"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Moonlight and Roses

I went out to my sister's at Lake Arrowhead last night and upon leaving, the full moon lighted my way back to the car. It was stunning as always when its still low in the sky. With Valentines Day strong on my mind, I remembered an old Jim Reeves song, "Moonlight and Roses ... bring wonderful memories of you." I went in search of the song but Itunes only listed Karoke versions and one by someone else. It was late so that was as far as I went. I know my kids will find it and send it to me before Valentines Day gets here.

On the last Valentine's Day that Ronnie worked at PPG, I decided to send him a snack basket. We had a huge heart shaped balloon that, when tapped, it played "I Wanta Hold Your Hand." I bought a boat load of snacks and put them into a big basket, wrapped it up and was going to have the delivery man take it out to PPG, then I remembered Ronnie saying that anything edible that came into the breakroom seemed to be a gift to all. Even though I knew he didn't need to eat all those snacks himself, I didn't want anyone to ruin the moment for him. He was working the evening shift, so when I got off work, I drove out there and put the basket with the balloon tied to it inside his pickup, then I went home to wait.

He came in about twelve thirty grinning from ear to ear. He said when he opened the door of his truck, the balloon floated toward him and he thought he had an intruder so he punched it and it started screaming "I wanta hold your hand!"

We laughed about that everytime we thought about it. And he loved it. He loved it when I made him know he was special to me -- and he was very special to me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

As I begin this brand new day, my dominant intent is to feel good. Nothing is more important or more essential to my wellbeing than that I look for that which pleases me. So, today, regardless of where I am, what I'm doing or who is with me, I will look for that which pleases me. I will give others the benefit of the doubt because I want everyone to thrive and flourish and I know no one wishes anything for me but the best.

The hip pain is gone. I knew if the flooring work could smooth out so would my level of happiness and the aggravating discomfort would dissipate. It's like my foundation is sturdy again. I can not express how wonderful it feels to walk in there, and have a solid floor beneath my feet.

Two days ago, I was thinking about selling the house and renting an apartment to get away from this but today I feel totally different. I have brand new windows and a brand new central heating and cooling system -- and now I can see that soon, I'm going to have new floors and that everything eventually will be put back in place and I can spread out in my own space. I'll be able to sit at my desk with my brand new Mac computer and look out at my back yard, which gives me about the same view as looking out my back door.

That deep inside sadness returned sometime last week -- probably partly due to my house being in such a mess, but today, it's gone again.

Today I get to go to work and help get ready for Valentines Day. Dan the Handy Man is supposed to pick up the flooring I bought yesterday. Life is good and it is supposed to be enjoyable, so let's get on with it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What does Happy Feel Like

As I begin this brand new day, my dominant intent is to be happy. Nothing is more important or more essential to my well-being than that I look for that which pleases me, that I find fun, interesting, joyful things to think about and talk about. So today, regardless of where I am, what I'm doing or who is with me, I will focus on the things around me that please me. In other words, I'm gonna get happy – in every way I can.

So what does happy feel like on a day to day, minute by minute basis? Probably more pleased than displeased, more satisfied than aggravated. Happy might come when you feel the relief of letting go of or giving up a struggle that seems hopeless and has seemed so for quite a while. You might feel it when you make the decision to stop worrying about anything and everything, when you finally say, "That's it. That's all I can do," or "This problem really doesn't belong to me, so why am I stressing out about it?"

Happy could be playing with a pet, your child or grandchild. It can be seeing new growth on a favorite plant in the window, seeing a good mood smile on the face of a loved one. Happy comes in fleeting moments that we often don't notice or stop to appreciate.

For me it's when I see the daffodils and iris come up in my flowerbeds after a deep freeze of a winter. It comes when I see that my gold fish and koi are still alive in my pond after having a sheet of ice over it for several days. It happens when a sweet fragrance comes to me from the flowers in the cooler every day, or from clean towels or sheets.

I feel happy when I have a fresh package of paper, a page of postage stamps, or a new notebook to write in. I feel it when I have a stretch of time that isn't already obligated to something else. I feel it every time I sell a book, every time I pull up and stop in my driveway and see my house waiting for me to come inside. I feel it every morning when I smell the fresh coffee brewing, when I watch the sun come up through my beautiful new windows and when I watch the sun set, painting the sky in pinks and lavenders.

I feel happy when I walk into my bedroom and see that I made the bed earlier.

I feel happiness when I get animal pictures via email. I feel it when I see the cute faces of teddy bears and other stuffed animals.

Happy feels like seeing my children, my grandchildren and old friends. It's seeing their name come up on my cell phone. It's finding those sturdy paper coffee cups that come with clamp on lids in a stack of ten for a dollar. It's cold wind blowing on my face when I'm having a hot flash. It's having a hot flash when I'm cold.

We humans have a tendency to consider happiness as a long term situation, sometimes even a future goal and in doing that, we minimize the importance of or completely ignore these momentary bits of joy that can occur hundreds of times a day—if we're paying attention. Life is now. This moment right now is the only guaranteed time we have, so why spend it agonizing about current events over which you have little or no control? Look for the things that please you. You'll be surprised how many different things in life will make you smile. You might be surprised at how much better you'll feel about a whole bunch of stuff when you "get happy -- in every way you can".

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cowboy True

Wow! What an amazing experience that was! Cowboy True is now many memories. I often wonder why I put myself into situations where I know I'm going to be totally out of my comfort zone. The best reason I can figure is because stepping out of my own space is when I meet new, interesting people who have a passion for something I know nothing about.

Last night, I met Ann Ayres. She does bronze pieces depicting the lives of famous cowgirls like Bonnie McCarroll. Bonnie started trick riding as a girl. She married McCarroll when she was 14. A horse threw her, dragged her and killed her when she was 31. The # 1 sculpture of Bonnie McCarroll is in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Ann didn't start sculpting until she was 51. She explained the bronzing process from start to finish, from which I mainly gained an understanding of why bronze pieces are always so expensive. She spoke with admiration for the artists who inspired her and with pride for the accolades that have come in regard to her work. She is an incredible artist. She and her work have been featured in Cowboys and Indians and in Ketchpen magazines. You can see her work at www.annayresbronzes.com. I couldn't afford any of Ann's bronzes but I did buy some silver horse shoes that she makes. They'll make nice napkin rings -- or Christmas ornaments.

I met Mejo Okon, a woman from San Angelo. She paints cattle and horses and cowboys. Most of her paintings were large and close. For me, if the eyes of an animal are not done well, it ruins the whole picture. Mejo gets a high five for her paintings and another for the eyes. I bought one of her paintings of two
parade horses. She gave me the right to name them. Since they are big boys, I've decided to name them Revis and Luke. They are featured on her website at www.mejookon.com

I met Jack and Karen Milchanowski from Bowie. He had a great story about a picture of three wolves that he went out into the wilds of somewhere and lured them in with frozen deer meat. He said the wolves came so close at times they brushed against him. When they ran out of meat, he said the wolves went away, no confrontation, no threat from either side. I thought that was neat. I bought one of Jack's new western prints. It is a cowboy and his horse. I was originally attracted to it because the horse is so beautiful. Jack told me he had intended to have a series of pictures of this cowboy and his horse, but the day of their shoot, one of the horse's legs was bothering him and the man wouldn't ride him. Jack said, "that man really loves his horse." I loved that tidbit of information about the man so I bought it. Jack talked about taking three exposures of one scene and putting them together on the computer which completely changes a photograph. Then they are printed on metallic paper.

You can see Jack's wildlife photography on his website at www.jemfoto.com Jack and Karen bought a copy of each book Saturday Morning about 10am. By the time I left at 9pm, Jack was nearly finished with Come Hell or High Water. I believe he set a new record. He emailed me Monday and said he read The Hell About Stallions after they got home from Wichita Falls on Sunday. Another record! It's always an extra special treat when a man enjoys my books.

Su McMahen makes beautiful bling stuff. From her booth I bought a serving tray with cowgirl sayings all over the inside and bling all around the edge. She came and bought Come Hell or High Water and gave me a pair of Texas star earrings. She is a beauty with blonde spiky hair, lots of huge jewelry, and a ready
smile. She teaches grade school in Vernon. Something about her assured me that I'd be glad for her to be my grandson's teacher.

I ate dinner Friday night with Martha and Jimmy Stewart, (their real names believe it or not) and Dr. and Mrs. Tom Sherriff. The steaks and baked potatoes were cooked to perfection and the conversation around the table was fun and interesting. Saturday night we were served -- chuck wagon style -- by the Chuck Wagon Gang at the Texoma Cowboy Church. Enchiladas with beans and rice. Again, it was excellent.

I met Nancy Scott and Carol Sales of the Kemp Center for the Arts, www.kempcenter.org wonderful ladies who helped and encouraged me to come to Cowboy True, then checked in every so often to make sure I had everything I needed.

That brings me to Dotti Laseur. Dotti is one of those special people who as soon as I met her, I knew we'd be friends. She's funny and energetic. She loves animals and flowers and ART. She has tea parties in her apartment at the Holt Hotel and in her doll house at Lake Kickapoo. She never meets a stranger. She voluntarily and tirelessly promotes the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review magazine because it is a wonderful publication, and one that speaks well for Wichita Falls.

Being allowed to participate in Cowboy True as an artist was an honor that before hand had me chewing my nails down into the quick, but thanks to all the above mentioned folks and many others, all the memories I made this past weekend are good ones.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Raining!

As I begin this beautiful new rainy day, my dominant intent is to feel good. Nothing is more important or more essential to my wellbeing than that I look for things to appreciate and praise.

Yesterday evening, in anticipation of some heavy rains, I cleaned out the gutter in the street. Hopefully the downpours will clean the pavement. The City dug a big hole last summer to fix a water leak next to my driveway. Then Atmos Energy dug another in the island between the sidewalk and the street. Both made a big mess but the best cleanser is a hard rain to wash the street. When it dries out, I'll clean it up again and then it will be easier to keep it clean.

The house next door has been vacant for nearly two years. With no one to tend to it, the weeds had grown five feet tall and had two to three inch diameter stems. Saturday, some people came to clean it up. I'm not sure what they used to cut the weeds: I heard a lawnmower, a weedeater, a more powerful weedeater and some kind of motor I didn't recognize. They worked on it all day Sunday, too. Thank goodness, they did do some cleaning up. (The last guys that mowed it left the mess.) When they finished, it looked horrible, brown and ugly but with this rain, in a few days, even if it is all weeds, it'll look pretty and green.

I've been digging up the weeds in my yard. I sprayed a few with Roundup, but it takes so long to kill the plant and for some reason, nearly impossible to get them out of the ground. I'm seeing a lot of the St. Augustine coming out and theres quite a bit of Bermuda on the island, so maybe I will have grass this year afterall.

I put out four five gallon buckets to catch some of the run off to water plants that are too far under the over hang of the house to get a good soaking.

I recieved a call this morning from Mr. Teter. He and his helper will be here Thursday to lay the floors. He says they'll be done in a day and a half -- so by the weekend, I should be able to spread out -- put things back where they belong.

Yesterday, I painted the upper cabinets in the kitchen, I bought new handles, black ones that right now look sort of out of place, but when the black and white floor is back, they will fit right in.

I'm happy about so many things. It's ridiculous to let a "pothole" spoil that.

Have a great day, Friends! I intend to do exactly that!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bruno's Tomatoes

One of Ronnie's favorite endeavors was growing tomatoes. He had no aspirations to be a farmer or even a home gardener, but every year he'd put out a few tomato plants, always in pots, usually two or three different kinds. Over the years, he decided he liked the cherry size ones best -- because they're sweet and don't take so long to get ripe.

He never bought enough plants to even get one salad serving at a time, though, so mostly I left the tomato plants to his care and chuckled under my breath when he'd bring in two or three tiny tomatoes and put them in my kitchen window for me to use. "I brought ya some "maters," he'd say.

By late February, Ronnie was paralyzed and in a wheel chair but come spring, he had me go get some tomato plants. I arranged them in pots and set them in his preferred location, right behind our bedroom. They did fairly well, grew tall and put out lots of foilage, but it got too hot too soon and the drought set in. Every day when I'd come in from tending to the pigeons and fish pond, he'd ask, "Did you water my tomatoes?" I did but the weather took a major toll on them and by the time Ronnie passed on, the plants were dead -- or so I thought.

Somethings are just harder to do than others when it comes time to "clear out" the pieces of another person's discarded life. I 'd look at the crispy white wilted foilage on the tomato plants and remember Ronnie telling me, every year, "If you'll keep them watered, you 'll have some fall tomatoes." That seldom happened, but I left the plants in place which for a while only served as a stark reminder of the miserable summer.

A few weeks ago -- after the rains came, I looked out the beautiful brand new window in my bedroom and noticed that the tomato plant had revived at the top and there was an abundance of tiny green berries all over it. By the time the bitter cold arrived, the berries had turned into green "cherries" so I picked them and put them in my kitchen window.

As you can see, they are beginning to ripen. I've already eaten a couple. I thought about Bruno as the delicious flavor mingled with the sweet memories, "I brought you some 'maters ."