Saturday, September 29, 2012

9/29/12 - Jewels and Gems

River Legacy Park, Arlington, Texas

For Nonni's 7th birthday, I wrote that we had discovered a jewel: Legacy River.  Well, it turns out that the section of the park I had discovered was just the game fields - with a few trails.  Earlier this week, we discovered the real Legacy River Park, just a mile or so further down the road.  Wow!  What a gem!

According to their website, it is a public park that opened in 1990 with just 376 acres and  has grown to become a 1,300-acre oasis along the Trinity River. Among many features, it boasts a 6-mile mountain bike trail, a canoe launch for a 2-8 mile trek down the river and a 12,000-square-foot nature center!

We barely got our toes wet (so to speak) in exploring the many, many trails.  The park is known as a forest floodplain park and is Arlington's segment of a visionary 75-mile greenbelt parkland from west Fort Worth through east Dallas.  The trees are incredible!

Here is a magnificent tree reaching for the sky...

And another interesting tree... going nowhere.

There are so many interesting things here.  I think this is a remnant of a bridge for a road that no longer exists.

There were primitive trails to explore...

And peaceful places to rest.

Nonni and Bentley didn't want to leave so I let them take one last look.  Don't worry babies.  We'll be back soon! 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

9/27/12 - Things I Found In A Box

I've gathered the courage to go through a LOT of old boxes lately.  I am amazed at the "stuff" I have been carting around for years!  Some of the items however were treasures and brought back fond memories.  Case in point, the picture above is my first PADI Instructor license, front and back.  Note the date.  Wow! LOL.

The picture below is one of the instructors and another student (and me of course - the one in the middle, grin).  We were finishing up a training module on Catalina Island.  I attended the PADI college in California and the courses were grueling, but wonderful.  There were about a dozen of us.  Since we stayed at the same hotel and were diving together, or in class together 10 hours a day for several months, we got to know one another really well.  We came from all over - me from Texas and one from Ireland!  It is a shame I can't even remember their names now.  Perhaps I will run across that list in another box! LOL.

By the way, back then, the California PADI headquarters was in a small strip center and the students stayed in a nearby hotel.  Staff carted us back and forth between Laguna Beach for dive check-outs, the HQ for classroom instruction, and the local pool for timed mastery skills.  It was not the fancy shmancy set up they have now in Rancho Santa Margarita.  I'm glad I got to experience it the old-fashioned way.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

9/20/12 - A Tribute to Dad

On this day last year, we celebrated Dad's life at his funeral.  This past Sunday, 9/16, my sister Sheree and I had breakfast together.  Then, on a whim, we bought matching cups to honor the day.  It's always been one of my favorite sayings, but it fits Dad to a tee: Live well, Laugh often, Love much.

I miss you Dad.  I'd love to hear your voice and the music you must be playing these days.  You're still the best man I've ever known.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

9/19/12 - Time, Talent & Treasure

I went to my first Prosperity Consciousness class last night.  So much came at me so fast, and so much was revealed, I left there in a semi-state of shock.  It is going to kick my butt, I think.  In a good way, I hope.

We signed a COMMITMENT contract.  I had no problem with that because I have been saying that I would stand on my head 2 hours a day if I was told that it would make the necessary changes for me to have a better life.  So I have COMMITTED to "tithing" the following:

Time – 10% approximates to 90 minutes/day for Prayer & Meditation and Spiritual Growth.
Talent – 10% comes out to approximately 4 hours/week of volunteering, donating or giving of myself.
Treasure – 10% tithes.  We turn in an envelope each week and the class master keeps it until the end of the course.  At that time, the class as a whole decides what to do with the money.  It’s also a money-back guarantee.  If we drop out of the course or don’t agree with the value received, we get our money back.  Wow!  Unprecedented in my world.

The concept is to challenge our beliefs that operate outside of anything other than the spiritual law that we live in abundance.  I never realized my beliefs are so negative!  I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person, uplifting even.  Last night, first class, was an eye-opener.

Time – For some time now (grin), Spirit has been imposing on me the need to be more disciplined about my morning ritual of prayer and meditation.  Still, day after day, I have not been getting up early enough to do anything about it.  I’m lucky if I get 3 days/week in.

COMMITMENT:  It’s black and white – you either do it, or you don’t.  So, I got up this morning and hopefully (prayerfully), will do the same thing every day for the remainder of this 7 week course.  At the risk of sounding like Buzz Lightyear, it would be great to develop this habit – Infinity and Beyond.

However, at the time this COMMITMENT was announced in the class, my immediate reaction was, “90 minutes!  Where will I find 90 minutes/day?”  Then right on the heels of that was the thought, “I’ll never stick to it."

When did I get so darn negative?  Have I always been?  If so, is that the “it’ that is keeping me stuck?  I’ve come a long way in my life, but clearly I have a lot more positive growth to do.

Talent – The course is being taught by my friend, David, the minister at a Unity church; so, understandably the majority of students are members of the church (I am not).  Most of them already give more than 10% of their talent in volunteer service.  Me?  Not so much.  I had to stretch to come up with something:  Let’s see… I carry a trash bag around my neighborhood and clean-up periodically.  I actually had to ask, “Would that fit the parameters as part of my 10%?”  But before I even asked that question, I actually asked, “Can I ask a silly question?”

Every time I spoke, my itty bitty shitty committees (IBSCs) were working overtime telling me how stupid I sounded and how less than I am.  They are another reason I’m not comfortable in social settings.  They are only active when I'm around people.  They would rather me be a mute wall flower, and they are exhausting to listen to.  According to the IBSC, people think I’m:

Uppity (a snob)
a Know-It-All,
Loud and Obnoxious, and/or
Rude and Bitchy

Negative, negative, negative – Enough!

So, enough about them.  Back to the class…. after getting over the shocking realization that I don’t exactly donate much of myself, my initial reaction was, “4 hours!  Where am I going to find an additional 4 hours/week?”  Then right on the heels of that thought were 2 more.  The first one being, “I don’t have that much to offer.”  Then I realized I can tutor science (someone in the group volunteered math tutoring), I can volunteer at local shelters (I am a certified domestic violence counselor), I can speak to youth groups, I can contact the local TBIA chapter (traumatic brain injury association) and do something.  Bottom line, I can offer to help – even if it’s just clerical help in the office.  I can even volunteer at the church!  What a concept!  LOL.

Okay, so I have a lot to give, but the 2nd thought was, “I don’t want to do any of that.”  Been there, done that, am worn out and just don’t want to.  Does that make me a horrible person?

What I want to do is:
  • Write.  And take classes to learn and improve my writing.
  • Crafts. And take classes to learn and improve my hobbies.
Couple that with my j.o.b., every day chores and regular responsibilities, and all this growth I'm working on -- I don't want to give time to anything else.

If I could find a way to do a mind-jerk and justify something within those realms as “volunteering” or tithing talent, I’d do it in a heartbeat.  But I suppose it wouldn’t pay to try and get ahead in life by cheating in your Prosperity Consciousness class.  Bwaaahhh!  

Perhaps that’s why I like picking up garbage these days.  I’m doing a service but I’m able to do it solo – on my own time, when I choose.  Volunteering, getting involved in groups and organizations, can take on a life of its own.  I’m not ready, and evidently, not willing to go there again.  So, I can keep walking around with a trash bag 30 minutes to an hour a week, but what am I going to do for the other 3 +/- hours?

Which brings me to another point:  Other than work or family and friends (and activities with my furbabies), I haven’t been around people for a very long time now.  It amazed me how rusty my social skills are, and how different my mindset is.  The other participants talked about their kids, their schedules, their lives in general and I felt removed, apart from all that.  It occurred to me that it’s almost as if I’m already living in a van, traveling in isolation – a part of the world, nature and God, but not people.  Only for me, for right now, I’m not out there yet.  I’m holed up in a hell hole and it’s not healthy, nor is it working.  This is not the life I want, so I will try something(s) different – including this class and the COMMITMENTS it requires.  I will be out there in my RV one day; just not today.

It’s funny.  I always thought that if I got “out there”, I’d finally feel healthy and whole.  That’s where my spirit lies.  I firmly believe that, but who would have ever thought that the route to get there is through socializing more – even if it’s just 4 hours/week?  Lordy, God has a strange sense of humor.  ;)

Treasure – Again, for the purpose of this class as I understand it, the 10% tithe is to challenge our belief system that we don’t have enough.  COMMITMENT – you’re either in, or you’re out.  So I did it.  I put my tithe of treasure in an envelope and put it in the basket.  It left me with only coins in my purse until the next pay day.  I suppose by definition that means I’m not penniless, but I quite literally can’t even buy a cup of coffee now.  Yet I have everything I need.  And isn’t that the point?  I want to live in a Class B or tiny Class C RV one day.  How much do I need anyway?

By the way, David, our instructor, asked for a paraphrase on this statement: “I can’t afford it.”  I absolutely LOVE what one of the participants offered.  Replace it with:

“I look forward to enjoying that when I get it.  Thank you.”

Well, I added the thank you, but isn’t that a wonderful statement?  I’ve been ruminating that I can’t afford an RV right now.  Erase.  Delete.  I now simply bask in the joy of how much I am going to enjoy it one day.  And I thank God for the dream.  From negative to blessed and grateful.  I love it.

Defining abundance:  This class is based on the book by David Owen Ritz, “The Keys to the Kingdom – an advanced course in prosperity consciousness building.”  He says:
“Abundance is my natural state of being. True abundance is the power to satisfy our [valid] needs and make our dreams come true.”  He points out that the word “make” could be substituted with “allow”.  (ref. Luke 12:22-34)
I can already tell that my prosperity has been stymied by my core beliefs and negative thinking, which ultimately is a lack of faith, is it not?

The 7-week course focuses on 7 keys.  Key one is:  Make the Commitment.
“The world was not given to you; you were given to the world.  Step into the natural flow of abundance by committing yourself to becoming a giver to life.”
I’m all in.  I’ve made the COMMITMENT.  I look forward to learning, and changing and growing.  It’s going to be an interesting 7 weeks.  And even though I am determined to remain drama-free (tick-tock), I have a feeling I should buckle up!

I'm glad you're here.  Thanks for sticking with me on this journey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

9/18/12 - Knick Knacks, Patty Wacks and Such

You may recall that in my discussion of August Heat, my key got stuck in Betsy's trunk.  (Now that's a sentence you don't read or hear everyday, LOL!)

Well, what I didn't tell you is that was also the day that my sister and I were having the grand opening of our booth at a local crafts & antique mall, "Knick Knacks".  As mentioned in my profile, we ingeniously call it, Me and My Sister.  Catchy, right?  Anyway, guess who had all the merchandise and was supposed to bring it that day.  Yep, me and Betsy.  Only Betsy didn't cooperate.  Chaos ensued.  My sister came after me (and the merchandise), and my niece saved the day when later on she brought me an extra set of keys.

Anyway, to make a long story short(er).... my sister and I have a booth.  I am determined to shake things up.  There's an old saying that goes something like this:
If you want things to be different, you have to do something different.
I've been jogging, I've signed up for several different classes and my Prosperity Consciousness class starts tomorrow night, AND my sister and I now have a craft and antique booth.  She fronted the money and I handle the bookkeeping, merchandising and marketing.

TA DA!  What do you think?  By the way, I'll give you a $5 gift certificate to our booth if you can tell me what the stained glass piece is in the lower right hand side of our booth.  Is it standing up or should it be horizontal?  I dunno!  You tell me!  (I'd probably be safe offering $50 - no one has guessed it yet!)  ROFLOL.

But wait!  There's more!  Here's where I give a MAJOR, HUGE shoutout to my sister.  You see, not only did my key get stuck in Betsy's trunk that Saturday morning, but in the chaos of everything I lost my phone by the end of the day.  I figured it was somewhere in the booth, but we didn't realize it until later that evening (after closing) so I planned on being there when the mall opened the next day.

I was beat folks.  Fresh out of the hospital, broke, coming off the heels of almost losing my babies, driving a taped trunk-mobile - I had managed to put myself in the middle of a fairly large pity-party by the time I pulled in the parking lot the next morning to check on my phone.  In fact, I'll just be honest - I cried the whole time I was getting ready.

But I pulled myself together and drove Betsy Buick to retrieve my phone.  I turned the corner, pulled in the parking lot, and there, much to my surprise, sat my sister on the bench outside the front doors.  She lives twice as far from the Mall as I do, and was just sitting there waiting on me!  With coffee for both of us!

She handed me the coffee, gave me a hug, and as I wiped yet more tears away I asked, "What are you doing here?"

She replied, "Silly, that's what sisters are for."

But wait!  There's more!  My sister is a widow, a mother of 7, grandmother to 6, and a teacher!  She barely has 5 minutes to spare, let alone 2 days.  Yet there she was - 2 days in a row - my knight in shining armor.  I was humbled beyond belief and grateful to my core.  I love you sis!

But wait!  There's more!  (And yes, that's the last time I'll use that, I promise.)  Sheree is my step-sister, but you'd never know it and you can't prove it by us.  Sisters through-and-through and best friends forever and a day.

A Sister Day Out

So that's the Knick Knacks.  Here's the Patty Wacks...

In my fight to have a new and improved, different life, I am stealing an idea from a fellow blogger.  I am adding a day-counter to the sidebar of my blog.  I'm done with the drama.  No more stuck keys, no more lost phones, no more stolen plants or busted out windows, NO MORE HOSPITALS!

I am manifesting a different life.  I can do anything through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.  AND.... I am going to do it Drama Free, One Day At a Time (ODAT).  The count began the day I turned the corner and saw my sister sitting there with a cup of coffee, a smile, a hug, and love beyond measure.

As Dad always said, "God is good.  All the time."  So are drama-free days, knick knacks, patty wacks and such.  :)


Special Note: Thank you to Maria, another cornerstone in my life, for giving me the code that made it possible to have a counter widget on my blog.  You da bomb!  ;)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

This is a short story that I recently wrote as a basis for entry in the NPR 3MF Contest, Round 9.   You might recall that I also wrote a story for NPR last year.  That was my 3rd blog post (ever!) and was the same contest only it was for Round 7, "Coming and Going."

For Round 9, a short fiction original must be submitted that can be read in about three minutes, which means no more than 600 words.  Story entries must revolve around a U.S. president, who can be real or fictional.
This is in no way meant to be a political statement.  It is a short story written for the contest.  It is fiction, and as you can see, like most politicians, it is too verbose and must be shortened by at least half.  And no, that was not a political statement either.  LOL.  Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

He opened the French doors and stepped out on to the veranda. It was a crisp night so he pulled his robe a little tighter.  He would be taking the Oath of Office tomorrow.  They had won.  He had won.  And it was what he wanted, wasn’t it?

He leaned on the railing with both hands and hung his head.  A car horn in the distance caught his attention and he looked out over the city.  Washington, D.C. never slept.  “So many people,” he thought.  “What if I let them down?”

His wife came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.  For a moment she just laid her head on the back of his neck.

“Can’t sleep?”  They both knew it was a rhetorical question, but he turned to hold her and answered anyway.

“No.  Not so much.”  He rubbed her arms and looked out over the city again.  “Am I doing the right thing?”

She looked up and stared deeply in to his eyes, trying to find the source of this fear that she had never witnessed before.  He continued.

“Our lives are never going to be the same.  We knew that going in to this, but if I fail, their lives are going to be worse.”  He pointed his chin toward the city.

She turned to shut the doors, buying time before replying.

“There are some out there that would argue their lives can’t get much worse.  And there are those who have struggled for a long time to keep from losing more than they already have.  Others have managed to keep a quality of life that they are looking to you to help them maintain.  People, businesses, and this country – collectively, all need help.  They’ve chosen you to lead the way.”

He threw an arm casually over his wife’s shoulder, “It’s a good thing I know you’re on my side or I would say ‘Ouch, throw a dog a bone.’  You’re supposed to say something to make me feel better here.”

She grinned and they braced against the wind that bit their cheeks.

He turned to take her inside.

“Just a moment,” she said gently.  “Let me finish...  They chose the right man.  You successfully ran one of the world’s largest corporations for two decades. It was one of the few conglomerates in our country that didn’t have to downsize or take a bail out.  You took great care to keep the company’s finances lean and healthy while also looking out for your employees and their financial status as well as their personal health and well-being.  I have no doubt that you will take care of “We, the People of the United States of America” with the same or even greater fervor.”

Relieved to see some of the tension gone, she laid a hand on his cheek and repeated, “They chose the right man.”

“Well, I guess that’s a good thing because it’s too late to turn back now.”

They both chuckled and held each other close for a long while before returning to the room.

The next day, in a world far from the likes of the Presidential Suite, Mary woke up a little disoriented.  In a panic, she grabbed the clock and looked at the time.   “Oh, thank God.”

She sat the clock back down and tried to shake the cobwebs out of her head.  She hated working nights but was very grateful to have found the work.  It had taken her 10 months to find anything, and with any luck she’d be able to get the heat turned back on before the next cold front hit.  She shivered and rubbed her arms.

She had to hurry now.  The bell would ring at Kennedy’s school in 30 minutes and it was a 20-minute walk.  She loved seeing him fly through the doors every afternoon.

Hand-in-hand they walked back to the apartment.  She knew it wouldn’t be too long before he would be too old to hold hands, but not today.  Today, he was still happy to skip along beside her.  She enjoyed every moment even though her feet and back hurt. 

“Do you know what tomorrow is Momma?”

She knew why he was asking but decided to tease a little.  “Well, I don’t know about tomorrow but we get a new President today.”

The frown of confusion on his face could not have been more priceless.

“By ‘we’, Kennedy, I mean the nation.  That means you’re going to have to add another name to the list when you recite it.”

He rolled his eyes. Impatient, he tried again “Okay momma, but I’m talking about tomorrow.  What is tomorrow?”

She laughed to herself as she answered, “Well, I’m not sure.”

He was about to protest when he saw the puppy.  For the life of her she could not imagine having another mouth to feed, and could not understand why her neighbor had let her kids keep it, but Kennedy loved it too so off he ran.

She was glad she had the night off so Kennedy didn’t have to spend the night next door.  That meant he could wake up in his own apartment for his birthday. That, in and of itself, was a gift – for both of them.

As they got ready for bed, the neighbors across the hall were arguing again so she turned the little black-and-white TV on.  As was tradition, they put foil on their heads to match the foil on the TV antennas.  It had been a game for them for as long as she could remember.  She didn’t want her son ever feeling sad about being poor.

The inaugural celebrations were on.  Champagne flowed.  Bands were playing in every city and someone was singing to the President.  One announcer was talking about all the gifts that the President had received from heads-of-state all around the world.

She fought back tears and rolled her eyes as she held Kennedy a little tighter.  How on earth was she going to tell her son that she didn’t have a birthday gift for him?   He stirred.  She thought he was asleep.

“Momma, I want to be the President some day.”

“That is wonderful Kennedy.  Maybe you can.”

“Yeah, look at all the parties and gifts he gets for his birthday!”

She looked at the screen and realized how it must appear to Kennedy.

Something shattered across the hallway as the fighting escalated.

“Momma, if I’m President, I’m going to make everyone give you gifts too.”

She kissed the top of his head.  “You’re a good son, Kennedy, but you need to go to sleep.  You have elementary school to finish before you can think about being President.”

By the time Kennedy finally crashed, they were replaying the President’s acceptance speech.  She didn’t even bother to listen.  The rhetoric had been the same every four years for as long as she could remember.  She used to believe.  Now she just wanted heat, a birthday gift for her son, and a raise so she could buy him a coat.

The TV station returned to the celebrations and parties.  She made sure Kennedy was bundled in covers and still asleep.  As she dozed off she halfway mumbled a tune, “Happy birthday, Mr. newest President.  Whoop ta da ta, big friggin’ Whoop.”

Thursday, September 13, 2012

9/13/12 - Welcome x 4!

I hope you can identify with this saying because I am WAY behind on welcoming our newest, wonderful readers:

Sarah Dawson
Sarah has a unique dare for you on her profile.

Her blog is:  Musings of a Wide-Eyed Dreamer.  I love the purple!

Welcome Sarah!

Deb C.
Deb doesn't list any information except the blogs she follows, but I "think" her logo reads...

"I am the Pink Flamingo in the Great Land of Life."

If I messed that up, please accept my sincere apologies!  Welcome Deb!

Brianna Gregoire
Brianna has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know!  We met at the dog park.

You may remember her from the story of Smiles.  In that post, I share that she had rescued a Boxer puppy, and she's currently fostering another sweet thing in need of a forever home.

She has the 2 most adorable boys!  Welcome Brianna!

And last but not least, is our most recent wonderful reader!

Michelle wants to be a full-timer too!  Her logo is just about the cutest darn RV charm I've ever seen.  Seriously, just way too cute.

She has 2 blogs: Simple Crocheted and Michelle's Big Dreams.  I love the quote by Benjamin Franklin.  Welcome Michelle!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/12/12 - Healthy Babies

With me and the dogs feeling better, I decided to risk a hike this past weekend.  The temperatures here were 20-30 degrees cooler than they have been and I took that as a sign.  You know, "Here's Your Sign."  (Thanks Jeff Foxworthy for forever sticking that in my head.)  LOL.

We did great!  Bentley is 90% well and Nonni, I would say, is 75-80% her usual self.  We took it slow, but I did manage to get a few less-than-turtle pace jogs in..... on the smooth, downhill trails as pictured above.

Certainly not on the steep, treacherous trails.

It was a glorious day.  It felt good to be out and about again, and it did all 3 of us, and our 10 legs, good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11/12 - HD Freedom Tribute

Since my first mini-bike as a young girl to my last Harley, an '03 Road King, riding bikes has always felt like freedom to me.  So, in memory of 9/11/01, I post this tribute picture from FB posted by HD earlier today.  It says it all (click to enlarge).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

9/6/12 - August Heat

I know we’re well in to September, but the heat has been hot on my bee-hind (as was pronounced by my Great Grandma) since August.

According to NOAA, through today, September 6, there have been 32 triple-digit highs at DFW Airport this year.  Not as bad as 2011, but hot enough nonetheless.

Of course I’m using poetic licensure here in referencing the heat in my life, but it has been bad.

As you know from my close out post, July was good.  Then the August heat came (figuratively and literally).  Whew!

I’ll give you the list of events that turned up the heat, but it’s not the individual events – it’s the accumulation of it all.  Infinitum, actually.  I’m tired.  Surely God knows that.


My dogs nearly died"Nearly" being the operative word.  I am so grateful and I still tear up when I hug my furbabies.  I realize that all of this may be overkill on the sharing, but I’m all in.  No holds barred, no punches pulled.  I want things to turn around in my life and I’m fighting back!  Sharing on my blog is part of my weaponry.

So, on with THE LIST…

Just before my dogs got sick, I had a seizure.  Then the ear and nose bleeds got worse so I was hospitalized for testing.  Missed a week of work – AND pay!  Great.

The prognosis is permanent.  Or so they say.  I don’t think they know.  I don’t think anyone except God does.  I have not 1, but 2 (!) bone fragments left over from my injury, and they have moved.  The movement is miniscule but they have moved nonetheless.  One fragment is on the inside of my skull and the other on the outside, at my temple.  They are certain the movement is the root cause of my issues.  Speculation.  Again, they have no way of knowing for sure.

They sent a social worker to talk to me about medical disability.  That is NOT my life.  I refuse!