A place

A place
Sunshine faces

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!







Saturday, March 18, 2017

Live Until You Run Out of Breath!

Today’s the day our home-on-8-wheels became someone else’s 45-foot dream come true.

Being the true Gemini I am, my feelings were mixed.

The “twin” that gets nervous when change rears its ugly head is sniffling and being sentimental but the “twin” that has itchy feet and a short attention span is doing cartwheels and dancing a jig.

Such is the inner child of a bi-polar Spirit.

I admit, I nearly shed a tear or two as the Mighty Motorhome, that was our safe haven these last 4+ years, was getting ready to roar away with a new driver behind the wheel, bound for San Antonio. God Speed and safe travels to the new owner. May your priceless memories be many and your repair bills small.

BUT, in the blink of a tear-filled eye, I was ready to face-forward and get on to the next adventure!

A couple of days to clean up the details of “movin’ on” before picking up a U-Haul Trailer Monday and hittin’ the road to Cody, WY on Tuesday.

Only the mode of transportation has changed, not the adrenaline rush junky Spirit that drives it.

Yes, we are technically homeless again, so first thing on our lengthy list is to find a house to rent.

Second, we haven’t a stick of furniture, so that will be the next order of business to tackle.

To be continued…….In the meantime, remember;

Live until you run out of breath! 

Even then, the next adventure is just on the other side of forever.

P.S.  This afternoon, after I wrote this, I learned of the passing of a former classmate and friend.  May her forever adventure be as special and loving as she was.  Godspeed my forever friend.    














Monday, March 13, 2017

Again, Livin' On a Hope and a Prayer

So, it’s 3:10 A.M. and like the insane disciplined worker I am, I have arisen at this ungodly hour to complete a half days’ worth of work before the day begins for most others.

Alas, the work bucket is empty and I am left with a full pot of fresh brewed coffee, a brain that is wide awake, no work to complete (or get paid for) and a sunrise that’s at least 3 hours away. Cheez!

I guess it’s a fitting start to a week of transition and new beginnings.

We hand off the motorhome to its new owner Saturday, and with a bit of luck, good weather & U-Haul in tow, will be on the road to Cody, WY next week.

Again, livin’ on a hope and a prayer.

Hopin’ to find a nice house with a garage to rent for a reasonable price and praying for a safe journey! Not too much to ask is it?

Yes, it’s still winter in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. Most folks in our sunny Southwest home cringe when we tell them we’re moving to Wyoming. Just the thought of the wicked winters causes them to shiver and make a “that medicine tastes yucky” face.

Again, I am swimming upstream while the rest of the world floats with the flow. A direction I’ve grown very familiar with.

I guess I’ve come to a point in my life when raw wide-open-spaces trumps over-crowded, over-populated, over-consumed retiree living. Unfortunately, most of the habitable Southwest has become just that.

The road to Wyoming may be paved with ice, snow and blustery winds in the wintertime but maybe that’s what keeps it so well preserved and prevents the rest of the world from trampling it to death. In a world of less people, rivers and skies remain clean, trout plentiful and wildlife abundant.

Don’t misunderstand, Arizona will always have my heart but it’s breaking my heart to witness it being consumed and picked to the bone by the masses.

When treasure is discovered everyone wants a gold coin or two and I’m eternally grateful for the riches Arizona has blessed me with but wealth is not based on sunshine alone and treasure comes in more forms than gold.

Perhaps it’s seeking treasure, rather than the treasure itself, that’s the most appealing and the seeker in me never rests.

Never….