desert sunrise

desert sunrise
desert sunrise

Friday, March 30, 2018

It Ain't a Lesson for Sissies


Surrounded by desert for as far as the eye can see brings one back to Self like no other landscape.

An ocean brings peaceful contemplation through the constant rhythm and vibration of waves.

A forest seems to wrap its soothing canopy around you, much like a pine scented quilt and the sound of wind through towering treetops hypnotize the senses into a state of serenity. 

The wide open plains bring a balancing perspective to the eye that the mind may have forgotten.

Rugged mountaintop retreats have a way of lifting you above and beyond the reach of everyday burdens.

But the desert is an entirely different story.  One must seek out comfort here.  The surface showcases an unwelcoming menagerie of thorny bushes and prickly cacti and on a windy day the dust sticks to the backside of your throat so you can actually taste its gritty essence right before it throws you into a choking fit. 

Cacti are anything but comforting and a ‘no touch’ policy is the only way to treat these magnificent warriors that not only survive but flourish in heat that fries a human brain.  More than once an innocent looking cholla cactus has seemingly leapt through thin air and fastened itself to my unprotected ankle or pant leg. 

Yet, birds build beautiful finely-constructed nests and raise their families within the heart of these brutal looking desert plants and pay no never mind to what we see as an undesirable, unlivable frightening ghetto. 

You find towering saguaros filled with carefully carved openings made by these same crafty winged creatures, again used as neighborhoods for raising their young and perches upon which to safely set and sing their joyful melodies. They learned long ago that the thorns and stickers keep predators at bay, a genius strategy that allows them to thrive.  

Everything from cottontail rabbits, gangly-eared long-legged desert hares, fast-as-lightening lizards, crafty coyotes, plump breasted quail and yes, Dave even saw a fox a few days ago, call this dusty, dry, vastly barren land home. (I won’t even get into the snakes, tarantulas, tortoises, fire ants and the like.)

Survival of the fittest isn’t just a catch-phrase in the desert, it’s reality with a capital R!  You must create your own ‘safe place’ here, where bullies are too cowardly to roam, you outsmart that which tries to invade and destroy your livelihood and family and then you find a pulpit where you can stand tall and sing out your victory songs!

Yes, the desert brings one back to Self like no other landscape and reminds us that the only true lasing balance in life comes from taking care of Your-Self.  Survival is seeking out and finding ways to be Self-Sufficient even when surrounded by elements that seem to want to choke the life right out of you. 

Go to the oceans, forests, open plains and mountains to seek out peaceful affirmations of serenity and comfort

Then if you’re ready to take on the gut wrenching challenge of seeking balance through Self-Thought, Self-Intent and Self-Action, head to the desert my friends. 

Be very still and watch what transpires there like a hawk, yes they’re here too along with the vultures to clean up the rotting flesh of those that died trying. 

It ain’t a lesson for sissies…..

But then  … neither is Life. 












Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ghosts among the Happy Trails


Such a dry, sandy, scorched place but what a storied past it holds. 

Pioneertown, California was created in 1947 by Roy Rodgers and the Sons of The Pioneers as a movie/TV set.  Its streets teemed with Hollywood cowboys that gave a post WWII audience all the glitz, glitter and ‘the good guys always win’ stories they craved after living through a war that brought the entire world to its knees.

Today its shine has dulled significantly, reminding me of a flickering florescent bulb, not dead yet but the moments of darkness are becoming more frequent and last a bit longer each time.

Folks still travel here to walk the dusty streets, peer into vacant replicas of old west shops, take photos while posing beside decaying old-west style wagons and browse through a few refurbished stores offering leather ware, pottery, snacks and souvenirs.  I fear in a not so distant future only a Wikipedia page with a few dated pictures will remain to tell people of a town called Pioneertown, California that was built by Hollywood cowboys in 1947 as a stage from which to entertain a generation that is also beginning to return to dust. 

Me?  I love the place!  

When I walk the empty Mane Street (no, I didn’t misspell it) as the sun is just beginning to think about peeking over the horizon, before others arrive and locals awaken, I see the Pioneertown ghosts and gladly walk among them.  I hear the cowboy ballads being sung by Roy and the Sons of The Pioneers and the steady clip-clop of the horses they ride.  I feel the excitement of creativity being put into motion by the directors, producers, make-up artists, costume designers, camera and sound crews and I can even smell the meals being made in the on-set kitchen. 

It’s all still here and always will be. 

Just because something isn’t seen all the time, in the manner we’re ‘taught’ it ‘should’ be seen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

HA!  As I type this, I hear a coyote’s howl!  A fitting “yes, we’re still here” message don’t you think?

Happy Trails to You!






Monday, January 1, 2018

A Place

Of all the places I have been
(And would gladly visit there again)
There is a place that’s little known
To which I’ve truly grown
Attached

It’s a place where peace rules supreme
No bitter words or violent scenes
There is no slander, deceit or lies
No hateful words nor hurtful snide
Remarks

A Greater Good shines true and bright
There is no fear to dim ones sight
The air is clean and water pure
Waste not, want not is the cure
For all

No one is ever hungry, sick or cold
Respect is given to young and old
Differences are treated as food for thought
An opportunity to be taught
More

Alas, it can’t be reached by land or air
Not just anyone can get from here, to there
You see, it’s only in my dreams
That these peaceful scenes
Exist

But from dreams grow mighty things
I only hope someday it brings
This place into the light of day
So others can find their way
To peace



blt  12/31/2017
  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cake Mix Cookies and Puppies!


Wouldn’t life be a cup of tea if all our interactions and decisions were based on a reward system based on life’s little pleasures?

$$ would be worthless and the only compensation for a “job well done” would be a mountain of homemade melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies and an entire day with a roomful of puppies. 

Perhaps you’d prefer a weekend in a cabin on a white sandy beach, a redwood forest or atop a remote mountaintop.
 
You’d rule the paradise of your choosing.

No budget to adhere to.  No stress over getting work done so you can play.  No aftermath of coming back to an overflowing desk, dozens of phone calls to return and the agony of getting back in step to a dance that you have grown to dislike.

Nice fantasy. 

And it is just that, a fantasy. 

Kind of….

Let’s land back on Earth for a spell and let me take you back in time about 25 years.

I was fresh out of college with an Associate of Applied Science degree in business marketing and management.  A month before graduation I snagged a job as the marketing director for the small local mall.  Quite a catch at the time, even though the pay was low and the hours were long, I was quite pleased with myself! 

I shared my office space with the mall manager, an amazing woman, a good 12 years my junior, who was full of life and an overall outstanding human being.  We quickly became friends and she was a priceless ally as I learned the ropes of marketing a shopping mall and keeping dozens of individual store owners/managers happy. 

Here’s where the story gets interesting.

Retail management of any type requires juggling skills only a skilled parent can master.  Nobody is “happy” at the same time and what makes Joe jump for joy makes Jill throw a tantrum and scream till her throat is raw and I stepped into a nursery school full of merchants disenchanted with the former marketing directors. 

In their eyes, they were “in the trenches” 7 days a week, struggling to make ends meet, face-to-face with their customers, rain or shine, for better or worse while “management” sat in their quiet offices oblivious to what was happening on the front lines. 

For the most part, the marketing director’s part, they were likely spot on.  It was a small town, with a small mall, ran by a large management company in Omaha who knew little about the small local market yet made all the financial rules, including the salary of the marketing director.  I understood that when push came to shove, the hours worked and the pay received, at some point, bred an attitude of “I don’t need the stress of making everyone happy, so I’m just going to sit at my desk and paint my nails today.”

I didn’t want to be that marketing director, even though ultimately I did leave for a better paying job, I didn’t want to drop the ball just because the pay sucked.  These were still people with kids to feed and mortgages to pay and they were depending on my help.

The attendance at monthly merchants meetings was dismal and out of 50 or so merchants I was lucky to get 6 to come.

Now keep in mind, I have a simple mind.  Anything more complicated than 2x2 makes my stomach churn and my head hurt.

I had to ask myself, “How the heck do you get a “village” to come to you when their comfort zones didn’t even go past their own front doors?”

I baked cookies and gave prizes.

Yep, that’s right. 

I have a SUPER EASY cookie recipe that consists of a cheap-as-you-can-find cake mix, oil, eggs and whatever other cookie enhancement you choose, for me it was chocolate chips. 

I began bringing homemade cookies to the monthly meetings, had everyone put their name in a hat (literally in a hat) and drew a winner for a mall gift certificate at the meeting’s end. 
Simple isn’t it?

The merchant gossip train did the rest for me. 

By the time I left a few years later the monthly merchant meetings overflowed into the next room. 

Cookies and prizes saved my ass.

Were the stores doing any better? Who knows, many are still there 25 years later, but what counts is they all felt better when they left the meetings because somebody cared enough to bake them cookies and give them a chance to win a prize.

Our bodies become adults but if we’re lucky Our Child remains.

I know this is getting long but the story gets much, much better.

Fast forward 25 years. 

I left that little Nebraska town 21 years ago and have had many, many marketing and management jobs since.

Last month I returned home to attend my Aunt’s funeral and as Dave & I were walking through the mall I spied one of the business owners I’d worked with all those years ago, but hadn’t talked to since, in her shop.

I stopped to say hi.

After a brief “who is this old woman” look, her eyes lit up like beacons, she broke into a magnificent smile and she came in for a monster hug. 

It was bliss.

The first words out of her mouth (after 25 years) was, “Your cookies!  I think of you every time I take out the recipe!” 

We chatted, reminisced and teared up a bit as we touched on the topic of the passing of her husband and the grand lady who was the mall manager when I was there. 

25 years had not dimmed the magic, or the memory, of homemade cake mix cookies. 

As another Christmas rolls around let us not forget the power of The Simple, whether it’s a baby in a manger, a brilliant star in the heavens, a day shared with loved ones ….. or chocolate chip cookies.

(I just threw Puppies in the title cuz they’re right up there with chocolate chip cookies and worthy of a blog post all their own!)


Merry Christmas! 

Live Simply * Love Mighty

Bake Cookies!






Saturday, September 2, 2017

Simple Acts of Living Fully

Re-inventing one’s lifestyle is exhilarating, exciting & exhausting. 

For adrenaline junkies like us it’s dang-neared a necessity

It’s been a doozy of a ride the last 10 years as we ping-ponged from city to mountain dwellers, then RV nomads to sit-still on 10 acres house tenants. 

It certainly weeds out what gets your heart a-pumpin’ and excited about crawlin’ out of bed every morning from the hum-drum, going through the motions BS that slinks into our lives and steals our youthful sense of wonder and the optimism that accompanies it!

There is a Reason for each Season of Life and these past 5 months surrounded by the simplest of Mother Nature’s creations is a solid reminder of just how miraculous, yet fragile, it all is.

Seasons come and seasons go but through each and every seemingly insane change there are the rock-solid parts of Fully Living that never alter. 

Each easily forgotten in the “more is better” 21st century.

Let’s not forget.

For in the forgetting is a loss that can never be recovered.
Loss of a sense of purpose….

I’ve discovered that the more distance I put between myself and “change”, the more disconnected from “purpose” I become.  Not true for everyone, just my personal upside down personality trait.  A discovery I wish I’d have gotten in touch with in my youth but alas, a “better late than never” will apply here and I’ll leave it at that. 

Fortunately for me, I stumbled across a partner that seems to be as addicted to living on the other side of the traditional box as I.  
Thank you David, Love You Mighty.

And so, there it is.  Babble and nonsense from a delusional senior citizen who forgets her age until she orders off the Senior's Menu! 

Speaking of menus!  Here’s one I refer to as needed. 

Every menu choice is A’ la carte & Free of Charge, regardless of age.
Bon App├ętit! 


Menu of Simple Acts for Living Fully

Wear overalls often

Pet every dog that crosses your path (after asking their Person for permission)

Eat REAL butter not the fake stuff

Sit in the sun

Walk in the rain

Roll down the windows when passing a fresh cut alfalfa field

Rise before the sun and savor dawn’s early light

Learn to cherish memories and not cling to them

Grow something that blooms

Read

Eat REAL cheese not the fake stuff

Send a card

Write & mail a letter

Make bread from scratch (bread machines are cheating!)

Light a candle, say a prayer

Be still

Climb stairs while you still can

Smile

Take naps

Fully taste the ecstasy in that first fresh-brewed cup of morning coffee

Hammer a nail

Saw some wood  

Dig in the dirt with your bare hands

Most of all, be thankful for all of the above and every teeny, tiny seemingly insignificant thing written between the lines of your life.
 
For none of it is insignificant

None of it

















Sunday, June 18, 2017

Celebrate!

I am 63 years-old today.

My Spirit is about 35 years-old.

Not sure what to do about that gap in reality, so I’ll just roll with it.

I shall celebrate today!

For truth be told, I am a miracle!

A survivor of so much more than anyone knows.

More than anyone needs to know.

For truth be told, the most wicked, yet most meaningful of battles, are never meant to be shared…even on Facebook. ;-)  

For the strength of the lesson learned is often lost in the telling.

And I suspect, the most difficult, but the most rewarding lessons (if I choose to make them such) are yet to come.

So even though the sagging thighs, upper arms, neckline, eye lids, jowls and the ever-increasing road map of lines on my face, remind me of my 63 years, I shall not let them define Me.

So, I shall just get on with it! This screwy thing we call “life” that spins out of control taking you from 35 to 63 before you’ve even had time to catch your breath.

Dance until the music stops…

Then take a break, breathe deep, stand tall..

and when the band starts up again, show ‘em what you’ve got!!!!

Happy Birth Day to us all, for everyday is a rebirth. 
















Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gratitude and Grace

Gratitude is a glass-half-full kind of attitude.

It wraps itself around you and brings other positive “friends” like contentment, a balanced Spirit and loving acceptance.

Yes, Gratitude is a companion I can count on again, and again, and again.

And then there is Grace.

Grace doesn’t come to me as easily.

I stumble along and kick poor Grace in the face often.

She (yes, I’m giving this behavior a female energy) nips at my heels like an attention starved puppy and never lets me forget she’s always present, but I still stumble and kick and try to deny she’s necessary.

Poor Grace has to fight for every second of recognition she can get.
      
The move from Arizona to Wyoming was filled with many grateful moments and Grace even found her way into the process a time or two.

I believe the time has come to get better acquainted with Grace and perhaps carry her beside me rather than kick her to the curb.

I did hold Grace very closely the day before we left Arizona when I received an email from my 7-year Internet Assessor job employer saying how valuable I had been the last 7years because of my exceptional level of high quality work, but because of circumstances beyond their control, my services were no long needed, my employment would end March 31st, and of course, they wished me luck in whatever future path I decided to take.

Well shit!!! Homeless AND unemployed was not in my plan.

On our way to Wyoming, I received a conference phone call from them, all the way from Dublin, Ireland where the company Internet Assessor head quarters is located, and again they expressed their regret, appreciation for my outstanding work and I was informed of a small bonus I’d be given in addition to my last monthly paycheck.
      
I was VERY Graceful and thanked them for 7 good years and even praised them for the improvements made to the program over those years. I think they expected an angry, confused, combative response and receiving just the opposite left them a bit speechless.

I rather enjoyed that part.

Funny how Grace takes away the defensive sparing matches situations like this often become.
So our adventure began…

To come would be a 10-day stay at a friendly but so-so motel, the disappointment of having the home we wanted to rent being taken already (or so it seemed) and the available rentals in Cody, WY were few, far between and the outlook was rather dismal.

After a disappointing day of looking at 1 rental, a throwback to the 70’s that smelled like old memories gone rancid, we scheduled a showing of a guesthouse that wasn’t really what we were looking for but it was out of town a few miles, the price was right, it was furnished and utilities were included in the rent.

Then came “the” phone call informing us that the person who had been approved to rent the home we had our hearts set on couldn’t come up with the security deposit for another week and technically it was still open for other applications. In other words, whomever came up with the security $$$ first, won!

The rest is history and here we are.

Did approaching what seemed like a troublesome job loss with Grace bring this “gift” to us?
Hmmmm… perhaps, perhaps not.

Certainly food for thought though.

Regardless, my gratitude cup runneth over and I'm trying very hard to keep Grace within arm's reach as we carry on in this new journey.

If you follow numerology you know it's a "1" year, which means it's a time when things that no longer serve you will come to an end, leaving the door open for new opportunities that will.

all I've got to say about that is....
the door's open, so come on positive opportunities!  I've left the fire burnin' for ya!