SOMETHING JUST FOR ME?

Did you ever want to do something just for you?  It is not easy for me to commit to something that is just for me when it involves money and sacrifice for those around me.

I am a very logical thinker and that is how I normally make decisions.  I weigh all the positive things I can think of and then I ask myself what is the worst thing that could happen.  The time involved in this process depends on how big the decision actually might be.  I also have John and several friends that I ask for guidance.  I try to cover all my bases so I am able to make a good choice.

This is what I have been doing for several months now.  I want to go back to school.  Most of you are probably thinking either I must be nuts or what’s the problem with that?  And you would all be right!

I have never had much of an interest in a higher education.  I have a fantastic job with people I love.  I am treated like a queen.  I really never thought of doing anything else.  So, what changed?  Many things!

John and I downsized and moved to a retirement community.  I never in a million years dreamed I would ever be able to retire but now it might actually be a possibility.

I love the job I have but I really do not want to be working at this stress level when I am 70!  I am ever so grateful for all that I have been given but please let there be less stress SOME day.

And above all, there is God.  I have been feeling a gentle tug for quite some time and trying to figure out what to do with it.

Many years ago I volunteered for Hospice and I loved my time there.  It is a fantastic organization and I completely embrace their philosophy.  My volunteering experience was with nursing home patients and I know I would be comfortable working with patients or their families.  I seem to possess whatever is necessary to listen to people say what they need to say.  (I KNOW I am a talker but I CAN be a listener too!)

Sorting through all this information I have finally come to the decision to go to International Seminary.  It is a non-denominational Seminary and a school that offers much.  It is close to my home and affordable.  I am not exactly sure where this journey is going but I am going to trust God to take me where I need to go.

The first year of classes is the same for all their degree programs.  This will allow me the time necessary for further guidance before I make a final decision on a specific degree.  I am keeping my mind open to any and all options so that God can work with me and lead me.  John is supportive of this decision and his opinions will be important to me as well.

We are always told by church leaders that we should have a child-like faith and that is what I believe I have.  I trust that if I walk through the door God will guide my path to the place He needs me most.  What is the worst that will happen?  I will deepen my understanding of the bible and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

If I can take this journey, I am sure that there is something in your life that you want to do that will be special for you.  It may be a big thing like mine or something very simple like going to see a movie that only you want to see.  Whatever it is, I challenge you to do something that you want to do for yourself.  Be sure to share it with me because I’d love to pray for your success as I ask you to pray for mine!

 

 

 

 

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BLESSING OUR NEW HOME

Some traditions are hard to let go of and that can be a good thing.  Sometimes bringing your past into your present can bring you joy.  That is what happened Sunday when we had our house blessed.

We moved into our house in February and it has been an amazing journey to get here.  I am so grateful  and I feel a huge responsibility to be a good steward of our new home.

House Blessings are a Catholic thing as far as I know.  John understood my desire to do it and was supportive even though he had no idea what it really entailed.  Because I am not a “‘Catholic in good standing” I am no longer part of the church.  (THAT is another story for another time.  I  have no issues with the Catholic Church.)  John’s church is a small Brethren Church and has, I believe, 7 pastors, most retired.  They are a wonderful group of people who I love very  much.  I am not a part of that church but John is very active and has been for a long time.

This wonderful group of people agreed to do our  house blessing.  Four of the Pastors attended and each did a blessing of their own.  Nancy said a beautiful prayer for John and I, for health, peace and happiness in our home.  Karen brought salt, bread and a broom (to sweep away our troubles!), Berwyn is known for his musical talents and he had a song for all of us to sing.  Merle and his wife Jean were missionaries and they did a ceremony from South America called the Huasipichai; which means sweeping out the house; it is to get the bad spirits out, to clean the house for the family to live in peace, health and joy.  It was lovely.

Steve, the head Pastor had a Blessing of the House ceremony more like the traditional Catholic ceremony which blessed each room.  He had everything written out so that people could take turns reading the blessing and then sprinkle holy water in the room.  It was amazing.

This wonderful group of people shared their love and spirit with John and I to  truly fill our home with blessings.  It didn’t matter what their tradition was, they gave of themselves to bring joy to us.

That is my challenge for you, take a moment and give of yourself, unselfishly.  Or, allow yourself to be on the receiving end of unselfish giving.  I have to say that I felt so much love from these people it was amazing.  I am very grateful and I now have memories that I will cherish forever.

 

SUNSET AT ZELLWOOD STATION

I have written before about the gathering of golf carts at sunset in our community.  Today was our day to go up and meet  this group of people.  I have been watching them for months now and I have to tell you that sometimes the stories are much better in my  head; sometimes my imagination is  better than my reality and SOMETIMES I have to hear John say “I told you so!”  I hate it when that happens.

Today was a beautiful cloudless day in Zellwood.  There was a nice cool breeze all day and the temperature in the mid 80’s.  I had taken Rosie for her evening walk and it dawned on me that we were getting close to sunset so I flew in the house and asked John to take me up to the gazebo so we could watch it set.  John really sees no reason to do this, he says that he has seen a sunset and doesn’t need to see another.  Sigh.  But I push on because I don’t want to go up there alone, in my mind these golf carts are filled with couples, holding hands and sitting quietly together watching the sun slowly drop into the small little lake.

I am impatient because John doesn’t move fast enough for me and that doesn’t start our romantic little escapade out very well.  I am sure we will miss everything by the time John gets us up to the gazebo.  John, Rosie and I get in the golf cart and up we go, John being the good guy that he is, ignoring my immature rants and of course, we arrive with time to spare.  LOTS of time to spare.

At first none of the people even spoke, so my first bubble pops.  There are other dogs with their families and they are the ones that get things moving. Slowly we start chatting and getting to know each other.  There are couples and singles.  And it really isn’t about the sunset as much as about gathering.  I said should have brought my glass of wine but didn’t because I wasn’t sure of what was proper. They made sure I knew that anything goes.  One man was telling us that we could bring our dinner up to the gazebo and eat it as the sun set.  Wouldn’t that be romantic?  As my eyes lit up John made it clear he was not participating in that!  Another bubble pops!

I decide to take a picture because I actually remembered the camera and I snap picture number one and my camera is dead, out of juice.  I don’t know if the picture took or not but I do know that there will be no other pictures taken.  And pop pop pop!

(And the picture turned out pretty good!)

As people come and go the reality becomes more and more apparent.  This is a meeting place.  It is relaxing and carefree.  And all of a sudden everyone says goodnight and leaves.  I was confused, the sun hadn’t even set yet!  But they were done and off they all went!  John was thrilled because he didn’t want to be there at all.  And off we went as well.  POP!

We ended up going for a drive around the community in our little golf cart, our family; John, Rosie and me.  It wasn’t perfect, it certainly wasn’t romantic, but it was fun.  We adapted to the moment and made our moment; not the twisted one I had in my head but our own little family moment.  John driving the golf cart, Rosie learning to enjoy riding in it and me still getting my story!

So your challenge for the week is not to watch a sunset, unless you really want to!  But this week it is to adapt to what is.  Don’t try to make it what you want, allow it to be what it really is and tell me about it.

MY PHOTO WALK

I was reading an article on how to stress-proof your life  in the May 2012 issue of Health Magazine.  One of the suggestions was to take a photo walk.  It said to head outside and photograph the things you find interesting, fun or beautiful.  It says that it helps us to look for positive images.  I thought that was worth a try so yesterday I went on a photo walk.

It wasn’t easy at first because I was busy looking for the perfect picture instead of things that were interesting.  And what did I find interesting anyway?  I decided to walk to a part of our community that I hadn’t been to before.  When I go for a run I am focused o the run itself and not really my surroundings but I pretty much take the same route.  This time I went into the side streets and tried to pay attention to the individuality of the homes.

I wished that my niece Monique was with me.  She is a photographer and her eye for the unique is amazing.  I thought if we lived closer she could teach me a thing about taking pictures; right back to looking for that perfect picture. Sigh.

But then I started to let go.   I ran across this driveway.

 

It is a bit hard to see but there are small cans filled with dirt and an American Flag.  I don’t know if they are there to block the driveway from being used or if this is a patriotic statement or both.  It was interesting and hopefully accomplished what the owner intended.

 

We live in a golf course community and it was Saturday morning; where were all the golfers?  I find golf interesting because I have not become a golfer yet.  I have taken lessons but have not done anything with them.  I’m not sure we can afford for John and I to both love golf yet.  It is fascinating that people can hit that silly ball so far and I can only make it move 10 feet.

Good things do come to those who wait.  I finally came across a foursome on the 18th green.  I hid behind a large tree so I could take pictures without disturbing them. While I am taking pictures I wonder if this is legal?! 

My picture-taking skills are not good enough to worry about that!  I’m lucky I got all four people in the shot.

As I walked on, I started paying attention to the silence.  That is one of the greatest benefits of living in a 55+ community.  It is so quiet.  I focused in on the sounds I was hearing.  The wind was whistling and there were several birds chirping away.  I’m not good at identifying what songs belong to which bird but there were several different ones.  Then I heard laughter and that made me smile.

Every so often there would be the hum of a golf cart buzzing past.  Many people have their own golf carts and that is the standard mode of transportation within the community.

Since we moved here in February we have been under drought conditions and as I walked along I noticed this area that shows how bad the drought is.

 

I am not sure if this area ever was full of water but it looks as though it should be.  I took pictures from several angles and found it sad that we need water so bad.  Please God send us rain.  We really do need it.

 

 

(another angle of the same area).

Even with the drought the area is very pretty.  There is a bench too for sitting to enjoy the view. I wonder how many people actually use it?

Those of us with dogs walk here and I notice that people really do follow the guidelines and clean up after their animals.  The area is free of litter too.  I love living in this community.  It is everything we wanted and more.

I am back to my street.  I talk about the hill going up to our home and people laugh at me because Florida really doesn’t have hills but it is true, we do.  You feel it right in your calf muscles when you are walking!  This is the view I see from my patio, isn’t it beautiful?

 

By the way, my neighbor’s house is for sale if anyone is interested!

I like this little duck!  It always makes me smile.  They took something simple and kicked it up a notch.   I wonder if she changes the flowers seasonally?  I would until I became bored with it or just too lazy to bother.

I have not met this lady yet but when I do I will have to mention to her how much I enjoy her duck.

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t this a great picture of the flag?  There are American Flags all over the community.  I shouldn’t be surprised really since there are many military retired.

We have a smaller flag on a pole that mounts to the side of the house.  I put it out shortly after we moved in but John won’t let me keep it out.  He says that I have to take it down at sunset each night or I cannot fly it.  I personally think that is silly but I will honor his wishes.  Needless to say, it doesn’t fly much.  It is more important to honor John that fly the flag.  If I manage to hit the Patriotic holidays I will be ok.

These next two pictures I had to take later in the day because of what they are.

Every evening down by the gazebo golf carts gather to watch the sunset.  It is a pretty area with a small lake, probably smaller due to the drought.

 

 

You never know how many carts are going to be there, sometimes one and sometimes a dozen.  If we ever get our golf cart operational (we need 6 batteries at $100 each so it may be awhile) I am going to go watch the sunset with them.  Somehow driving a car just ruins the moment for me.  John is not exactly thrilled with the notion of watching the sunset but I am sure if he goes once he will enjoy it.  And, I am not above going by myself.

I have to admit taking my photo walk turned into a really nice peaceful morning.  I probably was out for less than an hour but it was an hour full of relaxation.  I was lost in time and free from phones and televisions.  Thank you Health Magazine for the suggestion!  It set a nice tone for the rest of the day.

So now it is up to you.  Go take your own photo walk and tell me how you enjoyed it.  I would really love to hear!

MY GOD STORY

Ever since I was a little girl I have always heard that voice deep inside me that kept me out of trouble, most of the time anyway.  Mom said it was my conscience talking to me.  As I grew older and more mature in my faith life, I have come to believe that it is God talking to me.

Before you judge me as nuts, let me clarify how I feel it is God.  Mostly if what the “voice” tells me to do is biblical it is probably God (thanks Patti!).  For instance, God will not tell me to steal or cause harm to others.  God tells me to do the right thing even when it isn’t what I want.

I am not here to debate what anyone else should or should not believe.  I am merely expressing how God works in my life and how I understand His will for me.  It is important you understand this before I tell you my latest God story.  It is also important that you understand that I am not asking for anything else either.  We are not victims, life happens and we all do the best we can to deal with the cards we are dealt, for whatever reason.  There are many people with problems worse than we have, if you have the time and means, please help them!

For the past several years Florida’s tourist industry has taken several big hits.  We had the three hurricanes in a row one year, the oil spill, big business hurting the little guy and of course the fallen economy itself.  John’s business works directly with the businesses that sell to tourists.  He sells bathing suits; flip-flops, sandals, towels, hats, T-shirts and such.  His business has steadily declined to the point that I have ended up the main support which was never intended.  (I also had a pay cut due to the economy.)  We have suffered financially to the point that we are losing our house.  This has been a painful time for us trying to make decisions that will change everything about our little world and we have not agreed on the decisions that have had to be made.  We have consulted lawyers and made the best decisions possible.  Our mortgage company would not assist us in any way when we tried to do the right thing so we were left with no alternative but to let the house go.

A few weeks ago I talked with the mortgage company about a loan modification and we decided that this option was not for us so we declined.  I also talked with a lady about doing a short sale but did not think that would work for us either.

I love listening to Joel Osteen’s Sunday message and Sunday, September 19th I believe, he gave a message that said that God’s plan for us was to do something “awesome” in our lives, something we had never seen happen before.  And I said to God, go ahead and awe me!  Which you know, when you challenge God, you are going to see something happen!

On Sunday, September 25th, I saw an ad in the newspaper from a realtor that specialized in short sales.  I thought that was amazing since most of the realtors I talked with did not handle them.  Here was a company actively seeking this business.  I filed it in my memory bank and moved on since it really didn’t apply to us.

John left town Monday for a trade show in Daytona Beach and would be gone all week.  He does this every year to capture the local business that is not able to come to Orlando for the larger show held earlier in the month.

Tuesday morning when I was leaving for work, I drove past a house in the front of the neighborhood that is for sale.  There was a couple in the front yard reading the real estate sign and I heard that voice inside me say “stop and talk to those people”.  Of course I drove right on by and then heard the voice again say “go back and talk to those people”.  This time I turned around and went back and pulled in the driveway.  I asked them if they wanted to buy a house and told them to look at mine, it was for sale.  They were Vietnamese and didn’t understand English!  Ok God, what are you doing to me?  I’m going to be late for work!  But somewhere I heard call your girlfriend Buppha (she is from Cambodia).  Amazingly, she answered her phone.  I asked her to talk to the couple and tell them that I had a house for sale, a short sale, and that I was not crazy.  She does not speak fluent Vietnamese but she got the point through good enough and I loaded them in my car and drove them back to my house.  With their broken English we did the best we could to communicate and I wrote down my name and phone number.  She said her sister speaks English and she would call me later.

A few hours later the sister did call and told me they loved the house and wanted to buy it.  I was not expecting that at all.  I spent the rest of the day talking with the mortgage company to see what could be done and how to do it.

When I went home I dug through the recycle bin and found the ad from the newspaper and called the realtor.  We made arrangements to meet Thursday evening to discuss everything. They warned me that the people interested probably would not work out and not to get my hopes up.  I told them that God was directing this, it was a God thing, and it would all be fine.

I talked with the sister on Wednesday and explained that the realtor would be at my house at 5:30 Thursday and she asked if they could come over also.  I said sure, what did we have to lose?

Thursday evening as I was coming home from work, John had just pulled in the driveway from his trade show and the realtor was already there as well.  To say that John was not pleased is an understatement.

I gave the man I talked to and his partner a tour of the house and they took pictures for the listing.  They gave me tons of paperwork to complete and send back to them ASAP.  In the middle of all this the Vietnamese family arrived in full force, the couple wanting to buy the house, the sister that interpreted and two other unknown people.  Add more chaos to the party!

After all the discussions it appeared that the couple was well qualified and indeed a real prospect.  HELLO – God already said that!

I called the bank on Friday so that they could get the appraisal ordered; it is the bank that sets the price for the sale of the house.  Then I spent the weekend filling out all the required paperwork for the realtor and the bank.  We cannot list the house until we have a price, we cannot get a price until the appraisal is done and the couple cannot sign a contract until we get the price.  So now we wait.  The appraisal was done Tuesday, October 4th.

John has not been too pleased with me through all this.  A short sale is not what he and I discussed or even agreed upon.  However, when God talks to me, I listen.  I know people do not understand this, John included, but I have to.  I have been praying for John’s heart to soften, for a messenger to come to him and help him to see this is a good thing.  He is too angry at me to listen to my logic.

Saturday, October 8th, there was a reunion breakfast for Evan’s High School, John’s alma mater.  There is a group that meets every month, we rarely go but John wanted to visit with an old friend he knew was attending.  When we arrived, there was only one booth available and we were sitting with a retired lawyer that works at the courthouse with people going through foreclosures.  He understands all this better than anyone!  THANK YOU GOD!  John asked him several questions and I think we both left feeling better.   John is still not happy with the situation but he is more accepting than he was.  There is hope!  (and by the way, the friend he went to see never showed up!)

Of course it is now Monday the 10th and we don’t have any answers.  That is because today is Columbus Day and all the banks are closed.  But I am not the least bit worried at this point.  I know God is working this all out for the best interest of everyone concerned.  Right now the message is” wait” so I will wait.

Tuesday, the 11th, the bank gives me the selling price.  The realtor lists the property and the potential buyers are no longer potential.  We have a contract!  God is faithful!

We still have a long way to go in this adventure but I know God is guiding the path.  Prayers are welcome! I will write more about this journey of faith as it continues.

Have a blessed day!

 

 

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT FALL

Fall is my favorite time of year.  After the heat of a Florida summer, I welcome the new season with relief.  Fall takes it’s time arriving here, the beginning is usually still in the mid 90’s, lower if we are lucky.  Labor Day week-end sets our minds toward fall but the official start in 2011 is September 23rd.    There are slow tiny changes, maybe a slight breeze in the air that didn’t move at all a few days ago.  The temperature slowly declines from 95 to 92 and one day 88.  Ah, the 80s, finally!   The humidity is not 100% anymore and the afternoon thunderstorms are less frequent, unless there is a hurricane. 

You can finally wear a blouse with a sleeve and not know that it was a big mistake, maybe even jeans instead of shorts.  I’m in the season of hot flashes all year long so sweaters rarely are in my closet let alone on my body!

By mid-October I always wish I had a convertible instead of a sunroof.  But I do enjoy the sunroof and am thrilled to finally drive with the windows open.  As soon as I get home from work I open all the windows and doors to let in the fresh air.  (We have a vicious dog in case you are thinking of breaking in!)

I love all the colors of fall and can’t wait to pull out my storage box marked “FALL” to decorate with my little do-dads.  Opening the box is opening memories.  I replace my summer door decorations with a sunflower wreath.  I have candle holders that require a trip to Yankee Candle for their pumpkin scents.  I don’t go crazy decorating; there are just small little accents that make me happy.  In October I decorate the lawn with dancing ghosts, they are not scary, they are fun and playful.  I gave up on planting fall flowers years ago and now go to the Dollar Time and buy fakes.  As long as they are seasonal and look good from the road I am happy. 

Fall used to be all about comfort foods and making the house smell warm.  My sister shared a recipe for Pumpkin Crisp and I make it every year; many times!  If I have a pot-luck to attend this is my go-to dish.  (And yes, if you want the recipe I will be glad to share!)  Hearty meals start to take the place of light summer salads.  It is a time for nesting, snuggling. 

We love football in our house.  John is a UCF and Gators fan for college and a Tampa Bay Buc’s fan for the NFL.  I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and can take all the trash talk you want to give.  If the Cowboys are not playing I root for good games and good teams.  I am big on underdogs and most of the time if I root for a team they lose.  So if you are not a Cowboys fan, you are pretty lucky.  If you are a Cowboys fan, I am sorry!

Getting up early on Saturday morning allows me to go for a nice long walk.  I have a five-mile route that I mapped out and I take my time to enjoy the walk itself.  This is a time of peace and quiet for me.  I don’t take my MP3 player because I want to be alone with my mind and my God; some of my best writings have come after these walks. 

Fall is the time of festivals.  I fondly remember the Craft Shows with my Mother-in-Law Heidi.  (Her given name was Hilda but she will always be Heidi to me!)  This was our thing; we spent the entire season going from one festival to another.  It wasn’t about buying stuff as much as spending the day together.  I fell in love with her in a new way each season.  I haven’t gone much since she passed away; it makes me miss her too much.  This time together taught me to listen to her wisdom and recognize her humor and grace.  She was an amazing lady.  I hope that accepting others is a trait I received from her. 

New TV programming finally arrives!  No more reruns!  There are new shows to discover and usually discard but every once in a while you find a gem that is a keeper.  The younger generation can’t appreciate the rerun doldrums of yesterday when we didn’t have cable, DVRs or DVDs.  And speaking of yesterday, we get to re-visit the Charlie Brown Specials of The Great Pumpkin and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  I still love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I have no idea why I love it so much, maybe it is just the tradition.  I remember the first time I saw it with our color TV, it was magical. 

Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday.  It is not built around gifts and commercialism but of love, friendship and gratitude.  The entire point is to be together and love each other, share great food and memories.  Expectations are low except for the good food part; we do expect good food and want to share our best.  It is the time when you bring a stranger home for dinner and they are welcomed because they need a place to be.  Some of my best Thanksgiving memories come from being a military wife and welcoming soldiers to our home for the holidays.  They were the least picky of anyone, they were just happy to be somewhere with a home cooked meal (even MY cooking!) and a cold beer. 

We have a wood burning fireplace on the patio and I enjoy spending the cooler evenings outside listening to the cicadas and the wood popping with a nice glass of wine.  A nice soak in the hot-tub makes it even better. Peaceful.

Fall is a time of gratitude that I survived another hot summer and a time to rest.  All too soon the insanity starts all over again.  I like to enjoy every peaceful moment. 

 

LOVE LETTER TO MY FRIEND – WELCOME TO THE 50s

I follow a web-site called Magic in the Backyard (http://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/) which I love.  She has a lot of writing ideas and suggestions; it is like Learn to Write 101 and Writing Encouragement 102.  Every Friday is “Free Write Friday” where she gives a topic and guidelines for the “assignment”.  I have participated in a few of them and always enjoy the challenge.  Participants post on their own blogs and share the link on her page.  It is a wonderful process and a great learning experience too.  I enjoy watching as we all read the same assignment and everyone comes up with different ideas. 

When Kellie introduced this week’s topic, Love Letters, I went UGH.  But, something made me read anyway and it turned out that my initial impression was very wrong. I am so glad that I continued to read.  Love Letters is an amazing project by Hannah Katy and her web-site is http://www.moreloveletters.com/.  It is well worth a visit, especially if you like to write.  This is something anyone can do, age doesn’t matter.  Whether you are 10 or 90; we all have experience, strength and hope to share with others. 

So, here is my love letter assignment and you may see more of these as time goes by!

 9/3/2011

Dearest Friend,

This year you celebrate turning 50 and I pray that it will bring you peace. 

At 20, I knew everything.  There was no problem I couldn’t’ force to a satisfying solution.  I was never satisfied but I lived with the results and was sure I had done well. 

At 30, I had already known great disappointment and sorrow.  My life seemed to spring forward and take me places I’d never expected.  All those plans I had never seemed to materialize.  I was still smarter than most people and learned how to please others instead of myself.  I thought what others thought of me was more important than what I thought of me.  I was completely lost and no longer knew who I was or what I even wanted anymore.

At 40, I learned that I was completely stupid.  I knew nothing at all.  This was the best thing that happened to me.  Accepting that I knew nothing made me willing to learn, listen and grow.  I allowed people who had “gone before me” to share their experience, strength and hope.  And I listened to what they had to say, really listened.  I was like a sponge soaking it all into my soul.  I learned about a God that loved me, a savior that saved me and my right to worship as I pleased.  And to allow others to worship as they believe.  We don’t have to agree anymore, we can choose to be different and still love each other.

Now, mid-way through my 50s I am happy.  The 50’s have been the most free I have ever felt.  I am on yet another path of discovery, fine tuning what I have learned.  I can be loving and selfish at the same time.  I can say no when I don’t want things and yes when I do without wondering what others will think!  I can wear clothes I like and not worry about fashion.  Comfortable shoes, amazing!  I can dress to the 9’s and I can look like a slob, it is my choice!  I wear my hair the way I like and I know that none of those things matter anymore.  Things are not what life is about.

I tell people, like you, that I love them.  I show a stranger a kindness.  I love hugs!  If an act of kindness pops into my head, I follow through, just for the fun of it.  I have learned to do the “’right thing” for the right reasons.

I am no longer afraid.  I take risks.  I have fun.  I know what fun is!  I dare to be different and go against the grain, in the kindest way possible.

I used to think being nice was being a doormat.  Today, if I leave this world and people say I was nice it is the highest compliment I could receive.  I am grateful for that. 

I have been blessed beyond belief and love being 55!  Welcome to the 50s, I hope you love it as much as I do.

Love,

marilyn

HURRICANE DAY PLANS

Today was supposed to be a hurricane day.  Since we live in Florida we are used to hurricanes and know how to plan for them.  The first thing I always do is plan a huge indoor project that I never accomplish.  The idea is that we are held captive and can’t do anything else anyway so we may as well tackle that “thing” that we have been meaning to do for ages.

The reason we never actually do the plan is complicated.  Sometimes the storm hits too late in the day to get started.  By the time the next day rolls around the storm has passed and life goes on. 

Part of accomplishing the plan has to do with the cable being out.  There has to be something to do when there is no TV to watch.  One year we rented all the “Sex in the City” DVD’s from our local video store.  We had never seen the show and decided this would be a good thing to pass time.  We did actually accomplish that plan, it was a long storm.  By the time we were able to go out we went straight to the local bar so I could order a Cosmopolitan.  I had to taste one and I loved them.  Who knew that three was too many? 

The DVD situation has really ruined the plan.  Now John prepares in advance. The only way to get away from the TV now is if the power goes out.  The last several storms we had, we never lost cable or power.  Plus, if the power goes out we can’t accomplish anything anyway.

This storm, I planned on doing the fall house cleaning.  It is almost fall and it needs to be done.  Since I never accomplish the plan anyway and we didn’t get the storm, I thought I should go through with it and get it done.  John had that deer in the headlights look when I told him about the plan.  He was very grateful that he wasn’t involved and left as soon as he could.

I put on the rubber gloves and tackled those jobs that we all hate to do.  Going where no man has gone before, I took my bucket of pine sol and scrubbed both bathrooms from top to bottom.  I don’t know what it is about scrubbing bathrooms but getting the walls, doors and windows extra clean is always so gratifying.  Spring and Fall cleaning is just different from normal everyday cleaning.  I have a love/hate relationship with it, I hate to do it but love how everything looks when it is all done.

The house is now scrubbed in places that rarely get attention.  Everything smells fresh and clean.  I already see things I missed but the will have to wait until the next hurricane.  They can be the next plan.  This storm has passed.

PARADISE

What is paradise like?  This question can go two ways in my mind; the heavenly paradise that is beyond imagination or the place I run when life gets too much.  I choose to describe the latter.

I run away in my mind to a place where people love and care about each other when life gets too much for me. It is filled with people who are honest, kind and thoughtful, who care about their neighbors, friends and relatives.  No one is fat, thin or ugly; we do not look alike but we are all beautiful from the soul.

No one has too much and no one needs for anything.  There is no class system.  And no worries either.  Everyone does their share because the community is more important than the one.  We don’t have to search for what our gifts are, they flow from us and are obvious and we are comfortable with them.   We are allowed to be who we are without being judged.  We teach and learn together. 

The temperature is in the mid 70s, warm enough to enjoy the days and cool enough in the evenings to need the warmth of another human being.  It would rain sometimes so that the plants and flowers get their fill and also to remind everyone of how much we love the sunshine.   We are near water and lush vegetation.  Everywhere you look is beauty.  Waterfalls, flowers, fluffy white clouds and lovely blue skies. 

There are nooks that are quiet enough for meditation and large areas that the community gathers to celebrate and socialize.  People do not suffer from diseases; young children do not die in vain.  No one is cast aside; we all matter and are able to see each other through God’s eyes.  And there is no war.

Life is simple, easy and happy.  That is paradise to me.

WHAT INSPIRES ME?

Often when I am asked a question of this type it helps me to go to a dictionary and look up the word.  I know what it means but I need a clear definition to let my thoughts flow.  One definition I found was ” Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity”.  I take that to mean what gets my rear end moving!

I like to be around people who think outside the box.  I like to move outside my comfort zone.  Notice that I did not say anything about being afraid.  I am normally afraid to move out of my comfort zone, I have just learned to do it anyway.  My best experiences have come from doing what I didn’t want to do when I didn’t want to do it.

Starting to write my blog was IN my comfort zone but sharing it with others, THAT was way outside the zone!  Somewhere deep inside I heard the voice that said to do it anyway.  As long as I am true to who I am it doesn’t matter if people think I am weird.

I am 55 years old, last year I took ice skating lessons.  Ok, I only took two lessons but that was quite enough.  I did it.  I do not feel the need to do it again.  I have a lot of experiences like that.  I told the world in another blog how fat I was.  I AM weird!  Who cares?!

People who are willing to take risks are amazing.   I told my husband the other day I’d rather break my leg doing something fun than by tripping over a piece of furniture.  At least it will be a better story!