Sparkle just because

As long as I can remember, the light and shine of glitter, sequins, and foil star stickers has given me hope.

For me, it goes to that “Let there be light” that God said in the beginning of time.

Tonight, am keeping this short as I want to see the opening Olympic ceremonies.

What makes your heart light?

Share that with someone.

Maybe if we all let our “sparkle” sparkle it will brighten someone’s day.

Dream a little dream

Or not.

Dream a big dream.

Dream something exquisite, creative, kind, beautiful.

Once in a while, I sort of evaluate the status of my goals in life.

Where am I and where do I want to be?

Back in journalism days, I recall meeting city planners with all their maps of this and that, where new businesses would locate, the future home of thus and so and so forth.

So when I think about a dream, it seems to me a plan is in order, because it also seems that a dream without a plan is fruitless.

Like shopping without a list and purpose could get expensive, I think of the many dreams I could put on paper and how they must be written down or they may not happen.

Here are a few of my dreams:

To stay open for God to use me as He sees fit in His church.

To spoil my parents because that is what they deserve.

To make blankets and art for my children and grandchildren. To make sure they know I love them always.

To take many trips with my bestie.

To finish writing my fiction book, if for nothing else, to entertain my grandchildren.

To write a non-fiction sequel to my first book. And maybe someday get a YouTube channel going. Will see.

To get a selfie near a sunflower field with sunflowers taller than me.

To visit a winery and do grape stomping with my feet.

To really learn to play the piano well, as well as get another guitar and learn to play it well and write songs. There is a smaller guitar at a local music shop that I have had my eye on for a very long while. I feel like it will be mine one day for sure. (Save and plan lol.)

To write something of substance that would bring peace to the world.

And more dreams than I can write here.

Steady moves reach the goal

Sporting a migraine is a great way to end the day, and suddenly I remember another Facebook post that someone else wrote .. “focus on your blessings and not on your complaints.”

Had the day off today as I work this weekend, and since the bestie was free, we checked out a few thrift shops, had lunch, went to the grocery and then swimming, where she went after a wasp nest full force with a bottle of spray. I was in awe of her bravery lol.

Presently, outside, the crickets are happy, or at least that is what I imagine as they chirp their evening pre-storm chorus.

You know what they say, in Florida, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

So, goals.

I find every time I have a day off, I have a pile of things I would like to do, because sure it is great to relax but also to keep up with life .. because that is what you do.

Or I do.

Or I try, that is.

The matter of the day was cleaning my room.

Imagine what a creative writer’s room looks like, or abode, or cave or whatever and you realize just how daunting a task that really is.

But this year, since reading Gretchen Ruben and her words on being Happier At Home, and taking in a few happy cleaning-organizing shows, I feel as if I really need to get my room organized to be happy.

Large exclamation point.

!

Seriously, though, it is not like it is trashy, as I empty the small waste basket every day, and dirty clothes go in the laundry hamper (which at present moment, the wicker hamper is being shredded by the newest housecat, Peebs, just for fun), and junk mail gets tossed and so forth.

But as I look around, I see piles of books, craft projects, art projects, sentimental and historical family gifts and momentos, thirty or so baskets (I collect them and as such, they multiply, and I am paring them back, slowly, painfully), bags of makeup (yes I am high maintenance but I try to maintain myself ha ha), shoes of various kinds, a few paintings here and there and more bottles of perfume than I would like to admit.

As you can see by the photo above, an ordinary cell phone snap shot of one of my baby blankets I am creating, this photo is one I shot .. am trying to get to the point where even if I take a still shot for my blog, at least it is mine and not from the free media library that comes with my subscription. And probably a more appropriate photo for this blog would be the pic of my messy room. Will have to tidy it more to get that shot I am sure.

My room. The mess. Yes. This afternoon dove into it and went through all my closet clothing and pulled out garments I don’t like any more, that are outdated or don’t fit, or are not useful. I was surprised to see that I actually have things to wear! Amazing! Like opening Christmas presents indeed.

Pulled out all broken or flimsy hangers and replaced them with the good ones.

Cleaned off one part of my dresser and hoisted my mother’s Japanese jewelry box (it has no jewelry in it) to the top novelty shelf.) It does not really fit my decor down low, but up high it almost looks like a mystery.

Weird.

Now having new room in my closet to hang more clothes, moved the clothes I hanged on both doors to the inside of the closet, and now I can see my long, hand painted tin sign with the motivational saying “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” It hangs on the door and is perfectly artsy there.

I believe that with my tan walls, I will eventually move back to a black accent decor (I have a few different comforter sets that I switch out occasionally, also weird, but I guess I take after my Mama, who does the same thing.)

Slowly I am moving toward a more almost minimalist room. I say almost, because I am not sure I will be for example, that person who lives with nothing on their walls.

Admittedly, even with the little I have done, I feel I can breathe again.

Recently, I visited my oldest daughter’s home in Virginia, and what she and her beloved have done with their home is gorgeous. Fresh paint, no clutter, organized rooms, touches of light decorating .. I thought to myself, that is what I want.

Light and clean, airy, simple, creative and beautiful.

Maybe tomorrow I will uncover another few inches of my dresser.

Or maybe I will organize my makeup.

We’ll see.

I feel accomplished, and happy.

The God connection

The Sunshine State did not disappoint today.

After church and a quick run to the grocery for a few lunch items for next week, came home and jumped in the pool for a while.

Swirling the water around with my toes and doggy paddling, I’m not a real picturesque swimmer, but I make do. Most of all, I just floated and paddled, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the scent of freshly mowed grass.

As I looked up at a few white billowy clouds, I thought of their beauty and thought also, hey this is really cool.

Floating weightless, and observing the clouds do the same, it occurred to me that most people have some kind of God connection, and whether they acknowledge it or not, it is still there, I believe.

I have never been one to get into deep religious arguments or skirmishes about the status of things.

Quietly go and do, hopefully live in such a way that I am a blessing.

Grandma always said don’t talk religion nor politics, and that is safe.

Yet I admire when folks are real with me because proverbial smokescreens of relation seem so shallow at times.

So when I write about God, or a muse, or something I have pondered, it is my way of sharing a part of me that blooms because of seeds others have planted.

Girl, get to the point.

Our pastor shared something today that I found very thought provoking. It went along the lines of “Are you showing up” for God?

And I thought you know, I have always felt the need for God, for His Presence in my life. I have always, even as a child, thought how on earth am I going to be good enough to get into heaven?

This might have something to do with me spending years of my childhood grounded, lol, for either sassing my parents, or foraging my own way instead of following instructions (for the last time, button your coat, turn the faucet so it does not drip, do not bring home C’s on your report card, as we already know you are a minimum B).

I laugh now when I look back, really, because as an adult I am such a rule follower.

So salvation to me has presented many challenges, as I thought to myself you have to be more than perfect to get to heaven.

Youth group changed all that for me, as our youth leaders glowed with the love of Jesus and were not hypocritical. They knew they would never win any of us by beating us over the head with a Bible, but by living it out before us, Christ in jeans.

Jeans. Opposite of a conservative Baptist church I attended in my early childhood years, the Southern Baptists reached into my heart and home and slowly, showed me their faith in action. My parents were impressed with the preacher who owned one suit and used to be a rock musician. Amazing Grace was really something when that man played the piano.

One half of my family was Baptist. The other side of my family were Church of Christ (non-musical.) And of course, that was one of the grounding occasions of my teen years, having an interesting discussion with one of my grandmothers over church history and music, and how music is so a part of worship.

After attending a number of Baptist churches, I came to the non-denomination Christian fellowships (i.e. the Alexander Campbell movement, not the only Christians, but Christians only.)

I raised my kids in those churches, and returned to the Baptist denomination after my first marriage ended.

Eventually, I came to the Assemblies of God, drawn by the open worship concept, and the warm and inviting church, who helped me through some of the worst parts of my adult life.

I also attended jeans and Jesus churches, which reminded me of my youth group.

In my second marriage, I went to a charismatic church and also joined a Jewish synagogue (by marriage, it was obvious I could not sing in Hebrew, though I did try!)

By the end of that decade, my marriage ended. So I was like wow, in church circles, this does not look good. But sometimes it is not meant to be and you have to move on.

I found I also began a heavy spiritual search. Who are you anyway? Every church I visited had a little pamphlet, a small handheld cross, a religious coin, a pen or a church coffee cup. I enjoyed the fellowship of many churches before I finally landed at my current church, Episcopal (Anglican.)

There are several of us who attend who came from different denominations. Some confirmed, some did not.

A Jewish friend of mine, who is a dear friend, to whom I still owe an Indiana pot roast, said once to me, how did you go from Baptist to Charismatic/Pentecostal to Episcopal/Catholic, so I thought I would share.

The God connection.

I feel like we all have a place for God in our hearts that only He can fill. Every nation on earth has some aspect of religion or relationship, worship or tradition.

I still feel drawn to Him because I have seen Him in others, and in nature – the works of His hand – in day to day things like sunrises and a child’s laugh, and the light of a candle on a stormy day.

Have a splendid evening, all. I was thinking of doing my spiritual writing on Sunday, then creative and life encouragement the other days.

Molly, my cat, sends her regards.

Prayers for all, for a safe and beautiful week.

Trusting God in the hard times

The young lady wept on her bed, and said it had been two years since she fell sick .. two years of doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with her. Unexplained rashes, malaise, fevers, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, neuropathy and more.

Where is God in the hard times?

And what does it mean to trust Him?

Weary of one sermon after another from others with good intent, a young man strikes out on his own God journey to the center of His soul.

Across the country, an elderly woman looks out the window and wonders why it seems as if favor rests with the young, and her family never calls.

A couple gets the news that their teen will not be coming home, another life claimed by an auto crash.

Dear God, where are You, the human heart cries.

“I don’t need your blind faith,” another says.

But the sun comes up, and the sun goes down, another day is done.

Trust.

Foraging for a small cart of groceries, we search for the coffee, bread, or perhaps even toiletries we have come to trust.

Why do we trust the brand? It is the familiar, a product used again and again.

So perhaps familiarity and trust go hand in hand?

A small child asks his mother, “Mommy, how do we know God is real?” Mama looks down at the child and surveys the small trailer lot, located on a pile of sand, across from a railroad track, a major highway and airport, their abode, where they rent the capsule for their daily activities. The wind blows some nearby palm trees, and suddenly she says, “You see that wind? You cannot see the wind itself, but you know it is there by the way it moves the trees. You feel it on your face, yet you cannot grasp it with your hand. That is what God is like.”

Trust.

Perhaps the greatest testimony one can share is how God showed up in the midst of their trials.

The phone call from a friend, an unexpected blessing, a small bird delivering a song for this moment of time.

God is as close as His spoken Name. As close as the heart that seeks Him.

Psalm 91 (NIV) “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”

The blessing of Friendship

Good friends are like a stunning teapot collection.

Each brings their own personality and view to your world, each leaves a blessed pattern upon your heart.

At the beginning of last week, I had one of those blah days. I know blah is not really a word. But it is a word in my vocabulary.

As I ponder on the last couple of weeks, it occurs to me that completely on their own, a few people reached out to me .. and all said hello.

Hello is a great place to start in the world of friends. You hear me share much about my bestie and our projects and adventures.

She and I both reflect on how many wonderful friends we collectively have .. precious souls.

Two friends sent me greeting cards, a few texted, a couple sent messages.

Even one of my Indiana cousins reached out with one of her beautiful hand made cards.

Love it, I did!

(I know suddenly that sounded like something Baby Yoda would say, but there you go.)

Lol.

And there is another note of interest. Well to me, anyway.

I have always loved cards. I love paper. I love words. I love books.

And that is no surprise.

In my younger years, as I was raising my firstborn in Tennessee, miles away from Florida, away from the familiar, I wrote a lot of letters and received a number of cards.

A large bulletin board hung in the hallway of my old house served as a gathering place for all of them.

And as new ones arrived, over the course of a year, I rotated them between the board and a small box that held the rest of them.

Ok. So I have started three sentences with the word And.

My old copy editor would be on my case to get rid of And immediately.

The sun is setting on another busy day, and as I listen to the evening traffic buzz and rumble by, I find myself very grateful for this existence.

That of knowing some special folk, who do their thing encouraging others.

And.

Perhaps I can repay the favor at some point.

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.

Relish the Middle Moments

The view from the top of a mountain is exhilarating, and yet, it is the path to get there that recharges your soul.

A quick search of social media, and a friend of mine said “Wow it looks like everyone is having a good time.”

Is it not true that we post our highs and occasionally, lows, yet the Middle Moments evaporate?

People prepare for retirement, get ready for a wedding, shop for a party, study for the degree, get shined up for an appearance.

The pinnacle is reached, and then what?

A former New York Times reporter, most likely quoting something she had read, said “Enjoy the Journey.”

Are you?

It’s a question I have asked myself many times. It’s easy to respond with a professional “fabulous” with gusto when someone asks you how you are doing.

Professionals are highly skilled at masking negative emotion, having learned to put the best face forward.

And yet.

Let’s just get real here, all of us. We each know our load.

Those on display are seen for a moment in time, and yet nothing is said of their Middle Moments.

The Middle Moments when you have trashed the manuscript for the umpteenth time. The ragged seconds when a person digs in with resolve to finish a project, while fielding phone calls of family tragedy or one more bit of bad news. The quiet minutes, alone, or hours, or days, or weeks, or months, where nothing seems to be happening.

One gentleman I know lives in a very elite, expensive area of Hilton Head. An accomplished man, by the world’s standards. Rising from a poverty stricken life where he and his siblings were oft without the necessities of proper food and clothing, he endeavored early on in life to not settle for the status quo.

“He studied all the time,” said one of his friends, noting they couldn’t even go surfing on summer break without him toting a text book to keep up with his reading.

The Middle Moments.

Is it possible to both reach for your goals and also just enjoy this Moment in time? To breathe in and out, to be thankful for the little things? To be uplifted by song, good art, great books, coffee with friends? To keep the bubble leveled on the positive?

The Middle Moments.

Get to the point.

Celebrate your place in time. Sparkle even if you are not acclaimed as “the best,” “the fastest,” “most beautiful,” “the smartest,” “most accomplished,” “already there.”

Celebrate you and enjoy the little things that make you and others happy.

And perhaps, the Middle Moments, where you string pretty lights for the sake of their glow, or ponder a firefly on a starry night, or muse a tune for which you have no words, can be those moments you will one day look back and recall, “These were the best days of my life.”

Optimistic ponderings

What will I believe about my dreams?

It is true that those who see the glass half full may oft be deemed unrealistic and out of touch, aloof with matters present be.

And yet, there we are. Faced with two choices on any given day, in any given situation, one must decide to either believe the best possible thing could happen or hang the proverbial hat on the rack of impossibility.

I also believe that many of us are a mixture of both, and some might say that is balance. Others might say such thought contradicts itself.

The phrase “it just might work” has probably been uttered countless times since ancient days by inventors and entrepreneurs, dreamers and pursuers of greatness.

Write down your hopes and dreams, sprinkle them with a bit of glitter, and let the breeze of opportunity blow upon them. Chase the bits of light and see where they go.

Are you an artist? Create with your best effort. Establish your why, your motivator. What drives you? Maybe you are more logical, and you say creativity flees you. But you can push up weights and run countless miles, faster and longer than others you know.

One look at my friends list, and on any given day, I see a number of dreams popping all over the place. One girl takes selfies as she jumps out of an airplane. Another sweats in the gym at 4 a.m. An elegant lady paints the most beautiful snapshots of country life in impressionist style. The list goes on. A realtor shines as she unlocks the key for a couple’s future. A deputy rescues the downtrodden, endangered, saves lives and then makes dinner for her family. Countless others are at various places in their education journey. One just finished her PhD. And one friend with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer still fights the fight and lives each day with nothing less than her all, leaving a trail of inspiration for all of us who are honored to watch her sparkle.

A glass half full accomplishes much.

For all these, by not only believing their dreams would come true, but also by applying the corresponding effort, saw great things come to life.

Authors. Creators. Mamas raising babies and some even educating them at home. Working women. Philanthropists. Singers. Models. Home business operators. Health care workers. Bankers. Food industry professionals. And more.

Anything is possible.

What are your dreams?

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.