A tangled ball of spaghetti

Our neighbor’s rooster is busy this morning saying hello to everyone. I write about him frequently, because honestly, I love that sound.

Other birds are chirping as well.

So part of my New Year plan for 2020, the Year of Light, is to be present to the moment, create, breathe, eat real food, and hear nature.

Like many people, because we are covered in constant exposure to the entire world’s problems on social media, the news, television, the radio .. sometimes I find my stress level rising, just by exposure.

We cannot, obviously, step out of the world per say. Because I work in the media, and have for some 13 years, I understand the pressure of always being “on.”

On. Doctors, law enforcement, counselors, teachers, reporters, and other outreach occupations understand this.

And nobody wants to talk about how your head can sometimes resemble a ball of tangled spaghetti.

Why? Because we attach, as a society, this stigma to that.

Oh. You have issues.

We all have issues. That is truth.

So how do you manage your head?

I love spaghetti. Cooking angel hair pasta. All that stuff.

But to make a good dinner, you really have to stay with it.

One woman I know said the test of whether it was done or not is slinging it against the wall and see if it sticks!

And if you drain the hot water and just leave it in the pan until you eat, all the starches seem to melt it together.

A computer system may do the same thing if it short circuits.

On my days off, I have purposely tried to back away from social media and the general whir of information that stirs around us.

And while I, for a while, thought this was a bad thing, because I felt I should stay connected, I am realizing that if I give my head a break from all the tragedy, mayhem, death, and so forth, it helps.

We can get so busy hammering out a presence on social media that we forget to just be.

Be. Spend time with your family and friends. Listen to conversation without glancing at your phone. Gently take those pieces of spaghetti and lay them straight. Look at the sunrise. Smell the aroma of your morning coffee. Listen to the birds. Connect with your senses.

I recently covered the Polk County Youth Fair and noticed that out of the thousands of people present for the event, I only saw two people on their phones.

I think they are on to something.

May you have a wonderful day. Release, create, be.

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Even a car needs personal time

The line was long and I was beginning to regret that I had designated this cool and sunny Monday to “car care” day.

“Your wait is going to be about 2 hours,” the dealership attendant said.

“I really don’t have a choice, it is my day off,” I said.

Having a good read tucked into my bag, I handed him my keys and fetched a cup of coffee in a little styrofoam cup.

Heading to a corner seat with a table, I took up residence for who knows how long, as it appears there is also a recall they need to take care of, re the backup cameras on my vehicle.

Sigh.

This oil change is free and so is the tire rotation. Part of the deal they gave me at point of sale.

Already, it has been a busy day. Picked up the kitchen and wiped the counters and refrigerator with bleach.

Goals of the day include paying bills, going to the store, putting gas in my car, and of course, car care.

When you pay a hefty car payment for the privilege of reliable transportation, it is one of those things you manage.

Keeping up with your life, it is.

So they will change the oil, rotate the tires and fix the camera.

Next stop will be the car spa for their cheapest swish, scrub and vacuum.

And so forth.

I see my car the way I see other parts of my life.

Myself. And you, as well.

We need some sort of down time. A re-set. Maybe that is a facial, time for a cup of tea and some planning or journaling.

A few minutes in the sun, or listening to some beautiful music.

I did not publish my New Year’s resolutions this year. I for sure wrote them in my journal.

But am keeping up with the 2020 theme, The Year of Light.

Today is Epiphany, and I celebrate it here at the dealership, waiting on my car.

Watching the Casting of The Cross ceremony airing from Tarpon Springs.

Blessings, all.

P.S. What are you doing to walk out your Year of Light?

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Everyone starts somewhere

It is very quiet outside, just two days before the New Year, as I sit here, rolled up in blankets with some sort of respiratory infection: again.

Our family has a tendency to get sick in November and December. Not sure why, but it seems to be so.

As the grey, dull days after the holidays settle into our spirits, likewise, we can feel grey and dull. Blech.

On my itinerary is a stop at the doctor today .. and I am just occupying my time until it is time to leave.

So I pull out a sketchbook, look at a drawing on Pinterest, and try to copy it.

I am

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mildly impressed that perhaps with some more study, I may some day learn how to draw.

One person comes to mind .. a friend of mine who started dabbling in art a few years ago as a way to deal with the pain after losing a child.

I watched her Facebook journey go from “what is that,” to “wow,” and “how much is she asking for her artwork?”

Likewise, another friend of mine has a small business in beauty product sales, and I remember her early “videos” and how they were a little rough .. not anymore. She is on point, she has learned multi-media marketing and found her sweet spot in the retail world, and hence, profits.

Both of these scenarios encourage me that it is never too late in life to learn a new skill, work a new hobby, or pursue an interest that lights up your world.

As we stand on the shore and greet the New Year 2020, the possibilities are endless.

My word for the year is Light.

More on that in the coming weeks.

 

 

Dig another well

Somewhere in the middle of Gerar, a town located in the land to the east of the Mediterranean Sea, a young man named Isaac was having issues with the Philistines.

The Philistine king, Abimelech, had just had a heated discussion about Isaac lying to the king about Rebekah, Isaac’s wife.

Isaac told the king that Rebekah was his sister, not his wife, because he was afraid that besides taking her captive, the Philistines would kill him.

When the king found out that was not the case, he was not a happy man.

But Bible history indicates (Genesis 26) that the land occupied by Isaac was his by blessing from God.

Isaac gets his wife back and basically, the king is like, hey .. get out of here.

Well Isaac was living before the invention of running water, and every tent owner would dig a well, or two or three, depending on their need.

Isaac became a very prosperous man, as God fulfilled His promises to him. He had “great” numbers of flocks and possessions.

“The Philistines envied him.”

I am 51 years old, and have read this passage many times.

Yet never noticed this.

“Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his (Isaac’s father, Abraham) had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth.”

Filled. Them. With. Earth.

And my mind, as I sip my coffee and pet my cat this morning, goes to those I know who are struggling to keep going.

Everything they do to try to bless their homes, their communities, their churches .. seems to end up with someone kicking sand in their well.

Discouragement is not easy to deal with. One soul I know said “you just try so hard. Seems like nothing works.”

Another person is dealing with a toxic family member. Everything stinks, nothing is ever good enough. All the world are “morons.” Their family is running out of steam trying to keep the peace.

I can’t imagine Isaac’s frustration at seeing his wells filled in with dirt.

So he moved to the valley, and dug another well. But it was not long before neighboring herdsmen had something to say about that.

It took him a total of three “tries” before he was able to dig a well without opposition.

You know, this life is hard sometimes. We dig figurative wells.

Outside of completely leaving a situation, the average person seeks renewal.

Dig another well.

What do you mean, dig a well?

What encourages you? What uplifts you?

We become guardians of the wells of our peace.

Someone pitches sand in, you pitch it back out.

I heard of one person who is regularly put down and called names by someone close to them.

In complete disbelief, I am like wow ..

Pitch the sand out of there, kiddo.

That is not the life for you.

We have no control over the actions of others.

Only over how long we are going to allow the sand to fill our reservoir.

Practical note: Someone says you are stupid.

You say: I am not stupid.

I am an intelligent being, with gifts and talents. I am a son or daughter of God. I was created on purpose. God has a plan for my life. My life has value.

Picture then a golden shovel, and dig another well.

Blessings to all today.

Here is sunny Florida, we have a rare cold snap today.

The cats have all snuggled up on fuzzy blankets and the fish are maintaining.

After all, fish do not wear sweaters. 🙂

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A new season it is

Outside my bedroom window, I hear the garbage truck emptying cans, making early morning clanging sounds as the long arm of the truck puts the can down.

Molly Moo, my cat, joined Winter Moo and Oreo for their morning treats. Last night, Molly had a frog cornered in the kitchen. I tried to pick it up, and she quickly fetched it herself. I almost hurled. Blecchhhhhh. Ran to get my brave friend, who grabbed a paper towel and retrieved said frog, who was of course, in bad shape.

Ordinary things. Ordinary day.

But as I sit in my bedroom, sipping my coffee, reading my Bible devotion, and studying my pink tree lights, I feel somehow, renewed.

I know it has been a bit since I blogged. I hit a couple of weeks where I just could not find words.

Writers always have words.

I get paid to create content at work, and I do.

Yet after work, many times, I find myself pulling into my self .. spiritually, emotionally.

How is it possible to be both an introvert and an extrovert at once?

After a couple of weeks where my creativity spark seemed to have grown cold, I have been renewed.

This is a new season. How many seasons can one human spirit have?

I look back on my life and realize there have been many, many seasons.

So what does it mean to be renewed?

Refocus. Rejuvenate. Recharge.

The “re” of those words puts forth a secondary motion.

Or “do it again.”

We are going along, lose our joy, lose our balance, lose our way or just lose our sensitivity.

Numb, they say.

“Re” implies getting back on track and doing the things we did before.

Focus, Energy, Creativity, Contemplation, Consistency, Application.

What does this mean for you, personally? How will you recharge?

Last confession of the morning ..

A few days ago, at work, I suddenly felt depressed.

A variety of things were on my mind.

So I clocked out, went to lunch (by myself, I did not feel like having company), drove to a local dig called The Purple Onion, placed an order for a soup and sandwich combo, and realized the place was busier than usual, and noisy.

I did not want to be with people, per say.

Plugging in my headphones, I turned on Spotify on my cell phone, played Celtic music. And pulling out my Purpose book, (bullet journal), started writing tentative Christmas gifts for those on my list.

The warmth of the soup and comfort of the sandwich, the rekindling of my inner fire glowed within me again.

I returned to work refreshed.

Music, food, planning time.

And my mind was clear to work again.

Anyway .. the sun is up, and I need to get ready for work. Morning contemplation complete, I am ready for the last day of my work week.

May blessings chase you everywhere today 🙂

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Hello and goodnight

The day flew past, and I did not blog.

So here ya go.

Wore my boots to a dairy farm.

Wrote 2 stories.

Went to church. Went to choir.

More on that later.

How about you?

Remember no matter what life throws at us, we get by with a little help from our friends.

Saying hello and goodnight now.

Will write more tomorrow.

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A Wonder Woman dream

Well that’s a first.

Dreamed I was Wonder Woman last night, trying to bring peace to a troubled world.

Wow!

At some point in my dream, a voice said that is why mothers and women everywhere are so important. Because they teach the skills necessary to overcome and not live a dark life, to make right choices and help others.

I chalk it up to my writing on Wonder Woman’s first female writer, Joye Murchison (Hummel) Kelly. And advertising I saw on Facebook about a Wonder Woman day.

Admittedly, today’s writing is slanted. I know there are many guys who have been house dads or they have had to carry the load of both mother and father. And those roles seem to be changing.

Any parent that has to do that is a superhero, in my opinion.

Although I am a career woman at this point in my life, I greatly recognize the value of having a strong, steady influence at home.

I think of ladies in my Grandma’s generation, who cooked real meals, ironed, washed clothes and kept the home.

Whether out of necessity or the drive in life to have “more,” women went to work in number after World War II. And today, probably in most families, both women and men have to work just to provide the basics.

Meals started showing up in packages and quick stir ins, instead of something to be nurtured all day.

The funny thing is that if you drop your baby at daycare or the sitter’s, someone is still setting a plate out and cooking for your child. Someone is having those important conversations with them. This really confronted me when I went to work.

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Many days I look at all of us, the “career” women, and ask, are we happier for it?

When crime soars through the ceiling, and you see that all of society is asking themselves, “who am I, anyway?”

Sigh.

I admit I am grateful for the time I was able to spend as a homemaker, homeschooling and raising my children.

Though I went to work when they hit middle school, at least I had some years with them.

Not saying here, lest the online tribe of head hunters run after me vicously, that people cannot work and build children who have a good handle on the future.

It is just that, even as Joye Kelly said, when she quit writing Wonder Woman, she had a little girl who needed her.

It is worthy to note that in some form or capacity then, she was still making a huge contribution.

We look around us and see the dividends of how people spend their time.

Muscle rippled bods show a lot of time in the gym (where great conversations and goal setting happens, fitness is good, of course). Houses in some areas may not be rich, but they are well kept, well swept and clean properties. Someone had to do that, it did not just happen. Clothes hang on a rack at the department store. Hands hung them there. Restaurants across the world put out a table, a plate and utensils, and fill it with food. Old, restored antique cars shine in their brilliance. Someone had to work on them, they do not stay that way.

We live in a world of upkeep as time marches on.

Let us not leave the children behind as we pursue our large living.

In my memory is a stove in a little house on Ritter Avenue in Indianapolis. A pot of green beans, potatoes and ham simmered, as coffee brewed for the afternoon. I stood on a stool and started to put paper plates on gas burners I just turned on, and Grandma caught me just in time to avert disaster. Handing me a real spoon, not a paper spoon, I received my first lesson in cooking and stove safety.

“Look” before you move. “Listen.”

As Joye Kelly said of Wonder Woman’s golden lasso, it was to “make you stop and think about what you are doing.”

Five seconds can change your life.

Perhaps that is a lesson we need to pass to our children.

Happy Tuesday, all. Molly is purring on my life, and I savor a few more minutes before I hit this busy day.

The noise of noise

The cats are enjoying their morning snack as I try to pry my eyes open.

The success of coffee will either be proven or not as I down a few cups.

Did not sleep well last night .. outside noises included trains and cars with the blam blam stereos that vibrated the walls.

Sigh.

I heard the same when I went to the grocery store yesterday, and I had to wonder .. what on earth are these folks trying to prove?

I may be part of the last generation on earth who remembers what life was like before computers, cell phones and boom boxes.

Hey, I love music. I love it loud, too. Just do not feel it is necessary to steal someone else’s quiet space.

“A hundred acres in the middle of Kansas sounds good right now,” I told a grocery worker covering her ears as she walked quickly through the parking lot.

There should be some kind of technology that is like a boom bubble. Something invisible, lol, that could allow you to hear things like birds and barking dogs, but block the boom, boom, boom, boom.

Boom.

And so at the risk of sounding old and unhappy this morning, I share a quick hello.

Hello all 🙂

Today is a day of blessing. Making a list of said blessings as we speak.

Life. My children and friends. Church. Chicken and rice for lunch today. Many material blessings. The ability to walk, see, think and yes, hear.

So today I will focus on the gift of hearing.

Let not my heart be consumed over my lack of sleep or things I would like to see different in this world.

I am thankful.

Short blog. Everyone have fun today in the sandbox, and please play nice.

It is Monday.

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Ordinary

As I was watching a show last night in which masked singers competed to see who could keep the judges stumped as to their identity, a word popped into my head.

Seeing Hollywood greats, polished, manicured, with their fake extensions added in (gorgeous), fake eyelashes and clothes that were tailored, I thought of ordinary people.

Ordinary people might not have access to all that makes one “camera ready.”

And it hit me.

Why is it that we as a society can only view what we see as “pretty” people? We have come to expect that the movie star or professional entertainer has lots of help to be “pleasing to the eye.”

I met someone recently that I will likely write a profile story on at some point, and it surrounds the idea that she has been at this (occupation) some 50 years (what I will highlight in my story.)

She and her family have lived in the same area since 1887.

!

As our Sheriff would say, “Did you hear that?” with Southern drawl.

You might say she is an ordinary person. At 78, she did not look a day over a late 50 something. No makeup. Plain T-shirt.

Ordinary.

A happy person, too.

If you think about it, many of us aspire to be beyond “ordinary.”

All of our self help mantras (I admit I use them too, just saying) .. like “reach for the stars,” or “be somebody,” etc .. go right out the proverbial window when ordinary appears.

Basically, “I don’t have to change the whole world. Just my corner.”

Or maybe not even “change the world.”

Perhaps, occupy.

A friend of mine lives in a beautiful house, alone. Yet looking at her life, I do not see her as ordinary, or alone.

Her home, decorated in her favorite purple, scented with warm oil diffusers, and lit with soft lighting, a place of peace and comfort .. and lots of books.

She lives in ordinary America. The space she occupies reflects her creative spirit.

Another friend of mine is sitting in her patrol car as we speak. Serving in an ordinary capacity as a patrol deputy, I find her day to be anything but ordinary. She wears no makeup. Once in a while I get to paint her nails. But as patrol beats would go, she would say yeah, this is pretty ordinary as far as law enforcement. With her highly equipped vehicle and skills, she is busy every day meeting people in the chaos of their unexpected moment in the middle of what should have been their “ordinary day.”

Today, I awake with the same word on my mind. It is Sunday, and I am getting ready for church. In my family, as I grew up, Sunday was definitely the ordinary day for church, though you can have church in your car, or Walmart, or the doctor’s office.

Ordinary.

So what is my point?

Well, I think perhaps it is a epiphany. (Did I spell that right? If not, please excuse.)

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A realization that “ordinary” is ok. Most people are ordinary. Ordinary is just as beautiful as “showy,” or “glamorous,” or whatever. Ordinary is productive, and kind, peaceful, full of wisdom, fun, a daily thing.

So while many days, I admit I have prayed to be fantastic, for whatever reason .. you know .. that is what a lot of us pray .. Lord, let me be ordinary.

Happy Sunday, all.

I am looking forward to singing in the choir today.

Even if I lip sync the high notes 🙂

And then

That moment when your day begins with a disaster text, and you fly out the door to write about it for the newspaper.

A tornado hit Polk County, and thankfully, no lives were lost, no injuries reported.

But rebuilding will commence. Things will need to be repaired. Some things will never be replaced.

And yet, life.

As I watched a daughter salvage her mother’s keepsakes and father’s items from their bedroom .. or what used to be their bedroom, I admit, it made me sad for this family, and others, who lost their home and their belongings.

After years of covering news, you hear things like, awww you need to have a tough skin.

People have said cops and journalists are jaded.

I will not apologize for the fact that I care. Were I someone who could write a check for them, I sure would have.

Precious memories. Walls that used to protect from the elements were now gone. Their haven from the world, no more.

Life.

There is life after loss. I have personally experienced loss of various things.

One day, the sun shines through the clouds. A ray of hope appears.

Somehow, we all press forward. The storm, someday, will be a remember when moment.

I greatly admired the girls as they cared for their parents. One that was carrying keepsakes, the other protecting her mother from the media.

They reminded me of my girls, who would have done the same thing.

Yes, the story did hit a personal note with me, and that is ok.

I refuse to subscribe to the tribe of the unfeeling.

If being numb helps you, that is your thing, and that is ok.

Me, I quietly go away and yes, cry by myself.

And people have supposed that those who shed tears are weak.

Not so, in my opinion.

After a good cry, I find fresh resolve to handle the matter .. the next step .. whatever it is.

You know, I have heard so many people say terrible things about journalists. Truth is, most community writers take it to heart. They carry your pain. Donate to your cause. Lend a hand if they can.

Blessings all.

Tomorrow is a new day.

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