Don’t Settle

Years ago my husband and I moved to a remote, small town in Kansas and started the arduous process of renovating a 100-year-old house. My father was a big help in this process. In fact, I’m not sure we would have accomplished what we did had he not been there to help us.

We finally got to the point where I needed to pick out cabinets for the kitchen. We had redesigned things and the kitchen was large and had the flow that we wanted. We had visited with several businesses trying to find the right cabinets. We wanted to use our local hardware/lumber store to order and purchase them. The problem was they didn’t have the design or color that I wanted.

Renovating a large, old house and having small children was stressful. Making decisions was stressful. I remember my dad saying, “I don’t understand, why aren’t you having fun?” I couldn’t see the fun in anything back then. It just all seemed like a lot of work. Also, the fact that we basically lived in the middle of nowhere made shopping and decision making even harder.

So, back to the cabinets. I decided I would settle. That I could make the cabinets that the local hardware/lumber store work in our kitchen. My dad looked at me with that halfway smile where one side comes up into an expression of questioning, and said, “Don’t settle, hold out for what you really want.”

Well, I took his advice. I went to the owner of the local store and explained what I truly wanted. This time he started the search and found exactly what I wanted. He got them ordered and my dad and husband put them up.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years people walked into our kitchen and said it was beautiful and how they loved the cabinets. The color, the style, everything about them was lovely.

So, sometimes I have to remind myself that we don’t always have to settle. Sometimes it’s worth it to hold out for what you really want.

Have a wonderful day and I hope you get something you truly wish for!

36 Seconds

Recently I had the privilege of spending the day with my daughter. She was in a basketball tournament and we had time to kill between games. She is an easy person to be around. I enjoy her company very much. She is one of those people who assesses situations quickly. She’s not a big talker, has an easy laugh, and is easy going unless she is tired or hungry.

We ate a nice meal out, shopped, went to the library, and then headed back for the last game. On the way home she said, “Thirty six seconds, that’s how long there was silence before you talked again.” It makes me laugh just writing this. I can’t help it. I was born to talk. Which is ironic because often I happily spend hours by myself where I don’t talk to a soul. I enjoy time alone.

I am aware that I don’t need to share every thought that is going on in my head. I just like to talk. I also like to listen. This is probably why my degrees are in Communication.

Whether you are a talker, listener, or somewhere in between, I thought you might find this story funny. It seems like time after time I come to the conclusion that we are all just wired the way we are wired. And, you know, that’s kind of cool.


Recently my husband and I spent the weekend in St. Louis. This picture was taken in the English Woodland Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It was so beautiful and peaceful there. I was filled with a sense of hope and happiness and peacefulness.  I love the way I feel when I am surrounded by nature. I have always enjoyed being outdoors.

It often seems I am happiest when I am appreciating life’s simple joys.

Here is a quotation that I have had for a long time and it amazes me that the problems we deal with in our present day are the same as those who have lived before us.

“We are so overwhelmed with things these days that out lives are all, more or less, cluttered. I believe it is this, rather than a shortness of time, that gives us that felling of hurry and almost of helplessness. Here is a good New Year’s resolution for us all to make: To simplify our lives as much as possible.”

~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Have a beautiful week!!


What I Damn Well Please

It’s human nature to ask others what they do. Often when my dad was asked this question he would respond, “Whatever I damn well please.” Which, quite frankly, was kind of true. He owned his own business, his own plane, and he was kind of a renegade.

I’d love to answer the way he did. I’m not that bold (yet).

Recently I ran into someone I use to work with. I asked her how she was enjoying retirement. She responded by saying how much she had to do and not knowing where the time goes every day. She didn’t mention one fun thing she was doing. She didn’t even give the impression that she was enjoying herself at all.

It’s not that I thought she would be happy just because she was retired, but I hoped she was enjoying herself. After all, that is a goal for a lot of people: work hard, retire, enjoy yourself.

After I walked away, it really made me think about how we spend our days. How much say do we have in how our days unfold? Are we using our time wisely? Are we having fun? Enjoying ourselves?

I certainly hope so.

The weather has been beautiful in Kansas this week. I hope you are enjoying spring as much as I am.

Have a terrific week!


Too Much Pressure

Just a girl, sitting with her dog on the back steps, soaking up the sun. Feeling like it was the best part of the whole day.

This was me a few weeks ago. As I sat there, the thought came to me clearly You put enough pressure on something and it will crack.

Several years ago I worked with a horse trainer who told me this. It was one of those sayings that stuck with me. First of all, the moment I heard it, I felt the truth of it. I quickly understood that this idea wasn’t only in regards to working with horses. This truth applied to all kinds of aspects of life.

On this particular day, I was trying to juggle too much. I had my usual daily goals but I also had research, class work, accounts to balance, tax prep work, groceries to pick up, writing, editing, family/home needs, etc.

When I opened the door to the backyard to let my dog out, I could feel the sun kissing my face. I just paused with the door wide open and thought about how I wanted to bask in that sunshine. So, I did.

I just sat right down on the steps. I took a deep breath and I realized that I could change the plan I had in my mind. Some of the things I was working on could be done tomorrow, some things could be made easier, and some things I enjoyed so that part didn’t feel like work at all.

Soon I felt something touch my foot. I opened my eyes and saw my sweet dog resting right beside me. He was the picture of love, calmness, and assurance. I sat awhile longer taking in this very happy moment.

After awhile I felt a sense of contentment and peace I hadn’t felt all day. I got up and went inside feeling thankful and balanced.

I am thankful this thought came to me right when I needed it, and I hope it helps you the next time you feel pressure or stress or simply that life just feels like too much in that moment.

Take a breath,

lighten up,

change your plan.

Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.

Not Sure How, But I Will

I am writing this instead of doing the work I am supposed to do on a class I am teaching. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about the class. It’s called Oral Interpretation and I pretty much love everything about it.

Here’s the deal. It’s the first online college class I have ever taught. Not only did I have to create the content for the class (basically from scratch), I also had a huge learning curve on the technological side of it.

It’s been a long process. It’s been a rewarding process. The thought that has come to me throughout this experience has been: I am not sure how I am going to do this, but I know I will.

My mom has always said that the more you do, the more you want to do. I think there is a lot of truth to this.

A few years back I enrolled with a local university and signed up to take their Grant Proposal Writing class. I didn’t tell a soul. I was scared. I had taught for many years, and I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be the student.

The course was all online. I had to navigate my way through the university’s Blackboard e-Education platform. It seemed so strange and foreign at first, but soon became very easy.

I took the course very seriously. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to be a grant proposal writer, I just wanted to push myself. I think we grow when we do things we are afraid to do.

And, guess what? The course went very well. I passed with flying colors. I did it. This was a bit of a jump-start for me with writing, entering the online world, and learning new things.

I think it’s important in life to keep growing. Sometimes I have to remind myself  I am not sure how I am going to do this, but I know I will.

I’m thinking this applies to you too. So the next time you feel compelled to do something and fear makes its appearance and tells you to be scared, that’s okay, you just tell fear: I am not sure how I am going to do this, but I know I will.

Spirits Uplifted

It is Sunday morning. I wasn’t sure what time it was when I awoke but I felt rested; and when I glanced over at the shutters in our bedroom, there was a little light peaking through. I decided to get up and take the dogs for a walk.

The moon was still out, but the sun was coming up too. I headed out with the dogs and I could just sense that I didn’t feel peaceful, happy, or content. I thought about my day and didn’t feel much joy. I thought about happiness and wondered why I always seek it.

The route I take to the nature walk goes right by the nursing home. I saw the gentleman who always waves when he sees us walk by. He was busy eating breakfast with his friends and he didn’t look up. I waved a few times but he wasn’t looking out the window. I decided to walk right up to the window and tap. He looked up and I gave him a big smile and waved.

As I kept walking I thought about how I should be thankful. I am able to walk and jog with my dogs. I have the mental and physical strength to do this. All of the sudden I realized that all last year I spent a year chronicling my life. Specifically, writing down every day what made me happy. I had learned through this process that for me the key to feeling happy was to live in the moment and be thankful. I know this, but I forget to apply it sometimes.

As soon as I realized this forgotten truth, I tried it. I thought about what I was doing that very moment. I was outside, which I love. I was surrounded by nature, which I love. I was with my dog, which I love. Soon I hit the country road and I could see the moon was still up. I was heading west and I could see the sky turning lighter and bluer. I saw clouds that looked like white cotton candy someone had stretched out as far as it could be stretched. When I turned around and headed back east, I saw the sun was rising. It was just above the small town I live in. It looked like the rays were shining down specifically on just my town.

I was thankful that my aging dog still runs and looks like a young dog. I was thankful to feel my body move: strong, able, alive.

I arrived home with a completely different mindset than the one I left with. My spirits felt uplifted.

Today I will do my best to live moment to moment and I will be paying attention to all things I can give thanks for. Right now I am very thankful.

What I’ve Learned From My Dog

Happy Friday.

I was ordering pictures from January and I came across this picture I had taken of my dog.

To me, this picture speaks volumes.

Here are a few things my dog has taught me:

-Live in the moment

-A walk every day is a great thing

-Sometimes people just need you to be there

-Being physically close to someone can be comforting, especially when you just sense they need the extra support

-Eat enthusiastically

-You can say a lot without words

-Take a nap or rest anytime you can

-But, always be ready to go!

-Leave the room if things get heated (confrontation can be avoided at times)

-Our outside appearance may appear to be aging, but we are youthful inside

-Be love


Be Careful What You Throw Out

I am a big fan of decluttering. It’s my constant goal to declutter and simplify my life, both mental and physical. But, I have to say that keeping some momentos is important.

Awhile back I found a container with cards and letters in it. I decided to declutter it. Once I started looking at what was inside, I was amazed that I had kept what I had. Some of the cards and letters went back 30 years or more. The memories that the cards, notes, and letters brought back was priceless.

I remembered things that I hadn’t thought about in years.. Memories came back that I don’t think would have had I not kept physical items. My best male friend from high school sent me letters while he was in the Navy. No matter where I moved to, he found the address and sent me a letter. I loved reading his letters. They told me where he was mentally and physically in his journey and his words reminded me where I was at the time in my journey.

I had tons of cards and notes from my grandma. She was, and always will be, one of my favorite people in the whole world. Reading her messages made me instantly happy. She also gave me an insight into her world at the time and place she was writing. She also illustrated her character. She never forgot a birthday or anniversary and she always took the time to write a nice not, never just a quick signature.

I had letters from my younger brother when he was in the Marines. His letters were heartfelt and helped me once again understand where he was and what he was going through as well as remind me where I was at that time in my life.

I had letters from my dad that reminded me what he saw in me. Although I have memories in my mind of conversations we have had, there was something about having it in writing, especially with is distinct handwriting. It is so special to me to have his letters.

I found so many notes from my mom. She has always left me notes. She told me once that if she couldn’t be there when I got home at least she could be with me through a note. Even to this day, if I go to stay with her and she is in bed before I come in, she’ll leave a note. Or, if I get up later in the morning and she is already gone, there will be a note.

I also had letters and cards from my sisters and friends. I was just filled with love and emotion as I read through all my momentos. In a way it was like watching my life play out in a movie: each piece I picked up reminded me of a scene in my life.

I didn’t keep every note and card. I probably recycled at least half, if not more, of the container. But, I just couldn’t part with these treasures. Some day I will get out the box again and enjoy bits of my past from people I have been fortunate enough to know and love.

The last couple of years I have started a new practice to simplify and organize the letters and cards that come in. I have a big ziplock bag and label it the current year. When I receive a special note or card, I place it in there. A lot of what I receive I enjoy in the moment and then recycle it.  By the end of the year, I will have a nice, manageable pile to keep for that year.

I hope the new year is treating you kindly. I also hope you are being kind to yourself and others.

Have a wonderful week!!

Complaining and Getting Mad

*Photo/image from flickr by BK

It is so easy to complain. Sometimes it becomes such a habit, we don’t even realize we are doing it. I suppose it’s just human nature to complain.

My very wise grandma told me when I was younger that complaining never did anyone any good. (Don’t get me wrong. There is always a time and place to voice a constructive criticism that might yield a good result.) My grandma was one of the kindest, appreciative, cheery, and uncomplaining people I have ever known. If she complained, I didn’t witness it.

I realized lately I have been complaining about something I have been struggling with for a long time. My struggle is with time, or lack thereof. For as long as I can remember I have felt like I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do. And, I’ll be darned if all the people who told me that time goes by quicker as you get older, aren’t right. At least it seems like it. I feel that the days are flying by and I find myself getting ready for bed again and wondering where the days are going.  Am I complaining? Ha, ha…. see what I mean?

So, what’s a girl (or guy!) to do? STOP COMPLAINING! My wise mom always told me that you get more of what you focus on. Well, I want more time, not less time. So, my goal is to stop complaining about my perceived lack of time, and start making the most of the present moment. I will probably start claiming I have more than enough time. A new mindset certainly can’t hurt.

Photo from flickr

Okay, so now on to anger or getting mad. Just like complaining, getting mad can become a habit that doesn’t serve us. Several times lately I have found myself feeling very angry over various things. Most often my anger is stemming from an injustice I am feeling. Lots of times it doesn’t even have anything to do with me.

The other day when I was feeling angry I realized that the act of me feeling angry wasn’t doing a bit of good. It was absolutely unproductive. It didn’t change the situation one bit. Furthermore, it wasn’t even about me. Once I realized this, the anger just melted away. I also was reminded that taking care of myself is a full time job and I really can’t afford to get mad over things I have no control over.

When my kids were little whenever there was a problem I always told them to start looking for a solution. I still tell them this. I also apply this principle to myself whenever I can.

If you think about it, we all have problems, big and little. If we complain or get mad about our problems we aren’t making things better. We are for sure not making anything better when the situation isn’t even about us.

So, I am going to do my best to not make a habit of complaining or getting angry needlessly.

I hope 2017 has been kind to you so far.  Remember the saying that if you love life, it will love you back!