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.

Add that one to the list

The small cork board tacked to the wall is dotted with notes of to do items and reasons why we want to do them. And magazine clippings of waterfalls and hopes of traveling to intriguing places and community festivals.

Would you believe I have an entire shelf full of journals (some of which I may combine in typed form for my kids some day, just not now)?

Much of journaling is a purge of thought and feeling, pondering the what if and stewing in the oh I should have done that differently, peppered with the by the way I forgot that and yes, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

I have written prayers and written the answers to the prayers. I have questioned my existence and also praised God for it.

And I am in this season of hey I want to go see a splendid teapot race, I want my picture taken in front of real magnificent sunflowers, I want to paint rocks and finish writing the two books I am working on.

(Make believe counselor yawns and the glasses slide to the end of said nose. No not really. But maybe everyone needs a life coach. Maybe that is a good idea for me to pursue.)

Our church has a Stephen Ministry.

(Look up the concept .. Episcopals offer it as a way of tending the flock of parishioners through either trying times or maybe just because they need an ear, a voice, a sounding board that is impartial.)

I have used one before and she helped me for months to navigate a number of questions rolling through my head.

What I want to know is this:

Why don’t we talk? Why is everyone so bound up in hey let’s keep this all surface conversation (i.e. wow the weather is crazy lol, as one example.)

I do have friends where the conversation is two sided. I am blessed with my family and my bestie and a small circle of other super close trusted friends. I know I could call any one of them and they can do the same.

But I am talking about every day life.

Once upon a time, people talked a lot more than they do now.

(This is just my opinion. You may have a different opinion and perspective and I respect that because we are all different and perceive things differently. And we can grow by sharing perspectives. I have a couple friends known as my voices of reason. Not every friend you have needs to have the exact same life knowledge or approach as you to be a blessed friend.)

Anyway.

Some days I find myself longing to hear people share their true hearts and feelings, and stories of the past and dreams of the future.

Or maybe they are, and I am distracted, chasing the pondering of my own heart.

Maybe I just need to listen.

And then maybe I would hear.

Add that to my list of goals.

To listen more, and observe more, and let myself enjoy this moment of life as it unfolds.

Whether in the coffee shop, or nestled in a book over lunch, or on my knees at the garden shop checking out the half price gardenias.

I might be on to something here.

Time with God

An antique lamp illuminated the bedside table where my great grandmother’s Bible rested. But she did not rest at night until she had, as she said, her “time with God.”

Every night, she read the Bible, and prayed for her family, and thanked God for the day. She was widowed many years prior, and she slept in a twin size, adjustable, hospital bed because she had numerous heart conditions.

She was active in her church, and Saturday night was a busy evening, preparing Sunday dinner for an after church spread, ironing church clothes and setting the table.

Prayer was folded around her day, every day, from sun up to sundown.

Her kitchen table was a welcome sight in the morning as she drank her coffee and read the paper and her edition of My Daily Bread, a free devotion book that churches distribute to their masses in order to help guide their quiet time.

It would be decades before I would come to see the fruit of a dedicated quiet time in my own life.

I was pregnant with my second son, Aaron, when I started having those times with God, and it is interesting that he is also the child who has been actively, non stop, working in the church in some capacity since he was a teenager.

Presently, I have two devotions a day.

After listening to an online devotion by Rick Warren, I put on contemporary worship to listen to and use to praise God as I get ready for work.

Night time devotions are shorter.

Everyone has a different approach to their time with God. One lady I know says she prays in the shower because that is the only time she is alone. Another goes for a walk with worship music in her headphones and that is when she prays, as she takes care of a husband whose health is failing.

Anyway, today was a great day. Had some fellowship time after work with one of my spiritual mentors.

Also took some time to get a haircut and get my nails done. Vain? No. I just like feeling put together. Then my head is free to deal with the other parts of my life.

On another whole side note (and yes I changed the subject three times), I feel grateful tonight for life, and my senses of sight, sound and smell. These are all things we take for granted, right?

May you be blessed as you explore your own quiet time with God.

The children grow up

“I can’t believe you have kids in their thirties,” a precious lady said to me tonight.

I laughed and said yes indeed, I am blessed.

And my mind wanders this evening.

How the babies grow up, make their own lives, and call sometimes. Once in a while, they visit. As life has it, most families are scattered all across the globe and only get together on holidays. Or special events.

I am so thankful this year, that I was able to visit my baby who moved away, and she was able to bring her sweet hubby to be and youngest baby to Florida to meet the rest of the family. I do miss her so much. But we talk. And always have a connection even though we are miles away.

I am thankful that my other little granddaughter who lives with her dad keeps up with me on Instagram. I have not seen her face in three years in person. She left as a little girl and is now a young lady. So fast.

I am thankful for all the rest of my babies who still live in Polk County, and their families, so I cannot complain lol, that I never get to see them. My boys call me often. It is a cool thing to hear their voices and know they still love their mama. And my youngest is up for a tea party, or a nail day, any day. She came running with flowers, groceries and a card a few months ago when I was sick with covid.

Time marches on. And sometimes I wish we just all lived on a large piece of property (wouldn’t that be cool, a homestead), but unless you inherit the farm so to speak, that is sometimes rare.

One of my aunts is a widow. Watching her deal with my uncle’s death has impressed on me the value of your family connections and friendships. She has a rich social life. The one who remembered birthdays. The one who went to Tupperware parties, bought wedding gifts, and always sent me the coolest little things when I was a kid. She loves literature, especially children’s literature. And all things up and bright. Another aunt of mine is likewise joyous. Neither of them live near me. We talk when we can. Or when I can. And I realize that sometimes when we feel like life is speeding by, we are the ones who seem to be moving that hand of the proverbial clock.

My parents each live in other places. Mama dwells in my home state of Indiana. My Dad lives in Florida. Each are aging as gracefully as they can. I think to myself, my goodness where did time go. It is getting away from me. And yet they each chose to live where they do. And have their own lives. I am heavily involved with Mama. Daddy prefers to talk once in a while. He likes to read and watch the news, and when we do talk, he is an expert on all sides of politics. I love my parents and wish I knew when I was younger how valuable the lessons were they imparted to me. Maybe I would have been a more kind and attentive child. Or maybe I was and am not giving myself enough credit.

Time.

I guess that seeing my friend Roslow’s old obit (my former editor at The Polk Sun) who passed away two years ago today, made me think of time and what all I want to do.

And let me not forget my bestie. She has walked through some tough stuff with me. She is the only person who ever met my sister (or rather, my sister’s grave), met my perpetrator (his grave), my great grands and great great grands, and grands (their graves.) She has met all of my family and loved them all. She bought teddy bears, diapers, holiday gifts for my kids’ children. She motivated me to finish college when I felt like giving up. She taught me how to be bold, or rather, how to tap into the inner boldness she said I already had. She helps me consider what others are going through when they are brutally unkind (sometimes life is like that, and that is well, just life, right?) Because of her, I have learned much about life and people, and how just because something does not work out the first time, it might work out at another time.

“It just wasn’t God’s timing,” she says.

She was the one who read the Bible to me when I had a faith crisis. She played Christian music, showed me funny skits with cats and dogs, and in countless ways, showed me and shows me that goodness still exists in this world.

I am so grateful.

No, I am not sad as I write this blog. But making my lists of goals and dreams.

And I am not going to give up on my writing. Sometimes it terrifies me to be transparent with people. Like maybe if I am, they will think I am too much.

Too loud. Too cheery. Too bouncy. Too analytical. Too creative. Too wordy.

So here I end with this thought .. that life is precious, family and friends are everything, and yes, you can aim for and reach the stars if you keep trying.

And if Roslow were here, he would tell me I changed my topic three times and should end with an offer of food. If he wrote it, it would read “and there will be hot dogs.”

Teetering on the edgy of edge

The sunrise was beautiful and jet trails scribbled their journey across the horizon as I haphazardly dumped all my work gear on the driveway to search for my keys.

Seriously?

I have a certain routine, and usually place all of my work stuff in one place, and place my ID badge, keys, belt and work phone all in my “go” bag. And my uniform and shoes are laid out. Lunch is a cinch because I have in mind what I am taking.

But this morning, I woke up and all morning felt like I just could not get one thing right lol.

Couldn’t find just basic stuff. Had my quiet time before work, but this morning I sat in the living room, snuggled with my coffee and stared like a bug eyed squirrel into open space as the sun came up.

Sweetness, the coffee finally kicked in and I thought hey I got this day handled forthwith.

Seize the day, they say. It will be fun, they say.

I dropped things I was holding. (My peanut butter crackers wrapper in the elevator. Thanks to the kind soul who retrieved it for me.)

Have you been there? The one day out of a thousand where it seems like you cannot get it together.

Later in the day, I met a sweet lady who makes teddy bears. She is known as the “teddy bear boss” in her teddy bear making group. How adorable is that? How she chooses to spend her time, helping others.

And all of a sudden, my day got better.

Peppermint.

You might wonder why I chose peppermint candy canes as the photo for this blog today.

Peppermint is a smell that soothes me when my nerves are frazzled. Just being real here. Everyone has a frazzled day or two here and there, and mine was fuzzy indeed.

So I thought the visual of candy canes might do the trick.

Aromatherapy, they say.

Anyway.

My day got a lot better and I thought about various things going through my head. And how there is nothing wrong with hope and positivity, and how healthy that is, even, to pursue such things. How it is good to encourage yourself and believe in yourself and also to believe in God and His power to hold you when you feel like all the crackers are crumbling, even if they really are not.

Side note here. Someone said there was some sort of solar flare or solar storm.

Well there you go.

The keys buried in the bottom of my bag seemed almost relieved to be rescued thereof.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and I have already decided it shall be a Happy Tuesday. How shall we celebrate just being alive?

Let me know what you do to celebrate your ordinary day tomorrow.

Maybe by all of us sharing a little light, the world will be a brighter place.

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.

The hum of nature

My neighbor’s chickens are scratching around in the farm yard next door and I must say they are delightful to watch (and yes chicken is great to eat, but these lay eggs and there is that lol.)

A few hours spent sitting in my garden, enjoying the wind chimes, and sipping coffee is time well spent.

Today, a family of cardinals swooped in to check out our bird feeders, while a bright yellow butterfly bounced through the air above them all, as if to say hello.

A fat squirrel appeared and then scurried up a tree.

Suddenly, a very slow wasp flew under the gazebo, toting another wasp beneath him, and I must say I have never seen that before.

He carried his weight and that of the wasp underneath.

(Ok forgive me if I missed that in biology. Will look it up for sure.)

So what’s the word for the day?

Peace.

Enjoying this quite beautiful day, I sit and wonder how much nature sense most of us have lost in this busy world.

All of the plant and animal kingdom do things by instinct.

It’s a God thing, I think.

Once our summer rains begin, mosquito spray will find its own home in a nearby flower pot while we all slap our arms and curse the “no see ems” otherwise labeled by the locals as “saber tooth gnats.”

Lest we, like the wasp, shall be carried away.

Figuratively.

Time in nature unravels our senses that have been knotted by constant automation.

I keep hearing a few footsteps in the farm grass behind us, and I believe it is the overweight, ancient farm cat that occupies their land and this plot.

And there is a chorus of a few cicadas, typical of Florida spring.

What is peace to you and how do you get it? For faith believers, that comes from God, an assurance that somehow, all will work together for good for those who love the Lord.

A friend and I recently discussed a few major world Christian religions, or beliefs, and came to the conclusion that the uniting factor of all of them, besides the Messiah, is prayer.

Have to tell you that as I sit here and take in all the beauty of this garden, I ponder this: Does nature pray?

Or does it hum?

Maybe the birds, the bees, the butterflies, critters, the grass and the trees, the flowers and even the weather elements all have it right.

A ceremonious celebration of this very day.

Peace be with you tonight, or today, when you read this.

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.