Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Search Continues

Everyone I talk to you lately seems to be on edge about the weather. We feel like spring should be here, along with its sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Instead we've continued to experience rain, snow, icy roads, sleet, cold temperatures, and blowing winds. Do I sound like a broken record? I think so.

A lot of people are complaining, as if that will help or even make the sun come out any sooner including a certain weatherman out of Grand Rapids, MI. You know people are getting tired of the same old forecast when the weatherman goes on an on-air rant about how his co-workers are cranky and starting to blame him, etc. He was feeling a lot of weight on his shoulders and apparently a lot of blame. Negativity can take its toll on anyone.

Personally, I feel like I've been monitoring the Weather Channel app on my phone a lot more lately, as if I can point to the sky and say, 'Stop snowing, my app radar isn't showing any precipitation!' However, watching and waiting for the app forecast to change also gives me hope ... hope that the temperatures will climb up and surpass 50 degrees, hope that the sun will come out and stay, and hope that there will begin to be a pattern of weather niceness. Hope can go a long way in lifting someone's spirits.

I have no doubt that spring will come. It may be short once it arrives and we may breeze right through it and go straight to summer, but it will come. With it will come a sense of excitement, a certain thrill, a certain anticipation of good things; not to mention I will be happy to pack away my wool socks, my boots, my winter coats, and my neck scarves. In their place will be sandals, sneakers with no socks, short sleeves, and baseball caps. Yes, lots of good things will come.

What are you most looking forward to with spring and summer?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Where is spring?

Lately the consensus seems to be that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on us. It's April 10th and we woke up to snow again this morning. Understandably we usually get some sort of snow here in Michigan during the first week of April, but many people seem to feel like Old Man Winter is just hanging on and won't let go. Maybe it's because Easter was on April 1st this year? Maybe it's because, as usual, the department stores have had shorts and bathing suits in the stores for weeks? Our minds are telling us it should be warmer outside. We really shouldn't be surprised to have snow, but enough is enough. I think we are all ready for spring to arrive. Personally I would be happy with wearing a lighter weight jacket and perhaps skipping the boots. I'm ready to show off my painted toenails, lol.

Even the Bible says there is a time and a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). All seasons have their own unique purpose; each is beneficial, but it's time to move from winter to spring. It's time for our spirits to be uplifted. We are ready for the grass to get green, the buds on the trees to begin to blossom, and the plants to be able to reach their little heads up and out of the soil.

While there is a lot of beauty in the glittering snow; a freshness and sense of calm ... there is also a feeling of newness and life in the colors and warmth of spring. Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and kick the spring season into gear. I know I'm ready. Are you?

What are you most looking forward to about spring?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Clear To Move Ahead

Every where you look on the roads there are orange construction barrels; obstacles at almost every turn. You try to get from point A to point B, but have to be creative with your routes, as well as your time. Obstacles, though, aren't just on the roads. They seem to present themselves in our daily lives too.

If you're like me, you have goals and well thought out plans of how to get there ... or so we think. It's become almost expected that a plan B should be in your back pocket (just in case). A portion of nearly every Saturday for my past few months has been spent working on a specific project; not a project I choose or enjoy, but one that needs to be done every year regardless. Everything else gets put on hold until 'the project' has been completed. Today is that day; the day I get the 'all clear' to move ahead. The moment I get to see the light at the end of my proverbial tunnel.

This week, for me, is all about feeling like I am finally moving forward. Four weeks ago today I had surgery. Life has returned back to normal, but in some ways my plans were put on hold. Having the energy I needed to get through my days ... on hold. Wanting to exercise and take walks because the spring weather has been starting to show its face ... on hold. Feeling motivated ... definitely on hold. Today has been a good day; the day I feel like the flight attendant has just announced 'you are now free to remove your seat belt and move around the cabin'. I must admit that it's a good feeling; a feeling that is overdue.

What projects have had you feeling weighed down?

Have you been able to conquer them?

What would you like to do now with a your spare time?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Where does the time go?

Where does the time go? How many times a day do you ask yourself that simple question? How many times have you not been able to discover the answer, lol? 

As adults, many of us will reflect back and recall how simpler times were when we were younger. There weren't as many distractions, not as many responsibilities. Although, the responsibility part just comes with age. Our kids will probably say the same thing in 20 or 30 years. 

When I was a kid most families were a one-income family; meaning mom was usually there to fix you lunch on a summer day. We would go outside to ride our bikes and play as soon as the breakfast dishes were done. We would come home at lunchtime or call home (from a landline) to see if we could stay over at a friend's house. We played OUTSIDE all day; if it rained we played games under the covered front porch or in a fort in someone's backyard. Sadly, I hardly ever see kids outside riding their bikes anymore. Somewhere along the line kids found it more interesting to stay in and play video games and watch Netflix (please note I have nothing against Netflix, but everything should be in moderation). And sadly, many parents seem fine with that. But I can also admit that things are different today than when I was a kid. A lot of families have two incomes (although, some are lucky to work from home) which means that time needs to be divided differently.

Time is a funny thing. It can creep by at a snail's pace or it can go by in the blink of an eye.

I often find myself wondering ...

  • When did my kids grow up to be adults? I can look at their baby pictures and feel like it was only yesterday.
  • Has my family really lived in our house for nearly 20 years? That's the longest I've EVER been in one place.
  • Have I really been at my same job for 17 years? It sure doesn't seem like it.
  • When did the grey hairs start being the norm? (that's an obvious one, lol ... after my kids made it through their teenage years and college)

Some days I find myself wishing things could slow down a bit (okay, a lot). It seems like we grow up thinking things will be better when we're older, then the responsibilities smack us in the face and we work ... all the time. We're always planning for our future, so much so, that it's easy to forget to stop and smell the roses (or you fill in the metaphor). There comes a point you have to say, 'What the heck.' Take that vacation. Read that book you've been putting off. Work on that hobby you never have enough time for, but is supposed to help you relax and sleep better. Write that book or run that race. None of us have guarantees on how much time we have left on this earth to do anything, so we need to start making the time.

Take a 5 minute break, grab a cool drink, find someplace quiet where you can actually hear yourself think, put your phone away, and decide what you don't want to miss out on. Then, make it happen!

What have you not had time to do, but really want to?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What would you tell yourself?

I took some time off this week for some prescribed R&R. That, I'm founding out, is a tough nut to crack. I am more used to being on the go; being productive, tackling my To Do lists, and planning ahead ... always planning ahead. I've tried to do a little reading, have watched more episodes of Fixer Upper and Property Brothers than I care to count, and having been watching You Tube videos of some of my favorite songs. The last part has been fun; I listen to the music and then pull up and study the lyrics, breaking them down to their foundation. Gosh, I LOVE when people write great songs!

This afternoon's favorite selection? Dear Younger Me by Mercy Me. The song talks about reflection and the wisdom that can only come with time and experience. The question that comes to my mind though is what would you do with the wisdom you've acquired IF you had a choice? What would you want to share with the younger version of you?

Would you tell the younger you all you think you did wrong to save yourself the pain and the struggle OR would you tell the younger you to embrace the struggles and the challenges because you know they will build your character? Yes, these are the tough questions. Would you go back and try to smooth the way for yourself or would you encourage yourself to fight the big fights and take on the big challenges?

Everyone's answers to these questions will most likely be different; not because our views are necessarily different, but because our pasts and our challenges are personal. They run deep to our core. Sometimes we don't even share them with our friends, let alone our younger selves.

What nuggets of wisdom would you share with the younger you and why?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Can you ever really be prepared?

Are you a planner? Do you save for your retirement? Do you bring a detailed list with you to the grocery store? When you got married did you have a life plan; how long you would wait before you started a family or bought your first house? Many of us can relate to these scenarios. We have good intentions and we try to plan, but a thing called 'life' tends to get in the way.

It can be as simple as we may have dreamt too big too soon. Sometimes we really don't understand all it will take to get from point A to point B. Perhaps we don't understand everything that will be involved; the time something will take, the dedication, and what it will cost.

Have you ever tried to plan for a loss? If you found yourself caring for someone who was sick you may have had a little glimpse of what lied ahead and tried to prepare yourself. Sometimes we don't get any time to prepare. We tell someone goodbye in the morning as they go off to work not realizing that they might not come home that night. Life has a tendency to throw us curve balls without any warning. When that happens all we can do is react and then give ourselves permission to adjust later.

Have you ever tried to prepare for a blessing; a child on the way perhaps? You do your research, you read your books, and you listen to the free advice from everyone around you. Then the baby arrives and maybe you don't feel like you're ready. Don't worry. Your parental instincts are there, and the rest will come with time and experience.There are people there to help if you let them. The saying , 'It takes a village to raise a child' has more merit than you think.

Sometimes, the scene can play out simply by trying to get a lot of extra work done so you won't feel as guilty taking some personal time off. I know I fall into this category. I put the responsibility on myself to try not to inconvenience anyone when I am not at work. Although, cramming 60 hours worth of work into a 40 hour week probably isn't the healthiest of ideas. All you manage to do is wear yourself out before you take your time off. I've known people who could just clock out and say, 'Bye, see you in a week.' I wonder what their secret was.

I guess my question today is 'Can we ever really be prepared?' More importantly, should we even put that pressure on ourselves to try? Truth be told, we will do our best; sometimes we will succeed and sometimes we will fail. But that's okay.

What kinds of things do you plan for? 
What kinds of things would you rather go with the flow with?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dreams Don't Expire

It's Never Too Late
For more than the last week I have been watching bits and pieces of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Like anyone else, I have my favorite events to watch; snowboarding, skating, and downhill skiing. Some events I pass on; not because they aren't interesting, but because I just don't get them, lol. I don't understand the logic or the thrill the athletes get. But that's the thing. Who am I to judge whether something is good or bad, when my ONLY expertise is that I know nothing about it? I would never say it's stupid or a waste of their time, just because it isn't something I would want to do. If they have the talent and the desire I would encourage them to keep going.

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes and they don't come with an expiration date. Is there something you've always wanted to do or accomplish, but it hasn't come to fruition yet? What is holding you back? Is it timing? Is it not having enough time? Is it financial backing? Is it motivation? Is it because you have other responsibilities to take care of?

Are there people who try discourage you? Do you they give you comments like, 'You're crazy to do that at your age? 'Why would you want to do that?' or 'You know, 9 out of 10 people fail at that so why would you even bother?'

To succeed at anything we need to push ourselves and not give up. We need people to support and encourage us (even if they think we're crazy for trying). Don't let other people determine your successes and failures; it's YOUR future. What's the worst thing that can happen? You try to achieve your dream and it doesn't pan out quite the way you always imagined? But guess what? Succeed or not, YOU have to live with your own conscience. YOU will be the one that knows whether you gave up because it was easier not to try. YOU are the one that will need to live with your choices. 

Yes, whether you succeed or not isn't the real issue; the issue is that you shouldn't give up on yourself. You shouldn't let society dictate to you what is an acceptable goal and when we are allowed to pursue it. If you're married or single, have kids or not, have a job or are currently unemployed, you still have every right to pursue your dreams. Sure, there are times in our lives when we're younger that perhaps we may have more energy to try something super athletic, but in 2010 I attempted to walk in a 3 day 60-mile fundraising walk. I was in my middle 40s at the time, did months and months of training, and was passed up many times by people on the route who were 30 years older than me. The didn't give up. They inspired me to push harder and instead of thinking, 'Can I do this?' I started to think,  'I CAN DO THIS!'.

What is your dream? Are you still trying to grasp it? How can we help you get there?