adventure, inspire

Inspiration Project

I was inspired by a table. A table at an outside seating area of a small-town gastropub. Shiny red barrel legs. Barn wood type table top. It looked homemade but I knew it was commercially produced. See below for a visual.

I decided in that moment that I was going to use this inspiration to spark my own home project. And off my mind went to what the finished product would look like!

I didn’t think about where to find the components or how much work was involved to get my end result. I just knew what I wanted and said I’m gonna do it. Why not?

I started with the cool base. The red barrels. But why stop at two when you can have three? Then I needed a topper. Not just any topper. I wanted a 12 foot topper that was straight from the woods. Off I went on a hunt.

First I secured the base. Boy that was an adventure to get one night. Then it was the search and negotiations for the topper. And they had to be big which meant I needed bookend pieces. Into the woods with a big truck to get the pieces that were hand selected.

Now the hard work has begun. The sanding. The endless dusty sanding. It’s mindless work but therapeutic at the same time. I’m creating something. A one-of-a-kind piece that will be showcased in my new outdoor space. I will take great pride in knowing the hard work that was put into this table.

From creating the perfect edging to preserving the bark. All intricate details making it special to me. I could have bought a table but that would have been easy. I chose difficult or the path requiring hard work. May this table be a staple piece in my space where people can gather and share good times and make memories. Oh the adventures my table will have. I can’t wait to unveil the finished product.

Moving on to staining and some finish work. Full assembly won’t happen until it reaches its destination so for now you have to ignore the messy warehouse background that I have morphed into a mini-workshop of sorts. You will see a final photo when the table lands in its new home but for now you can see it close to the end result below.

I didn’t track the hours I invested in this project but it was an experience. One of many I will embark on in the second half of 2020.

dare to be different

Puzzles

“Raise your hand if you’re a puzzle person,” I said, shaking a jigsaw puzzle box.

It’s a request I made at the beginning of a staff training I did a couple of years ago.  Maybe a third of the hands in the room shot up.  Everyone else either shook their heads “no way” or shrugged.

How do you become a puzzle person, I asked?  Those who shot their hands up said things like, we did them as a family growing up.  My friends and family told me I was good at them. Puzzles take time, sometimes collaboration, and persistence to achieve a goal.

For puzzle people, puzzles are associated with good feelings and success.  Those feel-good experiences can contribute to what we we are good at and who we are, or rather, who we think we are.  Most of the non-puzzle people simply didn’t grow up doing them or got frustrated a few times and decided (or were told) they weren’t good at them to begin with.

So it goes with many things.  From a young age, the things we spend time on and feel successful at (whether we learn that from experiences or what we are told) shape who we think we are and what we say we are good at.

As for me, I was told I was smart, good at school, and naturally skilled at test taking. These didn’t require too much effort from me.  I breezed through my early years and took in the accolades.

But, I wasn’t really a puzzle person.  I focused on the things that came easily for me, and whatever didn’t come easily I learned to avoid.  Unlike many puzzle people, who learn to try, try again, and even set things aside when they get frustrated or stuck and return to the puzzle later, I had little persistence or resilience in the face of adversity.

Well, as of this moment (at my not-so-young age) I am raising my hand and declaring myself a puzzle person.

I am embracing the problems I face as puzzles to be figured out instead.

I don’t have to have it all solved immediately.  It doesn’t even have to come easily.  As I make myself vulnerable more often and take on bigger, more complicated tasks, I know I have to remind my mind not to get frustrated or shut down.  I may have to be coached (which means – eek! – being coachable, which I am decidedly NOT when I am feeling overwhelmed, afraid, or out of my depth). Like riding a bicycle, then trying to do a trick or two, I may flop.  The world will not end and I can try again.

I’m shaking life’s box of problems as puzzles, dumping out the pieces, searching for the corners and the edges.  I don’t really have a full picture of what it will look like in the end for reference, but that’s all part of the process.  It will be beautiful, whatever it becomes.

 

 

 

inspire

Whispers and Dreams

When the universe whispers, do you listen?

When you dream, do you imagine reality?

Dreams and whispers can collide and ignite passion and pride to venture into the ultimate creative space. A space where your mind and heart can allow you to travel to see potential off on the horizon.

For some that may mean buy a lottery ticket. For others that may be a cruise to a destination they had only seen in magazines. For a select few, it’s infinite opportunities hiding in plain sight.

Travel isn’t always defined by a destination. Travel can be defined by shifting time in your mind to see future potential. Travel may be reaching for a new limit or high. Travel may be shifting from a past that is ready to be left behind.

A plane, train or automobile is no longer needed to travel. Travel can be in the form of virtual reality. Some pay for virtual reality experiences while others have the natural ability to create and envision their own reality.

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Take a look at the above picture. One employee’s virtual really of working at the beach. Creative? Yes. Funny? Yes. Virtual reality? Yes. These scenarios exist. You just have to visualize it. Keeping with this thought, I just read an article on work anywhere and how you can work from anywhere in an RV post-corona.

Finding new ways to make the best of all of our new realities and work spaces while finding peace in a location. To me this is just another trend popping up to show people are tapping into their creative side to reinvent their own new normal. They are following universe whispers and dreams.

This may seem like a mind twisting post but maybe it was meant to be. Maybe it was just out out here stimulate your mind. Whatever the reason, dream a little bigger this week. Listen to the universe whisper. Follow your heart and drift into the magical space noted above. Explore an area you have never visited. Envision the possibilities around you.

Share your journey. It’s always better with friends. Dare to escape the ordinary!

adventure

Spring’s Simple Pleasures

Is it just me, or is this the longest spring season in recorded history?

And no, this isn’t really a post about how difficult it has been to be cooped up indoors a lot, separated from friends, missing out on events, and so on.  (If you’re looking for that, try these posts.)

I don’t remember spring ever lasting this long because it is usually lacrosse season, celebration season, end of work season, and so on.  We are often driving and juggling and cheering and volunteering and working nonstop.  And I love and miss a lot of that.  But this season has allowed me to notice and enjoy spring in new ways. I have always loved fall above all else, but I’m now seeing that spring has its charms.

Couple that with my commitment to be more intentional about spending money and I am finding myself relishing small, simple pleasures.

I’ve mentioned the morning reading that has replaced my sometimes frantic commute.  Quiet, candle, coffee and a book starts my day most of the time.  You’d think a librarian would read a lot, but I honestly don’t make the time for it that I should.  Right now I am going into my physical building to work for a few weeks, so reading time is short but I try not to miss it.

Bike rides.  What would I do without my bike?  I’m sort of obsessed with it.  I keep it on my car pretty much all the time and biking on the back seat inside just in case the opportunity to ride presents itself.  Cruising new paths in the sunshine with my riding partner is happiness and adventure when going very far from home isn’t happening.  It feels like a mini-vacation and is one of the few times I feel truly care-free.

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I am a farmer’s market fanatic.  The pandemic has caused many local farmers to revamp their business models.  I’ve been able to order flowers and farm boxes and pick them up safely.  I actually love that I can order what I like and have it held for me.  It’s frustrating to drive all the way to the market only to find they already sold out of my favorite sungold tomatoes or, later, September Wonder apples.

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Which reminds me, it is almost tomato season here where we live.  I look forward to these summer veggies all year.  Right now we are in the heart of strawberry season. I found an hour the other day to drive out to a strawberry farm and pick a couple of buckets.  If you have never had strawberries straight from the vine (or tomatoes for that matter) you are missing out.  It’s a totally different taste than supermarket berries.  And the experience of picking them myself in the hot sun was sweet and reflective. Fresh strawberries are one of the sweeter things in life. It’s been great to share them with people who appreciate them.

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What simple pleasures have you rediscovered in these hard times? Walks?  Game nights? Family dinners?  Tell us in the comments.

 

dare to be different

Life is Tricky

What does one do when they have extra time? For me I have cleaned a ton. I shopped more than I should online. I made headway on many house projects. I did many arts and crafts projects. I worked on my budget planning and even took a financial survey (results below). Kept up with workouts including group challenges virtually and so much more. The point is I’m still planning ahead with the actions I’m taking! I’m not living in the past or in the darkness. I’m looking at what’s ahead on the horizon.

One area that has caught my eye a bit is slowing the life pace down. Smelling the fresh cut grass. Listening to the birds chirp. Playing games and adjusting to a much slower work pace. By no means am I not working but everything seems in slow motion of sorts. It won’t last forever but it’s given me time to pause and appreciate surroundings. Microsoft even told me my email chirps have been slowed the last 14 days so I have confirmation from big brother!

My pause could be a walk outside during a work day. It could be doing 30 sit-ups an hour in between phone calls because working at home nobody cares if you do a workout at your desk, right? It could be hand written note from a friend I get in the mail or writing one to a person in need.

As I’ve adjusted to a new normal, a new routine has set in. I stay up later. I sleep in later and everything in between is arranged in alternate ways. There are many things that I do differently or less of, etc. in lockdown. There are things I thought I would miss that I don’t. There are people I miss greatly and some I don’t. How will I re-enter society when bans are lifted? That’s the big question and why I think life is tricky.

45 days ago I was on a fast-paced rigid path. Now I’m on more of a yellow brick road skipping down the path in a more carefree manner. Where will I go tomorrow? I’m leaning toward climbing a hill or mountain of sorts.

Time to change it up and see what sticks and what doesn’t. Time to broaden the horizon and be thankful for the new or refreshed look on life. Post-corona will look different for many. I plan to adjust to my surroundings, truly live more in the moment and focus on what’s in front of me while keeping an eye on the big picture.

I plan on helping those around me weather the storm. There are many young people coping with real struggles now. There are many elderly with different struggles and everything in between. Just like my days look different so do others. What was normal before corona will not be the same. In time life will adjust but in the interim I plan to adapt and help many in my own way.

I’m getting excited to see how high the mountain is along with the terrain. I never choose the easy route. I always look for the bumpy road with twists and turns. The terrain will make me stronger in my mind and hopefully in body and spirit. What tools will I need or have for my journey?

Hang tight! The all clear will come soon for many in stages. We just need to continue to exercise our patience muscles.

What will you do different post-corona? Life can be tricky. How will you adapt to life’s curveballs? I can’t wait for the fresh start. Maybe I will see more of you on the other side of corona or maybe not.