The Best in Friends

For the past 2+ years, I have hosted a couple of online women’s groups. Friendship circles, actually. And, in those spaces, grace showed up and taught me how to navigate the somewhat tricky terrain of connection.

I’ll admit, I struggle with the whole idea of friendship in general. You know, that whole letting “my guard down, opening my heart, and truly letting people in” thing. It’s defInitely been hard for me.

You see, a million moons ago, around the high school time frame, I had a “best” friend. And, I mean “attached at the hip, did every-single-thing as a team, if one was faint in breath, the other one would pick up the breathing slack, type of friend.

We celebrated together, cried together, lifted others up together, supported each other together, dreamed big together. We had tremendous life goals and were going to accomplish amazing things! Game plan? Check. Grand ideas? Check. Gonna rock the world? Double check.

It was all sooooo great, until it wasn’t and we didn’t. The friendship ended painfully and abruptly and with that, I think half of my heart fell out.

Eeks!! Wouldn’t it be easy to just sum it up to lessons of an impressionable youth? Just slap a “that happens sometimes” sticker on and move along. For me, though, the loss ran much deeper and stayed around for so many years.

Honestly, I haven’t had a “super gigantic, all inclusive, complete trust-filled, laugh “til you both wet your pants, open your heart ALL the way up, singular, best friend” since.

Scars do that, you know? Scars crust things over. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t completely give up, I tried again. If you’ve been through it, you may understand that draw, that craving, that quest almost to try to fill in that gaping hole.

For me all of those things equaled the perfect pathway directly into settling. As in, settling for friends. Boy, has that been a bumpy trail.

The other day, I told you that I’ve been working through the book, “The Artist’s Way.” Basically, it is a tool to help unblock limited beliefs and things that can slam on the brakes to creativity. During my work, interestingly, I discovered that I have some kind of attachment to the word ‘one.’

Like, if I get one of something, I hang onto it for dear life. One pair of shoes, one towel, one purse, one pen, one way of doing things. I hang onto things until they are completely worn out, barely functioning, and actually, right now, in this moment, I’m wondering if it stems from that huge, heartbreaking friend loss all those years ago…

Makes sense. Fear of something ending badly sure can sway the trajectory of things.

Call it life lessons or perhaps just some wisdom plus maturity, but my grand adventurous journey of finding and essentially replacing that one best friend has ceased. Instead, I have opened my heart space up to the notion that friendship isn’t a one size fits all venture and for me, maybe it never was.

In fact, an amazing soul sister I know recently shared something so cool with me! It was along the lines of: different people can make up whoever it is we need.

So, in my thinking, one person could be the “laugh ‘til tears run-er.” Another could be the “talk openly to-er”. The next one is maybe a “sure, I’ll help you feed a family, let me go grab a meal-er.” And, another may be the “having something at your house, I’m going to show up-er.” And, another could be the “cry if you want, I understand-er.” And, a whole bunch of them all put together could be the “cheer-ers, celebrate-ers, let’s dream big-ers.”

Wow! What a cool concept!

So, wherever you are in your quest for best friendship, let’s honor that. If you have one fabulous bestie- bravo!! If you’re more like me and have an ever expanding **value pack** of friends- bravo!! Or, if you’re still on the quest to find best friends, bravo!! Keep trying!!

What a lesson! Who knew that some thing from so long ago could have such a hold? And, that maybe in my lifelong mission of trying to find the best of friends, I actually found the best IN friends.

P.S. I think today I may do something I’ve never done before!!! Go buy TWO pairs of shoes! ❤️

Thank you for reading, I hope you have an glorious day!

The Middle

Where to start writing after a six plus month period of not writing. Tricky. The beginning sounds sort of reasonable maybe, but some ‘begin to now’ timeline feels a bit more linear today than I’d like.

My last post was a self invented challenge of sorts to not post any photographs and simply write, words. To essentially get back to the roots of why I started this blog in the first place.

From May to now, I have a whopping zero posts done. None. I suppose I could chalk it up to all the normal stuff that comes into play: busy with other things, life, this and that, the days tic by and before I knew it, half a year had passed. Those certainly are a huge chunk of it.

But, also intertwined in the mix was a combo of blocks. Maybe you know them? Writer’s Block, Artist Block, Creativity Block. Seems like they can sneak in when we are preoccupied with various things and they can make themselves right at home.

Soon, staring at a blank screen or blank notebook can lose its appeal and become an avenue of “I should write/ draw/ create, but I can’t. Nothing is coming out.”

Which, really, is not the coolest thing ever. It’s like sitting on the edge of some grand-to-me idea but not being able to pinpoint what exactly it is. Last spring that is where I was. I had a feeling I was meant to be doing some ‘thing’, but couldn’t figure it out what it was.

Until I did. An amazing tool showed up. Enter the book called, “The Artist’s Way.” I love that, don’t you? How tools show up? Especially those times when they really, truly resonate.

As I did the tasks, the blocks started becoming clear. Where they came from, how they got there, why they stuck. Things I had totally forgotten about such as: comments made to me in my youth, getting yelled at by the art teacher in sixth grade in front of everyone, competitiveness carried over from many years, and more. As I continued to do the work, more things unraveled.

What a gift it is to let all that stuff go, even now.

To open up and let my authentic in like I have never been able to do before. It’s been a somewhat hard, but beautiful adventure. I saw old patterns and even figured out why I’ve never had the confidence to stand up for myself or on my own.

Enlightening, to say the least. Anyway, tonight I had a draw to the blog, to write some post about whatever came to mind. This is it, ha ha. It feels really nice to sit down and write something again. So instead of starting at point A and going to Z, I believe I’ll keep writing from right where I am, in the middle.

Simply Words

This poor blog, forever faithful, just waiting for me to write something. Anything. Seven months have pasted since my last post, which seems quite unreal.

We all know how quickly the months parade on by, without even blinking, but, dang time can slow down already.

Here it is, almost summertime. My peonies are bursting with petals and color. All our trees are long past blooms and are wearing their lovely greens.

This week has been crazy with storms. Two days in a row it got very dark and the wind unleashed itself and whipped about. Lots of damage in areas around us, but we were spared.

I’ve tried to blog recently using my phone. I’d like to think that I am pretty technology savvy.  I mean, for eleven months last year, I was taking a super hard computer IT class.

It was amazingly difficult and I did pretty well. I learned about figuring out what’s wrong with a computer, the Linux operating system, Windows, administrative tools, working on the command line, how networking works, internet security and more.

So, here is the funny thing. I used to blog from my phone, which is essentially a computer of sorts. I could upload my pictures to my blog page right from my phone. Easy. Convenient. Loved it. But, now, I can’t. Enter two words: parental controls.

My gosh, that makes me laugh. There is some setting on my phone that won’t allow me to share my photos with WordPress. No luck. I have googled it. I have tried resetting the settings. Nothin’.

What’s a girl to do? A girl that is born to write?

I decided that maybe this is a test of sorts. Honestly, I started this blog to write and as it progressed, I got rather distracted by photograph sharing instead.

Which is fabulous, I LOVE taking pictures, it’s one of the best things I know how to do. But, I notice looking back at old posts, there’s lots of pictures and little words.

I’m going to challenge myself to get creative with words again. To get my keyboard clicking and letters to appear on the screen. If any of you are still here, I guess we will see where this leads.

It used to be when I would publish a post, the sweet folks on my email list would be notified. Not sure if that still happens when a blog has become quite stagnant for months on end. Guess we will see.

Maybe I will eventually figure out how to upload my pictures here. I’d really love for you to see my flowers and my chickens, who are new. We got three hens a few days ago and I love them!

Kittens are next on the list of things we’d like to have. So, hopefully, pictures will show up here again. For now, though, it’s simply words.

I Thank You

They say time flies by, but I’ve noticed it’s more like a track meet at the long jump competition where they dash to the line and jump an enormous amount of feet in the air.

While some days it feels like time is a perpetual turning on clock hands that never stop, sometimes time flows as swiftly as a river’s current on its way to other places.

Today when I opened up my notifications, this picture greeted me! Four years of blogging! FOUR YEARS!! What? Who? When? Where did four years go?

I thought about where I was four years ago today. Back then, a few days before, I had been released from a week long unexpected hospital stay and was sent home thinking I had the possibility of having something pretty catastrophic wrong with me.

In the wee hours of this anniversary night four years ago, I hid in my closet and somehow figured out how to set up a blog! I was one of those “I’m never going to blog” girls, but sickness and the thought I might not have much time to spare, shifted things very quickly.

I had no idea how to blog, so I bought “WordPress For Dummies” and I figured it out step by step. Pure determination.

So, today I’m going to celebrate the fact that they were wrong about me, that I’m still here, and that I’m so grateful for this blog. I’ve made a lot of friends by blogging and it’s been amazing adventure of creativity and self expression in my writing and photography. To be able to share things with the world is such a gift.

Whatever your part in my journey has been, I thank you. ❤️

Mirrored Back

I’m a huge fan of catching the way light bends at a thousand different angles and reflects back on a surface, say glass or water for instance. Nature has such a extraordinary way of catching what it sees. Simplicity at its finest.

Sometimes life can be similar: do something kind for someone, they see it, and kindness is reflected back.

Well….. yesterday I had an interesting experience with kindness and I’m feeling a nudge to share it here. It’s so not my normal post, but sometimes the lessons live in places rarely seen.

So yesterday, my friend had a yard sale. When it was over, there was a lot of stuff left. We loaded it up in my pickup and her car and she knew a place in town we could take it.

I arrived first. I had a really uneasy feeling when I got out and put my tailgate down. There was a sign in the window mentioning video cameras and I looked up and saw two.

Video cameras. In a little tiny town. At a little place with a donation box out front. Hmm.

I took two of the bags over to the donation box, set them down, then stopped because I felt SO uncomfortable.

Video cameras and donations?? I mean, I know I’m old fashioned, but that just seems so contradictory to me.

I decided to wait until my friend arrived. Our kids were with us and they helped us fill up the donation box with items we don’t need anymore to help someone else out.

The reflection.

Like light hitting water and mirroring an image, the kids see kindness, then grow up and are kind.

We finished and got in our vehicles to leave. I had the windows rolled down and kiddos sitting in my pickup, when really nice truck pulled up. I thought they were there to make a donation, too. Cool!

Ummmm… no.

In a mean voice, the words that burst out of the driver’s mouth had me confused at first.

“Are you stealing out of that box?”

Did I say mean? Because it was mean and demanding and he was talking to ME.

You know those moments where you want to turn around and see if they’re talking to someone behind you? Nope, nobody back there.

It took a few seconds for his words to register. Someone was actually accusing me of stealing. Not only that, but stealing out of a donation box we had just filled.

It’s a long story, but the couple in the truck run the place, say they have people who steal, and evidently assumed I was doing the same.

Believe it or not, it ended on a friendly note. After we explained that we had just filled the box and they explained their position and apologized, we went our separate ways, but the lessons still linger.

What bothers me the most is the kids just had this super cool experience of giving their things to help someone else out, then heard all the rest. The windows were down….

So, will this stop me from being kind and making kindness generational? Not likely. I was raised being taught to share and help others when I can, I mean, isn’t that what life is about? We show how kindness works to our kids, they show their kids.

Weird things happen and sometimes people can be completely unreasonable, but maybe it’s good to just keep carrying on. To keep doing what we do, in the ways we do it. Because we never really know when our kindness can change someone’s life.

Want to know the really cool thing about that? Its not up to us to know who that someone is.

Who knows, maybe the next kind soul who pulls in and fills a donation box will be met with grace and gratitude, which is what would be lovely to see, mirrored back.

McCormack Lake

Sunday we went to a lake I’d been to once before. Standing in the parking lot, I remembered why I’d liked it the first time. It was quiet, there was a beaver dam, and it was easy on the eyes. Yeah, I liked it just as much this time around.

However, after we left the parking lot, my husband drove down a gravel road less traveled. Then, he pulled down onto a road to nowhere and I got out.

There I stood at the opposite end of the lake, and quite honestly, it was one of those moments, you know? Those instances where you see something SO beautiful that all you can do is weep.

And, I did.

To me, nature is like air. No wonder people hike thousands of miles or even a few.

A few steps over, this way or that, and your entire perspective can change.

So Many Changes in a Week

I was born in Southwest Iowa and raised in Northwest Missouri. If you’ve seen the news lately, you will know that Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri are all underwater.

I’ve got to be honest with you here, seeing all those pictures of the “ocean’ that is engulfing the small towns, farms, and livelyhood of my family and friends that live in that area, yanks my heart and causes my tears to fall.

But here’s the thing, we are resiliant. I may not live in that area anymore, but it is still home. Yesterday, there was a New York Times article about Hamburg Iowa. I was born in Hamburg Iowa and my folks still live not to far from there in the town where I was raised. When “home” is hurting, it hurts.

When I read this beautiful post of Faye’s yesterday, I asked her “please, please, please may I reblog this?” Her words about Nebraskans are how I feel about so many people in all the areas affected by the flood. Kindness and being neighborly doesn’t stop at the state lines up there. Everything Faye says here is also true about people in Southwest Iowa and Northwest Missouri.

Thank you, Faye, for letting me share your insights, compassion, and love. I am so proud of where we are from and I want people to know it.

PS Mom and Dad, wanted you to read this.

The Chicken Grandma

IMG_5525 2What a difference a week can make!  Last week at this time we were watching flood waters rise, snow melt at an alarming rate and pumping water away from the house. This morning we sat on the deck in the sunshine and enjoyed the warmth immensely.

Our river is making it’s way back into the banks where it should be, ice bergs are turning dirty and look lonely in the middle of fields. The ice jam on the river has made it’s way downstream and I have a tulip blooming in a pot.

I am reminded of the fact that downstream all is not well and won’t be for a very long time. Nebraska is suffering greatly. Ranchers have lost herds, ground and are overwhelmed. Entire towns have been submerged with ice floes inside buildings where people used to gather. Wells have been compromised so water restrictions are in place…

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A Pink Truck and Paintbrushes

A few weeks ago I saw that there was a painting class being offered in our new town. I loved the picture of an old truck with a Christmas tree in the back, so I signed up.

Last night, I walked into a building that was nearly bursting with people the class was so full. And, there I was, knowing absolutely no one, looking for an empty place to sit…

Eeks! Have you ever been in that position? Trying to find an empty seat and feeling like there’s a flashing neon sign around you that says, “I came ALONE!!!”

Finally, I spied two empty chairs right up front, so I headed in that direction. As I stepped past one to grab the other, I heard someone say that I could sit there.

Whew! Relief! A seat!

Oh my gosh, you guys! I’m pretty sure the night couldn’t have gone any better. The gals I ended up sitting by were fabulous, kind, and funny. I had a total blast and genuinely laughed at times I wasn’t even expecting to.

After I got home, I showed my painting to my husband and Little Bit, then reflected on my lessons learned:

  • trying something new is an adventure worth taking
  • walking into a place where you know no one is worth the risk
  • alone isn’t necessarily alone
  • kindness lives, it really, truly does

Here’s to small towns, random Monday evenings, a pink truck and paintbrushes.

Leaving Home

It’s the last Friday in this house

9 years of adventures here have lead us to a new road

I savor the quiet of this morning

The way the sun fills up the rooms

Shadows from the window panes laid out across my hope chest

Dishes in the sink

Toy cars strewn about

Birds on the feeder outside our back door

The sound of the neighbor’s tractor as he mows

A white cow in the pasture

20 little birds just flew into the back yard, I’m standing at the back door and here they came

Little Bit sleeping in on his last Friday morning in his “will be” old room

Me, in my pajamas, wandering around my house, embracing these moments

That one day I’m going to miss

Jewels in June

Here it is, the last day of May already. I just want to tell you what an amazing month it’s been. Over on Facebook, a friend and I started a revolution called Miracles in May.

Participating was simple: share a picture of what a miracle looks like to you and add a hashtag, #miraclesinmay.

So, what sparked the idea and why miracles?

Well for starters, miracles are like the coolest things ever!! Did you know that:

  • Miracles are possible for everyone? It’s true! Every single one! Even me, even you.
  • That even a small movement on Facebook could change the world? Heck yeah! Let’s say, I posted a picture of a miraculous sunset. If someone hit that Like button, my miracle may have opened them up for receiving miracles! Maybe the next time they saw a sunset, they’d think it was a miracle, too!
  • Where miracles are concerned, it’s all about the noticing. The more you notice, it increases the possibility of more to come in.
  • Miracles can “live” a few steps past surrender, forgiveness, and giving stuff back.
  • Miracles can be tiny or humongous.
  • Sometimes miracles drop our jaws or bring tears to our eyes.
  • Miracles remind us that we are worthy.
  • They can suddenly appear and we may shout out, “Did you see that?” And, if someone else did, that’s a miracle x 2.
  • They give us something to look for.
  • They’re free.
  • Nature is a haven for miracles. Blue sky? Miracle! Wildflowers growing in the ditch? Miracle. Ocean waves? Miracle. Hummingbirds? Miracle!
  • Miracles join people together.
  • They bring hope, restore faith, and can plaster a big smile on someone’s beautiful face!

Wow! That’s quite a list!

Even though Miracles in May is ending today, the possibility for miracles is not. I’d love to introduce you to this month’s miracle revolution. We’re going to follow the same format: post pictures of your miracles with a different hashtag. Hope you will join us for Jewels in June.

This Wonderful House

Have you ever moved? Ugh. It’s sooooooo much work.

For days, I’ve been in this big frantic panic to get my house completely perfect in case someone wants to look at it to buy it.

The selling market in our area is super good right now and I want my beautiful house to look really nice for someone, so I’ve practically been knocking myself out to get all of our “life” out of it.

Seems like there’s a lot of pressure to fix a house up just so, to sell it. The internet is full of advice on everything from curb appeal to how to arrange the cupboards in order to sell a house.

I’ve completely fallen for it, too. Yesterday, I packed up every nook and cranny of my pick up and hauled our stuff to a storage unit in town. It’s not the first load that’s gone there either!

Last night on Facebook, I posted the picture below of my cleaned up kitchen cupboard. I was so proud of myself for organizing it so it’d look beautiful for someone else.

That’s pretty ironic and makes me chuckle now, because, come on! My cabinets never look this good. Who has time for this kind of fancy? Ha ha.

This morning, a friend commented about how in the old days there wasn’t such a fuss to get a house ready to sell. She mentioned that people just came over, and if they liked it, they bought it. They sold four houses that way.

Now there’s a concept. Live your life, in your house, with your things, and invite buyers in. For real? Even with dust on the piano and crumbs on the counter?

This reminder came at the perfect moment. When Little Bit was a baby, someone with grown kids gave me some excellent advice. She said:

‘I wish I would have played with my boys more when they were little and vacuumed less. I was always so worried about having a clean house. They grew up so fast.”

I’ve kept that with me and I try to live by it. I’m usually not a stickler for housework, it can wait. Little boys are only little for so long. Dust isn’t going anywhere!

So, my friend’s comment today really got my thinking about what kind of message I’m sending not only to my kiddo, but to myself, if I feel like I have to hide my life away in some storage unit so that strangers can see my home?

Then, something shifted and it suddenly dawned on me that I don’t have to do that. I can choose to just live here until we don’t. I can choose to let Little Bit play and scatter his things about until we sign on some line that we live somewhere else.

What a gift this is! I sure don’t want him having 9 great years here, but only remembering some perfect version of our house with none of our things in it before we even moved out! Eeks.

So, here’s what I’d love the ad on my house to say:

“Want to see my house? Come on in! Thinking of buying my house? Let’s take a look around. Let me share some stories. Look out the windows. Come back at night and see the stars. Look in my messy cabinets and toy filled rooms. This isn’t a perfectly manicured magazine cover, this is a perfect house. One with wood floors for bare feet. One with views of the neighbor’s old barn and silo. One with a tree in the backyard that’s been struck by lightning many times, but is still standing. This house has been filled with Christmases and birthday parties. The yard has flown kites and been filled with Easter eggs. This house has been a haven and a refuge. It’s kept us warm and dry. It’s been filled with laughter. If you feel at home here, then this is the house for you.”

That’s it!! I’m giving back the “have to’s” and the extreme urgency I’ve been feeling to get everything about selling this house right. It’s already “right!”

Wahoooo! Forget cleaning! Today we are playing cars, reading books, and playing in the hose.

Soon enough, someone else will be doing that here, because I know in my heart, that no matter how many perfect kitchen cupboards I have, this wonderful house will sell itself. ❤️

Miraculous Miracles

For a while now, things with our move have sort of been at a stand still. Our lake property that we’ve been trying to sell for over a year, hasn’t had a nibble. The farm we have picked out in the new town, hasn’t been moving forward. Like at all.

Stuck.

Have you ever felt like you were completely and utterly stuck in limbo? Knowing you’re going somewhere, but never really leaving? Oh my gosh, that gets old.

For me, that has left me right in the middle of frustrated. Going somewhere, but not so much.

Enter Sunday. Throughout the day on Sunday, I found SEVEN four-leaf clovers!! What?? Ok, I rarely even ever find one. So, finding number four, five, and six, I was like, “no way!”

Way!!!

And, those seven clovers changed everything! Are you ready for this?

Yesterday morning, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was some kind soul making an offer on our lake cabin!!! Are you kidding me? Completely out of the blue!

Then, the farm that we’ve had our eye on, became a real possibility yesterday!! Plus, another house that would be a great fit for us, opened up! Sunday afternoon, it had another offer on it. Yesterday,, that offer fell through!

What? Whoa! Are you talking to me?? Needless to say, I about fell over.

Why this sudden grace of good luck? I mean, how do all of things amazing things suddenly happen in one day?

Honestly, in my heart, I believe it’s because I gave a bunch of stuff from the past back.

In yesterday’s post, (you can read it here if you like.), I told you about how I realized that everyone else’s stuff I’ve taken on in my life, wasn’t ever mine. So, I gave it back.

Talk about freeing! By doing so, I think opened my heart up to receive more of the good stuff.

Recently, during one of the classes I took, I learned that by letting go of the old yucky stuff, stories, and looping thoughts, we actually create pathways for new things to come in. We create abundance!

So, say I have an old story that I’m carrying around and even though I’m completely justified in my thoughts and feelings towards it, it is s-t-i-l-l holding me back and it is s-t-i-l-l blocking the good things from coming in.

BUT, by releasing it, new wonderful things can come in?? Completely unprompted? They just show up?

Whoa! How cool is that? Hmm. Yes! Sign me up.

Here’s to four-leaf clovers, letting go, and having faith. What a beautiful few days it’s been. Freeing and full of miraculous miracles.