Saturday, December 25, 2010

So this is Christ mas

Some Christ mas song starts with that line and I like it so I borrowed it for today.
2010 has been a year of introspection, contemplation, some changes, and some confusion.
When you have a regular job you seem to always know who you are because what you do for a living is so much a part of your life and you fill in the rest with all kinds of other things. I haven't had a job now for a year and half. That leaves me feeling confused at times because I have never had a problem getting a job. Is it me, or is it the economy. I am beginning to think there is some type of discrimination because I have not been a Washingtonian for long enough, but that is only my opinion. It also seems like you get a lot done when you are busy and working. I stay at home and poof! the day is gone. I look around wondering what I really accomplished. Some days I feel like I only pottied the dogs, feed them, and had my coffee. How lame is that???

Life on the farm is good and Bob and I love the peaceful easy feeling that comes with being surrounded by all the great horses on the property. Most every evening we go out to the barn to close up which means we shut the horses stalls and do a few other things depending on the temperature etc.. Everyone else can close the barn in 5 minutes or so it seems, but it takes me 20 minutes because I have to talk to each and everyone of them and give them love. Of course I get plenty of love in return so it's all worth while.

Last year at this time I had my last physical therapy sessions for my shoulder. I feel like I have about 85% of my range of motion. I don't know if I'll get it all back or not....only time will tell.

Bob built a little green house this spring utilizing old windows from a building that was torn down and then we planted a small garden near it. The garden didn't grow as well as we would have liked because the summer weather wasn't the best and the bunnies ate our peas, the crows consumed the corn, and the dirt was too hard for the carrots to really grow long, but they were cute, short, fat little things and the horses loved them anyway.We also had some cute pumpkins. They didn't grow very large either because of the lack of sun, but watching them grow made me happy. We'll do better next year.

Then Darcy, her husband Chris, and my grandson Eli moved back to Northern California which was a big bummer. Eli and I were attending Home Depot workshops for kids most every Saturday and either having bagels or Frost donuts as a treat afterwards. If you don't live here, you won't know about Frost donuts, but oh are they yummy!!! Better than Krispy Kreme's any day.
While we were at Homer's place, Bob was playing music most every Saturday with our friend Mark who along with his wife May board two horses here. The boys are sounding really good. Occasionally other people sit in on their sessions, like Bob's brother Cliff and just today, his cousin's husband Dave. I pop my head in occasionally to sing when they play something I really like.
We spent the better part of the fall staining the front porch and the back deck along with painting the railings. As I have explained in the past, I say "we" loosely because Bob did the majority of the work. It looks really good. We are praying it doesn't need it again for a while since it was such a chore.

I did spend most of the summer working a booth on Fridays at the Farmer's market. I did it in conjunction with the stamp store I go to frequently. I fill in there sometimes when they need help and teach classes occasionally when it works out. I also did a few craft shows with a friend. Selling your creative wares in the current economic climate is tough. I don't think I will bother next year. I did have fun meeting and greeting different folks through all kinds of weather. I've decided the bread lady from Great Harvest bread had the best job....she asked folks if they would like a slice of bread, had butter ready, and sold lots of her product.

I had several firsts like starting this blog, signing onto Face book,  volunteering at the local hospital, helping out with a horse at the farm, and crocheting my fingers to the bone (just kidding). I did produce some darn pretty winter scarves if I must say so myself. I still go to Bob's aunties house to china paint....I guess I'm into humility sessions.
Bob is really into playing music and recording it. He has figured out how to record onto the computer and even uploaded one to YouTube. As part of his Christ mas he got a new web cam and has been very busy making videos. Pretty dang cute if you ask me.

My son Byron was all over the map it seemed like this summer going from Oregon to Louisiana, Utah, Texas, Arizona and ???? He is currently making his way back to Oregon to be with Atlas my other grandson. Hopefully they will make it here for a visit soon. I can't hardly believe this, but Atlas is 12 already rolling quickly onto 13 in February.

Bob's daughter Sarah and her husband Brian made it up here this past August for the Scheffer, Tweed, Vanderpass family reunion. A good time was had by all...mostly the little kids treasure hunting through straw for coins and other goodies.

I was out shopping the other day (regular shopping) and wondered as I watched the frenzy if most of them remembered why we have Christ mas or has it slipped their minds. I wonder about this especially when they are rude and pushy.....I really want to ask them what they are thinking.
I have this perfect quote by S. Eliot - Christ is the still point of the turning world.
 Buy gifts for the kids but the reason for the season is not shopping no matter what the retailers want you to think and the kids need to understand that Christ mas is about love....not toys and things (some adults need reminding of this).
 In 2011, continue on, be grateful, cultivate compassion, donate to the food bank, be forgiving, be healthy, be kind, do random acts of kindness, be loving, and most of all   - BELIEVE.

Peace and blessing. Love, Jeanne and Bob

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from my grateful heart.

There is something magical about snow when you are warm and cozy in your home just watching it fall to the earth blanketing everything in white. It actually seems quite peaceful and quiet.
All heck will break loose later.
From the window right by my computer, I can see my red hummingbird feeder which seems so bright and colorful against all the white. There is one hummingbird in particular that seems to eat from my feeder the most and s/he is there now causing me to feel enormous delight. Bob is at the piano softly playing Christ mas carols and all feels right in the world. I wonder what my horse friends think about all this snow?

Today is Thanksgiving here in America and a time for me that I like to reflect on the blessings and all that I have to be grateful for.
I am always grateful when I get to awaken from another sleep and have another day in this world. The world doesn't always seem perfect, but then again maybe it is. We judge almost everything in our day even when we don't realize that we are judging....the weather, the traffic, our job, our boss, our co-workers, the food we eat, the line at the grocery store, how someone looks, how they don't look, the kids teacher, etc. It is a never ending list that we don't actually realize is going on inside of us.

I have to stop here for a minute and interject that - OH MY GOSH - my cup of coffee is so darn good.

People are being born and people are dying in the few moments that I am sipping my coffee. The circle of life on earth beginning for some and ending for others and there is so much in between. There is a quote that says we do not remember days, we remember moments. It is a true thought. As I sit here and try to think back on everything, I cannot remember full days, just snippets from here and there. That means I probably can't remember everything I have felt grateful for in the past, but neither can I remember everything that caused me distress of some sort.
But what blessings have come my way and what do I feel gratitude for right now?
Some days my personal world seems so small because I don't have a job right now, but every morning when I awaken, my world is filled with great things. I have a husband who loves me and when he holds me in his arms, well, I can't even bring forth the words to describe how that makes me feel. I have a cat named Zoe who comes to get her love and give her sweet gifts. Then I have 2 dogs that make me laugh everyday. I live in my sister's house here on the horse farm which is a really big blessing and everyday I see 36 horse friends. Now that may make you think I have lost a few cookies, but everyone of those horses have their own personalities and they all have their own way of interacting with me (and everyone around them). There is something wonderful about these big creatures and I love them all and enjoy seeing them everyday. Believe it or not, they make me laugh at times and they give out love as well as accepting love from Bob and me.
My children are healthy and my 2 grandsons are happy and healthy. At the moment, all is well with the rest of my family (sisters, parents, aunties, cousins, etc.) and friends. Everyone is warm and dry and they have plenty to eat.
I am grateful for chances. I feel like I was gifted with another chance when Bob came into my life.
My sister provided us with a chance to live in Woodinville where Bob had lived as a child and where I wanted to live after having come here for the first time many, many years ago. I only name 2 here, but there are many chances that come our way almost every day.
I am grateful for every mistake I have ever made.           Yes, it's true.
Sometimes our actions are labeled as mistakes by others, but good things can be born on the wings of mistakes. At the very least, we sometimes learn what we don't want to do again or have happen again. But if you get something wonderful, well, it was worth every minute.
I am grateful that I am an extra ordinary person. No I did not say extraordinary, I said extra ordinary. I am just me....everyone else is taken as Oscar Wilde said. We all want to think we are unique or special. What we sometimes forget is that everyone else is thinking that also. So we all are unique, special, and extra ordinary all together. We all have gifts to render to the world just as we are a gift to the world. No better, yet no worse than the one next to us.

I have a long list of other things I am grateful for everyday: whoever God let invent the hot water tank and running pipes, the refrigerator, a grocery store, my wonderful mattress, a heater, this structure called home, freedom, the ability to communicate with so many others in so short of a time, choices, someone who loves me, someone to love, sunrises and sunsets, the sun and the moon, light to darkness, the contrasts that exist list is like most every ones. I am grateful to be alive and to have so much even on the days I think I need or want more. Usually those are just things that I think I need or want more of. What money can't buy are the things I am truly grateful for.
So let me end here with a quote by Lydia Child -
Gratitude is the memory of the heart; therefore forget not to say often, I have all I ever enjoyed.

             In every thing give thanks. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18  KJV

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For my favorite grandpa story

I mentioned during another post that my grandpa died when I was 21. My cousin was about 6 at the time. Grandpa and grandma were living near her family, but she never got to spend time at their home in Renton like my sisters and I did. Unfortunately, I don't have that many grandpa stories myself. Either I don't remember everything, or the memories have faded. Grandpa was more of a feeling and an experience anyway. Not something you can explain or put into words. Grandpa was love and security. You knew he loved you no matter what happened or what anyone said. It was a knowing that no one could take away.
As much as I like to think I'm the only one with  a grandpa or a sister relationship. My sisters have stories of time spent with other sisters and their own time spent with grandpa and occasionally I am surprised to hear this stuff because I didn't even know it was going on.

Anyway, one summer when I was about 13, the sisters and I were sent to the grandparents for part of the summer. Since I started my menstrual cycle that summer, I decided I was old enough to shave my legs and armpits,  and not ask the mom for permission.
I'm going to digress here for a minute because I cannot believe how archaic the old razors were. Are there any women out there that remember how you could just about shave off all the skin on your shin if you just barely did the wrong thing???  I mean OMG!!! What a mess and boy did it hurt.

Back to the grandpa story.

As I began my shaving the legs adventure, there were commercials for Nair. Now after  having one of those shin skin incidents, Nair was sounding pretty interesting. I had even brought some home and was thinking hard about trying it, but the fact that the chemicals burned off the hair did not sound really cool to me. I am a very cautious person by nature and I try not to do anything that would hurt me or cause pain.
Grandpa stayed up later than grandma did and he liked to watch the fights and sometimes old movies. We both hated Cal Worthington car commercials! I was telling him that I bought this Nair stuff, how it worked, and that I was considering using it. After I explained the method employed, he looked at me with concern and asked to see the package. He read the directions that explained you should do a test patch somewhere on your leg before applying the depilatory cream to your entire leg. This is the moment when you KNOW that you have the best grandpa in the world......he did a test patch on his very own leg. It was approximately the size of a dollar coin, maybe a smidgen bigger. The darn stuff worked and my grandpa had a bare spot on his leg. However, after he read the chemical list he told me he thought I should not use that stuff. It was kind of smelly anyway so it wasn't hard to agree with him. It just seemed so natural for him to do that. I will remember that bare spot for as long as I live and have a good memory/mind.
Grandpa liked to watch the golf tournaments as well as baseball. Sometime we'll talk about Vida Blue and the world series.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 days of Gratitude and other musings

I have a lot going on right now and I'm uncertain where to begin so here goes. I apologize in advance if it sounds disjointed.

Almost every morning I log into Face book.Yes, it's true, I took that leap also. I mostly go there to post a thought for the day, but because I love this time of year so much and my sentimental self rears up hard during Thanksgiving, I decided to have 30 days of gratitude and post a quote everyday hoping to promote that idea. If not to others, then at least to remind myself. And I do need reminding. It is easy to get sucked up into the everyday stuff and forget to be grateful for all that we have.
 I was talking to a friend last week while having coffee and bagels. I was telling her about camping in Mexico with a previous husband. I told her the story of watching a young girls head come up from underground as she came over to ask us for a sopa which I think is a sweater. All I really think about now and again is the fact she lived underground. What that means to me is the following: no multiple rooms, no bedroom with a comfy bed. No kitchen with a refrigerator. No sofa to sit on while watching TV. No bathroom with a toilet, a bathtub, and running water. No hot water heater like that which I am thankful for everyday when I shower. No stove to cook a good meal on. I am not sure what they did have down there, but I am pretty certain it wasn't much. And definitely no nearby grocery store to trot on over to to get some food.
Just listing that stuff makes you want to feel extreme gratitude. We have a lot here in America. I know we have poor folks and street people, but not many people live that way. I don't think there was a nearby food bank either.

So this week, we have elections going on and I am heartily sick of all the negative adds and the junk mail galore. I want to ask this of every politician in existence as well as the general you not get that no one is perfect and everyone can make bad choices including yourselves??? Oh my gosh! Get real and get back on track with what our country is really all about. I would like to know if any of the politicians have bothered to read the constitution? If they have then how could they possible think it is okay to have lobbyists or place earmarks in any bill? On second thought, maybe I better not get myself started, but the bottom line is this: we are all responsible for this country and what we stand for. No matter who we elect they may take a step in the wrong direction. That doesn't make them bad people. It makes them human like all of us....I know, some of you think they might truly be aliens, but they're not. I look at a ten dollar bill and I see the words "We the people". To me, that is pretty powerful. Let's quit pointing fingers and placing blame and get back to
"We the people".

To continue on with what else is going on in my week, I was informed that my previous husband who was a wonderful person and friend was really ill and possibly dying. I get the oxy-moron here of previous husband but wonderful person and friend. Things are not always what they seem and they are not always simple. This person has suffered from Parkinson's for at least 10 years now. He choose to get divorced and move back to the small town he grew up in 5 years ago. I didn't want this, but I found out that I couldn't stop it from happening. I cannot in my wildest imagination figure out why someone would up and choose to move off from all that he knows to live by himself and suffer alone. Our destinies are our own and no one can live them for us. I just can't for the life of me understand what his destiny was/is.
What I do know is this: I had a great life while I was married to him and I was happy. He loved me and gave me the space to be who I wanted to be without judgement. He actually handed me a great gift by leaving. Some of it was selfless and I think a tad selfish, but a gift none the less.
If this is your time to leave us old friend, may you walk in peace surrounded by loved ones who have gone before you. Thank you for loving me and being my friend. Forgive me if I let you down in any way.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wicked - or that's what my socks say

I am a person that does not have a "one favorite" thing at all in any category. I have many songs I like, many movies, many colors, etc...
So now that I said that I will say that Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year.
Fall brings us to this day and it seems to be the beginning of a season that flows for me clear to Valentines Day. Or at the very least, New Year's day. Of course every retailer in the country is already pushing for Christ mas before I have fully enjoyed this day or even begun to think about Thanksgiving.
I was never very good at thinking up a costume so I quit going out to "trick or treat" when I was somewhere between 10-12, but before then I would go out as long as I could with the goal in mind of gathering enough candy to last me to Easter. Unfortunately, Easter didn't give enough candy to last me until the next Halloween. What's up with the Easter Bunny????

I love the fall as you may have garnered from my other posts, and Halloween is for some reason a special day. The kids are all excited and they believe they are whoever they dressed up to be like and they are so dang cute you just want to keep all of them....uhhh, wait a minute...maybe just until the sugar kicks in, then send them home. No matter what, they are beyond adorable and irresistible.
I once had a boy at my door tell me I was too nice to be the witch I was dressed up to be.
Unfortunately, I am trick or treat er deprived here because the street I live on doesn't have that many houses and the driveway is just a tad longer that usual. The only good thing about that is I don't have to buy any candy that will be leftover and consumed by the cookie monster or myself.

I won't let missing the kids in all their finery deter me from enjoying this day.  My older sister tells me the horses like pumpkins, so I may need to have some ready to share with all of them as we watch for the witches ride by the light of the silvery moon.

My black cat self is ready!!

Friday, October 22, 2010


The word Diva can conjure up all sorts of things from a lead opera singer to a vain, arrogant, and demanding person or a goddess.
 In this case it is all about Diva the horse who left this earthly plane 1 year ago today.

When Bob and I moved up here to Washington, we knew living on the farm would be peaceful and wonderful most everyday because of all the horses. Every morning from the first day we moved in until Diva left us, Diva and her very best sister friend would be in the paddock right alongside the house. I could watch these two old friends from the kitchen window or from the living room.
Diva's good friend Fire, was Suzanne's first horse. Fire is a beautiful  Arabian that was originally my sister Jayne's horse. She is delicate and has a beautiful prancing step about her. She is very old now and I love the cinnamon color that is around her nostrils and the gray that I see sneaking into her dark coat.
As delicate as Fire is, Diva was big and bold.
Diva was very earthy and when I would watch her walk from behind she had a very sensual sway much like a hot Italian mama (Sophia Loren comes to mind). You just knew the boys would be looking.
Suzanne tells me that the first moment she saw Diva, all she really remembers was seeing part of Diva's face and a certain spark or knowing in her eye. Suzanne knew in that moment she and Diva would be together.
They had their good riding times and lived through some harrowing medical problems. In between, Diva mothered 2 babies, Aria and Bronte.
During Diva's last summer with us, there would be evenings when Diva would want to go out grazing again and I would tell her I needed to check with her mom (Suzanne). She would look up at the camera Suzanne had in her barn like she was telling Suzanne to go ahead and give me permission. Suzanne had that camera there so she could monitor Diva in her stall since she had some previous medical problems that could require Diva needing help. Even though Suzanne was living several miles away at the time, she could still check in on Diva via the Internet and the camera. It was uncanny how Diva knew this in her wise and earthly way, but she did.
On the night Diva left us, I feel as though she intentionally waited to pass until the time of night that she knew Suzanne would have gone to bed and would have no immediate knowledge of her passing via the camera in order to spare her.
What she couldn't know was that Fire would be so upset and calling to her to get up that it roused an owner in the other barn who was visiting her own 2 horses.
I don't know whose grief grabs at my heart more....Fire's or Suzanne's.

Diva, I will love and watch over your old sister friend Fire. I will love and watch over your friend owner Suzanne. I will love and watch over Aria and Bronte (and Chatelaine too).
I will watch for you in your two daughters every afternoon when they come to the same place where I knew you every morning.
Farewell my goddess friend. I will know you in the moonlight.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The secret life of a mushroom

under the corner of the barn

along a dirt road

hiding out along the barn wall
Mushrooms are kind of interesting at the same time they are kind of creepy. They seem to grow wherever they want and don't appear to have roots since I can pick them out of the ground with the dog poop rake. Trust me, I don't know if they have roots or not. I am not inclined to touch them and I garden with the same amount of knowledge as I have when I use the computer.....just enough to be dangerous.
The dictionary says the mushroom is a fungus. So okay. What makes it decide to grow in any particular spot and when I pick it out with the rake, why doesn't it just grow back again. Did the fungus move or grow itself out??
I had to laugh when I found the one little mushroom growing underneath the edge of the barn corner. It almost seemed desperate to have a life. Sometimes I am amazed at how big they can grow. The grouping along the barn wall was hiding out behind a plant and was about 20 inches long all together.  The one I found along the dirt road was near a bunch of other ones, but was about 8-10 inches across by itself. It was rather huge looking and could have easily been a home for a creature. Does that make it a toad stool?? There were several more just as big but some of them had already collapsed. Had something been sitting on them?
A frog or an gnome maybe? The mushroom will never tell.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Step into my web said the spider to the fly.

If you know me at all, you have probably heard me say over the years that there are a few things I want to talk with God about after I die. Three of the top things on my list are spiders, snakes, and ants.
I do not know exactly where my fear of snakes came from, but as a child when it came time to turn out the lights and go to bed, I would hit the switch, and start running towards the bed, take a flying leap so my feet were off the ground before I came to the edge of the bed. I did this because I believed there were snakes under my bed that would be able to get me if they were able to wrap themselves around my feet. So don't ask where they were during the day because I have no idea and certainly no logical thoughts or explanations.

I am not really afraid of spiders. I  don't trust them. They  bite indiscriminately and who knows what might happen after that especially if you didn't see the spider. The thought of all the weird and crazy things that could happen are just too much. They have some good qualities and I am grateful when they tuck flies and mosquitoes into their little rolled up beds. I want to know why they don't have a knowledge of humans and just leave us alone like I would leave them alone if I knew for certain that they wouldn't bite.
Unless you have been to Salt Lake during the summer and gone out to the lake itself, you will never believe how many spider webs could exist in one location. Of course, there are a zillion and a half mosquitoes who are busy looking for some innocent human. Now that I mention them, I think I need to expand my list to include flies and mosquitoes.

Then there are ants. I am talking about the ordinary ones that invade your home and life at times. We won't get into the other varieties. Carpenter ants are a whole discussion by themselves. If you see just ONE ant you better run because you will be seeing a billion in short order making a line of annoyance somewhere in your house. I really hate using pesticides, but I am sooooooooooooo tempted........

Long before the Discovery channel existed I did understand the food chain as well as every bug/creature having a job or function in the world. I just want to know, does there have to be some many of them????

And what I want to ask God is why?????? I mean WHY?????? And if they must exist, can't you fix those itty bitty problems? They aren't even cute. The bunny rabbits ate our pea plants, but they're cute. Who could be annoyed by them? The birds in the barn drop poop everywhere but they are cute. The rats are not cute and they are sneaky. Oh my gosh, the list could be endless. I guess I will have a lot of discussions.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What happened to good manners??

Just recently I was doing my weekly stroll through the 100.00 dollar club (Costco) when I almost got run over by some man.  This type of thing has happened before in many different types of stores or hallways. As I stood there in amazement at what almost happened with disbelief that he didn't even stop or bother to excuse himself or ...oh my gosh....apologize, a woman standing across the walkway discussed with me that common manners seemed to have disappeared. I have had that same thought many times over the past several years especially when people push past you or through you like you need to always move for them. The word entitlement seems to rear it's ugly head again. This woman mentioned that people are "just" so busy these days, but frankly, I cannot see that as an excuse for rudeness and lack of manners. My grandmother would be appalled and rolling in her grave (ashes) if I behaved that way.

Since I am lamenting about a serious lack of manners, I also have to tell about the good things that make my day.
I was in Trader Joe's picking up one thing and did what usually happens when I think I am only going to get one thing; don't bother to get a basket and now I have four things and my arms are full. They only had one checker and the woman in front of me had a very full shopping cart. I was thinking YIKES!!! I'll be here forever,  when she turns and asks me to go ahead of her. I asked her if she was certain, she replied in the positive while adding that life is short, she's a hospice nurse, and a few extra minutes with her cart won't kill her. After thanking her profusely a discussion ensued between her, the checker, and myself about good manners, the shortness of life, and now paying a good deed forward. Being a hospice nurse I am more than certain she knows exactly how short life can be.
This was for me, the beginning of that season where people do kind things for each other and sent me on a day long love fest with the world in general. Just one kind deed did that.

Now I only have one question.....where is Miss Manners when you need her????

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big leaf maples

If you have ever lived where it snows or has vacationed somewhere during a snow fall, you may have walked outside and appreciated the same thing I am about to describe.
Not every snow fall starts during the night even if we wished it would only snow while we are sleeping, but I delight in the times I have walked outside into the dark of night unaware of just where the clouds were (high or low) and like this little amazing miracle, flakes gently fall out of the dark sky.

In the fall, I love walking and watching the leaves fall from some tree branch, float and swirl, and then land upon the ground somewhere. I also love walking through piled up leaves and hearing the sound of my feet  crunching along and of course kicking through them. I also love to be behind a car that has just driven past some leaves on the road which kicks the leaves up sending them skipping, jumping, and swirling again before coming to rest in a new spot for the next car.
When I was in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, we lived in Salt Lake City. We had a house with a big yard and a half acre of land out back that housed my sister's horse. This house came with plenty of fruit trees that dropped tons of leaves. You know who got to rake them up...the kids. One year I remember in particular having to rake them up into piles hoping to get them out to the garbage man, but I think we had a snowstorm before that could happen and they were with us all winter under a blanket of snow. The rotten part, besides having old leaves was we had to rake again in the spring and try again to get them out to the garbage or into a bonfire. The good news was we got to play in them two times. I can't even remember all the things we imagined our piles of leaves to be except for being a fort.

Seven years ago I went to Chicago in late October to be with my daughter and await the birth of her child. She was allowed to walk a little, but not as often as her dog Hannah needed to be walked so there were times I took Hannah out on my own.
Dogs and people are often at cross purposes when it comes to walk time. In order to get in a true walk, you need to keep the dog going and not have a sniff fest. In order for the dog to be totally happy, you need to allow them to sniff to their hearts content. I tried to have a happy outcome for us both by doing concentrated walking on the way out and sniffing on the way in. On one of the sniffing occasions, we were stopped underneath a medium sized tree. Hannah was as happy as she could be on a walk. I have no recollection about what was rattling around in my brain, but all of a sudden the tree dumped it's remaining leaves  surrounding me with all it's beautiful splendor. It was actually a cool thing and a neat memory.

Here in Woodinville where I live now there are zillions of trees and many big leaf maples. If there are big leaf maples out there that turn beautiful colors, they aren't nearby. These maples leaves may turn yellow and then go brown or some seem to skip yellow and go straight to brown. Many of them have spots of some sort.
The part that I love the most is how big the leaves can be. HUGE! 12 to 15 inches sometimes. There is just something about them that appeals to me and I can't resist picking them up.
This is probably where I should confess that I pick up a lot of different kinds of leaves. To me, they are free paper in a way. I rubber stamp on them, press them, and make what I call leaf frames.

Isn't nature glorious???

Thursday, September 30, 2010

2 degrees shy of perfection and walking the dogs

You have never seen such excitement as when I get the leashes out unless there is food involved. Food gets me rapt attention, but the leashes, well it is just crazy until we get out the door.
If Bob goes with me in the afternoon or evening for a walk I don't take music, but if I take the dogs out by myself I love listening to my i-shuffle. It's a cute little bugger that holds 240 songs. Enough for several walks and sing sessions at home while making dinner.
When I worked outside the home I could never play anything but new age music because I want to sing to it all the time. Not too cool when you work in a call center and the phone rings in your ear right in the middle of your favorite chorus or you work at a hospital and the doctor wants your help. When I drive in the car I sing to my radio or Cd's. I get caught by other drivers all the time. I am sure they think I'm a dork but I don't care. Life is short and I'm enjoying myself. Notice that joy is in the middle of enjoying. A lot of times we don't enjoy ourselves because we worry what others might think. But no one is getting hurt here and nothing rude or crass is happening so if we are having fun and feeling good.....well I say sing your heart out.
So now I will confess that I sing along with my i-shuffle while I'm walking the dogs. I sing out loud and thoroughly enjoy myself. Where I walk that is a pretty safe thing to do, but some cars do drive by and occasionally people are in their yards. So today, some man drove by and because is was nearly a perfect day he had his window down as did the next person after him. He caught me unaware because I was looking at trees and leaves and singing along with the Beach Boys and we were in Surf City. I couldn't help but notice the funny look on his face. Or the woman that came right after him.
Surf City was pretty good for a day like today. Not a cloud in the sky and nearly perfect. What more could a girl and her dogs ask for?
As Elvis sang so sweetly....Memories.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A True friend is one with whom you can share silences as comfortably as conversations.

On Saturday I mentioned just sitting with my grandpa, quietly.
It took me a long time to understand that that is okay. It seems we always want to fill up the silent places and they make us uncomfortable.
Grandfather was not adverse to conversation, but he wasn't adverse to quietness or silence. He was also a pretty good jokester in a quiet way which sounds like an oxy-moron.
I could tell him anything. Not like there was much going on in my young small life, but you know how it is....EVERYTHING is humongously important.
My grandfather died on my 21st birthday so I didn't get to ask all the questions I needed to ask him, have all the important discussions, or have pie and coffee with him as often as I would like.
PIE and COFFEE. It was something he did like to do pretty much daily if I remember correctly. His pie and coffee outings were usually with adults like my mom and step dad,  my grandmother, or other friends, but once in awhile, it was a treat and it was just him and me.
So if you haven't guessed yet, I pretty much thought my grandpa was the best and he was. Not perfect. I'm not naive enough to think or believe that to be true, but he was the best grandpa, and I think, a true friend.
What I did come to learn as I grew up is that your true friends are the ones you can sit silently with. You don't feel nervous or uncomfortable and you won't feel compelled to fill the silent spaces. Your best friend can be anyone. A grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a friend of choice, or your spouse. And since the universe doesn't have limits, you can have more than one at a time.
One of the questions I wish my grandpa could answer for me is come we spit all those watermelon seeds on the ground under the peach tree and no watermelons ever grew there????? Oh yeah, what about the cherry pits?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It is ONE beautiful day outside!!!!

The weather lately is one sunny day then 2-3 cloudy rainy days. Today is just gorgeous and around 71 degrees. Couldn't be better unless it was 72.
I say that because my grandfather and I decided once that 72 was the perfect temperature. When I was under 15, my grandparents lived in Renton which is south of where I live now (for non-WA people). My parents would drop us off here for the summer and one year my older sister and I lived with them for the entire year, so grandpa and I had many occasions to discuss the perfect temperature. This was mostly done outside either sitting on the steps of the front porch or under the most fabulous peach tree ever.
When I was really little I thought their front porch was huge (it wasn't). Especially the time I made mud pies and baked them all over the porch. Grandmother was just a tad upset and made me wash them off......then the porch was huge. I have a vague recollection of taking a tootsie pop I was sucking on and making dots all over the porch with it. I can't remember if I got in trouble for that one or not....I may have it all rolled up in my memory with the mud pie thing. I'm sure it was an occasion where I was called by my first, middle, and last names.

Now the peach tree was a stunner. Lots of low branches and kind of easy to climb into, but the best part was the humongous peaches that came off that tree. Nothing compares to the time spent with grandpa eating them. I remember the first time I went grocery shopping by myself looking for peaches. I came across some dinky things labeled peaches, but they didn't look right. There happened to be a produce boy working nearby so I asked him where the peaches were like I hadn't seen the dinky ones. He walked me over to those sad little things and said "these are the peaches". All I could say was "Noooo, they don't look like peaches to me". Heck, they barely seemed bigger than most apricots. It seems to be an on going search for me to find peaches that I think are as big as the ones at grandpas house. I have gotten some really nice ones at the Pike Place Market over the years when I have some to Seattle for a visit and at Costco. I really like the white flesh peaches. As good as they are, I am still searching. Even if I found them, the whole experience would be lacking since grandpa wouldn't be there, just sitting quietly beside me, being my grandpa.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Most of all, let love guide your life. - Colossians 3:14 TLB -

Funny that this should be the quote today since I have been thinking about love issues all day. I realize this references all aspects of ones life and not just a love life, but I am going to focus here on that one matter.
Gerald Jampolsky (?spelling?) wrote a book with the thought "love is the answer, no matter the question".
The course in miracles asks you to think whether you want to choose love or do you want to chose to be right, because we often want to prove that we are right at the expense of love. Many fights go on for this reason.
And I once attended a lecture by Deepak Chopra who explained that the opposite of love is not hate, it is fear. So when things are not going well in love or we are not treating our love well, what are we feeling fearful about.
I almost think it's a shame God gives us hormones and the desire to have love and sex when we are so young. We don't know ourselves, what we want to be, how to handle a relationship, but we do it anyway. Unlike the animal world where most if not all creatures do everything because they are compelled to do it that way and don't even get to "think" about it before hand, we have choices and the ability to choose. It seems we usually choose falling in love, having intercourse, marriage, babies, mortgages, and a ton of other stuff, before we have finished growing up and learning about us. Now I know everyone thinks they are grown up at 18 because the government says we are now adults, but that doesn't mean we have learned all about ourselves and navigating the rest of our lives. And then we want to throw navigating relationships and/or marriage and maybe children into the mix. Hell, I'm uncertain how I made it at all now that I think about it. OMG, I might just be all grown up.
Anyway, back to the thought for the day. Our ego spends a long time dictating to us each and every day, and if we let it get in the way, love would be out the door. If we go by this idea of letting love guide your life, then you must consider many things regardless of what the ego wants. You may need to go stand on the other side of the fence just to look back at your side and see the other persons perspective.....oh, that could be scary. You might need to consider compromise and a few other things.
My dad always said it takes two to tango. It takes two to be in love, it really takes two to make a marriage work, it takes two to have a fight, and it takes two to have a divorce. That brings us back to two sides of every story by the way.
I think there is an Anne Murray song where she sings that, anyone can do the heartbreak, anyone can make love  end, everyone knows the dance. but to bring love back again is going to take a little pain and some heartache.   In most cases I think it's worth a try. Love is after all what we are about from the moment of conception until we die. Maybe eternity????

Choose love. It could be a tango that takes your breath away.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Epona, Goddess of horses rides tonight by the light of Goddess Luna's Autumnal moon

Today is nothing less than fabulous outside and I am looking forward to the autumnal equinox and full moon tonight.
I went out to the barn this morning and magical excitement was in the air. One of the owners said Epona will ride tonight and I tend to agree with her. As I was walking the dogs and thinking on this, I got those goose bumps that run from your toes to the roots of your hair, so I am sure if we look out side tonight, we will see Epona riding by the light of Luna. Which horse will she pick??? I am listening to Enya as I write so I can fully appreciate the magic of the day and the night to come.

On a side note, my dogs are just joyful. Have you ever experienced greater joy from your dog (if you have one) than that moment when you get out the leash?? Abby just turns circles she is so happy.

The Autumnal Equinox is always a favorite day. It comes at the time of the year when you get ready to harvest all those things you grew in your summer garden and prepare for the winter's time of earthly rest and seeming death of many plants and other things. It is also the time of Libra, of balance, appreciating the harvest, and of letting go.
It is a good time to stand with your arms out and ask if what you have received from the universe, your family, your friends, your job, etc. is equal to what you have given. If it is, all I can say is awesome! If not, what needs to be done to make the scales be in better balance.  Today is that day when  the time of lightness and dark will be equal and in momentary perfect balance until it tips to speed us on our way to Halloween and Thanksgiving.  What can we give up and leave behind us as we move towards a time of gratitude? Can we offer more forgiveness, more love, fairness, trust, compassion, joy, delight, rest, gratitude, beauty, helping hands, healing, kindness, peace, freedom as we walk away and leave behind fear, insecurity, selfishness and intolerance? At that moment when the earth is balanced perfectly between lightness and dark, we have an opportunity to look at ourselves, our lightness and the darkness we are so afraid off, the things we think are bad. What I call our frailties. Just take a look. Don't be afraid. Be in balance.
I know within me, each and every day, that I want to be the best me that I can be. I live in the cycle of life as we all do and wonder who I am, where am I going, what's next......but today, today, is magic and I will trust the living earth and the moon to whirl leaves in the air, breath deeply, and whisper that all is well and just as it should be.
oh, by the way....I believe in fairies too. You might see a fairy ring around a tree near you tonight.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mans best friend

I wonder sometimes if it is mere coincidence that God spelled backwards spells dog. Not that I think God looks like a dog, but rather, the two have many similarities like patience and unconditional love.
I was at a wedding recently and part of the sermon/talk said that you should treat God and those in your life the way you want God to treat you.
It seems like no matter what happens to a dog, he still loves his master/mistress. Forget to come home in a timely fashion and feed them, it's okay.....just feed me now and let me go potty. Ignore me for a few days, no problem....I'm just so dang happy to see you I don't know when my tail will stop wagging. Play with me for 5 minutes and I will forget you were mad at me for doing potty in the house because you didn't come home on time. The list is probably endless and I have seen some dogs that were so abused go right home to their owners. I find that absolutely amazing. It seems as though God works the same way. Ignore him, abuse him, turn your back on doesn't matter because he has patience and unconditional love on his side. He will love you no matter what and he will be hanging around just waiting for you to acknowledge him and say HI!
Doesn't mean you get to get away with murder or anything like that. There are still consequences for breaking the rules, but say you're sorry with sincerity and ask for forgiveness.......well don't you find it amazing that you could still be loved by someone after that????  Oh my goodness!!!! I feel a puppy sigh coming on now. Speaking of which, have you listened to your dog do a puppy sigh lately and doesn't it just make you melt to know they are so happy being near you???
So it seems like we all need to take a lesson once in awhile from our best friends; you want to be loved, give some love, want to be heard, listen, want a friend, be a friend, want to be trusted, be trustworthy, want forgiveness, give some.....which reminds me....I try to dump the bag of doggy dew-dew in the big trash can once a week because I don't want it hanging around stinking up the can or anything else. So if you have a bag of crap you have been dragging around, lighten the load and dump it quick. You know how old crap stinks or is that crabs????

Today's thought is from Mother Teresa -
The true way and the sure way to friendship is through humility - being open to each other, accepting each other just as we are, knowing each other.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life is short. LIVE LAUGH LOVE

A few days ago, the daily thought that was revealed when I flipped the page over said....When bored with the familiar routine, remember that today is not a repeat performance, but a debut.

Now I have missed a few days on posting for various reasons. I have two thoughts for the day that I posted on Face book, but the reason I used one from a few days ago here today, is that life is short and that thought brings me to part of my point.

I had bagels and coffee with a friend this morning who has had some medical challenges herself over the last few years and she just learned recently that one of her brothers has a really big challenge.
One of the horses on the farm has had several medical challenges recently, and one of them popped up today to revisit her and her owner is out of the country.....and I'm worried. Now I feel like I haven't spent enough time with her and I feel bad, but I cannot go back in time and do better. (names have been with held to protect the innocent and I haven't asked permission)

Today's thought is important because it is a different way of saying that today is a gift...a one time gift actually. There are no refunds or do overs and unfortunately, no repeats of really fantastic days. Hopefully you get another one tomorrow. And most likely everyone will. But will everyone you know get one as well.....or not????  If you have children, grand children, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, friends, pets...the same goes for them  - life is short. Now I think it would be very funny to sit down with one of my dogs and have this discussion, cause they live in the moment anyway and love me no matter what. (Thank God) It is what I do for them and how I treat them that is important. Abby's head just popped up...I think she heard me type the word treat and now thinks I should give her one.
We all get busy with the busy- ness of life and sometimes we have things we are holding in our hearts that we shouldn't. Since you have no real idea how short or long life is going to be for you or anyone you know and care about how could you hold onto old stuff that isn't good for you and keep yourself from giving or receiving as many moments as you could? A clean house is great, but God won't be asking you if your house was clean or did you feed from all the food groups properly. This is not a vote for fast food by the way, I think it's important to break bread together, but having a quickie meal and spending some time with someone might be more worth while sometimes.
So, if you have any regrets, are they things you can either still do or fix?????  Go for it. Mend fences, give hugs, smile, say hello, wear something you are saving, use the good dishes, make that phone call or write a note. If you are one of the few and lucky who don't have any issues, just spend time, give love, have bagels and coffee, sit on the porch, pet the pooch, groom the kitty, and enjoy the sunset.
But most of all....laugh. Life is too short to not have fun at every opportunity.

I am going out to the barn to spend a few extra minutes with a special horse and take some pictures with Bob's help.
Oh darn....he would like some dinner first. double darn...Zoe the cat would too. I told you life was short.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There are always two sides to every story

There is an old saying that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

I have always disagreed with that thought because I think it only "appears" to be greener and it is not necessarily a fact. And, if it really is greener, it says to me that the person over there is tending to their grass better: water, nutrients, time.
How does this connect to two sides to every story you ask. Good question. It's not an exact correlation, just similar in ways.
When you have a disagreement with someone, a big fight, or a divorce, we always want our side heard more and to have people agree with us, take our side, and value our perspective more than the other persons. There lies the rub.....perspectives. I know this because I have been there and I always appreciate my perspective more, but I have learned that the other person thinks their perspective is more valid. You may replace the word perspective with truth. What I have also found is that the truth lies usually somewhere in the middle. Sometimes located a little closer to one side than the other and sometimes not, because perspective/truth is an interesting thing. If you set 10 people down to watch 10 minutes of the same program, you could come up with 10 versions of what was most interesting, thought provoking, funny, sad, etc..
Whenever I have an upset in my life, I always want to tell every friend I know. It helps me get it off my shoulder and out of my mind. It may make my friends crazy (I hope not), but I also found my friends have good listening skills and give good advice (and they like me enough to listen to my story). Even if I don't take their advice, it helps to mull it around a bit and see if I think it fits or would help. If not, it quite frequently becomes good advice to pass along to other people when they are having troubles.
So the bottom line is this....if you are tending to things on your side of the fence, nothing will look greener any where else and you won't have to worry about having a perspective or a truth to deal with.

Now get out there and water!!!

Today's thoughts are....

May God give you eyes to see beauty only the heart can understand. - unknown -

Resolve buffs the tarnish from dreams and dulled expectations so that they can once again guide like lighthouse beacons. - unknown -

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 do you remember where you were?

I know...that would be a dumb question if I were really asking you that. I'm not really because I think most people would remember just as I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated.
It seems today we have a lot of news reports on various subjects related to 9/11. And it's hard to decide where I want to stand on any given issue except for the pastor who wants to burn the religious text of another faith.
What I think America is all about, or started out to be all about, was allowing anyone and everyone to believe what they wanted religion wise and practice a religion if they chose to do so. You might not agree with it and you don't have too. America just asks you to respect their right and let them be.
I have been approached by many people at my front door wanting to explain their religion and maybe convert me. I'm not convert-able material. The GOD I believe in is all inclusive and I find many (not all) religions to believe and to behave in an exclusive manner.
I think there are many paths to GOD. I know when I walk out my front door to go somewhere, there is usually more than one way to get there. That is how I feel about the path to GOD. There is more than 1 way and you may not choose the same way I chose. Doesn't make either of us right nor does it make either of us wrong......just different.
Now some people want to be upset because some believers in Islam want to kill Americans, but there are so called Christians in America who want to kill or keep out certain people who they think they are being directed to kill or keep out. Do we keep their churches from being built????? I don't think so. I haven't heard of one yet.
I think business buildings, restaurants, and hotels along with a memorial are better choices for the World Trade Center, so maybe I am actually deciding how I feel about and church, synagogue, or mosque being built there. But not because of any one religion and their followers, but what I think is more right for that place and what might make more sense to the majority of people in our country.

One of my daily thoughts today was by Henry Van Dyke:

There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.
Let's do that because it is what I think America is really all about.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I have 4 pumpkins and some funny looking squash

It's is quiet on the farm today and gloomy outside and I feel procrastination and lethargy coming on strong.
One of my thoughts for the day says....Deciding what is needed creates the possibility of getting it. (unknown)
Differentiating between what you truly need and what you want is hard enough sometimes. Of course if it is just the fluff stuff we think we need/want, then the decision isn't really difficult at all. Telling ourselves NO may be the hardest part. On days like today, the whole thing seems difficult or maybe I should decide that I need some enthusiasm and work on getting it.
I can see out my one window that the pumpkins are growing and becoming more orange so I went outside to snap a picture. I just love watching pumpkin vines spread themselves out and reach far....and they grow pumpkins on top of that after flowering. The hummingbird was still here today, but as I see some of the leaves changing around the neighborhood, I wonder everyday if it is the last day before they set out on their long trek to wherever they will be going. Their little bodies and how far they fly to spend the winter is beyond amazing if you think about it. I think the only thing that amazes me more is the monarch butterfly migration.
My pumpkin photo doesn't show the funny looking squash. I am uncertain as to what we planted, and that will also mean being uncertain as to how to cook it.....always a challenge.

This is Aria in the fore front and her sister Bronte slightly behind her. The third mare is Chatelaine. I can see them every afternoon out my living room and kitchen windows. They love it if I bring them carrots and the only thing I think they love more is knowing someone is going to open the gates that let them run into the grazing pasture.

My second thought for the day is from Sydney Smith:  Life is fortified by many friendships. To love, and to be loved, is the greatest happiness of existence.

So I am going to go out, pull myself up by the boot straps to get ride of the dull drums, go see all my four legged friends and get happy.

I have carrots!!!!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seek comfort in the garden, seek adventure on the mountain, but seek the truth within yourself. (anonymous)

That's one of my daily thoughts today. I have another for later at the end of the posting.

This one has many ways to interpret - seeking the truth within yourself -.  I am usually looking at several things about myself continually. I want to expand my awareness and have more truth and I want to balance the areas of myself that I don't always like with the ones I do like about myself by reaching down to that one part of me and pulling it up close and bringing it along while I go about the business of enlightenment.
I don't know if all the great people out there that have inspired me or will inspire me in the future have settled all those parts of themselves......or do they just not give them any attention, take the good parts and focus on them. A very good question that I may never know the answer too. Such as.... did Mother Theresa have any short comings??? Or, did she just take that wonderful, compassionate part of herself, focus on caring for others, and didn't think about her own short comings or worry about fixing them? And miraculously, as she practised love and compassion, the short comings fixed themselves?????
I am uncertain if you even need to fix them, I think half the battle is just being aware and knowing you have them..
Or knowing the truth within mean that you understand there is a higher power. I read at one time that someone asked Albert Einstein if he believed in God. His answer was something like (I can't quote exactly) - If you walk outside and look at nature, how could you not believe in God.
Or, could it be that moment when you encounter someone, or have a conversation and you get that gut feeling. Is that a truth within?
All good things to ponder on this fine, almost end of summer, fall is sneaking in kind of day.
My sister Suzanne told me once that every question you have can be answered by observing nature.
The horses outside my window are busy grazing and enjoying the sun. They don't rack their brains trying to answer all these questions because they are busy just BEing. Gotta love how simple it really is.

The brightest blazes of happiness are often kindled by unexpected sparks. (anonymous)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An essay for a job posting

So several years back when I was working for Marriott Rewards as a team facilitator, I thought I wanted to work in Mr. Marriott's office. The manager of that department required you write an essay so that she could determine your level of writing skills and possibly to see what you might come up with.
One of my co-workers did an outstanding job writing on customer service. Neither one of us got the job, but it was interesting at the time.
I took a copy of my old Christ mas news letter and revamped it because it is still an issue in the world and I would truly love for it to work the way my essay suggests. Of course, I could only get that kind of response or action if my name was Oprah.
I scanned this is to show you since it wasn't part of my document list.

Supporting examples

Feed the Mind

Read interesting and thought provoking materials. Talk with someone whose knowledge in an area that interests you exceeds your level of knowledge. Have a healthy debate with someone and challenge yourself to see and understand another’s point of view. Attend a lecture.

Feed the Body

Break bread with friends and family. A lot of things happen at gatherings. People laugh and tell stories. They share hopes and aspirations, sadness and joy, victories and defeats, love and fear. They inspire as they are in turn inspired.

Dining alone is also beneficial. It gives time to turn inward and have a deeper appreciation of the times when you do have gatherings or to taste and savor food without distraction.

Feed the Spirit

This can be accomplished in so many ways.

Gratitude – being thankful for all that you do have.

Appreciation – for nature, the sunset, the leaves dancing in the street, a great friend, a wonderful partner, a loving parent, children who are people you love to know. I could wax on for hours with this thought.

Forgiveness – an easy word to say. A hard feeling to actually dispense. It is an earthly struggle for most of mankind, but so beneficial for the spirit of the person who can bring themselves to it.

Thought for the day:
The ticking of the clock connects our life like a dot-to-dot picture as we move from minute to minute.

Which reminds me that today is my nephew Matthew's birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Matt!!!
Have a 12 year old kind of fun day!
Auntie Jeanne loves you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Copy of letter from many years ago.

Feed the World
I was driving in the car recently and listening to the song Feed the World. After the song was over, I was still pondering this thought and how one person could make a difference when I remembered a saying I had read or heard somewhere. It was, think globally and act locally. That idea can be brought down to globally being your community and locally being YOU.

We most often relate “feed” as food for the body. I’m thinking…that and more. Feed you first and feeding the world becomes easy.

Feed your mind – Read interesting and thought provoking ideas. Talk with someone whose knowledge in an area you’re interested in exceeds yours. Have a healthy debate with someone and challenge yourself to see and understand another’s point of view. (not to be confused with arguing)

Feed your heart – If you’ve been thinking you need to make good on an old situation either by offering an apology or by extending forgiveness…do it now. Being loved is our most sought after feeling. Give your HEART. The more you give, the more you get. From children to the elders…go for it.

Feed your spirit – Inspiration comes in many forms. Nature is full of gifts to enjoy and savor everyday. Attend a religious gathering. Read from your favorite inspirational author. Attend a workshop. Even movies can inspire. Many people who have inspired me have videos out and I have also found them on public television, just by accident, just when I needed it.

Feed your body – Break bread with friends and family. Laugh. Tell stories. Inspire. Love.

And if everyone who receives this letter, takes one can of food to the food bank or pays for one meal at a mission serving the homeless and each of you share this thought with all of your friends and family, who share it with all of theirs, and so on, and so on…Well, WE will have “FED” the WORLD.

May you always feel full! May your heart be forever young, your laughter ring loud, and the spirit of Christ mas live within you all year long.

Joan of Arcadia

A few years back there was a TV series called Joan of Arcadia. The next town over from where I worked in Glendora was called Arcadia so I started watching this show. Don't know if was about the town of Arcadia near me or somewhere else???? who knows. Anyway, the premise of the show was that God would show up in the beings of people around Joan to talk with her and to give her challenges or problems to solve, etc.. I found this somewhat interesting as I recall reading a quote somewhere (exact verbiage escapes me) and basically what I got from it was the thought to be aware of every person and how you treat them because you may never know when you are in the presence of God. Having said that, I am going to expand it somewhat and give my full thought. You are the presence of God as is everyone around you, every piece of nature around you, and every living creature. We walk around everyday and kind of forget that full thought, but it exists none the less.
Here is where I am going to tell on myself and how I almost missed an opportunity of simple kindness.
One day at the salon, it was busier that usual and I did not have time for lunch or dinner. I actually left later than my usual 9:30 ish and was very hungry. I don't eat at very many fast food places, but I stopped at an acceptable one on my way home and ordered a meal with a drink and maybe came out to be a ton of food. You know the eyes are bigger than the stomach rule I am sure. It was dark as I was waiting for my order. All of a sudden a man was at my window wanting money for food. Now anyone who knows me really well and is on my Christ mas (no error) card list may remember the year I sent a newsletter talking about homeless people and how I cannot bring myself to just hand out money if I think they are scammers (and there are) or if I have concerns about them using the money to buy cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs, but I do believe in handing out food or paying for them to have food or donating to the food banks. What he wanted from me was money at that moment and I said no. I was startled and didn't really think it through before I answered. He left my window and eventually I received my food and started to drive off in a hurry to get home as well as appease my growling stomach. But somehow in the darkness and my haste, the thought popped into my mind that this could be God/Jesus and what would I do for one of them? Put my car in reverse, find the hungry person in question and hand over my humongous order of food.

Two thoughts for the day run on the same theme:
Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.

You are responsible for your own happiness. Circumstances beyond your control may put impediments in your path, but they don't have to be barriers. Finding out how to get around them and continue on your way is the secret of successful living.

I think I said something like that just the other day, but I always appreciate finding a better wording. Now if I can remember it in the future !!!???

Monday, September 6, 2010

The greatest pleasure often comes from doing a secret good deed

This was the thought for the day that I got when I flipped the page. It takes me back to a few days ago when I mentioned the happiness derived from doing random acts of kindness.
I am going to tell on myself and tell you some of the acts I did as well as some of the cool things that happened.
At the time, I was working at a salon in Glendora, Ca called Peaches and Cream. I was a very happy massage therapist doing a job utilizing a God given talent. Not only did I get paid for this, I also received gratuities. A very nice bonus and immediate to spend. On the same street was a little book store owned by a very nice woman. I would go in there to buy books, support her small business, and chat. She would tell me about some of her customers which included young children. She told me they did not always have the money to buy what they wanted. I decided to leave some of my tip money "on account" with her, and when she had a customer that she knew was cash poor, but appeared to want a book, she was to gift it to them with a card from me that I had made up. I tried to make the cards pretty. I hand wrote them and placed them in envelopes. They said....You have just received a random act of kindness. Please enjoy. If this felt good to you, all I ask is that sometime in the future you pass this feeling along and gift someone with a random act of kindness all your own.   I asked the proprietor to let them know if they inquired that this was anonymous and I didn't want to know who they were either for the reasons I mentioned in a previous post.
Someone at my work (I think) found out I was doing this. I had been buying a book called A Grateful Heart to give away as gifts to friends or family or clients, to whoever I thought would truly enjoy its content. I had been buying them one at a time when ever I had extra money, but I had asked the shop owner to order about 8 of them so they would be on hand when I could afford to get them. They next time I popped into her shop to pick up a copy and to check how our fund was going, she handed me a package. Someone had come into the shop and paid for 4 books and left a note for me that touched my heart forever. I will let you know what it said if you ask.
One of my other places for treating was at a coffee bar called the 222. It was up the street from the salon at 222 Glendora Ave.  There were 2 of the cutest and nicest girls who worked there. Every now and again as I was paying for my coffee, if I had tip money on hand, I would give either one of them money and tell them it was for someones coffee later after I had gone. I gave them a card to hand out with the coffee, and gave the same instructions..anonymous on both sides.
On of the days, one of the girls called the salon, asked for me, and she was sobbing. She just had to tell me about the person who was the latest recipient. Apparently it was a woman who had been going through hard times, and was so astounded at being gifted so, she had started to cry. The young girls working there were inspired to their own RAOK (that alone was worth it). They adored me as much as I adored them.
Sometimes when I stopped at one of my favorite restaurants for lunch, I would ask the waitress to search the place and see if there was an elderly person dining alone and to please give me the ticket. Again I would give a card with the usual instructions to the waitress. I would usually do that just when I was about to pay and leave so I could get out quick and keep it anonymous. I don't think I ever got caught, but I would spend the whole day happy, envisioning every elderly person I passed by in any town by the way, as the one.
I also have cards made up that I try to give out to servers in restaurants. I know we leave them gratuities that are supposed to express our "appreciation" of their service, but when I get that exceptional person, besides tipping, I want them to have something in their hand to remind them that someone truly appreciated them.
Just this morning Bob and I went out early on a value hunt to a store where most of the employees are pleasant, but in a hurry. The woman who checked us out today was exceptional. Although I told her in person, I didn't have a card made up, but have since decided that I need a card for these occasions also.
I haven't told you all my RAOK because I shouldn't.  Next posting though I have something interesting to mention about almost missing an opportunity for simple kindness.
Hope you had a play filled day and NO work on  Labor Day.  If you have received a ROAK I would love to hear about it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happiness is a state of mind and is available at bargain prices.

That was from a fortune cookie I got many, many years ago. I kept it to remind myself occasionally that I can choose how I feel every day. I believe the saying was credited to Confucious.

Today when I turned the page in my thought for the day it said "The habit of cheerfulness is like a rope that is woven day after day until it becomes nearly unbreakable".  To me cheerfulness if different than happiness, but one may lead to the other. Cheerfulness seems like something you extend to the world from yourself to someone else, and happiness is within you. If you are not happy you may not be able to be cheerful.
When I come across people who do not seem happy, it is easy to pass along this saying, but it may be hard for them to implement in their day/being.
I have had times in my life when I wasn't deeply happy, but was mostly happy and therefor able to show that to the world. I am a mostly happy person. I usually wake up that way, remain that way all day, and go to bed that way. Fairly steady in my emotions unless the unusual happens and something upsets me or the day. We won't go into those little things because I am sure you know what I mean.
I prefer to practice happiness. It seems to be the easier way to navigate myself through daily life. So much of the other stuff consumes your brain and your day and for what?????
I said in my profile I like to be inspired. One of my sources is Wayne Dyer. He had a book out years ago called Your Erroneous Zone. He then outlined the same information in a story form through a  book called Gifts from Eykis.  That is probably what got me started on giving up things like worry since what we usually imagine never happens or never to the worst case scene we dredge up. It allows more space in your mind your heart, and your day for happiness.   
Have a fabulous Sunday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's kinda late and I've been kinda busy, but here I am

Yesterday, my thought for the day was by Max Lucado;
Jesus' love does not depend upon what we do for him. Not at all. In the eyes of the King, you have value simply because you are.
Think about that. A most awesome thought really. We love our parents, siblings, grandparents, children, and friends  much the same way.

Today, the daily thought is by George Eliot;
Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.
A parent or grandparent to a child. A friend helping a friend. Doing a random act of kindness. A teacher encouraging the mind of a student. A nurse or a doctor attending an ill or dying person. Performing a service to the community or a church.
Has someone influenced you? Have you passed that one? Have you thanked that person?
We are all busy. I just flew through this day myself and it is easy to let things slip away, but I think the greatest gift is returning that love either to the person who gave it to you, or passing it along to another person who might need a loving human soul to reach out and touch them.

Now I need to drink my warm cup of calm and ponder these thoughts before I go to bed. I used to do random acts of kindness all the time and I got out of the habit. I need to rethink this, make it a regular habit again, and also figure out a way to inspire others to do so.
When I did random acts of kindness regularly, I did so anonymously, and didn't want to know who the recipient was. The reason I did this was because I could then spend the whole day looking at every person I passed, and wonder if they were the one who had received my gift. I think I was in a constant happiness high.
Join me????

Thursday, September 2, 2010

coffee on the front porch and my daily thought

"Even the most ordinary days should be treasured like precious jewels".
That reminds me of something I read somewhere, sometime in the past that suggested you could be in a zen moment doing the dishes or any other mundane activity and feel happy and fulfilled.
Many times I have thought my days or my life were very ordinary and then I talk with a friend. Now sometimes these are friends that I think have all kinds of happenings in their life and they are very busy with this and that. What is really funny, is to find out that the people who you think are having an interesting life, think YOU are having an interesting life. It just amuses me to no end.
What this is really saying though, is each day is precious no matter who you are or what you are doing, and since you have this day, :) :be happy :) is short. Don't take your day for granted, don't think it is ordinary, and don't let it slip away without being in touch with your loved ones.
This is the other end of the porch.

This is where I can sit and enjoy the view on the front porch.
There is a street out front and there is some activity, but not enough to do real people watching. There is a lot to be said for quiet times and serenity. Come join me for coffee sometime!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here comes the sun, do-do-do!

I flipped the page today for the thought for the day and it was just in line with yesterday....
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope. It does small tasks, can outlast anything, and is the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.

In the spring my sister Suzanne and I were having coffee together at the kitchen table when a hummingbird, that I think had been around the spring before, came up to the window and stayed there for half a minute as though s/he were alerting us to its arrival. I felt like it said...."I'm here! Get the food ready". So I did and I kept it up all summer. I am not looking forward to its time to fly south, but yesterday it flew up to my window again and I wondered if it is preparing to leave and just was letting me know it will be soon. When I take Abby and Tika for a walk I have noticed some very slight changes coming, slowly announcing that fall is around the corner.  Bob and I think it had a nest close by. We are hoping that means next year we have several little hummingbirds visiting us. We did have more than one this year, but we have been told they are territorial, and the one did seem to chase of another one quite frequently. I had a 2nd feeder out front, but it didn't seem to get the same kind of traffic. I had the 2nd feeder right by a fuchsia plant, but I don't think the feeder itself attracted the birds, so I am going to change it for one like the red one I put on the back porch. I did notice that the feeder I had before the red one didn't have a perch for them to rest on, and I actually saw his/her little feet searching for a perch. They are such fascinating little creatures.
I really had a bird filled summer this year that started with my hummingbird. Then Darcy asked me to feed her fish and water the front porch plants while she was gone to Northern CA. One of her planters had a Robins nest in it with 3 eggs. I would lift the basket down carefully and water around the nest and then put it back up just as carefully. When the eggs hatched I did the same thing, and then again a few days later. The baby birds just slept away or begged for food. The next time I went to water, the babies had feathers, got all excited and flew out of the nest. We went searching for them and returned 2 to the nest. The oldest one had left the day before. Then as I was driving home (that same day), there was a very young bird on the road who didn't seem to be able to really fly. I think when they first get feathers they can fly in a downward direction and save themselves from just falling, but I don't think they can fly upwards and return to their nest. I rescued it just in time to keep it from being run over by another car. I spent a long time trying to see if I could find where its nest and parents were without success. Eventually I brought it home and placed it in a hanging basket on my front porch. Bob and I looked up info on the Internet trying to decide what to do about it. We then went off to dinner. By the time we got home, the bird had flown down from the basket and was walking in the direction of some adult birds of his own species. Bob sat on the grass to observe where these adults had their nest, and when he discovered it, he lifted my baby bird into their place. To the best of our knowledge, those adult birds took our little baby in with their babies and kept it until he could fly out on his/her own.  The interesting thing about all the different nests around the house was that when all the babies learned how to fly, all the birds were gone. Hopefully my little one returns next year and makes a nest nearby knowing this was a good place and his family will be safe.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's rainy here in Woodinville and your thought for the day.

I have a plethora of things I use daily to inspire me or give me things to ponder. Today's thought says "Tears are a gift that cleanses the body of toxins and nourishes the seeds of hope that can grow even in a broken heart".
That seems kind of apropos today as it is raining like crazy here today, but I don't know of any broken hearts. I am happy that all the food seeds that have burst into plants get watered for free and continue to grow, especially all my pumpkins. I don't know why I love watching them grow so much, but I do. I was hoping to have Eli here to share some with, but Palo Alto is a tad far. However, my oldest sister Jayne' says that horses like pumpkins and squash, so I may have an opportunity to share with them and confirm this information. Bob and I have also grown some carrots and we KNOW that they will gobble those up fast. Quite frequently we find the cottontail bunnies out in the garden. You might be interested to know they did not eat the carrot crops, but did eat all of Bob's pea plants. Who could have predicted that? We put the lettuce and kale up out of their reach or they might have found more to devour.
Even though it is rainy and gray here today, the beauty of western Washington and Woodinville in particular is all the green and the trees. Somehow, for me, that makes all the gray okay. The dogs who sleep plenty as it is on any given day, are buried under the covers. It really makes me chuckle to see Tika the Boston Terrier do that, and to watch her come out from under the covers is a total crack up. The horses have hidden under their sheds and all seems peaceful on the farm.
I may not have a broken heart that needs mending, but I have in the past. The universe does not put limits on anything, which means there are no limits on love....being loved, lovable, or loving. Do your best and give as much as possible away every day. What comes back to you will be worth it!! Like my pumpkin vines, your love could be vining all over the place. What a thought.     Love to you whoever you are and wherever you go.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bob the builders birthday

It may not seem like much of a birthday today because he did get up at 5, went to work, and now he's home getting ready to paint the railing on the back deck. He is so tall he stands on the ground and paints that side of the railing while I paint the inside.
We were putting primer paint on that way on Saturday when Tika got herself all mixed up and stepped into the paint. That required a bath in the sink and the scrubbing of her paws which she did not like. Hopefully she doesn't do it again.
Once a week (on Mondays) Bob goes over to his Aunt Lee's house to play music with her and to teach her how to play her banjo and the dobro guitar she now has. In exchange, she gives me lessons in china painting which she has world wide recognition for. Kind of an unfair exchange because she has the ability to play music, but I do not have any ability when it comes to drawing and painting that requires shading. I am very good at colors and abstract. She certainly has to work far harder at trying to teach me than Bob has to work to teach her. The really great part of this, is that at the end of the lesson Aunt Lee may tell Bob a story about his dad Joe, her brother. Bob's mother died when he was 16 or 17 and his father died quite awhile ago also.
I think this has been a wonderful part of moving here. Bob not only lives by most of his family, in the area he grew up in, but he also has many, many life long friends that he can see regularly. I get a bonus also. When I lived in Salt Lake for 10 years, I lived near 2 sisters and my parents. Living here in Washington, I live by the other 2 sisters and I get all of Bob's family. 2 aunties live nearby and a 3rd one about 11/2 hours away, and an uncle. I really like having extra aunties.I haven't lived near my auntie Janis in a long time. Unfortunately, my daughter Darcy, her husband Chris, and their son Eli, just moved from Washington, back to Northern California, so my really big bonus got revoked.

Thought for the day is from Robin St. John:

What the heart gives away is never gone.....It is kept in the hearts of others.

Take care and remember that life is a gift.

Happy birthday Bob. You are the love of my life.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Farm continued

looking out off the back deck
So this is my view out the back deck most everyday. Anywhere from 3 to 7 horses in my line of sight. It is incredibly peaceful.
In the afternoon when Bob gets home from work, we usually take some time together out on the back deck if the weather permits just so we can soak up the good energy. Otherwise, we have sofa time and get to see Diva's two children, Aria and Bronte, and another mare named Chatelaine.
All the horses have their own personalities, they all LOVE carrots or apples, and they enjoy getting love from their owners and also from Bob and I.
You cannot pick a favorite because they are all lovable, but I do give extra time and attention to the older ones and those whose owners can't come out very often. Sometimes they have problems or get sick and then they really get extra attention from all of us.
I am going to feel like a "Sound of Music" song here, but one of my favorites things is to give them kisses.

There can NEVER be too many people who love you. That applies to everyone out there, people and otherwise. Have a great day.