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.

author moments

Cel-e-brate

The unexpected happened. I was completely and utterly surprised by my mini.

She wrote something extremely genuine to a friend in need. If I could have written it myself I wouldn’t have changed a word. I had that “oh wow” moment. I did something right! She does listen. I’m really not talking to a teenage wall.

I am celebrating in my mind. In my body. As a mother many days go by when you have a thankless job. Too many actually. This one day made up for the 100 crappy days before.

For today I will take a deep breath and feel the joy associated with this moment. This writing helped a dear friend over a life hurdle. My cup is overflowing in joy for her. For me. For the receiving party.

Now on to the day to see what doom or gloom comes my way. No matter what my heart is full from this one little moment. The moment of words. The wisdom of words. The power of words whether written or spoken. 

adventure

Bricks & Alpacas

Bricks remind me of strength. Bricks are the basic foundation for many buildings and / or empires. Bricks would be the last thing I thought about carrying around today yet I am so excited I had such a great opportunity with a brick.

You see, the brick is representative of a challenge from my adventure book. As odd as the instructions appear when read, the more fun that can be had ahead. How one interprets the assignment leads to the adventure itself. We started by naming our bricks. Mine was named Flash as a brick doesn’t move fast. Another was named Richard or Dick for short. Chase was named as well as Ash. Little Ash has a backstory. She could be short for Ashley or Asher making her gender neutral. Also bricks are represented in fireplaces as is ash. Brittani with an I was named in honor of Brittney Spears and the brick she is. Below is the first outing with our brick family as we set out for the day of fun adventures.

The girl gang is loaded with bricks today. A weapon? A stepping stone? An item to build with? For today it’s about the adventure and memories we create with our bricks. A strengthening of our relationships. Our travels start by car so the bricks are packed in a bucket with tissue paper for protection as well as flair. Off to eat brunch we go. Will the restaurant give us a high chair for our little brick family?

The bricks were involved in photos ops and shenanigans as the day progressed. From poses at the restaurant to a visit to an Alpaca farm. There was never a dull moment.

The bricks will find their final resting place in a pasture on our family farm while we head off to make more memories without the weight of the bricks. The giggles will be present for years to come as we pass by the bricks in their new spots on the farm.

As I close out this brick post i’ll now leave you this smiling Alpaca who posed for me on our field trip. This gem of an animal smiled bright with its stained teeth and grass-colored face. It was so funny to share this creative pose. So soft and fluffy yet such a hot mess up close.

What started out as a brick adventure ended up including an educational agri-tourism component allowing me to learn about Alpacas. It was a pretty cool experience and I won’t ruin the surprise by giving away the details of my Alpaca experience but I will share some photos for fun.

Because who doesn’t like a creature with hair as cool as this?

friendship, giving

Lucky or Unlucky

Was it a lucky book?

Was it an unlucky wooden book?

Perfectly sized to fit the most amazing surprise. A neatly crafted wooden delight. A treasure chest of sorts. A wooden book filled with 50 cash surprises. Scratch. Scream. Sigh. Giggle. The battle of numbers is on. Will there be any winners? Will there be a big winner? Will there be disappointment or celebration? Time will tell. Take a look inside my treasure filled box.

I am in the processes of scratching off 50 scratch cards in honor of my 50th birthday. Such a fun and creative gift I received today.

The lucky number 8 struck after a few duds. Eights across the board as if I hit the jackpot on a slot machine. To my surprise it was just a one dollar win but multiplied by five makes it a whopping $5.00 win. For now I will pause on a high and begin my scratching again later when I may feel a little luckier.

Here I am again. The original scratch yielded $2.00. The second scratch off added $5.00 in wins. Will I make it over the initial investment at the end of the scratching? The shavings pile on the floor is adding up. The next round of scratching was a good one. Five singles doubled for $10.00. Then the next one has a wild card for instant win of $20. Rounding out the total to $37.00. Will I get over $50.00?

I have made it into the positive. Sitting at $55 with a few more scratches to go. My arm is a little cranky from scratching but it’s been a good time passer. Finally I sat down for the last few scratches just after 9pm. I had to move to a butter knife for scratching as my coin seemed worn out. I was hoping for a big win but ended up with just another dollar.

50 cards. $56.00 in winnings. Net result is positive $6.00. Nothing major but it showed me winning is possible even though I don’t make a habit of buying scratch offs unless it’s a holiday or I’m giving a gift of some kind.

Today I decided to pay it forward and bought the meal for a cute elderly couple at a local breakfast shop: 91 and 85 years young the couple was. I made them smile as they did me. My winnings were passed on today. Kindness and karma go hand in hand. I am thankful for my life, my friends and my good fortune. Never lose sight of how valuable it can be to pay it forward in some way.

Lucky or unlucky was the title of this post. This was of course referring to the scratch offs, however over the course of the day I really got a chance to see and feel how lucky I am every day as I sat back and enjoyed a day with some great friends.

Feeling lucky is how I choose to wrap up this post. Until next time….

celebrations

That Time of Year

Graduations. Awards ceremonies. End of year gatherings. Oh how fortunate one feels to be in public this year celebrating others. A gift of sorts. Really it is if you compare it to what others missed in 2020.

For me I’m selfishly excited. First I’m happy to celebrate others. Next to celebrate being able to celebrate at all. And finally to secretly honor those who missed their chance last year. The chance they can’t get back as time has moved on.

As we celebrate in any fashion this year let’s think of those who missed out last year. Some missed graduation. Others missed a normal funeral to honor a loved one lost. Many missed their wedding day. Some missed a big award day they waited many years to be a part of. Maybe even a final season of one’s sports team was missed. 

This year I went to a graduation. It was masked. It was socially distanced. It was different. But I was able to participate and celebrate the graduate. I didn’t take that lightly this year. While waiting I had many thoughts or reflections. It’s was an eye-opening experience in many ways. An awakening.

I went to a college signing event this year. I listened to the stories. The athletes who sustained season ending injuries in 2019 causing pain and rehabilitation to prepare for 2020 seasons only to have a pandemic hit. Only to emerge in 2021 to rise again and overcome. I would have missed these stories as they are not in the headlines yet deserve a spotlight as do the other untold stories. I may cheer in silence but I’m celebrating all who missed that opportunity for whatever reason I’m 2020. 

This experience also gave me a whole new level of understanding for playing like there is no tomorrow. Every game is like your last. Leave it all on the line. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed on or off the field.

Now that we are in 2021 and restrictions are lifted I seem to be on the go. Go here go there. Do I complain about being busy? Yes. Would I want to be in isolation? Heck no! I do however need to be able to pause and make sure I don’t miss celebrating others due to my busy schedule. For the reasons I noted above, others need the chance to celebrate in 2021 because so much was missed in 2020.

I may have too many graduations to make them all but I will send that card. Send that text. Make that call. It’s an important step in 2021. For all those virtually reading this I’m sending you a celebratory high five if you are in need of celebrating. For those of you who have the opportunity to celebrate a milestone in 2021, make it a point to honor others.

It feels good to celebrate others. If you have somebody in your life who missed something big in 2020, send them a follow up this year. A card. A note. A call. A secondary celebration for making it a great year despite the blah of 2020. Why not? We have so many have-tos in life why not just do something different.