Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Gorgeous Grandma Day!

Happy Gorgeous Grandma Day!

This is a day when we celebrate all of you gorgeous grandmas out there. What is a gorgeous grandma? She is any woman over 50 who lives her life to the fullest. A woman who’s intent on making the most out of the life she has ahead of her, and who doesn’t spend her time regretting the passage of her past. She does what she can and makes peace with what she can’t do.


She’s a woman who loves herself and others. Who takes care of herself and of others. Who fills her heart and home with joy and laughter.

She’s a woman who never wants to stop learning. She’s always up for trying new things.

 And finally, she understands that beauty is about more than just how you look, it’s also defined by how you treat others, how you feel, and how you live, love, and laugh.

So tell your gorgeous grandma how much she means to you, and thank God for adding her enriching presence to your life.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

ReDreaming: Reliving the Stories of the Night

While looking through my computer files today trying to find an old photo, I came across a folder entitled “dreams.” Since I didn’t remember creating it, I opened it to see what it was. Did it contain dreams such as what I had wanted for the future or dreams like stories imagined in my sleep?
It contained the later. Inside I found where I had typed one of my dreams after waking up in the middle of the night. It had obviously been typed hurriedly (there were many grammar and spelling typos because I wanted to get it all down before I forgot), and it would never be considered great literature, but I really enjoyed reading it.
At first I couldn’t remember anything about the dream as I read it, but then parts of it started to come back to me. It was like I was reliving a strange, crazy and disjointed part of my past. Looking back on it, I remember how real everything had felt. I had even written about what I was thinking while the story played out in my mind. Everything had seemed so logical as it unfolded while I slept, but reading it this afternoon, I had to laugh at the choices I made and things I did.
Since then, I’ve found other dreams that I’ve written down. Each one I read brought back great, yet strange, memories of crazy lives I’ve lived in my sleep. In several of them, I wandered over the green (nonexistent) hills around the (nonexistent) Greek ruins in the woods on our land in Tennessee. In others, I’m running through those woods, over the creek and into a small (nonexistent) cabin/shed. I’m being chased by someone for some reason. I have to escape, though strangely, I’m not afraid. (This one could be due to the stories of seeing a strange man in the woods that my older cousin used to try to frighten us with. Shame on you Emily.) In others, I’m flying thorough the sky in the backyard, or front yard, of the house I grew up in. The feeling of soaring in the air with the wind blowing through my hair is just as exhilarating now looking back on it as it was when I lived it out in my dream.
For those of you who remember your dreams, I strongly recommend that you write them down as soon as you wake up, whether it’s in the morning or in the middle of the night. Let’s face it, no matter how excited you are about a fascinating dream you just had, most other people won’t feel the same way when you try to explain it to them. But if you write it down and then look back at it weeks, months or even years later, you will be able to experience that excitement again, and with you as your audience you can’t fail to thrill and delight.
I’ve posted an excerpt from one of my dreams below. (Remember, my focus was on speed rather than eloquence.)
I was in a strange room. Wanting to leave, I opened a thin door and tried to fit my head through it, but the door was too narrow for me to fit. While I was trying, a little girl came in the room and asked me if I had tried blowing on the couch yet. I said “no” and asked what she was talking about. She went over to the couch and stood on the left side of it away from the entrance into the other room. She stood facing the bottom of the couch. (It was either a tall couch and/or she was very short.) Looking at it closely, she blew on it, then explained as she acted out her words, “you step back 3 steps, wait 3 seconds and step to the side.” As she stepped to the side, she slowly sunk into the floor, like it was quicksand, and disappeared. The first time I tried it, I kept falling over. When I tried to step back, the floor was wavy, and I couldn’t keep my balance. The second time, I just fell over and landed on my rear in the place where I was supposed to have stood (3 steps back). I waited for 3 seconds and then scooted over to the spot to the side. The floor was hard when I sat on it, but then it gradually grew soft, and I sunk down into it. I wasn’t scared. I could feel myself falling, and thought “this feels cool, and it’s fun. This is like Alice and the rabbit hole.”...Just a few seconds later, I landed in the same room I had been in, and through the entrance way, I could see a party going on in the other room. I had gone back in time to the time that the museum I was in represented…
(You’ll have to see me for a complete version.)  J

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Invisible Hugs

(Invisible hugs can be similar to "random acts of kindness” or “pay it forward.”)

Have you ever received an invisible hug? You know what I mean. Someone does something nice for you that just makes you feel loved and warm all over, like an invisible hug. It can be something as simple as a stranger smiling at you, someone giving you a sincere compliment, or someone holding the elevator for you when you’re running late.

Think about what unexpected little thing would make you happy and do that for someone else. Here are just a few examples. Let me know what others you can come up with.
  • Drop a quarter on the sidewalk in an area where kids play, so one of them will have the joy of finding it.
  • Pick a flower from your garden and leave it outside someone’s home or office door when they’ll see it.
  • Take cookies to an elderly neighbor and sit down to talk with them for a while.
  • Let your students leave their last class a little early one Friday. (This is for my fellow teachers out there.)
  • When you’re drying your hands in a public restroom, pull some extra paper towels down in the towel dispenser for the next person.
  • “See” people in the service industry. Notice them. Look them in the eye. Let them know that you see them as a person and not just as a food dispenser or other kind of machine.
  • Let someone merge or pull out in front of you on a high traffic day.
  • Send someone an old-school snail mail card just because.
  • Send a “thank you” card to your police and/or fire departments.
  • Let someone with fewer items get in front of you in a check-out line.
  • Anonymously send flowers or chocolates to someone.
  • Cut your neighbor’s grass while you’re cutting yours.
  • Pick up the check when you’re out with friends or family.
  • Wash someone’s car for them.
  • Pay attention and participate in class. :) (This will make your teacher’s day.)
  • And finally, my favorite one is when the person in the drive-through line in front of you pays for your meal along with theirs. When you get up to the window, and the cashier tells you that your food has been paid for, it can give you just the pick-me-up that you need to change your outlook on the whole day.
The best thing about hugs is that they can benefit the giver as much as the receiver, even invisible ones.

Give someone an invisible hug today!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Staying Cool

This past week with my central air unit out of commission, I’ve given a lot of thought to what people did before air conditioning was invented. A LOT of thought! No, really, A LOT!
So, after all of this thought and the subsequent research, I decided to share my finding with any of you coolness-deprived people out there. Among the less interesting and more obvious advice I encountered was don’t use, or use as infrequently as possible, any electronic devices that produce heat, e.g. computers, ovens, clothes dryers, the dry setting on your dishwasher, etc. OK, done! I can go without those for the most part. There are old-fashioned methods to handle the lack of most of these appliances. (I figure I can cut down on my computer time at home. When I finish writing this, it’s getting turned off, so don’t expect much communication from me tonight.)
But that’s not enough. It’s still too hot. The next piece of advice I came across was to “think cool.” Ok, I can do that. Now, let’s see, I’m sitting in the shade by a large cool pond just relaxing and fishing. (Hmm, nothing yet) I have a tall cool glass of ice water beside me and I’m eating chocolate ice cream. (Nope, still hot) Suddenly, I feel a tug on my fishing line, and I reel it in through the hole in the ice covering the lake. In the distance, I hear the bark of sled dogs as they race through the snow-covered Alaskan hills that surround me. Ok, this isn’t working. Next!
Some of the other advice I found seemed worth trying. Let me know how these work if you end up giving any of them a go.
·         Put your bed sheets in the refrigerator and your pillow in the freezer an hour or two before you go to bed. (Just don’t forget to cover your pillow with plastic, so it doesn’t get coated in ice.)
·         If it’s cooler outside or if there’s a breeze, you can hang a damp sheet in your widows. Or better yet, hang your wet laundry there. That way, you don’t have to use your dryer. You know, two birds.
·         Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard. These will reflect heat back outside. (I just copied this one from the website. It was too good to mess with. J )
·         Put a metal bowl of ice in front of a fan, and aim the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice.
·         Breathe through your nose to avoid water escaping through the mouth. It will help to keep your body hydrated longer. (This one is for all of you mouth-breathers out there. J )
·         Open selective windows so that cooler air is blowing in throughout the evening and night. This works best if you have a strategically placed fan running as well.
·         And my personal favorite: Spritz yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt.

Stay cool everyone!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Writing: Trial or Treasure?

I hate writing!
The actual physical act of sitting down in front of a computer and typing words on a screen seems so tedious to me. So many choices can arise when you try to sit down and write. For example, you have the question of do you write at an uncomfortable desk or on a cushy couch that requires placing a hot computer on your lap?
Then, of course, you have the whole issue of background noise: to noise or not to noise. If you decide “to noise,” you must then choose between distracting yet fun music or the even more distracting T.V. Or if you decide “not to noise,” you have the distraction of the defining silence that falls around you smothering your creativity like a thick blanket.
No, writing is not as easy as you may think. This is especially true considering as soon as you sit down in front of a computer, all of those wonderful words you have compiled in your mind tend to fly right out of your head to be replaced by a big white fuzzy cloud of nothingness.
So many problems. No, I don’t like writing. But I do like creating. I love imagining new worlds, new places, new adventures. I love putting my characters into situations and watching how they escape. I love giving them problems and watching them rise to the challenge. I love running with them through the dark frightening forests at night, freezing with them inside the raging volcanos, and fighting off the enemy to protect the powers of the hidden underground. As they rappel down the sides of the cliffs, I rappel with them. As they swim into the deep secret chambers, I swim with them. As they test the limits of their new abilities, I am right there with them.
Take it from someone who knows, even if you don’t particularly like writing, you shouldn’t completely avoid the activity. Once you get started, and your subject begins to suck you in, you may just find yourself lost in the words. And when that happens, anything is possible. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
I love writing!