Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Just a chance that maybe, we'll find better days....

"And you ask me what I want this year, And I try to make this kind and clear....

Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days"

I am not surprised in the slightest that my last post was March of 2020.  As I was preparing for this big thing, this change that I pushed forward as I felt in my heart that it was a good idea and the right thing for me to try a different view of life, we were suddenly in the middle of a pandemic. 

We have almost survived 2020 friends. As I type that and then read it again, I sadly realize how many will not be able to say that. So much loss this year, so many unplanned, unprecedented things that I struggle even now to comprehend all of it. To say I haven't had time to write is technically false. I have had time. But I don't think I felt the want of it. I've often said "This post has been writing itself in my head for months" or days....or something like that. This blog began as a note to myself, where I could look back and think about all of the things that came to mind, along the way, over the course of several years. An online diary of sorts you might say. I think this continues to be my intention now. I would really like to think that 2021 will encourage me to write more, again, as often as I feel like it. 

" 'Cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings, And desire and love and empty things....Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days"

Because 2020 has done a number, hasn't it!? Did it steal my joy? No it did not. I do my very best in hanging on to that joy even if it's by a thread. "Tie a knot and hang on" my Mom always tells us. She's right. It's all we can do.

So, from a trip across the miles by car(s), heading South and then West, almost losing our fur girl Penny, arriving in time to still feel such excitement in reading the note left on the kitchen counter in the new place, along with the keys, "Welcome Home" to, closed beaches, no toilet paper, disinfectant, or Clorox Wipes, "Covid19 this and numbers rising that" on the news....

Who would ever plan something like that? 

I didn't panic per se, but it took some time for me to accept that this is how life is right now, and we have to take action on making sure that we not only keep ourselves safe, but those around us as well. So, mask it is. Until further notice. 

Then the beaches opened. I could safely walk if I  went very early, (no crowds), and, wearing a mask and washing our hands 200 times a day became the 'norm'. This walk has been my saving grace in all things. 

"And sing out loud....'Cause everyone is forgiven now....'Cause tonight's the night the world begins again"

All of the moving boxes unpacked, Spring turned into Summer and the Gulf water sparkled the prettiest shades of turquoise, aqua, light blue and green. I ate oysters on the half shell, socially distanced my way around each day, with my toes digging in the sand I read books and marveled at the tide rolling in, collected seashells and saw a different view of the same spot every single time I visited said place. Talked with friends over the phone, kept in touch my family with texts and phone calls, made friends with all of the feathered beings I found along the way, and worked through the week from home. I remain very grateful to be employed, especially during these times.

I am always going to fall on the side of peace and all men were created equal, so I was proud to be a part of Verizon's walk for racial justice this year, especially given the extremely unfortunate events 2020 brought to light. I will do this every year going #ForwardTogether.

"I wish everyone was loved tonight....And somehow stop this endless fight"
Because I've never really stopped talking about it, everyone knows my favorite season is Fall, which arrived beautifully, (on the calendar it said it was Fall anyway), and with it, my other favorite season which is Football. It's exciting every single year, especially for this Kansas City Chiefs fan! Out came the Fall decorations so I could at least pretend it "felt like" Fall temperatures that I grew up with, and I settled in with a slightly new routine wherein each weekend day activities are planned around the Mizzou and KC Chiefs football games. M..I..Z! Fall decs then Halloween, and roasting pumpkin seeds and carving Jack 'O Lanterns, the whole month of October has always been my favorite. 
Enjoyed <-----never lose your sense of humor folks, a  brief unplanned stint in the hospital, all is well now, I just needed to donate my appendix to science. 
I'm still enjoying Football and the cooler weather Southwest FL is now offering. 

"And the one poor child that saved this world, And there's 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them"

Then, I had the audacity to blink, and as the Peanuts gang sings "Christmas here, happiness and cheer".  Whew! is it really? In eight days the calendar flips from 2020, to 2021. That New Year- fresh hope feeling is already settling in. 

"So take these words......and sing out loud"

Regardless of your beliefs, I hope we can all at least come together on one thing. 

"And on earth peace, goodwill towards men"

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year filled with blessings and better days. 

See you soon friend,


P.S. I'm not having "easter eggs" for breakfast yet, it's mostly been iced cold brew coffee and fresh fruit, scrambled eggs some days, others might even be a charcuterie board with mixed nuts, cheese, various italian salame's and olives. I get creative when it comes to Breakfast at Tiffanys. But I really just want to see who in my family, first notices the easter egg that is in this blog in photo form. 

"Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days....."

Sunday, March 8, 2020

I'm just reaching for the sun.....hoping to flourish there

I glanced at my plant that I have sitting by the window the other day, noticing that it's reaching for the sun. I turn it around periodically to watch it do the same thing, start leaning towards the light.

It flourishes where it's sitting.

So, as I've mentioned a few times, big changes are ahead. And this, coming from the person who rarely embraced change previously, is monumental. It feels that way to me, a time of courage, and faith.

I'm going to try the 'living by the Gulf ' life for a while, and see if that suits me. And I think this love letter to the Lone Star State has been writing itself in my mind for months now.

North Texas has been good to me. When I moved here from Missouri almost twenty-two years ago, I was homesick before I pulled out of my drive-way. There were many trips made back home those first few years. But deep down I knew that eventually, while I will always call Missouri my home state, that Texas would start to feel like home.

I was correct.

I say y'all more than my local friends do, and yes, I know this isn't necessarily a "Texas only" thing, it's really a southern phrase, but I love it. Texas knows how to do things big and do them well, in all capacities. From barbeque to tex-mex to patios filled with friends holding margarita's, I could list so many things that I love about this great state that I live in, for a little bit longer but the clock is ticking down as I type this.

The weather is mostly mild, but global warming may change that up a bit. When I first moved here, the Summertime weather was especially brutal that first year but I honestly think it felt that way because I wasn't used to it. Triple digit temps combined with humidity that lasted for days on end with no break took a long time to embrace. The last few years haven't been that way, the summer has been milder and there were breaks in the extreme heat days. I certainly never minded warm sunny days in February. Fall, my favorite season, is beautiful here, I just don't see the  beautiful foliage until November, where I was used to seeing the Fall colors in September while growing up in Missouri.

There are so many things to do in the Dallas-FortWorth area, the 'metroplex' as it's called. But the most important part of what I will miss is the people. My friends, who are family to me. One best friend got me to Paris, France. I never dreamed I would be able to do this, and the memories made there are cherished and easily remembered, and will be for a lifetime. Oh the stories! I'm chuckling as I think about the shenanigans and happenings. The friend(s) that you travel well with are the keepers in life, believe me. We've cruised the Caribbean, ziplined over a Jamaican jungle (where I had to be rescued not once, but twice), got too much sun in Cancun, huddled around a fire near our rented cabin in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, rode the underground in the UK "please mind the gap between the train and the platform", and climbed all 270 steps at Sacre Coeur. Lest I not forget the Folly Beach Pier and that beautiful Charleston, SC weather (and I remember you Citadel!). Honestly this page isn't large enough to write all of the stories with their often hilarious details, but my mind and heart are large enough to store the memories. I'll carry them with me wherever I go.

I think when you are the new kid on the block, it can be difficult sometimes to get to know people and become comfortable with them, developing friendships that could last a lifetime. I consider it a folding in, it's how I think of the way it was when my tribe here formed. We all just enjoyed each other and conversation, folding ourselves in to a fabulous group of fun seekers and all around great human beings. I have always been grateful for them, and I will miss not being able to jump in the car and meet for a movie or whatever might be happening, at a moments notice.

To the Lone Star State: you are one of a kind. Thank you for the hospitality, the outstanding food and drink, the way of showing love through helping-thy-neighbor. I will not forget you and I will visit of course.

To my friends: to say I'm going to miss you is a grand understatement, and to say good-bye will never be what I choose.

It's "I'll be seeing you".......because you better come and see about this seashell-filled life I'm heading toward.

Written with love, thank you for indulging me dear friend(s).

See you soon Anna Maria Island, you see, I'm just reaching for the sun.....hoping to flourish there.


Friday, December 13, 2019

What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.....

"I've been taking pictures all my life, even before I had a camera" - Sabrina Fairchild -1995

When I think about the past, I often see the memories as images, as though I'm looking at photo's in an album.

2019 has been the year of such tremendous growth that I don't think I can measure all of it. Both physically and mentally, I've managed to become the best version of myself thus far, and that, my friends, has been my goal all along. It is still my goal. We're never done growing or learning, I firmly believe this.

Were there setbacks? You better believe it, I'm a human being, flawed, one who doesn't always choose well.
But every time I didn't, I learned. Mistakes becoming lessons, and so it goes....

When I think about the future, I often see images as though I'm looking through a crystal ball, with fuzzy edges but the middle is so vividly clear. I think there's a lot of truth to the mantra "if you visualize it, you can make it happen" or something like that. I have some goals yet to meet and changes yet to come that I'm immensely excited about. 

So, "Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer" - and I am wondering why it feels like this year has flown by so quickly. Especially the last four months of the year which are my favorite. I know it can be a difficult time for many, with the loss of loved ones, etc. I like to say just be kind all year, and I am, but especially during this season of giving and gratitude. There is the mad rushing, but also the slowing down a little, gathering for meals with friends and family while twinkly lights glow in the background and traditions that go way back are being enjoyed once again as well as new traditions being made. While all of this is occurring, there are so many that don't have people to do these things with, and it can be a sad time for them. There is zero cost in treating people with kindness, I hope we all take the time to smile and help people that are in need or alone.

With all of the changes this year, one thing that I'm glad I started is getting rid of all the things. Well, not all per se. 
So.much.stuff. we have that just takes up space in a cluttered array of entanglement. This is an ongoing work in progress, but when I say I've downsized by almost half, it's true. 

Another life changer is walking every day, in all kinds of weather mind you, that has become so engrained in my routine that I don't see myself ever giving it up. Talk about a mood enhancer, there is nothing greater than being outdoors in nature, hearing the birds chirp and seeing beautiful sunrises over water. I even did a 5K, and I'm now a fan of this activity. 

It was so fun, especially being able to do that with close friends, some of my favorite people. 

I know there are people that don't do New Years Resolutions, I'm pretty sure I'm one of them. Mostly. I would just find myself saying the same thing each year as the calendar flipped to January. "Just be better". This year, I feel more accomplished in this aspect than I ever have before. I want to make sure this trend continues, I have no doubt that it will.

It won't be easy being away from home this holiday season, my family is very important to me and my sisters and I share so many significant memories and traditions that I want to be around them on Christmas morning, as we stir my mom's mimosa recipe.....and prepare for the onslaught of ribbons and tags and bags and Christmas paper and music and laughter and...movies. We have entire conversations in movie quotes. 

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags! And he puzzled and puzzled 'til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more"


Merry Christmas to you friend,

PS Breakfast at Tiffany's with a beach view for Christmas 2020? Hmmm. 

footnote: Hallelujah is my favorite song 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Those friends, are the one's we treasure for a lifetime...

When I come home after spending time in my hometown with family and friends, I'm always in a reflective mood for a few days. Usually asking myself the big questions, like, should I move back? It's hard being away from those I love.

I was reminded this trip that I am so lucky to have such phenomenal life-long friends. No matter how much time has passed, one hug or hello becomes the exact thing my soul needed, that comfortable feeling when you know you're with people that genuinely care about you and your well being.

Heading to Arrowhead Stadium for a Kansas City Chiefs game in October? There isn't much that can top that for me. But the most important thing I brought home with me from this trip, is, that the best part of anything we do and experience, are the people that are with us. My sister and brother in law make everything fun so we managed to do just that despite the loss that day. We aren't fair-weather fans in my family, we're ride-or-die fans, so onward we roll with the Chiefs, always.

I was so excited to arrive at a favorite friend(s) house in KC, when I saw the Halloween decorations I knew I was at the correct address, because she loves Halloween just like I do. And those girls! Six little loves to see and visit with for a night, my adoration continues for them.

Teena, you don't know how inspiring you are, even your little reminders throughout the house made me smile, I loved them, and you. Thank you for letting me stay, it was so fun being with all of you.

I honestly don't know why certain memories never leave and yet I often can't remember what I did yesterday, that's the way it goes isn't it?
I can remember sitting in my 6th grade class and trying to stifle a belly laugh because my friends would always make me laugh at the most inopportune moments, i.e. when the teacher was talking. That's one memory of hundreds that have a best life-friend in them, and as I drove towards CoMo (Columbia, MO) those memories were on my mind. I thought, "we go so far back, the amount of time is so vast that it almost can't be measured".
Those friends, are the one's we treasure for a lifetime.

Tatha (and John) thank you for letting me stay with you and catch up like we haven't ever been able to do in years. It felt like home, being there with you and I so loved meeting Tat and seeing Tanya! (and Tasia!) I love you all and can't wait to spend time again.

I'm convinced that the passing of time matters not, when it comes to a face to face conversation with old friends.

More than likely, the same type of 6th grade shenanigans often occur when you work with a group of people who share your sense of humor. You may notice a theme forming here, this is yet another best life-friend that continues to make me laugh every time I am lucky enough to be able to spend time with her and her family. Chandra, (and Todd) thank you for letting me stay during this trip, I was so happy to catch up and see Breanna (and family) too! I love you all.

I thought about friendships a lot on the drive home, and how they should be nurtured and cherished. I was grateful to be able to see a few favorite friends and will make a point to see more on the next trip if possible. Verl, always the place of comfort for me, you are such a treasure. All of the listening that you do, that patient, loving demeanor you have, are the things that you're loved for, and I do. Ed- visiting with you was greatness, I was reminded that your keen sense of what's important in life is still there, thank you for the great conversation. Mary A-you're such a JOY to be around, I am so glad I got a chance to say hello and talk for a while, your energy radiates in a way that makes you glow!

With social media in our faces now, it seems that the picture we often paint is usually the best side of ourselves, which makes sense as why would we want to show the worst side, right? I understand, and agree with the idea. Social media isn't the place to air the difficult stuff or the private things in life (in my opinion and it's okay to disagree). I have friends that struggle with the beasts, as I label them, but I've learned a few things along the way just by listening.

I think that anyone that has to fight anxiety or depression is often the most compassionate person we might meet. They know to ask, "are you okay?" and mean it, they genuinely want to know if we're okay. I don't suffer with either beast, but I know those that do and I am sorry they have to fight battles that not everyone knows about. I am grateful for anyone that asks me every single day, if I'm okay. So thank you friend.

So, the biggest thank you I can muster, the friends old and new, the too-short visits with family, the Fall and Halloween decorations, the sea of Red at Arrowhead, and the air turning cooler is all around me right now as I started the week back at work. I'm glad for the memories, I cherish them.

The one thing that I saved for this rambling thank-you note, is this: I think laughter is the best medicine. I was born with a sense of humor and most of the time, I find humor in everything. The morning of the Chiefs game, we went to Arrowhead early so we could drink it all in, (yes even the beer) but stay with me, haha. While standing in front of the stadium, we could hear the band coming our way. If you know me, you know I can't stand still for this, I have to at least groove a little bit to the music. What I didn't realize, and my sister who was taking a few pictures, did, was, the band saw me dancing and turned toward my direction. It took me a minute to realize it, but by then I was practically surrounded, I will never forget this one Chiefs Kingdom. Thank you for those big smiles, so infectious!
See you soon friend,

PS Breakfast at Tiffany's has been fruit and eggs all kinds of ways lately. What's your favorite breakfast? oh and MIZZOU, see you in October 2020!

Monday, August 5, 2019

That dash is the most important part, isn't it?

I was reading in the courtyard where I live, one lazy Saturday afternoon, and I glanced toward my patio with the windchimes and hanging plants, wondering, have I done enough with  my life......

Then I thought, what a silly question. What does that even mean, 'enough'? I don't have a scale or meter, measuring some lofty goal and tracking my progress to that goal.

Don't misunderstand. I do have goals. I'm dead center in a few goals. But I don't know that there is 'enough' as though that word brings some sort of finality to where I can then go sit down and say, good. I'm there.

I have a need for the non existance of that sit-down moment. I want to always be striving. I think I crave it actually.

There's work. And then there's life outside of work. What is that saying, something about the dash? From our birthdate to our date of death, there is a dash in between. That dash is the most important part. Isn't it?

Well. I'm working on the dash. Not living in fear of sharing myself. Not taking things personally, that have absolutely nothing to do with me. (Not easy y'all but I'm really trying). Definitely taking in the moments, savoring them. And definitely learning that the only thing I can control, is my own behavior and the way I respond to things. Have I arrived in the mecca of knowledge?
Nah. But I think I can at least see the door frame. I'll walk through it when I get there. Meanwhile, isn't the ride thrilling? I may have forgot to tell you that you're coming with me. 😁

Breakfast at Tiffany's tastes so much better with you present!
Thank you friend, for always being here. And always listening.

PS the first picture was taken at my sisters house.
It reminds me how fast the clock ticks.  Time stops for no one, right?
The second picture is my *moment* transcribed in ink, on my arm, for eternity. "And have you had yours?".....the artist asked, as he gently, skillfully, wrote my favorite word exactly how I asked him to.

"Yes. I think I have. 'To thine own self, be true'".

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"I'm totally adequate..."

Our whole childhood is filled with teaching moments, where, we hopefully grasp, and learn. I don't remember every single moment of my childhood. But I do remember always feeling content.

Logically, I know what matters in life. Relationships. Friendships. Family. Matters of the heart. What's *in* someone's heart. Memory-making moments that can only be created with time spent. Being present. Aware.

Especially with the given, that time stops for no one. The clock ticks away, whether you watch it, or not.

I've struggled most of my life with feelings of inadequacy. If you know me well, you know how difficult it was to type that sentence. I don't want to be someone's burden. And I definitely don't want to be the person bringing people down.

You see, my whole life I've watched people smile at me and react positively to things I say. This wasn't an act, let me make sure that's clear. My personality is to laugh first, at almost everything, and then bring anyone along for the ride that would benefit from the laughter. It's who I am.

What I've now come to understand and accept is, I'm totally adequate. It doesn't matter what I look like. How much I weigh. Where I live. What I drive. How much money I have. To those that genuinely love me, it does.not.matter.

This may sound small. Insignificant. I understand if it does. It's my story, not anyone else's.

But for me, this is monumental. I finally *get it*. I wish I could have come into my own acceptance, way before now.

But man I am sure glad that I'm finally here. I might be late to the party, but at least I showed. Right?

I hope you have already arrived at the place of acceptance. Because you matter.

If you ever need a reminder, visit me. I will remind you one hundred times over.

See you soon friend,

P.S. Breakfast at Tiffany's is so colorful these days: fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries....I love summertime. I hope your summer is fantastic so far 😁

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Do I tell her she will make mistakes?

I often wonder what I would tell the younger version of myself, if time travel were possible. How far back would I go? And what would I say, to the happy little girl that still feels like her childhood was idyllic.

Do I tell her she will make mistakes? I don't want her to be afraid or not trust her gut.

I could let her know that when she was in 2nd grade and that dark-haired boy that kept yanking her pigtails, was doing so because he liked her. I won't say boys are dumb. That's not true. But at *that* age, they often don't know how to show that they are fond of you. My mom set me straight on this, so maybe I won't have to tell her.

I think I should tell her that sunscreen is important. And that she is worthy of having herself surrounded by like-minded people, that truly care about her. I want her to know that real, true love, comes easily, and often without fanfare. It just *is*. That doesn't mean that relationships don't require work. It means the *right* relationship, is worth the required work.

I should probably mention that the circle of life can be hard to witness and accept at times. And that her grandma and 'Pap' are in a better place, until she sees them again. It's also really, really hard to lose a pet. She will learn to accept her new normal, but it's still hard.

Honestly, what I want her to know most of all, is that she has no reason to be hard on herself during anything *trying* that may be going on in her life. Don't freak out. Just breathe. You know what to do. You need to trust yourself and your decisions.

And finally, you will be lucky to grow up with a big, loving extended family that tries their best to keep in touch.
You'll fiercely support every single friend and family member, no matter what.
You will show up, and ask, 'what can I do?' when it's necessary. Because they do the same for you.

When you stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, you will be moved. Enough so to write about it.
Just like seeing the turquoise water in Cancun, and the view of Hawaii from the top of Diamond Head. That you just climbed! And you thought you were afraid of heights, ppsshh.

Okay you're still afraid of heights. But you will logically talk yourself out of the fear, should you find yourself zip-lining in Jamaica. Trust me. You won't die above the jungle. Also, don't pull on the pulley. Your glove will get stuck and then you'll have to be rescued.

Be present in the moments. Even the seemingly insignificant ones. Please. They will soon become memories and I want you to be able to remember them fondly.

Oh and write in a blog. Then you can look back and read what your thoughts were, from years past.

I'm thinking of these things because I'm gifted with another year wiser on March 30th.

Thank you for being here friend(s), I'm lucky to have you!

P.S. Breakfast at Tiffany's continues with fresh fruit, protein, and a hand-written, carefully thought out plan, for world changing ideas. Or maybe just a short list, I never know for sure. 😁

Oh and the birthdays? Embrace, celebrate, and enjoy every last second of the celebration of you.

*picture at top, on left, me on my third birthday