challenges, dare to be different

Experience

I recently gave up control to gain control amidst a new experience as a parent. Sometimes we need to go with the flow and trust the process to encourage learning. 

Learning through experience is extremely valuable in my book. The reason I state this is because books can teach us lessons but experiences allow us to live the lesson. We need both to understand how to navigate our complicated world.

As a young adult one must fail. Sometimes repeatedly. As sad as it is, it’s part of living experience. Living may be different than what was learned in a book. For instance they may teach you in school how to balance your bank statement but they may not drill an available balance on an atm receipt. This experience may be valuable to find out about insufficient funds.

Financial experience is super important. Many young adults know how to use Apple Pay or Venmo but can’t write a check. Many don’t know how to properly address and mail an envelope. These are cherished skills I learned early on that seem to be the distant past yet young people need this skills to solve problems when the digital age isn’t functioning at 100%.

Farm life is another experience. One I was exposed to as a youngster but not one I embraced. However today I see the value of the experience a farm can provide. Hard work. What nature can provide. So many transferable skills can be learned on a farm. Oddly enough farming 101 isn’t a high school requirement. Neither is basic auto maintenance. Additionally, life skills 101 really isn’t a class either.

My blog today is about what we have to do to nuture those around us. The young kids. Our kids. Children who lack resources to give these basic foundations. We may need to offer experiences to others. Coaching of sorts. Non traditional opportunities for as many as one can impact.

Another experience is sitting down with an elderly person. Chatting with them. Listening to stories about their youth. Learning about what life was like without an iPad. Without dual income households. It’s an experience many need to have.

Today I want you to think about experience. The word itself. What it means. How you can integrate experiences to those around you.

For me, I grew up as an athlete. I understand a team dynamic. However many adults I know missed this experience. They lack certain competitive components or teaming characteristics. That’s a teaching opportunity. Similarly that non-athlete may be able to pass on another experience to you that you missed along the way.

In the next 30 days I am going to think about the word experience and see how I can impact others or how I can be impacted by absorbing new knowledge via an experience. Most recently I learned about camping through experiences. Some good. Some not so good. I still learned and observed through the experience.

Now I am off to experience my life some more.

challenges, dare to be different, Teddie Bear Adventures

RV Life Episode 1

The day finally came. Spring break 2022. The RV was loaded or hopefully loaded with all the essentials for a successful maiden voyage.

It started out shaky when the new driver (me) had about 1.5 hours of traffic due to road construction and accidents on the road. A lot of stop and go was good practice but I won’t lie when I say I was a bit claustrophobic at times trying to stay in my lane when tractor trailers were on each side of me. Nothing like trial by fire.

Although the start was rocky, the vehicle performed well on the road trip. About 7 hours total crossing one time zone and three states total. We did it. So many firsts. New experience for the pups. First time in an RV as a family. First time traveling to this particular state for a trip. The list could go on and on.

Electronics worked such as the wifi, the tv and radio. Although we didn’t use them all the time we had access which was good for many reasons. Weather was in our favor the first two days. Sunbathing and napping seemed be a good fit for me. Having all day to do nothing seemed okay with me for a few days off the grid.

We met some friends. We chatted with people from Wisconsin to California to Michigan and a few other states. We got to see how people traveled. Did they pull a trailer behind a truck or did they tow a tiny car behind an RV? So many options. We saw golf carts, bikes, trikes, motorcyles, jeeps and other side cars toted with each campsite.

Oh and how different each outside campsite was. From neon palm tree decorations to custom flags marking the spot. From simple to elaborate with everything in between. At night you could see the glow of green up high in the trees. The trees were adorned with internet boosters to enhance the WiFi coverage area. An interesting glow of sorts at night.

There were big grills, tabletop grills, and charcoal grills. Fire pits or solo stoves would light the night with the scent of toasted marshmallows. When one dog barked the others joined in. From near to far the barks varied in sound. From tiny schnauzer to the big Great Dane. The golden retrievers seemed to mostly listen but every other dog joined in the symphony of dogs. No cats in sight.

The RV resort was on the bay with beautiful views by day and night. Mid day there was a dolphin or two putting on a show poolside for those who wanted to watch them rise and dive again. Something I don’t see everyday thus I enjoyed it. Sunshine. Relaxation. No have tos. The perfect getaway. 

Meals outside on the picnic table. Movies under the stars. Music jamming at lunch outside. Time with friends and family. This reminded me of our lake days but this time on solid ground instead of by water. 

The first trip has come and gone. Many more states to visit. 900 miles on the odometer to break in the new house on wheels. Next up summer adventures near and far. Until then, I’ll leave you with some could have done without moments:

The water hose broke. Thank goodness for a friend saving the day with a loaner.

The grill connector didn’t fit. Good thing a neighbor let us grill with them.

The creepy gas attendant in Alabama who asked for a hug and kiss upon checkout. Random but I wonder how many takers he gets on a given day?

The winds that rolled in one day that gave me a hint of what it’s like to be rattled in a big storm if I lived full time on a trailer.

celebrations, dare to be different

1 Down 4 to Go

I started with the number five. A group of gal pals each assigned a task that would involve me doing an activity they plan that is new, has a new twist, and is just plain fun. Why? Because it’s my 50th year on this earth and I thought it would be fun to spice things up and encourage my friends to get creative.

So far so good. What am I?

I am nothing more than a piece of art in the making. My first adventure was a paint class in a group of about 8 crazy ladies.

We had snacks. We had drinks. We had conversations. We giggled. We concentrated. Some cussed, a lot. One painted hidden objects in their masterpiece. One flipped the finger while painting. Somebody stole somebody’s crackers while they were so focused on painting. Oh,\ the faces that were captured that night on camera.

And then there was the instructor of the class. A little fruity for me, but it’s who we had for the evening. Our diverse group flustered her for sure. We tested her knowledge. We asked for help but then said no thanks. We took our time when she wanted to stay on task. The list could go on and on for this lady, but I will spare you the touchy freely details. 

Now we all had the same instructions but we ended up with totally different variations of the image. This was probably my most favorite part of the night. The finish line. The interpretation of each masterpiece. For example mine had a heart stamp added to keep mine unique. Another had their hidden objects. Some chose to blend colors more than others. In the end they were all amazing.

If you don’t currently have a friends group, I suggest you find one. Expand it when you can and welcome friends vs. limiting your friends. The more the merrier. More friends, more adventures always equals fun memories.

For this post I will toast my gal pal Kim who helped make this event a success. From start to finish no detail was left unturned. It is my hope that somebody reading this will join a new friend group, start a new friend group or just get out with friends and do fun things. We all learn by doing.

Painting was fun but frustrating. The time went by fast and the masterpiece is perfect for a white elephant gift with a gift card taped to the back of it. My friend Sarah gave me that genius idea and I can’t wait to regift my painting over and over again.

dare to be different, inspire

Creative Pop

Today was a creative day. A vision appeared. An interest was sparked. The expo marker was nearby as was the whiteboard.

Columns. Words. Colors. Ideas. A plan. A little commingling. A dream. The wheels are turning. The key players are engaged. The spark is ignited. Now it’s time to make it happen.

First is time. How to balance the new with what’s already on your plate. How to back into the time deadline. How to logistically make a-z happen with style, grace and of course a wow factor. So many details. So little time. Is it worth a shot? Should you take the plunge?

Nobody can ever answer this question because nobody has a crystal ball that works all the time. That means risk is involved. Hard work is needed. Maybe even some elbow grease and good luck. Here we grow again. What will be sprouting? Does it matter if you grow big or stay small?

I know I’m flipping ideas around daily. Looking for that nugget of inspiration. Seeking my next big move or small discovery. My adventurous ways always begin with pen and paper. Somewhere there is a shift into digital form. Paper. Pen. Ink. Color. Keyboard. Time to discover new shades of my abilities.

Hope you are along for the journey.

dare to be different

Finishing Touches

I used to be a jewelry maven.

I have an entire jewelry organizer. Drawer after drawer of necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches, hair ornaments, all of it. Gold, silver, rhinestones, turquoise, plastic. I loved it. All of it.

Every color, plastic costumey stuff, and beaded, and then my mother’s good jewels. Oh yes, there were also scores of scarves and other accessories. Jackets…oh, the jackets! I used to really love adding the perfect touches to all my outfits. Those were especially true of my days on the conference presentation circuit and when I taught college. Everything had to be just so!

These days, I mostly live in gym clothes. For work, I own a handful of bottoms and a few conservative patterned tops. Most everything matches and I just rotate it all. 99 percent of the time I don’t wear jewelry or accessories at all.

Why the change? Looking back, I think in some ways my accessories were a way of hiding. A splashy necklace or striking ring would attract attention away from my extreme obesity.

Maybe it’s also that a change in career. The life of an elementary school teacher isn’t as prestigious or as glamourous. And most of the time I am going directly from work to the gym. It just seems unnecessary.

Don’t ask me why a few weeks ago I remembered a necklace I purchased last year. Sparkles. A friend made it and I honestly loved it. I had a thought to put it on over a dress. Matching earrings too. I hadn’t felt that “put together” in a long long time. I walked a little taller. Felt a little prettier.

So maybe I’m back into it now? Hard to say. Precious morning minutes and easy to forget after being out of the habit for so long.

But maybe on special days I’ll be more likely to dig in and add those finishing touches that make me feel special. What are the finishing touches that give you a lift?