Recycled Handmade Paper Crafts

Small sample of our recycled handmade paper.

I have a lot of relatives. Back in the ‘olden days’ we would be on the road nearly every weekend to attend an event. We love all our people But it got quite exhausting. Time and energy became invaluable to us. So, we started sending cards and letters in the mail for events we couldn’t attend when we needed a break. And that was fun for me, I liked going to the store to load up on cards to send during the week.

I’m a ‘word-lover’ so it was a joy to find cards that said exactly what I wanted to say.

However, I’m also a tree-hugger, so eventually the guilt of sending so much paper outweighed the need to share ‘words’ with all my loved ones.

I missed sending cards. And yes, some card makers have made sustainable efforts to save the forests and use recycled paper.

To which I thought, “Hey maybe I should try making my own recycled paper. It will solve several problems – help me keep in touch with loved ones, not cost money, or destroy any more forests.”

I have never thought of myself as a ‘crafter’. I don’t have great hand-eye coordination for intricate details. Nor do I have a flair for design. I’m more of a matter-of-fact, get-things-done kind of girl.

After a little online research, I found several ways to make recycled homemade paper.

The grandkids and I have been sharing this adventure.

We recycle all the old newspaper that gets shoved in our mailbox, by shredding it, adding water, and turning it into a ‘slurry’. Then using a screened frame, we gather some of the slurry, and turn it out onto wood boards to dry out. Sometimes our paper is thick and sometimes its thin.

We like to make homemade cards for the people we love. Oftentimes we pretty up our homemade paper by reusing old card parts, or whatever materials we have on hand.

We’ve experimented with many different paper designs.

Here’s a random assortment of paper projects we’ve put together using our homemade paper and reusing old materials.

The spool of lace is from my husband’s grandma. She has passed away, and I like to send a touch of her love to her relatives whenever possible.

The bridal dress was made from old paper doilies.

Ink stamps of little footprints and diaper pins completed this newborn card.

Thin sheets of old packing cardboard have made for some lovely old-fashioned cards.

A jam-packed showcase of our paper flower, snowflake, and star designs. I’ve dreamed of creating an entire wall covered in white paper flowers. A closer look at my pink Laundry board will show the quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies I’ve collected when doing laundry.

Paper Sunflower and Paper Butterfly

Bonjour wreath made from scrap pink tissue paper I collected from one of my old factory jobs.

A little Christmas flower topper for gifts.

As you can tell we aren’t experts. This is a fun experimental project to enjoy with my grandbabies, and spread love to our loved ones.

Most importantly, it’s the thought and effort that counts.

More Kindness!!

Just as there are days when troubles seem to rain down, there are also days when goodness seems to flood in. I’m thankful to view this current surge of goodwill. Most of the following kindnesses cost no money. Some cost the price of a meal. The biggest cost was the loving time put in to care about someone else.

My son has been helping by emailing us health information. He’s aware of our issues and dietary restrictions and he’s frequently sending tips he’s found. Our son lives hundreds of miles away, but he takes time out of his crazy busy life; to care about us, to wish us good night, to tell us he’s thinking of us, or to tell us he loves us. And it’s so refreshing. Anyone who has children knows it’s a frightening job sometimes. It’s a cliché to say, but it feels like your heart is just out in the world, on its own, and you have no power over what happens; good, bad, or otherwise. The best you can hope for is that you filled your child with enough love and skills to conquer anything that comes their way. And if your relationship with each other stands the test of time, that’s the most amazing blessing.

My granddaughter called me. Grandparents know what a special affection this is. It’s one of those delightful things that many people either don’t get to enjoy, or they take for granted. I saw my grandmother only a few times in my life, so I know how fortunate I am to have any contact with my sweetest grandbabies. Granddaughter and I had a really good conversation. She’s wise beyond her years and is so fun. I look forward to having a lifetime of fun phone conversations with all my grandbabies.

My husband was kind enough to help a cousin who had lost all her pictures when her computer hard drive crashed. He spent about a week trying different programs until he found one that worked through her hard drive’s problem. He was able to save her pictures. It took some time and some investigating, and he didn’t ask for compensation.

However.

This cousin is a sweetheart and sent us gift cards to some of our favorite places to eat. It’s so nice that she valued our conversations enough to remember where we could eat. People like this are my favorites.

My mother-in-law recently gave us a photo she clipped out of the local newspaper. We live several hours away from where most of our family lives. And my mother-in-law does this sweet thing where she clips out good stories from the local paper about our family. I absolutely appreciate her. I know other people who do this. I think it’s a wonderful practice. There’s something fantastic about sharing good news.

I could possibly go on for days. But I’ll try to conclude with…

One more story. It’s a bit older, but it’s a goody. December 2020, in a town not far from me, there was a massive show of kindness at the Dairy Queen. One customer sparked a 2-day ‘Pay It Forward’ event. A chain reaction occurred when over 900 customers paid for the vehicle in line behind them.

https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/dairy-queen-customers-pay-it-forward

I realize not everyone has a true love, children, grandchildren, in-laws, sweet cousins, or access to a Dairy Queen.

But I hope that somehow kindness fills your life, and you are able to both receive it, and pass it forward.

Kindness and Photo Editing

On Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, I shared our 2004 trip to Washington, D.C. with images of some of the Memorials in Washington, D.C.

One of my images was of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. I had done a terrible job of trying to edit out a group of young women who were standing very close to the Memorial.

Another blogger offered to ‘have a go’ at trying to edit the photo for me. I sent her a copy of my original, and within a few days’ time, she sent me back a wonderfully edited version.

I’m in awe of what Sarah was able to do!

Sarah says she is not a professional. However, she does a great job showcasing the skills she’s learning, as well as sharing tips from other bloggers.

In example: Gallery: twirling away with a new photo effect

And: Gallery: playing with a selective colour technique

Toonsarah (be sure to read the story behind the name she chooses to use with her blog) posts snapshots and stories on “Travel Wth Me: Travel Snapshots from Toonsarah”.

I do not know Sarah personally. But I really enjoy reading her blog and seeing her photos. She has traveled to many, many amazing places and uses her blog to share her images with us. I’ve learned more about our world from reading posts on her site.

For example, I had presumed North Korea would not be a safe travel destination for anyone. Several years ago, I had attended a Women’s Expo where American journalist, Lisa Ling was a guest speaker. Lisa told us some of the story of her sister’s capture by North Korea. In March 2009, Lisa’s younger sister, Laura Ling, also a journalist, and her colleague Euna Lee were detained by North Korea for illegal entry into the country. They had been attempting to film refugees along the border with China. They were sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison. North Korea released Laura and Euna after a visit from former President Bill Clinton.

I thought that if very popular journalist weren’t safe, how could anyone else be safe?

Sarah said (in pre-pandemic times), it was easier for ordinary people to travel there than journalists. And it’s quite possible I might have problems visiting as an American depending on what permissions are allowed by the United States government and North Korea.

I just want to reiterate this photo repair was a kind offer by Sarah.

There are two things I hope shine through from this:

  1. Look what knowledge and practice can do to improve something. My bad editing versus Sarah’s awesome editing.
  2. The Kindness factor is exponential. A simple kind gesture can bring a smile to someone’s face for days and days.

Since I appreciated Sarah’s kind offer, I’ve been searching for ways to either pay her back, or pay it forward.

Oddly the harder I try to repay this kindness, the more kindness keeps pouring in my direction. I’m trying so hard to not be the stopping place. I want to keep rolling this awesome kindness wheel forward.

Without further blabbing, here’s the photo comparison.

Before: my bad edit of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

After: Sarah’s awesome edit using Photoshop Elements.

(This was my first time using the Image Compare tool in WordPress. I don’t think my photos are exactly the same size, which will account for some distortion. But I’m excited that I found the tool and sort of figured out how to use it.) 😊

Happy Saturday! Sharin’ Simple Learning Stories

“There was nothing like a Saturday – unless it was the Saturday leading up to the last week of school and into summer vacation. That of course was all the Saturdays of your life rolled into one big shiny ball.” ~ Nora Roberts

Recently, we’ve had Graduation Season around our area. Students are graduating preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. These graduations reminded me of my last year of college.

When I was finishing my last year of college, I was student teaching in a most amazing second grade classroom in Fargo/Moorhead. I’ll never stop singing the praises of this classroom. These second graders, and their teacher, and their parents were the dream of every educator. The kids were involved and active in the learning process, raising their hands, asking questions, sharing answers, and appeared genuinely happy to be in school. They were focused on helping each other. The classmates stood beside their friends, encouraging them with kind words, and a hand on the shoulder or a pat on the back, whenever they noticed someone was struggling. The parents were all ‘pro-education’ and leaned a bit stern in making their child listen to the teacher and learn in the classroom. Parents like this are an absolute gold-mine.

Seriously, I’m sure most people could never imagine a group of kids this wonderful, a teacher this nice, or parents this supportive.  

I made a couple little errors during my time that helped me understand how giving instructions can go unintendedly awry and still be funny. These two examples might be considered boring by today’s standards of a story, but to me they are sweet, simple, and endearing.

On my first day, my mentoring teacher handed me two baskets. One was filled with paper and the other basket contained glue bottles. She told me to “put the paper on the glue”. I looked at my baskets and assumed she spoke in error. “Put the paper on the glue?” Instead, I placed the paper on each desk and set the glue bottles on top of the paper.

When she turned around to see what I was doing, she laughed. “No, the paper goes on the top of the glue.”

Puzzled, I looked at her. “I don’t understand.”

She laughed again. “This is what I mean,” she said.

I hadn’t realized that the paper was 2 sheets stuck together on the three-sided edges. I was supposed to open up the sheets of paper and place them over the glue, like a glove on a hand.

“Oohh,” I said when she made the instructions more clear. 

Lessons learned:

  • When teaching or instructing others, be aware instructions may not be clear. What may be obvious to you , may not be obvious to someone else.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, instead of making assumptions.

My next mistake came when I was teaching math facts using a paper triangle I physically held in my hands. From the following triangle, students should be able to create four math facts – two addition facts and two subtraction facts:

1 + 2 = 3

2 + 1 = 3

3 – 1 = 2

3 – 2 = 1

Before we started the project, I would hold up the triangle, cover one of the numbers, and ask a question. “What does 1 plus 2 equal?”

We practiced with several triangles and larger numbers. On a few occasions, I covered the wrong number. And the kids; these sweet, adorable children, at first wouldn’t tell me I had made a mistake. I could tell by their facial expressions, that something I was doing wasn’t quite right.

When I realized I covered the wrong number, I apologized and joked, “Oopsie, sorry, I’m giving away the answers.”

Then the children began to politely raise their hand and correct me when I made my next mistakes.

It became a game of giggles, who could notice my mistake first?  After math, one of the students walked up to me smiling, gave me a hug, and said, “That was the funnest math time.”

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. They can turn out to be fun experiences.
  • Don’t be afraid to mention if you see a mistake. It’s another opportunity to have fun.

I’ve worked in a lot of classrooms since then, and have never seen a class this wonderful. I can just see all their little faces. I’d love to know where all these students ended up in life. They would all be in their early 30’s by now.

I kept all the cards they made me on my last day with them.

Memorials in Washington, D.C.

In 2004 our family took a trip to Washington, D.C. Our former President Ronald Reagan had recently passed away. We happened to be touring the memorials when the plane carrying his remains from Simi Valley, CA to Washington, D. C. flew overhead. It was a somber moment and made this tour even more solemn. There were streets and locations being blocked off for his upcoming ‘Lying in state’.

In the United States, today May 31, 2021, is Memorial Day. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

The following photos are from our visit to Washington, D.C. in 2004.

World War II Memorial, 2004

World War II Memorial, 2004

World War II Memorial, 2004

Our state, Minnesota, one of the pillars in the World War II Memorial, 2004

More about the World War II Memorial here:

https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/explore-parks/world-war-ii-memorial


Vietnam Memorial, 2004

Vietnam Women’s Memorial, 2004 (Apologies, I did a terrible job cropping out a group of young ladies from this photo. I’m not a photographer, nor do I have the tools needed to do a proper job here.)

Vietnam Memorial, 2004

More about the Vietnam Memorial here: https://www.nps.gov/vive/index.htm


Korean Memorial, 2004

Korean Memorial, 2004

Korean Memorial, 2004

Learn more about the Korean Memorial here: https://www.nps.gov/kowa/index.htm


Washington Memorial, 2004

Jefferson Memorial, 2004

Lincoln Memorial, 2004

Lincoln Memorial, 2004

The Most Gracious Thing We Can Do

I’ve been working on this post on and off for a while. That doesn’t mean the writing will be better than any other, or more profound. It’s been completely deleted a handful of times.

It’s the timing that’s been difficult to nail down.

There are other bloggers who are very good at sharing their difficulties. They use self-deprecating humor, or give us knowledge we can use to make our lives better. I want to learn how they do such a good job presenting and dealing with problems. I want to write in that way. So, this piece is my testing ground. Please forgive the sloppy rambling, confusing parts.

I didn’t share it earlier because everyone was already going through so much with a world-wide pandemic.

There were other times, when I was blissfully happy. Any grandparent can tell you there’s so much fun and love and joy to be had with those adorable grandbabies. I didn’t want to look at any sadness. I don’t want people to associate me with the hurting parts of life. I’d like to be viewed as strong, capable, and a hopeful, hard worker who makes good things happen.

Like many others, I like sharing the ups, not so much the downs.

However.

I’m extremely grateful when others share their tips, ideas, and suggestions on how to deal with all the physical, mental, emotional anguish that plagues us all in some way or another.

Often, we keep our challenging stories to ourselves. We showcase our best and happiest because that’s how we want to feel – happy. We tend to avoid anyone who shares too many of their hard-times. When maybe all they/we want is to feel understood. Maybe all they/we want to know that there is a path through and out of the challenges.

As a grandma, I never want my grandbabies to feel like whatever they’re going through is insurmountable. I want them to know they have people they can trust to share their stories with. I want them to know, I and many other people love them and will do whatever we can to help them find the strength to face this wild ride called life. I want to encourage them to keep looking for the good. And I want them to know we’ve all went through the bad and here’s how we handled it. Maybe our experiences will help them find their way.

The fact is, all lives hold challenges and triumphs. To focus on only one side of the coin does none of us any good. The world would be a better place if more people were open about their struggles, how they handled those times, and what led to their triumphs. How did they do that? I sincerely want to know.

I find it puzzling that the highs and lows of life are treated as if they are things in need of medication. When instead we should be teaching each other, and most importantly learning from each other. We should know life is full of highs and lows and it’s natural to love deeply, to be blissfully happy, and later, to be flooded with sorrow, or feel indifference. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by the best and worst of life. Why shouldn’t our emotions reflect this?

*Perhaps I should place a ‘trigger warning’ here. Other blog posts contain these when discussing difficult topics. I don’t know the proper protocol.

Personally, I know crushing loss, heartache, heart attack, and chronic pain. I know injustice, brutality, inequality, betrayal, and abandonment. I’ve witnessed the breakdown of ‘systems’ meant to educate people, to heal people, to protect people, and to keep families together. I know poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

False statements like the following make me grind my teeth – poor people choose poverty, sick people choose sickness… These are Lies perpetrated by liars.

No one chooses to be less. Over the past bunch of years, I’ve seen people die from things they did not choose. My aunt was shot to death in front of her 2 small children on a cold January day when she was only 24; she did not choose that. My sister died of brain cancer at Eastertime; she did not choose that. My stepdad died of cancer on Christmas Eve; he did not choose that. These happened years ago, but something happening today can bring up a memory and moments of sadness.

I nearly choke every time I think about this following nonchoice – My own precious sweet boy, my only child, my Sunshine in human form, nearly died in an accident with a semi-truck on his way home from his Fiber Optics job. He did not choose that life-altering pain, nor did he choose the Titanium leg. Thankfully he was wearing his seatbelt. Thankfully a Superhero appeared and yanked the driver’s door off, to pull my son’s unconscious body from his burning vehicle. And thankfully an ambulance ‘happened’ to be traveling the same direction. If not for all these things, he…  

Bravely, he chose healing and moving forward, on his own terms.

We’re so eager to share our joy. But there never seems to be a ‘good time’ to talk about what hurts.

I remember years ago, my husband was hired for an awesome new job. We bought our first home! Life was exciting and Everything seemed perfect. Then the company he worked for was bought by another company. People were laid off to reduce redundancy. My husband lost his new job. One of his coworkers lost his job, went home, and committed murder/suicide. My husband struggled to tell me these things. I can’t even describe all the many deep emotions his face and eyes reflected. I was devastated for the other family. All I could do was pull my husband close and be so thankful we still had each other. I wasn’t worried about our future or the loss of any material things, like our new home. As long as we had our family together, we could handle whatever come what may. I picked up another job. Over time, things worked out for us.

Most of us do our best no matter our burdens. We push onward in whatever way we can. We cry silently in the shower, so the tears don’t spill over the rest of our day – this new day that we’re determined to enjoy. Because as we process the loss, the diagnosis, the devastation; there is still goodness, there’s still love, and life to be lived.

The most gracious thing we can do for each other is remember: just because we carry a smile, doesn’t mean life isn’t heavy!

He Knew His Heart

Around this time of year many couples are planning weddings. In honor of the occasion, I’d be delighted to tell you a very short love story. This is not frou-frou social media romance. Certain personalities or people with very set-designed standard views may not enjoy this story. But I can vouch that this is a real love story, a deeply true, ‘I’m with you no matter what’ romance.

Once upon a time, while working in the college library, I met a young man who took my breath away. But I told myself, “Your plan is to become a teacher, a counselor, a librarian, and an old maid.

Life was super busy and difficult, and I didn’t need a relationship to further complicate it. I had far bigger plans than being an obedient wife and picking up a husband’s dirty socks and underwear off the floor.

Then we both ended up participating in a wedding. I was a maid-of-honor, he was a groomsman. And we danced.

And then he said he was interested in me. ‘I don’t care,’ I tried to tell me. Besides, no, and also, no.

We dated. Long Distance. Because we were going to different colleges. And I was in no hurry to do anything, but change the world.

He got my attention by speaking my love of fact-based and personal responsibility language. He spoke of honor, equality, and fairness. He’s not the kind to shame people about the circumstances in which they have no control over. He knows the acts of bravery it takes to chase dreams. He avoided mind/mood-altering substances and wasn’t embarrassed to say so. I was smitten with this guy who was not like any other I had ever known.

I never felt uncomfortable sharing all my hopes and dreams, my fight for equality and good educations for all, wishes to travel the world, and live a fairy-tale life… He was the first person that didn’t make me feel embarrassed about loving to read, write, learn, cherish nature, ride motorcycles, and be happy. He made me want to be better, smarter, stronger, healthier, and just be the best me I could be. And I wanted the very same for him.

We sent cards and letters in the mail (I still have all of these), and we talked on the phone about everything. We knew where each other came from, and where we were going.

Then one day, he drove a couple hours to visit me. It was the middle of the week – which was weird considering how far away his college was from mine. He was carrying a dozen roses. Was I so busy I didn’t know what holiday it was? Looking at the calendar, no it wasn’t a holiday.

I was having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. My last year of college was wearing me out. I was trying so hard to make sure my future was set so I could follow through on all my plans. I was focused on laying the ground work to offer my child a future chance, and to give the world a make-over so all the kids could have a chance.

Then this young man who drove so far to see me, said some (extremely unexpected) Most Beautiful Words ever and Asked me to Marry him!

I paused, looked around, and said, “Are you sure?” Because we might have a lot of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days. And my heart would never be able to take it if he changed his mind somewhere down the road.

He said, and I quote,

I know my heart.”

Cue me, falling into the most deepest love ever witnessed by humans.

And Suddenly here it is years and years later. I’m still deeply in love with that man! I’ve never picked up his dirty laundry. We clean up after ourselves. I fulfilled my goals of working in teaching, counseling, and library roles. We’ve both been blessed to be the Bread-winner and the Home-maker in this relationship.

Yay for True Love Teammates!

They loved their little boy with their whole hearts, and they all lived happily ever after!

The end.

Happy sigh!

Dear Graduates

Yay you for having dreams! Congratulations on taking another step closer to reaching them! Enjoy this moment. Savor it and hold it in your heart.

Quite possibly no one knows all the obstacles you faced to get here. There’ll be more to face along the way. Whatever you do, don’t give up. The odds may seem unsurmountable at times. Don’t give up.

Your biggest battle might be with yourself. Sometimes our own mind can hold us back. We focus in narrowly on what make us most unhappy with ourselves. And we start to believe we are not enough – strong enough, smart enough, emotionally able enough. When I was a young mother, many baby items centered around Winnie the Pooh. There’s a wild variety of temperaments in the Hundred Acre Woods – Pooh’s forgetfulness, Piglet’s anxiety, Tigger’s overactivity, Eeyore’s dissatisfaction, and more. Psychiatry has over-analyzed these poor pretend critters and given them long lists of dysfunctional labels. But here’s what’s wonderful about all these characters and their psychological labels – in each story, these dissimilar personalities found:

  1. A way to make peace with-in themselves about who they were, and
  2. A way to work together, and
  3. A way to use their unique abilities to make a difference around them.

Life is not a cartoon. But the lessons still apply. Make peace with areas you feel are your ‘short-comings’. Find ways to use your personal difficulties to your advantage. Believe that you can find ways to do the good things you set out to do.

You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, And smarter than you think.” ~ Christopher Robin to Pooh

You will also face battles from outside yourself – labels, misnomers, branding you – telling you ‘you can’t’. In my experience, I was told ‘I couldn’t’ because – I was a girl, I was poor, I was a foster kid, I was a step kid… People delighted in telling me I could not do things because I did not matter. I refused to accept their ridiculousness. I had chips on my shoulder and things to prove – Not to them – but to Myself. People are always trying to ‘prove’ something to other people. Proving it to them, would make no difference in my life. I didn’t believe the negative labels that told me ‘I couldn’t’. It became my job to prove it to myself that ‘I could’. Prove who you are to yourself!

I have nothing to prove to you.” ~Captain Marvel

To achieve your goals, you need to take action. You have to find ways to actively participate in your own future! No matter the difficulty. We’ve all been dealing with world-wide pandemics, war, and all the ‘isms’. These things have been happening for probably as long as there have been humans on earth. If you want the world to be betterGo make it better.

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”~ Winnie the Pooh

Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowgirls

I’ve been following a very wonderfully written, well thought-out blog by Anna Blake about horses. https://annablake.com/relaxed-forward-blog/

What Anna writes about horses, is also an indicator on how we should treat people.

“About Anna Blake – Welcome. I’m a horse advocate first. I work as a trainer, international clinician, and award-winning author. I train horses and riders communication skills and dressage, and I write parables about horses and life.”

I love horses. I know – nearly every time I write, I tell you how much I love something… husband, son, grandkids, learning, superheroes, Mustangs (horse, plane, and car)… I’m just a lucky girl who loves a lot of life.

Anyways.

When I was a little girl, I saw a small Shetland pony I adored. I asked if I could buy him. The owner said I could for $50. Being only about 4-5 years old, I didn’t know much about money. But I started collecting money from anyone who would give it to me. I returned later (weeks?, months? I don’t know exactly) with a small can of money. Whether it was $50 or not, I don’t know.

I went home with a white, small, shaggy, Shetland pony.

During this time, me, my mom, and my dad were living with my grandpa, on a little farm with a little barn.

Oof, I loved that pony. I named him Bronco. That little white pony followed me everywhere.

Yes, unfortunately I had no idea how to take care of a horse. Maybe adults were around teaching me how to care for him, but I don’t remember adults interfering with me and my horse. I fed him apples and sugar cubes. I’d sleep with him out in the barn so he wouldn’t get lonely. I’d bring him in the house with me – and get in huge trouble from my mom.

I wanted so very badly to be a Cowgirl when I grew up. And I knew We were the Good Guys, because every Cowboy Western I watched showed the Good Guys riding white horses.

One time when my folks were arguing, I ran away from home with my horse.

I did not ride Bronco on my getaway. (Actually, I don’t remember riding him more than a few times. Mostly I just loved walking around with him and petting him and talking with him.) I led him with a rope, and he followed me like the good boy he was.

When I heard adults calling for me, I pushed that horse backwards into the ditch to hide in the cattails, hoping no one would see us.

I don’t remember what happened after this, but they must have found us. And I’m sure we were punished.

Long story short, my folks divorced, and I never saw Bronco (or my dad) again.

But my love for Bronco and all horses Never died.

Horses are Fantastic Beings, and some people treat them so horribly.

I’ve never been fortunate enough to own a horse again. But I have been privileged to volunteer, for a time, with the Mounted Eagles. It’s a program providing a safe and enjoyable environment where individuals with special needs benefit from therapeutic, developmental and educational equine-assisted activities. These horses, participants, and volunteers are the sweetest souls in the universe.

If you own a horse, or just want to know how to treat people better, read Anna’s blog.

Intuition and Relationships

*

Where does our intuition, our ‘gut feeling’ come from? How did it develop? How do we know when it’s correct?

Glancing at the photo of the dots above, we may intuitively conclude one set is concave and the other convex. In fact, it is the same picture, inverted. The dots are not concave or convex, but shaded.

How does this intuition or gut feeling play out in other areas of our life? How often has it been right? And how often has it been wrong?

I’ve pondered this particularly in our relationships. When I meet people, my gut, my intuition tells me whether I might like them or not. How did I learn to make this inference?

The kind of people I like seem to have the following short-list of characteristics:

  1. Independent
  2. Kind
  3. A sense of honor
  4. Strength
  5. Often, they have conquered something very difficult, and have made themselves better in spite of the difficulty

How would I intuitively know this about people I’ve just met? What in their appearance ‘gave them away’ as someone I’d like?

We can assume this intuition developed with experiences. But how did my gut know precisely what experiences to keep and which to disregard?

Is there a way to make a logical list to follow to ensure connecting with good people?

What mannerisms must they have? What traits, characteristics, qualities, or attributes will guarantee that certain friendships are worth developing?

My husband and I have been best friends for 28 years, married for 26. I’ve had my best friend from high school, for nearly 40 years. My best friend from college, I’ve known nearly 30 years. These are definitely good people. But they don’t really have a lot in common – aside from the short-list above. They have different hobbies, different careers, different likes and dislikes, different religious and political beliefs, different households and family-life.

There are many people who might say they fulfill all 5 items on the short-list, yet my gut might say, ‘no thanks’ to developing a friendship. Would my gut be right, or would it be my loss for not getting to know them better?

I tend not to like the following things in a friendship:

  • Dependency/neediness
  • Constant snark and never-ending foul language
  • Dishonorable behavior and manipulation
  • Sense of entitlement, or over-inflated ego 
  • Disregard for others’ difficulties, making fun of others

Yet, there have been times when my best friends and I really needed each other in our painfilled crisis. There’ve been times when foul language seemed appropriate. And I know my ego has had moments of hugeness and gotten bruised. So, this isn’t a ‘definitely no way I’ll be friends list’.

Which only serves to add to the confusion, when is it good to follow the lists and when is it acceptable to deviate?

How does our intuition, our gut know when to do this?

*photo from the book I own, “This Explains Everything