And, so it is… .a time to live, a time to hope, and a time for resilience

Most prevalent in my thoughts tonight is that Fall is in the air. In Texas, apple cider and pumpkins are showing up in the grocery stores and the sun is setting earlier now.  While Fall may be a date on the calendar, it doesn’t officially show up for a while. It happens when the leaves are changing to the bright yellows and deep red and oranges and the cooler weather comes in. It happens when the pumpkin patches start popping up, and that won’t happen for at least another few weeks or so. But, I am one of those crazed individuals that brings it in early because it is my favorite time of the year.

I feel a little guilty with it being the priority in my thoughts right now as I have family members awaiting evacuation orders from the Oregon fires and those suffering great losses from the Florida hurricane. I also have friends who were affected by the mass destruction brought on by Harvey. And I have family and friends who are going through other kinds of hard times.

So, to be sitting on my patio thinking about the approaching Fall season, the cooler evenings, the fire in the chiminea, and in the fireplace, the pumpkins, the changing colors and all the glory and joy that Fall brings with it seems a bit selfish. And, to top it all off, the wonderful aroma of the inside of the pumpkin is my favorite scent of all.

I have been praying for all those affected by the most recent tragedies of life and I have been keeping them in my thoughts. I, too, have recently been dealing with a loss of my own. The loss of hope, the temporary loss of my vision for our future, the loss of my youth, and the loss of starting my own business in the near future. All came to a crashing halt about a month or so ago. So, I think I was allowing myself to indulge in my thoughts of my favorite season approaching while at the same time watching those family and friends that are dealing with hardship too. My hardships are nothing compared to what is happening for many people right now.

I try to learn from most everyone I meet and what has resonated the most is what I have seen in these people who have lost everything or have the threat of their safety and the threat of tragedy lurking in the shadows. And, what they all seem to have in common, is the amazing human spirit.  There lives are turned upside down or they have the fear or threat of their lives being turned upside down. And, yet, they talk about others and the hardships others are enduring all the while having lost everything themselves. They talk of moving forward and are putting plans in place to do so.  They are coping.

I take the lesson with me each time I see them make remarks on social media. Their perseverance is admirable, their example amazing,  and worthy of reflection by me and by others.

And, so it is. as i navigate these unchartered waters I am in, I will follow in their example of how to pick up the pieces and move on gracefully, willingly, and with the courage, strength, resilience, and knowledge that, I too,  will survive and will be all the better for having gone through it.

Life is ever changing but also ever good. Keep the faith!

Note: the picture I have attached is of one of my favorite places in Michigan. This Cider Mill Restaurant is where we made some of our best Fall memories. Whether it was going there or riding past it on the bike trail on our 18 mile bike rides. 

Advertisements

He Asked, Are You Okay? 

He saw me and came into the room, looked at me, and asked: “are you okay?” I had just returned from another appointment. I looked at him and thought, how do I answer a question like that from someone like him. He has met with so much tragedy and sadness, rejection and sickness in his life and those he loves and still continues on, triumphing over every obstacle he encounters and then some.

My thoughts went to why he asked that question in the first place when he said “your face looks so healthy and full of life”. You look like you are feeling better. Was he hoping, was he wishing for that to be the case?

I had told him many years ago that it was going to be a long haul that would get tougher as life went on. I did a bit of foretelling then, knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, adjustments may need to be made as time went on but also knowing that so many others had gone through so much worse. I did not know just how rough it was going to be. How could I? I didn’t have all the information or the facts  back then.

Am I okay, yes, I am okay. He is here. He is my constant. We get each other through everything. For that matter….we really just ‘get each other’. Always have! And, for that, I  am very blessed.

Am I hurting, yes, but so many others are hurting so much more. These past couple of months, on those nights when I have awakened to hear and feel my soul crying out saying please get this figured out….please do something. Please fix this! I have gotten a glimpse of what it was like for my Mom and for my Dad. They dealt with pain on a daily basis. When they were young, I am sure that their hopes and dreams for their later years didn’t include dealing with  pain and yet, they did, they pushed through on a daily basis and persevered until they no longer could.

No matter how hard it was or how much pain they were in, “they got up, got dressed and got going” because life, and those around them, were so much more important than anything their body could dish out to them. They were tough, they were strong, they were courageous and they knew how to live life!

My hopes and dreams didn’t include my ‘present’ but I will follow my Mom and Dad and my brother and remain strong and tough and persevere and will even try to be courageous. Because my ‘present’ is nowhere near anything any of them endured.

So, yes, I’m okay, I’ll be okay. I will always be OKAY….no matter what…..for I have some incredible examples to follow.

Finding Happy…part 3…the last in my series on happiness

It was a profound and insightful statement and it was coming from a 50+ year old woman. “I recognize my age and I realize that I have the rest of my life waiting to be lived and I certainly don’t have time to have my head in an IPhone.”

She was actively pursuing her life and finding her happiness and she didn’t want to miss any of it by having her mind and thoughts on trivial things.

Happiness, for each of us, comes from within.  We can have moments of happiness and states of continuous happiness.  I am in one of those states of happiness.  We have discovered what makes us happy.  Our souls come alive by living the “country lifestyle” by seeking and planning the experiences that makes our souls sing.  For us, those are….(you most likely guessed it)….SITTING ON OUR PATIO and listening to the birds, the peacocks, and the geese and watching the hawks and cranes fly over, seeing the hummingbirds sip from the feeders, seeing the roadrunners, and all the other animals, and spending time visiting with each other, visiting with family, neighbors, and friends when they join us on the patio.  It’s where we share our stories, our memories, and our hopes and dreams.  Just beyond the patio is the large oak tree with the cardinals and robins.  And, near that is another piece of our happiness.  The crystal clear water of our pool where we swim and enjoy the blending of the water and the sun.  Our souls are refreshed and warmed all within one glorious sunny afternoon or evening.

Years ago, we defined our happiness and discovered many things bring us joy.  Our children, our extended families, our experiences in the outdoors and our God, fresh fruits and vegetables, cooking and baking in an open kitchen, being able to work and play outdoors  and a sense of wonder for most everything in life.

‘How to’ find Happy

Are you on a journey to defining and finding your happiness? Ask yourself these questions. What does it look like? Who do you see in your state of happiness? Is it in a place? Is it with specific people? What are you doing when you see yourself happy? Does it include painting, making pottery, or even owning your own business? Does it include writing a book, poems, or a blog? Does your state of happiness come from your whole life or maybe from a career and a few close friends and family? Does it include nature? Does it include giving back and service?

Once you have defined what you want your happiness to look like, the work begins. Set goals to achieve it. Work hard daily on achieving those goals. Read inspiring books, phrases and quotes daily. Include people in your hopes and dreams that will encourage, support and share in your definition of happiness. Develop yourself a team of people that will bring their attributes and talents to your life to make it more fulfilling and with you, in turn making their lives more fulfilling. Be “okay” with leaving those behind that criticize your choices and your goals and dreams for they will not be a part of your tribe for this journey. It’s not to say that they won’t be a part of your new state of happiness when you reach your destination of what your happy looks like. It just means they cannot be a part of the journey right now.  Be brave and courageous! Be consistent in reaching your goals to find your happiness. And, most of all be excited daily and find the positives in each and every day.

Good luck on your journey. Go and make it happen. You can start it at any age and find success in achieving happiness. Just remember, happiness comes from within you. You must define what it means for you, shield yourself from the naysayers and the many negative things in life, and actively seek out what you want your happy life to look like.

If you feel inclined, leave your thoughts in the comments on how you have found or are finding happiness as we all learn and are inspired by each other. Have a blessed and happy week<3

Finding Happy – Part 2

As I sit on my patio, I look out at the yard and onto the pasture and trees just beyond the rod iron fence. We have found ourselves sitting on this patio most evenings this week and last. It truly is life for us. 

We go through life waking up each morning, going to work, and or planning our days filling them with activities, errands, meal making and doing the daily jobs of life. 

But, what if we stopped and truly thought about what it means to live within the moment? What if we began to really slow down, open our eyes and took a look around us?  What if we made a life that we didn’t need a vacation from! What if we could find the happiness in our surroundings, our jobs, our families, and our friends and live it daily? 

I am trying to do just that recently. I have tried to capture the moment and find ‘happy’.  I have an advantage. I have been forced to slow down a bit because my body says it can’t take much more. By slowing down, I have experienced the hawk with a five foot wing span flying over the backyard. I have experienced Bo, the 30 year old horse that lives in the pasture across the way. I have experienced how he embraces life slowly walking around and then in another moment darts off in a trot around the pasture. I call it his happy dance because he looks like he enjoys it. I have felt the beauty of the oak trees as the wind blows through their leaves  and the rapid, yet angelic movements of the hummingbird as it comes to sip from the nectar jar. 

Beauty provides me with happiness. Calmness makes me happy. Friendly, kind  and compassionate people bring me happiness. Peace and people getting along with each other bring me happiness. Meeting up with old friends and new……

  • finding happiness is finding what soothes my soul. 

Listening, truly listening to people and their dreams and sharing in their excitement. Spending time visiting with family and friends. All these things bring me happiness and contentment. Oh, and yes, just sitting on the patio writing also brings me joy. 

FINDING HAPPY😊

I am thinking that this blog titled Finding Happy might just become a series. It is so easy to find ‘happy’ out here. 

My next door neighbor, Mary, reminds me so much of my Mom. I miss my Mom so very much. She was the rock for so many of us. She was one of the most genuine, loving, and caring people I know. 

Back to Mary’s story. I was sick for a week recently and she was so worried about me.  It made me think of my Mom as that’s how she was. She worried about people. 

Mary usually just comes in our back gate when she sees us on the patio but she didn’t come to the house at all. She said she didn’t want to ‘bother’ us. She told me later that she just knew I was sick and kept wondering what she could cook me to help me get better.  We both laughed at that thought. She knows all my ‘limitations’ when it comes to eating. So far, she has tried my fudge and the eggs from the co-op that you can leave sitting on the counter.  I imagine we will be cooking things for each other and bringing them over as time goes on but we’ve only lived here a few short months. 

A little about Mary, she is one of those people that welcomes everyone in. No judgment, just wonderful acceptance. She has a great attitude, takes really good care of her husband as he is not well and worries about her kids while still holding them accountable, even though they are 45 years or older. She has four kids. And can tell some fierce stories about all of them. She is a career military wife and did a lot of the raising of her kids on her own. She goes out to her pasture across the street twice  everyday to feed her horse and exercises every single day when her best friend arrives at her house to exercise with her. We are quickly becoming best of friends too. She is compassionate, loves kids, is already proud of my two kids and who they are and loves to hear Lucas play the piano as she used to play too. And, she thinks Brad is a gem. She is a caring and loving woman and a positive person who looks for the good.  I think in many ways she reminds me of my Aunt Mary too. Always upbeat, positive and building people up. She can’t wait to go out on our boat and is hoping to convince Frank to come too. Frank is her husband. And boy, does he have the stories to tell. Stories about life mostly but also stories from his career in the military. 

While I do agree Brad is a gem, Mary is the gem in this story. She is one of those rare people that God sends our way when He knows we could use their company the most and when he knows are hearts have been broken one too many times. 
She accepts me for who I am. We enjoy spending time with each other. She understands my body not cooperating with me. She gets that life can be difficult even when it looks like a person is in the best of circumstances. 

Mary is also the ‘go to’ person in the neighborhood. When people are out on walks and they see Mary and Frank on the patio, they end up staying for a chat. She knows all about most people in the neighborhood because she knows them and cares about them. This is what I have been looking for. This is what ‘happy’ looks like. People being kind to each other. People being genuine and loving. 

It will be exciting to have many of our friends out to our place over the summer to experience ‘the happy’😊 right along with us. It’s going to be a wonderful summer here in the country.🐶🐰🐷🦆🐥🦉🐴🦃🌳🌲🌻🌹🌿⭐️☀️🌝

Life In The Country

Yesterday I picked up my first co-op order of meats, veggies and fruits. On Tuesday, I picked up the raw cheese, 2 dozen eggs with the bloom still intact so I can leave them in a basket on my counter, and a gallon of milk straight from the dairy. 

As you can imagine, the memories came flooding in. I have really missed the eggs my Dad would bring in from the chicken coop and the fresh veggies from the garden.   I miss seeing my mom cutting up the beets and cutting off the beet greens and cooking both to go with a meal. I miss shucking the corn with them and putting it in a pot of boiling water to cook.  I miss the milk deliveries to our front door. I miss picking berries by the railroad tracks, I miss picking wildflowers. I miss crabbing on the weekends. I miss helping my dad in his garden and helping my mom in the kitchen.  I miss doing those things with them and my siblings and, because of them, I will continue to do those things here with my family. 

Last night, we spent the evening visiting with neighbors until it was completely dark outside. It was an impromptu meet up as they were out walking their dogs and stopped in for a visit. 

I really think that everyone needs a dose of the country now and then to balance out their lives. The fresh air, the lake breeze, the starry skies, friendly people who go out of their way to help or visit, and the fresh food and quite nights on the patio. It’s so good for the soul. 

On The Patio Tonight

Sitting on the patio tonight with the wind blowing a cool breeze through the trees, I had that wonderful feeling of contentment. 

My son came home from college on Sunday and his sister drove an hour yesterday to come see him. She only had a little bit of time and then drove the hour back home. Now that’s love❤️. For the first time since Easter, we had the two of them back with us. And, we were happy. 

As I was sitting on the patio tonight, I started texting one of my best friends and had a wonderful time just visiting and making plans. I kept looking at the oak tree with its canopy over a part of our backyard and I was reminded about why we made this move to the country. It was for moments like this. Moments of finding joy and contentment with those I love, doing the things that encourage happiness in ourselves and in each other, and focusing on the here and now, the beauty of the outdoors, and the fresh, cold water of the pool that brought comfort to my sore body. 

And, that moment, sitting on the patio and taking life in became the most important of the day. The patio tonight reminded me how thankful and grateful I am to have this life and those I have in it! 

I guess, tonight, I counted my blessings…..something us southerners like to do:) and, found I am thankful for my family, for my extended family, for all of my friends and for all those people that I am inspired by each and every day of my life and for all those who have had an impact on mine and my family’s lives.  

Each person that comes into another’s life has the capacity and the ability to impact that life. Make it a positive impact. It will mean so much to them and it will make you feel good as well.