Maybe We Shouldn’t Be So Concerned

I think all of us care about how we look. Most days we make the effort to clean up and show up. Some days are easier than others, but we usually make the effort.

I think we all wonder what others think about our appearance. We wonder if our outfits look okay, if we are having decent hair days, if our bodies look fit enough, if we look stylish or put together.

The other day I came home from work and went up to my bedroom to change my clothes. I glanced in the mirror by my closet and I noticed I had only one hoop earring in. I love these earrings. I wear them often and I was bummed that I had lost one. I didn’t want to go back out since I had just gotten home, but I decided I should go trace my steps. Maybe I would find it.

I looked inside my car, checked at the gas station and then went back to the school. I was following the exact path from the library to where I had parked my car, and all of the sudden I heard the window open and a friend say, “Are you  lost? Did you lose something?” I started to laugh and told her that I had indeed lost something and I was tracing my steps. She asked if it was a hoop earring. What?!? I hoped it was mine.

It was. She had found it outside of the school office that morning. I was very thankful. Then I started to laugh to myself. I had gone all day with one big hoop earring in. And, apparently no one had noticed. Not a teacher, not a student, not the friend I hugged at the gas station or the clerk who took my money after getting gas.

This made me think that maybe we are too concerned with our appearances. Maybe people aren’t paying that much attention. Sure, we should make an effort to feel good about the way we look, but maybe the most important job is how we are inside. What energy/vibe/emotion are we sending out to the world? Maybe that’s what people see.

Just a thought….thanks for reading and have a great day!

A Blank Canvas?

The new year is approaching and I always enjoy reflecting back on the past year and thinking about how I hope the new year will be. I wondered how many journals I filled last year and I found four. I didn’t do this on purpose, but they are all ones that I created and are on sale on Amazon. This is so cool to me! Still kind of a dream come true.

I was thinking about each day being like a blank canvas. I was trying to imagine what paint I would use; what kind of picture I would paint. How would I want each new day to unfold? My mind went blank pretty fast. I am not a painter, although someday I would like to paint a lovely picture.

What came to mind rather quickly was that I could write a story about my day. This appeals to me. I adhere to the belief that our thinking dictates our experience. I always say that if you want a different experience, change your thinking.

I am aware that we tell ourselves certain stories; that we believe set things about ourselves and others. Just the idea that we can tell a different story seems hopeful.

To be mindful, to simplify, to be in a constant state of gratitude – these are some of my goals.

I hope you carve out some time for yourself to think about how you would like your new year to be. I hope everything unfolds for you beautifully. Why not? Why not have the best year of your life?

Happy New Year!

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.

Simplifying

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