Cruisin’ The Lakes

When some dear friends suggested a river cruise on The Great Lakes, we jumped at the idea to be a part of another amazing experience with them. We had enjoyed two other adventures with these other two couples and, of course, the thought of exploring another destination with them was enticing. As far as what we were to see…..well, that was just a bonus! I knew the Great Lakes were over in the eastern part of the country but as far as how big they were and what states bordered them, I was clueless.

As the date of departure grew closer, Covid was rearing its head once again and we were unsure whether the trip would even happen. Since we had to weave in and out the Canadian border, just the requirements and regulations were sort of daunting. However, little by little things began to fall into place when we were about a month out……and it looked like it was to be a “GO”! Then, the day before we were to leave we all met to get Covid tests at a local testing clinic, one of the specific requirements. When we all passed with flying colors the excitement began to build. And, when we got ready to head to the airport, we knew we were on our way!

We arrived in Chicago for our orientation at the Hilton and overnite stay. We boarded a bus in the morning for a brief and strategic tour of the core area of Chicago before being dropped at the gangplank of our ship, The Ocean Navigator. Being at the foot of the Cloud Gate or “The Bean” as it is referred to, where we could take pictures of our reflections in its polished stainless steel exterior was unusual and fun. Getting a chance to overlook the Pritzker Pavilion with its unique and impressive architectural structure was mind blowing. Just getting an overview of some of Chicago’s history by our tour guide was impactful. It was a thrilling way to begin our voyage and as we left the harbor on our ship with the skyline behind us, I was truly getting excited as to what lied ahead.

The first day and a half on the water I felt as if we were in the middle of nowhere as we did not see land at all. I never knew the lakes were that enormous……it was like being at sea! It was a good time to get oriented to the ship and all the amenities……as to the location of the casual meeting rooms, dining room, elevator and the “taverna”. The staff was amazing and efficient with approximately 85 to the 125 passengers. They came from all around the world and some of the most personable and hard working people I have ever met. They heightened our experience while aboard the ship and created some wonderful memories as we interacted with them daily.

Our first port was Mackinac Island in Michigan. What a perfect stop to begin our excursions! I was not prepared for the horse drawn carriages and bicycles as the only modes of transportation. No motorized vehicles allowed on the island except for police and emergencies. The horses were all Clydesdale variety and absolutely gorgeous. We toured the horse stables, the historic Mackinac Fort and Mackinac State Park from our horse drawn carriages as the driver informed us of the island’s history. We were taken right up to the entry of the iconic Grand Hotel, which is world famous, being the destination of the famous movie, “Somewhere in Time” and sporting the “world’s largest porch”. What an impressive structure, inside and out, showcasing its pristine care. As we strolled from the hotel toward the center of the quaint little town near the port we passed horses and carriages transporting visitors or wagons carrying cargo, just as they did in the 1920’s. It was like going back in time and place…..which I will never forget!

Back on the ship we were catered to our every “whim and fancy” as we dined on gourmet meals with a variety of selections each night. We had a choice of several appetizers, main courses and desserts but could add on or substitute with staples of steak, salmon, lobster or chicken filet as well as additional side dishes. Needless to say we took advantage of that……and I had lobster tails several nights, which was the best I have ever had. I cannot say enough for the quality and service of the food! It was heavenly! And, any drink your heart desired was put in front of you. We were pampered to the hilt without a doubt!

When we had leisure time on the ship there was always entertainment of some sort, whether it be line dancing, games, a movie, live music or demonstrations. We could participate if we wanted……watch or not…..and there was something for everyone.

Experiencing the cultural center and the Immaculate Conception Church at Little Current on the largest freshwater island of Manitoulin was another impactful and special experience as we got acquainted with the Ojibwe tribe’s traditions and influence. At the end of our tour we were treated to a demonstration of native dancing in their traditional dress by some of the local tribe members. Such a caring and valued community!

We went through many locks as we ventured into different bodies of water. It was interesting to watch first hand the intricate operation as we navigated our way through them. There was a minimal variance in water levels in some and a sizeable drop or increase in others. It was truly facinating!

Detroit was one of our major stops along the way. It was enlightening that the population had shifted so much in this city, dropping drastically, and it was evident in some areas. As we docked along the pier the General Motors building was right in front of us, presenting an impressive story and amazing collection of their vehicles. The three guys in our group also decided to do a tour of the Henry Ford Museum while my friend, Joni, and I took the city tour. We visited the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History which was a “five star” representation of the African American movement and evolution……beginning in Africa, through Motown and to our current time. It was an emotional and impactful story and very well done.

Cleveland, an All-American City, truly presented a positive and well managed image. The guys enjoyed “An Amish Experience” along with an authentic Amish Wedding Feast. Us girls toured the city and stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wow….that was amazing! As we wondered through the 6 levels and listened and “bopped” to a continuous flow of music it was like going down memory lane. Each of us have always been moved by music so it was something we shall never forget…..and a real highlight of our trip.

And then there was Niagra Falls……a true wonder of the world! It is beyond mind blowing to witness such raw power of the mighty falls. After venturing down into the caverns under the falls and out on the deck overlooking the great phenomenon we were treated to a lunch atop the Skylon that presented a birds eye view of it all. It was breathtaking and overwhelming! We then traveled by bus to the picturesque and boutique town of Niagra on the Lake where we meandered and enjoyed a little shopping and people watching. It was a great way to end our excursions!

We chatted and caught up with our dear friends and companions whenever we had time, made new friends and did whatever we felt like doing each day as we journeyed along our set course. With all our belongings in one place, we could just relax and enjoy every moment. As we met up on the top deck at sunset the last night when we were going through a series of locks, there was a nostalgic feeling that it was all coming to an end. Every moment of our voyage was a treasure and the people we shared it with made it the most precious of all. What a magical memory we will continue to relive and enjoy!


Seizing The Gift of Time

Photo by S Migaj on

Never has there been a time where we have had more unsolicited idle time as in this past year since Covid has taken over our lives. We find ourselves staying home more and discovering different ways to spend our leisure hours. Yes, there is an increased frustration centered around the uncertainty but there have been benefits, too.

Not only do I find myself surfing the endless streaming options but have watched so many more programs that I have never allowed myself to experience before. It has been a wonderful expansion of exposure and learning. Yes, it is frustrating that each new streaming service comes with a monthly fee but when I think about it sometimes the cost is worth the expanded options that are available. And, research has shown me that there are shortcuts to navigate the maze of opportunities. You just have to determine the interests that are most important to you.

“Zooming” with loved ones has become part of the calendar, connecting more often than ever before, enhancing relationships. It’s not just a quick “how are you” with one foot in and one foot out, but a little more in depth connection and genuine interest. For me, it seems as if my 5 brothers and sisters all really look forward to catching up with each other, where before months would go by without touching base. Our focus seems to have heightened and our connection deepened, which I dearly appreciate.

The one thing I really value is the increase in my reading that has developed. I am delving into more books and opening up to different genres. Whether it addresses my frivolous side, historical, informational, documentary or delving into my spirituality…….. or even the endless mysteries that are available, I am excited to explore a little more. I approach this as adding to my profile, feeling an additional growth into myself, “upping my portfolio”, so to speak. I am excited about any pocket of time where I can curl up and loose myself into the dialogue of a different world.

I am always amazing and “in awe” of the creative side of others as their talents are brought forward. I know of so many that have soared during this time as they stretch themselves through their crafts and exploration of new ideas and designs. This truly goes without saying that this is an investment, so to speak, into oneself as new accomplishments evolve.

What a great opportunity to dive into a “side-stepped” fitness routine, even if it is just beginning with a few stretches per day. There is a wealth of simple exercise ideas and programs online or streaming. The benefits outweighs the efforts without a doubt and the sense of well being it creates goes without saying. Why not start right now?

Reflection is something we never seem to make a part of our day as we are constantly moving forward toward the next task that is demanded of ourselves. Setting aside a few minutes daily to simply stop to concentrate on our thought process, center ourselves, take a few deep breaths or just to be “grateful” is critical to our mental health. It is amazing how a “quiet” few minutes can make a difference. This can be in the form of a cup of tea; a soak in the tub; a walk in the fresh air or just sitting on the deck taking in the sounds of nature. Getting in touch with ourselves without distraction can bring back balance and purpose. I find that if I designate a specific time of day it works better for me to follow through and be committed.

When I picture a fire burning in the hearth or soothing music playing in the background a sense of calming comes over me as I am able to concentrate on whatever fills the few precious moments that presents itself. It is a time for growth and in depth development. I want to be the best version of myself and create a stable presence for myself. When life continually presents a crazy picture of busyness and achievement there is not enough time to address the issues that are most critical to our lives during “normal” times. We have been given a “time out” to step back, breathe and address what is most important in our lives to discover who we are and what we are about. We must use this time wisely and not waste this “bubble in time”, decide for ourselves how we want to spend it and get reacquainted with ourselves! So much is at our fingertips for the taking……we just need to learn how to navigate and take advantage.

What is your “gift” or uniqueness? To say, “I don’t have one!”, means you simply have not participated in self discovery. What are you good at? What gives you a sense of accomplishment? What are you gravitated toward? We all have something that rises to the top when answering these questions. It doesn’t have to win competitive awards and could be a simple as organization, cooking, listening or social skills…….just what feeds you. This could be a great time to identify and focus…..and “up our game” as we make a difference and contribute to our troubled yet still amazing environment.

Reach out; explore and expand new or forgotten horizons! Pick up that phone and call those you care about…….Read that book you long ago put on the shelf……Finish that quilt you started ……..Dust off that yoga mat or simply ride your bike around the block……Make that recipe you have wanted to try……Maybe just clean out that closet or garage that has been waiting for over a year! Sometimes it could even mean just giving yourself permission to take a much needed day “off” to simply “be”! You will look back at it as a stepping stone to your potential and may even find yourself smiling more and with an added spring in your step. Open that window into yourself……a “gift” of time is truly an incredible opportunity! …..and you might even see the birth of a “New Normal” going forward!

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on

Did They Say “Heat Wave”?

As we started to get ready for our annual family campout I remember listening to the nightly news the night before we left with sort of half my attention. When they predicted record temperatures I didn’t think too much about it. I threw an extra fan in our fifth wheel and purchased a box of popcicles, thinking I did a little extra preparation.

When we arrived at our campsite in the mountains it was quite comfortable and I thought we “beat the heat”! We didn’t even need air conditioning at night as we breezed right through with just the vents open. I felt we were so lucky to be where we were, content and enjoying nature to its fullest!

We awoke the third morning and I could already feel the difference and the temperatures were soaring. We all headed for the river, which was just at the edge of our campground, just to cool off a little. That was a “God’s send” for sure as each person found his/her relief in the water. Adults, kids and dogs found solace in just getting wet. It is the first time we all participated together splashing, dipping, throwing rocks, swimming, tubing or just dipping our toes at water’s edge and will be remembered in a special way.

When we returned to our campsites and feasted on ice cream and just hung out under the shady trees it was obvious everyone was wilting and trying to seek their own level of comfort. “Heading for home” was on our minds, too, as the reality was sinking in as to the phenomenon we were experiencing. Was our home base okay and will our plants survive? Should we leave at this point or wait until our scheduled return in the morning?

As it turned out we stayed the last night but got up early and headed for home. This was to be one of the record temperature days and we did not want to be caught with unloading and physical efforts in mid afternoon. By the time we got everything settled and watered the yard we nearly collapsed. It was just too much. Just sitting in the cool air conditioned house was the haven we sought. We were not really hungry and all we could do was simply “hang” and pray the electricity stayed on and the air conditioner kept working.

The following day was another record breaker exceeding 115 degrees so we spent most of the day periodically spraying down our plants, which wilted almost as fast as we tackled them. We would take turns watering so not to get over heated ourselves. Even with that we had a percentage of plants that were sunburned and most all of the blooms on our potted plants just dropped off. The oppressive heat permeated every part of our house as it creeped deeper and deeper into its core. Even the freezer door in the garage was almost too hot to touch.

Never have I ever in all my life experienced the extent of a heat wave such as this one. Yes, we have hit 100 degrees many times in my life in Oregon but this was different. Other parts of the country deal with sky rocketing heat every summer for which they prepare themselves. We simply have been the destination for those people to escape it. The tide was definitely turned this time. On the heels of the wildfires last summer, the ice storm earlier this year and the historical year of Covid, my attention is peaking! There is a pattern forming as our resilience is being tested. What next lays down the road and what message is God sending us?

f know now we must be prepared for whatever comes as best as we can. Putting off buying that generator or air conditioner as well as putting together an emergency kit might jump up the list of priority. Sticking our heads in the sand just doesn’t work when we really need it.

And for me, I come to a place where I am so thankful for what I have and appreciate each day. With so much unrest in the world we must all stop and realize what it is we can control……..and that is gratitude and positivity! “Woe is me” never got anyone anywhere……except maybe down and depressed!

Into the Unknown…….

A new normal is in the works for us. What exactly that will be is yet to be written. It is more likely than not a combination of what we perceived as routine before Covid hit and the adjusted life that has become part of our world since then. Uncertainty is everywhere and at times it feels like we are frozen in place.

As we have evolved into 2021 it hasn’t been as if much has really transitioned as we had hoped. The magic corner did not feel impactful when January 1st hit the scene. The unrest is still floating in the air, social distancing is still governing our lives and we truly do not know what the future holds in many arenas. There seems to be a distrust as to what the media is really telling us as many sources convey conflicting facts. Where can we put a solid foot on the ground to go forward? It is unsettling to say the least!

I believe we must be patient and ride this wave but keep our values solid and sure. That will provide the foundation in which to build new guidelines as attempts are made to sort things out. The tricky element is that we have been in limbo for so long that an underlying urgency is beginning to erupt from within. As we head toward Spring, a sign of new life, it is natural to want to shed the restricted way in which we have found ourselves and burst free.

I foresee a hybrid atmosphere as we advance into the next plateau. We have shifted our world to include more home entertainment and a far more relaxed personal routine…… and we may want to continue to hold on to that. We have adapted to alternative ways in which to feed our families as we have gravitated to convenient pickup or delivery of our groceries, ordering ready-made meals to simply pop in the oven or converted to “take-out” dining. Online shopping has more or less replaced the in-store version. Even traveling has taken on modifications as we notice more RV’s on the road. Campgrounds are bursting to capacity and people are taking shorter road trips just to get a change of scenery. Will we really give this all up when it makes our lives so much easier?

With that being said, however, the general population is eager to resume in-house dining in their favorite restaurants, if they are still in business, and make “put on hold” vacations plans. We want the freedom to enjoy “in person” spectator sports and follow our favorite team as before. We simply want to go where we like.

I see a merging of both approaches as we cultivate and encourage what lies ahead. We no longer will take our good health for granted. We know now that exposure to disease and viruses will always be out there ready to attack so we might want to hold on to more cautious and protective measures.

On top of the Covid infliction that surrounds us, I also think of the raging wildfires that plagued us this past fall, or the floods and the windstorms after that, could God be trying to get our attention? And, our country has not been “playing nice” for quite some time and in some viewpoints gotten so far off track we might not find out way back to the basics and the words written in our nation’s Constitution. It is impossible to know what truly goes on behind the scenes that has brought us so far off course. Be it as it may we must continue to follow our hearts and stand strong for what is right and true.

As we try to figure this all out, we must decide what makes sense to us. Everyone is different with different needs, ideas and values. If we can start with the foundation of what is most important and go from there we will probably find our way. For some it is simply a matter of survival that dictates the pathway. For me, I must follow the journey laid out for me and be true to that……and maintain flexibility. If that means that my family and friends are first, I must improve my listening skills to hear both sides, and challenge myself to prioritize what is really important……..the rest will fall into place.

Whatever lies ahead we must not lose sight of existing as one and united in the same cause of caring for one another. We do not have to always agree but above all “maintain respect” so that we can once again be “United under God”, grateful for what we have and in a healthy environment.

Blip and 6 Months are Gone !!


Yes, the last 6 months have been an exercise in change……but where have they gone and what have we learned?   To say the least, our lives have been turned upside down with Covid interference.   

8141344500_fb635173cf_z[1]We go about our daily routine a little differently, for sure!   We get up the same way in the morning…..but early on during the quarantining we may not have rushed out the door in the usual frenzy, taking just a little bit more time with that cup of coffee.  When we were staying home for periods of time we began to lose track of what day it was or lost the urgency to get regular duties done.  Maybe we zoned more into streaming on television and staying up later, kicking back just a little more. 

Technology[1]Connecting via video chatting has become more a regular part of communicating  instead of face-to-face.   The Amazon delivery trucks seem to be a frequent site on just about every street as we do more shopping online.  And, “face masks” are part of our world now…..everyone has one (or six), handy in a shirt pocket or purse as we visit stores or public places.

But, as our lives meander with different twists and turns so, too, does our lives center more on one day looking like the next.  Time FliesThe days turn into weeks and then months and before we know it 6 months have passed…..and a new routine has emerged.  It is not as it was before and it is not as we will know it going forward.  We are caught creating a new path, for sure!  Some things will not change but some of what we have been experiencing will stick and be the basis to form a new standard to follow.

I, for one, have found myself relaxing a little more and enjoying the absence of urgency to get things done.  This resulted in tackling some projects this past Spring that have been put off forever it seems.  I can feel my approach more from a sense of accomplishment than “have to”!   As frustration and reluctance with the media has set in, I found myself exploring new books, television series and movies on streaming sites…..and therein I am staying in that mode, enjoying it so much more.  Kids_4[1]With so many events being cancelled I have found a new level of joy as I interact with family more, both in small patio gatherings and camping excursions.  We have definitely made some new memories for sure.   I have a better connection with my neighbors as a result of being home more, too, as we stop and visit instead of rushing past them from one place to the next.  Just taking more walks promotes being more present in my own environment…..and I simply love that!

I do miss partaking in dining out but again MP900387506[1]I have explored and found new favorites in my “at home” recipe collection, and my entertainment expense figure has shrunk sizably.  I miss attending sporting events and activities of family members but hopefully I will be able to tune in online as things open up in their new format.  What I know is that there will always be a flux in life so rolling with it all is just an adjustment in thinking, adapting and accepting. 

I believe there has been more to gain than we have forfeited within these last months.  I choose not to partake in the unrest and absurdity that has entered into our lives negatively……but choose to shift my routine encompassing what I have learned from this experience.  The time has flown by BUT it definitely has not been lost!


Congratulations Graduates !!

D2849907-ED20-44E7-BD2A-A426E04B92F0What a crazy year this has been!  We are in uncharted territory and nothing is the same as it was.   Our work environment has changed with so many businesses closing or adapting in some way.   More employees are working from home.  Shopping has become a challenge with merchandising limitations and restrictions.  Social interaction has a new identity as we strive to find new ways to connect to those we care about.  Our world seems upside down!

As things shift and change around us it is important to recognize “the student” and the challenges he/she have faced.   Schooling from home has become the standard while attempting to maintain educational goals and benchmarks.  Teachers have had to reach into their bag of tricks to keep learning fresh and exciting…..along with a cyber dependency.   With that being said, the graduates have definitely had to adjust to  unparalleled protocol.  Events that were looked forward to have been replaced with modifications at best…..or simply non existent.  Proms and parties have been cancelled.  Even receiving diplomas via “Drive-By”  or virtual reality recording  has pushed creativity to the max!

This is the year my two grandsons graduated from high school and they were anticipating a memorable year.  “Memorable” they got, but not in the normal and standard ways.  In spite of it all, I am extraordinarily proud of both of them as they took it all in stride with very few complaints.  I believe that is a testimony to just how grounded they are and the amazing job their parents have done.  Easy?  Absolutely not!!

B03E5F26-B0FF-477F-89CB-DB7145912DB1Isaac will be attending 7170E671-DABD-4DC0-ADB0-0968A7EE1773_1_105_cWestern Oregon University this fall and has simply focused on the new chapter in front of him.  He is excited to start his journey 3FB69D2C-7018-4974-9A4C-B5241BFB7C42toward being a teacher, a dream of his.   With a history of teaching and coaching in his immediate family, this is a “no brainer” for him as he has witnessed the focus of his mentors daily.

6876CB14-00CA-42D0-8E39-14EE38F6D934Mica has had his fingersA85178ED-742B-4C0C-AE1B-D1C6348F6FC2 in so many arenas throughout his growing years, accomplishing goals in spirit, sports and music. A495A53B-F8D2-4294-99A8-BC0C19739768_1_201_aThe world is at his feet as he explores his options going forward.  There is no doubt he will make his mark no matter which direction life takes him as he seems to have made an impact everywhere he goes.

C553685C-CFF6-4E73-A470-B81145D6B110Recently our family was finally able to get together to celebrate these two amazing young men.  Yes, it looked a little different as we gathered outdoors but so very special in its own rite.   Just to see the maturity that has emerged was enough to recognize in itself.  

I believe that because of the unexpected modifications in our everyday life, a new value system has begun to unfold.  What we have taken for granted is now been altered and we have to find a new normal as we look forward.  There are things that have been forever changed in the way we view our lives as we think about normal habits.  We will remember this year as pivotal for sure.  It has helped shape us in new ways, especially those embarking on the next chapter of their lives.    I am so looking forward to seeing how these two incredible people embrace their future and I know this year’s experience has made an indelible and positive difference.

Congratulations Isaac and Mica!!

801E76D0-BE71-453F-8367-EAFCF83C9586                 973994D0-1DF8-4699-9AE3-BC6CA38F202C



The Secret of the Butterfly


When I feel like crawling into a small space and closing the world around me because reality is overwhelming I try to visualize the metamorphosis of the butterfly.   Its journey is truly one of awe and wonder!

As a creepy crawly caterpillar its beginning is basic discovery.  As it emerges from its cocoon it cannot fly at all.  Its sensitive dependence on initial conditions is vital as a small change can result in a large difference.  Its wings are transparent and it survives on an all liquid diet, tasting with its feet and sometimes drinking from mud puddles.  It cannot fly if it is cold and has brightly colored wings with unique patterns.  


It is no wonder that the butterfly can be compared to our lives!  We are carried for months in a womb, being nurtured and developed.  When we are born into this world we cannot survive on our own and we are shaped by our environment. As we evolve the smallest steps taken can change our course completely.

It is important to remember butterflies are able to fly when they are warm and their needs are met.  So, too, with us, we are able to breathe and go forward when we are surrounded by acts of kindness and caring.   It is our responsibility to be aware of those around us, especially during this unusual and crazy time. There are so many more struggling, and in so many different ways.  Yes, some have faced new life changing financial limitations.  Others are reeling from the lack of personal contact and don’t even understand it.  Tempers are flaring; opinions are controversial; fear is rampid and others are simply depressed.  These are all valid realities swarming around us.

The butterfly can be viewed as a deep and powerful representation of life and it is often considered a symbol of resurrection.  These times of need, whether physical or emotional, are depleting and conflicting. NGS8060We may or may not be capable of caring for ourselves and reach in the wrong directions for help….or simply come crashing into a wall of despair.  And, we may seek a solution in a multitude of directions depending on our situations …..sometimes not in our best interest.

 As an exercise to keep truly focused on those around us and be healthy ourselves, let us close our eyes and visualize the butterfly flying freely in the sunshine, discovering all that is right and beautiful as it flutters breathlessly throughout the air, seemingly without a care.  It is a true representative of endurance, change, hope and life!


Just as the butterfly is so unique and individually beautiful with vivid colors and an airiness like no other, so too, are each one of us!   In order to discover this in ourselves we must be healthy, not only as we eat and drink, but taking care of our bodies and nurturing our minds.  We cannot help others fly until we fly ourselves!   Wouldn’t it be the best to be surrounded by all that is colorful and bright …..with a positive uplifting atmosphere, no matter the clouds that are on the horizon?   So let us soar, find our center, then make our world a better place!  It is all up to us!!

Snow Geese in Flight at Sunset





Therapy: The Power of Laughter

despair-community321-com[1]With all that is swarming around us right now……the fears and the unknown…. there is a sense of anxiety and heightened stress coloring our every day.  Am I distancing myself enough?  How do I support my loved ones when I can’t physically be there?  Will I be able to pay my bills?  And the list goes on…….

MP900321192[1]One thing I know for certain is that we can pull our world in so far we forget to breathe, encouraging an even larger crises.  This is another danger zone!  We, for sure, must take this time seriously and do what we can to do our part to help fight this unknown siege.  However, we must all help each other through this and take responsibility for ourselves and those we care about.  

According to the expert physicians a large element of this illness that is plaguing our world is the mental part of it all.  Treating anxiety and its symptoms are real and people are scared of the unknown effects in their world.  This is shown as the cannabis and alcohol sales have been skyrocketing and the added non-emergency calls that have been overloading the medical facilities.  I do know is that we must not loose our sense of release and the mental care of ourselves. 

Brother and Sister RunningIf we do nothing more than try this exercise it is at laughter_(3)[1]least one step in a positive direction that we can do now.  Close your eyes and visualize something that was “funny” or humorous that was experienced somewhere in your past.  Maybe it is something a child did, a funny encounter or a joke someone told you.  Feel the smile that emerges on your face as you go back and feel the effects.

highway_to_horizon-wide[1]There is nothing to be lost by taking a moment to feed your well being.  The posting of  Facebook jokes or silly humor is an attempt on many to lighten the mood.  Take advantage of this and seek out comedy where you can find it.  Instead of a heavy drama movie try a slapstick or upbeat plot.  Play a fun game or invent a competition with your family.  Find a way to laugh, even just for a moment, several times a day.  Believe me, it will make a difference.  laughter[1]You can’t feel the heavy weight when you are grinning ear to ear……and it can be infectious enough to transfer to others as you communicate and share.  It may take a little effort to shift focus but what is there to lose?   You might find you are breathing a little deeper and feel a little lighter…..and it may just make just enough difference to help turn this corner a little sooner!

Stay Safe……Stay Healthy…….BUT have you had your belly laugh today?smiles_398[1]


Divided We Stand

black and white people bar men

Photo by Gratisography on

As I stand back and reflect on the world that is evolving around me it troubles me to see the division.  Diversity is good in so many ways as we reach to discover and bring about change.  It pushes us to improve upon approaches and function in so many arenas.  When I think about the differences within the last decade it is almost mind boggling to see how far we have come and the development that has touched our lives.   

MP900289918[1]However, it doesn’t take long to bump in to the separation of opinions in our freedom of thinking.  It is swirling all around us with the media so ever present to penetrate and persuade our conscious awareness.   This has risen to a new height with so much noise in the political environment lately.  It feels as if we are being forced to “choose a camp” when the information being circulated may be based on whatever those that be wants us to believe.  And, in our own personal lives sometimes we face situations when a controversy arises…..and we feel as if we need to take a side.  What is real…….do we even know anymore?

When it is all stripped down what I believe is true is that we must look within ourselves and stay true to our values….maintain respect of one another and not be swayed by popularity.  We can agree to disagree, and we should,  but remove our emotions from the entire issues.  
I have always found it helpful to visualize physically walking in others’ shoes before sharing my thoughts.  It helps me understand the motivation of others from their point of view.  Through that exercise sometimes I am able to truly understand why they say or do what they do…..even if it does not match my viewpoint.

Young Couple Seated Back To BackIt saddens me to realize how divided we are and how political strategies are ever present in all aspects of life.  It seems like there is so much pressure to influence us….whether it is in how we spend our money, our social interaction or how we align ourselves in issues that affect us.  We can’t use our phones, turn on the television, enter the grocery store, drive down the street or even open our eyes without our thought process being bombarded in an effort to influence us.  Gaining information is good, but being polarized just seems wrong.   

517c40187a369b19742c2231623b9f71[1]It seems as if  negativity just closes us in and encourages negative behavior.  And, once profound statements are made we hit a whole new level as ego to become right becomes the driver.  This is not only in the political setting but everywhere.   Unfortunately  many of us experience this in the workplace as competition for positions and performance plays a huge role.  

5825630272_c94b270112_z[1]There is definitely a place in our world for cheerleaders to focus on the positive….believe in intentions……stand side by side with each other when needed….and climb MP900435893[1]mountains together.   What a great feeling to know we all want the best for each other.  We reap such great benefits when we are honest with each other, try to understand each other and truly put what is right in the forefront.  There is where we can all stand together!

Family Standing in Front of the American Flag


Count Your Blessings


I, for one, have been very fortunate in my life to experience so many wonderful things.  Yes, there has been some ups and downs, rocky times, but through it all I have been thankful for what has come my way.

I think in life we have a choice to see things as “the cup half full” or “the cup half empty”!   Feeling as if one has been continually short changed is stressful and exhausting.  After awhile it can be difficult to see anything in a positive light even if you are stumbling right over it.   And, happiness eludes us, operating in another world.

I believe there is something to be learned inFriend (2) any situation no matter what! Whether you gain a new friend or simply bounce off a trying experience by being exposed to new boundaries, it can affect your life as never before.   In some cases, it can be just knowing that making it through the journey brings a sense of accomplishment.

“Taking the high road” instead of wallowing in blame can be the difference between feeling down and frustrated or good about oneself.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of pointing the finger elsewhere.  And, “knee jerk” attack can easily breed an accelerated defense mechanism and increase emotional reactions.  Making_a_difference_(5461054026)[1].jpgHowever, when involved in a controversy, validating a person’s thought process by simply trying to understand can sway a situation toward a more amiable result.  It is good to remember that you can’t take words back once they are “out there” so to error on the side of truly  “listening before speaking” can sometimes save the day.

I am surrounded by a large and ever growing family….and feel lucky to have so many precious friends.  That supports my foundation in life as it is a window into myself.  I value each opportunity to spend time with each person and create memorable experiences.  We all don’t think alike but, I believe, the diversity is our strength and each brings another dimension to the table.

Each adventure or incident has taught me to appreciate the journey as I meander through this crazy life.  Spirit[1]My faith helps me to bridge the gaps during trying times and hardships.  I know there is a purpose to everything, even if we can’t see it in each moment. I am continually praying for strength and asking for strong arms to hold me steady through unforeseen obstacles in order to feel grounded.

With so much debate and wrangling floating all around us, it can be more difficult than ever to see the good but we simply must in order to reap any benefits at all.   There are those in the world that have no choices at all (including food, medicine or even a roof over their heads) and we have so very much.  MP900185146[1]There are miracles everywhere we look, even in the wonders of nature or the touch of a hand.  They must not pass us by unnoticed because we are so bogged down by the junk around us that draw us in.  We must realize that politics and media have their own playing rules….and we have the freedom to have our own.   We must do what we can within our power to maintain  positivity and a solid value system.  The alternative is to be sucked into the doom and gloom and the muck.

So, take a deep breath and look around.  Stop just long enough to take a mental inventory of all the great and amazing things you hold most dear in your life.  There is so much wonder, beauty and special moments happening right before our eyes.  What a blessing in itself!   If we all let the sediment sink to the bottom and turn our focus on the beauty and what is going right the sense of peace will lighten our load enough to see through the haze and soak in all that is good!  Close your eyes and take a deep breath…….feel the difference!  We are all truly blest!

Snow Geese in Flight at Sunset