Embracing the New

The best things can happen early in the morning. When you wake up before the alarm, and see that it isn’t dark outside, but when you look at the clock and see it is 6:20am. Well, as I lay there I think to myself, “do I roll over and go back to sleep? Or do I get up and do something productive?”

Usually I get up, whether I do something productive or not depends on the perspective. Today I write. Because that is what I am inspired to do. I got up early, so I gave myself the gift of the hours to do as I wish instead of sleep. That’s my way of looking at it.

I have been struggling for a direction. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? My children are almost grown, the youngest turned 18 this month, and is a senior this year. I am still, and will always be Mama. Not only to my children, but also to the others who lovingly call me that. But they all have lives, and now it is my turn.

I have a number of things that I enjoy doing, and I am trying to do all of them. Sometimes it gets a little hard to do that. I know that the wild child is having the same issue in trying to pick her career, and she is just starting out. When you ask someone, the usual reaction is “what can you make a living at?” Well that is all fine and dandy, and maybe a better question for the wild child. After all, she still has her whole life ahead of her, and does need to think about supporting herself. I would like to make some money, but not necessarily having to support myself. For me it is more a case of supporting itself, making me happy, and not causing a negative effect on my family i.e. not being around when I’m needed.

So, I left my job in 2010 to expand my website and graphic design business. It started out pretty good, but then my mother got sick, and she had to move in with us. My whole attention had to go to her, and the business took a back seat. By the time she was back in her home, I was totally exhausted – we were all exhausted. It took months for us to get back to a normal life, and then we had to get the house back to normal for our son’s wedding. That was wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but in the meantime the website building business has pretty much gone by the wayside. It is too easy for a person with a little knowhow to build a website with all the template companies online. My clients pretty much consist of non-profit organizations who have committees that change regularly that would much rather pay me to run their website than worry about having someone on their committee with the knowhow. It pays some, but isn’t exactly exciting work. The graphic design part is mostly doing printed materials, brochures, booklets, books, posters, flyers, business cards, signage etc. All can be transferred to web graphics as well, so it does cross over. I enjoy this work, but it isn’t easy work to get in a one person shop.

Then there is the genealogy, this is something I have had a love of for over 30 years. I started writing it all down when I was pregnant with the oldest. I will research anyone’s family tree, and get excited with every discovery. I have the book to get my certification, I also have an old friend I am going to use her family as my subject for it. But, I need to have the time set aside to devote totally to it. Even now I am working on my future son-in-laws tree in order to have a display more balanced to my daughter on the table at their wedding.

Dusting off the old

Dusting off the old

The photography, how I love to take pictures. But a real photographer knows that in order to be a ‘real’ one it takes time. You can’t just pick up a camera, take a few hours to learn how it works, and hang up your shingle. You have to spend many, many hours learning your camera, and then the post production. I’m not there yet. I’m getting there. I did a shoot this past weekend that I felt very good about. I still have my weak points, but I know them and what I have to work on. But the hardest part here is my equipment. I now see why spending the money on a more expensive lens makes so much difference. But you have to get out there and shoot a lot of stuff, not making any money, just to learn. The equipment is a big investment, and you always want more. Even as I sit here now my list keeps growing, and I just can’t ask hubby to buy me more until I figure out a way to at least pay for what I want.

Embracing the new

Embracing the new

Or how about sewing. Then we have the artwork that goes along with the photography, paper filigree (or quilling), and yes there is even cross-stitch, knitting, and Kumihimo  in the basket next to the couch. That all goes with the whole arts and crafts theme. So why don’t I just put my wild child out of her misery and we open our own store? Couldn’t do that here and compete with where she works. It has been there since time began, she has been there 10 years, and the owner is an old family friend.

The worst part is that I am not limited to what I have listed above. There is more, and I am always open to more. I love to travel, and have no problem with doing that. I do prefer to have someone with me, traveling alone can sometimes be daunting, and boring. But I also have to remember my limitations. I do have fibromyalgia, although under control most of the time. It is under control because I take control of what I do, and when, most of the time.

So there we have it. I had hoped that by writing it down I might have some clarity, but unfortunately it has just made me think of other things I need/want to get done. I guess I had better get off my butt and start my day, LOL. I really do love my life, chaotic confusion and all!!!

Now, where is that list . . .

Ice Bucket Challenge

I’m seeing and hearing different opinions about doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. When I told someone this morning that I did it today, she said they were challenged but weren’t sure about doing it or not because there are so many other things out there that need attention too. That puzzled me. I told them I agree, so we should do what we can. Having been part of Breast Cancer Awareness for many years, thankfully I have never had it. But when a friend said they needed my help I was there. My family have always been that way, helping when we can where we can. It doesn’t really matter what it is for, just as long as the need is there. Don’t we all give bags of things to the Goodwill, to the Police for the bears, to Food Drives, and especially the Salvation Army Santa ringing the bell at Christmas-time?

als_letterSo when there is a controversy, my question is, why? I don’t understand why? If you don’t like that all the attention is being brought to ALS – that is a little hard to understand. If you have another disease or disorder you feel needs attention, then find a way to get it out there too. Whoever started this Ice Bucket Challenge struck a nerve. They caught the right person/people at the right time. Let’s give those people suffering with such a horrific disease the attention and hope they need. Or do as a dear friend of mind did. She suggested if you are one of the people who “object” then “please donate to the medical research fund of your choice.” So, this is what I ask, don’t object, and don’t cause controversy or negativity. Let’s try and strike out all the ill and fight against the things that hurt the ones we love, whatever it may be.

On another note, there have also been the people trying to compare the dumping of water as a waste to the people in places like Ghana, where water is a scarce commodity. I don’t think it is fair to make a person feel guilty for dumping water over their head when we have it. Especially in my case when I was standing in the pouring rain! I will share with you a link to my very favorite blog, Ashley at Under the Sycamore. She really can relate to the water shortage in Ghana as it has been something very anne_ghana_shirt_1973xdear to her heart http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2014/07/25/life-came-to-her-village/

There was a time back when I was a teenager when my youth group raised money for books for a group in Ghana. I still have my shirt they sent us in thanks. In fact I can honestly say that experience helped mold me to be the person I am today.

We can all work at the causes we hold dear to our hearts. We can share them, and help each other achieve our goals. Hopefully we will learn lessons along the way, and maybe even find the cures for some of these horrific things that affect such beautiful souls on this earth. Some day . . .

Birds feeding Birds

birds_082014_8981xSo today I am sitting at my work table putting together wedding invitations. I look up at the sound of a racket going on out on the deck. There are a bunch of birds all around the birdfeeder going at it. There is only about 2 inches of birdfeed left in it and they are going crazy! The thing is swinging all over the place and they are pushing each other off the thing, hanging upside down and flipping around it. I sat there watching as they sprayed the seed all over the place just memorized with the craziness of it.

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Then I noticed that there were many more birds all over the deck eating the seed they had just sprayed everywhere. So I tried to sneak up on them to take a picture, screen door, dirty glass door, oh well, you get the idea.

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It was interesting to watch though, because they were joined by a squirrel and a chipmunk and nobody seemed to mind. Sorry, I got so wrapped up in watching them the only picture I got was of the chipmunk in the plant 😛

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Confucius say . . .

I posted this on Facebook today –

“111 – I have been having conversations lately with a number of people in my life whose opinions I respect very much. The main reason being the desire to answer that illusive question, How to be Happy? Those of you who have been following my Days of Happiness know I have been writing a lot about just that. But as I approached my 100th day the question came up whether I should keep going or not. On day 106 someone on my friends list decided to leave Facebook and messaged me to say goodbye. On day 108 I even posted how depressing it was when I scrolled down my news feed that day. Even today it is still about 50/50.

So I wonder, what drives people to share all this negative stuff? Do people really want to read it? I know I don’t, and I know the people I have talked with don’t. We find ourselves scrolling down our newsfeeds skipping over certain people’s posts because we know we won’t want to read them. But then why don’t we “unfollow” them? Because we might miss something important, that’s why. After all most are your “friends” for a reason. We read the good and the bad. So often the bad is put there for reasons beyond just to put up something bad. It could be a cry for help. But then we have the one that puts up the post because it is just something they like. So how are we supposed to know? It is still all very confusing . . .

I think I have figured it out. Confucius say the reason my sayings are so important and mean so much is because all they do is lead back to the root of my name . . . confusion.

So, my Dad was right. The best solution, the number one important thing over every other thing is HUMOR. So my solution is to not take things so seriously. I will continue to skip over the posts I just don’t want to read, or some days I will just not look. If I don’t post here on some days, I may post on my blog instead. Because the best way to be happy is to not lose your sense of humor.”

izzy_tally_081714_8904xplaying_081714_8928xOn Sunday I was playing with my camera. I recently got a new 50mm lens and was playing with it in low light in my office (keep in mind I was playing so not perfect pics). I got some wonderful pictures of the wild child’s puppy Tally.

Well Molly, hubby’s dog, is our princess and she doesn’t pose. She has a beautiful face, and when I do get a picture of her it is beautiful. But it is pretty much the same every time. Tally, on the other hand, has character, and many faces. So Molly was just sleeping on the couch ignoring us as usual. That was until we started to call her name. Then she let us know how she really felt. This is where the joy comes in. I laughed so hard my side hurt. It has been a long time since someone stuck their tongue out at me, but even longer since a dog has!

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In Memory

I have been pushing it back the past few days, but as I sit here working “Song from a Secret Garden” came on. The music is so haunting, and it finally hit me. Three days ago the world lost something that words just cannot describe. Many have tried, and beautiful words have been written and spoken in the attempt. I have heard and read some of the most beautiful things that I have ever witnessed. I can only think of one other person that has affected people the way Robin Williams’ death has, and that would have to be Princess Diane.

Something has stopped. Something has ended. Something has forever gone. It cannot be replaced. It cannot return. We have to take now, just a minute now to cry, to grieve, to let the tears flow. A heart is broken, many hearts are broken, the shards fall with the tears . . .

Then we remember . . . that face, that voice, those voices, those characters, the man he was, the man he will always be. Because we will always have him and all that he gave to us. The crazy characters he made from Mork to Mrs. Doubtfire to the Genie in Aladdin. The wonderful actor in Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, and Dead Poets Society and I just name a few. This man of so much talent and wonderful goodness. We didn’t know his ghosts, we didn’t know his demons. We knew the joy he gave us with his talent. We will keep that and cherish that forever. We say goodbye to the man Robin, but not to the spirit. That will live on forever, in his work, and in our hearts.

A 100 Day Challenge Lesson

I had a wonderful experience today. For the last couple of years I have worked with a group who I built, hosted and maintain their website. Fortunately they have a terrific woman who heads the Technology committee who is their liaison with me. We have built a wonderful friendship through email working through headquarters requirements and regulations. Today for the first time we were able to meet face-to-face. We could have spent hours sitting there talking, but the business of the day got in the way. By the time we left we knew that the friendship we have had by way of email will grow and continue for years to come.

It is so interesting how you can connect with someone that way without even setting eyes on them.  When I left the house this morning on my way to meet her it occur to me I didn’t even know what she looked like! But when she walked in the door, we both instinctively knew, nodded at each other, said our names, and hugged. But that happens more and more now that we have the internet. We can build relationships with people because we spend time with them day-by-day on Social Media like Facebook. I do like the way this is changing too, doing things like the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge, and I hope more people do it. People are sharing; talking about feelings and how to be happier.

I find myself thinking about things that are simple, and often thought of as sentimental. If by writing this I can make one person smile today, then I have accomplished something. Some may mock me, but I really don’t care. It is their loss to not see the joy that can come out of the simple things you can do. So, I will continue on past the 100 days as long as I feel I am wanted. Because the biggest challenge of the 100 days wasn’t finding the happiness. It was recognizing the things in my life that were making me unhappy, and then ridding my life them.

100 Day Challenge Ends . . .

The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge ended yesterday. It was an interesting experience in a number of ways. That morning I woke up to a post from a cousin of mine who lives half-way around the world. We met through family tree researching I can’t remember how long ago, and have been email, Instant Messenger, and Facebook friends ever since. She has been following my 100 day posts, and she wrote “So sad tomorrow is day 100. I’m in mourning.” Some other friends and family had also made comments about how they didn’t want me to stop. So I had some real heartfelt feedback urging me to keep going. This made me really think about what I am doing. What is it that I am writing that makes them want me to keep doing it?

Every day I think about what happened that day that made me happy and I post it. People I know will log on looking to read what I have posted just to be able to read something they know will be happy. You have a guaranteed feel-good, but also one you are connected to. As the day went by I heard from more people, some I didn’t even know had been followers of the 100 days. So I really started to think about what I was going to write as my 100th day post. How should I end it? Should I end it? I didn’t really want to keep counting days. And the pressure of having to post every single day was a little taxing. But driving home from the youngest Color Guard family performance last night we hit on it. I have “Infinite Days of Happiness.” I don’t have to count them, I don’t have to stop living them, and I don’t have to stop sharing them. Just because I have reached 100 doesn’t mean they have to end, it just means that the next stage is beginning.

On my 100th day I made some big moves to change my life for the better. To fill my life with positive things, people, and projects. To limit the negativity I allow in my life. Oh there are things you just can’t avoid, like taxes, car maintenance, laundry, and so on. But you can always look on the bright side and remind yourself that in order to pay the taxes you have to be making money. To maintain a car you need to have the car, clothes to wash etc. So be grateful for having the things that need the care and let’s move on to more happy things.