Our Love of The Cliffs

As I watched our baby squirrel, Fred (my name for him) this morning persistently try to climb the pole leading to one of our bird feeders; not satisfied with his helpings on the ground, it reminded me of that amazing characteristic called perseverance and how strongly it has affected my life and my family’s life.

Many, many years ago, I sat on the cliffs for hours and watched the sun set over the ocean. It was an amazing adventure. One that I was to repeat with my best friend many times over the years. Our best idea came to us while sitting on these cliffs and it was perseverance that has been the foundation of our lives since. I am thinking that is why I was reminded of it this morning as I watched Fred. He tried at least eight times to reach the actual feeder; each time without success. First by trying to climb the pole and then to the oak tree that hangs over the feeder but there were no branches close enough. He then attempted to jump from the trunk of the tree to the actual feeder only to fall flat on his belly. Poor Fred…I sure felt for him on this attempt.

Back to the cliffs, it was here, over 30 years ago on this very day, that I sat for the first time with a young navy officer and ate pizza and talked for hours until the sun set in the sky. It was here that while he sat there and talked about his mom and all her trials and triumphs that I thought to myself that this man was the man I was going to marry if I was to get married. It was here that mine and his love of adventure grew even stronger, and, it was here that he had the same thought…a life together.

It would take perseverance to begin our lives together as it took him asking many times to receive the ‘yes’ answer. Yet, once I gave that answer, I discovered my best friend, my biggest supporter, my confidante, my personal comedian, ‘my Rock’, my adventure buddy, my karaoke partner as we both love to sing and listen to music, and, my soul mate. I remember so many hiking adventures in the early years where we would break out in songs like “Follow Me” by John Denver and so many road trips driving with the windows down and the wind in our hair, and singing John’s songs or Loggins and Messina’s…”Let the River Run” and many others. Since that fateful day on the cliffs, we have traveled many places, raised two wonderful children who also rely on perseverance to reach their goals and live their lives, and who also have a strong love for outdoor adventures. And, so it was only fitting that our best idea…spending life together…come to us as we were enjoying the beautiful cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean as the outdoors is where we do our best living and thinking.

Fred has been my gentle reminder today of a beautiful moment in my life and has given me a “‘lessons learned”. A reminder to continue to move forward to more adventures and more great ideas all the while remembering and celebrating all the wonderful ones of the past and to cherish each and every day of my life with my best friend and soulmate.

This video was done by a talented individual and placed on YouTube where I found it 🙂 (Video Credit…YouTube)

My “Loud” Friend Is Back

Every morning, I wake to his “yelling.” He almost has the ability to interrupt the calmness and peacefulness of country life. But, only almost because after his initial ‘outburst’, he tends to go quiet for the rest of the day just going about his business. He is usually right outside my bedroom window and he does not stop his talking until I look out and see him and he looks at me. He stands there looking at the peach tree and awaits an answer….not from me but, I think , from ‘his friend’. He is perched high in the oak tree and patiently waits for his friend to arrive but his friend never does. I am guessing it is a little game he likes to play with the other birds and with me.

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not the best picture but it works…

And, then, in a quick swoop, he flies down to the bird feeder to munch on the suet that is there waiting for him. No other bird dares go near when he is having his breakfast. I think it is because he is so loud.

I think he and I have developed this understanding, of sorts, where as long as I stay far enough away from him and him to me, we are both comfortable and go about our days. I asked my hubby about this the other day. It seems like such a strange relationship…and he says all the jays he has known are like that. They are territorial in a way. They don’t understand that THEY are the visitor.

Ha, I’ve met a few ‘creatures’ like that in life where they overstep the boundaries like this little guy does. I guess that can be seen in all forms of life too. Who knew? 🙂

Why Does It Keep Doing That?

We are easily spoiled when it comes to nice weather, green all around and sunny skies.

Of course we had been looking forward to the warmer days and green landscape after such a dreary winter, so that could explain our behavior and lack of tolerance for anything other than bright sunshine and pretty spring days. I mean, haven’t we earned it?😊. Haven’t all of us earned it?

On Friday night as we were sitting having a late dinner and looking out at the trees. My hubby mentioned it getting dark and my immediate response was “why does it keep doing that?!”

I identify a lot with John Denver and his love of sunshine and mountains. In fact, If you ask me sunrise or sunset? My answer will ALWAYS be sunrise so when you start taking my sunshine away, I tend to get a little cranky especially when we haven’t had very much.

Today, Saturday, was a very rainy, very windy, gray day. I do like rain and all it does for us but there is a point where I have to say enough already. Bring back my sunshine☀️!

Or, like my dad used to sing to my mother…”You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray, you’ll never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.” It’s a great song and that is what sunshine does, it brings joy and light into the world. And, plus, to me, sunrises represent a new beginning…a way to start fresh and new. Kind of like the way I feel about Tuesdays…my do over day😀. When the sun rises, it’s time to start again on a brand new day.

As John Denver sings in his lyrics, sunshine makes you smile, it makes you feel happy, it’s like a good song that can pick you up out of the blues, and it “looks so lovely on the water”. I can attest to that. When we are on the boat, the water looks so refreshingly beautiful and inviting as the sun hits it and we can see it glistening under the suns rays.

I am so thankful and grateful for the longer days with more daylight but I still have that tinge of sadness and the strong pull to hold on tight and not let it go when the sun starts to set and my sunshine goes away until hopefully the next morning when it will rise again and bring me joy, happiness, and warmth to brighten my day. And, so I keep the hope that tomorrow will be a sunny day.

I hope you have sunshine tomorrow to brighten your day and bring you a little joy☀️💚☀️

Have a Happy and Bright Sunday!

If You Could Read My Mind…

“If you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts would tell.” These are words from a song by Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot. I so love his music that it’s ingrained into my thoughts and, when a young guy rushed up to hold a door for me yesterday, my thought was, if you could read my mind…and, of course, I immediately put it to music with Gordon Lightfoot’s song.

‘Did he know…? Did he know he had brightened my day today?’ Or did he just see a need and fill it? Either way, it had a positive effect and I was grateful.

I wonder how many times we walk through our days without ever realizing the impact we have on others we connect with. I know I secretly journey through my day tallying all the good things that happen to me. It’s not like I’m really keeping track of each good thing and counting…it’s more like with each new thing that occurs my day continues to build into something fabulous. And, so I have to wonder, if this is happening to me, how many other people are experiencing something similar and how cool is that? I wondered if the young man realized just how much his small act of kindness had meant to me. For a split second, he made life easier. How many others had he helped or been kind to that day? Did he know the impact he made? I wonder if he realized that he had made a ‘deposit’ into my emotional well being, and into his own, and each person I encountered thereafter as I passed along his kind ways and it felt good. He, without even knowing it, had created a ripple effect.

If he could have read my mind, he would have realized he had created a tsunami in my thoughts, first the song which I thoroughly enjoyed bringing back to my memory and singing it in my head, and how nice it felt to have someone help me, and then the continuous thread of ‘what if’s?’ What if each of us did one kind act a day? What if everyone got to experience this daily? What if we could create a whole movement? I know, my mind just doesn’t stop thinking…especially when something triggers thoughts.  🙂

I have seen and experienced this phenomenon happen over and over again and each time I wish that there could be a powerful wave of this kind of occurrence but then I realize that maybe it’s better that is is a continual wave with many ripples that grow stronger and further as time goes on. Yes, that is what I will hope for…a wave of kindness and love for others so we can make this world a better place.

Footnote: My dream is that one day these occurrences become louder than all the meanness…the name calling, the bullying, and the critical words. Now, wouldn’t that be something really special to see and experience and, THAT, would truly make my day!!! 🙂

Photo: I picked this photo to show what an impact waves can have. I took it two years ago when we were in California to visit family. This area is called Sunset Cliffs and is one of my very favorite places and when I lived there…my happy place.

Have a wonderful and bright Tuesday ❤

It Takes Courage to Follow Your Heart

There are two quotes that are resonating with me today and have been for a while.

They are Mae West’s quote “I never said it was going to be easy, (and it certainly hasn’t been…today, I feel exhausted) I only said, it’s going to be worth it” (and, worth it, it is) :-). and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote “I Hope You Live A Life You Are Proud Of.

And, this is what my story is about today. You may be wondering what these two quotes have to do with the title of today’s blog and so I’ll get started as this is where my story begins.

For most of my life, I have felt in my heart an urgency to stand up for those who are wronged, bullied, in pain, and those dealing with more in life than many others ever have to endure. My heart goes out to all of them.

I felt it was my mission to help those who were and are treated poorly, criticized, picked on, and ridiculed simply because they appeared or acted differently or because they were physically vulnerable or weak. I felt like this was part of my purpose in life. But, what I found most difficult was having the courage to stand up to the offenders and trying to get them to understand that each and every person has a God given right to be here on this earth and be treated with respect and care and to feel loved and valued by others. Whenever I stepped into a situation, I always had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I knew I was going to have to intervene where someone was hurting someone else. It took a long time for me to have the courage and be okay with the consequences of my actions…yes, even positive actions can have fallout consequences and some of those have been pretty severe.

Life is about people. Life is about supporting and encouraging others. It’s about helping others feel safe, it’s about helping when people are hurting. It’s about loving others and showing them they are important. It’s about helping others follow their own hearts and live out their dreams. It’s about temporarily forgetting about my own needs when the needs of another are much more prevalent and urgent than my own.

This self imposed purpose of mine was not easy, it was hard just like Mae West said. It took a lot of courage as well, courage I didn’t even think I had, but, I learned so much and I hope I have made an impact. And, it was Mae West’s quote that, in my older adult years, that brought me through the really tough stuff. I learned quite a few lessons as I went through all those experiences of being on the outside. Mine wasn’t the popular role but, after all, I have no one to blame but myself as I did choose to follow my heart and will keep on choosing it because she is right, it is worth it!!!!

So, yes, Mr. Fitzgerald, I have lived a life I am proud of because it is within living that life that I have become who I am! A strong, courageous, happy, mostly confident 🙂 and loving person that hopes to make a positive impact in small ways by helping those who need it in this world of ours for many more years to come.

When you find the time…Spread a little kindness today, stand up for someone being wronged, stand up for the vulnerable, help someone who is hurting, spend a little time with someone who is lonely, help someone who is struggling, take time to listen to others, and bring a smile, hope, and sunshine to someone’s world. We are all counting on each other and we are all responsible for making this world a better place.

Lately, I have found so many people who are struggling to know their value and so another quote that comes to mind that fits nicely here is….”You is kind, You is smart, You is important,” from the book and movie, The Help. Lets all try to be the reminder to those struggling that they are important and valued in this world and deserve to be treated with respect and love.

Hugs<3 and I hope everyone had a Happy Thursday!

 

 

Come Alive! Springing Into Color…

Queenie (our largest hummingbird) has returned. She came right up to our patio window to say hi, stayed for a few seconds and then fluttered off. She came so close to the door it was if she was saying I’ve been away a very long time and now I am back. Pay attention to me…look at me…don’t take me for granted. It was the sign of hope I needed this morning. It’s been a long winter here as I am sure it has been for many of you. All the gray skies were draining me of my sense of wonder with living out here…that sense of excitement we get when we return, and the sense of contentment. But, it is all coming alive again and I am thankful!

I will remember this feeling and not take for granted the birds, the hummingbirds, the flowers and beautiful green trees and green grass when the weather changes again. I am sharing some of the pictures of the fun things we saw this past weekend.

This is the first time I have seen wisteria grow on brown vine. The flowers came back first.

The little guy is a small Texas rosebud…It is strange that it is called a Texas rosebud as it looks more lavender/purple than red I finally got a shot of the emu

Across the street from our placeI really enjoy trains and train tracks. When we were young, we would go near the tracks to pick wildflowers and berries on Sundays. There is just something special about the sound and feel of a train rumbling down the tracks.Another view of the tracks

These pictures have such a unique view of the architecture of the trees that I had to capture what I saw.

Geese on a neighboring farm

Texas Bluebonnets starting to bloomThis tree reminds me of the tree from Pocohontas. It needs to be near the river not the railroad tracks

Daffodils near our homeMore trees, pasture, and green grass

The emus tree. There are five emus in this pasture. They do their best to try and stay away from the camera

They also share the pasture with the exotic looking chickens who never want their picture taken.

Have a wonderful Monday everyone💚☀️💚

It’s The Season Of Changes

Photo Credit: my wonderfully and multi talented daughter took the picture of this flowering tree. All other photos were taken by my hubby and me

The pre-Socrates philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus said “change is the only constant in life”.

I can see how true that is right now with all the changes we are seeing. Around here, we are noticing all the changes with the signs of spring moving it’s way back in to our lives. It feels as if it has been a long winter in all of the United States and I suspect spring has been a welcome sight to many. I know it has been for us. We are seeing so many signs that the Earth is coming alive again and blessing us with all it’s beautiful colors, sights and sounds, smells and tastes. On one of our main roads near where we live, the cotton fields are bursting with white cotton coming from the plants and in a nearby town, the tulip farm is expressing it’s joy for warmer weather with rows and rows of beautiful colors of tulips. The grass and the trees are all green again too. I still have yet to see our first hummingbird of the season but I am sure they will be coming soon.

The changes in the Earth and the animals aren’t the only changes we are seeing this spring. Our’s is now officially an ’empty nest’. Our youngest will now have a new home on his own near where he will be studying for his doctorate for the next four years. These are exciting times for our children and equally exciting yet a little sad for us as we are a very family centered group here.  🙂 Yet, these are exciting times for us too. Change is occurring here and it is all mostly good changes. I am finding it is best to embrace all the changes and just ‘go with it’ and enjoy the ride wherever it may take us. It keeps life exciting and fresh.

One thing I want to remain constant in my life…our lives…are the people we have in it. I think people are the most important part of all of our lives. When we stand by each other and encourage and support each other in our endeavors and enjoy all that is special in each of us…I believe we are living to the fullest.

Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) and an empath, I have noticed more changes lately that I am not particularly happy with. These are the changes that I am seeing in our world. We are losing the value that we place on each other and opting for a more sterile relationship. I am seeing this through the use of social media, through the use of the news spreading negativity and meanness but I am mostly seeing it in a much less obvious way with the use of technology where we are replacing people with machines. In an effort to stay more connected, we are actually disconnecting with each other. Just think, you can step into a car these days and be driven around by someone who is not physically sitting in the drivers seat. You can go to the grocery store and not interact with anyone except a machine at checkout. We are moving more and more away from human interaction through customer service and it is a disheartening change and trend.

There is another example I saw of this yesterday when I had to go inside at my bank to pick up something for my son. I hadn’t been in there in over a year. When I walked in, I immediately noticed it. Aside from the manager coming to the door to open it for me (they can now see one of my disabilities), the environment was sterile…not welcoming like I am used to. When I walked in, it was obvious that it was not a friendly environment. I tend to ‘take in a room’ as soon as I enter it and in this one I found two over-sized ATM looking machines right in the middle of the lobby. Gone were the original tables and chairs with smiling, friendly people sitting behind them that a year ago had changed into standing desks where you would walk up and stand and talk with a person while doing your banking. Gone were the coffee bar and the popcorn stand with bags of popcorn. All that was left in their place were these two big machines and two glassed in offices and only two employees…the manager and a bank representative. The manager seemed stressed and the rep seemed quite depressed and no matter how hard I tried to strike up a conversation with her, she barely looked at me or spoke to me. It took me a few minutes when I got back to the car to pull back from the sad emotions that I felt when I entered the bank.

And, so, I am writing this today more as a plea than anything else. No matter where we go, can we all try to spread some sunshine in the lives of everyone we meet? Can we show each person the value they hold simply by being themselves? Can we be of service to others even if we aren’t in the service industry? And, most of all, can we all hold on to that feeling we get when we interact with another person and can we work our hardest to try not to replace people with machines and with things?

PEOPLE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT part of our world. Let’s not change that!

Some things are better left unchanged. Let’s not change our need for others. Let’s not eliminate the need for people in our lives simply in the name of progress and because we are in the age of technology. And, mostly, let’s remember that PEOPLE are what makes life so great!

I hope each of you have a wonderful rest of your Tuesday! Happy Tuesday everyone ❤

REST is…

A post from the word of the day challenge blog inspired me to post a blog today. Their word of the day is REST and it is a word I take very seriously 🙂 Rest is an important component of all of our lives and it is something I never valued very much until now. My family and I were always on the go…doing one thing after another and forgetting to take in the moments. Whenever I think about those times, I think of the song by Simon and Garfunkle “Slow Down, You Move Too Fast” (The 59th Street Bridge Song) and I just shake my head at how fast we were moving.

We got to the point that we were spiraling out of control with one activity after the next…being so busy that it was hard to settle down and sleep at night. Then we would get up the next morning and do it all over again 🙂 REST is one of the reasons we moved out to the country. We were looking for a slower pace. A place to easily transition from a busy day right into a relaxing and peaceful evening then into a restful night of sleep. I wasn’t able to do that in the city. Although we lived in a suburb, it was still a city in itself and our home was near a very active part of town. We would hear sirens from the fire stations that were a mile away to the east and a mile away to the west and our neighborhood was in between them. We were also on a busy street with cars going by day and night with people going to their homes or to their jobs or to all the neighboring restaurants and shops nearby. And, while it was exciting to be a part of all the busyness and it reminded me of Richard Scarry’s children’s book… ‘BusyTown’, ours never seemed to slow down much. We definitely were a part of the “hustle and bustle’ of the city. But here’s the thing….even with all that, I still had that FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling. I was never satisfied…never content.

No longer are we a part of that…it works for some and I would even go so far as to say it works for many, but for us…it just didn’t.

Out here in the country and lake life, my day began this morning as four geese flew overhead in formation right outside my bedroom window. Only this time, they flew in silence so all there was to do was watch their flight across the sky. They flew low, just a few feet above my home and if I had been quick enough, I would have captured it with my phone camera…but, I wasn’t and I wasn’t because I have had to slow down and REST these days. But, great things have happened with my slowing down and resting, it encourages me to take in the moments and I have become much more appreciative of all life has to offer us. I take time throughout the day to appreciate this beautiful world of ours  more than I ever allowed myself, I have a strong sense of empathy that pulls me to reach out to others, and I place so much more of a value on the relationships I have now. Oh, and that feeling of discontent…it’s no longer there. 🙂 Here I can REST as much as I want and where I want. I can rest on my patio as it is very peaceful there or I can go and watch the ripples and waves of the water at the lake and rest there or I can sit out in front of my home and look into the trees and at the old oak tree and many times watch the deer walk on by and rest there.

Living here and slowing down a bit, I have discovered so much about life and ALL it has to offer. I no longer rush through it with that tunnel vision that, sure, the tunnel vision kept me focused but it also made it so that I missed out on the BEST things because I couldn’t slow down to REST and just enjoy.

I hope you have a restful and happy day doing the things you love and value in life and remember take those ‘time outs’ to REST, REST, REST and re-energize yourself so you have the energy to enjoy the most important parts of life.

Equinox -2019…Hello Spring!!!

Winter is officially OVER! Yippee!

Today we celebrate the Vernal Equinox. Vernal in Latin means ‘to bloom’. At 5:58 p.m.  EST, the sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator and this ‘happening’ is called the Equinox which NASA says literally means ‘equal night’. With the Equinox, we transition from shorter to longer days(at least half the planet does 🙂 )and we get more sunlight as the sun rises higher above the horizon.

On today, March 20th-21st depending on where you live, there are fun things to know about to make the most of this day.

FIRST: have you had your egg today? Or do you have plans to celebrate the tradition of seeing if an egg can stand on it’s end? This tradition, we believe originated in China. They also celebrate by having egg-rolls  today.

SECOND: For either hemisphere…have you gotten outside yet and ‘connected’ with nature. It’s said to be the perfect day for it. If you do, take time to listen to the sounds you hear. Lately, we have heard many animal sounds here…especially the coyotes at night and the rooster at all times of the day. And, the last few days, the birds have woken us up early with all their talking and singing.

THIRD: Soak in the sun! I sure hope you have some today. The sun does wonders for our physical and emotional health. All it takes is a few minutes each day to reap its benefits.

FOURTH: Watch the clock and be present at the exact moment that the equinox occurs. In other words…enjoy the moment…make it something special. We will be celebrating with an outdoor picnic of eggs, fresh spring fruits and vegetables and meats and wine.

FIFTH: Do some planting. Whether its plants or flowers or trees, it’s a fun way to celebrate.

SIXTH: Tell stories to your children about things in the past. Get together and tell neighbors, families, and friends stories about yourself.  IT’S WORLD STORYTELLING DAY today too and that, to me, is a fun way to celebrate.

SEVENTH: Lastly, Get out and enjoy the last SUPERMOON of 2019. It’s happening tonight too.

There are some countries that celebrate Mothers Day today, while others, like India and Turkey celebrate the New Year.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelo…”we are more alike than we are different” as all of us on this planet of ours today are experiencing the Equinox.  So, have a wonderful time celebrating and enjoying the Spring Equinox if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and the Autumn Equinox if you live in the Southern Hemisphere.

HAPPY Equinox Day everyone!

 We had our picnic for the Equinox. At the exact moment, one of our resident doves started cooing and when we opened our Dove dark chocolate candy for dessert…the message mine said was Hello Spring and hubby’s said Feel the sunshine!😊☀️😊

 

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”

Photo credit: Pexels.com

This quote was spoken and written by Corrie ten Boom. I think I would like to add FEAR to it and have it say fear AND ‘worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.’ I felt this first hand yesterday…not anywhere near the level she must have felt worry by living during the Holocaust and being imprisoned for hiding and keeping safe 100’s of Jewish people,(her’s was an incredible family) but, nonetheless, I felt fear and worry these last few days.

The feelings we’re there as I agreed to do a medical test on Monday that had the potential of being very scary if I were to develop an allergic reaction while undergoing it. I trusted my doctor who requested it but then I started thinking about it more and more and I found myself feeling anxious and my worry and fear levels were high. I had even started questioning the decision making of my doctor even though she and I have developed a rapport and an understanding over the years. I was seriously in worry and fear mode and I was having a hard time climbing out of it.  🙂

I had these feelings despite living in this very peaceful place that brings me calmness and solace whenever I need it. And, here’s the thing, it wasn’t like an intuitive feeling this time…it was more of a lack of trust feeling which my hubby says I get at some level each and every time I visit a doctor or medical facility for myself or any member of my family. You see, I do not like hospitals, doctors, and medical procedures and would go so far as to say that I avoid them as much as I can. In fact, if you were to be in the hospital, do not expect a visit from me😊, although I would call and talk to you for as long as you want. It’s the one thing I can’t turn around into a positive even though I see so many examples of people getting better simply by embracing the medical profession. I think, for me, it’s that I have been around it so much that I still see going to appointments, procedures, hospitals, as a negative experience because having to go to them means that something is wrong or someone is sick and that is not a positive.  I know, it’s kind of a twisted way of looking at things but since it’s the only thing I look at this way…I tend to give myself a pass.

But, now after today’s experience I am finding myself grateful for the staff there today that helped calm my worry and fear, grateful for my doctor…for being responsible enough to test, grateful that the results of the test told us there was nothing to fear and grateful for my hubby that went with me just in case and also because we are each other’s ‘sidekicks’ and when one of us is going through something….the other keeps the mood light and fun. We have known each other for 33 years and it’s never been dull or boring and we have each other’s backs ALWAYS. We have recently added another characteristic to our relationship and that is when either of us falls behind, which I often do these days, the other waits up.

And, so it is with these thoughts that I end this Tuesday blog with the lessons learned that my worry and my fear of something that had a ‘potential’ of causing me distress never happened and it merely robbed me of the strength to fully enjoy the days before. Why fear those things that may never come to pass? Why not look to all the wonderful things that can happen and, in my situation, all the great things that can happen after the not so pleasant experience is over and done with. And, that is exactly what I am doing right now….celebrating today, celebrating all the recent accomplishments of my children, celebrating the beautiful nature that I am looking out on as I write this, and celebrating that I am as well and as strong as can be expected and I have the ability to enjoy all that life has to offer. I will work hard next time to not let my fear and worry put a cloud over all the beautiful things we call life.

Have a HAPPY Tuesday!

Thanks for reading and following my blog. I am grateful for all of you💚💕💚

All Around Town…Monday Photos

The hawk against the sunny blue skies is always a beautiful sight.

The woodpecker; right after he flew down from the oak tree. I tried to get him on the tree but either I was too slow or he was too fast. I prefer to think the latter😊watching the donkey and the horses

Do you know why donkeys are often seen with horses around here? We are told it is because the donkeys can be really mean when threatened and if coyotes and wolves come near and see the donkeys, they stay away from the fight so it’s said that the donkeys protect the horses. Not sure how true this is but it’s good folklore if nothing else. Someone’s enjoying the nice weathertwo tiny foal or colts, it’s definitely springtime Out having a fun time. We got to see them being called in and it was fascinating to see about sixty of them running towards the barn. These guys run around a few streets down from us.

and, here it is…a Texas longhorn

The Family Connection

This past Saturday, we were blessed by 23 people who drove in from all over this state with the closest being 40 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes away and the farthest being 4 and 5 hours away to join us for a country style lunch in our home.

It was amazing! Everyone was able to put a pause in their busy schedules to come together for that whole afternoon and early evening for no special occasion, just a random March day, no reason other than wanting to spend time together and all of us finding time to make it happen.

And, that’s the family connection. It’s the pull we feel when we haven’t seen each other in a while, the connection of being in a family with similar roots and the sharing of the good and hard memories together. We each bring something important to the family and the conversations and we each have a seat at the table and we want to be in each other’s lives.

This was one of the best times I have had celebrating life with family. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we talked, we watched the kids play with the toys and on the swing hanging from the big oak tree in the backyard, we held and hugged the babies and each other and we caught up on each other’s lives. We missed the ones that weren’t here as we shared memories of past gatherings. We remembered those past family gatherings when, the now grown nieces and nephews were children and once again noticed how quickly things change.

We sat on the patio soaking in the sun until it got too hot and we had to move indoors. Then my sister had the great idea to take the gathering out to the front where it was cooler and we did. We spent the rest of the day out there talking about life with some of us taking turns running after the kids and the rest of us sitting around the unlit fire pit just off of the front porch. From there we could look into the woods and enjoy the peacefulness or look up to the sky and see the beautiful(and rare) sunny day. At one point the geese flew overhead announcing their presence with the sound of their wings flapping and their voices honking as they went by. My guess is that they too wanted to somehow be a part of our day.

And, then it happened, as all things do, people had to start packing up and heading back to their homes and their lives. Our day together was coming to an end. But, I had made sure to enjoy each moment and to spend time with each person that was able to make it out to our home in the country and for that I was able to feel gratefulness when they had to leave instead of sadness.

This whole scenario reminded me of the children’s book called ‘When The Relatives Came’‘ and although only two stayed the night this time, one of my nephews announced that pretty soon we will have to start calling these gatherings family reunions and I thought to myself that he had just done a bit of foretelling and I was glad that he did as that will help us all remember to cherish each and every time we get together.

And, now the last of the family have pulled out of our driveway heading back to their homes five hours away. I again do not feel the sadness as the family connection is strong and growing stronger everyday, and, for that I am very grateful.

And so, the lesson learned here is to seize the day, seize the moments, and cherish the time we have with each other because when tomorrow comes, those moments and those days become our memories. make them good ones😊☀️😊!

Happy Tuesday💚💛☀️💛💚

The Drive to Town and the Lake…Monday Photos

The courthouse in the square. It reminds me of the John Grisham crime story books about the South.

Here is the old fashioned ice cream parlor in downtown.

More pictures of our little town💚. The bottom picture show a cormorant sunning himself. Cormorants are water birds that are excellent divers and propel themselves with their feet and help from their wings while they are in the water. They are known to dive up to 150 ft to catch fish.

Fat Tuesday and The Big Easy

Also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday depending on your heritage and where you live.

I have so many wonderful memories of Mardi Gras and of New Orleans also known as The Big Easy. Having spent my growing up years in New Orleans, I was so lucky to experience all the richness of the cultures there.  My earliest fun times that I remember were visiting the French Quarter and the farmers market along with Cafe Du Monde and the beignets and chicory coffee. Ok, I didn’t drink the coffee when I was little but I remember the smell…oh so well! And, as we would drive through the downtown area, I remember the waves of coffee scent that ran through the streets and away from the downtown behind the Schwegmann’s huge grocery store where you could easily spend a few hours shopping for groceries, getting your shoes repaired, drinking at the bar, or shopping for live frog legs(ew!), or eating oysters. That coffee scent was from the Folgers coffee plant near there and it was equally amazing. Two of the most fantastic coffees in one town. Life was good! And, at that time I didn’t even drink it! All the sights and sounds of the market and the French Quarter made me come alive.

Around the middle of January and February, the parades would start and we would go and sit or stand on the side of the road hoping for beads and doubloons to be thrown our way. When the floats would come by with all the music, I could feel the excitement and the energy and it felt like one big party happening.

One thing I remember the most is attending a Mardi Gras Ball. I was 13 years old and one of my best friends asked me if I wanted to go with her and her parents. Oh the thrill, it meant wearing a long gown, heels and makeup. It meant walking down a long flight of steps into a beautiful ballroom to the dance floor and tables set and elegantly decorated for the Ball. I will never forget walking down those steps and feeling like a princess.  I don’t remember anything else about the Ball itself but I DO remember the after party held at the home of one of the Krewe. Her home was over 100 years old and in the garden district. Inside were all antiques and glassed in wall cabinets filled with beautiful things. When I walked in the front door, I saw a beautiful settee sitting next to the doorway. It is the first time I had ever seen a sitting bench like this and I knew that someday I wanted one just like it. Today, I have one sitting in my home and it is the first thing you see when you walk through the doors.

This settee was actually made in New Orleans and I found it in Texas through a woman who was getting rid of some of her antiques.

At the after party, I remember spending a lot of time visiting, laughing, and just talking with a lot of adults as my friend and I were the only children there. I remember our host’s beautiful table covered with more food, fancy desserts, and candy than I had ever seen and that says a lot about how full it was considering our family was a family of nine and our table was always full for parties and holidays.

While I went to many parades in New Orleans, I only remember going one time on Mardi Gras, the actual day and watching the parades. I was 14 years old and I went with friends and their parents. They had rented a Uhaul truck and for part of it, we sat on top watching the parades go by. For other parts, we stood in the streets and we were so close to the floats and bands from being pushed to the front by immense crowds, I thought I would be run over by them. The Uhaul was filled with chairs, food, drinks, and blankets that we would need for the day. We arrived at 6 a.m. to stake out our spot and left around 11 p.m. when the parades and festivities ended.  But, Mardi Gras doesn’t end there. I remember going then to an after party in someone’s home. I also can pull up a memory of us standing on the porch of that same house and my watch saying 2 a.m. and me thinking about how tired I felt. It was such an amazing day.

I think these things that I look back on are why I celebrate Mardi Gras every year…as they have given me beautiful memories. No matter where we were, we celebrated. It could be at home, with friends, or at the little New Orleans style restaurant called The Big Easy near our home years ago. We could go there any time and experience a little bit of New Orleans. On Mardi Gras Day, a jazz band would be there and play while people ate and talked with each other across tables, while handing out beads and doubloons to each other …all strangers but yet…having that same connection of celebrating a day we all held so dear.

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!!

💜💚💛💜💚💛💜💚💛💜💚💛💜

I made these this year as a variation to the traditional King Cake.

Side note: In case you were wondering, the colors of Mardi Gras are purple for justice, gold for power, and green for faith.

The Owl Tree…Monday Photos

This is the visual from many of the blogs I’ve written about this place. Go with me down this small road into our little community. This way you get to see some of the things I talk about when I write.

The OWL tree and the 100 year old barn. He moves from this tree to the one in the front of our house. This tree sits across the way east of us. It’s the tree on the left of this picture.

 

The horses and donkey pasture

Where the stallions live….

Taken from my patio….

Just down the street from us….

One of the female wild turkeys that roam near us…..

This is one of the beautiful painted buntings that we see here. Taken from my window as I did not want to disturb him. I also edited it and zoomed so you can see him better. I love the splash of yellow on his back. It makes for a huge contrast with the red and blue.

One of our cute little roadrunners on our front lawn…..

A road about ten minutes from us….I love how beautiful it is….Last October, we beached the boat in an alcove and went exploring….

Our ‘resident in charge’ cardinal. There are so many of them now as last year quite a few babies appeared in the spring.

I plan to start taking more pictures of the animals out here. My hubby says we need to get one of the bobcats, the red wolf, the owl, the emus, chickens, roosters, and the polo horses and donkeys.  I will be working on that.

Have a wonderful Monday taking in all the beautiful things to see in this world of ours ❤

 

Hummingbirds

Photo credit: My daughter got this shot of one of the hummingbirds that frequent our patio.

Meet Queenie. She is the hummingbird here at Life on the Patio that seems to be in charge of all the other hummingbirds that frequent our feeders. That’s why we call her Queenie. That, and the fact that she is bigger than the others. Her ‘best friend’ is ‘Lil Blue. He got his name because he is blue, a little green, grey, and beautiful. We find their relationship fascinating since hummingbirds tend to not want others at the feeders when they are there. But Blue flies in right as Queenie leaves and they head for the same tree after sipping at the feeder. It’s like they have an understanding.

Signs of Spring. It gives me hope! I love Spring with all of its new life and beautiful colors.

Photo Credit: My hubby took the pictures of the flowers

The sun going down on the lake

in case you can’t see the main photo, here is the hummingbird known as Queenie. My daughter captured it with its wings spread open. Check out its beak. They have long beaks for sipping nectar.

CHOOSING our own ROUTE In Life

It’s ‘Top It Off’ Tuesday! Have a wonderful day!

A few days back we drove into town to pick up something from one of the downtown stores. I wasn’t planning to get out of the car for this trip but I go anyway…for the experience. For a good bit of the drive, it’s very pretty. As we leave our home, we drive past the goats grazing on the grass in their pen then on to the horses and donkeys on the first road out and, if we are lucky, we might even get to see the polo horses in their pasture. We then make our way down the road, past the ranch with the cows and bulls sunning themselves on the hill, towards the small farm where the exotic chickens and the emus wander the land. Before we make it to the main road, we can look to the left and see the stallions in the pasture grazing with a beautiful green and cream colored barn as a backdrop.  When we turn onto the main road, we go past the greenbelt, past more of the lake, and past one of the universities. There is always something beautiful or fun to see while driving this path.

On this particular day as we arrive just short of the downtown square, my hubby abruptly turns on a side street before getting to the store and proceeds to park BEHIND the store. I was crushed….my anticipation squashed. He looked at me wondering what he’d done wrong. We both learned a lesson on this day😊. For me, it’s ALL about the experience. My guy, on the other hand, looked right by what could have been an amazing moment or two and went straight for convenience. After all, he was heading into the store, I was not. He was on a mission, I was not. I was there for the experience. I was there to ‘take it all in’ to enjoy the activity on the square. How was I going to manage that sitting and waiting in an alley? I would miss seeing all the people entering my favorite bookstore and those going to enjoy hot coffee and tea at the coffee cafe or walking around the square with their families. I would miss seeing the deliveries being made. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the daffodils that had triumphantly come up through the ground and brought beautiful splashes of yellow to the corners of the square. I wouldn’t be able to see the town ‘come alive’. Instead, I was destined to look at….a dumpster! Not quite the experience I was looking for.

It reminds me of the children’s book The Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry. Only there wasn’t even garbage workers using their truck to pick up the idle dumpster I was sitting in front of. But, it was for this very reason that I came to town…to see all the busyness and the activity. The town has an old fashioned dime store, many restaurants, including what used to be known as a ranch-house where farmers would come to town for dinner around noon each day and connect with other farmers. It was a time when supper was the evening meal. It also has a tea room, an old movie theater, the recycled book store, a comic book and game store, a western store, an old fashioned candy store, an old soda fountain and ice cream parlor, and off the beaten path….a bakery and a post office.

When our children were little, we read the Busy, Busy Town book to them over and over again and it never got old. While reading, we would anticipate the baker waking early and opening his bakery each day or the policeman and firefighters taking care of traffic issues, and the other stores opening for the day with every page we turned. We also knew that the trash collectors would arrive in their big trucks to take all the trash out of the Busy, Busy Town. 

I didn’t see any of that happening this time :-). Not even the trash collectors. Usually my hubby is just as much an adventurer as I am…probably even more so. But, like I said, on this day, he was running an errand. My lesson learned that day…never take your route for granted! You create your own routes in life. His lesson learned….slow down and remember that it is ALL about the experiences.

Love Makes The World A Bright and Happy Place

Happy Valentine’s Day❤️. I do not know what I would do in life without my family and my friends. They bring such joy to our lives.

Yesterday we had one of my best friends and her hubby over for lunch♥️. Our friendship is 25 years strong and I am so thankful to have her in my life. Then last night another one of my best friends called. We hadn’t talked in a while and it was wonderful to just catch up on each other’s lives. A few days earlier another one texted me to see how life was. She is one of my ‘kindred spirits’ and we continually watch our lives parallel. There are also all the friends that, each, in their own way add a great brightness to our lives, a few on a daily basis, and life would be dull and sad without them.

I have cousins that will connect with me just ‘out of the blue’ when they are thinking about it. And, I think about them and do the same. I really enjoy their company. And, there are so many family members that make life so beautiful. There’s my husband whose thoughtfulness, compassion and love for people shines through on a daily basis, there’s my children who make everything in life so much sweeter. There’s my nieces and nephews all loving, thoughtful, and fun people and there are my brothers and my six sisters…and their families who add so much to this world and make all our lives so much more special. And, there is my husband’s family, many of whom, we have just met last year when he met his Dad for the first time. They are lovely and kind people and I am so glad they are in our lives.

As you can probably tell, I have taken “LOVE” Day to count my blessings and among those blessings are ALL the people I have in my life..our lives…and in “my tribe” that make this world so wonderful to be in.

I had to slow down today when I woke up sick and I am good with slowing down as it gives me the time to cherish all that I have in my life and to once again, remind myself that I too “choose LOVE as hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Martin Luther King~

Happy LOVE♥️ Day to all of you and my hope for you is that you have time to stop and cherish all the people in your life that make it so much better. Have a wonderful day celebrating you and all of them.

♥️Happy Valentine’s Day♥️

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life ~Bertrand Auerbach~

Photo credit: I took this photo of my son as he was preparing to play for his cousin’s wedding. The song was “Touch the Sky” from the movie “Brave”. He recommended it to her and it fit the scene just beautifully. The song sounded amazing being played on the viola in the glass chapel.

For Top It Off Tuesday I found myself in much need of a day of music and peace.

Whenever I am in search of peace I do two things…find some music that soothes my soul and spend time absorbing the beauty found in nature…the trees, the birds, the animals, the lakes, creeks, and other bodies of water and the owls and deer. To combine music and nature is the ultimate cure for whatever is upsetting in everyday life. As Berthold Auerbach says…”Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Can you just imagine that? Sitting in a wooded area near a creek or stream, the water slowly moving along its path, while looking at a tiny cross-bridge up above and breathing ever so slowly in and then out, soaking in the gentle sounds of the water and beautiful sounds of the music while feeling the mist from the water gently washing away all the dust of our hurried lives.

Lately, I am finding myself wanting more of that solitude and peace than normal as the message each morning comes loud and clear…keep the hope, stay strong, and let the hard memories drift away. Life is filled with situations that bring us to the brink….to the point where we want to seek out the moments I described and stop, for just a moment to cherish and soak in the beauty of the world and refresh our souls from the trials of everyday life.

And, so today, I am thankful for that music that washes away the dust, thankful for this place where I get to just “be” and, thankful for all the beauty we see and get to experience on this earth. I am grateful… especially when the ‘cold winds are calling’ and I am longing for that clear and bright sky!

Photo: The picture below is from just down our front drive. It’s almost as if he is saying good morning to us. 🙂

Good morning from all of us here at Life On The Patio. Have a wonderful Tuesday😊

It’s Photo Monday

photo credit: goes to me and my hubby

This is the patio where I do my writing or, when I am not there, somewhere adjacent to it here at Life On The Patio. The design on the concrete is a result of the eclipse last year in July.

And, this is what that same solar eclipse did to my pool. I think the effects on both are really cool looking.

This picture of the moon was taken in January when he had the lunar eclipse. It is taken through the telescope.

Have a great Monday☀️!

Tuesdays….”I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” ~Wimpy~

Photo credit: pixels.com

A blogger friend of mine, at My Life windsofchange18.wordpress.com just announced that she is going back to posting a photo every Monday and I thought it was a lovely idea. Pictures provide so much joy to the viewer and it’s one more way to send out ‘splashes of sunshine’ each day. So, I thought, I would join her in this endeavor and then I got to thinking…what if I did a ‘Top It Off’ Tuesday’. You see, Tuesdays are important to me and Tuesdays are my very favorite day of the week.

Ever since I was little, it has been the day of the week I like the best. I see Tuesdays as a ‘do over’ day. If I didn’t get it right on Monday… I could always try for success on Tuesday and since I had Monday as a trial run day…Tuesday usually turned out great:-)

It also probably has something to do with “Popeye The Sailor Man” , the cartoon. There were many ‘lessons’ I took away from the characters in that show. One was eat your spinach to be healthy and strong. I still love spinach to this day😊. And, another was Wimpy’s, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”…now, I have no idea what day “today” was but it made me think if I did something TODAY, it would pay off on Tuesday. I know, you could probably look at that same saying and conclude from it that he wanted something TODAY but didn’t want to pay for it until Tuesday but that is not how I saw it. In my young mind, I was a giver, a helper…that’s what felt right…and so I identified myself with the person selling the hamburger and that is why my thought process was….If I do it today, it will pay off on Tuesday. I also like Tuesdays because it was Tuesdays that I would talk to my Dad. Tuesday was the last day I got to hear my Mom’s voice, my husband and I went on our first date on a Tuesday, my daughter was born on a Tuesday as was I, and I always feel so much more energetic, hopeful, and happy on Tuesdays. The ‘sky’s the limit’ for all things on Tuesdays!

And, if you needed other reasons to like Tuesdays, Mardi Gras is on a Tuesday, Giving Day is a Tuesday, out of all the births in the U.S., the highest number are born on Tuesdays, the Moody Blues wrote a song about Tuesday afternoons, plane fares are cheaper on Tuesday, it’s said that it is the most productive day of the week, it’s pancake day, and, it’s the safest day of the week to drive. Tuesday is the best day to go shopping, the best day to eat in a restaurant, and, one of my personal favorites…people tend to eat more healthy on Tuesdays because they messed up their diets on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 🙂 When someone is referred to as a ‘Tuesday’, it means they are considered kind, compassionate, and giving. What more could you ask for? 🙂

Here’s one to think on….it’s proclaimed as the best day for writing! Which means today is the day to go after your dreams of writing a book, writing your blog, writing a children’s story, or even a screen play. Now get going and enjoy the rest of your Tuesday! Oh, I almost forgot! HAPPY TUESDAY!

The Woman In The Bookstore

Last week my hubby and I went in to town as we like to call it. ‘Town’ is about 20 minutes away heading west from our little community.

We went to celebrate our anniversary. Although we were a few weeks late in celebrating it was a wonderful adventure. We decided to spend some time at the local bookstore and to have lunch at one of the pubs there.

The town near us is home to two universities and has a quaint little downtown square with the old courthouse in the middle. The courthouse is surrounded by restaurants, shops, coffee places, a wine bar, and, one of my favorites….a ‘recycled’ book store. This store is the center of my story today. It sits on the corner and takes up more than a 3rd of an acre of land where the inside has two stories and is filled with shelves and shelves of books, cds, and vinyls. It is the largest used and rare books bookstore in the state.

When I finished finding my ‘treasures’, I found the only table in the entire store and sat down on one of the four chairs. The table was placed right near the entrance and, if you sat on the chairs in front of the windows, you could still see almost the entire store. I hadn’t been there long when three people walked in. They appeared to be three generations from the same family. The young woman very quickly made her way down the long main aisle of the bookstore while the middle aged woman and the older woman stopped at the table. The older woman sat down at the table staring at the front door of the store while the woman with her said…”we won’t be long…just a few minutes” and headed off down the aisle following the 20 something woman. I looked at the older woman, now slightly facing me and smiled but she it seemed, almost purposefully, didn’t look my way. She had auburn red hair, a beautiful face that had seen many a days in this world, and she was wearing a fur coat. She had a sadness and frustrated feel about her and I found myself wanting to engage her in a conversation. I tried, only she didn’t respond so I went back to looking at one of the books I had found. Although I wasn’t really reading it as I was more interested and intrigued by this person who had dropped herself in the chair across from me. What was making her so sad? It was a beautiful day, she was out with her family, and, had just come in to a wonderful store. Why did she seem so frustrated? This was a woman who obviously had seen and experienced so much of life. At one point I looked up hoping she was looking toward me and I saw a slight smile out of the corner of her mouth. I wanted to help this woman find more joy….I wanted to jubilantly say to her…turn around!, look behind you, there is a feast for the eyes, it’s right there….and it will bring you happiness. It’s filled with wonderful books and so many people looking to find just the right one! But…I didn’t. I couldn’t break the invisible barrier she had placed between us. My husband finished up and came over to where we were waiting. I got up, quickly grabbed my crutches that help me walk as they had been leaning up against the wall in the corner, and, before leaving, once again looked in her direction. As we were leaving, I wished her a nice day and, all of the sudden, she softened, and looked at me with a slight brightness in her eyes and her face. I had reached her. I am not sure how but I do hope she got a little joy from that moment because I know I sure did 🙂

The Table and our Country Life

Updated picture is our farmhouse table all set for Valentine’s Day and the month of love♥️

We very shortly will be adding the final piece of furniture to our country home. I have to admit I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. We have been looking for a farmhouse table with chairs and bench since we moved in however we could never agree on what we wanted until now.  We have been working towards providing that feeling of Hygge to everyone who comes through our doors. Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word that describes a sense of coziness with feelings of wellness and contentment in an environment of conviviality.

I guess we hadn’t been able to find a table because we had a particular vision in mind…a goal, with hygge in the forefront, for this very special table. It was to be our hosting table where every one had a seat at it and hospitality was its destination. One of our criteria for this table of ours was that it had to be large enough to host many people at once. It had to be nine feet long. It had to be able to host large family dinners, game nights, neighbors and friends evenings, celebrations, and be able to be a part of our daily lives as well. Until now, we have been making the gatherings here happen by placing card tables and a picnic table together and covering them with pretty tablecloths.  It has worked well and has been fun but it didn’t provide comfort and contentment for those seated at our table and it didn’t give people a sense of lingering at the table just a little longer to enjoy each other’s company.

This will be our last large table for our home.  The first one lasted us 23 years and was more of a kitchen table…the interim table( a counter height one) will continue on in another destination doing its hosting duties with one of our children. This is our third table and it seems only fitting as this is our 3rd Act and we are determined to have a mission of hospitality and expressions of love all throughout it.

My parents had the gift of hospitality….always opening their home to others for respite, enjoyment, and friendship. Every place they lived had a large yard to host many people at once. I remember one Thanksgiving where they had invited so many people and had wanted a long table inside their home so everyone had a place. I remember this table extending from the family room to the living room. Although I don’t recall its exact measurements, I know the Thanksgiving table was bigger than our soon to be 108 inch table. And, if need be, we will find a way to extend ours as well. I would have loved to have had a long enough table to bring 20 people to it. But, that’s just not reasonable. When we host dinners, I like to have everyone sit together. I do enjoy spending time with others, learning about their lives, and showing them I value them.

Wanting and enjoying being hospitable to others seems to be a common trait in our family. And, for us, we wanted it to be all about Hygge. I’m not sure why it’s a common trait but I think it’s probably because of the fond memories we have of our growing up years. We had huge backyard get togethers’ and in the summer months when the evenings were still cool there would be a well built bonfire that lasted for hours with many people gathered around it.

I am thinking that my parents also had similar memories growing up with big community gatherings where all those who came found seats at the long tables. My dad grew up on a farm and my mom lived on a dairy farm. Maybe it was a tradition as that was their way of entertainment inviting those from neighboring farms and from the town out for picnics in the yard. But, also it’s possible that the tradition holds even more depth to it in that it originated in the country.

I find it interesting that four out of the seven brothers and sisters in my family have gravitated to a more rural or country life. My hubby and I had a longing for a more serene place where peacefulness was in abundance. I do not know why the others made the moves but they all love nature so that could have had something to do with it.

And, now, we wait, for the arrival of our centerpiece of hospitality, our final piece to complete our Hygge ambiance here and we look forward to carrying on the tradition of hospitality and making many more new memories around the farmhouse table here in the country.

The Colors In Our World

This is the painted bunting bird. We have the pleasure to see one of these birds in our yard almost on a daily basis.

The bright skies, beautiful and colorful songbirds, the colors of the seasons, the many hues that we see when we open our eyes each morning; these are ‘a few of my favorite things’ in life.

And, lately, it’s the colors of the birds and the sounds they make that are sustaining me. I get a glimpse of one of them seemingly at just the right time in my day….typically when I most need it. Whether it’s to remind me to slow down and enjoy the beautiful colors in nature or it’s to give me those subtle messages…to find the joy and be lighthearted like the birds and the animals. Or, it’s to help me (us) remember to live each day and just do the best we can with what we have and to reach out to others with love and understanding even when we aren’t feeling our best or we don’t feel they are deserving, as we all share this very special place called Earth.

Sometimes, my senses just crave the colors in our world. Especially when we endure what I call…a ‘series of gray skies’ days. We all have them. Some more than others.

All the colors provide an amazing contrast to those ‘series of gray skies’ we experience in our winter months and they give us the feeling of a ‘splash of sunshine’ even when the sun can’t be present.

Gray skies also have another meaning. Many people describe hard times as having ‘gray skies’. Kind of like with the Winnie The Pooh character Eeyore who is always under gray skies or a gray cloud and has been for so long that his attitude now portrays his continual predicament. I have a friend who feels as if she has had a ‘series of gray skies’ in her life and, truth be told she has, but it’s made her a much stronger and confident person instead of complacent that life is like that for her.

Last night, we watched a movie called “Life Itself” and one of the biggest lessons from it was this part in the movie.

“LIFE ITSELF” conversation between a son, who was heading off to university, and his mother. His mother’s words resonated with me. As we are all going to experience ‘gray skies or as the writer called them…”unspeakable moments where life brings you to your knees. It brings you lower than you think you can go but if you stand back up and move forward…if you go just a little farther…you will always find love” And, I also feel that you will always find the positive and the lesson from the difficulty, unspeakable moment, or tragedy that has struck you.

Each day when life gets tough for you, look for the painted buntings in life, search for the beauty in nature, find those vibrant colors, look for the wild birds and keep pushing forward and going just a little further and there you will find love and there you will eventually find peace and contentment.

My hope for this week is that we can all move forward as families, as neighbors, as communities, countries, and as a world, toward unity and towards love and embrace and encourage each other as we go through our own ‘series of gray skies’ and, also when we have glorious days of brightness.

I will end this on another quote, one from a peacemaker. “We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters…”

~Martin Luther King~

Image credit: Pinterest

TODAY is Winnie The Pooh Day🧡Celebrating A.A. Milne’s Birthday

In honor of Winnie The Pooh Day, I am posting some of his more famous quotes. Enjoy!

Our family have always been Winnie The Pooh fans. I love how he covers all the most important things in life…love, gratitude, friendship, adventures, celebrations, doing nothing, remember to think, and accidents sometimes happen. I also love his childlike sense of being. I think we can all learn a lot from Christopher Robin, Winnie The Pooh, and their friends. And, there is my lesson from Life On The Patio today.

I also am thinking how appropriate it is that today is Winnie the Pooh day as it is a “blustery sort of day” with winds at 20 mph. My son called a few minutes ago to say they have 30 mph winds. Now THAT IS a blustery day 🙂

“Promise me, you’ll always remember…you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you feel, and smarter than you think.”

Think! Think! Think!

“I do remember and then when I try to remember, I forget”

“When you see someone putting on his big boots, you can be pretty sure that an adventure is going to happen!”

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey inside.”

“Piglet: ‘How do you spell love?’ Pooh: ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it.’”

“Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.”

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of GRATITUDE.”

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”

“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would I’d never leave.”

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?”

“Even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”

“I was walking along looking for somebody, and then suddenly I wasn’t anymore.”

“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”

“People say nothing is impossible but I do nothing all day.”

Share some of your favorite Winnie The Pooh quotes in the comments. Have a wonderful and adventure filled Winnie The Pooh day!

Image Credit: Pinterest

‘Just Do It’…Better yet…just do what you can….that’s what matters♥️

I posted a quote yesterday and it’s the same picture you see here today. I did it as a precursor to this post.

Living this life I am living, with the temporary limits I have, can sometimes be draining and I know many others with my illnesses feel the same way. I find walking this path most difficult when I know someone who is hurting, someone who is in need, someone who is struggling. Or, when I receive an invitation to a gathering or to help with something and find myself in a position where I am not able to help or attend. It feels like I have failed, and while some types of failure are essential to life and good for us, this feeling is only good if I learn something from it. Of course, being me, that is what I set out to do.

It is so hard to NOT be able to physically and actively ‘just do it’ and push on and push my things back again. That was who I used to be. And, really, let’s be honest, just doing it is not always the best solution.

But, what is a good solution? It’s one I learned because of all this experience I have on the subject😊.

Now, keep in mind, this solution is coming from someone who could ‘never do enough’. And, yet the solution is so simple! All you have to do is use your own talents, gifts, and unique abilities to do the things you can. And, that is ENOUGH. It has value in it because it came from you and you did something!!

Doing what you can begins by ‘thinking out of the box’ and getting creative every time a situation arises. Every time you find an event or situation where you can’t do…just counter it with what you can do. For instance, last night, I missed a really fun party and a way to bring joy to others as well as receive. I was disappointed and then I realized that when I feel better I can have the hostess from last night over here and show her how much I value her and her friendship. Another time, i thought ‘out of the box’ and found a way to help was when I emailed back and forth with someone who was dealing with life and death issues and while I couldn’t be at the hospital, I was able to reach out through words and, that was enough and was important. And then, there was a situation that happened recently where a family I know went through a terrible tragedy. They live very far away and while I couldn’t be there in person, I could offer the solitude, peace and joy of my home when the family needs to just get away from all they have been through and rest. And, then, there is a weekend coming up where some family members are gathering and I will miss that too. But I sent something small to make it more special for all those meeting. You see, it’s all about changing my mindset into the CAN DO mode and that is when great things start to happen. There are so many ways to spread sunshine and you can even do it with people you haven’t met yet! This is such an exciting concept and I plan to move through 2019 PURPOSEFULLY spreading sunshine and happiness in my own way. I think I have always tried to do this but not in response to an ‘I can’t’ scenario.

I am actually surprised at myself that it has taken me this long to figure out that I can still spread sunshine even without having a physical presence as over the years I, my hubby, and my kids have had to miss a few of those celebrations and gatherings where it was important to be ‘up front and center’ and it used to be that I couldn’t wait for the date to be over so I wouldn’t feel so sad or bad.

I am very happy I finally realized that it’s better to do the things I can to still spread sunshine rather than feel sad of all the things I can’t do. Now I am thankful for all the things I CAN DO and it has given me a new sense of excitement to meet each obstacle with an ‘out of the box’ thought of how I can make it work to bring a little joy or sunshine to other people’s lives sometimes all within the cozy comfort of my own home.

That’s a great lesson to learn and act on. If you ever find yourself in the same predicament…know that there is always a solution. A solution where you can show another person how much you care and show them love. Remember, one small action is enough.

I heard another quote tonight…this one from a show. He said “I lived, I loved, and I was loved and that is all that is needed in this life!

Have a wonderful week finding ways to give joy, love, care, and sunshine to others.

Image credit: Pinterest

Letting Go In These Uncharted Waters Of Life

Ahhh! I am so very grateful for this beautiful life we have out here, waking to the sun shining through the windows and seeing the splashes of color of the cardinals, wrens, bluebirds, the painted buntings, and the doves in the yard. We wake each day to these wonderful sights and sounds and it brings us hope for a brand new day and fills our souls with much needed joy. Before we see any of these though, we hear the mockingbird saying good morning with it’s beautiful voice as the sun rises and we laugh wondering if he or she thinks they are the rooster giving all of us a wake up call. All this starts to happen shortly after sunrise and, on the days when the sun is shining bright, the world seems a lot more awake, more friendly, more full of life.

To be greeted by these sights and sounds is a dream come true for us. As even in our saddest times or our most difficult health days, our spirits are lifted simply by listening, looking, and soaking it all in.

There are a multitude of lessons to be learned in each moment and LETTING GO is the big one for me this year. Really, though, it’s not just about letting go of people, of things, of the past, it’s more about EMBRACING the here and now. To me, this is the message from the mockingbird this morning. He repeats what he hears just as we ‘repeat’ each day of our lives. We are given each day, another chance to live, to see another sunrise, and to experience more of our incredible world. There are so many things I need to stop including and repeating in each of my new days. The thoughts that bring me down, the people that have moved on for one reason or another, the same habits I continue to do that are robbing me of my joy.

While these may be uncharted waters that I am in, I am smart enough intellectually to know that I don’t have to keep holding on to things that no longer have a purpose, a value, an importance in my life. I am emotionally intelligent enough to know that relationships also change and grow….sometimes positively and sometimes negatively many times through no help or fault of my own and so letting go of some of these is equally important. And then, there is the letting go of the worry that comes with motherhood and trusting, fully trusting 🙂 that my children are making wise decisions and traveling fully on their own journeys’ in life and no longer needing a lot of our time or help.

I am so grateful for all the signs of life here in our little town. The waves in the lake splashing against the shore, the water birds like the blue heron and the geese dunking their heads to find food, the land animals like the deer, the rabbits, the roadrunners, the horses, the wild turkeys, and the sky birds like the hawks…..all constant reminders to continually and daily step up and choose life and all it has to offer us….while at the same time LETTING GO and leaving the unnecessary things behind, where they belong, as gentle reminders of past lessons learned.

Have a beautiful day😊

Here It Comes!

It is coming and we can’t stop it😊. Nor would I even want to. New Years Eve is already upon us and tomorrow will be a brand new year. I am looking forward to all it has to offer. All it has to teach, all it has to show. All the hope it promises in its freshness and newness.

As we say goodbye to 2018, embrace the ‘new’ and make plans to enjoy “all things life” because without the bad, the uncomfortable and the frustrations we go through, we wouldn’t be able to see the good, to feel the happy, the joy, the kindness, and the love.

Make plans to keep the balance and keep moving, improving, learning, and growing.

Happy New Year🎉! My hope for you for 2019….May all you work for be achieved and all your wishes be received in the coming year!

Image credit: Pinterest

Seeing LOVE ‘In Action’

I love how my kids go to each other for help with the things they have talents in.

My son is an excellent scientific writer and, while he can be a creative writer as well, my daughter is an amazing creative writer and so yesterday, they spent the better part of the afternoon developing a story that my son wanted. Working back and forth for hours creating, building the story, and fine tuning it until it was what they both wanted. It was really fun to watch and listen to them in this mode. And, it gave me a chance to relax and enjoy the moments. When they finished, my son went on to do some more scientific writing for a journal publication that he needed to submit, while his sister opted for some down time. She often jokes that he, even though the younger of the two, is the much more successful one. They both are good people and both work hard at the things they are passionate about and they both like their time for activities they enjoy.

It was really fun to see them show each other how much they care. Sometimes it’s through joking with each other and other times it’s building the other up when they themselves are being too hard and critical on themselves.

I see the signs, especially at holiday time of the ways they show they love each other. On Christmas Eve she opened a gift from him that he picked out for her on a recent trip he took. My daughter is an avid traveler that doesn’t hesitate to go and do something even if it’s on her own and he being more of the worrier of the two siblings, bought for her a rock(gem) designed to protect travelers that she can carry with her on her adventures.

It was heartwarming to watch each of these actions play out.

My love language is action or as Gary Chapman expresses it in his book called “Five Love Languages”, acts of service. It’s expressing love through actions. For me, I see these actions my kids take and see that it’s about being a brother and a sister and watching out for each other, seeking each other out when help is needed and encouraging each other to keep moving, moving forward each day, and to keep making great things happen through the easy times and in the times of adversity. I love how they help each other and show that they care about each other through actions even though sometimes they completely disagree and let each other know that too 🙂

They are both creatives and intellectuals and to watch them develop something as they did yesterday, is entertaining to say the least. There have been some rocky times when they don’t agree but the acts of love and service to each other gives me hope that even when disagreements arise between them, they can always respect, love, and show how much they care simply by small acts of service and helping.

On a side note, last night we attended an early New Year’s Eve dinner party. Again, I saw the love from our hostess shining through in her actions. Everything was done up perfectly. She had each place set beautifully, special coffee and tea cups, a four course meal and a server who filled our tea, our coffee, picked up our plates as we finished, served us dessert, and engaged in conversation with us. All the while, our hostess was able to sit and move between each group and enjoy the company of all who attended. She also, blessed us with, not just her gift of hospitality and the love she expressed through her actions but she let us know how much each of us were of value to her. My hubby and I are new to this group and we feel so blessed to be invited to join these men and women who get together every month…sometimes every week….just to enjoy each other’s company. We went away from her home feeling accepted, loved, and cared for. It was a beautiful gift that I hope to carry forward into 2019.

In yet another story, on Christmas Day, my sister invited our family for dinner. She spent countless hours preparing for this meal and the appetizers by planning and serving foods to accommodate all the allergies of those attending, with her son doing a lot of the cooking, and by planning games to make the day extra fun. She and her family put lots of love actions into this very special day.

So, tonight from Life On The Patio i am filled with gratitude by the expressions of love and caring that I have seen during this season. It was beautiful to watch and to feel each scene unfold and I am grateful for all the experiences.

image credit: Pinterest

HOPE, LOVE, JOY, and PEACE

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Life On The Patio🎄

May your holidays be blessed with hope, love, joy, and peace. And, if this is a tough Christmas for you, remember, YOU ARE LOVED♥️ and you are never alone. We are all in this world to help each other, be kind to each other, love each other, and accept each other! Have a very blessed Christmas and holiday season🎄from here at Life On The Patio.

“It Isn’t Bragging If It’s True”

I was watching a show the other day where a new boss(Rogers) was talking to one of his employees(Beale)…a highly qualified tech guy in intelligence services. He was telling Beale that he had heard he had certain qualifications and that he(the boss) knew Beale could help him with what he was about to propose. Beale, not wanting to gloat about his astounding capabilities, downplayed his talents. At which Rogers says ‘I know you can do it’. Then Beale, startled by his boss’s confidence in him, carefully agreed and said, well yes I can and I can do even more but I don’t like to talk about it as I don’t like to brag :-). 

I thought this was a fascinating statement. Where did we ever get the idea that talking about ourselves, our capabilities, gifts, and talents is bragging? Most often, it is not a brag at all but an affirmation that we are confident in what we do and who we are and there are stories to be told and experiences to be talked about surrounding those very same capabilities, talents, and gifts.   

I am writing about this topic today as we have started receiving Christmas and holiday cards with letters in them filled with news from relatives and friends all over the country. I, for one, love these letters as it gives me a glimpse into all the happenings I missed during the year whether it was due to distance, not enough time to connect as often, or too many other priorities pulling at the minutes we have in each day causing us to neglect those far away. While some people feel that Christmas letters are merely a way to brag about our year, I see them as what they truly are, a way to stay connected and to celebrate the happiness in others’ lives and also to know when someone has gone through or is going through a rough time. It’s a time to hear about what has been important to each sender during this past year. They are a time to hear about trips taken and accomplishments that we didn’t know about but would like to know about so that we, too, can share in the happiness or ‘be there’ in the tough times. Receiving a Christmas letter is like a conversation we are having with others that encompasses their entire past year.

It is like this with gatherings of people near to us in location as well. We don’t often see them on a daily or even a monthly basis but when we do, it’s a time to embrace conversation and listen to what brings them joy, love, contentment and even their worries, fears, and frustrations. To me, those are the best conversations. The ones where people are really talking and listening to each other about things that matter most to each of them in their lives. Those are the deep, rich conversations that I wish we all had more of.  

At the end of the above conversation between Rogers and Biell, the supervisor educates his young employee by saying, ” it isn’t bragging if it’s TRUE!’

Truth has rarely been made so clear as it is in this statement. It isn’t bragging, it is just facts with a little feeling added to it and that is what makes conversations so very important in our world as with each one of these letters, cards, and conversations, we grow a little closer to each other and gain a better understanding of the lives we each are living. 

The Versatile Blogger Award

 

Thank you Allan at https://photoblographysite.wordpress.com/

for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award. I very much appreciate your interest in my writing and my posts and I feel honored that you felt like my work deserved this award.

To all of you who follow my blog, go see Allan’s blog. He takes beautiful photos and shares his adventures and fun times with all of us…it is such a treat!

About the award…The Versatile Blogger Award was created to celebrate bloggers who create blogs that have unique content, good writing, beautiful images or photographs.

Award Rules

In order to receive the award, each nominee will:

  • Thank the person who nominates you.
  • Link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  • State 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate other bloggers who bring joy into their daily life,

Seven Facts About Me

  1. I love to learn, I find I learn something new from everyone I meet and that I learn something new every single day…my dad used to laugh when I would say that and his response was that’s a lot of learning 🙂
  2. When I was five, I lived on a farm and had a cow that I personally owned and cared for. Some of my favorite memories come from living on that farm…it felt like we were living in a log cabin and we had a wood stove and an upstairs and a huge ‘barn building’ behind the house that had over 200 chickens in it. We had a wrap around porch and a front yard that was lined with towering pine or cedar trees in Northern California. 
  3. Sometimes, I think I want to be Amish but I would miss technology 🙂
  4. I love to cook and have family and friend gatherings, game nights, and fun times with family, friends, and neighbors. I think for me, it’s all about community…spending time with each other and enjoying who we all are.
  5. I started working at age 11 and wanted to be a fashion designer, writer, singer, and photographer when I grew up. Oh, and also a nun 🙂
  6. I used to go mountain climbing and hiking almost every weekend when my hubby and I were first married and we traveled a lot when I was a child and again when my own children were young. We have been to almost all 50 of the U.S. states. Canada is my happy place other than where I live right now:-) but also, all large bodies of water and babbling creeks. I am actually listening to the pleasant and gentle sound of a creek right now.
  7. I have a fascination with bridges, shapes and architecture of trees, tunnels, trains, and the outdoors. 

Nominees for this award

Just a note first: I search for and follow many blogs. There are so many out there that I truly enjoy and I become connected with them and find myself searching them out to see what they posted recently. There are too many that come to mind and if I could I would nominate all of the ones I have followed, as they bring a smile to my face, offer words of wisdom, teach me something, give me beautiful things to think about, and beautiful things to see and they all provide me an insight in to their lives where I can be an armchair visitor to all their adventures and for someone who has a little trouble getting around these days or feeling well many of them…seeing all these blogs has brought me such great joy and many friendships as well.  So, regardless of whether you see your blog attached here, know that I truly value what each of you put out there…Happy Blogging everyone!

Here are the nominees for:

The Versatile Blogger Award

http://www.bayphotosbydonna.com

http://www.simplychronicallyill.com

http://www.tanjabrittonwriter.com

http://www.thechickengrandma.wordpress.com

http://www.tootlepedal.wordpress.com

http://www.frontporchwriter.wordpress.com

http://www.tuesdayswithlaurie.com

http://www.aloysius5.com

http://www.awisewomansjourney.wordpress.com

http://www.tpjphoto.net

Have a wonderful day!