leaves. It made me notice the things I usually don’t. So I sat and picked for an hour or so and thought how lucky I am. Finished up the day making some raspberry jelly which was amazing. Life is pretty darned good. Happy Birthday Shemane. I am one year behind you, and it seems the years are only getting better!

    • Shemane Nugent July 18, 2015 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Good for you Patti! That’s an amazing accomplishment at any age! I’ll bet you appreciated making the jelly even more after so much exercise!
      And yes….the years are only getting better!

      Thanks for your comments. ; )

  13. Beth M. July 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Your post is very inspiring to me. It seems for my entire life I was always putting myself last, not complaining, that’s just the way I’ve always been. I will be turning the Big 5-0 on Tuesday and have made a promise to myself to make a little time for myself each day. I am granting myself permission to be me!

  14. Trisha July 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm - Reply


    I try to Carte Blanche as often as I can. I love early mornings and I will sit on my patio and listen to the birds. Love nature and living in a city, now far away from my home state of Michigan, I let myself float back to the smell of the woods where our cottage was. It’s heaven. I 87’nd this week without even reading this and it was the best thing I ever did. The timing was right and the person was open to receiving the information. They have now transformed themselves and are getting back on track to a healthy life.

    I don’t work out enough lately so I am going to get back into it. I recently left my 30 year career to start a new one and I am so focused on a new beginning I have ignored what’s most important. My physical well being. So, back to the workouts! Thanks for sharing. You inspire me.

    • Shemane Nugent July 18, 2015 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      That’s great Trisha!! Kudos for starting a new beginning & for getting back into exercise. It difficult when we have so many responsibilities that we forget to do what makes us most happy.

      You Inspire Me. ; )

  15. CHERYL SHAW July 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    HI Shemane–nice memories will come your way! I once had a charm bracelet from someone
    and you put it on like jewelry; he pinched my skin everytime and did not feel like a charm
    after several months—I guess he had another motive–at least I found out in time. C. S.

    • Shemane Nugent July 18, 2015 at 1:01 am - Reply

      Hey there! Well, I think that’s good – no?
      Nice hearing from you!

  16. Gale Loesch July 17, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Fish all day, & then some:)

  17. Kris Nightwind July 18, 2015 at 5:36 am - Reply

    If I could do anything I wanted I would find a way to make a living off my writing & products I made on my farm. I would spend as much time as I possibly could outside, enjoying nature, with my family, & doing things at my own pace surrounded by my critters.

    • Shemane Nugent July 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Hey Kris! Thanks for the input. I agree with you about surrounding yourself with nature and your critters! That truly resonates with me! If others are doing what you’d like to do, perhaps research how they did it. I’ve seen lots of farm-made products and of course, you can earn extra income by offering to write for different online publications.
      Good luck & hope that helps!

  18. Jay Dittmar July 24, 2015 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Love your inspiration,pleases my very soul. Thanks Jay.By the way Ted is the greatest.Long live rock and roll.

  19. Troy Niemuth July 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    You are amazing! I love these articles. I can never repay you for the kindness that you and your husband gave to my girlfriend while she was going through breast cancer when we met you in St. Louis at the NRA convention. That meant more than you will ever know to her. I am happy to report she is cancer free and harvested her first deer and wild boar this year. Thank you and God bless you.

    • Shemane Nugent July 31, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      So happy to hear that Troy!! It was a pleasure meeting you! Thanks for sharing your story.

  20. Shemane Nugent July 31, 2015 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Laura! And congratulations on beating cancer.
    Many blessings to you!

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