adventure

It’s in the Details

A surprise picnic. The weather wasn’t great. We didn’t even really know the area. The option to hike it in would have been too much to carry.

A friend scouted a park with a pavilion. We wandered in tandem with the vague directions we had, then finally stumbled on the spot.

The coolers, tucked in the back of the jeep for hours, and boxes and bags were ported out. Then the spoiling began.

A white tablecloth was the foundation. Topped by a fall-themed tablecloth with muted hues. Draped with care over the metal picnic table. Then, fancy bamboo plates and utensils. Yellow napkins folded at each place. Then, the finishing touches…jewel-colored velvet pumpkins that later doubled as party favors / remembrances for each of the women there. A fall candle bought brand new for the occasion, glowing and sharing a hint of apple scent. A table worthy of special guests. Even out in the middle of the soccer fields and playgrounds. Then, a build-your-own lunch spread courtesy of Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fussy. Just nibbles to try.

In recent years, I have grown to love surprising people…not in the sense of surprise parties, but more about delighting people with over-the-top unique details. Whether it be decorations, unexpected custom cookies that match their party theme, party favors that make people giggle, artist-created invitations, or a meal fit for a queen, it feeds my soul to make people feel special and make occasions memorable. People are worth celebrating.

This also extends to presents I may drop on porches on a random Tuesday. Life is a challenge for many. Why not make people smile?

I hope when they pull out that pumpkin each fall they smile and remember a great day, and someone who cared about them enough to plan something special. Spoil people a little sometimes. They are worth it.

perspective

Observation Overload

I was thinking about a title for this post for a few days. I wasn’t sure how to title it. Being stumped is not something that normally happens for me when it comes to titles. I’m a headlines girl for sure. Wonder why this one stumped me?

Nevertheless I found the title. Now I have to explain it. The observation deck can have multiple meanings for me. For some it’s a view point of sorts. From higher ground. Maybe it’s a skyscraper in a big city with an observation deck. Maybe it’s an observation point hanging over the Grand Canyon. A perch of sorts where one observes people, places, things, sports, and so on.

Recently I was at a tennis match and there was an observation deck filled with spectators. The elevated viewing area offered a different vantage point on the games as compared to ground level. This had me thinking about perches, overhangs, elevated surfaces which I might classify as an observation deck even if not elevated. An observing point for me. The list was endless.

The exercise bike on the second floor at the gym is a perch in my world where one can silently people watch. The bleachers at my kids’ sporting events. I always seem to pick the highest row to see the best view. Then I thought about other perches that may not be so elevated but that I would still consider an observation deck or platform in my life.

To give an example I have this photo below for you to visualize.

The bike view. Can you think of other moving observation platforms? A car. A plane. A train. A motorcycle. While moving what can you see different or up close to? Do you really need to be in a nosebleed section of the baseball stadium to observe the game?

I guess whatever platform or observation deck you have is fine. That’s why I named this Observation Overload. One thought spun in a million directions. For the purposes of this post, my observation point was ground level. Oddly enough I was in the muck of it all when I started observing busted biscuits. One here, one there, another over there. There were no Slim Jims just busted biscuits, the girl nearby noted. What on earth could I be talking about? People. Girls. Females. Fitness enthusiasts. Fun seekers. All with busted biscuits in different variations.

I was observing a bunch of girls, ladies and mature women actively participating in a movement activity outside. All from different backgrounds. Some thicker than others. Some more toned than others. Some older. Some younger. To my surprise, they all had busted biscuits of sorts. I didn’t coin the term but I’m sort of in awe of it at this point. A little distraction of sorts when I was served biscuits at the restaurant I was at the day I wrote this. 

One gal had busted biscuits thanks to all the beers she drinks.

One had busted biscuits because of child rearing.

One had busted biscuits because she recently lost a lot of weight.

One had busted biscuits due to settling over the years. Pretty sure she was in her 70’s. 

So many life reasons for the excess baggage also known as busted biscuits. Interesting odd way to phrase things but I was intrigued. I dazed off a bit in observation mode. Thinking. Wondering. Being curious in general.

Who cares about the busted biscuits? These ladies were moving. Some faster than others. Some with more giggles than others. Amazingly what they all exemplified was beauty. Beautiful stories. Beautiful memories. Beautiful people behind the busted biscuits. Beauty of being a woman with lived-in skin.

As a southern transplant one knows what busted biscuits look like. The container that opens up and oozes out with biscuit dough. I mean a southerner makes biscuits from scratch but a transplant can opt for the container or can of biscuits. The ones that ooze. 

Most people can’t get enough of a good biscuits. Well as a thick girl myself, I have busted biscuits. You know that troublesome area that seems to hold only all your bad choices, stress, aches and so on. Normally right below the belly button. Some call it a pooch. Some call it flab. Today somebody referred to it as busted biscuits. The term made me giggle. Why did I never think of that. It truly is busted biscuits. But nobody throws away the biscuits when they ooze out. They prep them for baking. They enjoy them.

Then I thought to myself I have busted biscuits. But so does every other woman out here. And that’s what is beautiful. Each container of busted biscuits oozed out their own way just the the special person carrying the extra ooze. They didn’t get thrown to the side. They were living their best busted biscuits life in their own skin.

As I drifted in the mind this day. I thought how much I like my busted biscuits. Unique to just me. How lucky am I? How cool is it that all these women get together, busted biscuits and all and just move. Just move that body in the fitness kind of way. Just because you have some extra biscuit ooze upon you doesn’t mean you can’t move or you’re not athletic. 

It just means you have a body that’s lived in. We are all made in different shapes and sizes. Everyone should embrace their appearance whether you are a Slim Jim or you carry busted biscuits.

Hope you enjoyed this lighthearted post about biscuits and observations.

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.

dare to be different

A Fahn Suhthun Lady

(A follow up to the recent post, Redneck Sweetheart. Check it out!)

I was born in Jawja.

Lived here all my lahf.

Except for that ill-advised detouah to Ohio for a few years round college time. They made fun of me for walking too slow in that infernal endless snow and saying y’all when I shoulda said, ahem, “you guys” all nasal or something else inelegant like that. Suhthun ladies roll sweet and slow off the tongue.

Before I go on, let me translate some of this for y’all, lest you find my Suhthun accent a distraction.

I don’t have a hoop skirt. Sweet tea is not my thing but there is no other soda (pop!?!?) than a Coke. I’m still a Suhthun lady through and through.

I blush at the mention of unmentionables. I am steely and will give you the side eye while saying “bless your haht.” I fan myself when I am flustered. Well I nevah would be so vulgah!

I am polite and don’t show up to a gathering empty-handed. To knock at a door without a casserole or even a simple mason jar filled with fresh picked blooms? Why my dear mother, rest her soul, would have been simply mortified!

I’m not all lace and doilies, mind you. I am gracious and refined at times, but will dig my hands in the dirt and grime. Just be sure I have a proper apron and brimmed hat. My fair Suhthun complexion demands protection from our hahsh climate.

I will bring you a snack when you’re hungry, refreshment when you’re pahched. I can quote the Bible, Flannery O’Connor, and Dolly Parton in the same afternoon chat. I am as well read as my farmily is well fed.

Many times I smile when I am angered. I’ve mastered the gentle art of holding my tongue when others try to ruffle my ruffles. Howevah, do not test my resolve. Do not mistake my quiet for ignorance or lack of passion. Do not confuse my kindness with any sort of weakness. I’m wise enough to realize most irritants are not worth my energy. But poking the bear too many times will bring her roaring to life. On that you can depend.

I will raise my voice at the right time. What comes out of these cultured and cultivated lips will surprise you. I don’t share my sharp and critical mind with just anyone, but if you earn yourself a piece of that mind with your vahl behaviah, well, bless your haht.

Back to minding my own business in my own hospitable way. Smiling politely. With a wink and a twinkle in my eye.

Don’t cross me.

healthy hacks

Rising Rituals

Win the morning, win the day, to paraphrase author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris.

Life these days has me early to bed, early to rise.

Right now, a good morning starts the night before. I lay my clothes out for whatever the day may bring. If I am going to the gym, I pack my gym bag and work clothes and put them in my car. One less thing to worry about in the wee hours.

Coffee maker starts brewing at 4:15 am.

I start the day by preparing my coffee and lighting a candle. Something that smells good. The warm light is comforting and for some reason just adds to the quiet sense of this as my personal time and gift to myself.

Then I read for about 5-10 minutes. I just finished Obstacle is the Way and started Stillness is the Key. Then, I grab my 5 Second Journal. This journal was recently recommended to me by a friend. I jot my way through my daily schedule and morning thoughts. Probably the most helpful part is writing down the main project for my day. I am generally pretty scatterbrained and can get through a day without even touching the most important thing. Forcing myself to choose a priority helps me think ahead to getting that done. I also benefit from the hour-by-hour breakdown of the day as a bird’s eye view of what is ahead.

After reading, writing, candle, and coffee, the day may take one of two paths. I may have time for a quick errand or two…empty the dishwasher, pay a bill, or I might do some more extensive writing. If I am working out at home that day, I start my home workout.

By the time I really start moving, I feel productive. I feel relatively calm, centered, and directed. The day is going in the right direction. I blow my candle out and off I go!

My biggest challenge is staying off my phone throughout this process. Some days this is easier than others. I know I need to use my time productively and generally my phone scrolling is sort of mindless. I can also quickly lose 20 minutes and not know what happened. So I try to keep it to paper and pencil as much as possible.

My morning routine for the past few months. It wouldn’t work for everyone but it works for me. Sometimes this is the only time I have to myself all day. While I love and appreciate people, getting my mind right and having some time to just think and greet the day myself is helpful for finding my footing in this hectic and unsteady world. What do you do to start your day off right?