Dancing To the Rhythm

 

Not Again.

It was one of those moments, and I was doing it again. I was in a trance. This time I wasn’t perusing Amazon’s many book suggestions like I talked about in Mindless Searching, I was in my own negative thoughts. Lost.

I caught myself.

Mucking around in my old stories wasn’t helpful. It was the old “somebody done me wrong song.” I don’t live there anymore. Why does this happen? It’s familiar, yes. And it was an old pattern.

But I’ve created a new life and a different story. I’m at a beautiful place. I don’t need that story to prop up my self-esteem.

It went like this.

I had been KNOCKED DOWN. Taken advantage of. POOR ME. But I’m STRONG, and I climbed out of the grime. Look at me now. See how MIGHTY I am. Yeah, can any of you recognize this story? It’s not that it’s a bad one. It’s familiar. Very Western. American. We glory in the knocked down, climb your way out and up to the top hero story. It just isn’t working for me anymore.

Shackles off.

I want a new story. Forget hardships and pain. I want to dance and live and thrive. Why not enjoy this life. So the next time I find myself singing that old tune, I’ll replace it with a new one.

 

I want to dance!!

Check these posts out –>The Flip Side-To Thrive,  Mindless Searching,  and  Vacation Poster Promises

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The Thing About Neighbors

I was walking into my complex and overheard a conversation inside my downstairs neighbor’s condo. Not strange, except she lives alone. I paused in my curiosity. Yes, I’m nosy. “You don’t appreciate anything I do for you.” I imagined her little dogs lined up on the couch being lectured. It’s like she was playing school, but she wasn’t a child. Medication needed?

Young

One of my young guy neighbors was trying to hide his motorcycle inside since management was trying to impound it. He didn’t like parking it out front with the cars and as he stated it, “they are on my ass.” So up the stairs, he struggled and shoved until it was inside the condo. I wonder how his girlfriend felt about the chunk of metal in the living room?

Old

We have an older gentleman, one of the few condo owners who live here, besides me, who is working to clean the grounds. He is a well-dressed fellow, dress shirt, suspenders, and slacks. I’ll see him sometimes in the morning getting into his Mustang GT. I’ve never asked where he goes. Is he still working at his age? I’m not sure even how old he is. In the evenings and weekends, he’s picking up leaves and trash.

All

Neighbors remind me of the story Stone soup. At first glance my neighbors are annoying and I don’t know why I stay at this place. But I’m the stone, the rock in the middle of all this pot of water. They bring the flavor. The painter, a dog trainer, a nurse, and many more good people live here. If I get to know people their lives become more than static, more than the ugly boom, boom bass that disturbs me. Neighbors are people living their life. I have to re-frame it sometimes, understand the annoyance and let it go.

Something to read:

Name That Cookie

Years ago, when I was married, my mother-in-law shared her memory of the best sugar cookies in the world. But, she didn’t have the recipe. It was her mom’s recipe, and her mom never wrote a recipe on paper. Earline remembered eating them as a child fresh from the oven. They were soft and cake-like, somewhat crumbly. She tried adapting sugar cookie recipes to create something similar, but they weren’t quite right. What’s a woman with a cookie craving to do?

Another Strategy?

How many times have we spouted the great words of wisdom, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting to get different results?” Psychology Today We sometimes mock people who keep trying, but I wonder if we don’t give up too quickly. Anyway, I call trying and trying determination. There’s also a time to do things a little different. Sometimes calling a friend can help. Or get some air.

Feedback, please

I’m tenacious. Sometimes to a fault. That spot is coming out of the carpet. It’s difficult for me to know when to call it quits. I’m uncertain when to stop scrubbing the carpet or to stop trying different cleaning products. There’s not an indicator light to give me feedback, to let me know I’m at peak cleaning potential. At least not until the carpet is restored to the original color. If I succeed, I’ve fed my belief that Tenacity rules! But I tell myself this tale whether it’s true or not.

My motto as a teenager was to not give up. I loved this quote,

Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.Sir Winston ChurchillSpeech, 1941, Harrow School
British politician (1874 – 1965)

Know Your Team

It’s funny how we can mislabel things for years, misjudge, and misunderstand. Yeah, I went there. I work in the health care industry, so I see symbols all day. Hearts, snakes, and poles. Their meanings along with all of the medical language make me aware of how we communicate with each other. The hearts aren’t referring to love. The poles aren’t sexy. And if you see a naked man or woman, you might want to close your eyes.

Cookies

Oh, and those weren’t sugar cookies by the way. Earline eventually asked her older sister if she knew the recipe. Sis called them Oma’s cookies. Together they found a recipe for Oma, German for Grandma’s cookies. It’s a simple, no-fuss cookie recipe by the way.

My recipes-Omas Sugar Cookies

project pastry-Omas Sugar Cookies

 

Tricky Rabbit

princess-bride

I love new beginnings. Fresh starts are more appealing than finishing touches. It’s me. The end is just that, the end. It’s over. Done. The toys go away, and everyone goes home. There’s a book that talks about the two types of games people play, Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse. He mentions that we each have our way of the game, even in everyday life. Yeah,

Infinite all the way for me.

But life doesn’t cater to my preference. So with every ending of a book, I start a new one. I have a huge stack of books. And the adventure continues.

“In infinite games, a surprise is a reason it continues.”-Gary Carmell https://www.garycarmell.com/infinite-games/

Beginnings always meet resistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a military coup or painting your newborn’s nursery, the complexity of the job doesn’t matter. You’ll face obstacles in any game you play. How you handle challenges reveals your gaming style.

I listened to a podcast forecasting the events and mood of 2017. I don’t live my life according to astrology, but if a smart idea strikes my fancy, I’ll note it. I’m shortening and possibly corrupting the message, but here is how I heard it. Please forgive my amateur interpretation.

2017 will be a fire year, changeable. Plan but be aware of changes. It’s a Jack Sparrow sort of year. Fly by the seat of your pants, so remember to be flexible. Ad lib.  Here’s the link if you wish to listen fully. ->Runesoup Talking 2017 Astrology with Austin Coppock.

Jack Sparrow is a trickster. So was Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Westley from Princess Bride, and Loki from Scandinavian mythology to name a few. Click here to read a finite list of modern day tricksters. Tricksters are light-footed, have few rules, disregard societies constraints, and have unique styles. I find it interesting that movies put the trickster as the hero. We cheer for him.

Riddle me this Mr. Joker.

The good guy, Mr. Stiff Shirt becomes the villain. He’s followed the rules, climbed the corporate brigadier ladder, and no dirty pirate will steal his girl. Or naval vessel. Inconceivable!

We cheer BECAUSE Jack Sparrow, our trickster, breaks the rules. And our collars are feeling snug around our necks. We’re restricted. It’s the debt, the responsibilities, we miss laughing with our kids, and we’ve held in our anger too long. A light-footed trickster makes life look easy. Almost as easy as running away to Colorado in a camping trailer.

Captain Jack Sparrow is a con artist, but we still love him. Impossible for long term commitments, yes. But we can hardly hate him. I’d invite him over for a beer. I’d just lock up the valuables.

Thanks for hanging with me this week! Peace.

Inconceivable!

An exclamation of disbelief. Impossible to comprehend or grasp fully.

So unlikely or surprising as to have been thought impossible; unbelievable.

“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
by Rose-Pose January 17, 2006

http://gutenberg.us/articles/list_of_modern_day_tricksters

The Key To Measuring Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst grade jarred me from my innocence. That’s when I learned society had expectations. It required me to measure up. I knew about the measuring tape and the door post. I knew my mom was five feet two inches tall and she was tall enough to reach the top of the refrigerator. This was big. Elementary School opened my grey-blue eyes another concept.

What did you get for Christmas? Where did you go for Summer vacation? These were the questions my teacher asked when we were in school. The fun camping trip or the week you spent with grandma became part of competition. Level up.

In second grade one child shouted she went to Disneyworld for summer vacation. My summer paled in my eyes even though it had been filled with staying up late with best friends and playing hide and seek with my cousins. I wasn’t enough. As you can see, my belief in scarcity started young.

Know your currency

My family owned two thriving businesses in our small town of 3000 or so people. None of that mattered to a first grader when it’s story time, though. I reached for a quick currency. The going rate of exchange for school kids was a story. It was how we were proving our worth at that moment. If I’d only seen a bear while camping, gosh darn it!

Fitting in isn’t quite as easy as picking a pair of shoes. You don’t point to a style and say yeah, I’ll take that in size 8. There are methods. But it’s not so simple when you’re six or even twelve. Maybe not when you’re 20.  If you’re the queen, you know where to sit. You wear the crown, and people bow to you. There are rules. Royalty. You do what you do because – well, hell, you are you.

Collinsville thrived on its small town charm. Parades filled Main Street on cold holiday mornings with marching bands and paper flowers covered cars with trailing streamers. Friday nights meant a competitive football game or a movie in the theater. We had our regular early morning coffee drinkers at the restaurant. And those who liked to stay late at the bar down the street.

Tweet: So, I learned a new trick. I learned to tell my story.

I might not have been tall like my brothers, but I could reach the cereal box on top of the refrigerator by dragging and standing on a nearby chair. It was this new type of measure that was difficult. So, I learned a new trick. I learned to tell my story. But now I know it’s much more than telling a good tale. It’s listening without worrying if your present was better than mine.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” John Rohn

Book suggestions:

Never Eat Alone

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Trance of Scarcity

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The First Five Seconds

The first magazine article I ever sold I wrote about an event I saw at the end of the year 2000, and it caused me to do a double-take. An older man was walking his dog. It was a little black dog on a leash. I was driving to the library in the small town that I lived in and there on Main street, suddenly the dog ran up a tree. The man was still holding the handle of the leash and my mouth dropped open. I slowed down. Not a dog at all. It was a black cat. The man was walking his cat. Please remember, this is small town America, 15 years ago. I had to tell someone. I was so flabbergasted when I went into the library. I hurried in to speak with the librarian who told me a story, which led me to write my article about her and her cat when she was in Kuwait.

Keep Playing

I hadn’t written or even published anything professionally yet, but I had dreamed about it. I had even subscribed to the Writer’s Digest magazine and drooled over all the how-to articles. Everything was low-tech, paper submissions at that time. I had my thick paper-bound book of places to submit your articles and a lot of ideas in my newbie’s head. Just no experience. I can’t say that I’m so proficient today even. The market changes quicker than any of us can keep up, which only means that it’s always a new game. Make up the rules and keep playing.

When I got home from the library, I pulled out my handy-dandy spiral notebook and started jotting down the story. I had the subject, cats on a leash and cat training with operant conditioning, and I had my expert the local librarian who had trained her two cats with this method out of necessity while in another country. Now who could best use this article?

$$$

I was limiting my field by writing my article first, but it’s the way life happens sometimes. I grabbed my dog-eared books with all the listings of magazine publishers and started sorting through. I shot off a query letter and put in my hook line about the dog running up the tree and a bit about keeping your cat safe when you’re on vacation and such, the sort of things that I thought they might be interested in for their audience. It worked. My heart stopped almost when I actually got the “we’re interest” phone call. I was getting paid. ASPCA published my first article in the summer of 2001.

Firsts

Everyone has their first story, their first photo, their first client or first whatever. It happens so quick sometimes you don’t have time to think about it. I listened to a Ted talk today by Mel Robbins called How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over, that said you have 5 seconds to act on an impulse before you lose the energy to move forward. You can use that in your favor the next time an opportunity leaps in front of you, remember you have 5 seconds to take an action forward. Write it down, take a step, make a call, or say yes. I was too young and naive at the time of my first to even think anyone would say no to my crazy story. I’m older, wiser now, which only means I second guess myself. I pause. I pull my punches. The urge has left and the opportunity is gone. I have missed a story. I have lost the chance to connect with another person. And that’s a sad thing to miss.

Thank the Goats for Coffee!

I love a good story, but goat herders, red berries, and smugglers. Craziness! This Tuesday, September 29 is National Coffee Day 2015.  So whether you prefer yours sweet, bitter or with a dash of cinnamon, go enjoy a cup of coffee.  My favorite is a strong cup of Columbia with milk.

And this is the legend of coffee –

It’s all because of a 9th-century Ethiopian goat-herder named Kaldi.

Allegedly, Kaldi observed his goats behaving erratically after eating the red berries from a nearby Coffea arabica tree. He tried some of them himself and was soon acting as hyper as his herd. He then brought a batch to a monastery where they were derided for their stimulating effects during long hours of prayer. The religious leaders there threw the tree’s beans onto a fire to destroy them, but the pleasing aroma of the roasted beans convinced them to give the coffee a second chance. Much like with tea, they put the roasted beans into warm water and the beverage was born.

Mental Floss – Who Discovered Coffee

Things That Are Right

There are a lot of gripe worthy, fist in the air episodes in life these days. And it doesn’t take much to strike a flame it seems. Show me the video of the eight-year-old sitting in the vice principal’s office, with the sheriff handcuffing him to the chair. Why? The child’s bad behavior. I’ll start the riot myself. I would have been that child, believe me, kicking and screaming also.

When it comes to injustices in this world, I’m not one who sits idly by to put up with them. That’s why it’s a relief to see the good, the beautiful, and the things that are going right. Take a look at these two inspirations. The first is a man who has changed the world. The other is a video just for you.

Truthfully, I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start with this quote from his website,

2014 Nobel Peace Kailash Satyarthi, as a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of over 80000 child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.

The work that this man does and those that he works with is some of the most amazing work I’ve ever seen. When I was reading of his work, I wondered when he stopped. When did he eat? I read through his interview and I could hear his passion and his zeal and I could feel that same feeling as I think of that child sitting in the chair in the vice principal’s office. Kailash Satyarthi started in a similar way. He saw one boy sitting and waiting for work and he wondered why this boy was not in school. Here’s the link to the Fareed Zakaria GPS audio interview. The following quote is from his interview in the Huffington Post. I’m in awe of the passion that flows through him.

By conferring the Nobel Prize on Malala and I, the Nobel Committee has recognised one of the most pressing yet neglected issues of our times. Millions of children still remain invisible, voiceless and unheard. During the last few weeks, their suffering has got unprecedented attention by the law makers, judiciary and civil society not only in India but worldwide.

Childhood protected and nurtured will yield superior global human capital, while wasted childhood will erode all prospects of a promising tomorrow. Our tomorrow will be as good or as bad as how and what we do about our children today!!! – Huffington Post

Huffington Post-A Child Friendly World

I hope this inspires you.

Join me every week as I look for more good in this world. Or I might be standing high on my soapbox again. You just never know.

For Sheila, My Cousin, My Friend

This post is a short glimpse into a friend’s life.  She was much than this. It’s my attempt to say goodbye to my friend who we lost this last week in a car accident. She will be greatly missed. — Janet

When you’re ten-years-old, life is simple. Everyone around you is an uncle, an aunt, a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, or a cousin. Other than a family member, you are a stranger until you become a friend or a neighbor.

I grew up in a small town. And that small town raised me. Collinsville had only a population of 3,009 by the time that I was ten, by the time that Sheila and I decided to figure out if we were just friends or if we were family now. It was about bonding. It was about how we mattered to each other. And it was important. Who wants to be just a neighbor when they can be a friend? Or a cousin? Only friends and cousins can do sleep-overs or know secrets.

We were at Sheila’s house. We attended school together since forever but something was different. My brother was dating her cousin. I’m not certain of the relations, but at the time we were solemn about this. We had to be cousins, she had decided. We must be cousins. We discussed it around and around and looked at it from both sides of the family tree. Surely we were cousins if my brother married her cousin. It made perfect sense to our 10-year-old minds.

Hours went by and running out of time, we decided that maybe it didn’t matter. That just maybe we’re all cousins or sisters because God was our father. From then on we were friends and family. I remember several times afterward calling out to each other, “Hello cousin.”

Thank you, Sheila, for being my friend and for being a friend to so many. You gave so much love while you were with us. You were the expressed image of friendship and family. Open arms and a warm heart. You are missing from us today.

Living With Brothers

I never wished for sisters. It’s not something I really thought about. Maybe that’s how we all are. We only know what we know and don’t know anything else. I played with dolls. I wore dresses with ribbons and flowers. I was mostly a normal girl. The main difference that I noticed growing up with brothers was that there was no codling. Moms do that sort of thing, cushion you. Brothers don’t. Brothers roughhouse. They wrestle. We fed the animals. I tried to help them work on cars.

Resilience

My brothers taught me take up for myself. They taught me how to be an individual. I learned to change my bike tire and how to fix a flat. I learned from watching my oldest brother that manners were important, things like saying, thank you and please were expected. I learned from my middle brother that it’s okay sometimes to do things for yourself if you need to, because people won’t always do it the way you want, or won’t always listen to you. I learned to be who you are even in the face of resistance.

I did wish at times I could live closer to my cousins. I missed the times we all got together and played hide and seek in the trees in front of their house. Late at night, when the lightning bugs were out and the grownups drank their coffee, it all seemed magical. We played for hours. During the day we’d play basketball or go fishing in the pond. Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m reading.

Thinking we had to talk to connect, I asked her if she’d rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. Betsy sat up, dangled her feet off the dock, and said she’d rather swim in the ocean. She grew up going to Florida with her cousins and they’d spend the entire day playing in the waves, poking jellyfish with sticks and eating peanutbutter-and-jelly sandwiches with sand in them. She and her cousins would lie in bed at night and giggle because they could feel their bodies lifting and falling as though they were still in the waves. Those were some of the greatest days of her life. She asked whether I would rather swim in a pool, a lake, or the ocean. I said I’d rather swim in a lake. “Why?” she asked. I said in a lake you didn’t have to deal with the jellyfish and the seaweed and the sharks and whatever else. Betsy thought about that for a moment then reminded me that trying not to get stung by a jellyfish was part of the adventure. Betsy ran her fingers through my hair and kissed me on the forehead. I told her I’d put some jellyfish in the pond if she wanted me to. “It’s worth it to get stung by a jellyfish every once in a while,” Betsy said. “For the occasional sting, you get to go to sleep feeling the waves and you get to giggle with your cousins.” – Scary Close by Donald Miller

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy