The Book of What I Want to Know

“I’m unpredictable, I never know where I’m going until I get there, I’m so random, I’m always growing, learning, changing, I’m never the same person twice. But one thing you can be sure of about me; is I will always do exactly what I want to do.” ~ C. JoyBell C.

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In my last post I mentioned that there are so many books and so little time to explore them all. I have a notebook and a set of pens by my bed. Inisde, I jot down ideas and thoughts that warrant a bit of research to develop them more fully.

It may range from frivolous to serious, fanciful to practical and includes:

  • specific books I want to read
  • authors whose work I’ve enjoyed reading
  • directions to somewhere
  • ideas for gardening
  • how-to tips for DIY projects
  • medical procedures
  • work-related searches
  • gift ideas for specific someones
  • decorating ideas
  • sewing ideas, fabrics or plans
  • quotes from books being read or having been read that I enjoyed
  • Song lyrics
  • doodles and drawings
  • angles and planes of architecture
  • recipes
  • diffuser recipes for essential oils

The Title Page of my Notebook says simply, “Things I Want to Know.” While it may seem simplistic, it is actually the absolute truth. It is a hodgepodge of ideas and thoughts that complement the mental mash-up that is my brain and anyone looking through it would have a better understanding of who I am.

Maybe it the sociology and psychology-loving part of me that finds people so interesting, but I wish everyone had such a book. It is rather odd that as infants and young children, we are encouraged (usually) to explore the world around us. Once we reach school age tho, it seems to change – we are told to be quiet, hush up, focus, pay attention and the desire to explore and learn is squashed.

As adults we make excuses. I’m too busy, too tired, too hungry, too . . .anything. Most would rather plop in front of the television and stare slack-jawed into the screen than pick up a hobby or read a book. I will say, this whole pandemic thing has caused more people to get outside and exercise. And sewing . . .it took me three stops at three different stores to find a sewing machine for the Missouri home.

The Book of What I Want to Know is a wonderful addition to any home library. Create yours today.

Personal Stagnation

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

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I have been known to say, “So many books, so little time!” with a deep sigh because it’s true. There are more and more books published every day I would find utterly delightful to read and there is no way I will ever have time to devour them as I would like.

Same with sightseeing. There are plenty of beautiful parks, settings, places, chapels, museums, historical sites, etc. that I have yet to see and look forward to visiting. But there is no way I will ever find or get to them all.

Opportunities. There is a possibility of a job opportunity in my field. It would necessitate a move (again). Is it a viable option? Do I want the job? Do I want to move again? Having had my dream job for over a year, is it time for me to give another person an opportunity to do this job? Is it going backwards or is it moving forwards? All valid questions, and the best thing anyone (actually two people) has said to me is, “How do you feel about it?”

I appreciate the friends and loved ones who trust that while I may make a decision quickly, I view all the pros and cons as well as all those it affects and make the best decision with which I can comfortably live. There are fears and misgivings with any life change, those are unavoidable. The trick is looking past the fears to see the big picture.

I am not, nor will I be, the type of person who sits back and waits for life to deliver good things. They don’t fall into your lap folks, you have to work to make them happen. On the one hand, I will adopt a “wait and see how I feel” attitude when it comes to plans for the evening. Other days I have a distinct plan in mind that will take place regardless of how I feel. When it comes to life decisions, though, once I know how I feel about it and what the odds are of success – – I make a decision, no waiting.

Life is all about living, not stagnating in place while sitting on the fence.

Lazy Days and Sundays

“Lazy is a strong word. I prefer to call it selective participation.” ~ Unkown

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Anytime I go to the beach there are never two trees magically available from which to suspend a hammock. I suppose I shall have to close my eyes, relax on the bed and pretend.

We, Jo and I, selectively participated in church this week, and how I have missed it the past two weekends. The first weekend away we were in Florida, the past weekend in the Midwest. It’s a cozy feeling to be in your home church with friends.

After church we had leftovers for lunch. I had made Zuppa Tuscano – let me say, I attempted to make it but had to lie down with a horrible headache, and Jo finished it up. I had taken a bowl for my lunch on Saturday and two bowls with me to share with friends. Last night, being too tired to cook, we had dinner at one of our favorite BBQ joints and those are the leftovers we feasted upon.

We drove into a nearby town to do some window shopping and get some groceries. The rest of the afternoon was spent together, just enjoying the sunshine after a short sprinkle.

Years ago, the Carpenters had a song, “Rainy Days and Mondays” — rather a sad song, but . . .

I have to say Lazy Days and Sundays always make me smile.

Feeling the Rhythm

“Life has its rhythm and we have ours. They’re designed to coexist in harmony, so that when we do what is ours to do and otherwise let life be, we garner acceptance and serenity.” ~ Victoria Moran

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Much like the stones pictured above, on good days, life exists in a balance. On bad days, the stones are toppled over, at odds in positions and in relation to each other. On meh days, some of the stones are balanced and some have fallen – – needing to be repositioned.

Today was a meh day –

Some things were balanced. Breakfast, the beginnings of schoolwork, paying the bills, the preparations for tonight’s dinner . . .

Others were out of whack. A headache resulting from a pinching sensation along my spine and shoulder. Unexpected rain.

The goal was to achieve balance. When the work was done, we progressed to enjoyable past times. Work must be balanced with pleasure; pain with relief. Packing bottles of water, we set about the business of balance.

First a stop at our favorite thrift store with some clothing finds – for a total balance of $25 we walked away with 2 pairs of name brand jeans, and 4 shirts for $14 less than one pair of the jeans would have cost from Old Navy.

Next a stop at Lowe’s (because it was raining) and a chance to just stroll through the aisles and window-shop or shelf-shop. Looking at cabinetry and tubs, and sinks and the clearance aisle and faucets. I got the giggles when I stopped to examine a stacking washer/dryer combo and Jo matter-of-factly states, “Mom . . .we HAVE a washer and dryer!” Yes, but look at the price . . . I saved $1000 buying them off Craigslist.

Then a hop over to Hobby Lobby – again, nothing in mind, just walking around, looking for inspiration. So many ideas, so little money.

Next stop: Target. And there I bought a small candle in one of my favorite scents, Sugared Birch from Magnolia Home. This was one of the first candles I bought after I purchased my home. It was my first night in a strange house, on a cold February night, all alone and three of these candles lined the steps to lend warmth and a feeling of hominess in an otherwise empty house. A treat from Starbucks on the way out of the store topped the afternoon off.

I initially thought I would lie down to take a nap, but decided instead to lay on the floor and stretch. Arms out to the side, and knees bent, I focused on the rhythmic inhale and exhale as I felt my muscles relax, dozing off at times. At one point, Jo came into the room and I asked her to hand me the large exercise ball. Propping my feet up, I was able to get an even deeper stretch as I bent my knees first to one side and then the other. Finally, I ended by kneeling, face down over the ball, stretching my lower back and breathing to release the tight tension that coiled there.

Comfort food for dinner, chicken enchiladas, rounded out the evening and the restoration of balance was complete. A phone call from one daughter earlier in the day, and then another daughter in the evening, as well as listening to Jo with her boyfriend having a nerf gun fight in the living room restored a sense of peace and well being that all is right with the kids as well. A snappy walk before dinner got the blood pumping and finished out the relaxation achieved by stretching.

Find your rhythm and work to keep the balance. You’ll be glad you did.

Sacred Smoke

“Smoke of air and fire and earth, cleanse and bless this home and hearth. Drive away all harm and fear, only good may enter here.” ~ Home Blessing

There are some days when you just want a fresh start, a reset if you may . . . an opportunity to clear the air, refresh your surroundings, and remove any lingering negativity.

White sage has long been used by Native Americans for it’s healing and cleansing properties. It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial effects when used in small amounts. Slightly different from garden sage used in cooking, white sage is generally found in herbal stores or can be purchased online.

Especially when the house has been cooped up in the summer or winter and fresh air is at a minimum, an evening of cooler weather is the opportune time to open the doors and windows and light a bundle. Usually wrapped in a bundle and tied with twine or string, an abalone shell is used to rest the smoldering sage and let the smoke provide the sweet aroma.

As you’ll note from the Home Blessing above, it begins with the words “Smoke of air, fire and earth . . . ” There is a strong belief in all four aspects of nature working together in harmony. The sage is of the earth, the smoke is the air, the fire is . . fire, and the shell represents water.

Tonight was a perfect night for it. The temperatures had cooled and having the doors and windows open let a slight breeze in. The sage smells wonderful and uplifting – – and the house feels wonderfully peaceful.

Struggling to Recharge

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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Any one who knows me well, knows I care. A lot.

With training in pyschology, sociology and human behavior as well as other training that coincides and works with those . . . I love listening to people. I ask questions and gain deeper insight into who they are and what they are experiencing.

It also drains me.

That is part of the joy of returning to my Missouri home – it gives me a chance to rest, recuperate, recharge and just relax. The little bit of interaction I experience is not overwhelming and the man understands my need to stay in as much as possible. An occasional trip outside the house is fine, but for the most part . . . home is my base.

The few days I’m here, I tend to hibernate. I text less. Talk less. Smile more. Family time is phenomenal. Sleep is at a premium.

So to everyone . . . enjoy the time you have to yourself. Cherish the moments, set boundaries and take care of you!

Renewing the Soul

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” ~ Isak Denison

I don’t know what it is about being near the beach –

Is it the briney smell of the salt water?

Is it the heat of the sun-warmed sand against my skin?

Is it the bright warmth of the sun kissing everything in sight?

Is it the rushing sound of the waves as they roll near the shore and ebb out to form again?

Perhaps it is the feeling, as I view the expanse of sea and sky, that any concerns I may have pale in comparison to the beauty of God’s creation?

What I do know with certainty is that I can fully relax while I am here. I revel in a sense of freedom that comes with the surroundings. Laughter comes easier and more frequently. No responsibilities pressing – – not that they don’t still exist, but I fully take a break.

Anything waiting, will still be waiting when I get back home.

What You See

“Life is like a prism. What you see depends on how you turn the glass.” ~ Johnathan Kellerman

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For someone reading my blog to assume I write about every aspect of my life would be foolish. For me to write about EVERY aspect of my life would be foolish on my part. It’s called a personal life for a reason, and while I freely share some aspects of my life . . . this is not a tell-all reality show that the public has somehow come to expect.

Everyone’s life has it’s ups and downs, it’s pivotal moments and it’s joys. Some I share. Some I don’t. That’s the joy of blogging — I get to share what I’m comfortable sharing and the rest . . . is mine to share with close family and friends.

There are those who may think they know me based on what they read here. They may assume that this blog gives them a window of opportunity to read into what I post and pepper it with their own assumptions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Matter of fact, I giggle at the assumptions some people make when it feels as if they are trying to pinpoint where I stand on issues or what I’m doing with my life.

Here’s the thing . . . .

Life is fluid. Life is full of change. There are days I plan my work and work my plan. For the most part, there is no master plan, just a general idea. I used to be more rigid when my kids were younger, but that was a requirement. We needed stability and routine and we homeschooled and had deadlines.

Now, not so much.

I rarely drive the same route twice, choosing to take different routes, whether it’s to work or to the city or shopping or the movies or driving home to Missouri. While I enjoy eating out, I rarely get the same meal twice when I do so. I like to try new things, including tastes and textures. I enjoy activities I haven’t been able to engage in up to now because I was busy raising children.

Suffice to say, our family is doing well, the kids, spouses and grandkids are doing wonderfully. We couldn’t be happier and look forward to our infrequent times together — which in-and-of-itself is mind-boggling to most people. One son is pursuing a law enforcement career, one daughter has accepted a position as a nursing manager, one son and his wife are successful small business owners, one daughter has recently married and is expecting a child, another daughter has been accepted for dual enrollment in college and high school, yet another daughter is a beautiful stay-at-home mom to her two sweet young babies, and yet another son is quickly growing into his teenage body.

For those who may have been concerned that my previous posts on soul-searching and emotional upheaval signaled a rift in the family dynamics or a disparity in our relationship, rest assured . . . all is well.

Lazy Days of Summer

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.” ~ Kellie Elmore

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It was a lazy day yesterday- nothing planned – nothing really pressing.

Sundays are wonderful days because I try not to work extra, I try not to have much to-do listing or heavy work. I want a day to just relax and be . . .

The girl child (lol) asked to go school supply shopping. She’s as much a junkie for office supplies as I am. So I promised, that yes . . . we would go school supply shopping after church.

She is also as much an OCD organizer as I am. Even though she will be doing the virtual school this year, she has to have binders and notebooks and paper and pens and folders and planners and dry erase markers and a whiteboard week planner to hang in her room. And . . . and . . . and . . . We did leave some supplies at Target for other shoppers to pick up. (Quite generous of her I thought.)

Since we were in the vicinity of an Aldi’s we went on and did some grocery shopping. With the heat of summer full on us, we aren’t favoring much in the heavy meal variety so we settled on ingredients for several types of soups and a request for burritos. I fell into a conversation with a couple there, standing in front of the wine display. I was looking at a bottle of Moscato and the wife asked if I knew whether they sold alcohol on Sundays. My reply was that I assumed we would find out when I went thru the check-out line. Moments later we passed again in another aisle and she had a couple bottles of sweet red wine in her cart – we laughed and hugged and she assured me I wouldn’t be the only one bucking the system if it came down to it.

Just a few more days and we will be relaxing on the beach, letting the summer warmth wrap us up in her arms and soothing our souls with the sounds of the surf. Until then, I will content myself with the sounds of our local waterfalls as they work their magic . . .