Monthly Archives: August 2011

It doesn’t serve me anymore

When the hubbs and I decided to relocate our family from Texas to Michigan (his birth place) eleven years ago, I was on board with the move. In fact, it was my idea.  But … I did have fears. After all, this is his home. His family. His friends. His stomping grounds. Home to his golf league, ex-wife, old girlfriends you name it.  I wondered where I’d fit in.   We’d spent nearly 10 years living thousands of miles away; building our relationship, raising the boys, and pursuing our careers.  We’d done it on our own, without family interferences and without a network of built-in friends. We made our own friends and, most importantly, we turned to each other instead of to others.   Still, I worried that his loyalty – one of the traits I admire most about him – would be tested by all those other important people.  I wondered how that might change our  relationship. Selfishly, I didn’t want to share.

So after we settled in, I went out of my way to be liked.  I insisted on hosting holiday gatherings, planning reunions and such (and no one  had been actively doing  – that should have been my first clue). I outdid myself at every gathering. We hosted Christmas parties – in our home – for 60+ and I did all the cooking. And worked full time. And. And. And. Here’s the thing:   I thought I was doing this for him. And I was, to an extent.  He enjoyed himself and the opportunity to reconnect with so many. He was as helpful as could be, providing labor for every event I volunteered us for.  But I’ve come to realize something: many of those things, I did for me. Why?

I wanted to be accepted.
I wanted to make my mark.
I wanted them to love me.

Somewhere along the way, I must have learned that love and acceptance was to be earned.  That me – just showing up – wasn’t nearly enough.

I got off the carnival ride; image from playland.org

A few years ago, I grew weary of  coordinating all the events others had come to expect. It wasn’t their fault – it’s human nature.  If you readily provide a steady stream of pleasant resources, eventually others will grow to expect them.   But I grew resentful.  I no longer found joy in it.  Under the auspices of “it’s just too much,” he agreed that we should scale things back and eventually we stopped.

Having had some time between that whirlwind of activity and now … I am able to see things a bit clearer.  Epiphanies abound. Here’s what I’ve learned: sometimes we develop a habit (or take on a role) because it fills a need at that time.  Nothing says we have to keep doing it for the rest of our days.  When the habit or role no longer serves us, it’s time to let it go. In fact, it’s necessary.

 * * * *

What habits or roles have you taken on that no longer serve you?

Categories: Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , | 28 Comments

Watch what happens …

Spare yourself from seeking love, approval, or appreciation – from anyone. And watch what happens in reality, just for fun. – Byron Katie

"Talk to the paw!" - Frankie

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Confidence at any age, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Humor, Life, Opinion, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Making the most of my layover

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So … there we were … my sister and I planning a trip with mom – a week in Branson, MO.  I’d worked on this outing for months and very much looked forward to it.  I had the show tickets, the car reservation, the maps, the hotel info; every possible detail tucked into a tabbed binder organized day by day.   I know what you’re thinking but that’s just how I roll.

I decided to try to use air miles to fly from my home in Grand Rapids, MI to Springfield, MO  (Branson is located about an hour south).  Anyone who has ever flown this way knows to expect the “milk run” (connections, layovers, delays and more connections.)  To my delight, a route came up that would have me stop over in Memphis, TN.  A sly grin crossed my face as I realized that I would have just over 2 hours on the ground. In Memphis. Home of Elvis A. Presley.  A quick Google search told me that “Graceland” stands about 6 miles from the Memphis airport.  And, just like that, a plan was hatched.

Landing in Memphis on the first day of Elvis week, 2007, (and the 30th year since his passing), I pushed through the crowd, stepped into that sweltering Delta heat and hailed a cab to Graceland.  Me!  A Saskatchewan farm kid who grew up watching (drooling over) Elvis do his thing in movies and TV specials.   Elvis was my first crush and, to this day, I still carry a torch.  Not apologizing.

Milling around the gates and grounds of Graceland, rubbing shoulders with thousands of fans from such far away places as Australia, Lithuania, Italy and Germany, I felt a kinship like I’d never before experienced. I pinched myself to make sure that this was really real. This was a bigger dream than I’d ever dreamed for myself.

Oh Lord, it was hot. It was humid.  People cried. I might have cried a little, too.    Suddenly, it became clear what I needed to do  – the only thing that made all the sense in the world – I dialed my very best friend, my cousin up in Edmonton, Canada and kept her on the phone with me as I went through the tour.   (one time I was darn glad for a cell phone!) We “went” through it together.   We laughed. We sighed. We oohed and we ahhed. We remembered all those nights together … years ago… singing along with “The King,” swooning at his gorgeous face, being charmed by his boyish mannerisms and wishing, just once, we could have seen him perform.   She and I were together at horse camp when we heard the awful news that sad August day.  Oh how we cried the day he died, and the days that followed, too.

To this day, when I’m happy, I reach for uptempo Elvis classics like “Burning Love,” “Guitar Man,” “Return to Sender” or “Little Sister.”  When I’m sad or just need to think, I turn to his gospel greats including, “How Great Thou Art,” “Where could I go but to the Lord,” and “Amazing Grace.”  And when I want to just get my groove on I crank up “A little less conversation,” “Rubbernecking” and “Jailhouse Rock.”  Elvis always delivers and never disappoints.

I’ve traveled a fair amount and definitely had my time in plane purgatory – dashed across a snowy Denver tarmac in sandals on my way back from Mexico,  spent nights in airports, been bored waiting endlessly to taxi and spent what seems like weeks in customs.

And this? This was simply the best layover ever.  (and our Branson trip was great, too!)

Rock on Elvis fans! It’s Elvis Week!

He is always on my mind ..and forever on my playlist… and fans reading this will completely understand.

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Men, music, Opinion, Personal, Share, Travel, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

On opposites

Talking with a friend recently, I listened as she told me how divorce has strained her relationship with a teenaged daughter.  Truth be told, there were issues before, but now, with the “big D” in the picture, there’s an excuse. Posturing, nasty Facebook posts and petulance abound.  Not to mention confusion, hurt feelings, anxiety and … fear.

Suddenly I remembered this quote and had to share it with her:

The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. 

Her daughter has been hateful.  But … even though her behavior has been deplorable, she’s still engaged.

I reminded my friend of this and I could hear the relief in her voice.  I encouraged her to take a “time out” and let her daughter feel the sting of her choices.  In essence, to continue on with who she is and have faith that, after the anger and disappointment subside, her girl will return.

How do I know this?

Because I’ve lived it, too.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a parent was to step away from my kid as he spun out of control … and keep the faith that he’d find his way back.  And he did.

The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

Have someone being hateful?  They’re connected to you more than you know.

Categories: Determination, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Growth, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

No clearance rack here

The first principle of self-worth is that you are not for sale. – Yogi Bhajan

Happy Monday!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Love, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 16 Comments

Be happy, be wise

“Be happy. It’s one way of being wise.” ~Sidnonie Gabrielle

Today, I’m happy about many things including:

  • waking up without an alarm clock
  • a fridge full of left-overs
  • birds singing
  • dog snoring
  • loved ones near
  • the Sunday paper
  • and no schedule for the rest of the day!

What are you happy about today?

old dog is happy to doze in the sunshine

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Love, music, Quotes, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: | 10 Comments

It’s Friday night, baby …

… Get ready, set .. go.

It’s date night :). Whee ….

Hope you’re having fun on a Friday night, too!

Categories: Attitude, Fun, Joy, Love, Personal, Relationships, Traditions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

When did we all become Firemen?

While listening to a radio morning show recently, a particular conversation captured my attention: the hosts were chatting about cell phones, specifically the one host’s proclivity for them and the other’s disdain.  After much ribbing about never having his cell phone turned or even with him, the scornful one quipped, “Well … when did we all become Firemen anyways?”

And I get it. I really do understand what he was saying.

I know….  we’re connected more than we’ve ever been.  And I understand that there are many positives that come with having a cell phone.  Except for one:  I just don’t like being that connected.

I’m not on call.

I’m not a fireman, police officer, EMT, security guard, FBI agent, Nurse, Airport Controller or Surgeon.

a phone just like this still hangs in my mother's kitchen; image from bentoncountymuseum.org

Remember when the phone ringing generated genuine excitement?   In my childhood home that translated to 2 long, 1 short, for we were on a party line.  The combination announced that the call was for US and that resulted in 5 kids scrambling for the phone.  Who would it be?   A handsome suitor calling for one of my sisters?  A friend, calling with the scoop on a brother’s teenage crush?   My cousin, inviting me to go riding?  A grandparent, bus driver, 4-H leader or Hockey Coach?

Heading out to play, the screen door banging behind us, we left the house noise… in the house.  Stepping away from the porch light to play “duck duck goose” or “kick the can,” the only sounds were that of the wind, farm animals and the shouts and hollers of us kids.  That’s it.

Now … there’s phone noise all the time.  Show tunes, rap songs, TV themes and even the old standard ring ring like the traditional phone. Cell phones are on all the time and many people have given up their land line.  I can’t imagine it.  I like having a house phone with voice mail.  Why? Because having one gives me the freedom to turn the cell off. 

I remember my parents going out for the night and not only didn’t they check in on us, there wasn’t even a phone where they went!    A public phone at the Legion Hall?  That’s funny.  OK, maybe in the back office but there wasn’t much chance anyone would hear it over the polka music and laughter.

Remember piling into a car with your friends and heading out to see the “show” with promises to be home on time?  And we were.    Only if a snowstorm blew in or a vehicle broke down did we ever need to “ask” to use someone’s phone. And. often, our parents weren’t there anyways!  We’d call around till we’d find a trusted neighbor or uncle and, eventually, someone would come and pull us out, give us a jump or just get us out of whatever jam it was we were in.

Now, it doesn’t matter where I am, my ears are forced into conversations that I’d rather had been private.

  • It’s not you, it’s me.  I… just need some time to sort things out. Um .. awkward!
  • For goodness’ sake, can’t you just do this for me? It’s not like I ask you all the time to watch YOUR BABY!  JEEZ.  Even more awkward.
  • Momm! I don’t want to have to meet him, I don’t care that he’s nice, it’s weird. I’d rather go be with Dad for the weekend, C’mon!  Heartbreaking and real.

I’m grateful for modern technological advances and I enjoy dilly-dallying with them most of them but there’s s a much bigger part of me that’s awfully glad I’m not a Fireman.

Want to reach me?  I’m probably outside so, please, leave a message.  Thanks!

 * * *

Your turn: cell phones on 24/7 … like or dislike?

Categories: Family, Life, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Fashion Fitness?

It used to be that we exercised to lose weight and look better in our clothes.

Spanx, the company who revolutionized women’s shape wear with their light weight “firming” undergarments, recently introduced products designed to help us look better while working out (or on our way to/from the gym).

image from wellsphere.com

Hey, I get it, I mean who doesn’t want to look their best?

Except that being fashionable while exercising isn’t a priority to me.   Why? Because I exercise at home.  But even that’s not “it,” the real reason is that, when I work out, there ain’t nothing pretty about it.

I sweat, puff and grit my teeth.

I groan, grunt and swear.

I spill water, drip sweat and my face?

My face ends up puffy, red and hot.

I am anything but cute, feminine or even remotely attractive.

What I am is focused, determined, strategic and disciplined.

And that’s OK because here’s what I’ve learned:

The cutest workout gear will not make me any more inclined to want to workout than the comfy mismatched stuff will.

It’s my choice.

And, of late, I’ve chosen to exercise. And *surprise* I’m having fun with it! (Hello Turbo Jam!)

I’ve been huffing, puffing and sweating … wearing my old stretchy shorts and a the hubbs’ old cotton tee.

However .. I might consider buying myself a pair of those swanky Spanx pants for travel, movies and trips to the grocery store.   Why? Because who doesn’t want to look cute standing in airport security, deli or popcorn lines?  🙂

# # #

Do you exercise regularly?  If yes…. what’s your “fashion fitness?”

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Friendship, Growth, Humor, Joy, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

As per Tink

“… Laughter is timeless.

Imagination has no age.

And dreams?  Dreams are forever.”

Tinkerbell

.::.

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fashion, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Just peachy

Too many peaches? No problem .. make a peach cobbler!

“The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.”- Unknown

I was a little ambitious at the farmer’s market and brought home far too many peaches.  No worries, it’s time to make MJ’s Fresh Peach Cobbler. 

Here’s what’s needed:

  • Fresh peaches, peeled, sliced into chunks and pitted (they will be juicy & messy but that’s what makes a great cobbler)
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick Butter, sliced
  • Frozen Pie dough

Depending on the size of your pan (above is a 9 x 13), you may need to adjust quantities.  (I used ~12 peaches & 2 pie shells.)

Toss sliced peaches with about 2 tbsp sugar & 1 tsp cinnamon.   Break frozen pie dough into chunks and loosely tumble with peaches.  Pour mixture into a well greased pan. Sprinkle topping with 1 tbsp sugar, a little more cinnamon and dots of butter.  (the butter will melt and bake into the juicy peaches & dough … mmm).  Bake in 350 degree oven until dough is cooked .. about 20-30 min.

Enjoy served warm with vanilla ice cream!

Categories: Attitude, Family, Food, Home, Joy, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Recipes, Relationships, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , | 16 Comments

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Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

Life Write Here

“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine; For your light has come!

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, and Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...