In the Moment

When I was a young teen, my mother decided her kids needed to have more culture in their  lives. She read us a book about the 50 most influential people in the world of art.  After listening to Mom read about each artist,  my siblings and I would suddenly take an interest in becoming whatever we had just studied. We wrote plays after reading about Shakespeare and made little sculptures after learning about Michelangelo. We didn’t have any clay lying around the house so we improvised by taking the bag of sandwich bread from the top of the refrigerator and squashing it until it turned into what we thought was a giant glob of clay. We then made our sculptures.

My dear mother was such a good sport about it. Money was very tight and we had just used the entire loaf of bread.  She didn’t scold us though. She just laughed and then told us that we would have to eat our sculptures the next day with peanut butter for lunch.  My Mom was living in the moment on that day.

It’s easy to forget to live in the moment. Life is busy. I have a to-do list a mile long and it’s easy to worry about tomorrow instead of living today.  For my next challenge, I will pick one activity each day and really stop and enjoy the moment. I will  force myself to be fully present  with the moment and treasure the experience.

 

Will you join me on this challenge?

 

 

 

Grateful Days 1-24

It’s time to start my November tradition. I write something I’m grateful for every day for the entire month in my journal. Here’s my list for the first 25 days of November.

Day 1: I’m grateful for music.

Thankful Day #2: I’m grateful for bowling with my friends after a long day at work.

Thankful Day #3. Windshield wipers that work

Thankful Day #4: The weekend is here!

Thankful Day #5: Walking. It’s a gift.

Day #6: I’m grateful for all the rights in the Bill of Rights. It’s a blessing to be able to assemble with other people, pick my own church and express ideas in written form with others. It’s a blessing that you have that same right too. I may not always like how other people exercise their rights, but l will defend and respect their right to do so. The day we only look after our own civil liberties at the expense of others rights is the day that we all start to lose.

Day 7: Family and Friends
Day 8: The ability to vote

Gratitude Day #10: I’m grateful for puffy white clouds. I love clouds. They are so pretty. I saw a beautiful cloud driving home from work today. It made me just smile. Clouds are cool. I bet you are wondering what happened to yesterday’s gratitude post. Well, I wasn’t feeling very thankful on November 9th so I took a day off from the challenge. I’m back though today and will try to be thankful for something every day for the rest of this month.

Day 11:  I’m grateful for all veterans and their families. Thank you for your service.

Day 12: Grateful for my legs and feet

Day #13:  I’m  grateful for books.

Day 14: I’m thankful for a working car.

Day 15: I’m thankful for my free pen. Some one gave me a free pen today and I was very happy to get it.

Day 16: I’m grateful for my bed. It’s good to have a bed to sleep in . l would be a very grouchy person if l had to sleep in a tent every night.

Day 17: I’m grateful for my siblings.

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Day 18: I’m grateful to have a job. (And now I’m off to that job.)

Day 19-20: I’m grateful my Grandma got me a cookbook for my graduation gift many years ago. I love this book and use it all the time. In fact, l used it tonight. I felt like eating some deviled eggs but l couldn’t remember how much mayo to put in. This book has everything in it. It’s amazing. Thanks Grandma. I’m still enjoying the gift. (By the way, Nathan said he loves this book too. He likes to eat.)

cookbook

Day 21: I’m grateful that I’m not a Pilgrim and that I don’t have to cook over an open flame every night. The 6th graders went on a virtual field trip to Plimouth Plantation this week. The students enjoyed it and it made me remember to be grateful for things like a modern kitchen and indoor plumbing. I would have made a terrible Pilgrim.

Day 22: I’m grateful for my parents and how they have put up with all these years.

Day 23: I’m thankful for good people who are trying to make the world a better place. Last night, Nate and l participated in a choir that sang for an interfaith Thanksgiving service in Tempe. It was a sweet experience and l felt God’s love as we came together with songs and messages. I’m glad l was a part of it. I even ran into my dear coworker Diane which made it a special treat. We took a selfie.

singing-in-the-choir  selfie

Day 24: I’m grateful for my Mom and the joy she brings to the world.

Thankful Day 25: I’m grateful for Jesus, for my family and for the ability to turn off my alarm clock and sleep in until 7:30 a.m. I normally start my day at 5:00 a.m. so sleeping until 7:30 is a wonderful treat. I’m also thankful for cousin Carrie. I got to see her today and she is one of the coolest people I know on planet Earth. She’s intelligent, fun, beautiful, creative and just an interesting person. I love hanging out with her. I’ve got to find her job in Arizona so I can see her more. (Or maybe we can both find jobs somewhere exciting like London)

carrie-and-me

 

The Magic

There is a scene in the Wizard of Oz movie that I love. Dorothy has just defeated the wicked witch with the help of her friends and a bucket of water. The good witch Glinda comes and with a friendly smile tells Dorothy that she’s always had the power to go home. Dorothy just needs to tap her ruby slippers and believe that she is a magical person.  It’s a profound moment. Dorothy realizes anything is possible.

Here are my slippers. I’m ready for my magic to start.

Shoes

“You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself”.–Glinda from the Wizard of Oz

 

The Great Big Political Secret

My parentsAs young 14 year old kid, my candidate did not become President.  I was devastated.  My wails could be heard all over the house.  I knew the world was coming to an end as soon as the President-Elect was sworn into office.  (I was a dramatic teen. If you don’t believe me, just ask my brothers.) Eventually, my Dad came into the room to comfort me. He told me, “Amee, I’m going to let you in on a big adult secret.” Of course, I stopped crying.  I was 14 and I loved the idea of knowing a grown up secret.  Dad told me that sometimes his candidate won and sometimes they didn’t win. He told me that the world kept on spinning either way. He felt that what happened in our house probably mattered more than what happened in the White House. The important thing was to make your community a better place,  vote your conscience, work with others for the good of everybody and not be a brat to people who don’t vote like you vote. It was a good lesson then. It’s a critical lesson now.

Dad, you’re a wise man. I’d vote for you for President.  Mom, you’re also amazing. I’d vote for you too.

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

Joyful Moment #201

It’s time for a joyful moment. I love those automatic doors that swing open and shut all on their own. The logical side of me knows there’s a mechanical,  scientific reason for how the doors detect your presence which triggers a switch to make them open. The magical side of me still loves the thrill of the doors opening for me. It all stems back to being four years old. I went to the store with my mother and Aunt Becky. The doors automatically opened at the entrance to the store. It was the first time I had ever realized that doors could open all by themselves without me pulling on them. It delighted me so much.  I knew as I walked through those magical doors that I was a princess. After all, why else would the doors open for me?

Today I went to the grocery store. The doors opened up for me and I smiled. I must still be a princess.

Crown

 

Take Me to Your Leader

I’ve tried many times over the years to make a homemade face mask that will magically erase all of my acne.  I finally gave in and bought one of those face masks from the store. The package says it will magically erase all of my acne. We will see if it works. The fun part is that I look like a green alien.    Greetings Earthlings!  Take me to your leader.

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I will be announcing my latest challenge on this blog tomorrow morning.  I’m so excited. I wonder what the challenge will be. I guess I better start thinking about it so I can announce it.  (Actually, I do know what it will be. You’ll have to wait to to find out though. )

Be happy!  Be yourself!

Reflecting on 2015

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Last New Year’s Day, I imagined myself on the brink of New Years 2016.  I had a beautiful vision for my future. I didn’t get everything I hoped for last year for but I’m not discouraged. I still had a good year with lots of stuff going on. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Funny stuff. Hard stuff. Amazing Stuff. Stuff I have no idea how to explain. Just Stuff. That’s life, you know. We all get stuff and how we react is what ultimately creates the life we see at the end of the year.

Here are some of the things I learned in 2015.

I learned about the joys of green arrows and celebrating every step you make for a goal.  Read the rest of the post. traffic-lights-444639_1920

I did my first 5K and came in last place.    Race

I earned an award.

Award 2

I learned how to make salad in a jar. DSCN4088

I also met and interviewed so many wonderful Wonder Woman. Woman like SJ who taught me to be a mermaid by being yourself.  Woman like Josephina , Tiffany, Carrie and so many more. These conversations enriched my life and helped me to reflect on the power and beauty of the ordinary woman.  After all, every woman’s success can be success if I let it.

Be Awesome in 2016!

The Christmas Candle

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Each night for the 13 days before Christmas, my siblings and I would sit at the dinner table. In the middle of the table sat a burning candle. Mom would read us a few scriptures to teach us about Christ.  Then we’d sing a Christmas song. One year Mom told us that when the candle was all the way burned down to the bottom with nothing but a little wax left that she would make us a special cake. We were all very motivated by the idea of cake so the next night we each came to the kitchen table with our own candles. As Mom would read, we’d take our candle’s flame and gently encourage the Christmas candle to burn faster. This went on for a couple of nights as my poor mother tried to read us the words of Christ and we tried various means to make the candle burn faster.

The Christmas candle was taking forever to burn all the way down to the bottom so we decided to met before mom’s readings and burn it  on our time. We felt guilty about just burning the candle though so one of us read the Bible while the others started burning little holes into the Christmas candle. Mom came in and saw what we were doing. We thought we might be in trouble but instead she just laughed and said, “Wonderful! I’m raising a bunch of pyromaniacs who read their scriptures”. Then she went and got a lighter and joined us in our quest to burn that candle all the way to the bottom.  (By the way, lighters can burn candles faster than other candles can burn candles. We got to eat cake that night!)

(This cute little Nativity set was a present from my awesome sister Jenny.)

 

My latest challenge is connected with Advent.  The 30 days before Christmas I’m remembering Jesus by reading some scripture verses and doing 30 days of kind deeds. The hope is that this will make Christ the focus of my Christmas celebrations.  So far, it’s been a good experience.

And no, I’m not going to tell you what I did for my good deeds because it’s suppose to be anonymous.  I’m also a little selfish because I want all those blessings in heaven.  Don’t have any idea what I’m talking about? That’s okay.  I will fill you in with the Bible story. When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount he said people who do good deeds get rewards in Heaven. There’s a catch though.  The angels don’t write it down on their heavenly Ipads if you blab all around town about it.  Oops. I just told the entire internet all about my good deeds challenge. Somewhere there is a little angel who is hitting the delete button.

This challenge really has made this Christmas special though. What are you doing to make Christmas a wonderful time for you?

 

 

 

Wonder Woman: Meet SJ

Have you ever met a mermaid? I have. Meet SJ.

SJ and guitar

You might be wondering how I know SJ is a mermaid. Well, she meets all the characteristics of the mystical ocean creature.  Mermaids are natural beauties. They have kind, generous personalities with a flair for love, beauty, music and romance. They have passion for living life by their own design. Mermaids can live in the water or on the land. Home is based on who and what they love. Their love isn’t defined by geographic or cultural boundaries. SJ  loves greatly. She’s kind, thoughtful, intelligent and creates a joyful atmosphere wherever she goes. SJ is an artist as she crafts intricate hairstyles in her career as a cosmetologist. She sings and plays instruments. She’s also a romantic soul, because she and her boyfriend write telegrams to each other. (That’s got to be the coolest, retro thing I’ve heard of in a long time.)

Telegram

SJ is a Mermaid. She’s also a Wonder Woman because she is herself.

 

SJ the Mermaid

Be a Wonder Woman. Be yourself.

 

 

 

Gratitute Challenge Days 25-30

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My annual gratitude challenge is over. It’s kind of weird not to wake up and immediately go to my journal to write down a thankful thought.  Here’s my list for days 24-days 30. Day 30 is my favorite. Toilet paper really is a miracle and I love it!

Day 24: Green arrows at busy intersections

Day 25: Oops. I forgot to be grateful today. I did get a lot of cooking done though.

Day 26: I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my faith, warm socks, hot chocolate and those yummy Biscotti that go with the hot chocolate, the Bible, everything I said on gratitude days 1-25, my super cool cousins who I love to hang out with, a comfortable bed with pillows and blankets and a bunch of other blessings. I’ve had so many opportunities and blessings in my life. It sometimes seems unfair that I have so much and others have so little. I’m feeling grateful today.

Gratitude Day 27: Thanksgiving leftovers= no cooking for several days. I love it! I’m also grateful for paper plates.

Day 28: Kleenex. My nose is so grateful for soft Kleenex especially when the allergies are acting up.

Day 29: I’m grateful l grew up in a home where it was okay for my siblings and me to ask questions. I didn’t realize what a gift this was until l got older and met people who were punished as a kid for asking why. Thank you Mom and Dad. You are good parents and amazing people. Sure love ‘ya.

Gratitude Day 30: Toilet paper. Life is much better with it.