He called. The mailman that was introduced to me today, called.
That’s what I wrote in my journal on May 30, 1986.
We talked for hours.
I put the little’s to bed and enjoyed a real conversation with a man – for hours! Not flirty, but real live and meaningful conversing. We talked about cuts and scrapes and the garden and fishing and dancing and who knows what else. We talked about his daughters and my two little ones. We talked about our small town, the cars, the churches. You name it, I think we covered it. It was a heart centered conversation.
Fast forward 30+ years later and we just finished talking about the yard and maybe going fishing and we enjoyed a short dance after dinner. I love dancing in the kitchen, don’t you?
We married in 1988. Our first Christmas we started our first tradition. Dancing in the kitchen to music from the Victrola. He received it as a birthday gift when he was 9 and through the years, we’ve acquired a few more records and a whole cup of needles. Some people don’t appreciate them anymore. No electricity required, they are loud and scratchy. The voices of those recordings are innocent, some untrained, but delightful. We play the records on Christmas eve after service and dance in the kitchen. We’ve done it for 30 years now.
We know each others steps by heart. Really, by heart. I can sense his movement and feel his breath as he holds me close and takes the lead. He securely holds my hand in his. He’s been doing it for years. I trust his steps. When he spins me out and under his arm, I land in the perfect place to take the next step. He smiles, I hum. Sometimes we laugh out loud or bump into the counter or frig. Always holding on to each other. Really, it’s by heart.
Sometimes, it’s hard for him to lead now. Sometimes he needs me to lead a conversation or make a decision or drive the car in traffic.
He never needs me to lead the dance. We’ve got this heart stuff down pat. It’s how we live better. And I love it that way.
Posted in April of 2018, it’s a great repeat for today! Texas weather… you can never tell what’s happening!
It’s a dull day!
The spring weather brings excitement, and not always the best kind, in Texas. Last year it was tornadoes everywhere and so much hurt and loss. This year, so far, it’s rain. Gloomy rain on my part of the earth… and lack of rain on the other part of the state. I think people who live in small states don’t always fathom the incredible size of Texas. We can have all types of weather in one state at any given time. The old saying “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes,” is often true and you could really add… “just drive 100 miles… it will change”.
Today, though, is dull. It’s cloudy, and gray outdoors. My attitude tends to follow. I feel cozy in the winter when the fire is roaring, open and free when the sun is out and air is warm, and dull when it’s gray, cold and rainy in April.
So, here’s the routine to bust out of the dull hum-drums.
WATER… lots of it. Room temp and ice cold. With infused fruit and just plain. With ice cubes of frozen fruit and warmed with herbal tea. With lemon slices and cucumbers. WATER!
Fresh fruit for breakfast. Served cool and maybe on a bed of cheese or some yogurt for dipping. Maybe in a shake! I’m looking for glow and shine here!
A break for my conversation with father God and jotting some notes or completing a discovery task. Briefly sketching out my day “wants” with my “musts”. Adapting them to the weather.
Mental note: chocolate is great on dull days! So are pj’s and a popcorn! However, eating healthy will certainly help cure a gray days dull! Lots of people take vitamins to restore their shine and glow. Take this vitamin quiz to get a better idea of which supplements are good for you.
Another good way to send the dull-drums packing is to play music. I love to play the old standards. Piano playing is therapeutic for me. Sometimes I turn up the volume and listen to upbeat pop or old rock, dancing with the broom while I attempt to focus on sweeping! Singing along and dancing energetically is a great way to brighten your day.
My granddaughter can’t wait for rain! She grabs her green frog boots and splashes every puddle. One foot, then two. It’s a favorite rainy day activity… removing any gloom in that home on a gray day! We could do that, too! You are never to old to splash!
Whatever you do on a gray day… don’t give in.
Turn on the lights, make up your face and glow! Call an old friend and renew that acquaintance, save some blooms before they drown and arrange them where you can enjoy the nature. Cook a great meal and open the perfect bottle of wine!
I love this picture. I found it several years ago, online. I think it was a plaque for sale on some site.
It was a tough few months at work and there were serious issues at home and I was beyond understanding any of it because I couldn’t focus on either. Sleepless nights ensued and a short temper was the gift my sweet hubs endured. My health started to decline. Not eating correctly, joint pain and my hair even started thinning.
It’s what happens, if you live long enough and you aren’t prepared.
If we live long enough, life will find a way to get complicated and it seems like it will do it in several ways at the same time. Being tired and stressed muddy’s the water, so to speak. It makes it hard to realize the real truth of the situation. Our personal well-being influences our understanding of the issues at hand and sometimes builds them tougher than they really are.
What I learned was to just keep moving and it will be understood later… or not. Either way, when we just accept what we cannot change, we can move forward faster and more peacefully. No time wasting… just positive movement to FORWARD.
Unless you can’t see which way is forward.
I have many ways of discovering where my Forward is… lots of contemplation and dreaming, writing in my journal, list making, reading, and daily conversation with the one that knows my personal future already.
Yep, a daily conversation with God helps me safely spill all my doubts, fears, gratefulness, appreciation, guilt, willingness, concerns and oh! so much more. A conversation has to be two ways. So after the talk, save time for the listening. He is open to you talking first, but He needs you to listen, too.
After that conversation, it’s time to do the work. The work may appear in the form of listening, reading, researching, trying something new, spending time with loved ones and helping others. It’s amazing what can happen when I’m washing dishes and enjoying the nature outside my window.
These are a few easy plans for finding your path Forward. Sometimes Forward is closer than you might think. Taking time to do the work and have the important conversation is a peaceful way to find where you may gravitate.
Start eating right. Add vitamins to your daily routine. Cut your hair short and pamper it awhile. Spend time feeling better, physically. Walking, play on the Wii, bowling, dancing with your love before dinner or after the children fall to sleep, swimming… anything that makes your heart happy.
Five minutes. For five minutes take a break between dishes and the run to town. List 5 things you’ve never taken time to do. Are you still interested in them? Aha! What did you learn?
Thirty minutes. Grab some picturesque magazines and some scissors. Quickly, choose all the pictures that appeal to you and remove them from the magazine. Some people glue them to boards, papers or even large envelopes. I just spread mine out on a table in order of their importance. Are they achievable… like buying it, or planning time for it? Add it to your budget plan! Learn the skill or find a way!
Life must continue during the search for Forward, so I find spending dedicated time spans each day will help. I like the morning. For my friend, it’s after the children go to sleep. I know a man that works full time and has a large family. His Forward search is on his solitary walk after dinner.
Keeping the trip Forward in perspective, knowing in your heart it will come in time, doing the work and being open to the direction is important.
Where will you find your Forward? In art, music, volunteering? Will you work with numbers, with people, with pets? What a world there is out there. Just remember to take it one step at a time.
Like the picture says, ‘Someday everything will make perfect sense’.
The trip is well worth the time and effort! Enjoy! After all, it’s about living better!
I love the new routine! (Previously posted in July 2017)
Wake when I choose, go through the usual morning stuff on the way to the kitchen and grab that glistening bottle of water I left on the cabinet last night. I set it out at night to let it warm to room temperature. The rest of the day, I LOVE a cold bottle… but first… it needs to be room temperature.
Tear open some green nutrition and head for the great outdoor retreat (my office). Yes, the “office” has become the retreat instead of the cave I once enjoyed. Can you believe that?
I actually ENJOYED the cave. It was a place of quiet contemplation, pouring over numbers and opportunities (they call it) for improvement. THAT desk was piled high in notes, books, reports and half-filled bottles of water. I answered every issue and opportunity with positive encouragement and recommendations, and some guidance.
Today’s retreat is a little different. Green all around me. Crickets and locusts singing and an occasional helicopter taking someone for much needed care. The sun is gentle from this point of view thanks to the shade of the beautiful trees! They lock branches to keep the sun filtered and the air cool. The grass needs mowing, as we’ve been blessed with an abundant amount of rain this season. God’s blessings are right in front of me. I don’t even have to look for them or imagine what He may have meant for me to see. This miracle of nature that I call my office is provided, just for me!
Sometime before I go in, I’ll answer emails, send a few messages and check my blog for private messages. I’ll finish writing this and pack up the car for tomorrow’s event. Two more people to check on and I’m done. The rest of the day belongs to me.
My morning simplicity makes the day go well. As a friend shared … “doing the things that makes her heart sing!”
Off to the piano… work is done for the day! What makes your heart sing? This day is all about living better!
The sun is bright and the wind is fair, so it’s time to walk.
In Texas, a walk at certain times of the day will almost always include mosquitos. The little jiggers just think they belong with someone who is trying to work up or sweat…or not. They buzz around one’s head until you feel like you will fall over from swatting. I guess they actually help increase your heart rate. That could be a blessing in the long run.
I try to remember to wear something dark so just maybe, I can hide from them. I always use the Skin So Soft products to ward them away naturally. You know, I read the herb, jojoba, is a natural repellent, so apparently that’s why the bath oil works so well. I put a 1/2 cap full in the dog’s bath water to help her fight them off. It’s not a product for outdoor-in-the-sun use! It’s OIL. Duh! If you plan on being in the sun, around the water and require protection, look at the other Skin So Soft product, Bug Guard with SPF!
So during our walk, before I got off point, I noticed beautiful blooms in my garden! Everyone knows I have a brown thumb, so I was so excited I had to take a picture. Any beautiful thing that I don’t kill is a miracle to be sure. So, I hope you love my picture of the clematis growing in my yard… on a trellis… facing the dog’s yard. Ugh!
That’s right. The one thing I planted myself, that’s growing beautiful, only faces the dog’s yard! No one from the street can see it.
Even if they are in the driveway, they can’t see it. It’s the one plant I planted and grew successfully and my dogs are the only ones to enjoy it.
Except me. Except you. I hope you enjoy your walk… without any pesky tag along flying blessings. Enjoy the view. It’s a great way to live better!
As a young mother, the days were ordered. Get up at the first whimper, place everything in order before the full-out assault to the morning and get everyone and everything done before running out of the house to work. After work chores included a time schedule to get everyone to bed on time and ready to repeat the morning ritual.
Hopefully, everyone leaves in a great mood, ready to attack the day with a positive attitude. That, too, takes it’s toll. It can be exhausting to take on the responsibility of everyone’s happiness.
As I’ve aged and they are raising their own, I see the challenges from a different perspective. I see them accepting the responsibilities with more grace than I. I think that’s a positive thing. They have a clear direction for their families and goals for the future. More positive to enjoy. I see God’s blessings as they move forward with their lives.
My mom and dad retired. I mean, they actually did not work or even think about having anything else to do after they retired. They fished, she quilted, he watched tv, they gardened, took long drives, played dominoes with church friends, helped others and they took turns bugging us on the phone. It was sweet and I loved those little phone calls about the weather or the mosquito population.
I don’t know anyone doing that anymore. I just don’t know them.
Everyone retiring has something else to do. They trade stocks, write blogs, sell handmade crafts, sell antiques, sell a used car or two and some even work part time at local businesses (where they probably have a trusted connection) that need a little extra help now and then.
I have an 80+ year old friend that continues to care for one infant in her home, until the baby can crawl. Then they move on and she takes another for some lucky working mom who needs a grandmother to nurture her newborn while she is away. What a great job!
Many sign up to sell something. It’s the easiest thing to do.
Some just want to sell a little product they believe in. It’s a good way to earn a little and stay sharp with business skills. It’s a good way to contribute to social causes, too. Selling the products that benefit the American Cancer Society, for instance. Those who sell the products earn a little here and there and enjoy a personal discount. Usually, 20-40%, based on their volume of designated products. They purchase materials and pay shipping from those earnings (so take about 10-15% of those earnings away) and the sales taxes collected benefit the communities where the products are sold.
The problem is the recruiting.
Most direct sales companies have realized that using the MLM model is a money maker for them… and their top recruiters. So, why wouldn’t they offer that to everyone? The truth is, very few recruit. Most sell and will take a recruit if they walk in the door or sign up under them. They’ll get a small bonus for that effort and possibly a 1099 to go with it.
Those associates who choose to pursue the dream of success, using the MLM stream, are flooding the social networks, emails and all other phases of communication. There’s so much of it that now many potential customers will not even look at the products (which could be smart purchases) because they don’t want to get flooded with opportunity reminders… over and over and over again. I don’t blame them.
The saturation of consultants in MLM’s is great. I have seen, from experience, that there are so many more non-successful at reaching their dreams, than there are those who reach the top. But, then… where is the “top”, for you? HOPE. That’s their magic. Offering hope. Because anyone CAN, but few DO.
The saturation is so great because they tout “start your own business” for such a small monetary investment and the “freedom to work as you please” while the newbies dream of posting on the social medias and waiting for the orders to flood the carts! NOT! When the big offers of success disappoint, they quit.
Because the company forgot their new associate signed up to sell a few good products to their contacts and that WAS their dream. Then the companies brainwash those well meaning sales associates to buying into the HOPE. And, the MLM label killed their initial dream.
It’s a process.
As I enter this new stage of life, I really want to sell some great products I believe in. Having worked in the industry as an employee, I have learned the value of the products and their ingredients. While I’m not actively recruiting, I’ll gladly help anyone who does happen to sign up under me. I’m not goal-reaching, other than buying and selling at a good return. It’s something I love to do and I hope the MLM aspect of my company will not hold me back.
This is truth. And it took me a time to come to this point.
When I first started, I went all out. I worked it like a business. Every day I made 5 to 10 contacts and every day I posted or wrote posts for scheduling. I gave up weekends for events and spent a portion of everyday in self development. In the first six months, I signed over 20 new associates. I earned bonuses and even a trip. It was fast and furious. It was fun, getting to know my team and helping them get started. Within 3 months, all but 11 are gone. Because they only wanted to sell a few products, not recruit. Because selling just a few products doesn’t make the money all the video’s and training talk about and everything the company offers as incentives, is focused on the recruiting. They only wanted to sell!
So I asked myself. Do I want to retire with the stress of working it like a business? Or why did I come here? I know, first hand what must be done. I came here to prove a point. I wanted to show them they chose wrong. I could do it better than most. So, I did. I took their bonus money, their rewards, even the trip and now I have confirmation that I don’t want to retire with the stress of working it like a business. I want to sell a few great products.
And, I still love some of the products. And, I really like some products my friends sell. I want to speak honestly about those products, and if someone orders from my affiliate website, I could earn a bit, but I want them to not be afraid of receiving too much spam. Did you know you can buy and then unsubscribe? A customer has a choice!
When I started blogging, my goal was to document the discovery process of my unplanned retirement. I’ve looked into affiliate links, cottage industries and the printable market. The thing they have in common is that they are selling something.
What I’ve learned, is it’s the same.
While it’s not a designated MLM, numbers do count. They earn by recruiting others to their affiliate or t-shirt business or download or membership site! It’s the same thing – without the label. Getting attention to your site or the proper link is recruiting. It’s selling. The payoff doesn’t come with a pre-paid trip (but you can buy your own without paying income tax on it) and you don’t need a fancy title to find your success. The dream is the same… hope. We hope to find joy in writing and recruiting to our affiliate(s).
It was a process.
I choose to sell a few great products that I believe in. Those products happen to be sold by some companies who also offer the MLM stream of income – but those companies are more than an MLM and, personally, I believe they do themselves a disservice by not finding a better balance between the earning opportunities and the product offerings.
The associates who represent the products should not be punished or held back because of that lack of balance. After all, they came here to sell a few good products with a good name to some good people who have supported the company for years and years.
I hope the MLM description of the companies that sell my favorite products, won’t kill my selling dream. My dream is about living better. What’s yours?
The last two days have been a tad unusual, and totally joyful. Lots of driving to accomplish this joy, and I like that, too.
On these days, I met girlfriends for lunch.
Before leaving, I chose my outfit carefully, applied by longest lasting lip stain and looked for any jewelry that would pay homage to our past.
Yep, I drove 60 miles on one day and 80 miles the next… one way. To have lunch. It’s not really about lunch. It’s about the girlfriends. The laughs, the reminiscing, the fun and laughter at each others expense. Each “lunch” lasted 2 to 4 hours. Can you imagine if we all took long lunches everyday? Again, it’s not about the food. It’s about the girlfriends.
I am reminded how I used to love to be with them on a regular basis. I know them all from different places and different circumstances. We have lots of things in common. All of have a firm belief in God and feel free identifying that belief by name-unapologetically.
We all love music, either listening, making it or moving to it. We all love food… it appears we love it a lot! We all like wine, mostly red. And, we all love to talk at the same time, sometimes lovingly across each other. Fun!
I get to spend time driving to and from these events because I live further from Dallas. It’s a quiet time of a sort. Time to think about the coming meet up and the past days together. The future, the questions and their opinions I need. Drive time is also talk to God time…for everyone’s travels, their needs and my guidance.
The trip home is best. Letting it sink in and taking time to savor the laughs, the concerns, the prayer requests, the grins and the plans for the next time.
I love having girlfriends. It’s fun to share and touching moments inspire a trust that only girlfriends can claim. Who has time to eat? It’s about the relationships. It’s about the love.
I can’t wait for the next one. Let me think… who is 60 miles away? I need a decent drive. Chica, I’m headed your way!
For me, that meant I get to take baby steps into this new world.
1. I don’t have to dig.
2. I don’t have to plant.
3. I will water.
4. I will shop for plants and other fun stuff.
5. I will still be organizing the world around me. (control freak).
6. I will pay money to NOT dig and plant.
Ha! I enjoy sitting outdoors looking at “our” hard work. When I drive up the driveway, I am pleased and proud that “we” did all that hot work!
Fast forward 4 months. Here we are in January, starting a new project. No girlfriends. Just us. You can pray for us, if you are so inclined.
So step one was to get Ronnie to commit to the project.
Wow! I can’t tell you how many objections I had to overcome. I know that objections are just requests for more information, so I tried to use my best marketing techniques to answer his questions and sell him on the idea.
It must have worked, because three months after I began the campaign, he showed up for the appointment with our new friend Gail at Lowe’s. She’s a magician, let me tell you! We know we are over our head when you talk about construction.
The new project:
The front bathroom. The one our visitors see. Our home is around 30 years old, and it needed to be redone. We didn’t want to spend a lot, just enough to update it for selling purposes, in case we decide to downsize.
We decided to use a GC (General Contractor) to install a simple walk in shower and hardware and replace the vanity and counter top. We were pleased that Gail came by first to take a peek and take some general measurements. Then, she brought the GC by and took even more measurements.
We spent a lot of time talking about what we thought it should look like when it’s done, the colors, textures and any changes we might consider. I really felt like they listened well, and didn’t try to sell us on anything extravagant. The budget was always at the top of mind.
I’ve always loved the furniture vanities popular in some custom homes, so it was decided that I would be in charge of acquiring that piece of furniture and finishing it to match.
Gail found the most beautiful granite top, called Chaldonea, so the race is on!
I searched all the online garage sales and used a couple of apps to locate the perfect piece. A beautiful maple Basset Buffet.
Today, I find we are starting in 6 days! We were so excited, it’s like finding out you won a prize! I ran to my favorite “paint” store and quickly got directions from Melanie at Sisters Reclaimed, in our cute little downtown . I picked up a few supplies and off we went!
Step one: WASH the buffet. Really, that’s what she said. With Dawn. That was too easy.
Step two: Ronnie will repair the one drawer that has a loose groove. GLUE.
Step three: Let it dry. I got this!
Step four : Paint. We are using Annie Sloan Graphite… recommended by Melanie. I added three coats of paint, then finished it with a clear wax. I have to say, I almost choked when I saw the price because I haven’t had time to be familiar with the cost of paint lately, but it is so worth the cost. The paint is smooth, pretty and the coverage was thorough. The brush recommended for the wax was awesome. I will treasure it always for future projects.
After three weeks, it appears very durable and I love it!
And BAM! The magic of the internet.
It only took a few days, a couple of guys running in and out of the house and some banging and clanging (which drove Ronnie crazy). I must say, my favorite thing is the buffet and the space we gained.
I apologize for the lighting of this picture, but I wanted you to see, because there are still a couple of slight problems with which to deal.
Hardware. The old hardware is quaint and I’m debating about adding some sleek new replacements- in bronze.
The water connectors to the next room. My first thought is to build little “doors” on each side, and finish them to match the buffet-turned-vanity. Another option may be to place inserts that are painted to match the wall, giving the vanity more attention.
I’m still looking for some farmhouse type of container for my airbrush system.
I think I’d love a small flower arrangement in the corner (or a lamp).
I’m curious about your thoughts.
Further, we chose a simple walk in shower insert and opted out of having a shower door because I like (love) my shower curtain, and I don’t like cleaning shower doors and tracks. I replaced the stainless curtain rod with one that matched the shower, and we purchased bronzed fixtures throughout. Ronnie spent a couple hours patching the shower curtain rod holes and touching up the wall and trim paint. We had to rehang the towel and toilet paper holders. I stole the mirror from the mud room bath because it was just asking to be moved to a new home.
When the tub/shower combo was removed, the contractor discovered some work not properly completed during the original construction. After a day of correction and new concrete work, the shower was installed with lots of banging and noise.
Note to self: remove everything from the wall behind the new shower before they start installation!
In all, we are happy with the process. We learned a lot and are still trying to make some decisions regarding the few unexpected items.
We gained 3 inches of floor space… which means my flooring doesn’t fit, so that’s another project, and of course, what to do about the view of the plumbing.
It’s bright, and replacing the tub with a walk-in makes the room look so much larger. The insert cleans easily and the counter top is beautiful. The green is still my favorite.
When I was a kid, my mom and dad would always suggest we “live with it awhile” before making decisions on change. We are at that stage now. We are living with it. Happily.
This project definitely fits with our goals of keeping our projects about living better!
Something happens when you are a young parent. Every baby seems a bit brighter than the last, more talented than the neighbors child and more calm than the kid at the day care. Oh, and those eyes! How adorable and did you know her poop smells sweet?
I remember one evening after work, sitting in my mother in law’s den after dinner talking about all the important lessons I wanted to teach my newborn. Music, (classical, of course) books (Chaucer, thank you) and museums (art!). I went on and on about what was available in our large city and how important it was for my baby to know all of them. She said (probably in an effort to get me to stop talking), “I’m sure you’ll give your baby a wonderful life and then, you’ll have to enjoy the magic of adulthood”. I didn’t understand.
Every child has challenges and rewards… even the golden and seemingly perfect require special attention that keeps a mom busy from daylight to dark.
Teens stretch the boundaries, practicing what we taught them as babies, to see if it will get them to adulthood at a quicker pace. Letting them (and encouraging them) to reach a little further with each experience may be a little tough, but necessary.
How else will they learn to properly react and to make those secondary decisions? Tethers like rules, curfews, dress codes, speed limits, allowances… all are about living better in the future. They are the seatbelt that keeps our children safe in the traffic of life.
Then the true magic happens. They live to adulthood. They graduate, make a few decisions, regret a few choices and reboot to survive nicely… without you. Making that adjustment is easier for some parents (and children) than others. It can be a sad time or a glorious freeing time.
Some however, must be stuck in the middle for a bit. Being stuck in the middle can be an obvious bother to the new adult and the parent… that’s where I was for a long time. Stuck in the middle. Between their childhood and their adulthood. Between guiding and nurturing and helping them move on! Eventually, they move and finding your place becomes a little more difficult.
Stuck in the middle is like being forced to live the life of a wall flower. With emotions swelling up when you (think you know) know the answer, they won’t listen and both are afraid to take that step out – for fear of offending someone or being outdated and just flat wrong, or being ridiculed for a belief. After spending years as the teacher, all of a sudden they can think for themselves and you wonder… “who told them they could do that”? It’s humorous when you think of it.
Just recently, I discovered the magic of adulthood means someone else can plan the menu for a get together, take a dare and live through it, purchase clothes for the grandkids and be the helping hands this world needs. These magical adults can have their own opinions, disagree with mine, change their spiritual direction and move away! They can move into a house, mop their own floor, fix their own car, shop for food and stay away for months, if they like. They’ve learned the magic of adulthood and are living it.
The magic of adulthood allows me to move forward, pretend they aren’t sneering at my suggestions or political views, and enjoy their children and their futures from the side. The magic of adulthood is not just for the children, it’s for all adults. Music, art, museums without the diaper bag, road trips, laundry for two instead of for five is a snap, and trying new dances or walking paths can be an adventure. Enjoying the passion of entrepreneurial fun for profit, practicing music again, sharing free time as a local volunteer may be rewarding for some.
It’s looking pretty bright out there.
So, here’s to the magic. Here’s to the babies, now grown and gone from my lap. Here’s to the freedom to have beer at breakfast or champagne with lunch. Here’s to time… to walk, to visit, to read and write. To play dominoes and cards, to create beautiful gardens and clean guest rooms. More music, art and museums, too!
The magic of adulthood awaits us, one and all and it’s definitely living better!