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

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nostalgia finds me every year at this time......

Image result for 1935 scenes

My grandparents were married in 1935. 

I glanced at the calendar earlier and saw "Grandma and Pap Anniversary-1935" on Sat, Dec 22nd, and thought, wow.

If they were still here, tomorrow they would be celebrating 83 years of marriage. 

Does longevity like this still exist today? 

I think, for the lucky, it does.

I asked my mom about her birth date being 8 years after Pap and Grandma got married. 

She replied: "Yes. Marilyn born in 1936. Winnie born in 1940. Mary in 1942 and me in 43. Chuck in 1947, Jane in 1952 and Debbie in 1956".

Marilyn was the first born to my grandparents. Back in the day as it was, there were complications during her birth, where the Doctor  unfortunately had to decide who to save. Marilyn passed away the day she was born. We didn't have the pleasure of knowing her here, on this earth. I heard them say many times, she was beautiful.

When my family sings Happy Birthday to any one of us on our special day, my Grandpa, i.e. "Pap" would always end the song with, "get out and wallllllllllllk".

I still do this today, in his honor. It often makes us all a bit teary-eyed, but in a good way. 

It's in remembrance, you see. 

Christmas time is here. While we all often think of loved ones that are no longer with us, all year through, I think their absence is especially felt during the holiday season. 

I remember some of the days-gone-by stories told, of Christmas past and what the world was like back then.
For my mom's generation, their "queue" to come out of their bedrooms and slumber to welcome Christmas, was hearing Bing Crosby's "Jingle Bells" playing in the background. Many of us in my family continue this tradition today. 

Nostalgia finds me every year at this time. I fondly pull the memories from my mind and smile, remembering the celebrations each year. 

Mazel Tov to my Pap and Grandma, I think of them every day. If I go to the post office, I think of Pap. His career was with USPS. "Parcel post!" he would yell, as he drove the postal truck down the alley, tossing the package to the porch it belonged to. My mom often riding with him, passed along this memory to us.

If I'm cooking, I think of grandma, who rarely measured anything with exact specifications. She was a "just a pinch" type of girl. I hope I measure up, it would be the best goal I could ever reach in my lifetime.

Merry Christmas to you dear friends. If you are blessed to still have the older generation in your family still with you, ask them about their Christmas memories. Write it down, you will be so glad you did. 

Here's to our 2018 season and the promise of the New Year. May the memories you create this year, last a  lifetime.

See you soon friend,

PS During the holidays, Breakfast at Tiffany's will be in remembrance of when I was  a little girl, watching Sesame Street while my mom fixed us breakfast and served it on metal trays decorated with our favorite Sesame Street characters. For me, that was Big Bird. I just loved him! 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Does any of us truly have the answer to any of life's predicaments?

I woke up this morning thinking that yesterday was a perfect day. And it wasn't that monumental things happened, it was a simple day actually.

So I asked myself, what makes a day perfect?

For me, I find that I'm happiest in the least amount of chaos. Oh sure, I can keep up and multi-task when necessary, juggling several to-do list items. But I love knowing that things on that list are complete and I have free time to do whatever I want to do. If the house is clean and the things put away, the day looms with freedom and the promise of anything great, whatever we choose.

Then I realized that this is also true with intangible things.

In the work space of my life, things aren't put away. It feels like they're all over the place. I, along with 43,999 (this is an accurate number) are being forced to make career decisions that we may or may not be ready for. I was in the latter category for about a month. A few days ago I finally accepted that ready-or-not, it was time to make choices that will affect my future. Have I reached *the* answer to the question with possible consequential results? Not necessarily. I mean does any of us truly have the answer to any of life's predicaments? Please, if you do, call me.

So, here it is. Verizon has decided that a considerable portion of their IT organization must leave the company and become employees for Info Sys, "one of the largest outsourcing contracts signed by Info Sys in recent times" -to quote one of many articles posted online.

And here I am. I've decided that I will accept the buy-out offer that Verizon has placed in front of me in package form.

I'm not ready. I like my job. I love who I work with and have worked with for years. These people are like family to me. I'm good at what I do. I'm not ready to leave. I don't want to begin another career. I am not r e a d y.

These are the thoughts that have kept me awake at night for over a month. A few nights ago, I woke up so refreshed that I questioned why, ( don't do that, accept the gift ) and found that it was because I let all of those thoughts go. I opened my clenched fists, palms up, and released them. I had full faith. I had full trust. I had peace and contentment that I haven't felt for quite some time. Not because I have another job lined up. Not because I'm sitting on a nest egg of carefully saved money. And not because I was the recent lottery winner. None of these things are true.

I think it's because I realized that the outcome I'm trying to avoid is going to happen sooner or later anyway, heavy on the sooner, so why not take their offer and take my skills to a company that I will be proud to work for. And let me  be clear, I was proud to work for Verizon. I just don't recognize the company like I used to. I am not in-the-know of their vision or future direction. Or in the very least, I'm not understanding what I do hear, and read about. I will never say a bad word about the company that gave me a career and helped me build a skill set that I can use wherever I choose to go. The company that fed and clothed me, provided a means for travel to other countries and paid my bills. 
I mean, what does one say, to the company they've spent close to twenty-five years with? 

I was in Paris, France in September past, walking the River Seine, over-hearing "Bonjour" and "merci" and drinking in the perfect day. I also heard, "Au revoir".

So, Verizon. Au revoir. Adieu. 

And good luck to you and all of us that decide the new journey will be even better, than the one before. 

See you soon friend,

PS Breakfast at Tiffany's is tacos! and more tacos! isn't *that* exciting?! Of course I will keep you posted on the comings and goings of my career life. For now, suffice to say that it's business as usual. I don't know when the actual last day will be, of my time with Verizon. And finally, GO CHIEFS! Mahomes and Co, you're my heroes! 

Third photo courtesy of my sister, Sara. That lucky girl gets to see this spectacular array of color every North Missouri Fall day.