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“If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.”  Les Brown

I always dreamed that someday I would travel the world, that I would enjoy the freedom of retirement by exploring and experiencing something new . . . I’m starting to see that dream come true.  

I grew up thinking that life just happened and I was just a part of whatever happened around me.  I had no impact, or conscious choice to make something happen the way I dreamed they could.  I loved day-dreaming and imagining all sorts of great scenarios . . . life could be so glorious in my dreams!  However, since life happened to me I would never ever experience it that way.  Then I grew up, got married, had babies, lived life and matured and learned and matured some more . . . and over time I realized I did have control.  I did have choice . . . it really was up to me to create what I want out of life.  

This realization happened over a course of many years . . . and manifested in a way that was traumatizing to myself and my family . . . divorce and estrangement.  But then came healing and forgiveness and relationships that are stronger than they were before because I never lost sight of what is most important to me . . . the experience I want most in life – my family.  I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but I’ve also taken responsibility for those mistakes and live my life every day with a vision of what is important.  

And I see my dreams coming true before my eyes every day . . . 

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“If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years.”  Bertrand Russell

IKR?  Why do we waste so much energy “hating” rather than loving??  It’s so exhausting!  If I don’t like or don’t agree with someone’s position or behavior  I just choose to not associate with them.  I don’t wish them ill will.  Where does that get you?  I feel sad for the person who chooses to live in negativity, and I certainly find myself there from time to time.  However, I believe that if that’s where I choose to be – in the negative – then that’s what I’m going to attract in to my experience of life.  Fortunately, I can choose to walk away , or work through it, when I see it coming!

We arrived in Paradise today.  Kauai, HI is my version of Paradise anyway.  I just love it here . . . in the span of an hour you can go from the warm southern climes with broad sweeping beaches and resort areas, to the northern lush tropical side with more rugged, less populated beaches and wild volcanic shores.  We are attracted to the Northern Shores with it’s rugged and less traveled vistas.  We’re lucky to have the opportunity to spend almost a month here this year.  We are able to work from a distance, which really helps!  We’re getting to the point that it’s really tough to come over for just a week.  By time we get settled in, it’s time to go home!  We’ve seen alot of the Island already, but I love to come back and see if we can find new gems to explore.  Geo-caching is a favorite pass time – we’ve found many secluded, out of the way spots doing this.  And of course – with my new photography gear and increasing knowledge  . . . I hope to be posting some pretty awesome shots over the next few weeks.  

It’s really tough to be negative here!

Stay tuned . . . 

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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”  Calvin Coolidge

Black Friday.  Everyone goes shopping on Black Friday!  Well, everyone except us!  I won’t be caught anywhere near a shopping mall between now and the New Year!  The frenzy and madness are just too much . . . Christmas is not about the best gift I can buy for someone . . . it’s about the love and caring and sharing of spirit between you and the people you love.  We’ve just become a society too caught up in commercialism . . . and have forgotten what it is to give from the heart.   Today we spent time with family at a local “farm” that was a pumpkin patch and corn maze just a month ago, but is now decked out for Christmas with snow slides, horse rides, and many other fun activities for families to enjoy.  The snow is all machine made because it really doesn’t snow here in the Central Valley of California.  

That doesn’t matter though – because the spirit of Christmas is in our souls, not in our surroundings.  If we are lucky, we carry that spirit with us all year round.  We just celebrate it more at Christmas.  I’m not a religious person, so I put this all in a context of the goodness that each and every one of us has the potential to share with one another.  It’s all about choice . . . and maybe, just maybe – the goodness and loving spirit that I share with everyone I cross paths with has a positive ripple effect on the very fabric of human kind.  

That’s my hope anyway.  

Let the Christmas Season Begin!

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“The wonder of a miracle from which this love began.  There is so much found in the touch of holding a grandchild’s hand.”  Unknown

We’re on the second day of our four day trip to California, staying two nights at my Son’s house just south of Portland, Oregon.  We picked my 5 year old Granddaughter up from Kindergarten and took her shopping at CostCo and Fred Meyer.  Since it was lunch time we thought we’d stop somewhere to eat.  Well, she had her mind set from the moment we mentioned CostCo!  She LOVES their hot dogs.  She says NO ONE makes them like Cost Co.  And she ate the whole darned thing!  Then off to Fred Meyer we went to try on anything pink . . . she ended up with a pink quilted vest and a pink sparkly hat to wear with it.  Quite stylin’.  Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a picture of her in it.

Isn’t she just so cute??

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“I told you. You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”  L.J. Smith

I pass by this framed poem that is hanging on the wall in the hallway by my bedroom – several times a day.  I absolutely love the message here . . . and try to be like this in my relationship with my husband – who is my best friend – every moment of every day.  Of course I’m far from perfect, and so is he.  But . . . we love each other unconditionally and know we are safe in each other’s hearts no matter what.  

I guess I never really understood what “best friend” meant until I met him.  

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“We need to ditch the idea that there is any value in the strong and silent man being in any way attractive. Being silent isn’t being strong, it’s being a victim.”  Jane Powell

Reading this quote made me think about what a strong man I am married to/partnered with.  He’s no victim!  Yeah, I know – he’s digging that ditch with a back-hoe attachment on the John Deer tractor.  But that’s the thing . . . he’s dug a few ditches in his lifetime so he knows the value of using the proper tools to get the job done.  And now that he can afford the tools, why not use them??  I am continually amazed at his strength in all kinds of situations . . .not just ditch-digging.  He fixes things, builds things, designs things, sells things, thinks big and lives large.  I guess you can say I’m a huge fan of his! He keeps his cool in some pretty difficult business situations . . . when projects seem to be heading off the rails he manages to rally the troops and get things back on track.  He doesn’t lose his head, he doesn’t lose his cool.  He’s an amazing father who helps his boys when they need him, but at the same time enables them to make decisions and learn from their mistakes.  He’s an absolutely giddy and silly Grandpa . . . completely in love with the little ones.  He’s about the best son a mother could ever want . . . being there for his 93 year old mother no matter what.  And most of all, he is my rock, my best friend, my confidant and life partner.  Every day is not perfect . . . and guess what . . . his farts do stink . . . but I love him no matter what!  We are traversing whatever ditches and mountains we encounter in life . . . hand in hand, side by side, together.  

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou
 

Summer is quickly coming to an end . . . one of the signs is the crab apple tree dropping it’s ripe bounty everywhere.  My Great Nephew actually likes eating the little sour bites . . . they aren’t much bigger than a big cherry.  I found him “snacking” under the crab apple tree and so I had to snap a picture with him.  He’s such a sweet little soul with an amazing imagination and sensitive heart.  I love spending time with him . . . as I love spending time with my Grand-kids and impacting them in a way that they will always associate their Grandma with love, respect, and acceptance.  

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“Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots.”  Hoosier Farmer Quotes
 

 Hee hee!  That quote really struck me . . . not that my husband walked across the floor in his barn boots . . . but . . . he had been working out in the yard on the tractor digging trenches.  AFTER I had mopped all the floors, I was walking along bare-foot and stepped in dirt that he had tracked in on his sandals.  Urg!!!  He’s supposed to take his shoes off at the door anyway!   Oh well,  out came the broom to clean up that mess. Love DOES conquer all . . . 

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“My life is my message.”  Mahatma Gandhi

I seem to have a re-current theme in my 365, and that is quite a few photos of me with my grandkids . . . I have this very strong drive to spend time with them, to make sure they know they are cherished and loved and valued.  In actuality, all my Grandkids are fortunate to have many loving and supportive people in their lives.  I happen to be just one of them . . . but do not live close to any of them.  I don’t want distance to be an excuse for them not knowing me, and me not knowing them.  Therefore, I go out of my way to include myself in their lives.  I suppose it could be said that I never felt “special” when I was growing up as one of seven children.  Well, that’s life, and it’s all just an excuse.  I don’t need an excuse to spend time with my kids and Grandkids . . . it’s what I put out there that counts.  I give them my time and my love . . .  

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