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.

nature

Snowy Sunday

All we heard all week on the tv, online, at work, and on the radio: the upcoming cold front that would include snow and ice or a mix of whatever would arrive and cripple the roadways. Be prepared for Snowmageddon because we rarely get snow. The grocery store was out of most good items by Thursday. No hamburger or chicken. Milk and eggs were scarce, too. As folks prepared to buckle down, life still went on for me and my crew.

It was about 10pm on Saturday night as our evening wore down. At the same time the crisp air began to get a little extra chilly. We hunkered down for the night. The wind was the first thing to wake me early early Sunday morning. The trees were swaying with wind gusts up to 60mph according to news reports. I sat and ate my breakfast by the window just watching with a hot cup of tea. The homemade version of medicine ball tea from Starbucks. A few branches broke. A tall but thin pine leaned over but was caught by another. The limbs were looking so heavy yet the sight was beautiful.

The snow accumulated as the day passed. Some sleet hit. Back to fluffy snow again. The dogs had their coats on and had some play time. I opted for no snowman this year. It’s not often we see snow therefore it was a fun play date for the dogs and equally fun to watch. The power flickered. We lost power for a short time but it was daylight so all was good. 

A few movies were played and the internet was blazing until we heard a boom. About 4:49 the loud sound hit. With the boom came a flicker. After the flicker the power was gone. I’m sure a transformer was blown. As the dark settles in for night, we hunker down with blankets and extra layers for a new storm experience. A candle is burning in each room for light. The pups are napping as is my crew.

While all is quiet I wrote away on my phone. The light shining while I still have battery juice to entertain me. A few texts here and there. A check on the power website for updates. A cookie to snack on. Oh how the silence can be golden but how you hear different sounds you may miss on a day with sounds galore. I’m also enjoying the scents of my candles as they float through each room. Another level of calm as the chill sets in the house air.

The road is idle due to weather leaving no sounds there. The kids that once played outside are now tucked inside, hopefully still dry and warm. I do hear a mouth breather napping and I also hear a snore here and there. A few creatures lick their chops now and again or let out a big stretch.

Maybe it’s time to crank up the generator or have an impromptu night in the camper. My snowy Sunday is a powerless one or has been for a few hours now. Off to put my hat on (inside) and prep for dinner which seems like it will require me to go outside to use the grill to cook. Baby it’s cold outside.

awareness, nature

Chasing Sunshine

Some days you just need to take a break and enjoy the sunshine or should I say chase the sunshine. It could be taking a walk. Maybe taking a hike is more your speed. For me today it was just sitting in the sunshine. Not doing anything per se.

It was a cool crisp day but the warmth of the sun took the chill out of the air. The breeze was calming. The leaves just ruffled as they blew side to side. Today is supposed to be the last day of sunshine as the gray skies are moving in. A winter cold front full of snow, ice, sleet or whatever shows up per the weatherman. Today is an odd day to sit outside yet it seemed perfect at the time.

Many I know are struggling for various reasons in life. Some have depression. Some are anxious with the pandemic still lurking around. Others have health issues in their family spiking beyond the pandemic. Many are stressed for one reason or another. Maybe this post will make its way to somebody who just needs a dose of sunshine. A ray of light on a dreary day.

If you are reading this today and needed to hear this message, step outside. Feel the sun on your face. Smile. Reflect. Enjoy what is great in your life right now. Put the worries aside. Focus only on the peace around you. Listen to the sounds. Think about how you could pass some virtual or homemade sunshine to another. Maybe a sweet email or text. Maybe a hand written card to friend. Maybe a cup of coffee for the car behind you at the drive thru.

While outside enjoying the sun, you may hear the panting of a playful dog. You might hear a bird chirping. You may hear the revving of car as it passes by. Whatever sounds are near, let them creep into your soul. These sounds can be beautiful if you listen with intent. Active listening is a skill that needs to be mastered by everyone. Sometimes stepping away from your crazy day or life even for a few minutes will allow time to regroup, breathe more deeply and set your mind at ease.

Chase that sunshine. Today and everyday. When you learn how to capture it, pass it on. One can even find sunshine on a cloudy day. You just might need to look a little harder or listen a little fiercer to feel its warmth.

family

Growing Up

My babies are growing up. Some faster than others. My little baby Bear that I picked up weighing just 4.5 pounds is now weighing in at 35 solid pounds. She is full of so much love though. Furry, cuddly, and sweet. That’s how I would describe this little pup. At just a hair over 5 months old, I can surely say she has been a great addition to my family.

My caboose of a kid is ch-cha-changing. Finding her way to adulthood. From learning to drive to scoping out colleges. She is on the move to bigger and better things. Some days I see her more. Some days I see her less. Some days she’s nice. Some days she is a bear of sorts. No matter her mood or her busy life, I keep finding ways to support her in her journey. Some days I cheer. Some days I guide. Most days I listen. Growing up is different for every family member.

My little Teddie girl. My sweet but sassy golden doodle has matured so much this year. From teaching her sister the ropes inside the house and outside to being that tiny little watch dog with a ferocious bark. She tilts her head when you talk to her. She listens. She knows where her leash is. She know what it means when you say outside. She knows when it treat time. She knows when to sit patiently to wait for a reward. She has led by example for the new pup. She had such a grow up year yet she didn’t physically grow at all. 

The first born. Educated. Experienced. Determined. On his way to top of whatever mountain he wants to climb. Chipping away at his goals. Setting his bar higher and higher. Looking for travel to experience new places and faces. Encouraging his siblings. Giving his time to others. Such a great time to watch one grow and become a self-sufficient adult.

Just a little in between. The space before adulthood. The space after high school. The place where you find yourself. That’s where my middle cherub is. In the middle of deciding: 

Where to go

When to go

Who to take with

What to do

Why all these decisions 

When teens know it all and their brain isn’t fully developed, one can linger in the in between stage. It’s truly young adult trials and tribulations. It could be the changing of your major 20x in college. It could be moving apartments over and over again. It could be the revolving door of dating. It could be laziness. It could be any combination thereof. This is not my favorite season of growing up for many reasons.

In the end a mom is always cheering on her babies. From the first poop on a potty to the first sleep through the night for your four or two legged crew. I’m sure my mom has watched me grow up, glow up, fall down, pick myself up, and so much more. In the end I know she has enjoyed the journey as do I.  As I grow I know my life has provided me much. Each baby gave me new meaning in life. New memories. New adventures. New stress. New attitude. Stay grateful. Thanksgiving is around the corner. Celebrate the ones you live near and far. No matter what stage they are in. Life is fragile.

author moments

You Are Beautiful

I recently met the sweetest little four year old girl. A petite little thing. An extremely polite young lady. As cute as she could be. She was enjoying a day at the playground where I played tennis nearby with her mom.

She was climbing the steps of the slide ladder over and over this day just to enjoy the air blowing in her face as she swept down the slide. Up. Down. Up. Down. Giggles galore. She played a little with her brother but also enjoyed her solo rides on the slide while we played tennis. Took a break or two to enjoy her sucker as well.

After her play time we had our brief introduction. My first time meeting her. She was a sweet little girl in a flowered dress and barefoot skipping around the play area. Pausing to say hi to me.

She taught me a little something about beauty on this day. She whispered to me in her soft and shy voice. I’m beautiful because my heart is so big. What a simple statement full of so much power. All this power and beauty was beaming from this sweet little four year old.

When I picked her up and gave her a hug. She squeezed back like no other. She is full of so much love and to see her share it was so amazing. This was a chance encounter but one I was grateful for.

Sometimes it’s nice to visit with little people. They are brutally honest and can lighten the craziness of a day. I don’t have little ones under my roof currently so this was a sweet moment to savor.

Just a tidbit for today. A little clip of sunshine for the world from the mouth of a innocent 4 year old girl wise beyond her years.red heart