Just hello

My tennis shoes lay in a corner and suddenly I feel guilty.

On the list I made (of goals and dreams) was the dreaded “workout.”

At one time, I can’t say I dreaded going to the gym. I lived right down the street and it was no big deal.

But now, it is not just the act of exercising, but traveling to get there, paying for gas that is high and somehow, I see it as one more brick to carry instead of what it is meant to be.

Add to that the cost. Albeit nominal for my membership.

And then there is the traffic thing. So now to make it to my destination, I am fighting my gas bill and the traffic to get there.

Gardening.

Pulling weeds on a hot day will wear you out in central Florida.

Bugs.

It’s that time of year. The mosquitoes are everywhere and I am their ungracious host.

The thought occurred to me that if I walk more and just keep up with housework and gardening, that is enough. Add a few spot exercises and there you go.

I sent an email to cancel my membership because I can’t stand to waste money.

I tried to post the going back to the gym photo (we’ve all seen it) to further motivate myself.

Tell me you have not thought the same thing.

A very famous singer I admire was asked in a news interview if she went to the gym and she said she was not really into that.

She does strength training at home and dances around the house.

So there you go.

My tennis shoes just wanted to say ..

Hello.

Fear not .. Focus, yes

Stage fright.

I started to sing at church a solo I had practiced millions of times. I was certain at the tender age of 11 or so that it was my calling.

Ahem.

Lost my place. Lost the tune. Nearly cried. We started over and my voice was crackling so much I could hardly hear the piano.

Stage left, quickly.

A blue dress. Five years later, on a date, entered a beauty pageant. I had no talent. So I needed to deliver a talk.

The girl on the stage before me lost her place and left the stage quickly.

I went out and suddenly, my voice crackled and I was so nervous as I forgot where I was in my speech. In front of hundreds, I bombed out.

My story was over, unfinished.

Someone sent a messenger telling me the judges said I would place in the pageant if I could give it another try, so I did.

And nailed it. And placed.

Public speaking and fear of heights, I have heard, are the two biggest fears common to man.

A speech class at Polk State College in Winter Haven, and a great deal of speaking experience with a previous job helped me get over those butterflies.

I no longer get nervous in front of a crowd.

That said.

You won’t find me taking a ride in a hot air balloon or buying a flight on a space shuttle anytime soon.

Other fears can get in the way of our dreams.

The fear of failure is real.

So we see fear or lack of, or reasonable calculation and careful planning .. all affect our dreams.

I love listening to self help talks. Even if they sometimes seem repetitive. Mostly, because everyone has a story, and the takes on their stories and the way they accomplish their dreams is amazing.

When was the last time you leaped a hurdle on the track of the dreams you have set out for yourself?

Every day, another step.

Focus on the next step, and soon another will follow.

Sometimes we fear failure so much we are afraid to try.

Faith and dream chasing

Start to talk about Jesus, there might be crickets in the room. But stick with me, please.

This morning, I was listening to one of Rick Warren’s talks from his “Peace Plan,” and at 5 a.m. with coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, heard him say that we are to dream big dreams and if we dream a dream that does not require the help of God, then it is too small a dream.

He talked about how we listen to public speakers who tell each of us that we can be anything we want to be, and how he disagrees with that. He says we each have specific things that we are “shaped to do.”

Boom.

Basically, it goes that if you are in the right occupation, for example, then there is less stress and your job is fun.

I love it! Yes, and yes. I love to write and every time I write, I feel a creative fulfillment, especially now that I am writing both news and feature articles, as well as pursuing creative writing (books underway) and my blog.

Writing is one of those things that seems so natural to me.

I have various dreams that involve writing.

Faith.

There is that word.

These days, for many reasons, people quietly take in bits of faith or spiritual encouragement and avoid discussion at times because as Grandma always said, “avoid talk about politics and religion.”

Yet my Dad and Granddad would sit in opposite chairs and go at both subjects for hours!

When I think of faith in my own life, I am quick to criticize my lack thereof at times. Maybe that is natural too .. master of your own destiny so to speak.

I have heard it said, well God gave you a brain.

Faith has been described to me over the years in a number of ways.

“Let go, let God,” one says, while another says “God’s got this,” and another “He won’t bless you unless you have faith.”

If we take a leap of faith, it could be a calculated leap of faith, the kind of leap where you make a plan, and somehow know you will need Divine assistance.

I am not one to run a haphazard budget.

I know to the cent most days what available funds I have for basic things and other things not so basic. We all agree the cost of living is ridiculous these days and those back yards of chickens, goats, pigs and produce look better and better all the time.

Self sufficiency is one mantra that helps us all get through.

So when I think of faith and dreams, I think I am not going to limit myself that way. I might have one dream and God suddenly brings something into my life I had not considered.

Is faith and dreaming the same thing?

I can only draw on my own experience, and you can likewise draw on yours.

Thus far, I see a golden thread that knits together my dreams with faith that somehow, they will come true, while also anticipating that as my charismatic friends say, “God shows up.”

I need to update my list of dreams. There are a few things I have not added. Plans? Yes. Hopes? Absolutely. Fears? We should talk about that.

Maybe tomorrow? Let’s explore how our fears interfere with our dreams.

Make the time

I didn’t wear a watch for years.

As a young mom at home with my babies, our schedule was governed by the alarm clock (essential for me to have a cup of coffee and gather my motivation for the day), sunrise, breakfast, lunch, supper and bath time.

Looking back at those years, I am amazed at the energy I had.

Prioritizing became so important to me in those days. Do what matters.

Time marches on.

I think any person that has been a stay at home parent deserves a degree of some sort.

We also homeschooled.

Anyway.

I started watch wearing when I started working at a bank. It seemed like the thing to do, to seem more professional and with it.

Now I wear a Fitbit and it talks to me occasionally. I and my watch are one.

It seems we hurry everywhere these days.

With technology advancements, we have more time than ever. Yet less?

I try to take advantage of little moments here and there. Make the phone call. Write the blog. Pay a bill. Water the plants.

Cleaning my car, spring cleaning the house and working out are all little plates that spin about my head. Other necessary things to do. I applauded myself for getting two bags of items to a non-profit for donation. It is a start.

So we see life sometimes crowds out our dream planning, dream musing, or even our dream actualization.

Where we really do something we always wanted to do.

I feel like news reporting and creative writing are two of my dreams that have come true. It is funny that this road started with me telling my friends that yes, I was a customer service rep at a medical facility, and write on the side.

I wish I could have a nickel for every time someone said “writing, huh, don’t give up your day job,” obviously kidding but also slightly out of scepticism as to whether I would reach my dream.

Ha, ha!! Of course, we know the rest. Writing is my job, and more than that, a passion. It’s my way to make a difference in this world and learn more about other people and their stories, which inspire me.

Time. It is the little moments that count. Little motions. Little moves.

How many minutes did you spend today planning your dreams?

The clock is ticking

For a few days now, we have been discussing dreams and plans. Yesterday we learned what to put on our list of dreams, and yet without a corresponding action or plan, we get nowhere.

Every goal has a deadline.

Reporters and editors are familiar with this language. Everyone in the sales world, likewise. To know the time, or best time, to launch a project is paramount to its success.

And we have heard it said that hey, everyone has 24 hours in a day. The sun comes up and goes down, and there we are, looking at our lists.

Time.

I sit in wonder at people who are skilled in the world of time management. A lot can be accomplished when the puzzle pieces make sense.

But what does making sense have to do with time management? And dreams?

Streamlining is a word I love. To me, it is how one rises in the morning, enjoys a cup of coffee and after morning devotions, hits the day with gusto.

(Gusto can be hard to come by, but this is not the topic of said blog for today, ha, ha.)

Streamlining is where I line up the activities of my life, the necessary moves, so that at some point in the day I have time to dedicate to my creativity. For you, it might be having enough time to conquer a billion piece project that requires both time and patience.

For me, it is the chance to let my creative side flow and also allows me “planning” time. This is when I feel most fulfilled as a person.

While it is true that often, our dreams and plans fall on the floor like a basket of fresh eggs, splat .. also true is that when we have the list, the intention and the determination to make time for our dreams, at least some of them come true.

Let’s all agree to look at our schedules, and see if there are small pockets of time we can dedicate to our dreams.

More on time management, tomorrow.

It is now time to crochet.

That is all.

Dreams really matter

I stood and stared at the aquarium tanks, feeling as if I too was floating and exploring the depths .. of what .. my soul? My purpose?

The Florida Aquarium is one of my favorite places to visit. Although I am not adventurous enough to go scuba diving, I love the idea of being so close to marine life, and safe 🤩

(As opposed to swimming away from a hungry shark or being stung by one of the millions of jellyfish I admire.)

One might look at me and say (with a droll mouth, as some would do) well you live a boring life.

Anyway.

I told you yesterday we’d talk about how to get started with making a dreams list. Believe it or not, there are many who have never contemplated anything beyond this day. Not that it’s a bad way to live, and yet ..

“I want to travel,” said my friend. Having already put her foot in well over twenty states (or more, perhaps?) she still has places she wants to see.

So a dream list starts with things you find interesting. Your passion. Things that make you smile or that you find relaxing. Chill.

Add to that a few curious things. You know, those things you have considered but never seriously.

Ask a friend for a suggestion or two and add it to the list.

Cut out magazine photos of the places or things you would like to see. Paste them all on a board or tack them to a bulletin board.

The sky is the limit.

But when will you find the time?

Find we must.

More on that tomorrow.

Grow your dreams

At present moment, the weekend half over, I sit and ponder a thought that hit me earlier today.

It started with a cup of coffee.

I was having a morning coffee with a friend and suddenly, she said “Wow, that cup went fast.”

And that is when I realized she was drinking from a smaller cup than usual.

So of course, the cup went fast!

But then I was thinking, as thinkers often do, of other sudden epiphanies .. and realized .. the same is true in life.

Grab a small cup, get a small cup. Choose a larger cup and fill it up, and perhaps that will hit the spot.

When we dream of things we’d like to see come to fruition in our lives, I wonder if too often, we inadvertently grab the smaller cup.

The quick cup. The safe cup.

The routine cup.

The same as yesterday and so forth.

A hair salon.

I was getting a haircut one day and a friend passed by and of course as you do, greet one another and hey how are you.

He asked me about my blog. And what about the YouTube channel.

I was speechless and found myself suddenly trying to figure out where it all went. Time has passed.

Did I grab the small cup?

The newsroom.

I so love the smell of newsrooms.

I am so grateful that I have grabbed the larger cup and have made room to fill it up with my dreams. Freelance full-time, write my next several books, get busy on creating a YouTube channel.

This friend does not know, but running into him changed the course of my life for the better. My creativity has returned and somehow, I have found my purpose again.

So there. A coffee cup. A haircut. And a newsroom.

What does your dream look like, and what are you going to do to bring it to pass? Everyone has a purpose in life.

Tomorrow, let’s talk about plans.

Focus on the positive

Ice froze a solid curtain on my vehicle windows this morning, and like everyone else in central Florida, I waited until my defroster cleared up all of my windows and mirrors until I ventured out to work.

After putting in four hours at work, the rest of the day was flex, so I thought hey I will clean the house.

(Yes I see you smile, you know where this is going.)

I felt certain that it would be a personally productive day because I made a list in my colorful day planner that I bought to make sure that 2022 was extra cheerful.

Starving, I grabbed a bag of nacho chips and a cup of coffee (yes, not a good snack for diabetics), and ate so many that I suddenly felt sleepy.

Well the back yard looked sunny.

After I stepped out, I sat in my chair by the now cold and empty fire pit. The sun felt great and gloriously warm on my face, and I seriously almost went to sleep in the yard.

(Aside from a wicked sunburn, I am sure that would have been refreshing.)

Talked to one of my kids a while. Watered flowers and took the sheets off them that I had wrapped around the bushes a few days before. It was as if the garden breathed a sigh of relief.

Squirrels barked at me from above, fatter than usual.

And after an hour outside, I thought hey I need to get on the cleaning.

Ha.

Went to the bathroom to fetch a brush out of my “hair utensils” drawer and the drawer stuck.

Well then it was “on.”

I unpacked the whole thing. The WHOLE thing.

Figured I probably saved about fifty bucks in hair barrettes and brushes because I found them all held captive by my eight different flat and curl irons.

And three fuzzy rollers.

After the hair purge, I felt pretty good, but it was time for coffee.

Well it is flex time, I thought, so I will take out that acrylic nail kit I got at the major retailer for like $8.

I remember telling my bestie, if I can master this, think how much money I can save. On nails that is.

No, I’m not vain. I’m very girlie. And nobody can dispute those suckers (acrylic nails) stay on pretty good.

Well.

Upon opening the bottle of acrylic I nearly gassed myself and that, yes, was through my N95 mask.

Heck, no.

I put the lid back on, and looked down at the nail tips I had glued on and thought well what am I going to do now?

I ran out the back door, gasping for clean air and turned the kitchen fan on.

(In my head, I felt stupid for thinking I could do my own acrylics.)

Hard pass.

So there went another hour and a half of my day, and I found myself frustrated.

But yet, it was a good day. I had a great conversation with my youngest daughter, spent some time in my garden, made Mexican casserole for supper and put away folded clothes.

Not too bad I guess 🙂

There is always a brighter side. Even when your list goes by the wayside. When your project doesn’t turn out. When you feel like you have failed, you really have not.

Tonight, as I listen to the Christmas Canon from TranSiberian Orchestra, I think of how grateful I am for this life. What a wonderful day. How blessed I am.

Sunday Thoughts

Church online.

Today, I took a rare day to sleep in, ward off the chill, wrapped in blankets with the blinds drawn until well after sun up.

Then crocheted on my granddaughter’s blanket while taking in a church service from a church I used to attend long ago. Once in a while I do this, usually when I just need a slow day.

Tonight, warming my hands and my coffee cup by the fire, I think of my precious friends at the church I have attended the last few years, and how they bless my soul, how gathering together ignites my spirit.

Yet the day of rest was a day well spent. I feel energized for the week ahead, and can’t wait to see my choir friends on Wednesday night. They sounded great today indeed! (I heard them online as well.)

I was thinking of how many churches are begging their congregants to return, masks on or not, vaccinated or not, please return to life as we knew.

I also notice that fewer people are wearing masks than a year ago. Slowly, life is returning, and I know someday our grandbabies will ask us to explain the year they were born.

We have an Ever Present hope in Jesus our Messiah, in this God, our Creator.

As the fire kindles the logs beneath, I think also of how many people say “there is so much anger in the world today.”

Some days it is more obvious than others.

But light begets light, and when we look for the blessings, we soon find more reasons to say “I am blessed beyond measure.”

Coming together as believers at church is a way for us to encourage one another, face to face, to uplift, say hello, hear about another’s week. Online services definitely bridged the gap when many were, or are, stuck at home. So many do not have a way to church, whether young ones whose parents do not attend, or shut-ins.

What a blessing it is to go to church.

On another note, have to say I would not have the love for the church or the Lord had it not been for my family (both sides were devout Christians) and friends at church who gave me rides to church because my Dad worked nights and was asleep before 9 am so he could go and work all night again.

I wish I could find them and thank them. Did a social media search (for my friends) which proved to be fruitless. Will keep trying. I truly am indebted to them and their influence.

There are a couple people whom I believe God has put on my heart to invite to church. Maybe they will say yes, maybe no, or maybe maybe.

And if they do, maybe I will have paid forward, at least a little, what was done for me.

Selah.

Monday will be here soon. May you have a productive week.

Winter, summer, shopping, goals and laziness

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

While standing by our bonfire tonight, it struck me that I am super productive in the fall and spring. When the weather gets cold, I just sort of feel like I could hibernate .. and yet we know that is not the way to get where you want to be, or do what you want to do.

And when you think about it, with anything in life, we can always craft an excuse as to why we don’t do the things we set out to do.

Summer inspires me with beautiful sunrises and breathtaking sunsets, wonderful storms that sweep over sunny Florida with the sweet smell of the ocean in tow.

Winter can be marvelous because we in the south finally get to wear our favorite boots and sweaters.

Goals.

Lists.

Intentions.

While talking to my bestie today, we discussed how people set out to do something and then change, and decide not to do it, and then change again and go after it again. Some people do this frequently.

For example, the resolution that I am going to work out every day goes right out the window when I come home from a long day or decide that I’d rather do something else. (I own the shirt that reads “yay, cardio, said no one ever.”)

Today, we purposed to do a little shopping after I got off work, and so braved the roads and traffic to head an hour away.

I am proud of my list. One of my goals this year is to whittle away at my debt and the only way you do that is spending wisely.

Three things this year are on my “must allow” list for spending, besides any craft work I do. That is my hair, my nails, and things from my favorite fragrant body wash and perfume lotion line. No compromise.

I canceled a subscription to a publication (saved 40 dollars a month).

And used coupons during a sale for the items I wanted.

So we think of fitness, finance, and then, other endeavors.

What is my “other?”

I blog (although as of yet, I have not monetized it), write, do crafts and cook, and more.

Some people have a side hustle of some sort in addition to their job. Which is fine as long as you can manage all of it, and make sure your number one bread winning job gets the most effort.

While I was out today, I stood in a bookstore and realized these people need to be introduced to my book. Well I may put that on my goals list. Actually, it has been there for years.

Market.

The central core of marketing is anticipating the needs of the people who need your product, service, or opportunity.

Marketing must never become a pinball game where one haphazardly hits the side knobs and hopes the ball rolls the right direction.

Lazy.

Inasmuch as I really put my all into my work and give it my best, I confess that some of my side endeavors have fallen lackluster.

Or hitter-misser. Or maybe you’ll get to it tomorrow. Or next month. Or next year.

But is it really laziness? One must remember to be kind to oneself. Seriously, if you are out in the world (or at home as a full time parent or caregiver) putting your all out there, you may have little left to give other attentions.

But it is not impossible.

I watched a young lady who was a business woman change careers, put her all into that, and I was wondering why is she tying up all her time like that, being that she did not really have to work. She and her family had done well over the years.

One day, however, through a series of purchases she made, I suddenly realized why she labored so long and hard.

This was her why. It was the reason she kept going and did not give up. The photo she had in her mind came to fruition because she never took her eyes off the goal. One career beget another side career as well as a legacy for her kids. I was like whoa .. I want that motivation.

More on that .. another day. Something to think about. Small steps consistently get us where we need to be.

I am proud of myself for blogging again tonight.