nature, working women

The Old Barn

This old barn sits on a property I frequent. It is old and dumpy to say the least. However I love taking pictures of this old barn. Whether I choose natural light, black and white or some variation thereof, I am happy. Each view is special. Each moment captured tells a story.

Sun rising. Sun setting. Fall or spring. Each season and each time of day makes it look a little different. I don’t know what year it was built and I definitely don’t know of its history. I can tell animals were fed there at some point due to the feeding troughs inside, but that’s about it.

The barn’s aged wood makes for a great photo backdrop. The unfinished look is all the rage for photographers. This still shot is just from my camera roll but it still shows the beauty of its imperfections up close. Even the weeds off to the side add character.

This angle shows the door up close. Once practical but now ornamental. Again a beautiful backdrop but yet so different the the previous shots. Somebody’s junk is always another’s treasure. For this barn is junk to many but it’s a hidden treasure to me.

The silver tone above again highlights the barn a little different. Just the angle makes the size and shape seem a little different. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this little dumpy barn is just a little happy spot for me. I can sit by with my old truck and think about what it once was. I can drift by it while doing my lawn trimming and sigh that it’s all mine.

Not sure how many heavy wind storms it will hold up against but for now I’m enjoying the sight of it. One day I might just have the photos. Time will tell. Just a girl and her red barn story today.

health, working women

A Girl in Uniform

“If you ever get lost or need help, look for someone with a name tag or uniform on.”

These are the words we told our kids at places like Disney World when they were little, just in case. People in uniforms should be able to help.

I’m an avid sports parent. I love to show up and watch my daughters play, no matter the sport, no matter the team. I even try to go cheer for them when they are coaching or officiating games. Both of my daughters are refs for girls lacrosse.

Recently, one of my daughters had the honor of officiating youth championship games. I showed up to watch her in action. Hundreds of little kids, googles falling off, uniforms that don’t quite fit on their tiny bodies, all trying to get the hang of a sport I love, it brought back so many good memories. Games on Saturdays. Cheering for your team. Trophies and snacks after the game. And my daughter, once a youth player, now the ref.

Being a ref is not for the faint of heart. I know my attitude toward refs changed when my older daughter became one. Suddenly the heckling from the fans and coaches felt very personal. Why are they attacking her? Do they really think she is being paid by one team to make those calls? Don’t they know she’s a human and can hear their nasty insults? And if she can’t, I can?

My daughters each have very different personalities but they exude a cool, calm confidence on the field. They address irrational adults when necessary. It seems it is always the adults, very rarely the players who are ill-behaved. Unfortunately, bad behavior by at least a couple of adults is more the rule than the exception at these games.

In the end, though, it’s about the players. I remind them that the little girls are looking up to them. They are learning how to be fair. How to accept small setbacks like fouls and share the wins with their team. They are learning how to lead from a girl like them, just a few years further down the road.

I also tell them that some of the best refs are also teachers. Each of my daughters has almost a decade of field playing on their resume. They often know much more about the game than the coaches and spectators. So when a young high school team kept making the same fouls over and over, my daughter offered to demonstrate ways to prevent getting those fouls. They share knowledge and grow the game.

It’s a proud mama moment for sure, to see my girls nurture young players through their role. I cheer for the refs.

Before the championships, I called my youngest over to the fence for a quick pregame chat and picture. A minute later, a little girl, goggles half off, uniform all askew, came up and got her attention. My daughter walked her to the stands, helped her find her parents, then waited by the fence until her dad returned from the car. The little girl needed a jacket during warm ups.

I love that this little girl still thought to ask someone in uniform to help her. Despite what some adults might tell you, the ref is there to help.

working women

Inspiration Over the Years

I was inspired by International Women’s Day and a generation competition I competed in recently. It made me think of all the powerful women I have in my life representing different pockets of time. This led me to this inspiration post dedicated to all the powerful women out there in the world.

Meet LT. A gorgeous teen who works hard to find her place in life. Exploding athleticism but the explosiveness she works hard to earn daily. She leads her friends with her spunky personality and drive. I’m always amazed by the resilience in others. Looking forward to seeing how she conquers this crazy world we live in. Living through a pandemic and finding ways to redefine herself has been much of her growing recently. I’m definitely of fan of this girl.

Meet EO. A young mom in her 20’s working hard to support her family. Always finding time to work on herself even when that means juggling life to balance it all. She is a strong woman who inspires many each day in her role in the school system. She tends to chickens on the home front to provide nourishment for her family. She is also extremely fit as shown in this picture. She is a great representation of a strong Latino woman making an impact each day. 

Meet TF. This is one mighty and fierce girl in her thirties who likes to show that she can lift way more than her body weight. Raising two boys on her own. Climbing the corporate ladder by day, parenting 24/7. Putting in work to keep herself physically and mentally fit while showing her boys what hard work looks like and how it pays off in the long run. Dynamite does come in small packages and she is living proof. She is also my tribute to strong Asian women as we live in a world where so much hate is passed on to different ethnicities for some reason. 

Meet SM. Aka “Hooker” for most of her life, although that was never her occupation! Her upside down picture shows her flexibility as she grew up as a dancer for many many years. Current day, this gal is smart, funny and super supportive to her family and her friends. She has a heart of gold and is always up for fun adventures including pretending to be a nurse on occasion. She is always bending and flexing to adapt to the changes we face daily thanks to pandemic life. She is my tribute to being amazing and flexible in your 40’s.

Meet KW. Kim is one of a kind. She is a grandma, fitness enthusiast, motorcycle-riding badass and so much more. Rolling in her 50’s she works hard as a hairdresser making many look beautiful. Spending hours on her feet listening to her clients. An art of sorts but a craft that brings joy to many. No surprise for this girl as she is super caring and has great listening skills. She is my 50-something tribute girl. She wears it well.

Meet AK. She is my super sixties girl. Hard working corporate girl who has left the working world to tend to her ailing husband who happens to be a Marine Veteran. She is prideful, spunky and not shy about speaking her mind. In her words: “I try to be someone who isn’t afraid to share her opinions and speak her truth. I listen with sincerity and don’t allow others’ problems to bring me down, though this is not easy at times. My heart is filled with kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, a willingness to be vulnerable, and authenticity. Life sometimes throws a curve ball, which sometimes I swing and miss and other times I score a home run.  My priority is my family, my God, my friends, and then everything else that comes my way. “

Meet VS. She is feeling special at her recent 79th birthday bash. Look at her sass and shining personality showcased in this photo. She is here today celebrating 79 years on earth. A mom, a grandma, and a fighter. Battling the odds of her age, her health and her environment. So far she is staying strong during this crazy corona time we have been stuck in for over a year. She is my tribute girl of the 70’s. I hope to be as spirited at her age.

Meet EM. She is my saucy eighties girl. Strong, courageous and beautiful. A mom, a widow, a nana, a great grandma, and so much more. She is a bright light in a room with a story to tell. Living on earth for 83 years lets you see the world through a unique lens. I am happy to say I hear those stories and share them whenever I can. Happy to end this post with this dynamo. 

Throughout the years I have many that inspire me. This reel is a glimpse. A snapshot of inspiring women. Most who have no clue they inspire others. Some have physical strength. Some have mental toughness. Some have years of wisdom and experience. Some have just begun making their mark on the world. Some share their smile and giggles and that can be enough.

I am along for the ride. May all these women inspire you to inspire others. This is a female power post but that doesn’t mean a male can’t appreciate the beauty of it.

Celebrate the strong women in your life today. Maybe it’s your mom, your daughter, your girlfriend, your teacher, your doctor, your dentist or other significant person in your life. Do me a favor and let one of these women in your life know how special they are today. 

Inspiration over the years. This post makes me grin from ear to ear.

working women

Just Show Up!

You own a restaurant and the food prep starts at 10am for the lunch crowd. You look for your prep cook and they are nowhere to be found. You think to yourself: just show up! All have to do is show up to get paid.

-does this $10/hour employee even know how important their prep role is to making the restaurant operate effectively for the day?  

You wake up to the ding-a-ling of your alarm clock. You hit snooze. You hit snooze again. You say to yourself just get up. Your friends are expecting you to show up. Just show up and get your workout in. You will feel much better after you do.

-if you don’t show up how does this make your accountability partner feel? Did you think about how your inaction may impact others?

You have a doctor’s appointment at noon. The doctor is saving a spot for you in their busy day. You just need to show up. It’s what’s expected when you make an appointment. Time is money for that doctor and if you don’t show up you prevent somebody from using that spot that they may really need. Just show up!

-did you even think your lack of preparation would impact others? How many have a non-caring attitude when it comes to appointments? I bet if you paid a deposit for the appointment you would show up! Skin in the game matters.  

In life there are many times when we all need to just show up. Sometimes things get in the way. Other times we make excuses. And then sometimes there are those who just don’t care and never plan to show up. The latter I despise.  

I have seen a lot of examples of this lately in various parts of life. Many times I don’t want to show up but I do. I do because it’s what is expected. It’s the right thing to do. I show up because people rely on me. 

I just show up.  

Show up for you.  

Show up to set an example for others.  

Show up to make a difference.  

Just show up!

working women

A Day in the Life (These Days)

People sometimes ask me if I like my job.

My answer used to be an enthusiastic “yes!” How can I not love a job filled with reading to kids, writing with kids, doing research and helping them grow into readers and learners?

These days my answer is different. Lukewarm, at best. I get up and go to my school every required day. But I am not excited about it right now. What used to be a positive, welcoming place is now filled with “spread out!” and “don’t touch!” Books turned in are quarantined in a special room on carts until they’re safe to touch.

Instead of kids drifting in and out of my classroom throughout the day, they can only come to the media center once a week during their assigned time slots. They come in, stay in line, sit down in the distanced chairs.

They watch my whole, real face tell them a story on video while they browse tables of books with their eyes, not hands. (I no longer have a clerk to assist me, so I “clone myself” with a video screen.) If students want me to open a book, I prop it on a random page then keep moving. When they have their selections they head to the desk. I scan a barcode instead of them typing their own numbers. No touching! Then they return to the exact same seat.

Instead of laughter, the most prevalent sound is the *psst* *psst* *psst* of food contact surface spray. I scrub. I shuffle books. Gloves on. Mask on. Smiling with my eyes as best I can.

I miss my job. I miss spontaneity. I miss special projects. I miss idle chat that leads to great ideas. A few fewer rules. A few more smiles.

A highlight of the week is when I do carside book delivery to the digital learners. Some drop by twice a week. Sometimes I get to wave to the kids in the back seat and tell them I miss them. Last week a parent held up her phone so I could Facetime with her son, waiting at home for more books. I’m not the only one who is missing something.

Or the other afternoon when I had a spur-of-the-moment takeout picnic with my daughter at the park. As I was leaving I heard a girl’s voice scream in excitement “YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER! YOU ARE THE LIBRARY TEACHER!” Then her little sister, a new kindergarten student, joined in the hollering. We waved excitedly. From a distance. Even with the mask, they still see me and I still see them.

I’m determined to stay positive and try to keep connecting to kids at a time when everything is about separation. When the kids watch me tell a story and laugh at the right parts, I know I am still reaching them through all the rules and rigamarole.

The Roaring 20s, I tell myself. The Roaring 20s.