WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD…WAYS TO SURVIVE “SHELTERING IN PLACE”

It has been a little over 5 and a half weeks now that we have been sheltering in place. As with anyone who deals with a chronic illness, reduced immunity, or those who are medically fragile, we began our ‘shelter in place’ a full week before most of the rest of our town. We saw the signs. It started getting ‘scary’ out there and rather than worry and be fearful, we here at ‘life on the patio’ decided to be proactive and begin our ‘shelter in place adventure’. We aren’t sure our friends understood our steadfast commitment to stay at home as much as possible but our families did and, as time went on, our friends began to understand.

Since it has been so long, I kind of feel like a seasoned pro at this point :-). We aren’t perfect at it and it has been stressful wondering if we would ever escape the confines of our beautiful little abode, and so we have enjoyed drinking and eating a bit more than usual. 🙂

Early on we knew to be extra careful until we fully understood what we were up against. We did all of our own cooking, wiped down everything that came in to our home and followed all the protocols while we were out picking up grocery orders. As time went on, each time we had a fear, we basically ‘corrected’ it as we knew we had control over ‘all things us’. Here is one of the things I found to remind us what we need to worry about and control.

And, now, here are some of the ways we have been coping while navigating the ‘shelter in place’ order mandated by America and by our own beautiful and wonderful state of Texas.

First of all, we remember the great words of Louis Armstrong…oh, how I love his voice ❤ and his wonderful positive attitude.

Because, after all, this is a wonderful world and I am always thankful for that reminder. There are definitely flaws but without them, we wouldn’t see the beauty of everything else. The beauty of the ‘helpers’ coming forward. This time in a different form than we have seen in the past. The heroes are now all the essential workers who are tirelessly moving forward to keep this wonderful world of ours moving. The beauty of working on relationships now in a different way using Zoom, social media, and our phones to check on each other and visit more. The beauty of having more time to see the needs and finding ways to fulfill the needs of our community without leaving our homes. The beauty of realizing how resilient we all can be as a family, a community, a nation, and a world. The beauty of working together for the GREATER GOOD! And, the beauty of having hope and our faith to persevere and move us through these surreal times.

We have found many things to keep us going here. And, since I don’t want to get too long on this blog, I will list them out now.

*When we are bored we think about all the things we could be doing with our time…cooking, catching up on favorite shows and movies, reading, writing, ongoing games of scrabble, other board games, helping, painting, praying, projects we have been wanting to do, planting, and reach out to other by picking up the phone and calling family and friends.

*When we start to feel cabin fever, we think about the places we can go and still be safe…not the places we can’t go. Some of the things we have been doing are: lawn chairs 10 feet away from each other between our house and our next door neighbor’s place so we can still sit out and visit in the late afternoons when the weather is good, getting in the car and driving to and sitting by the lake, and, of course, sitting on the patio.

When we really start to feel like we need to get out…like we did on Saturday and early last week, we go out and see all the beautiful things out in nature. Here are a few of our highlights and some of my favorite things.

Texas Wildflowers
Texas Wildflowers in a field near us
some of nature’s beautiful things
We aren’t the only ones ‘sheltering in place’
Doesn’t he look happy and carefree 🙂
More natural beauty near where we live
Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers
Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
A beautiful field near us
Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
A closeup of Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
A closeup of Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
A closeup of Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
Texas wildflowers near us
Indian Paintbrushes Wildflowers in our little town
A picture of some beautiful creatures in our little town

Lesson learned through this whole journey is that we are all tougher than we think and we can get through anything. Other lessons we have been reminded of…cherish your life and those in it, cherish the blessings you have been given, try not to take anything for granted, and Faith, Hope and Love are ALWAYS greater than anything that life throws at us.

Be well and stay safe! ❤

Photo credits: all photos were taken by me or by my family🌸

The Forgotten Joys of Life

Update: our hummingbirds have returned!

If there is something to remember during this pandemic that we are all facing right now, it’s that we have slowed down enough to appreciate the little things life offers.

On Saturday morning, I made crepes…first time ever but definitely something I have been wanting to do. These are blueberry cream cheese and they were so simple to make. I wanted to use up some blueberries in a ‘creative’ way.

We have reduced immunity here so we have been isolating for two weeks now. But, fortunately Spring has arrived and brought some beautiful colors to enjoy. We’ve got green grass again and it is so pretty. We see many more animals now including a white tailed deer that bounced/danced/jumped into the forest of trees across the street from us with her tail bobbing as moved. It was such a beautiful sight to see. This picture is similar to what she looked like. She was way too fast for me to grab a picture of my own.

The flowers are starting to bloom and have begun splashing us with so many colors to enjoy.

The geese are back and so are the doves, the woodpeckers, the Texas mockingbirds, the bluejay, and the many news signs of life. ‘My’ owl still hangs around the bedroom window and enjoys perching in each of our oak trees throughout the night. Our sweet and friendly cardinal comes closer to my window now. The baby cardinals and the female cardinal still hold back a bit staying at the bird feeder but we still get to enjoy their beauty too. Below is a picture I took of ‘Mr.’ Cardinal looking up at me.

The leaves on the ground are the last of the leaves to fall from the big oak tree right before the new leaves come. The beautiful green leaves are starting to appear on the tree.

I have discovered more of the ‘forgotten joys of life’ recently with having to stay home now. The joy of sitting on the patio listening to the birds sing and the wind rustle the leaves of the trees. Hearing the silence around me and taking time to read, to pray, to let my bare feet touch the ground and to appreciate all the blessings I have.

So many little joys to find...listening to music and watching movies, making popcorn the old fashioned way, doing all the little projects I have been putting off, and cooking dinner two straight weeks in a row and enjoying it. I have had more chats with my daughter and son recently and I can’t remember the last time I talked with all of my brothers and sisters in the same week via phone calls or texts but these things have been happening now.

It’s been a long time since hubby and I worked on a project together but we have done that too because we are at home more now. The pace has slowed and the conversations are reflective of that. They are deeper and we have a better understanding and gratitude for ‘all things life’. I asked my son the other day what he was doing on Friday night. He lives five hours from us. He said that he and his girlfriend were making dinner together and were going to spend the evening putting a puzzle together. That’s not something they typically do but they were excited about having the time and energy to do it. I have more time now to do the things on my happy list like karaoke in the living room, coloring, reading, organizing my crafts to work on a project, doing puzzles, and planning adventures for when all this is over.

It’s been scary watching the whole world come to almost a grinding halt but exciting to see most people working together for a common cause because we are all part of a bigger story and this time the story is about the whole world. It has been a ‘breath of fresh air’ to see so many helpers stepping up to help and seeing all the good they are doing in neighborhoods, cities, and globally.

But, the lessons learned from all of this…

There are more joys than I can count. Most of us, except for the helpers, have slowed down enough to have more conversations, to check on our neighbors, our friends, and our families, to catch a sunrise, a sunset, or take a hike in a beautiful area, or to venture out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Spring arriving. We all have a better understanding of the many things we used to take for granted and our hearts are much more filled with gratitude for the simple things, the little things, yet, many times, the important things in life.

When There IS Love

When there is love…there is joy, there is happiness, and there is peace. Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. People actively and passionately find ways to let others know how much they are loved. Many people think that it is a couples holiday but it really isn’t just that. It was one of my favorite holidays even before I was part of a ‘couple’.

When i was growing up, I would see splashes of love every Valentine’s Day and more importantly, on other days as well. My Dad would bring in a bouquet of flowers from the backyard and give them to my Mom. She would love this gesture and her face lit up when she saw them. He would plant sweet peas, roses, and so many other beautifully colored flowers and bring them in to brighten her days.

It was one of the many ways, he would tell her he loved her. There are so many ways to say "I love you" to someone. Bringing someone a coffee or tea, fixing a nice meal, sitting together on the patio, with drink in hand, and a listening ear, giving someone a blanket when they are cold, offering to put gas in someone's car, baking a nice treat, planning an activity or outing for them to experience, sending a love filled text, picking up the phone and calling them, reminding someone of all their talents, gifts, and characteristics that make them unique and wonderful, and yes, planting flowers so that you can surprise them throughout the year. We do so many of these throughout our year and isn't that what Valentine's Day is about...to remind us to celebrate the ones we love and to remind us to celebrate them all year long. 

For as many as I have named here, there are a hundred more ways to let someone know they matter to you. The important thing is to do as the author of Fill Your Bucket, Carol McCloud says, “Be a bucket filler” by giving, sharing, caring, showing kindness, and appreciation…showing someone how much we love them, how much we care, and how much we appreciate them not only brings them happiness but also feelings of being loved.

Lessons learned…giving, sharing, caring, showing kindness and appreciating are all actions of love that bring happiness to both the giver and the receiver and isn’t it so important that we all feel love…not just on Valentine’s Day but on every day?

Any time is the perfect time to show someone we care ❤ ❤ ❤

My Owl Is Back…the Joys of Country and Lake Life

Last night I lay awake for almost an hour listening to ‘my’ owl outside my bedroom window. The picture above is one I took two weeks back when I had been missing him. It had been so long since I had heard the sound of his voice and I was longing for it.

The night before the morning I took this picture, I had been wishing that I would hear or see him as he had become such a huge part of our first few years out here. He is one of the beauties that makes our country life so wonderful.

I took this picture of him through my blinds as not to disturb his perching and also for a selfish reason…I didn’t want him to leave. He gives me hope and happiness especially on my worst days and nights, and with last night being one of my worst pain days, it made it all the more special to hear his beautiful sound.

I expend so much of my daytime energy accomplishing things, keeping a positive attitude, and helping and contributing as much as I can, that when I finally do go to bed, it is usually a much needed respite for my body. It’s then that I spend my time before going to sleep, remembering those splashes of sunshine and splashes of happiness that brightened mine and my family’s lives each day and hearing him last night for almost an hour just chatting away was a beautiful splash of happiness in my day. My daughter came in and, of course, I shushed her so she could hear it. She was so surprised he was that loud and was wondering where he was as it seemed he was right outside the bedroom window.

She texted me later on during the night and said I can hear him all the way over here in the room she was staying in. It is on the other side of the house and I laughed when I read it. He is definitely loud but not that loud. We have four large oak trees that surround our home and we have found that he moves from tree to tree and back during the night.

It is these simple pleasures of seeing and hearing the owl, the hawks, the cardinals, the blue jays, the deer, bobcats, and hearing the coyotes howl during the nights. that make it a joy to spend time here in the country. As spring approaches, we will welcome even more wildlife, the hummingbirds will return, the painted buntings, many more doves, and, of course the rabbits, the wild turkeys, and all the forest animals, many bringing new life into the world.

Photo credit goes to my daughter

On this very rainy and cold day, I am really looking forward to Spring paying us a visit soon but until then, I am grateful for last night…I only wish I could speak ‘owl’. 🙂

My lesson learned from my owl experience…never give up HOPE and remember that even in the worst of times, there are ALWAYS splashes of sunshine and happiness to be found…sometimes it may even be right outside your bedroom window.

May your day be filled with joy and love<3

National Pie Day and Southern Hospitality… Serving all ‘Nine Kinds of Pies’

One of my favorites restaurants in Texas will be celebrating National Pie Day today. It is always a huge celebration and people wait for hours just to be a part of it. They celebrate by giving away a slice of pie to each patron. This restaurant has been around for over sixty years and they are known for their pies. Actually, nine different kinds of pies and a whole menu of good ole southern cooking.

Not only are they famous for their pies and their southern cooking but also for their wonderful service.

Their wonderful pies remind me of Crockett Johnson’s children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon and the nine pies he liked best In one segment of the story, he drew them as he was walking around creating adventures with his purple crayon.

When my son came to visit a couple of weeks back, we drove in to town to pick up something he had ordered for his apartment and I went with him and told him I would take him to lunch. He and I have some very fond memories of going to this restaurant and both my kids have wonderful memories of reading Harold and the Purple Crayon when they were little and coming up with different adventures.

And, so, of course, it was only fitting that we ended up at there on a rainy, cold day. The minute we walked in we felt warm…not just from getting in out of the cold but because of the welcome we received in the already crowded restaurant and the southern hospitality that would soon follow.

My son noticed it first. Our server started with a table near us and was having a friendly conversation with the men coming in for a quick lunch before getting back to repairing the street. She moved on to a table near us and she sat down with the woman dining alone and chatted for a few seconds. She then helped her read her medication bottle. Just beyond that table was another table with two guests…one, a young man using a cane and the other a middle aged woman wearing noise cancelling headphones. Our server did the same with them…took a minute out of her busy day to show some kindness and care to them and sat and talked with them. At the table just across from us, first were a group of older women and one man. When they finished, our server brought his walker to him. The next group that sat down was a older man and a woman. The woman look disheveled but her spirit was so bright and cheerful and she seemed full of life. Again, our server sat down with them for a bit and chatted looking ‘beyond’ this woman’s outward appearance and seeing the person within. She was laughing with them and enjoying their company just as much as they seemed to enjoy hers. Her kindness towards all she served, including my son and I, was really out of the ordinary and much appreciated by all of us.She was showing us all that southern hospitality that I have come to know and love about living here.

Have a wonderful day celebrating National Pie Day today, eating some delicious pie, and spending time with the ones you love

Lesson learned: Remember to keep making those memories and finding all the acts of kindness, actions of love and caring, the hospitality from others, and all the joy you can in your daily lives. And, remember…

Chasing The Sunset

Martin Luther King…”Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that, Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”

Peace, Hope, Love are three things that stand out to us today as we celebrate Martin Luther King’s legacy. I see peace, hope, and love every time I see a beautiful sunset or glorious green mountains, grass, and farmland, beautiful bodies of water, trees that have stood the test of time, and all the beautiful creations around us. I see it in each person that does a kind deed and shows others love and respect.

My lessons learned today is grab all the moments, take the adventure, find the peace, the joy, the love and MOST OF ALL…the HOPE for a better world.

A reflection of the light on the pond

The entrance to our little ‘neck of the woods’
Entrance to our ‘little neck of the woods’
The main road
The Beginning of the Glorious Painted Sky
The Beginning of the Glorious Painted Sky
The Main Road
Lake Life
Lake Life
Beauty Over the Lake
Beauty Over the Lake
Beauty Over the Lake
Glorious Colors
Peaceful and Serene
Through the Trees
Through the Trees

Have a beautiful, love filled, and peaceful day ❤ ❤ ❤

TIME…

TIME, that’s my word for this year…2020. Last year I chose JOY as my word and it made all the difference in my life. My reasoning for choosing the word TIME as my word to live by is that TIME is all encompassing. I must have TIME to do virtually anything in my life and if I focus on how much time I have and how much time I am using, I am sure that the actions I take will be more pronounced and have more value in my life.

Last year, while it had many beautiful memories, seemed liked a whirlwind ride…one that I couldn’t get off of. I couldn’t slow down to truly experience all the beautiful moments and all the wonderful interactions I had in relationships. Also, since it was so busy, I discovered at the end of the year, that there were people in my life, important people, that I failed to see or even speak with much and it wasn’t due to their lack of trying.

My theory here is that if I put my focus on time, I will be more organized, more centered, not only on the everyday things, but on all things happening around me and to me. It’s basically putting more of a focus on things I value and define as important in my life.

“TIME stands still for no one” and it is this very saying that I reflected on when choosing my word for this year. I don’t want it to stand still…if it did, then life couldn’t happen. I want the opposite. I want to fill my TIME with so many experiences and learning experiences that I will feel like I have truly lived intentionally and purposefully while encountering life to its fullest.

My focus, while I value TIME in my life this year will be…

Time to spend with God

Time to show more empathy and learn to understand others more

Time to focus more on who I am

Time to read

Time to write

Time to love and show love through my actions

Time for adventures and to experience new things

Time to build and encourage others

Time to focus on health

Time to cherish the moments

Time OUTDOORS

Time to LIVE

Time to build better relationships and give more value to my family and those I care so much about

There are many seasons in every year…like these excerpts from the Bible verse says…

Ecclesiastics 3

A Time for Everything

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born, a time to plant, a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love…and a time for PEACE


There is a time for everything. And, so, TIME it is!

Lesson learned, if I focus on time, I can be more intentional about everything I do and maybe, just maybe, I can also experience the blogger world and the rest of the world much more often and more fully😄. Here’s to hoping!!

Not “Feeling” Christmas This Year?

For those of you who are having a “different kind” of Christmas this year from being in the midst of a crisis, tragedy or just difficult times. Maybe you have suffered the loss of a loved one, or a loss of a job, or health issues, or a relationship you thought was there and wasn’t…. this is for YOU <3.

It’s Christmas time…

Don’t be hard on yourself. You are not alone but what you are experiencing this year may make you feel alone. I have had a few Christmas’s when I wasn’t “feeling” it and I am passing on what I learned during those times. Remember, that your Christmas doesn’t have to be like Christmas’s before or the Christmas you see on television or social media or the Christmas you see your friends having.

Your Christmas gets to be YOURS. It gets to be whatever you want to create it to be. Make it what you NEED it to be this year. Maybe that means taking it a little slower, avoiding the Christmas crowds completely or embracing them and going to the festivities and people watching. It may mean helping someone else who is having a hard Christmas, or keeping things simple so you don’t feel overwhelmed, or taking a trip to make some new memories and focusing on those you love instead of the gifts under the tree. It could also mean soaking in the peace and joy you see in others or soaking up the beauty in nature while out for a nature hike.

It may mean doing something in honor of yourself or the important people or persons that are no longer with you. It may mean spreading joy to others by spending a lot of your time baking up treats and handing them out or simply reaching out to another person to connect, reminisce, and or reevaluate the ‘new normal’ this year.

Whatever you make of this Christmas, make it so that when you look back on it months or years from now, the memories you have will bring you a sense of contentment that you did all that you could pull off this year and it was ENOUGH. Be proud of yourself that even in the face of adversity you managed to make the holidays what you needed them to be.

For everyone filled with excitement and peace and joy for the approaching holidays, reach out with love, kindness, patience and care to those who aren’t ‘feeling’ Christmas this year and bring them the joy and the care they are so in need of this year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND WISHES FOR A BRIGHT AND LOVE FILLED NEW YEAR!

See you in 2020🎉

For The Love Of Small Towns

Since this past week, I have been noticing so many wonderful things about our small town. Not only does it have a quaint and cozy atmosphere where neighbors wave as they pass each other while driving to and from places but it has at its core, what I like to call, the heartbeat of our town. It’s these people, many long time residents who volunteer their time to sit on city boards and be a part of the city government. It is those same people that take care of all of us by keeping our little town as country as it can be and it is their voices that make things happen here for all of us. It is these same people who plan and organize all of our community events like the next one coming up called Winterfest. Being a town of less than 5,000 people, we have the luxury of slowing down and enjoying our country and lake life and we have the heartbeat of our town and our first responders to thank for all of it. I stopped by City Hall today to drop tins of Christmas cookies to our city staff. All this week, the ladies club has volunteered to bake up the treats and deliver them.

You would think that I had done a good act but it was the reception I received there that was the good action. They came and held the door for me as a maneuvered my way in carrying bags, on each of my crutches, that were filled with tins of cookies that balanced me out as I walked 🙂 The smiles and well wishes were there too. Just as they always are every time I enter the building. I always go away feeling as if I was the one uplifted. It is such a treat to encounter people that want to be of help and service. It is a gift that brightens my day. I feel so blessed and thankful for all of them.

One of the most important parts of our small town is our city park and our boat ramp and dock. The ‘heartbeat’ of our city has made it a priority to repair and replace anything that is needed in each of these places all for the enjoyment of others.

The ‘heartbeat’ tirelessly takes care of all things so that we can focus on our own land, homes, and lives. They are the core of our community and from them we build outwardly each of us doing our own small part to make our town a wonderful place to live.

Here is my ‘lesson learned’. I have learned a valuable lesson today…a lesson called ‘simple it down’…I did something so simple and while I enjoyed doing it, it meant alot to someone else who in turn made me feel good. I also learned to slow down and feel the gratitude of what others do for us and the kindness and care they do daily to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

Have a wonderful rest of your week and my hope for you is that you are blessed by kindness and care everywhere you go☀️💗☀️

The Day Off

Photo credit goes to my daughter

I recently heard a speaker talk about the importance of taking a day off. As he spoke, I thought, hey, I’m all in!

I am one of those people that consistently thinks about what to do next, you know, what else needs to be done. I like to accomplish things and keep things organized and planned but I am resilient enough to change things up quickly when needed. Yet, I didn’t apply my thinking to ‘taking a day off’ unless it was a vacation that we were planning for. But…the way I see it…every week taking a day, well that’s a lot of time to have ‘off’.

My parents, on the other hand, took their day off seriously. I didn’t recognize it as such until I listened to this speaker. My Mom and Dad took Sundays off. I remember Sundays growing up and right after church we would come home, have breakfast and for the rest of the day the music from the stereo console would be playing and the family would be reading the Sunday paper, reading books, or playing or gardening outside or we went on an adventure. It was a day to do what we wanted to do…a day to relax and enjoy life more.

It was a day that was intentionally set so we could slow down, relax and just be a family.

I can remember that Sundays were one of the few times I would see my Mom stop and enjoy some down time while Sunday dinner was cooking in the oven. She would sit and read the paper or in later years, sit in the living room and listen to gospel music blaring from the console. It was then that I saw the ‘real her’. I saw the person and not just the mom, the wife, the career woman during the years she ran the family business. She rested and did the things she liked doing. On some of those days off, they would change it up a bit and take us on an adventure and exploring. I do believe that ALL Of us got our sense of adventure from these experiences. If we weren’t reading about places, we were experiencing them first hand.

Photo credits go to my dad who took the pictures and to my brother who gathered all these photos from our childhood and made them available to all his brothers and sisters

As years went on and I became an adult and started a family of my own, we were much better at intentionally setting time to rest, relax and have adventures when the kids were growing up. We took Sundays off too and went on adventures and would take the Sunday drives and go exploring but since we have moved out to our beautiful country life…most days have seemed more filled with adventure and joy and fun and so we have gotten lazy about intentionally planning a day off.

After I heard him speak, I realized I wanted it back. I wanted to embrace the outdoors and the world around me more than I had been doing and so I proclaimed that from here on in Sundays were now our day off😊. Hubby seemed a bit surprised but he knows that when I have one of those ‘lessons learned’ moments, it’s best to just go with it and enjoy it for what it is and so he grabbed his keys this past Sunday and the one before that and we went on an adventure. The best things can happen when you take a day off😊!

And, this is what we got to experience.

Photo credit goes to my daughter
Photo credit goes to my daughter

Have a wonderful and blessed Tuesday and Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate🧡💚💛🧡💚

Last Week Was National Kindness Day ♥️ It Was Also Red Cardigan Day…If Ever There Was A Time…

If ever there was a time…it is now to…say a kind word, give a helping hand, show gratitude to another for the impact they have had on you, build community one act at a time. There are so many ways to show kindness to each other. I believe that every day needs to be World Kindness Day.

There are so many people out there that are spokespersons for kindness and Mister Rogers was one of them. He was/is famous not only for his ‘signature’ cardigans but for his words of wisdom about kindness. But is wasn’t just kindness that Mister Rogers exemplified. He taught children how to ‘do life’.

My hubby grew up in Pittsburgh and there, Mister Rogers was an icon. He even had a part of Idyllwild park, an amusement park nearby, dedicated to his show. We visited the park when we were visiting relatives near Pittsburgh. It was a ‘come alive’ life size experience visiting all the parts of Mister Rogers’ neighborhood. He was a member of the community in Pittsburgh and was well known, in real life, for his goodness. It is hearts like his that we need most in this world.

Have you ever had that experience when someone does something nice for you and it gives you that ‘pick me up’ sort of feeling. Many children got that feeling by watching his show. They walked away from his show feeling loved, empowered, and understood. On his show, he talked about how we are all neighbors and we may disagree sometimes but we can still be kind and nice to each other and try to understand each other.

Personally, there are some days I feel so drained by the messages from our world…the negative things that occur regularly…the anger, the fear, the meanness towards each other…but, then, someone counters that by showing a kindness or shows they care and it gives me energy and hope and a much lighter feeling to continue my day. For me, it doesn’t even have to be a kindness shown to me, I only need to see it or hear about it and it’s a ‘pick me upper.’ Surely, most everyone else receives a similar feeling when someone is kind toward them. I think that is what Mister Rogers was about. He was all about providing the comfort, the healing, the caring, the love, the hope, and the understanding. He wanted everyone to feel valued and loved. He was bold enough to talk about feelings and life. He didn’t want people, especially children to feel sad, hurt, or scared but, if they did, he wanted them to know that they were not alone and that this world is packed full of good…we just need to look for it and provide it when it was missing.

“Look for the helpers”, his mother would say. This quote resonates with me. They are the ones that make this world what it is. They tend to us when we are in trauma, in struggles, when we are hurting, when we are scared, when we are lost…and need someone to throw us a lifeline. I wonder if he knew that he was one of those ‘helpers’?

We all struggle at some point in our lives. We either walk through valleys and steadily climb the mountains of life or we are somewhere in between or we get ‘stuck’ in one of those journeys and need a helping hand to pull ourselves out. Receiving help from another can make all the difference to someone. And, the touch or a kind act from someone can do wonders for our hearts and souls too and isn’t that the end goal anyway…to help someone feel better, make their life a little easier, and to show we care? You know…to be a “mister rogers.” 🙂

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Having been on both the giving and the receiving ends of kindness, I know that I am blessed both ways. It’s obvious that others doing an act of kindness for us blesses us and that is wonderful but, when we do an act of kindness for others, it does something for us too. It makes us feel good and changes our frame of mind and that too is a blessing.

Years ago, we had an elderly neighbor named Vera who lived next door. Everyday there was a knock on the door with her asking for help to open a jar or some other task that proved too much for her.

In the end though, I realized that she showed much more kindness to me then I ever could have given her and I am forever grateful for her presence in my life, the times she ‘needed’ me, the ‘tons’ of advice she gave me, being a ‘local grandma’ to my daughter, making my daughter a beautiful crocheted purple and white blanket that she still has, and sharing with me stories of her life. She truly brightened my life during a very difficult time. She was a wonderful neighbor. What started as one act of kindness that she requested from me turned into being a gift for both of us. Just imagine what we can do if we each show kindness to others everyday.

Lesson learned…the power of kindness, the power of caring…can change one person’s world and can change the whole world for us all if we all participate not just in World Kindness Day and Red Cardigan Day when they roll around but in showing KINDNESS everyday🌎

My hope for you is that someone has brightened your life by reaching out to show you a kindness today💚🌎💚

I am so thankful for the life of Mister Rogers…be sure to catch his story in “It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” in theaters November 22.

Never Too Late and It Was Worth The Wait!

I recognize that many of you are heading into winter weather but, for us, the Fall colors are just now finally arriving. It’s beautiful and fills our souls with peace and calmness. A much needed expression of hope, beauty, and peace to settle us down during this hectic time.

Have a wonderful week celebrating all the beauty our world has to offer…

Lesson learned this week: Don’t forget to take a day off. Today, I spoke to someone who literally never takes a day off. He works seven days a week and then in January takes a vacation. We ALL need days off throughout the year to re energize and slow down just a bit from the daily routines and work.

The Triangle In The Sky

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The photo above is of “the spooky tree” given it’s name by one of our trick or treaters…It’s a decades old oak tree that sits at the beginning of our driveway

On Saturday night in our little town in one of the little neighborhoods on the Peninsula, we celebrated Halloween. It’s a really big event for our little town of 3,800 people. We start celebrating on the Saturday before Halloween with a festival in the afternoon and at dusk on that evening, the roads light up with decorated golf carts and hayrides, many originating at the festival and making their way from house to house. Then, on Halloween, our ladies group in our town host a trunk or treat event at city hall with our one elementary school hosting it’s trunk or treat in between these two happenings. Everyone has a wonderful time and its a great time to meet any newcomers that have moved in during the year.

Each year, we sit out and hand out candy, visit with neighbors we haven’t seen in a while and ooh and aah over the cute costumes and the decorated carts and trailers. This year was no different. We had over 150 kids of all ages and many parents walk up our driveway to trick or treat.

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We live in a designated low light area and with that we can look up at the night sky and see meteors, shooting stars, and a magnitude of stars gracing the clear night sky. The darkness as well, provides a wonderful place for the night creatures to live and serenade us with their beautiful sounds. Saturday night was no different, once all the festivities were done, we sat out around the firepit and looked up at the night sky.

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It was beautiful and clear and filled with stars. There were three stars in the shape of a triangle that caught my attention that night and I am not sure why I never noticed them before.

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Photo credit: Earthsky.com

I love ‘all things sky’ and we raised our children to have an appreciation of the stars, the moon, the constellations and planets, and the meteors. We tend to be a bit fanatical about it sometimes and it’s not uncommon for us wake up really early or go out really, really late at night to experience a night sky phenomena. Saturday night did not disappoint. It was a very dark night, so dark that earlier we had worried about the ‘trick or treaters’ making their way up our driveway safely. As we sat surrounded by the darkness with only the fire lighting our night, we had an amazing view of many stars and a few planets and so that triangle grabbed my attention on that cool, crisp night.

We discovered that even though it is the end of October, we were still seeing what is known as the summer triangle. There are three stars that make up the summer triangle and each star is from a different constellation. Each of these three stars(Vega, Deneb, and Altair) has the distinction of being the brightest star in their respective constellation.

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My lesson learned on Saturday night…I now look to the sky with a new perspective. I remember to look for shapes just as I do when it is daytime and I am spending a little time doing some cloud watching…one of my favorite past-times. The sky is one of my ‘happy places’ during the day and also at night. Do you enjoy the night sky?

Have a wonderful and blessed Tuesday and if you happen to have a clear sky tonight, go check out the stars and if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, see if you can spot the triangle 🙂 and when you do, you might get an added bonus and find the milky way. What do you look for when you look up into the night sky?

Take My Hand

The healing value of hands…

Take My Hand
photo: pexels.com

When my children were little, I would tell them to hold my hand. I did that primarily when we were crossing a street, in a busy place and I wanted to keep them nearby, and when I wanted to make sure we were connected. I did it so that I was completely sure they were protected. And, yet, even though I thought I was doing it for me, it also helped them to feel safe and secure.

From the time we are all very young, we learn to grasp things with our hands. We learn to value the many things we can do with our hands. We use them to help each other. We use them to feel safe by grabbing the hand of another, we use them to feel connected, to write, to build, and to create beautiful things. We use them to show love, care, a sense of connection, and value to another person or living thing. And, we use our hands to heal each other.

When my hubby and I were first dating, we held hands as we walked and anytime we wanted to feel close. Now we hold hands while watching a movie or shows, when we pray before meals, and when we just yearn for that connection.

It’s about saying your presence helps me feel better without actually speaking the words. What we can do with our hands has always been something that I hold dear to my heart and so the other day when I was watching the show The Good Doctor, my attention was drawn toward the lesson Shaun was experiencing. Shaun’s character portrays a person with autism who is also a doctor.

I enjoy this show very much from the standpoint of a special education teacher who worked with, taught and learned valuable insight from many individuals with autism. I saw the daily struggles they dealt with when it came to understanding and not understanding social and life cues.

In the show, Shaun is uncomfortable with the sense of touch. He is slowly learning that it feels good to hold someone’s hand…that it gives him and the other person a way to connect and to feel support and even though he feels strange about it, he is also discovering it’s benefits.

Holding hands can also be therapeutic simply by taking the hand of someone who is dealing with fear, facing danger, or someone who is grieving…it’s a way for them to know that someone ‘has their back’, is right there with them and they are not alone.

We were never meant to go through life alone. When I think of the many times that someone has helped me feel better simply by using their hands, I feel valued, blessed, and loved and that is a beautiful feeling…one that I want to not only receive but also to give.

Lessons learned: I am so thankful for all the caring and loving people in my life that express themselves and their care of others by using their hands. It reminds me to watch out for others and to show care to those in need of love, healing, a connection to another, or to feel safe. There is a famous song by the Beatles called…I Want To Hold Your Hand. It’s a gentle reminder that we have it in us to let others know how much we care simply by taking their hand. We were never meant to go through this life alone. We were meant to give each other a helping and loving hand.

For A Reason, For A Season

They say…that friends come into our lives for a season and for a reason. I know this sounds cliche’ but this is one of life’s true and universal statements. It’s also true that many people come into our lives for a purpose. Maybe it’s just to drop a little message to us that we need to hear or to give us an example of how to be or how not to be…but the intention is to make an impact on us in some way.

Friends I thought I would stay best friends with for my entire life are either no longer a part of my life or scarce…and friends I never expected to be friends with have become mainstays. Life is like that…always changing and many times…it’s not what we expect. But I am thankful for each of them and for what we have brought to each other’s lives.

In all of these cases, each friend has enriched and blessed my life in some way. Many have taught me, many have helped me become a better person, many have brought joy to my life and have helped me through some battered times. And, only a few have brought hardship, hurt, and sadness yet they too were here for a reason, I accept that, and THANKFULLY only for the season 🙂 I, in turn hope that I have done some good in their lives. Although, I have to admit that friendship is one of the things I feel like I don’t ‘do’ well. 🙂

But, there is a story I would like to tell you, about a woman who did have the whole friendship thing down although I believe, she too, would have said she didn’t feel like she was good at it. She was pretty humble. Her name was Anne and she was the epitome of friendship. She was kind, helpful and caring and she was genuine. When she was thinking about me, she would pick up the phone and call me. She enouraged me and I hope I did the same for her. When she would visit me, we would sit at the kitchen table talking about anything and everything sometimes into the night and into the early hours of the morning. She encouraged me to be me, to go on adventures, and to love and care for others. She had ‘my back’ and I had hers in the good times and in the not so good times. And, here’s the thing…I wasn’t Anne’s best friend but I felt loved by her, included and valued by her and to me, that is what friendship is all about.

I remember one such time in my life where my little family and I were ‘hit hard’. I couldn’t talk to anyone, I was immobilized by the tragedy at hand, heartbroken, and stuck in grief but she wouldn’t give up. She kept calling until I picked up the phone and she got me talking, crying, and even laughing, and working through the loss of our unborn baby. She is no longer in my life although the impact she made on it is visible every single day of it.

My HOPE for all of you is that you have many friendships where you feel loved and valued by another simply because you are YOU ❤ Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Lessons learned… Cherish the people, the friends, in your life in each moment and cherish those who stay in your life in all circumstances.

The Stories In Our Town

There is this woman who works the farm and ranch right across from our city hall. I have seen this woman out multiple times over the few years that we have lived here working her land and I have often wondered about the life she lives when I see her on the huge hay thrasher that tends to dwarf her five foot petite frame. What brought this 50 something woman with a long blond ponytail and a hat to shade her eyes to live this life. As I drive in to town, I see her harvesting her hay or using some other piece of farming equipment and sometimes see her near the corral where her gray stallion and the other beautiful horses gallop around and, I wonder, what’s the story here. Is she there working the land and managing her horses alone or is there an entire family in that big house on the hill?

I mentioned my curiosity about her at a party on Sunday night and many of the long time residents of our little town filled in the blanks for me. She has lived there for many, many years and has grown and harvested the hay for as long as they remember. It is her farm and ranch. She also enters competitions for her hay and raises it for that purpose and to sell it.

Now, with my new knowledge, my thoughts of her interesting life are of me wondering if she knows the pleasure and the joy she gives others simply by doing what she is most passionate about. When the land is a bright green color, it is breathtaking to see. I think the reason she intrigues me so much is because she chose a path not often taken, a path that brought her out in nature and a path that brings joy to herself and to others.

I have also learned many a lesson from her over the couple of years we have been here. Here are a few snippets…do what you love, keep a strong work ethic as the rewards are great, think out of the box…who knew there was a competition for hay? :-), and the big one…you can do anything you set your mind to doing.

Have a wonderful rest of the week! And, may you find the things you want to do in life and have the courage to do them!

I Accept

Photo credit: pexels.com

I have finally reached the point of ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance of the way things are that I have no control over. Acceptance of health I have or don’t have, acceptance that, if I don’t accept things and start preserving my health, I really can’t move on to where I want and need to be. I must accept the physical limitations to reach where I have always wanted to be. This stage…I call, my journey home. Home to the life I have always dreamed of and where I feel free to be me. It will accompany the 3rd Act we are now living here in the country. My life has been a very blessed one so far but I tend to try to do more physically than is healthy for me. I had always pushed hard because anything less than that would be, to me, failure.

Years ago, I remember reading a story about a man who was well along into living his life. He had just been accepted to medical school and on the evening of the second day of classes, he was at the pool with friends and did a high dive off the diving board. His life changed in an instant. Little did he know as he was experiencing that feeling of exhilaration in a free fall dive in to the water that he would not come back up on his own. The dive broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the waist down with only limited use of his hands and arms. His story could have ended there but it didn’t as Charles Krauthammer persevered and would go on to graduate with his original Harvard Medical School class and become chief resident in his final year of residency. He graduated as a psychiatrist and went on to discover a mental illness related to bipolar disorder, but a secondary disorder that could eventually signal dementia in older adults. His discovery in this area led him the following year to delve into the epidemiology of bipolar disorder and this published research actually launched his career into psychiatric research and landed him in Washington, D.C. to work with the Carter administration. At that time, he began to pen essays that got him the attention that would later build his career as a political columnist. His famous words as a person and as a psychiatrist are what resonate with me each and every time I start to feel down about the things I can’t do right now.

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, columnist
Photo credit: google images

His words regarding his accident…”my one bad break.” Overall, I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand.” “I have given what happened 100% ACCEPTANCE”…”All it means is whatever I do is a little bit harder and a little bit slower,: and that’s basically it…everybody has their cross to bear…everybody.” He also said “I made a vow when I was injured that it would never be what would characterize my life.”

His words speak to my heart and remind me to remember the lessons learned. Always be grateful for what you have, find solutions for a great life within your circumstances, create a focus that makes a positive impact on the world, let your voice be heard, and always strive for the dreams you are wanting to achieve.

So, if I seem to be a bit more scarce these days it is that I am picking, choosing, and being selective in the activities I choose to be a part of. I know that I cannot keep physically pushing hard like I have been doing and so I am now choosing to “do the things I can and forget about the things that I can’t” do or would be too much for me. So, please do not feel neglected and feel free to reach out to me if I haven’t reached out to you in a while. Hugs to all <3, have a wonderful and love filled day ❤

Lil’ Blue and The Hummingbirds

Lil’ Blue has been frequenting our patio hummingbird feeder for two summers now. Last summer he would follow along with his friend Greenie. We haven’t seen Greenie much this year but Lil’ Blue comes around at least two or three times a day.

Lately, he stops, midair, and just looks at me sitting below.

Each day he gets closer and closer to where I sit and we have short conversations…he is always the listener in the convo though while he flutters. When he comes solely to drink he arrives with a friend, they dive to the feeder, Blue drinks first, darts to the big oak tree and his friend sips from the feeder then chases after Lil’ Blue.

I recently saw some information about the characteristics and behaviors of hummingbirds and our hummingbirds just don’t fit the mold as they do like to spend time together. It almost appears as if they are best buddies or maybe family.

Fun facts, behaviors, and characteristics of the hummingbird...

Hummingbirds are not found in Europe, Asia, Australia, or Antarctica.

Hummingbirds are called hummingbirds because of the sound they create by their rapidly beating wings. I just love that sound.

A flock of hummingbirds is called a charm, a glittering, or a bouquet. Well of course! They are very ‘charming’ even by themselves😊.

A female hummingbird will many times make more than one nest using the extra one as a decoy to keep herself and her eggs safe from predators. They are fierce protectors of their young ones. Just like most human mammas.

Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop. Ha!, maybe that is why we relate so well with each other😊

Hummingbirds have strong recall capabilities. They are very smart and are able to remember people and places from year to year. I feel like I have a real connection with these little ‘guys’.

They are able to see things into the ultraviolet range and are attracted to the color red. Yet another reason I love them❤️.

Many of them sport beautiful colors such as Greenie💚. She has the most beautiful green I have seen in a long time all along her back and chest. And, we gave Lil Blue his name because of his blue body.

I found the above picture on Pinterest and it comes the closest to what Greenie amd Lil Blue look like.

They are the only bird that can fly backwards. Another reason we get along so well. They like to do things differently. They are the smallest migrating bird and they are known to travel alone for up to 500 miles at a time. I, too, love traveling many miles at a time😄.

Hummingbirds can travel as fast as 30 mph and when in a dive, up to 60 mph.

Despite their smallness, they are a very aggressive bird and have been known to attack much larger birds like crows, jay, and even hawks. The other day while Lil’ Blue was visiting me, a wasp came up. At that point, Lil’ Blue went to the feeder, the wasp followed and Lil’ Blue attacked him. The wasp flew on quickly. You just don’t mess with Lil’ Blue or any of the hummingbirds. I also saw him and another bird fluttering about in the tree. That bird was much bigger but Lil’ Blue didn’t hesitate to ‘push’ him out of the way.

I’ve learned many a lesson by watching and interacting with these beautiful, smart, and courageous birds.

I’ve learned to have courage and to stand up for what I need and place boundaries in ‘my territory’ (my space, my time, my life so that others don’t trample). I’ve learned to be strong and stand up for what is right especially if someone is doing wrong to another. I’ve learned to slow down and interact with nature.

Another lesson learned: ‘do what you can and not be concerned about the things that you can’t’ do. These amazing birds use what they have and do quite well.

And, one of the biggest lessons learned from these tiny little creatures is to use all our senses, talents, gifts and attributes we are given to experience life to its fullest each and every day.

Have a wonderful rest of the week☀️💚☀️, take some time to look around and enjoy the beauty and lessons.

The Kitchen

‘The Kitchen is The Heart of every Bakery, every Diner, every Restaurant and every HOME’

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The kitchen…

In every home we have lived in, the kitchen has meant a great deal to me. It’s where I can create wonderful dishes for my guests and my family to enjoy. Traditions were and are created in all of our kitchens. The pictures you see are of my last kitchen where most of our traditions originated and a large majority of our celebrations came to life.

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It will always be one of my favorite places as I spent 23 years in this one creating so many recipes. This kitchen is where the kids helped me create special dishes like the Christmas Eve lasagna that soon became a favorite… and where we created and baked treats. It’s where my mom and dad made jelly and homemade bread with mine and my sister’s kids. This kitchen hosted many a holiday and many early weekend mornings baking. This kitchen is where the first Mickey Cake originated thanks to Maurice Sendak’s book called “In The Night Kitchen”. He was one of our favorite authors when our children were little. It’s where we perfected our chocolate fudge recipe together…first with my daughter, then with my son. It’s where they both learned to cook.

A new tradition begins tomorrow. In my kitchen I have now, I will be making peach jam for the first time and I will be making Tabouli (Tabbouleh). It is one of my son’s favorites and it brings back memories of the Mediterranean market that he and I would frequent on Saturday mornings and we’d go to their kitchen and order our Tabouli, hummus, and sometimes the meats that the chef would make to take home or to friends’ places to share. The chef there always made us feel welcome as if we were walking into his own kitchen in his home. He would sit us down and have us try different things he prepared that day. It was a wonderful experience. And, so, I will make this Tabouli to take for my son to enjoy when we visit him soon.

Now you see why I know that the kitchen is the heart of every home, every bakery, every restaurant, and every diner. There are so many stories that revolve around ‘the kitchen.’ It is what brings people back asking for more of, not just the food, but also the atmosphere, the fun, the feelings, and the celebrations. The kitchen feeds the family, the friend, the guests and teaches our children lifelong skills, as it also feeds our souls by building relationships, traditions, and memories.

Wishing all of you many happy experiences in the kitchens that have become a part of your lives.

Happy Tuesday!

For The Love of TEXAS!!

We Texans take our state very seriously. When you hear the words “Texas Proud” it stands for our love♥️ of ‘all things Texas’. And, when you hear the words, “Don’t Mess With Texas” you’re probably thinking we are saying ‘don’t litter’ since that’s how the motto was born…as a slogan to keep Texas free of litter. But, it stands for so much more than that. It’s the way we feel when someone talks bad about where we live and when they try to do our state harm. We are fiercely proud. We here in Texas are proud to be here, proud of our rights, proud of our freedoms, Proud of our traditions, proud to be Americans, proud of our lakes and rivers, our wildflowers and our music.

We are proud of our state bird and all the other land and water birds that in-habitat our state.

Area lakes

Texas bluebonnets Northern Mockingbird

Texas Roadrunner

Dallas skyline

We are proud of Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio and all the other little cities with many named after other countries or other places. There are so many small cities that we started to run out of names and so we started naming them thing like Italy and Paris which actually has its own Eiffel Tower right in the middle of town. We are proud of our ranches, our farms our livestock and in our case, living the country life and let’s not forget our Friday night high school football and our college football. But, I would have to say one of the things we are most proud of is our Texas BBQ and that is one thing no one gets to mess with.

Recently, a San Antonio politician tried to do just that and it backfired on him. Politics and BBQ don’t mix when you are telling people to boycott one of the best BBQ places around. It only works if you are hosting a big BBQ and that’s when people come out and droves and you will find lots of fans. Feed people Texas BBQ and many times you’ll have a friend for life.

The other thing we are noted for is sitting on the front porch with a glass of tea, sweet or otherwise, or an ice cold beer with family and friends. And, it’s the best life ever.

Texas, you are my safe place, the place where I feel most loved, the place where I feel most comfortable and most happy. You, Texas, give me everything I’ve been looking for in my life. I’m so proud to call this my home for 25+ years.

TEXAS PROUD❤️💙

Oh The Places We go…

Oh the places we go and the fun we have had…Each picture we take, each beautiful thing we see has its own story to tell and when it comes to nature, the stories are endless. Road trips can be amazing when it comes to all the beauty you get to see.

Years ago when two of my sisters and I were living in San Diego in my parents’ home as young teenagers, we were playing the question game. One of the questions that came up was…what if you lost one of your senses? Which one, out of all the others, would you not want to lose. I said, “my sight” as I had always enjoyed the beautiful things that I encountered every day. For a few years after that when I was diagnosed with a progressive incurable eye disease, I (we) all thought I would, after all, have to learn to live without my sight but then seven years into the diagnosis, the drusen stopped depositing itself on my optic nerve and has since gone into remission. I tell this story to contribute to my ‘lessons learned’ because what I did discover during that scary time was how it gave me a stronger sense of love and value of the beauty all around me.

Recently, we took a small road trip…just the hubby and I and what you see below are the many beautiful things we discovered. Each one has a story to tell as we adventured out to the Ozarks of Arkansas.

IN EVERYTHING, THERE IS BEAUTY…Cherish the beauty that surrounds you. Never take it for granted as it too, has a very important purpose in LIFE.

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I have a very strong love for animals, especially horses and birds, and I do love to talk with many of them. I also have a love for forests, bridges, barns, trains, tunnels, and most bodies of water.

Have a wonderful rest of your day and week! Seek the beauty in all you see. It soothes the soul. ☀️💚☀️💚☀️

The Time Is Now

My mind is saying “I want to fly, I want to SOAR, I want to be as free as a butterfly and discover this world to the fullest.

I took these pictures last week. They remind me of how carefree I have always longed to be but never could be and how I still want to SOAR like a butterfly or a bird!

I have this incredible drive to experience all things life.

And yet, my body is telling me something else. I literally have not been out of my house in days.

I did not expect to be hit so hard from this past week of fun as I do have a routine that helps me to sustain this wonderful lifestyle of mine.

But since this has happened, I decided today to give others a view from the inside as to what it’s like to live this very different life. It’s time to make my voice heard to give others a better understanding.

There are some very important things to know about people who live daily with a chronic illness. It has only been in the last few years that I, personally have started to accept that I even have chronic illnesses as I had been in denial for so many years most likely since I was eight years old. I am sure there are many others out there just like me😊.

The message below says it well for all of us dealing with extra stuff and feeling like we can’t measure up because we can’t keep up…

When it comes down to it, we all need that fundamental right…that sense of belonging, to be respected, and feel valued on a regular basis. And, we all need each other. These rights and feelings hold extra meaning to people who have daily struggles because we are treated differently. Many times we experience feeling ‘invisible’ because we can’t keep up and are different, others treat us as if we are ‘less than’ or merely incapable of doing things or making decisions for ourselves. We are excluded from activities that require endurance, normal physical abilities, and strong independence yet we are some of the most independent and emotionally strong people out there. Our chronic issues are what have made us stronger, more courageous, and more independent. That is what I want others to see. I want others to understand that we have the same needs as everyone else and many times the same wants.

Like I said in the beginning of this blog, for as long as I remember, I have longed to ‘fly and soar’ and experience the world. It’s kind of ironic that I would be given this passion for life and yet only be able to experience it more slowly and more well planned than most. But, I guess I was given that drive to remind me to keep pushing on in the face of adversity and for that I am grateful.

And, so, ‘lessons learned’😊, I go into this week with new boundaries set in place and with the knowledge my struggle is real, isn’t everyone’s😎 and I must remember it every day and if on the outside it looks like I am sometimes unfriendly, not social, or showing isolating tendencies, it might be because I am fighting hard that day to remain significant and to enjoy ‘all things life’ in the way that I can.

And, so, for now, I will embrace these new lessons and keep The HOPE!

Have a wonderful week and remember to find the HOPE and the JOY that life brings no matter what your circumstances are. ☀️💚☀️

The Orchard

We discovered this hidden gem called the Chairy Orchard last week when my niece was visiting. Oh to be young again!

There is this quote that says…”when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, and I reasoned as a child.” Yet, for me,when I was a child, I spoke, understood, and reasoned like an adult and now that I am an adult, I speak, understand, and reason like a child and an adult would in many cases. I like to keep life adventurous, full of fun, and full of joy. It used to bother me that I was so different and then I realized that I had the best of both worlds all of my life. I consider myself an ‘old soul’ and being an ‘old soul’, I totally understood the fun Chairy Orchard brought to our world. It is a chance to be a little different, to be a little creative, and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

I value looking ‘outside of the box’. I give advice that sometimes even surprises me that I thought of it. I think things through and don’t waste time asking why it is, I just accept that it is. When I go out, it’s well thought out on what I want to experience. I see no need to be unnecessarily stressed and find ways to minimize my stress unless it’s there for a good reason. I love meeting new people and I value having deep connections in my relationships. I am a lifelong learner and I don’t get into the latest craze…it usually bores me. I value the company of those much older than I am and am constantly being told that I am such a calm person. I also love and truly understand what it means to give. These are all traits of an ‘old soul.’

In an interview with the women who established Chairy Orchard, they were asked why? What’s it for? What’s it all about? And, there answer was there is no reason. It’s all about having fun and being creative and for others to enjoy and decide what they want to get from it. 🙂

People come to Chairy Orchard for a date, to be proposed to, to be a kid again, and to relax and enjoy a completely different type of fun.

Have a wonderful weekend! I hope you have some fun this Friday enjoying photos from Chairy Orchard.

A Day At The Lake

One of the sailboats from our local sailboat club

Blue Heron

A part of the island where we like to beach the boat

The dam between the two large lakes near us

More pictures of the island. This is the peninsula that we could stand on but it’s still underwater in the middle of July. No standing on it now😎

Across from the island we love and where the blue herons love to be

‘To Be Nobody But Yourself’

Now, that is life and in my opinion the only way to live it.

There’s this really good Volvo commercial that talks about being ‘nobody but yourself. Life seems to just work when you are yourself. It’s so much better not to have a conflicted mind and body.

A while back I saw something on the show Seal Team where one of the Seals says he feels like he has spent his whole life living up to everyone else’s expectation and in doing so, he figures he doesn’t even know who he really is. He has spent every day trying to be somebody he is not and has been waging a war within himself.

Don’t do that!!! Be YOU!!! Stand out! Live up to your own expectations and when you have the chance to be vulnerable with someone, take it. If for some reason they don’t like it or don’t respond to you sharing about life then that’s on them, not you. You just keep on being you. Value yourself enough to not bend to what others want you to be. Be authentic you. The person you were created to be. When you do that, your soul comes alive and becomes excited about life.

Remember too, that you, before anyone else, knows your value so don’t let someone who doesn’t know your value tell you your worth. They don’t know you like you know yourself. YOU are the expert. You know all about your gifts, your talents, your things you want to work on, and your character. YOU know how to apply all of those to the real world…sure you can seek guidance from others to help you but you know what is best. When you stay true to you, work hard, go after your dreams, and plan your journey, your story starts to unfold and life becomes a blessing. You find the people meant to be in your life, you find people start to accept and love you as you are, you find opportunities to be you just about everywhere you go and you live each day building upon the past day and moving forward with a focused attitude knowing what you are looking for and knowing how to make it happen.

To me, it is the only way to live, walking in the shoes and along the path that works for you. As you journey each day, take this reminder with you…to be ‘nobody but yourself.’

Note: this text from my son on Tuesday came with a lesson that ties in well with this post. It’s about a katydid that stayed on his car from work all the way to his home.

“…they’re meant to camouflage with foliage but he decided that he wanted to stand out as much as possible on my blue car 😂 ‘even at 60 mph.’ I think we could maybe all learn a lesson from this katydid.” “He’s still there chillin”

Lesson learned! We all spend so much time camouflaging ourselves that we forget to stand out and just ‘chill.’ Be bold!

‘Real Neat Blog Award’

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Thank you for nominating me https://decorcraftdesign.com/ for the Real Neat Blog Award! I have really enjoyed following Mel’s blog. She has some great ideas…go check out her latest. The history behind the award is that it was started back in 2014 by Dear Kitty 1, to recognize bloggers for their sites.

The rules of Real Neat Blog Award are:

• Put the award logo on your blog.

• Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

• Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.

• Nominate any number of people, linking to their blogs and let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.

• Come up with 7 questions for the people you nominated.

https://decorcraftdesign.com/ questions for the Real Neat Blog Award nominees are:

1. What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done? rock climbing

2. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done? instilled the love of adventure and the love of learning in our children

3. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? traveled around the country in one vacation

4. What is your best feature as a person? my personality and my desire to help others

5. What is the best thing your blog can offer to readers? ‘lessons learned’

6. What does summer means to you? warm weather, beautiful sunsets, swim and lake time

7. What does coastal means to you? anywhere along the oceans and beauty

Here are the questions for anyone who wants to do it…and for the bloggers listed below.

  1. What brings you happiness?
  2. Where is your favorite place to travel to?
  3. What is your favorite food?
  4. When you blog, who is your audience?
  5. What is your biggest accomplishment in life?
  6. What is your favorite type of blog to follow?
  7. What motivates you each day?

My nominees for The Real Neat Blog Award are:

http://dreamgoexplore.wordpress.com/

https://ajeanneinthekitchen.com/

http://tonyburgess1969.net/

http://aquietandpeaceablelifeblog.wordpress.com/

Sunset In Our Little Town and ‘Cotton Candy Clouds’

check out the beautiful pink hues…

A Cup Of Tea Beneath My Tree

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today” said Pooh. “There, there” said Piglet, “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”

Sipping on my tea under the big oak tree…I can understand what Pooh means and how very smart Piglet is. Tea and honey make all things better. 🙂

Over ten years ago we visited Victoria, Canada and it was then that I fully fell in love with morning and afternoon teas. We felt the same way when we visited Banff, Golden, Calgary, Jasper, and other places near there. But it isn’t the tea itself that entices me into this ritual of having tea. It’s the feel of the tea cup in my hands, The feel of it when it touches my mouth, and the drinking of it. It is a comfort drink but really its more than that as it calms me and slows me down to enjoy life just a little more. I enjoy the same feeling from drinking coffee but yet there is something more magical about having a cup of tea. It’s the elegance of tea parties and the time spent with those I care about while sipping on different flavored teas that have made me become a tea connoisseur. It’s also my love of Canada and the Canadian culture and my love of Europe that brings me more to the tea.

It’s the sharing of great conversations while sipping on tea or having a tea party. It’s the delicateness And beauty of the teapots and the teacups.

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And, it’s the way that a cup of tea or even a glass of tea can change the mood and the attitude of an entire day.

Have a wonderful Tuesday enjoying life! My hope for you today is that you have a ‘Piglet’ Or many Piglets in your life too… <3. Piglets’ are a special breed. The make you feel valued and loved.

☀️💚☀️

💙♥️Happy Independence Day America💙♥️

If there is one thing America loves to do, it is…CELEBRATE!

with as big a bang as we can get. We like celebrations…most of us do anyways. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small or in between, our goal is the prettier the better and what better way to see ‘pretty’ than to light up the sky with colors and say: Look at us! we are here, we are celebrating our freedom, our independence, and the lives each of us have made. We are proud to be Americans.

Does America have problems, sure, of course, everywhere does but those problems we have that you see in the news aren’t necessarily real. And, it’s hard to know what is real. Yesterday I saw two news stories on the same subject and they contradicted each other. Some stories are, to an extent, made up to tell the story the news outlet wants you to hear and to respond to emotionally. My point is…sometimes it’s very important to be extra careful when it comes to what you believe.

So, as we Americans celebrate our Independence today, let’s remember those famous words of one of our poets…”we are more alike than we are different” (thank you Maya Angelo) and we are definitely more UNITED than we are divided.

I am proud to be an American because most of us in this country are what we here in the South call “good people”. We are the strangers who reach out to lend a helping hand when a fellow American is in need, we are the neighbors who check on each other and gather together in great times and yes, in tragic times, good people can be found all over America helping another simply because the help is needed. Good people and of course our military and first responders are all the unsung heros of America. They are the ones who don’t make the news…they go about quietly doing good and building up the people and the country they love and live in.

So, when you hear the news coming from and about America, think about all the aforementioned people because in America, it’s usually the negative news and the squeaky wheel that seems to get the grease and gets picked up by the news outlets.

And, when you think of the United States of America know that most of us treat each other really well. We respect, accept, and care about each other. That is the America I know. All of us are like that except for those noisy, angry, few that twist things and try to divide us and who consistently try to give our country a bad image.

Have a happy and blessed day. Best wishes to all of you ♥️🇺🇸💙

❤️💙Proud to be an American💙♥️

To all my readers from 54 countries and to those in America, I say thank you for finding me and reading my blog. I appreciate ALL of you and since going public with this blog, I have learned so much about our wonderful world from many of you. Thank you!

☀️💚☀️💚☀️💚☀️💚☀️💚☀️💚

The Simple Things Of Life

Photo credit goes to my very talented daughter❣️

Since I was still feeling the effects of the week this past weekend, we slowed down and enjoyed the simple things in life. We relaxed on the patio near the oak tree…

photo credit: goes to my talented daughter…

went for a drive, spent time in my happy place(the pool), watched this movie called The Park Bench and, on Saturday morning, I felt up to going to the local community market. I chose the market as I unfortunately had to miss the fun Freedom Fest put on by our little town.

In the movie we watched, the actor was talking about the American dream and how he worked picking strawberries ten hours a day. Those words and the fresh fruit and vegetables found at the market got me in to a ‘lesson learned’ moment.

I have a visual memory and as the man on the bench in the movie talked on about working ten hour days picking strawberries, I could picture him doing just that and when he said ‘it is hot, back breaking work,’ I really understood since I know the feeling of the body saying enough…as the pain sets in.

After visiting the community market in the heat, I started thinking about what it took to bring the fruits and vegetables to market. The hard work to toil the land, plant the seeds, tend to the crop as it grows, picking the ripe fruits and vegetables, sorting and putting into baskets all the food, and setting up the tables at the market. There was also a jam maker there. She grows and picks her own blackberries and then makes them into jam, pours them into jars, and comes to market. When I think of the work and the diligence it takes to bring the final product to market, I realize the true value of the process each person took before I saw them on Saturday morning sitting at their tables selling their goods. I decided that from now on, I will make an extra effort to think about the process…what went in to each encounter I have and to try to value it as each experience comes at me each day.

I can take it another step further and think about the effort someone else made to build this place so that I can be sitting here on my patio looking out at the beautiful flowers

Photo credit goes to my creative and talented daughter…

and the oak tree I sit under and where the visiting kids and some grownups have fun on the swing. And, even further, each time I take a bite of food, I want to savor it knowing that someone worked hard to get it to me all the way from it’s seed to it being ready to be picked and delivered.

And, what about the effort to make the sno-cones we picked up on Sunday from the stand that was right next to the fireworks stand. I know well the process they went through to put it in my hands as my family owned an ice cream parlor as kids and the parlor had a sno-cone machine in it. As kids, we worked in that ice cream parlor with it providing us with our first job experiences. Back then, we had to drive down to the French Quarter in New Orleans to pick up the ice to be used. As we waited for our sno-cones on Sunday, I knew the stand where we bought them had to get the ice, open the shop, get the syrups ready and so on and it made it so much more enjoyable thinking about it as we ate our pretty multicolored sno-cones.

This type of thinking could go on and on…now my thoughts wander to my wonderful happy place and the crystal clear water in it and as I swim across it I can open my eyes and see where I am and I can feel the cool water as it surrounds me. The process to bring me and my pool this clear water is not an easy one and I want to remember to be grateful for all the time and work each person has put in so that I (we) can enjoy it.

And, so, my lesson learned today is don’t take anything for granted. Enjoy it all! Be grateful for all the work others do to make all of our lives a little easier. Remember the value each has by remembering the process it took.

This thought and lesson can also be applied to all the beauty around me and even if it seems like we are merely enjoying the simple things of life, each took a long journey and path to get to where they are today for me(us) to use, to enjoy, and to consume.

Have a blessed and bountiful Tuesday filled with many people, wonderful things and experiences! I am forever grateful for all of you who take the time to read my blog. I hope that you have enjoyed today’s post!☀️💚☀️

It’s Not A “Pollyanna” Kind of Day

Okay readers, fair warning 🙂 This is another one of those “dear soul, last night I heard you crying posts” I am not always a “Pollyanna” although I do try to find the sunny side of things in ‘all things life’ but some days are just incredibly tough to apply that philosophy to…with yesterday being one of those days. In my blog…dear soul, last night I heard you crying written a couple of years ago, I experienced a really rough night of physical pain because I pushed too hard for too long.

And, so last night I wanted to yell, Oh Monday!, How could you? (My hubby says I need to show the other side of life in my blog because life isn’t always ‘high’, it also comes with ‘lows’)

Yesterday, I found myself experiencing a day like the one two years ago. Since it was Monday, I am blaming it on Mondays because “rainy days and Mondays always get me down…” 🙂 or so the song says!

Video credit goes to You Tube – 12Mulligan

After all, it WAS Monday yesterday and it ended up being one of the toughest pain days…no need to go in to detail…and it felt as if the world sped up as soon as I woke up and when I jumped on I couldn’t get my footing. Things were coming at me so quickly. There were unexpected phone calls and texts, ‘fires’ to put out, pain to manage, heartache, and just plain being needed everywhere. I kept pushing on throughout the day knowing it wasn’t the right way to go. I couldn’t stay focused on one thing as other tasks were demanding my attention and I definitely felt the pressure. I knew I was heading in the wrong direction with each and every move I made. I knew I needed to stop but I didn’t and I kept spiraling downward FAST! And, yet, I stayed in that mode. I had neglected myself, pushed how I felt aside, took care of the most immediate issues and quickly moved on feeling lost and overwhelmed…yes, LOST!

That was my soul saying: ENOUGH! There had been so many hurdles to face on Monday and I wasn’t ready for them. That’s why, at the end of Monday after being blasted by so many things during the day, I basically ‘crashed’ and I lost my sense of purpose.

Do you know what it took for me to come back from that? Just the simple act of someone caring. All it took was someone saying to me ‘how can I make your life easier right now?’ And, that simple question came from my hubby. He took over and I could feel the oxygen coming back into my lungs. I could step back and breathe a little and let someone else ‘take the wheel’. In doing that, I slowed down, managed the pain…both kinds, and by the end of the night, I was even laughing again. Sometimes, I get so caught up in helping, managing, doing, and accomplishing that I forget the most important thing.

So,what is the lesson here?

Lesson Learned: When you see someone having trouble, in pain, or struggling…simply ask, how can I help? and be ready to jump in so they can listen to what their soul is telling them it needs. Sometimes, we forget to slow down and just breathe and it takes the kindness and caring of someone else to get us to look at things differently and do what our soul is telling us to do. We are all in this together ❤

Today, I am thankful for the helpers, thankful for those who jump right in, thankful for all the people in my life, and thankful for the many lessons I learn…especially the ones I learn on Tuesdays 🙂

Random Act of Kindness Award…I feel honored

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
raok

http://talktodanyah.wordpress.com/ Thank you for this honor and nominating me for The Random Acts of Kindness Award💗

Rules:

  • Thank the person nominating you, and tag them.
  • Write a paragraph or more on the experience of an act of kindness or something you have read or seen, or done, yourself
  • Nominate three people who have to follow the rules and do the same as written above
  • Paste and copy the picture from above on your post. Let the people you nominated know they have been nominated

An ACT OF KINDNESS

We have a friend who lives near us. This beautiful southern lady is in her late 70’s and her life consists of one random act of kindness after another. It’s how she lives. She sees a need, she fills it. When she fills it, she has this ability that encourages others to do the same…you know…paying it forward and it creates a ripple effect. She stops by neighbor’s houses unannounced. Her visits are the best. She checks on people. She stops and buys eggs from the local farmer and distributes them to people because she sees a need or just to brighten their day. She is the ‘clothes for the homeless gatherer’ and ‘food for the shelter collector.’ People will stop by her home with things to give and she puts it in her trunk and delivers the clothes and food to the big town near us. She brings people together for community by hosting lunches and dinner parties and game nights. She volunteers at her church to help those in the drug rehabilitation center in town. She knows when someone isn’t feeling well emotionally or physically and she places herself ‘up front and center’ to help. She reaches out to others with her daily random acts of kindness and brings sunshine and joy to others each day. We are all blessed by her presence in our lives.

Now for the nominating…There are so many people that follow my blog that are deserving of A Kindness Award…many who have ‘made my day’ more often than not. I will nominate three people in keeping with the theme of this award and hope that ya’ll know that I feel blessed by all of you ❤

http://aquietandpeaceablelifeblog.wordpress.com/

http://betulerbasi.wordpress.com/

http://frontporchwriter.wordpress.com

The 3, 2, 1 “Quote Me” Challenge ~ Determination

Photo and graphic credit goes to : brainy quote

So, the blogger who nominated me for this challenge is none other than kagould17 🙂 His real name is Allan but I really like referring to him as kagould when I share his stories with my hubby. Thank you Allan 🙂 I enjoy his life experiences in his photoblography so much and look forward to each new post. He is now on his fifth blog spot https://blographytoo.photo.blog/ and has written over 580 posts since he started blogging. His photography of his life experiences, his travels, and especially all the beauty of Canada are a wonderful treat for the eyes. Canada is one of my all time favorite places in this world and he captures it beautifully. Go and check him out!

The person that created this challenge is Rory.

Here’s the rules for accepting this challenge

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Share your 2 favourite quotes on the relevant topic.
  4. Nominate 3 other bloggers.

The topic I was given to offer two quotes for is Determination!

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" ~Wayne Gretzy ...so, take the shot!

 “There are three things, to my account, that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.” ~Matthew Mcconaughey

My Nominees

http://windsofchange18.wordpress.com/

http://intoandoutoftheblue.wordpress.com/

https://intothelightadventures.com/

My topic for your 2 quotes is Wonder!

Enjoy☀️💚☀️!

Don’t Let It Slip Away…

Don’t let it slip away. LIVE A LIFE YOU WILL REMEMBER …and one where you are making memories with those in your ‘circle, your tribe’…for one day, you’ll leave this world behind…

Cherish your day and all those in it. And, when it’s over…say thanks for the memories and thank those who were wanting to be a part of it.

Today’s blog is dedicated to one of my kindred spirits, a close friend, she was also one of my ‘soul sisters’ and I felt honored to be one of hers.

She was a beautiful soul that blessed this earth for too short of time. Kindred spirits, defined, are our confidantes and soul sisters. They are those people that we find ourselves feeling the most comfortable with….those individuals that we allow ourselves to feel the most vulnerable with. We share our deepest secrets with them and they with us. We connect well and when talking, hardly ever experience a lull in conversation. There are many conversations, and we forget to check the time when we are together because our time together is so meaning filled and so much more important and enjoyable than anything else. We are energized by their presence and they by ours.

Kindred spirits bring us happiness, joy, and contentment because they give us a sense of belonging, a sense of value, and confidence and empowerment.

Photo credit: pixels.com

A few months back one of my kindred spirits and I had appointments with doctors the same week. As the week went on, she went silent. She didn’t respond to my texts and her online presence became nonexistent. I began to worry. When she did talk to me she first asked how my appointment had gone and when I asked about hers…I immediately knew that mine had gone far better than hers. Within seconds we had both received news that would change our lives, hers was life ending and mine was life altering. I knew it without her even saying it. She said it was not the news she had hoped for and that she needed some time before she talked about it. It was then that I knew, we were on the downward path. I had hoped we could have walked this journey together as well but, in the end, she chose to surround herself with only her family. We never said goodbye not even then always leaving each other with the “see you later” salutation but, really, we never needed to either and she knew that too. We were kindred spirits.

My heart was heavy these last few days. She is gone but now, free from pain and free from the hardship life had given her with her illness. I am thankful for the memories, thankful for our wonderful friendship, grateful for her unique perspective and I’m happy to have been a part of her journey on this earth and grateful to have known her and so, I say to her if she can ‘hear’ me now…thanks for the memories and for being in my life and “I’ll see you later♥️.”

I am lucky enough to have eight women in my life that fit this definition. I feel allowed to be free to be me and I feel comfortable in who I am around them. When we are together, we all get to be genuine and that is a gift and a real treat in this life. So, instead of feeling sorrow over having lost this wonderful friend, my heart is filled with gratitude of time well spent while together and sharing all that we valued most in life. Mostly grateful though that I don’t let the time slip away. Those in my circles know how much I love them, how much they mean to me, and how blessed I am with their presence in my life.

Hoping that you are cherishing your day and not letting it slip away💕💞💕 Amd that you are seeing all the blessings in it.

These are my lessons learned today…cherish it all😊

☀️💚☀️💚☀️💚☀️

“After SILENCE, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” –Aldous Huxley

Ah yes, MUSIC…

Music soothes my soul and speaks my words when I cannot speak them.

There is a song that has been on my heart and it speaks what is on my soul these last few days. It’s John Denver’s Rhymes and Reasons…He spoke so much through his music.

I ALWAYS have hope for the future and for all of us…we are all in this together ❤ Have a wonderful day wherever you are and whatever you are doing 🙂

Rhymes & Reasons ~John Denver~

So you speak to me of sadness
And the coming of the winter
Fear that is within you now
It seems to never end

And the dreams that have escaped you
And the hope that you’ve forgotten
You tell me that you need me now
You want to be my friend

And you wonder where we’re going
Where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason
And it’s you cannot accept
It is here we must begin
To seek the wisdom of the children
And the graceful way of flowers in the wind

For the children and the flowers
Are my sisters and my brothers
Their laughter and their loveliness
Could clear a cloudy day

Like the music of the mountains
And the colors of the rainbow
They’re a promise of the future
And a blessing for today
Though the cities start to crumble
And the towers fall around us
The sun is slowly fading
And it’s colder than the sea

It is written from the desert
To the mountains they shall lead us
By the hand and by the heart
They will comfort you and me
In their innocence and trusting
They will teach us to be free

For the children and the flowers
Are my sisters and my brothers
Their laughter and their loveliness
Could clear a cloudy day

And the song that I am singing
Is a prayer to non believers
Come and stand beside us
We can find a better way

Songwriter: John Denver

Rhymes & Reasons lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

The ‘Lakehouse’

The lakehouse gives something different to each recipient that walks through its’ doors.

I had a ‘lesson learned’ moment about life here in the country and at the lake.

The lesson is that the experience that each person seeks and has as they walk through our doors is a unique one. I know what I would like them to experience yet each one comes in with a different set of circumstances and needs and wants and what they get from being here is about them and not about me. And, to me, that’s the best part about living here at the lakehouse. People can come and receive what they need.

For me, it brings a calm, peaceful state especially when I spend time on the patio, in the pool, or out front in the porch area around the fire pit.

For my daughter, it’s an escape from the business of the city, a time to slow down and ‘run free’ a little more. It’s a place for her dog to let go and run and not have to be tethered. For my son, it’s the drive in, time on the lake, seeing all the wildlife, and relaxing on the patio looking out at the trees. For hubby, it’s the quietness of the surroundings, the land and all the old oak trees that when he sets his eyes on it, he breathes more slowly and feels more relaxed.

For friends, the pull is the get away to experience lake life and take a mini vacation. It might mean coming on a Friday night and going out on the boat, evening board games, quiet patio time, an early morning walk to the lake followed by breakfast and a dip in the pool, getting cleaned up and going out to a nice dinner at the local country places. Or just staying put and enjoying the house, the pool, the good food we make together and the outside games and time outdoors.

For others, it’s a drive out for a day to visit, to soak up the quietness and the beautiful trees and have a meal with family and friends. It’s about sitting around the bonfire at night, looking up at the stars and finding Orion’s Belt and planets in the dark sky. It’s about hearing the owls speaking out in the darkness and the coyotes howling in the distance.

But, most of all for everyone who ventures out…it’s about ‘slowing down’, watching a beautiful sunset, waking up to morning coffee on the patio and watching the birds at the feeder or in the birdbath while the hummingbirds buzz above …doing this all the while enjoying nature all around us.

Have a blessed Sunday in whatever you are doing and wherever you are doing it☀️💚☀️

Oh, It’s a Beautiful Day in the ‘Neighborhood’

The day here today reminds me of Mister Rogers television show where he sings that song, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, the neighborhood, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor.” If you are a fan like me, I bet you just sang it instead of reading it😊

It IS one of those beautiful days here. The birds are singing, bright colorful butterflies flying around the flowers and flowering plants, the hawks are flying overhead, nothing but peace and a few friendly neighbors in our little ‘neck of the woods.’ It’s a beautiful warm day. A day good for sitting under the oak tree with a book and an iced tea, a dip in the pool and outdoor grilling. All the signs of summer and it’s the first time I have slowed down enough to completely enjoy it. It feels so good to have the sun beating down once again.

Ah!, life on the patio can be so sweet especially when I slow down enough to notice the simple things like the shadow patterns the sun creates on the cement. I truly love the simple things life brings to us. As these are little reminders to cherish what we have. The taste of the ice cold tea. The ability to see those shadows and the beautiful green trees and flowers of every color, to hear the birds and geese and ‘Blue’…one of our hummingbirds that fly right over my head to the feeder filled with the sweet nectar. To be able to touch the green grass and feel it beneath our feet and to feel the coolness of the clear water in the pool. And, let’s not forget the smell in the air of the blooming flowers.

As I sit here beneath the tree, I sit in peace remembering friends that are dealing with serious health issues right now cherishing my time I have gotten to spend with them, cherishing all the people who walk this journey of life with me so far and cherishing the beauty all around me.

On this day, many years ago, hubby and I were walking around a similar beautiful place in Michigan. I was in labor and we were awaiting the arrival of our first born but it was too soon to go for labor and delivery so we walked near the creek and listened to the water splashing over the rocks and felt the coolness on our feet. We walked under the trees along the path to the pond and we talked about what life would be like for the newest member of our family who would arrive later that night.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful daughter💕. You have blessed our lives beyond words. ♥️♥️♥️

☀️💚☀️ Have a beautiful and blessed day!

Forget Everything and Run?

Or Face Everything and Rise…FEAR AND ITS’ ‘MEANINGS’

Early on in my life I felt fearful…I know we all have…whether it was because someone was doing something to make me feel like that or where they made me question my own sanity and decision making skills. It was during those seasons that I felt the most off in my confidence.

I don’t live like that anymore and have been consciously aware to not make decisions based on fear for quite some time. It makes me anxious now to make decisions based on fears that I have.

My daughter and I were talking the other day about how some people do that…live their lives and make decisions based on the fears they feel and she said something that was quite wise and insightful.

“If we live our lives based on the fears we have we are robbing ourselves of the moments of joy our life experiences provide us.”

It’s a beautiful day in the country today as I am sitting on the patio thinking about those moments of joy she was talking about and I can smell the honeysuckle in the air and feel the gentle breeze on my face and hear it quietly rustling the leaves on the oak tree while the birds peek out from behind the leaves and flutter from branch to branch. I think about where I am at in life and think that had we based many of our decisions on the fears we had, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We wouldn’t have done so much or gone after or even come close to realizing our dreams. And, our lives would have resembled more of an existence than the life we live.

To me, that sounds more scary than facing a little fear of the unknown.

When I think about it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now because starting it was kind of scary and, after all, there was that fear of failure😬

If we didn’t face any fears we had, we would have always lived with the what if’s? I just can’t imagine not living this life we are living now.

Here’s the thing though, I see this saying a lot on social media. FEAR has two meanings: Forget everything and run or Face everything and rise and it’s being posted as if they were opposite choices. While I do ‘get’ what they are trying to convey, I have to say in mine and my hubby’s life and for our kids and their lives, we actually did a little of both. What made us get moving is that we had that mentality of forget everything and just run, just go, have an adventure, experience life. Like my favorite saying when we were first married suggested: “Well it doesn’t matter, I’m moving to Wisconsin” when something didn’t go right. I had no intention of moving anywhere but it felt good to say it and it reminded me that I always had an alternative to whatever it was that was bothering me.

We did run after what we wanted to see our lives look like. And, in doing that we faced everything and rose and life became really good. Better than we ever expected.

In the end, doing both, helped us to really grow and to bloom and to be the BEST version of ourselves and it really has been a wonderful story to tell.

Happy Tuesday everyone☀️💚☀️.

May your day be filled with many splashes of sunshine, caring people, and moments of joy.

Take A Chance…And Take The Shot!

Photo credit goes to my daughter who took this picture of one of the Great Lakes on a recent trip.

Take a chance...always, when your heart is leading you to that door…Open it! Because, if you “don’t ever shoot, you’ll never score!”

Our May has been a very busy one and as things slow down I now find myself given the chance to think about the month, think about our lives a bit more, and enjoy the place we love…where we can just ‘be’ and soak in all that we have worked towards. It is in this time of thinking, enjoying the life we have, and slowing down that I write this blog today.

Explore, go after what you dream most about. Be adventurous, throw open the doors and experience life. Your dreams are part of your journey and part of your story.

The idea that if you don’t ever shoot…you can’t score, came from a movie called “For The Glory”. At first it was about a college basketball player who was really good at setting other players up to make a basket and essentially score but he rarely took the shot himself. With the encouragement of his best friend, he took a chance on the world of soccer and never looked back. He opened his door to success after his dad said to him, ‘if you never shoot, you’ll never score.’

Go ahead, take the shot!

As our son headed back East to an internship this summer with some amazing researchers that are working on helping our military men and women be more aware, safer, and work smarter; it really got me thinking. Both of our children are creatives, both are published in their areas of expertise, and both are passionate about helping and teaching others. I mention this because they both went after what they loved. It wasn’t always easy and they weren’t without struggles but they did it. They opened the doors and ‘took the shot.’

Early on, we encouraged them to find careers doing what they love. We took a lot of criticism for going this route with them, but, as I look back, I know we did the right thing. Encouragement and trust in the journey of life has created their life stories. When I think back over the past few years, I am astonished at how many wonderful things have happened simply because they took a chance and went after what they wanted and after their passions. My daughter is now looking to make a career move/change. She is following that nudge to move more towards her passions. They are both seeing the doors and opening them because they both have creative minds that love to experience life. Not just in their lives after 9-5 but also during the work times. They love and thrive on learning and seeing and doing new things.

Hubby and I have both tried to live this way for as long as we have known each other and even before we met. We have consistently worked towards walking in our own stories. Not, because we had vast knowledge on the subject…just because it seemed like the right path.

A few years back, we started working towards our ‘3rd Act’ plans. We have talked about them since the time we were dating. Two years ago, we put many of our dreams and plans into action and moved out to the country. Well…as country as we like it, that is.

Our country home is now almost exactly as we had envisioned it many years ago. We have the pool to work out in and to lay in the boats and look up at the big Texas sky. Today, a hawk flew right above my daughter’s head as she sat on the pool steps and ladder. It was amazing to see the hawk up close like that.

We have ‘enough’ land where we don’t feel barricaded in, we have ‘enough’ inside space to have nights that turn into mornings with close friends and family, and a large area to host everyone in the local family and then some…around the farmhouse table. And, in our hearts, we have ‘enough’ generosity and love to bring happiness to others that visit our home.

And, now, while working on our 3rd Act here in the country we can now start working the projects we have waited to do, plan the businesses, and work on community endeavors and help those who don’t have ‘enough.’

Life’s short, follow your passions, take time to bring others happiness and joy and enjoy the moments while living life to the fullest. Most of all…Take the shot!

Have a blessed, happy, and people filled Tuesday while doing all those things that you are passionate about and that makes you, YOU!

☀️💚☀️

The House Has Gone Still…

The laughter and the voices are now gone…only existing in the shadows and memories of yesterdays’ gatherings, as silence once again flows through our home. The last of the family have headed home or moved on to the rest of their trip and have begun their summers.

I liken this to the sun setting…as the day comes to an end and the beauty lingers on in the colors on the horizon.

This was a beautiful and incredible week with lots of celebrating while we were at the University. And, as my son moved on to his internship back East after graduating, we came back home and celebrated more with the introductions of the littlest family members to more of their great aunts and uncles that came to town to visit.

Life can be so beautiful and so heart wrenching all at the same time. May is a pretty tough month for many of us in my family. And, it is in these times that we discover that family is important (as my niece reminds us through her words and her actions).

In all it’s disguises and all it’s challenges, the biggest and most important thing that family bring to our lives is the love we share and the support we give one another. We may not always do it right but if we keep trying to show each other love and support we will get better and better at it. My son challenges me to be a better person, my daughter challenges me to be stronger and to never give up! My hubby challenges me to be the best me I can be in the moments as I watch him interact with the smallest members of our extended family and the love he shows them.

As I look back at the pictures and the memories of this past week, I remember to see the beauty in each one of us and to cherish the times we have together and to cherish the memories of those in our family that no longer journey with us here on earth.

And, so as the sun sets and the parties and celebrations end, I will keep on cherishing all that I have been given in this world and will forever be grateful for the memories and the support and love I have received from family…

And those are my lessons learned from life on the patio today☀️💚☀️

Have a wonderful, love and gratitude filled blessed day🧡💛☀️🧡💛

What’s Her ‘Story’?

Brene’ Brown, researcher, storyteller, and fellow Texan says:

“You will walk inside your story and own it or you will stand outside of it and hustle for your worthiness.”

No one should ever feel as if they are not worthy of the life they were intended to live, go after it, search hard, and when you find your story, run with it and never stop living it!

I sometimes lose focus because of my curious nature. I can be driving down the street and see someone and my thoughts will be diverted to something about them.

‘Take Me Home Country Roads…

Many days, as I drive in to town, I will see a woman walking along the side of the road. Keep in mind, on the main road into town, there are no sidewalks. There are culverts in a few places but not along the whole route and it’s not a good idea to walk in a culvert as you don’t know what’s living or hiding in them and these days they are filled with water from all the rain.

She is an older woman…I am guessing in her late 60’s, with long wavy salt and pepper hair that blows in the wind as she walks and she is always carrying a gray plastic bag no matter whether she is coming or going back from the stores. Sometimes the bag seems more full on her way back than on her way there but not always. She walks with purpose, with a gait that is steady and directed as if she has made this a habit and a ‘to and fro’ experience.

As you can tell by the way I have described her I have given her presence here considerable thought. What’s her story? Where is she headed? Is she alone at her destination or are there many significant people in her life. Is she a mother, a grandmother? It’s obvious, this walk has become her routine, her habit, and I suppose, her way of transportation. She appears to be literally “walking in her story” and she seems quite content. She doesn’t look at the cars going by and it appears she doesn’t feel the need to. She is in her own realm as she walks.

I guess I am so intrigued by her because she walks with ease and yet with such purpose. I feel connected to her as she seems like someone who has found a beautiful place and is content to live out her story here just as I have. We are like-minded and I am inspired by her tenaciousness especially when I am having a tough day. She’s a wonderful reminder for me.

And, so every day I wake up and do as Brene’ Brown says and I ‘walk INSIDE this story of mine’

I may not be literally running “in my story” as I suggested you do, but I and we are definitely immersing ourselves in it everyday. Like take tonight, for instance, our windows were open and the cool breeze was coming in and that’s when we heard the geese flying oh so low! I wish I’d had my camera ready as they announced their flight over our home with wings flapping strongly in the air and voices so loud that they drowned out the sounds of the nearby peacock. We went outside to sit on the patio and listen to the frogs in the nearby pond announcing the arrival of evening and  to watch the sun going down. And, as we sit on the patio, we can hear the whippoorwill’s song across the way that brings us to quietness hoping he will continue to sing.

We spent most of yesterday and some of today preparing for summer activities and the fun times ahead with family gatherings, friends visiting and milestone events that are coming up quickly and it couldn’t have made me happier. Prior to this, I spent a lot of time making plans and thinking about each person that would attend our family get together. The babies, the children, the out-of-towners’ and the fellow Texans. I love this part of it. We have put up the baby swing in the old oak tree in the backyard, the pool is ready, the outdoor games will be out and there will be plenty of life happening on the patio. The guest beds are made, the house is cleaned and my part of the food has been prepared. It’s who I am and what I love doing for others. It’s me, deep INSIDE my own story.

But, before this gathering and in a few short days we will officially become empty nesters. We have had quite a few teases at the nest being empty but now it’s official as of this Friday when our last child graduates from college and fully begins living on his own. I have spent my time here making sure that all goes well and that this event is beautiful and memorable. Again, I have loved doing it. It’s who I am.

Our children will go and live their own stories as time goes on and while we are included in their stories we have our story to live. We have our own path to walk and have a beautiful life out here in the country and our future is bright and full of promise just as theirs’ are.

Does it make me a little sad that this part of my story is over, well, sure it does but there is so much more living and loving to do and I can’t wait to get on with it. Each new day brings a new adventure INSIDE my story and, for that, I am feeling quite thankful and blessed at the end of this Mother’s Day.

Embrace your story and live it to the fullest ☀️💚☀️

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you Shad https://glowupwithshad.wordpress.com/ for this recognition and for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I feel so honored that you feel my blog brings joy and positivity to others. I very much enjoy your blog and I have learned so much, and am motivated and inspired by your messages. Thank you for sharing!

My goal is to spread sunshine and joy everywhere I go, in all that I do, and through my stories. My philosophy on life is to make this world a better place by positively impacting lives and bringing happiness to other people, building and encourage others in their lives, and to have the courage to go after their dreams.

Thank you to everyone who reads, ‘likes’, shares, comments, and follow me as I write. I appreciate all of you so much and feel grateful to have so many people interested in what I have to say 🙂

Rules of the award

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so others can find them
  • List the rules and display an award logo on your blog
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive an award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts
  • Ask the nominee 11 new questions

The questions Shad asked me to answer:

1. Do you think your blog has made someone’s life simpler? I don’t know if it has made life more simple for someone but I do hope it has made their lives a little brighter.

2. How many books have you read so far this year, which ones are your favorite? 4 and currently reading 5 on all different topics.

3. What has been your biggest challenges since you started the blog? and how did you overcome it? Finding the time to write. I am learning how to schedule now:-) Also, finding the time to reading many other blogs that I enjoy. I am doing the same. Scheduling it all in.

4. What motivates you to get up in the morning? The joy and hope of a new day and all it can bring.

5.What are your best three quotes? Hope anchors the soul! Music washes away the dust of everyday life. And, Walk in your own story!

6. What do think is more effective, EQ or IQ? While it is important to have intelligence, I think emotional intelligence is so much more important and it is the foundation of life. With emotional intelligence, all else falls in place.

7. How do you think we can make the world a better place? One kind act at a time!

8. Who is your blogger bestie? I have so many that I have connected with. I would have to say my bestie 🙂 though, is Kim at My Life http://windsofchange18.wordpress.com/

9. Where are you blogging from? TEXAS 😁

10. Any tips for beginner blogs? Keep going and reach out to other bloggers. I have learned so much from the messages of other bloggers.

11. What’s your best blog experience? The connection with so many other people

I would like to nominate:

1. http://itrainsinmyheart.wordpress.com/

2. http://empoweredeverydayblog.wordpress.com/

3. http://noraedinger.wordpress.com/

4. http://advicesbyher.wordpress.com/

5. https://baffledmum.com/

6. https://aloysius5.com/

7. https://irenetron.net/

8. http://rhapsodyboho.wordpress.com/

9. http://boundlessblessingsblog.wordpress.com/

10. http://dailygrindofastayathomemom.wordpress.com/

11. http://presenttenseineurope.wordpress.com/

To the people I have nominated 🙂 …

  1. I have chosen to ask these same questions. Feel free to create your own if you would like your nominees to answer others or if you would like to answer something else.
  2. When I nominated you, I thought about how much joy you have brought to my life simply by posting something and that is why your blog site is listed below. I follow a lot of blogs and I do so because each one of them gives me happiness, teaches me a lesson in some way, tells me all about another part of the world or helps me to become a better person in some way and so, in saying that, I would have nominated all those that I follow.
  3. So, to all of you who are listed here and even if you are not listed but want to be a part of this, enjoy doing or fulfilling the nomination if you would like to. Have a wonderful week and may joy be a huge part of it!

‘Color Me Blue’

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This morning as I was having my coffee and looking around at the things in my home, I realized I had entered a ‘blue period’. Picasso had a ‘Blue Period’ where he used many different shades of blue in his paintings. I likely did the same thing with my life without truly realizing it.

My ‘blue period’ has slowly crept up on me…so much so that I hadn’t taken notice at all until today. It was actually bittersweet when I finally noticed it. Until now, I hadn’t realized just how much my life has changed in a very short time. Looking around, there were few things left from my red stage of my life. A token here or there like a butter dish in the kitchen, a few touches of red in pictures hanging on the walls, and a candle sitting all by itself on the bar…all red. There is nothing left from the Italian kitchen I had at our old place except for this beautiful picture of a rooster hanging near our now blue kitchen. My daughter gave me this picture for Mother’s Day a few years back. The rest of the place is now greens, browns, dark grays, and many different colors of blue including a beautiful aqua blue. There are bright beautiful blues, denim blues, rich deep blues, and, of course, slate blue with the floor and back-splash…all things blue 🙂

However, I unlikely entered my ‘blue period’ in the same way Picasso entered his as it is said that Picasso’s ‘Blue Period’ came at a particularly dark part of his life. I, on the other hand, find blue to be a calming and peaceful color and I entered my blue stage at a joyous time of my life. It was when we moved here to begin our ‘3rd Act’ in our lives and the floors were slate and the back-splash in the kitchen were both deep blues and bright gray and the land and trees were a beautiful green.

When I was in my red stage, my days were filled with life…with business, my work, my family and being in charge of all of it. I saw red as a leader color. It represents power and courage and I felt both…but, power in a good way…like a serious sense of responsibility to not let anyone down and more like a manager or a servant leader way as I did both in many aspects of my life. Once we moved here, I soaked in all the greens and, yes, the blues in the house and I felt so good. I am guessing that the blues were just ‘lurking in the shadows’ waiting for me to embrace them and that is how we ended up with so many of them in our home. Well, that, and the fact that my hubby has these beautiful blue eyes I just love. 🙂 Noticing today though, I realized that I went from a very prominent red stage in my life to an equally prominent blue stage within two years. It has been a dramatic change. But, maybe that is how things go in life sometimes where one day we are a force of nature and the next we find ourselves seeking out nature for peace and calmness and becoming quiet forces in life.

I find it interesting how colors express the characteristics that dominate in our personalities at different stages in our lives. It’s also fascinating how colors can reflect our moods. Colors can brighten our moods or calm us down, give us joy and happiness, and sometimes bring sadness like when we have gray skies and muddy days. But, throw in beautiful sunsets with all the yellows, oranges, pinks, and sometimes purples and it brings us happiness and joy. Colors also give us hope and it is the color yellow that brings us this wonderful feeling. We get it through sunrises that promise a new day, beautiful yellow flowers, and pretty butterflies to name a few. The blacks and whites also give us a different set of feelings. For me, when I see a black and white photo, I see the details more emphatically than I do when the picture has colors and it allows me to enjoy the picture in a whole new way.

So, today, while I am missing my reds a bit, I am loving on the greens as I look out the window and the blues here in my home that calm my soul and give me rest.

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Have a beautiful Tuesday and may it be filled with many colors that brighten your day.

#lessonslearned ☀️💚☀️

Sunset On The Water Tonight

A beautiful and colorful night on the water

While talking with a neighbor at the lake tonight he said they are getting ready to open the dam between the two lakes with Memorial Day weekend approaching. That means we get more water and those little stumps you see in the water is our little town’s pier with the boat ramp next to it.

The amazing part about it all is that our boaters are still launching from this ramp and we are all still out enjoying and loving time on and at the lake.

Replaceable Or NOT Replaceable

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If my hubby were to eat most of these sopapilla cheesecake bars that I made today for a party, I could easily replace them.

Likewise, when I retired from teaching, I could be replaced. When we left our old neighborhood and home, we were replaced as someone else now lives in that home. When my son had to miss a team meeting due to a car accident, his work was taken over by another…in other words, he was replaced. When my daughter had to miss a day of work because she was sick, she was replaced for that day in her classroom. By now, you are wondering where I am going with this. 🙂

Since last week when the NFL draft occurred, the words replaceable and not replaceable have been on my mind and heavy on my heart. I think we tend to forget the importance of life when we start to think that people are replaceable. The jobs we do are replaceable. We are not! For me, I believe that everyone here has a purpose for being on this earth. I also believe that we are irreplaceable. When a person is no longer around, they can’t be replaced by another because what they brought ‘to the table’ was uniquely their own. We have recently lost many family members. Some have lived very long lives…others lives have been much shorter but it is in the memories I have of each one that I know how irreplaceable each one was.

Here’s the story that brought these thoughts to the forefront of my mind. During the NFL draft, the first pick, Kyler Murray was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals and the thought was that this draft was done so they could replace the cardinals 2018 starting quarterback Josh Rosen. And, sure enough, that is what happened. On that day Josh Rosen started to unfollow the Cardinals on social media and when NFL pro Steve Smith realized it, he publicly berated Josh Rosen for bad behavior saying…’You Are Replaceable.’

While I don’t condone Josh Rosen’s behavior, I disagree with how Steve Smith handles it. Yes, he is replaceable as a player but he, as a person, is NOT replaceable on this earth. We each have a journey to walk on this land and we each have an impact to make in this world. No one has any more value than another…not in our families, our circles, or our world.

When we are taught at a young age that we are needed, we are wanted, and we are treasured as the individuals we are, we all grow into beings that can do great things for our world. But, when we are criticized and belittled, we grow into ‘broken’ people.

I know that Steve Smith felt like he was calling out Josh Rosen’s unprofessional behavior but I think he was sending the wrong message. The better message would have been…’hey man, you are needed elsewhere, remain kind, remain professional, and find the better fit.’

I see this critical and judgmental way of dealing with things happening way too often in our families, communities, political leaders, and our world. Why not encourage and build each other up? Why not include others and help each and every person to feel accepted and valued in our world? Why not show others we care through kind words and actions? And, by engaging in conversations to understand each other better? There is a quote that says “before you judge, walk a mile in their shoes.”

So true. What the world lacks mostly is compassion, patience, and understanding. Walk in someone else's shoes before judging and making a snap decision.

Graphic Credit: from Pinterest

I think if we did just that, we would see each other differently and value each other more. Why do we choose to belittle, call out, exclude people? I think it is simply because we don’t try to see their value and their purpose in this world and we don’t embrace and accept who they are and what they have to offer. I also think that we don’t fully realize that each and every person from the moment they are born have a tremendous value in the family unit they are born into and in the world and when each is valued,  accepted and guided and taught that they are IRREPLACEABLE and loved from day one, they will go on to make a positive and wonderful impact on our entire world whether it be through tiny ripples or large waves…when nurtured, loved, and shown their value early on, the impact will be amazing.

So, why not choose now to remember that each person is IRREPLACEABLE and important and live our lives that way on a daily basis. Why not show acceptance, care, and kindness to each individual we meet and those we already have in our lives now? I am not saying that we have to tolerate unprofessional or bad behaviors from others, we certainly do not but I do tend to think that if we as a whole show each other their value in our lives, most of that behavior will go away.

Many people are fighting battles from within. Battles of feeling like they don’t belong even in places where it is the norm to be accepted and included, battles of inadequacy, battles of past hurts, battles with how they value themselves because all they have felt is undervalued…taken for granted.

Let’s not wait until we lose someone because they choose to walk away from the ‘circle’ they are in because it hurts too much to stay or worse yet, until they die and then we finally see their value…the value they could have given the world had they been built up and learned the mindset that they were IRREPLACEABLE and needed in this world from the very beginning.

I think this is all most people want in life…to feel loved, valued, irreplaceable to others and accepted.

This is from mypositiveoutlooks.com

Have a beautiful Tuesday!

💚☀️💚

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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A big THANK YOU to…
https://rubeena92.wordpress.com/ & photoblographysite.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a peer recognition for bloggers who inspires positivity and joy.

Rules for the award :-

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so that others can find them.
  • Add the award logo to your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog post.

Questions I was asked:-

What is the best thing about writing?When I write, my thoughts and my words become so clear…and I can’t wait to get it down on paper.

What is your favorite subject to write on?I love to write about my ‘lessons learned’ in life and joy, happiness, hope, and the beauty in nature.

Who is you favorite author/poet/writer ? I have so many…Robert Frost, Maya Angelo, song writers, screen writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, A. A. Milne, Eric Carle, and so many other children’s books authors, John Grisham, George Lucas, J.K. Rowling and the list goes on 🙂

Which is your favorite book? Again, I have so many favorites but one that has always stood out for me is The City of God.

What do you look for in people? Characteristics such as genuineness, being kind and nice, honesty, and caring about others. Also people that have a sense of happiness and joy and love in their lives and, of course, people who love to be ‘the helpers’ in this world.

What is the best thing you like in nature? Bodies of water…babbling creeks, oceans, lakes, streams, rivers, waterfalls…

Which one do you like more: the mountains or the sea? Both

How did you deal with stress? Push through doing one task at a time while keeping in mind the whole picture and then debriefing when it is all done.

What is your favorite time of day…sunrise, morning, afternoon, sunset, evening? Sunrise…it brings the hope for a new day.

What is the importance of creativity in life? Without creativity life would be a little boring and the advancements we see in the world today may never have occurred without our wonderful, intelligent and creative minds.

How do you see yourself in 10 years? Living my best life possible with the considerations I have to live by.

Thank you both for recognizing me. My goal is to spread sunshine and joy everywhere I go, in all that I do, and through my stories. My philosophy on life is to make this world a better place by positively impacting lives and bringing happiness to other people, building and encourage others in their lives, and to have the courage to go after their dreams.

I very much enjoy your blogs. While your narratives are wonderful and I have learned so much, I love your photographs of so many beautiful places and things. Thank you for sharing!

Thank you to everyone who reads, ‘likes’, shares, comments, and follow me as I write. I appreciate all of you so much and feel grateful to have so many people interested in what I have to say 🙂

My questions for my nominees are:-

  1. What brings you joy?
  2. Where is your “happy place”…that place you go to that gives you peace and contentment?
  3. What is your favorite time of day? sunrise, mornings, afternoons, sunsets, evenings? and, what makes it your favorite?
  4. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
  5. What is your favorite subject to write about?
  6. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  7. Do you have a ‘bucket list’? Are you doing it?
  8. If you had to give up something in your life, what would it be? 
  9. Do you believe in love? 
  10. If you won the lottery today, what’s the first thing you do?  
  11. What is your favorite part of being in the blogging world?

Now, as to my nominations:

  1. I have chosen to ask these questions. Feel free to create your own if you would like your nominees to answer others or if you would like to…
  2. When I nominated you, I thought about how much joy you have brought to my life simply by posting something and that is why your blog site is listed below. I follow a lot of blogs and I do so because each one of them gives me happiness, teaches me a lesson in some way, tells me all about another part of the world or helps me to become a better person in some way and so, in saying that, I would have nominated all those that I follow.
  3. So, to all of you who are listed here and even if you are not yet want to be a part of this enjoy doing or fulfilling the nomination if you would like to. Have a wonderful week and may joy be a huge part of it ❤

http://theeclecticcontrarian.wordpress.com/

https://www.writingmyheartout.com/

http://francisashis.wordpress.com/

http://kickinitwithkeke.wordpress.com/

http://roosruse.wordpress.com/

https://reclaiminghope.blog/

http://windsofchange18.wordpress.com/

http://frontporchwriter.wordpress.com/

http://eternallybeautifulwordshome.wordpress.com/

http://decoupageh.wordpress.com/

https://thechickengrandma.wordpress.com/

Have a wonderful day filled with sunshine, happiness, and kindness ❤

Two Year Olds and Life

“Sometimes you just have to talk to a 2 year old so you can understand life again!” 

“No matter how old you are or how tough you think you are, if a toddler hands you their ringing toy phone, you answer it” because at the other end of the phone there usually ends up being a lesson for you. 🙂

I have heard both of these things said many times over the years and I really do believe we can learn so much from young children. 

There was a song written many, many years ago by a lyricist named Linda Creed. The music for it was then composed by Michael Masser and it was Whitney Houston’s performance of it that brought the words and music to fame. 

The words are what stand out most to me. Here are Linda Creed’s thoughts:

“I believe the children are our future...teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride to make it easier, let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be!

Too often we get caught up in our mindsets and forget to enjoy life as children do. We can learn so many great things from kids if we just stop, hit pause, and remove ourselves from our busy and many times stressful lives to play, to listen, to soak in all they are teaching us.

Take a minute and watch a child in action. I bet you won’t regret it and will most likely come away feeling a little more relaxed and surprised at the characteristics you will see. I did just that this past Sunday at a family Easter celebration. I saw and experienced things through the eyes of children and it was wonderful. When we do this, it slows us down and teaches us the true meaning of life…that people are the most important part of life. The little ones wanted nothing more than to spend time with each other, to be outdoors, and to talk and play with the grown ups. One of my great nephews said to me “outside” when I was sitting on the patio and asked him where he was going. I followed him out and am so glad I did because I got to see him enjoying the outdoors with his family, playing on the slide as he continued to tell me about things he saw. It was a wonderful experience and it lightened mine and my hubby’s spirits and it was just plain fun to watch him enjoying himself. Later on, we got to see his younger cousin trying hard to get his attention and other cousins sharing and playing with each other all the while enjoying each other’s company. I know you probably are thinking that these are all the simple and everyday occurrences of life, and yes, while that may be true…when we, as adults, hit pause and take time out to experience these occurrences, we get to see just how important those everyday things are.

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We get to see that they are learning key things like respect, showing each other love and kindness, sharing, helping, communicating with each other, having fun, showing gratefulness, expressing their feelings without hesitation, finding joy, defining friendships, and laughing wholeheartedly. And, as we watch, we are relearning these lessons and remembering to make each of those characteristics important and in the forefront of our own lives. I wonder if that’s why so many people love having grandchildren around. They see the value that the little ones bring to our world. And, it is this reason why I, like, Linda Creed, see children as our future and why it is so important in the beginnings of their lives to teach them well and then let them lead the way.

So, the next time a child hands you a phone and expects you to answer it, please do so as the child handing you the phone may very well grow up and become the next world leader, a doctor, a healer, a teacher, a discoverer, an artist, a writer, or one of the many helpers we have that make our world a much better place.

From YouTube.com

From Our Little Town…Happy Easter!

The first pictures are some of the wildflowers and then the sun setting over our little town. This last picture is the moon rising and covered by clouds…I thought that it looked really cool 🙂

Our Love of The Cliffs

As I watched our baby squirrel, Fred (my name for him) this morning persistently try to climb the pole leading to one of our bird feeders; not satisfied with his helpings on the ground, it reminded me of that amazing characteristic called perseverance and how strongly it has affected my life and my family’s life.

Many, many years ago, I sat on the cliffs for hours and watched the sun set over the ocean. It was an amazing adventure. One that I was to repeat with my best friend many times over the years. Our best idea came to us while sitting on these cliffs and it was perseverance that has been the foundation of our lives since. I am thinking that is why I was reminded of it this morning as I watched Fred. He tried at least eight times to reach the actual feeder; each time without success. First by trying to climb the pole and then to the oak tree that hangs over the feeder but there were no branches close enough. He then attempted to jump from the trunk of the tree to the actual feeder only to fall flat on his belly. Poor Fred…I sure felt for him on this attempt.

Back to the cliffs, it was here, over 30 years ago on this very day, that I sat for the first time with a young navy officer and ate pizza and talked for hours until the sun set in the sky. It was here that while he sat there and talked about his mom and all her trials and triumphs that I thought to myself that this man was the man I was going to marry if I was to get married. It was here that mine and his love of adventure grew even stronger, and, it was here that he had the same thought…a life together.

It would take perseverance to begin our lives together as it took him asking many times to receive the ‘yes’ answer. Yet, once I gave that answer, I discovered my best friend, my biggest supporter, my confidante, my personal comedian, ‘my Rock’, my adventure buddy, my karaoke partner as we both love to sing and listen to music, and, my soul mate. I remember so many hiking adventures in the early years where we would break out in songs like “Follow Me” by John Denver and so many road trips driving with the windows down and the wind in our hair, and singing John’s songs or Loggins and Messina’s…”Let the River Run” and many others. Since that fateful day on the cliffs, we have traveled many places, raised two wonderful children who also rely on perseverance to reach their goals and live their lives, and who also have a strong love for outdoor adventures. And, so it was only fitting that our best idea…spending life together…come to us as we were enjoying the beautiful cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean as the outdoors is where we do our best living and thinking.

Fred has been my gentle reminder today of a beautiful moment in my life and has given me a “‘lessons learned”. A reminder to continue to move forward to more adventures and more great ideas all the while remembering and celebrating all the wonderful ones of the past and to cherish each and every day of my life with my best friend and soulmate.

This video was done by a talented individual and placed on YouTube where I found it 🙂 (Video Credit…YouTube)

Grief And It’s Many Sides

We all deal with pain and grief in different ways. For example, my uncle, upon hearing the news that his youngest brother had passed, promptly went to bed and didn’t get up until he was ready to deal with it. His grief was immense and so overwhelming that all he could do was lie down.

Tomorrow is my Mom’s birthday. She has been in Heaven for 4 years. I did ‘ok’ on her birthday last year but this year seems especially hard to have her gone.

I know that those who grieve will always have grief bursts. Sometimes they will be small, sometimes they will be big, and sometimes they will be huge and debilitating. I think I am getting close or maybe in the midst of a debilitating burst.

My Mom was one of my best friends❤️. I miss her terribly. My best friends are a huge part of my life. SHE was a huge part of my life, my Dad’s life and a huge part of my brothers and sisters lives. I am guessing that since we have lost two other family members this past year that we are all feeling it a little more.

When I feel the grief, I hold on to all my memories, all the phone calls, the visits, the laughter, the joy, and the love. Some people hold onto little things, while others hold on to anything that reminds them of the one they have lost.

I want to hold onto the lessons learned. I want to hold onto her love of music, her love of people, her love of her husband and family, her love of her best friends and especially her love of children. She saw the beauty and the innocence in children. She saw the canvas in which to paint a beautiful creation through caring for them, teaching them, and loving and encouraging them.

we learned alot from her and miss her and all those we have lost, especially recently, every single day.

❤️Happy Birthday Mom❤️