Tuesday
Aug122014

August photos

A day at a park, a morning at the zoo, and evening jog in the rain and some sunshine!

Tuesday
Aug122014

Is happiness a choice?

Happiness is a choice.

It's the mantra I hear everywhere. So it must be true, right? Sometimes I don't know... How can you choose to be happy when innocent people are forced to suffer because of the hate of others? How can you be happy when your friend is in a dark place and you can't help them? How can you be happy when you feel stuck?

I wish I had answers, but I'm no therapist. I know that I struggle every day to find my own happiness. Some people take drugs, some people escape, and some people fall into deep pits of despair. My drugs over the past five years have been nature, exercise and friends. It's how I can function and not feel overwhelmed by the pain and suffering of a world that I can do little to change. It's how I can push through all of the small things in life that aren't as I wish they would be.

There is something about being outside that makes me feel at peace with myself and the world around me. It doesn't matter if it's a stroll around the parking lot, a jog in the rain, a walk at a favorite park, or a hike to a waterfall. Nature makes me feel like a kid again. I like to sweat. I like to be cold. I like it all. I love the way nature makes me feel. A deep breath of fresh air and a little sunshine is all I need sometimes.

Five years ago when I started exercising, for real, it made the most amazing difference in how I felt. I started to crave exercise. I still have 25 lbs to lose, so I've got a long way to go. But when I feel really down, really sad about something, a fantastic workout can usually bring me out of any funk. An hour long sweaty hot yoga class can give me a high that no drug ever has.

Finally, but certainly not least is friends. I'm a super introvert, most people know that. I hate large groups of people and I don't want to be the center of attention. I found that for many years I didn't connect with people, and I didn't really want to. It wasn't until I started exercising that I realized I NEEDED to connect with people. I need to have friends. I now enjoy lunches and coffee breaks and walking with friends. I try to connect with people that I know were put into my life for a reason. That can bring me right out of my blah mood sometimes.

I know that I choose to be happy. I do choose to be happy. Sometimes I choose to just be... And that leads to happiness. But I also know that some people can't make that choice for themselves. That some people struggle with internal and external demons that fight really freaking hard. So while I choose to be happy, I know others can't make that choice as easily as me, and that sucks. I wish that I knew the answers. I wish I could change the world. I wish and hope for a lot of things, but that gets us no where.

So, is happiness a choice? What do I know... I'm just a girl who struggles every single day. Maybe for me, it's a choice, but maybe not for the guy down the street. I do know that sometimes life just plain sucks.

Thursday
Jul172014

Appreciate the Selfie: because we are beautiful!

You either love them or you hate them. But everyone's taken a selfie, right? Just admit it! Come on...

With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or whatever else is out there, we all have ample opportunities to share or view selfies. There's the friends who post a new photo daily of themselves from various angles. There's the friend who you haven't seen in twenty years, so it's great to see their picture. There's the friend that lost weight and is sharing the progress. There's the parent/child selfies. There's the random body part or angle... I'm sure I could go on.

I used I hate photos of myself. There was always something that I could find wrong. I was too fat, too pale, too little make up, my hair was bad, too this or too that. The list goes on and on... Then one day last fall, my sweet daughter walks up to me and puts her arms around my waist and said "mama, you look beautiful today".

And with those simple words, I decided I'm a total idiot! I will never look like a super model. I'll never have perfect hair or make up. But I'm okay with that, because I am me. Because I am beautiful, and so are you. It doesn't matter what we look like physically, that can all change. What matters is that WE accept ourselves for what we are, flaws and all... because even those are beautiful. Clothes, makeup, hair, body shape, color... All of that can be changed. But what can't be changed is love and acceptance of yourself. So I say... Love yourself and embrace the selfie...

A challenge I started a while ago was a selfie challenge. I was intending to take a photo a day of myself in some form or fashion. I didn't get very far, and I missed lots of days at times. Most of
the photos I seemed to take were at night or after working out. Very few do I have makeup on, but they are all me as I am, and that's beautiful.

Appreciate the selfie, because we are beautiful.

Monday
Jun162014

Kindness is magic - a thirty day challenge

"She’d tap me on the head and it’d make me feel better straight away. Like magic. And she said, ‘Kindness is magic, Derek. It’s more important to be kind than clever, or good-looking.’ I’m not clever or good-looking, but I’m kind.”

I'm not normally a Ricky Gervais fan, but that quote from the first episode of Derek has stuck with me. It's like some kind of new mantra in my head that just keeps coming back! Usually when I exercise or am in my quiet time, my mantra is "have heart" (which came from my husband, and I'll explain another time). But this one... Kindness is magic. How profound is that simple statement?!? Kindness IS magic! If you keep saying it over and over, eventually you will feel it too, I'm sure of it.

Kindness is one of those funny things. It feels good to be kind to someone and it feels great when someone is kind to you. Why not enjoy and savor that feeling? Why are we not kind to everyone? That's why I am going to begin a new thirty day challenge starting June 17, 2014 - thirty days of kindness.

The big question is - what is kindness? It's simply defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. But kindness means more than that to me. Kindness means being open and honest to friends. Kindness means expressing compassion and understanding, or it can mean setting up your own personal boundaries. Kindness is buying a coffee for a friend because you enjoy their company. Kindness is acting without expecting anything in return. Kindness is complimenting someone when you truly mean it. Kindness is helping out someone less fortunate than you. Kindness is smiling at a stranger. Kindness is love.

So with the thought that no one will remember what I look like, the clothes I'm wearing or maybe even my name... They will remember that someone was kind to them, and I hope that makes them smile as much as it does me.

Kindness truly is magic...

Here's to thirty days of kindness.

{to be continued...}

A

Monday
Jun162014

Spring (part 2)

Wednesday
May212014

Spring

Friday
May092014

Photos, First week of May

Friday
May022014

Photos, last of April

Wednesday
Apr232014

April Photos

Sunday
Apr202014

When I was a kid, my dad fed the squirrels

When I was a kid, I remember my dad always fed the squirrels. Every day, it seemed, he would take an ear of corn, tie a string to it and hang it from the giant pecan tree in our back yard. And by every afternoon, the ear of corn was picked clean. Everyone feeds the birds, right? People always get upset when the squirrels get into the bird feeders. I never really understood that. Why did we choose to feed birds, but get upset when other animals try to get the food?

We were talking the other day to MJ about what it means to be a good person. A good person to society in general. I'm a pretty liberal person, but I do not want to persuade or force my child to ever think one way or another. I just want her to be a good person. As we were talking, we were going through some examples and this question came up: "It's lunchtime and there are four of you. You make four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. No one else helps you. How do you divide the sandwiches?" She thought about it for a second and said "everybody gets one." We followed that up with "well, does everyone get one, even though they didn't help you?". Her answer... "yes, because who did you make the sandwiches for?"

Who did you make the sandwiches for? I am not a perfect person. I can certainly be selfish. But what I do know, is that I want to live my life feeding the squirrels and making peanut butter sandwiches. I don't want the peanut butter all to myself. That's a pretty lonely world.