Conundrums

unsolveableWhen I close my eyes and think about the all-loving God that I grew up knowing, I feel comforted like a warm blanket around my shoulders. The idea that if I pray hard enough, am good enough and it’s God’s plan everything will be OK, is one that I’ve subscribed to most of my life. The thought that having a “mustard seed’s” worth of faith can “move mountains” sustained me when questions and doubt have plagued me. Especially now — in such uncertain times when the COVID-19 pandemic, our government’s response to it and our actions and reactions to that dominate headlines and our social media feeds—this should be enough to see me through, but it’s not.

In my personal life manifesto, if you read it to the very end, I wrote, “Religion isn’t always truth. God is love. Fear is the enemy.” I believe this. I feel disillusioned with religion and have so now for several years. I’ve been afraid to write those words for fear of what others might think. Yet, my mind won’t let it go. If God has a plan and knows me, then He knows what paths my mind takes. He won’t let me rest until I write. And so here it is, my conundrum… Maybe like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, “God” is just another imaginary entity humans created to give us comfort in the knowledge that someday we all will die and hope that we will see our loved ones who have passed away again.

Even more so now, I’ve come to think that the world would be a better place with less religion rather than more. How many atrocities occurred and continue to occur in the name of a religion? It is just random happenstance, that I was born into a Christian family in the United States. I could just as easily have been born to a Muslim family in Iraq, a Hindu family in India, a Jewish family in Israel, a Buhdist family in China or an atheist family anywhere. People think strongly that their religion is the “right” one, but no one really knows definitively whose religion is the “right” or “wrong” one. Maybe they are all right or maybe none of them are. We are all biased. We believe what confirms our biases and dismiss or ignore the rest. My religion isn’t better or more right than anyone elses.

Politics and religion are typically two topics I’ve tried to avoid. Our country’s founders were clear on separating “church” and “state,” but they’ve become very entwined. Maybe, they always were? What’s the point of talking about something that riles everyone up and that you can’t really change anyway? Why should I care about public policies and agendas if they don’t affect me directly? Everyone has a right to their own opinions. Correct? On the flip side, why should I be afraid to share my thoughts and opinions? Our country was founded on freedom of speech. Why be afraid? Because, hate and retaliation are very real today. Name calling and belittling are not far-fetched responses to expect from those who disagree. Ignorance is bliss. Right? Am I better off not knowing what others’ political and religious views are? I long for the days of not knowing. However, I realize that this is not a luxury I can afford. I was privileged to not have to know as it didn’t really affect my life one way or the other. However, over the past few years I find it harder and harder to tamp down the uneasiness within me and remain quiet. Silence equals complicity. I believe this. Yet, reading posts and comments that are hateful, untrue and biased cause my blood pressure to rise, my stomach to turn and uneasiness to flow through my body. Responding doesn’t change anyone’s mind and seems to feed animosity. And so, I unfollow negative people, stop myself from reading comments on articles and limit the amount of news I view out of self-preservation. But does doing this, then make me complicit? This is where I struggle.

One of the basic teachings of Christianity can be found in Matthew 25:37-40

 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. “

Matthew 25:37-40  – NIV

Jesus did not teach that you only have to help the least of these if they are Christians and U.S, citizens. Thus, I have a hard time understanding how people can reconcile supporting President Trump and still consider themselves to be Christians. You only have to actually read the president’s Twitter feed or listen to one of his speeches to know that he does not remotely align with any of these core teachings. What does the economy matter, when people are hungry, sick and seeking shelter and we turn them away? Will a great economy, make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren if our water and air is polluted? What does it matter if taxes are lower, when our national debt grows? What does it matter if business is booming, if people are dying from COVID-19 and our health care system is overwhelmed?

When do his supporters finally wake up and admit they made a mistake in voting for and supporting this man? He is more concerned about his ratings, blaming others (the Democrats, the Fake News, the elite academics, Obama, Clinton and on and on), than he is in taking responsibility for his mistakes and being an empathetic leader. Yes, we should rally around our president in times of trial and put partisian politics aside. However, there is also a time to take a hard look at whether this president can look beyond his own ego and selfishness to do what is best for our country. Yes, both political parties have their flaws. There is name calling, lies and corruption all around. However, two wrongs have never made a right. I may not agree with all of Governor DeWine’s policies, but he makes me proud to be an Ohioian. He embodies the leadership and empathy that we need right now.

I would rather pay higher taxes, if it means helping those less fortunate, ensuring everyone has affordable healthcare and housing and protecting our environment.  Sure, there will always be people that would take advantage of said help, who don’t really need it, but I’d rather the help still be available to those who do. If that makes me a liberal, socialist, elitist or any other “ist” so be it. I own it. I would much rather live in a kinder, less selfish world.

This is Me

Photo of Shar
This is Me

As I head into week three of working from home and sheltering in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am so grateful to work for a company and have a job that lets me easily work from home. Aside from the inconvenience and heartbreak of missed events, I know that I am blessed not to have financial worries on top of health concerns. Not only that, but my company, Solana, cares deeply about our employees, our customers and the people they serve. Last year, they partnered with Diana Patton, a truly inspirational woman. We each had two, one-on-one coaching sessions with her. Her focus for each of us was on emotional intelligence and empathy as a means to inspire innovation. While I have always felt like I am an empathetic person, she helped open my eyes to ways I could be doing more and work on me so that I could be a better advocate for others.

As you know, life happens and while initially I began to focus on doing just that, I became lax and content to spend my evenings watching Netflix and playing Wordscapes on my iPhone. This past week, my company gave us the opportunity to mee with Diana again. I seized on that opportunity had an uplifting session (via Zoom) with her where she reminded me to not igonre the voice inside of me that wants to speak out. She encouraged me to do what I do best -write. Her words of wisdom to me in her follow up email were:

Now is the time for you TO ALLOW your inner HERO to come out. You have great things to share and I SAY WHY WOULDN’T you just go for being you. Here’s what I know for sure: When you start caring less about what others think about you, and start caring more about what you think of yourself, your true potential can be set free. That’s a fact. So, let’s make this happen. 

Diana Patton, Founder and CEO of the RISE program.

The last time we met she recommended writing a personal manifesto for myself. I spent a lot of time drafting and refining it to reflect me. I try to read it often to remind myself of who I am and who I want to be. So, I am going to lean in to my inner hero, be a bit vulnerable and share part of that with you. May it inspire you as this virus forces us all to slow down to reflect on who you are and who you want to be. Thank you Diana!

My Mission Statement

To advocate for others, love myself as I am and inspire kindness, empathy and both/and thinking through my writing, actions and interactions with others.

My Top Five Values

I value:

  • Family – I value connecting with and spending quality time with my daughters and boyfriend as well as our families and friends.
  • Creativity – I value spending quiet “me” time reading, writing, gardening, walking, taking/editing photos or working on some other creative project.
  • Integrity – I value meeting my commitments/deadlines and keeping promises.
  • Peace of Mind – I value having a sense of “order” in my life (bills paid, house clean, laundry done etc.).
  • Making a Difference – I value helping others, being kind and generous and inspiring others.

My Core Beliefs

  • Strive to be more, but remember I am worthy of love as am I in the moment I’m in. #iamenough
  • Personal boundaries are a must for healthy relationships. Speak up when they are crossed.
  • Focus on helping others, but not to the detriment of my wellbeing.
  • Ask for help when needed. Needing others doesn’t make me less.
  • Be generous and trustworthy. Keep promises. Don’t say “Yes,” when I want to say “No.”
  • Words and actions should match each other.
  • Lift others up and reach out when someone is struggling.
  • Respect others’ time.  Be on time or let others know when running behind.
  • Listen before speaking. Try not to be quick to offer advice unless asked.
  • Treat people with kindness and do not take things personally. Refrain from name-calling and defensiveness when someone disagrees.
  • Equality does not equate to equity. Stand up for those less fortunate and use privilege to help others.
  • If two people love each nothing else matters.
  • Diversity makes the world a better place.
  • Go on adventures, be curious, continue learning and don’t be afraid to leave my comfort zone to try something new.
  • Experiences are more valuable than things.
  • Family and friends are more important than money.
  • Determine whether a purchase is a “need” or a “want” before buying. Impulsive spending depletes savings quickly. Having savings is important for rainy days and peace of mind.
  • Embrace vulnerability. Live authentically. Don’t let what others think change who I am.
  • Worry solves nothing. Beating myself up over past mistakes and obsessing over the future do not change what I can’t control. Live in the moment. Forgive past mistakes. Plan for tomorrow.
  • Taking a deep breath, going for a brisk walk and knitting help calm me down when I’m having anxiety.
  • Quiet time helps me recharge.
  • Comparing myself to others serves no purpose. Judging others is unproductive. Everyone is unique and valuable in their own way and so am I.
  • Black and white either or thinking leads to polarization. Multiple ideas can be valid at the same time and can co-exist. Both and thinking creates harmony and inclusiveness. Being right at all costs will leave me lonely.
  • Make good food choices and take time for personal development. Exercising, meditating, journaling, reading and active selfcare lead to a healthy body and mind.
  • Resist “googling” symptoms and test results before talking to my doctor. Doing so leads to worry, which solves nothing (see above).
  • Limit social media and news consumption. Reading and responding to negative comments saps my energy. I won’t change minds here. Take action in other ways to make a difference.
  • The Earth is a gift with limited resources. Take care of the environment so that future generations can walk in the forest, swim in the ocean and breathe fresh air.
  • Put things back where I got them and clean up after myself. A tidy space makes me happy.
  • Religion isn’t always truth.
  • God is love.
  • Fear is the enemy.

Silence Equals Complicity

silence=complicity

Not long ago I attended a lecture at Bowling Green State University as part of their “Beyond the Dream” series in conjunction with Black History Month. The speaker that evening was Opal Ayo Tometi, one of the co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter. Her speech and dialogue with the audience was inspiring, thought-provoking and to me more than a little unsettling. Since hearing her speak, a little over a week ago, her words have tumbled over and over in my mind, causing me to reflect upon my own fallacies, biases and re-evaluate how I can be on the just side of history.

Tometi said that we are living in a history-making (with a capital “H”) moment in time. She talked about some of the other capital “H” time periods of the past. Like her, I can remember sitting in history classes learning about the horrible injustices and tragedies of our past. I too, read about the underground railroad that helped people escape from slavery, the bravery of Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on the bus and the senseless, horrific murder of Emmet Till. I tried to picture what life would have been like back then and who I would have been. Would I have been brave enough to be part of the underground railroad? Would I have marched in solidarity with the people in Montgomery? I would like to unequivocally say of course I would have! I know that I would have seen the injustice, but I’m not so sure that I would have been brave enough to stand up to it. I was relieved to think that at least these atrocities and injustices were history. They were events that happened before I was born in a “different” time. Yet I only have to turn to my Twitter feed to be reminded that these types of atrocities and injustices are still very prevalent in our society today and that I am living in “this” time that will some day be my grandchildren’s “different” time.

One of the talking points that Tometi hit on hard was that acknowledging injustice and being aware of injustice is not enough. She went on to say that if you are silent and do nothing (even if you are not the perpetrator of the injustice) that you are complicit. Silence equals complicity. Those words won’t stop haunting me. Those words were my wake up call. From my earliest blog posts/newspaper columns, I’ve tended to focus on the silver linings of life, the little things that make you feel warm inside and smile. I’ve tried to avoid writing about topics that stir up feelings of anger, pain and despair. My philosophy has always been to remain uninvolved and refrain from commenting in social media or sharing my opinions in conversations if they differed or would cause conflict. My notion that if I quit reading the news, stopped following people whose opinions were different than mine and just kept my thoughts/comments to myself I would be a lot happier was shot to hell by that statement – silence equals complicity.

My conscience won’t allow me to be complicit. I want to not only acknowledge and stand against the many injustices in this world, but I want to make a difference and do what little I can to bend the arc towards justice (even if it is just as small as writing a blog post like this one). I would never in a million years consider myself an activist. I am an introvert with a loathing toward conflict. In my mind, conflict has always been bad, but complicity is worse. So on this last day of Black History month, I vow to myself to stop being quiet and speak up against injustice of all kinds. I admit I’m afraid, but my “ignorance is bliss” or “if it doesn’t affect me directly, it doesn’t matter” mentality scares me more.

Kindergarten Throw Back

Do you remember kindergarten? How about when your children or grandchildren were in kindergarten? No, not really? Is it all a bit foggy? Surely, though while we may not actually remember being a kindergartner, we do remember what we learned at that young age. And while, what we learned in kindergarten became the foundation of our education, I think especially now after a week filled with so much hate and violence, we could all use a refresher course. 

In between recess and naptime, we learned our ABC’s and 123’s, but more importantly we learned how to be good classmates, friends, neighbors and children. Among the rules we learned as 5-year olds are five of the most important to remember:

  1. Listen when the teacher (or someone else) is talking.
  2. No running in the halls. (Slow down!)
  3. Keep your hands to yourself. 
  4. Share with others.
  5. No name calling.

While all of these “rules” are important, I find that #5 may need the most review among American adults today.  Even as precoicious 4 year-olds, my daughters both knew that the word “Duh” was disrepectful and that the word “stupid” was a “bad” word and would call me (rightfully so) out if I used one of these words. Yet, when someone disagrees with one of our values, beliefs or opinions, many of us are quick to assign judgement and call each other names. 

political sign

I passed this political sign (to the left) on my way to the dentist this afternoon. I felt physically ill as I passed by.  I am glad that my  youngest daughter wasn’t in the car with me to read this hateful sentiment. While it is a wonderful example of alliteration, it would have been distressing to explain to her what a douche bag and douche are, and even more so to try to explain to her why these words were being used in this context. I am not offended by this sign, but am disappointed and saddened by it. A more effective sign might have been to tell me the positive reasons why I should vote another way instead (Republican maybe?). The writer of this sign does just the opposite of what his or her intent was – to influence me not to vote democrat. Yet, the off-putting aura of hate that surrounded the message makes me want to vote democrat even if I weren’t intending to before I read it.

While I whole-heartedly support our right to free speech as proteted by the first ammendment, even the Super Bowl halftime show is censored and music, videos and movies are rated based on content. I do not agree with the content of that roadside sign or for that matter of various tweets and contents on any given social media platform, I would never call the author a nasty name because of it (even though I may momentarially think it). While the old childhood rhyme may be “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  They do. Words do hurt. Words instill hate in our hearts. Words insight violence. Words matter. 

Last week my daughter was upset because someone in her class supposedly her a “mean name.”  We talked about the saying of “I’m rubber and your glue whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”  As Taylor Swift sings, “Shake it off” as the “Haters are gonna hate, hate, hate.” We agreed that when someone calls you something mean, it’s more about their lack of self-esteem than it is about her. This is true. It doesn’t matter what people think about you in theory. But pratically, speaking I can replay in my mind more exactly the hurtful things people have said to me more easily than the positive ones. While I shake it off, a sliver of pain is still left behind.

Words can inspire. Word can affect positve change. Words can lift us up. 
Words matter. 

Are there any other kindergarten rules you think we should revisit?

It’s Called Empathy

When my oldest daughter was around 3 years old, I went on a girls’ weekend with my mother and sister. I left my daughter with her dad.  He was on call that weekend and wouldn’t you know it, he got called into work.  He asked a neighbor boy to come stay with her. Not wanting to wake her, he left without introducing her to the babysitter. She woke up to a virtual stranger, terrified. The babysitter called my cell as he couldn’t get her to come out from under the covers or to stop crying. I tried to comfort her over the phone, but could tell from her whisper of a voice that she was still afraid and I was four hours away. Grandpa came to the rescue that day (as he was only 45 minutes away).

The pain and distress my daugher felt that day shot through my heart. It took her several months, if not, longer to get over it. I felt like the worst mother ever. Would I have knowingly, on-purpose caused distress to my child? No way. Unless…her life was in danger, then absolutely.

This is why I can understand why immigrant families come to our border knowing they could be separated from their children – better in an internment camp than dead?  I can’t imagine how horrible the conditions must be in their home countries that they would rather their children live without them in a foreign country, than die with them in a country overrun with violence. Sure I could be separated from my children, if I committed a felony or was deployed in the military, but in both cases the decisions would be mine. One could argue crossing an imaginary line in the sand is a choice as well, but is it, if the alternative means death for my children? This is called empathy. Would I make that same decision in their place if it meant my children would live? Yes. What would you do?

Sitting on a hard wooden pew as a child, I remember hearing this parable many times:

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'” (Matthew 25:42-45 (NIV))

In my heart of hearts I never wanted to be the one that passed by someone in need with a cold, hard heart. I strived to be like the Good Samaritan (another parable ingrained in my mind). In my mind I really wanted to be kind-hearted and help those less fortunate than me. I grew up believing in loving my neighbors as myself and in praying for my enemies. This is where I learned about empathy.  “What would Jesus do?”  Do you remember those bracelets from back in the 1990s? I had a green one.

A few months ago a woman approached me as my daughters and I were getting out of the car to go into the mall.  She asked if I had any spare change to give as she’d run out of gas and didn’t get paid until the following week. I gave her what change I had in my pocket and knew my daughter had $10 in her coin purse. I asked her to give the money to the woman. She reluctantly gave the woman the money, who was very grateful. I assured my daughter I would pay her back the $10 as soon as we found an ATM. Yet, she was still salty (yes I just used teen lingo there) over the whole episode.

I asked her what was wrong as this is my child that has bible verses posted on her bedroom walls. I expected her to want to help others. As it turns out she thought the woman was scamming us or could have robbed us. I told her that yes, she was absolutely right. Both of those things could have been true. On the other hand, the woman may have been sincere in her need. I said I would rather assume she truly needed help. It was broad daylight and many people were around so I didn’t feel unsafe doing so.  I told her I would rather ten people scam me, than not give to one person who could really use it. If I were in need (and I have been), I would and am truly grateful for those that have helped me.

I share this story not to shame my daughter or anyone else for that matter. Her fears come honestly.  We live in a day and age where our society assumes the worst in others instead of the best. Imagine what life might be like if instead, we assumed the best by default? I’m not a theologian or a philosopher or a politician, but I honestly think it would be pretty damn awesome. In my cheesy, alter-universe, we live in a world full of empathy, compassion, tolerance and love. We are all human. Each and every one of us. We all have the same basic human needs (anyone remember Maslow?) Why can’t we move away from fear and hate to love and acceptance?

Whether you are a conservative, right-winger or a liberal, leftist, it doesn’t matter. We are all human. The right thinks the left is brain-washed and vice-versa. People shout “fake news” when the read something that doesn’t agree with whatever politician they support. In the end, we are in a quagmire. Yes, there are shades of gray.  But there is also right and wrong. Taking young, innocent children away from their parents, who are only seeking a better life for themselves is w-r-o-n-g.  I don’t care who put the policy in place (Clinton, Obama, Trump – I’ve seen all three in my news feeds today), it is doesn’t change it from being wrong. Two wrongs never make a right. Ignoring what is happening around us doesn’t alleviate our guilt, it makes us complicit.

Our country was founded on immigration.  My grandfather came here from Mexico with his parents, seeking a better life. He worked as a hard laborer, a migrant worker and eventually along with his parents became naturalized citizens. I wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t sought a better life and to live the “American Dream.”  (Even so, I had no control over where or when I was born and neither does anyone else, including the people we seek to keep out). We dehumanize the people who come to our borders, when we call them “illegals” or “criminals.” They want they same things that we want.

I read this Tweet from our president and I weep.

2018-06-18_12-49-40

Children are not bargaining chips. People’s lives are not pawns in a political agenda. This is using blackmail and extortion to get what you want. These are real, human beings. This is not fake news. These screenshots are from reputable news feeds:

2018-06-18_12-43-32  2018-06-18_12-41-15

People are quick to comment and point fingers at each other, but fail to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. I read many un-related arguments to justify supporting this horrible policy (why are the Democrats mad, they support abortion? Why don’t they worry about American children instead of illegal aliens?)  These arguments are beside the point and still doesn’t change the fact that what we are doing now is inhumane. For the record, I personally, do care about the American children living in poverty and orphanages and I think all human life is sacred (from the unborn to the criminals on death row) and I also think it is wrong to separate children from their parents. If we spent the millions (dare I say billions) of dollars earmarked for a wall or temporary camps for the displaced children and used it to help end poverty in our own country, to give those seeking a better life a path so they can become contributing citizens, we could make America even better.

Yes, we in doing so we may let in some “thugs” or “criminals” along they way. But, hey, at least we can all go out and buy an AR-15 style rifle to protect ourselves, just in case. (Yes, that was sarcasm there, but I digress.)

I know in the grand scheme of things, my little post means nothing and won’t change anything. But, if you shared this post to your feed, and someone else posted it to theirs, maybe the 1490 words of this blog post could make a difference.

empathy

It’s About Time…

20180528_150323689_iOS.jpgIn the background of life, time steadily ticks — loudly or softly depending on the day.  From that split second when life sparked and you became a zygote, the timeline of your being began. Boom, you silently existed and not even your mother knew your timer had started. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years go by and you can’t stop time or go back for a re-do. Even as my hands type these words another 20 seconds of my life has gone by and yours too as you are reading this. We are on a journey that ultimately ends in the flash of a second when our life energy exits our bodies and we cease to be but memories to those who knew us here.

Time is hard to wrap my mind around. It is such a fluid concept. We measure it in terms of Earth’s relationship to the moon and the sun.  The Earth’s rotation on its axis, the moon’s orbit around the Earth, the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We measure time linearly, marking our existence as we travel through space.  My mind turns this thought over and over (and time continues to pass even so). Time is constant. Yet, my perception of time is not, nor yours I presume. This is especially true now as our news feeds flood with graduation pics, wedding photos and requests for prayers. It was true last Wednesday, as I stroked the head of my daughter’s 4-H goat as he unexpectedly breathed his last breath and lie still. Even more profoundly still years ago when I kissed my grandmother’s cheek the last time. My mind can perfectly replay the last time I saw her, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch with a blanket wrapped around her shoulder even though the thermometer read 90 degrees, the sun shining on her face. As I backed out of the drive way, I knew this would be the last time I would see her in this world.

My mind easily goes back in time.  It goes back to the day I felt that flutter of life within my womb the first time and longed for those nine long months to hurry up so I could hold my daughter in my arms. Yet, that moment that seems so long ago and like yesterday at the same time, happened seventeen years ago. When running on the treadmill, a minute feels like an hour (or more like a week!), while sitting in a cool, darkened theater, watching a funny movie, time flashes by in mere minutes.  The amount of time that actually passes by stays the same, even though my perception of it does not. While I’d rather that long drive to my next vacation destination feel like minutes and our time relaxing by the pool to feel like years, it doesn’t work that way.  A week after I’ve returned to work and the daily grind, that vacation spot only weeks ago feels like decades past.

Mindfulness teaches us to live in the moment. It reminds us to focus on our breathing and to be grounded in the moment we are living this second. Doing so helps slow down anxious thoughts and the rehashing of the what-ifs of decisions past. It helps shut down negative thinking and self-criticism. I don’t have to record every moment of my journey with a selfie or a hash tag.  Stopping myself from reliving the past helps me learn to be enough and be happy in the now.  Yet, when that “on this day” reminder, pops up in my Facebook feed or the cycle of the seasons repeats itself in my yard – crocus > daffodils > tulips > star of Persia > peonies… Time reminds me that it is a precious commodity that once lived cannot be repeated. Yet, if we are lucky we are given another moment. While I’d like that warm embrace of a first kiss to last years and a sniffling head-cold to last mere seconds, I don’t want to wish away my time here on Earth.  My life is seemingly not as linear as time dictates it to be, but my perception of time is a series of zigs and zags, stops and starts, ups and downs. Looking back on those memories remind me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.  Having dreams and goals give me the inspiration to take a step forward toward the future that will be here whether I like it or not. And being mindful of the moment I’m in right this second, allows me to be grateful for that ticking clock of life.

Why did I write this post on time? I’m not sure. Would I like the power to pause, rewind and fast forward time? Oh yeah! Well maybe. It sounds good anyway! Would you?

Best Day Yet…

The best day of the year came today. OK, maybe I can’t equivocally deem today the best day of 2018 as we’ve really only just begun. I can say it will rank up there in the top 10 best days of the year though. THIS is the day, I long for most. Is it my birthday? No. Did I get a huge raise? Hardly. Did my children surprise me by spontaneously cleaning the entire house? Did you just spit out your coffee? Yes, I am laughing too. I am dreaming big there!  So what might you ask, makes today, April 12, 2018, one of my top 10 best days of the year? Can you stand the suspense? Today is the first day the temperature made it into the 70’s, the sun is actually shining, and the Ohio winds died down to just a light breeze. You can’t plan for a day like this nor can you count down to it. It just comes seemingly out of nowhere. Bam! Spring fever has arrived.

Yes, indeed it is those little things that make me smile. When I woke up this morning I had no idea, today would be that day. As I walked to the corner Shell Station to get my morning cup of coffee (and yes, I know it is cheaper to make it at home, but that requires 10 minutes less snooze time and yes I digress again. But, I do love parathenticals), it was actually spitting snow. Yet when left the building at exactly 5:01 PM, the sun warmed my face and the wind tossled my hair. I wore no coat or jacket and I was not cold. Not only that, but I actually had no one I had to taxi to an activity after work. Thus, I made a beeline to the local Ace and picked up a pair of fresh gardening gloves and a sharp snipper thingy (I do believe that is the technical term for that tool:)) I even threw in a few packets of wildflower seeds for good measure!

I spent the last few hours digging in the dirt. I got out the rake and started in one corner of the yard. I cleared away the dried leaves from falls that were caught under the bushes and hiding my daffodils and tulips. I pulled out the remants of last summer’s tall grasses. I marvelled at the tips of green poking up through the moist dirt of plants whose names I don’t know. They are ready to burst through and thrive. Maybe I’m being a bit optimistic with that last part (this is me I’m writing about after all).

My knees are dirty, my face is flushed and any passers by probably got to see more of my backside than they wanted (as even with a belt my damn jeans keep falling down. Now I know how plumbers feel.) I breathed in the fresh, warm air that smelled of spring. Oh yes! I am blissful. I feel invigorated. I have that spring energy, where when I look at my yard everything is fresh and has possibilities. That hot, sweltering dusty, dryness of late July is in the distance. I am not yet cynical and too tired to pull another weed or water my withered flower beds or fight another infestation of bugs. Right now, in this moment, I can see the beautiful blooms in my minds eye and it is gorgeous.