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The Road to Shambala

I’m heading into the holiday season with the last of my scheduled corporate travel behind me now – Yippy Skippy!  I’ve not had much free time so this blog has lagged but I still think about writing, just as I think about many other things on my “to-do” list.

Epiphanies that took place this week include:

1 )  Music is therapy.    Road trips are better with handsome men singing harmony. 🙂   And hearing this song took me back to my summer trip with my sister and a concert we enjoyed featuring the music of Three Dog Night.  Front row seats – great music – and stellar company was simply awesome.  No matter what I’m thinking about, when a good song comes on I just have to crank it up and sing along.

2 ) Decisions that continue to bear fruit –  ahead of one of my many trips, I sent a note to a group of girlfriends I’d met at a workshop in May of 2015 ~ vibrant, intelligent, wonderful women.   Several quickly responded that – yes – they’d love to meet for lunch this past Friday! As the date drew near a few had to drop out but still 3 of us met — we enjoyed delicious food, the camaraderie that comes from being around others who “get us” and laughs galore. We shared our hopes, our dreams, and our plans.  We encouraged each other.    Boy, what one hour of positive company can do for you!

3 )  GPS boondoggles are often just what’s needed – when the system takes me off the beaten path and down a country road, I often am grateful for the diversion.  I am not sure exactly where I was when I snapped this picture but that’s the point.  Friends commented “but what if you’d had car trouble?” and my thought was “what a better place to be if I did.”  – Surrounded by fields and farms and trucks driving down those roads – all drivers waved.   Me – tunes on, windows cracked, smiling wide.

Snow’s a-coming. Somewhere in MI; and Emjandthem (C) photo

 

Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain

With the rain in Shambala

Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame

With the rain in Shambala

 

Had any epiphanies lately?

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Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery, Technology, Thoughts, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak

It’s been some time since I’ve written and I’m sorry about that.  I don’t like to write just to have something to post.  I also don’t always want to talk just to talk.  Sometimes … I just need quiet.

My job is so busy right now – and while I am not complaining, it takes effort to carve time out for me.  Work is all encompassing – meetings bleed into evenings, projects spill into weekends, and boundaries shrink as more is piled on and more is expected.   Still – I accept invitations to get out the door and off to someplace new.  I don’t mind travel through poor cell coverage areas (yay quiet!) and I relish hours in the car by myself.

The world seems so loud these days ~ we still have a land line and callers tend to be Telemarketers, Automated surveys, Charities I’ve never heard of .. and older relatives.

I realized the other day that sadly I no longer have the excitement about the phone that I enjoyed as a girl.

See, at our farm, we had a party line hanging in the kitchen and when that phone rang we kids raced to answer it.  Maybe it was Grandma calling to invite us all for cake & coffee on Sunday afternoon.  It could have been Mrs. Prentice calling for an upcoming 4-H meeting I was to attend. Often, it was my cousin giving me a quick call as she saddled up her pony J. Jay and headed my way  – “meet you in the middle!” we’d yell.  Our farms sat about 2 1/2 miles apart – with fields and hills and trees in between.  We’d race up, sweaty and breathless, and ride together back to one farm or the other (or Grandma’s).  Sometimes we’d turn our faces and braids to the north and head to the river valley, talking and dreaming and laughing all the while.  Other times we’d turn south and follow the canal trails down to the lake, jumping our ponies over puddles and logs like the Equestriennes we thought we were.

the best view is from the back of a horse!

the best view is from the back of a horse!

Sometimes a phone call was an older sister’s new beau –against our giggles she’d take the phone as far as the cord would go – and away from prying ears of snoopy siblings.

telephone_yellow

That harvest yellow farm phone was our lifeline: Phones brought wonderful, happy news – “back to bed, the bus won’t start,” “your cousins are coming for two weeks after your birthday!”, “You’ve been accepted to summer camp!” “So and so’s birthday party is at the rink this year and then a sleepover for all you kids!”

Phones also brought somber news – a car accident, a diagnosis, a funeral to attend or cook for or both – and sometimes calls were on behalf yet another dumb teenager stuck at the beach and a request for Dad to come and help.

I can still recite my parents’ number and, even with Mom gone, I’ve called it since.  Her harvest yellow phone is now gone, too.

In the quiet ~ it’s the memories that remain.

****

Does the world seem noisier to you these days?  How do you manage the noise in your life? Do you still have a land line? Who calls you?

quiet-the-mind-soul-will-speak-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Technology, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Flipping back

clock_70s_flipClick-Click-Click.  That’s the sound my 70’s clock radio made, with the numbers that ‘rolled’ down from above. Do you remember?

Starry summer nights, a Canadian farm girl fine-tuning her radio to bring in American radio stations late, late at night.  Straining to hear “those crazy accents” from faraway-to-me places.  KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska, coming in clearly with a voice I’d learned to recognize: Sally-Jesse Raphael, long before she was on TV, hosting an advice/talk show.   Lonely farmers, wives with money problems, young lovers separated by difficult circumstances.  Our house was quiet and I found myself leaning in for their stories – carried through the air and across international borders – and wondering at the faces of the folks calling in.

Driving today, a song came on the radio, and it took me back to that time in my life.

“Hello?  How are you?” right at :27.   Haunting.

Singing along I looked down at all my “new” technology, Smartphone, GPS and MP3 player, and laughed. Then I cranked up the tunes and sang all the way to my meetings, remembering the summers of my youth, and a time when adventures could be as simple as imagining just who was on the other end of the line.

 

Do you remember the click-click-click of a clock radio? Did the numbers roll down or stay lit?  What faraway radio stations were you able to tune in?

 

 

Categories: Fun, Life, music, Personal, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Random 5 Tuesday – mixing it up

It’s Tuesday and it’s Random!!  Why not Friday you ask?  Well .. I’m leaving (on a jet plane) tomorrow and my head feels like it’s been in the tilt-a-whirl all day so why not? 😀  Here we go!

1.    You know those people who pack everything all sweet and tidy and arrange perfectly coordinated outfits? Really?  Please send them my way because that is so not me. I tried to work worked a half day and then squeezed in a pedicure (massage chair .. ooh, ahh) then raced home and attempted to jam 7 days of casual + wedding + gift opening wear into one suitcase.  Plus books for Mom. And pretty soon I found myself working up a sweat.  Good grief.  And then it hit me:

i-cant-keep-calm-im-going-home-

2. Speaking of Mom, last night I asked her if there was anything I could bring her.  Her response? “Just bring yourself.” Such a Mom answer!

Oh so true!

There’s pie in my future!

3.  I had everything at work organized, delegated, situated, you name it-ated.  Till this afternoon.  My phone blew up, emails were flying and finally, at 5:00, I shut it off.  My team is rocking and ready to go and I have no doubt everything will be just fine.  Sometimes you have to step away and let people show you what they can do.

light shining

4. Rooting around in my dresser reminded me that I like things neat and organized.  My closet looks pretty good but the dresser is a disaster.    It looks like it barfed out tees, shorts and socks!  I read a preview of this book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and it reminded me of a conversation with Hubbs:  we’re planning to downsize and, discussing our house and contents, we both agreed there’s not much we’d move.  So if we wouldn’t move it, why do we keep it?   Hmm.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1

5.  Speaking of work, I informed some corporate folks that I will be off the grid.  As in so far off the grid there is no grid.  I won’t have cell phone service or broadband.  I quipped that, unless I put tinfoil on a cow’s ear, anyone who wanted to reach me should have called … last week. 

If you Google "Cow with Tinfoil on his head" this is what you get - HA!

If you Google “Cow with Tinfoil on his head” this is what you get – HA!

And with that, I’m off!

Have a great week, peeps! Look around — what can you get rid of?  Are you an expert at packing?  Ever gone “off the grid?”

*all images from Google.com

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Random observations, Technology, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

R5F – Peonies, memories, crimes & attitudes

It’s Friday and time for 5 random happenings and observations from my world.

1.  My Lilacs have come and gone but look who is making their grand debut?

100_2366

Frankie loved the peonies and his ashes are scattered here. Seeing them bloom makes me smile and long for my silly old dog.

2. Last night we ran the dishwasher, a routine task done a few times a week.  It’s normally filled with plates, silverware and coffee cups.  Youngest boy put a large sauce pot in the lower tray upside down.  Reading quietly in the next room I heard a sound I couldn’t quite identify and then it hit me:  the spray of water hitting the bottom of that pot reminded me of milking cows as a little girl.   With 5 kids we always kept one or two milk cows and Dad would let us “help.”  More often than not we tilted Bossie’s *ahem* appendages in such a way that the barn cats got both a milk shower and a good drink and we probably spilled more than we didn’t.  Dad let us learn anyways.  Memories come to us in the most random of ways don’t they?

milking cows

3. I recently bought a “Fitbit” – a nifty little bracelet that works as a pedometer and tracks your sleep.  (You can track other things, too, but those are the ones I was interested in.) The first day I wore it was a Saturday and, between laundry, groceries, and yard work, I clocked 6 miles.  I slept well that night – 7 hours with 8 minutes of restlessness.  I really wanted it for my D.C. trip next week because we walk so much, up and down stairs in the Capitol office buildings.  Did you know that tunnels connect these buildings?  They’re clean and well-lit, but old as time.  I always feel a bit like Desmond in “L.O.S.T” in there … freaky.   Oh and elevators are reserved for Members when Congress is in session. That means I’ll be hoofing it to everything — in heels. And yes, I think I’ll sleep well every night :).

"See you in another life, Brotha."  -L.O.S.T.

“See you in another life, Brotha.” -L.O.S.T.

4. This week my job took me to the Michigan State Capitol – the day we were there happened to be “Older Michiganians Day” which meant we had a steady stream of older folks touring the building and sometimes stopping to ask us questions.  Everything was fine until two ladies came through and brazenly swiped several handfuls of cookies. Right in front of us.  With a look in their eyes that said, “whaddyagonnadoboutit?”  We looked at each other incredulously and shook our heads.  People are fascinating! And that day I clocked 7.8 miles – in heels!

old_lady11

Not this colorfully dressed but with just as much ‘tude

5. Jumping back to the Fitbit I also got it because, when I’m in the office, I’m aware I don’t move much.  It was shocking to me that, by noon yesterday, after a morning of conference calls, I hadn’t yet hit 2,000 steps.  That served as a powerful motivator to get in a workout!   On the treadmill last night, thinking about all I have to do before I fly out Sunday, this song came on and I knew it had to be shared:

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer… You’re an overcomer!

Happy Friday, folks!  What sound take you back to your childhood? Tried any neat gadgets lately?  Ever witnessed Senior crime?  What are you working hard at overcoming?

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fun, Humor, Joy, Life, music, Patriotic, Politics, Products I love, Share, Technology, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Sunday in threes

1. From breaking a century-old record for November snowfall last week to 50F and rain today – what a weather swing we’ve had here in west Michigan!  I woke up to an uncommon sound for this time of year  – the drip – drip – drip – of rain. Bizarre. But the coffee sure tastes good this morning.

big cups... Google.images.com

big cups… Google.images.com

2. Making the grocery list this morning, I realized we’re only a few days from Thanksgiving.  It snuck up on me, again!  I blame the Christmas ads and holiday music for the distraction.  We’ll have our boys and grands – just the 6 of us – so it’s time to get out the cloth napkins, crystal bowls and decorations :).  And, as youngest boy happily announced, this week marks the official start of Cheese ball season!  For my recipe (and his favorite appetizer), click here for my Look No Further Cheese ball recipe. 

one end of her table

Grandma’s Holiday table .. it took her days to set up!

3. I finally bought a tablet! No, not the AARP one, although that was tempting.  HSN.com has a great deal on a 10″ tablet – in my color choice which was  purple.  It arrived Friday and I have been happily playing around with it ever since.  For more on the deal, click here.

 

What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Any new toys land in your lap?  What food kicks off the Holiday season for your family?

..a cute lil' cheeseball .. all dressed up for the Holiday!

..a cute lil’ cheeseball .. all dressed up for the Holiday!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Food, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Products I love, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

But if there’s love, dear

Oh there was love, poppet.

Just wish it would have been enough.  RIP RW.

 

Categories: Family, Grief, Life, Love, Men, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Xnay the Fangage

I don’t know how many of you are also Facebook users but there’s a feature where another “friend” can “tag” you in a picture they’ve uploaded.

Most times, pictures are decent and moments captured are treasured.  Sometimes I even look like myself.  Other times, I’m caught open-mouthed, mid-sentence, looking rabid and ridiculous.

Then I saw this and thought, well, there it is.

oh how true it is

oh how true it is

Many of us have experienced passive-aggressive people and sometimes it can take a while to recognize it.  So, after one “friend” continued to upload unflattering pictures of me, I came to realize that she was not my friend.

And I may have giggled through my fangs when I clicked on the “unfriend” button.

“Stop inviting people who don’t celebrate you to your party! It’s YOUR life – you have the right to be exclusive.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

How about you?  Have you ever “unfriended” someone?  Do tell!

related: What are you really saying?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Share, Technology, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Window

Take a moment and watch this 4 min. clip.  I promise there is much here to see.

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Friendship, Joy, Life, Personal, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

on Choices

We’re in the grey days of winter.  Those grey January days that can drag. Those January days when it feels like forever since we’ve seen that golden thing in the sky.

I really can’t complain for we’ve had the mildest West Michigan winter I can remember.   It was 50 F just two days ago; it’s in the 20s this morning… and snowing, blowing and, generally speaking, an icy mess out there.

300 area schools around us closed; youngest boy is happily snoring and me? I’m very content to be working from home today.

a very good day to stay in; image wzzm.com

I’ve had years of commuting and am grateful that today’s not one of them.  I’m delighted to leave the white-knuckle driving to someone else.

doesn't that image just make you cold? image wzzm.com

These are the days when we reach for our warmest gear.  Our coziest sweaters, our warmest socks and our thick Artic-worthy jackets.

Gale force winds? Um .. no thanks; image wzzm.com

These are the days when you check and make sure there’s an extra blanket and boots in the car … just in case. These are the days.

I’ve know a few friends and colleagues who have the same options as me but will brave the elements anyways. They don’t have to, and they’ll tease me for choosing to stay in.

from my back porch lookin' out

They’ll give me grief on Monday that I chose this today …

my cozy home office

and him as my office mate.

The kitchen's up there; when's lunch??

What would you have done? And, do you have a choice?

Categories: Gratitude, Home, Joy, Share, Technology, Work | Tags: , , , | 28 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

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity … Amen

I am not a NASCAR viewer on any regular basis but this fervent pre-race prayer by Nashville Pastor Joe Nelms certainly got my attention – and that of many others, too.

Ricky Bobby, is that you?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Humor, Joy, Life, Men, News, Opinion, Quotes, Sports, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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