celebrations, family

Last Time for Everything

Country music isn’t necessarily my favorite, but I listen to it pretty often since my youngest daughter is a fan. I have a handful of artists I admire. Miranda, Maren, Dolly, and then there’s Brad. Brad Paisley. He may not have the most soaring lyrical voice, but his lyrics are witty, smart, and insightful.

Just a few weeks ago, my youngest daughter, the country girl, started her farewell tour, her victory lap, her senior year of high school. Tomorrow we will leave on a 10-day road trip bookended by two lacrosse tournaments, sandwiched around reunions with family, roller coasters, beautiful scenery and other adventures. Time with friends, time with each other, time doing new things, time doing what she loves.

It’s her last hurrah of youth. Last summer playing travel lacrosse. It won’t be long until senior year begins with all its fanfare and festivities. College choices will be made. Dreams will turn to plans.

And so begins a season of lasts. Here’s where Brad comes in with Last Time for Everything. It’s a song that plays over and over in my head. Last time hitting the road to the northeast. Last time taking the field. Last Spring Break. Last, last, last…

Some I will see coming. Some will catch me off guard. Some I will be prepared for. Many I won’t even notice until they are gone and done.

Sure, she will always be my baby. Just like the older two, she will always come home and open the refrigerator and look for her favorites. Bring her laundry and her dog. Get some advice on how to fix her car or choose insurance or ask questions about saving money. Maybe she’ll even curl up and take a nap while someone is cooking in the kitchen like I did at my parents’ house. Even after I was long gone, it was a safe place to just relax and be taken care of for a bit.

So I will enjoy each moment with her as she prepares to take a step out on her own. I will try not to overthink it and get ahead of myself, but instead just be in the moment, relishing this last trip around her childhood sun, all her hard work, ups and downs, accomplishments, and celebrations.

May I treasure this sweet season of lasts while it lasts.

mental health

Kindness

In the past week I have seen kindness in many shapes and forms. Each instance was in plain sight. Could everyone see the kindness? Would anyone react and create their own kindness towards others?

Some interesting questions I asked myself. Instead of wondering about the potential domino effect of kindness that could happen, I decided I should write a blog about kindness hoping kindness would be multiplied around the world.

Today some friends went caroling for the holidays. They visited a few sweet elderly ladies. One was struggling after the loss of a spouse of a lifetime. The other battles dementia. The music lifted their spirits. No matter if it was lifted for seconds, minutes or hours. The kindness lifted spirits of those who needed it most. Examples like this show me that hope is still alive today. 

Last week I witnessed an elementary-age school girl who wanted to raise money to buy kids toys for Christmas who were less fortunate. She drew hundreds of pictures and her parents helped her sell a digital copy of her art to buy the toys. So many toys were bought. This little girl’s kindness will make the holidays extra special for so many children. In addition she restored hope in many via the internet of goodness in the air. What an amazing story to share. 

Then there is the kindness in friendships. I am so lucky to have friends who are always there to support you when you need them most. The friends who help you in tough times but also celebrate with you in good times. Kindness and friendship work together in unison. 

In a world of chaos why not be kind? Kindness matters. Please read this short post and think of how you can offer kindness in your area. How can you support the elderly? How can you volunteer at a food pantry? How can you help guide somebody who is struggling? Think kindness today. Set a resolution for kindness in 2021 and every year thereafter.  

Be purposeful. Be intentional. Spread kindness like you would spread butter on bread. Offering kindness is free!

challenges, dare to be different

Opportunities and Obstacles

Deep breath…..

Sometimes life puts obstacles in front of us to see how we can hold up through challenges. The roars of 2020 were not for the weak in mind, body or spirit. Even the strongest and bravest souls faced some kind of adversity.

Oddly enough any obstacle can be turned into an opportunity. For me one area was coaching. How to coach through a pandemic. An obstacle to some but an opportunity to many. Nothing in a text book that I can recall on how to push through a pandemic, but that’s okay. I figured it out and am working on it daily.

As I coach I also get to share my tactics with others. Today when my efforts were validated, I got to grin knowing 2020 didn’t wipe me out. It showed me how to be resilient. It also made me more aware of the importance of sharing my successes with others. 

I am resourceful. Years of experience. A variety of tools in the tool box and each affords me the luxury of having options. Each option or path leads to an opportunity. An opportunity is what you make of it. Sharing this outlook with others will create a domino effect. 
Take a chance.

And if for some reason you missed a good opportunity, another one will come along, I promise. The key is don’t wait the next time. Seize the opportunity. Discover obstacles. Turn obstacles into non-issues. New opportunities will then keep branching off.

Trust the process.

Take chances.

Don’t be scared to learn from a missed opportunity either. It’s just like a baseball game. You can’t win every game played forever. The odds lead to some losses. And losing is okay as long as you spin it into a learning opportunity. 

My favorite business question is: if you could start over again what would you do differently? 9 out of 10 times there is a list of changes. Those are the strong leaders. Those who can’t see an opportunity from a failure will say I’d change nothing. I have unfortunately met many like the latter.

Let 2021 be a year of you. Your obstacles. Your opportunities. Your chances. Your experiences.

Don’t let Debbie Downers steer you away from chance. A chance is an opportunity for you to be great. I know many who will not take a chance in today’s uncertain times. I stand celebrating those folks as they give me more choices in which opportunity I will take and seize. 

Here’s to living for obstacles and opportunities in 2021 and beyond. Experience life. Your way.

3Splitz Farm

The Barn Door

There is so much beauty in observing something via a new lens. A new perspective on the same place, task, situation and so on. An outsider looking in. Such an opportunity to learn through observation.

Today I got to view a piece of property I own from a new lens. A stranger’s view gave me a new appreciation of what I look at often. Same coordinates but different appearance. A cracked barn door is all it took. Below is just one of the pictures that inspired me.

A different angle. A little misty fog. A different elevation. An artistic view. A fresh look. I was swept away by its beauty and mystery. How can the same place look so different while being the exact same?

We all have a unique vision of life, land, people and tasks. One’s trash can be another’s treasure. One’s obstacles can be another’s perfect play place. I’m a curious person. A constant observer. A life learner. I enjoy seeing the lens of others. It keeps me sane, motivated and engaged.

Today I looked at a lens on land as a reflection of life. The slightly cracked door opened to many possibilities. The fog was so representative of today’s masked world. The fog of 2020. My reflection of how I can paint my picture one way yet theirs may look much different. My barn picture is very peaceful but also thought provoking.  

When coaching others I am using my lens to give my perspective. Often the outsider looking in. Normally I don’t get to see the beauty of another lens. I’m normally bogged down with sorting out chaos. Today I saw beauty through the barn door. Now it’s my chance to seize opportunities through the fog. 

I appreciated every bit of the beauty. The learning experience. The smiles and the journey of others which inadvertently becomes part of my journey.

Life full circle. When you are in a creative space that allows you to observe, you can move mountains or obstacles in life with ease.

Find yourself that barn door to refresh your outlook. Better yet, you can use mine. 3Splitz Farm is a magical place in the north Georgia mountains offering many breathtaking views. Check it out for yourself. 

family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.