What Is Progress? Pursuit. Part 2

To do. To do. To do again. To begin. To begin. To begin again. And again. New habit formed? Yes? No? Maybe tomorrow?

Planning is a big deal when embarking on a project, a mission, a bucket list event, a large purchase, and so forth.

An achievement is a goal well planned and pursued. 

In the professional world, we have all kinds of planning tools on our various devices. I use all those. But I still use paper.

Whether planners on paper or on devices, somehow we end up with a list.

College professors say there are goal oriented people who can multitask and reach said destination on time, then there are task oriented people who are more suited for the hyperfocal.

All approaches are useful.

In both cases, the common denominator is the pursuit of meeting what is expected.

Pursue. Focus. Move toward. Put some labor to the matter at hand. Make it a point. Etc.

The holidays are almost upon us, and already my calendar is filling up. My goal every year is to find the holy and sacred in every day, every gathering, every place.

I have not mapped out my plan yet. That is part of what I am doing today.

In the midst of work and home, church and family, shopping and cleaning, writing and reading, decorating and cooking, the rush .. will give way to hush once in a while .. usually late at night as the lights on the tree twinkle and my mind does a replay of all I have done and need to do.

And I think of goals and dreams, and how the New Year follows Christmas. What do I want to accomplish?

Professionally, personally, spiritually?

An inventory is necessary. A list will be made.

But no goal is reached until I put my feet to the matter, or mind, or hands to create or type, or resolve that today, not tomorrow, is the day to create my best “now.”

What is progress?

I overheard a conversation one time in which one person said to another person (about who, who knows?) that well, “she must think she is so important she needs a website.”

And I chuckled, as I knew they were not talking about me, since they did not know me. But I seriously wanted to break in on the conversation (strictly taboo, you know, to do something like that lol) and ask why having a website seemed like a big deal to them.

In this day and age, it is strictly a method of communication. And you have the advantage of controlling your content.

I still blog because I enjoy writing creatively and because once in a while, someone’s day is made better because of it.

Anyway.

As you know, I am a list maker and goal setter, and sometimes I try and sometimes I fail.

Or is it really failure? I wonder if not trying at all is failure itself, or maybe not even a failure so much as it is deciding you will or will not do a particular thing.

The gym. I went to the gym two days, made a Facebook post, felt accomplished and then poof.

Motivation I had not.

Where it went, I do not know.

Nevertheless, I have a gym bag and for the sake of health need to get back at it.

On a whole side note, I got my second covid vaccine, recovered from the effects and cleaned house for a while.

So I feel somewhat accomplished today.

What is on your list?

Are you setting and reaching your goals?

I imagine we all do a tug of war with our list.

Good luck with yours, as well as mine.

Reach

Fixed my hair. Check.

Brushed my teeth. Check.

Got ready for choir practice and church, and drove there, arriving on time. Check.

Enjoyed the sweet fellowship under the cathedral.

Ebb and flow.

Returned home to do some scrapbooking.

Oh, and I made some cornbread to go with dinner. Used vegetable oil instead of butter (what was I thinking?? I never do that.) To me, it was intolerable.

Blah.

Fetched some hangars off the back of my bedroom door and figure that is one goal truly met. Placed them in the laundry room where I wash and hang my uniforms.

Tonight, I wonder why people think you have to be a rock star to be amazing. Or famous. Or anything that is noticed by all.

Do you have to have a fabulous house, an enchanted life? Do you have to impress? Or is it ok to be ordinary?

Looking back over my family’s heritage, I can say that not one of them were what I would consider famous, or known by huge numbers of people. They worked hard, kept clean houses, donated to charity when possible, went to church and invited neighbors and friends to dinner.

Collectively, my family has inventors, teachers, artists, businessmen, government workers, night watchmen, beauticians, homemakers, seamstresses, girl bosses (we call it being assertive), and more.

And of my family who maintains a presence online, they are pretty simple people, post a few things to be social. Realizing a need to connect, we enjoy seeing pictures of what we are all doing.

Yet reaching the masses, not so much.

And I think of my writing and whether it will blossom (I have written for newspapers, and those days are over, as I have launched a new career that I love, while also maintaining my love for creative writing.)

I say all this to present a question.

Am I using my writing to help people, and are others touched or motivated, inspired or encouraged by it?

I hope so.

What gifts we are given, when shared, shine on the world around us and help us all reach our dreams.

Side note.

Was also grocery shopping today, and heard a young lady singing in the parking lot of the grocery store, and a few aisles away, heard a young man playing a concert violin.

He had a sign for donations, but wow, his contribution to this beautiful day was so worth any money people could throw his way.

I saw the young lady in the bakery, and told her she had a pretty voice and that she needs to sing like that everywhere she goes because the world needs more of that.

So here is my offering for today’s blog.

May we all sparkle with the stars we hold in our hands and toss them frequently about, giving light and warmth to those around us.

Thankful for the little things

Thankful muses, there are.

Or rather, muses of thanksgiving.

Dreary days with little sunshine can tip the mood meter to the sour.

Yet thankful hearts have a continual feast.

What if we can change our mood with positive, deliberate thoughts.

Coffee.

Just the thought of a coffee shop, any coffee shop, makes me smile.

I think of books, and comfortable chairs, and journals and pens and time to enjoy all of the above with a steamy ceramic mug of joe.

Yet there are other things for which I am thankful. Some are simple, every day things like hot water and a great washing machine, while others are more complicated, like considering the depth of all God created, the earth, the heavens, the creatures and the forests, mountains and oceans. Breathtaking.

Presently I am thankful to have spent the afternoon, after work, at a birthday party for my daughter and two of my grandbabies.

The energy of a child on their birthday .. we were all smiling at the kids and the joyous looks on their faces as they opened their presents and ate cake.

On a whole different note, am looking at some projects I need to finish soon. My next grandson’s blankets, kitchen curtains, two quilts and two shawls.

And then the cleaning projects. Bookshelves that need organized, photos that need to be arranged (my old cloth photo albums are really showing their age and harboring dust, so will work on a new system that is easier to keep clean.)

A year or so ago, I had used an old sewing table as a desk, then moved it to replace it with shelves. And the shelves are ok, but I miss my desk corner. Then I think well wouldn’t I like a small corner type desk and a chair that would fit under it and not be in the way.

Goals. A bicycle with a basket. A corner desk. And at some point a laptop that is not an albatross (mine is a dinosaur, truly.) Simplify. Add. Subtract. Remake.

In the midst of compiling my many lists (both figuratively and actual lists in my day book), I still must remind my soul to both reach for my goals and dreams while also being thankful for the present moment of life in all its glory.

The thinking of thinking

Where do you do your best thinking? And when?

Do you like to think in the silence of an evening, or the whisper of fresh air just before dawn?

Or do you need noise, some noise, any noise?

Isn’t it pretty cool that God made us all so different?

And we all have a thinker.

Or at least that is what the thinkers think.

Think about how many times the word think is used.

I think it is used a lot but those opposed might say, “I don’t think so.)

My head is always going, admittedly. Very seldom can I say I am not thinking something.

So now the question is .. what do you think about what you are thinking?

Is it something easy for you to think about, or do you really have to think things through?

A thinker is a pretty necessary part of our lives. Great creativity yields great joy.

When I think about what I am thinking, I have to laugh, for there you go.

Thinking upon thinking. And think some more.

It has been said that the direction of our thoughts guides the ship so to speak. Think a negative thought, yield a negative result.

Think a positive thought. And poof, a positive result.

I have often thought how much our lives would be blessed if we would think more and worry less.

What do you think?

Goals and then some

“Enjoy the journey,” a New York Times reporter once told me.
(Photo provided by free Word Press Media Library.)

Having had a befuddled day yesterday, my inner self was determined not to have a repeat episode, so everything I needed for my day, I laid out ahead of time, as is usually my custom.

The next few days are going to be very busy for me. If I blog tomorrow, it will clearly be at lunchtime, as otherwise the day is packed with activity.

Do you enjoy life?

Like the little things, like washing and drying clothes, maybe cooking a little, perhaps joining friends or family at an event or for a meal?

Do you enjoy your work? Your side hustle, if you have one? Do you take a deep breath of life and say you know I am thankful for this moment?

I love what I do, and I love my life. Everyone has challenges, things still on the to do list, day to day tasks that must be done, as the dust will not carry itself out, nor the trashcan trot to the curb? (Although that would be a sight, wouldn’t it, lol?)

There is a metal wall hanging I have had for years inscribed with the saying “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

So what do you love?

Well, there are many things I love to do. They say if you really want to find your passion, look back at your childhood. What did you love?

My treasured possessions were my books and journals, paper supplies, stationary, scented apple erasers, a large tin of crayons (which smelled so wonderful), blank art journals, school supplies, my dolls, magazines, jewelry boxes, a recorder (since I had no flute), and as I got older, I loved all things girly .. makeup, perfume, nail polish, purses and shoes!

The loves? My bicycle. The outdoors. Mud puddles. Tall trees with low knobs to climb. Nearby lakes, rivers or oceans. My grandmother’s wooden rowboat. Baking cookies and making homemade bread of all kinds. Cooking. Sewing. Smelling the fabric store as all the fabric had this unique smell. I still love that.

So yesterday, if you remember, I talked about the teddy bear boss I met. What a sweet lady. She said she used to crochet, but as she got older, her hands hurt and she could not see nor keep up with where she left off. But she sure could still see to sew and manage a number of other teddy bear makers.

I feel like I am in this phase of life where I am looking both backward and forward. Where have I been and where am I going, and what things would I like to do that I have not done.

A piggy bank.

So I am not sure where the proverbial piggy bank idea started, nor how it was that a pig was selected to hold a bunch of coins for young folks saving money for a rainy day.

And I don’t have a piggy bank. Probably should.

Yet it is an illustration for me.

A bicycle. I want to save enough money to buy a reasonable (i.e. not competitive, just serviceable) bike. I am going to install a bike rack on the back of my car. And when I get time off here and there .. as often as possible, find places to ride. I am not sure if I want to lean over or ride the prissy upright bike, but in either case, it is something I want to do.) And a basket. I want a basket on the front. Maybe one on the back too. Will see if it is practical.

I have absolutely no aspirations to compete, ride in races or any of that. Just to feel the wind in my hair and enjoy the weather as it is, and maybe someday, if time permits, ride in a slow roll our town has from time to time. Depends on the distance.

Enjoy the journey.

As I write, it is late, and dark thirty comes early tomorrow. May your day be blessed.

Let brighter thoughts prevail

It is end September and Florida is still hot and humid, but then again that fresh ocean air that sweeps over the state is so worth it.

I found myself asking a coworker what her beauty secret was for keeping her hair straight even though she has curly hair. She shared the product and combing technique she uses and yes, I went to the store today and totally forgot to pick up the product.

Some days are like that. If I don’t put it on my list, I may or may not remember it.

Yet a train of thought flew through my mind of how sometimes I complain about little silly stuff, like the weather, or traffic (well if people would use their blinkers, be considerate and kind, that would be a non-issue), or congestion at the grocery store.

And I thought to myself, self, why do you complain about such things?

How about be thankful for the changing weather, or the fact I have a car, or that I have access to grocery stores and can get most things I need?

And then.

My how the dust has gathered in my bedroom, which presently looks like a book and greeting card hoarder lives here. (Maybe I am exaggerating a little bit.)

I figured out why I have so many books, besides being bookish and loving to read and actually consume a book, curling up with coffee and tenderly turning the pages, and the feeling you get as you read page by page and get lost for a few hours in the land of who knows where or what is this new project I can do .. it is because as a kid I had no siblings and books entertained me for hours. But as a fast reader, I ran out of reading material quickly.

To me, the closest thing to an earthly hell would be a house without books to read, notebooks or journals, pens to write with .. devoid of card sending or letter writing materials.

When I finished reading my books, I read cereal boxes, and then some of my mom’s nursing books for school, and our encyclopedia set.

I know someone, somewhere is saying hello .. with the internet you now have a treasure trove to choose from to satisfy your literary longings.

Self help books are cool. I love non-fiction, as well as fiction set in England or New York.

But the room is dusty.

Slowly, I am simplifying, with a goal that I can come in here and just breathe.

I am sure you are thrilled with the idea of house cleaning (for real?), but to me it is part of making a home, and making a day great, or splendid.

Someone has to polish the teapots of the world and set the table for a brand new day.

My cat Molly Moo sends her regards. As do Peebs, Winter Moo, and Oreo. I still wonder what she would look like in a cat dress, posed next to a teacup.

Peebs, a calico cat with great curiosity, and Molly Moo affectionately study the camera and wonder if treats are next.

Ah, the fancy minds of writers.

Who says?

How many people give up a hobby because someone says they are not good at it? And how many have persisted because one soul encouraged them to keep on going?

I was astounded several years ago when I spent five hours reworking a structured painting, ending up with an abstract by the end of the evening.

Having several writer, author, artist types on my friends list, one of the creatives spoke up and offered to screen print my creation onto a Tshirt to sell in his shop and divide the proceeds.

At the time I was in journalism, and though most writers have a side hustle of some sort, I opted not to take him up on the offer. A marketing decision it was, as I was working on my book and trying to get that finished.

Some time later I interviewed an actual artist. Pretty cool, as he taught middle school children how to rework their paintings for “art” effect.

The kids were mortified and protested greatly as they had one idea, carefully painting that. There were nature scenes, family pics, weird creatures and more.

So he instructed the children to blindfold themselves (teachers, Paras, and guests present) and then turn their painting upside down and use a different brush in different paint, making haphazard designs.

“Now you have art,” he said.

I guess the type A side of me cringed as I saw this, as all of a sudden, their paintings took on a different life.

Some of the kids were mad, others were laughing, still others were like “oh cool!”

Today’s painting is an abstract. It started out as an ocean scene, then I painted over that and it all became lavender with a olive green heart tilted to the side.

Frustrated that it looked like a nothing canvas, I then sloshed yellow paint across it in the middle, mixed with white.

Then remembering a little art trick we did in school, took a Q tip and scratched a flower and pot design in the paint while it was still wet.

Happy flowers. Happy happy flowers.

Anyway.

One thing I have learned from artists is that art is your expression. Yes, I would love to paint something that resembles something factual.

And I may again paint coffee cups for fun. Or other little items. Or rocks. Or my old jewelry box that has junk jewelry. Or a wooden spoon. Or.

Here is to exploring your creative side.

Molly sends her regards. The splendid housecat approves this project.

The real reason writers write

Those who love words understand it well .. the real reason writers write.

An epiphany rose up in my creative flow this evening.

In the midst of listening to a motivational talk .. somewhat and not necessarily listening with intention, it made sense to me. The reason why I blog.

It is easy to talk oneself out of a goal, make a list of failures and shortcomings, and yes it is hard to reach the summit, but there is energy exerted in either case.

Positive versus negative energy.

I thought of my personal writing goals .. those that are outside my professional career.

And realized that many of my blogs .. although others have said they have helped them in some way, were written to myself.

A fellow blogger once said “that’s because blogs, by nature, are me-centric.”

So there is that.

Dear Me. Literally.

My goal is to create content, and continue to write my books, and hopefully along the way make a few friends and bless those who could use a lift.

Writers write. And readers read. And writers read. And readers write.

After questioning the future of my blog, what I would like to see, etc. I realize it is good to just put one foot in front of the other with this matter.

I guess it is ok, after all, if it is really talking to myself. But maybe, somehow, an adventure or creative burst, a poem or song, or observance, or muse, or story, or nugget of wonder encountered on life’s path, can be shared for the benefit of others.

All the best for you

Eat right. Sleep well. Walk every day. Meditate. Work hard. Drink lots of water. Make time to play. Chase your passion.

Don’t forget to breathe.

Some of the best advice comes in snippets, a one liner in passing across a soup bowl at lunch, a quick goodbye or a speedy hello tossed across the traffic on a busy street.

Find yourself.

For the last several months, I have not blogged, though certainly inspiration was all around me.

2020, while full of uncertainty in many ways, brought me to a career in law enforcement as a crime prevention specialist, a position which has proven to join my creative side with my desire to serve the community.

I have spent the last few months in various kinds of training, and I love it!

Now that I am getting used to my new routine, I am reconnecting with my glitzy adventure blog and other side pastimes.

After work today, I ate two small bags of Cheetoes and swigged a cup of coffee while reading a friend’s blog and making a list of books I would like to read.

Be careful with the eating and reading thing.

Simultaneously that is.

As a child, I hauled armloads of books home, then nestled in a small curl of existence as I devoured the pages before me, traveling to places and times I have never seen, and musing about what I would do if I did.

So here I am .. I hope to blog often, and with substance.

Meanwhile, I have a cat on my lap.

Molly says hello.

Dreams really do come true.