October Proposal

It’s snowing here this morning! October has started out to be a very gray and cloudy month. The coloring-changing leaves have passed their peak far too fast. I am not ready for winter.

Fortunately, I have a great memory of an October from way-back to brighten my entire month.

It was in October years ago, when M’Love proposed.

I love these types of stories – how did you meet, first dates, proposals, weddings

Here’s a bit of our story… Forgive me if you’ve heard it before.

At that time, my life was super busy and difficult. I had big plans to change the world. I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree while also studying early childhood, library media, and psychology.

One day my brother got married. I was a maid-of-honor in the wedding. Later that evening, one of the groomsman asked me to dance.

Eventually the groomsman and the maid-of-honor started dating. Long Distance. Because we were going to different colleges. And I was in no hurry to do anything, but make the world a better place. Besides, I really liked having control of everything in my own life. I planned to enjoy life as an old maid, as I was pretty sure I didn’t have the social skills or personality to thrive in a relationship (I’m an INTJ according to MBTI).

Oddly it turns out that groomsman was also an INTJ.

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 was genuine and kind. He knew the acts of bravery it takes to chase dreams. He avoided mind/mood-altering substances and wasn’t embarrassed to say so.

I never felt uncomfortable sharing my life stories (the good, bad, and ugly). I felt free to talk about 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 who I was or where I came from. He didn’t chastise me for being a bookworm who loved to read, write, and learn. He didn’t call me wild because I was thrilled by nature, riding motorcycles, flying in airplanes, learning about outer space, and being happy. He liked those same types of things!?! It was exciting to find someone with so much in common. And even the areas where we disagreed, we could still respectfully discuss without devolving into raging lunatics. 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.

For two years, we sent hundreds of cards and letters in the mail (I still have all of these)! 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. 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 groundwork 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 whispered, “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.”

And Suddenly here it is years and years later. I’m still deeply in love with this man! We’ve both fulfilled our college goals: his with computers, and mine in teaching, library, and other roles (I’m still hoping to make the world better.).

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! Many years later, they’re lives became even more extra love-filled with brilliant grandbabies!

They all lived happily ever after!

The end.

The dry, shriveled blossom below was once upon a time the largest, most beautiful red rose from the October Proposal Rose Bouquet. It is still just as special as the day I received it.

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Happy Monday!

Stories to start your week off in the Best Ways Possible! 😊

This story of butterfly heroes: https://www.americanforests.org/article/in-mexico-moving-a-forest-to-save-monarchs/

Mexican scientists are trying to move a forest to save the monarch butterfly.

This Tweet: https://twitter.com/JetpackMarne/status/1578006440500989952

Canceled class yesterday (yom kippur) & told my students they’d get extra credit for sending proof of doing something nice for themselves during class time. Today my inbox is all selfies of kids reading for fun in hammocks, baking, visiting friends, painting, getting coffees 🥲”

This Seasonal Food Guide: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/

Use the Seasonal Food Guide to learn when and where your favorite locally grown produce is in peak season and has maximum flavor by selecting a state and the time of year you’re interested in. You can also search by produce item — just choose your state and the type of produce you’re interested in learning more about.

This Happiness Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-happiness-lab-with-dr-laurie-santos/id1474245040

You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations. You’re dead wrong. Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale — the most popular class in the university’s 300-year history — Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness.

This Inspiring Person: https://www.katysullivan.net/about

Katy Sullivan is breaking down barriers everywhere she goes, from the Olympic track to Broadway’s marquees. The Paralympian, who was born without her lower legs, is a four-time U.S. Champion in the 100 meter race and set an American record while competing at the 2012 Games. And now Sullivan has taken her talents to Manhattan’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

And also this conference: https://und.edu/conferences/nd-water-pollution/index.html

The ND Water and Pollution Control Conference is an annual conference organized for educational and scientific advancement of water, wastewater, public works, and stormwater systems.  The purpose of the conference is to promote and encourage the exchanging of ideas and experience among attendees, protection of the public health, and operator education and certification.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday – Hat

Even though I don’t participate in group blogging activities, sometimes a topic kindles a joy I can’t help writing about. I follow the blog, “Anything is Possible! With Love, Hope, and Perseverance”; and today’s topic caught my eye – Hats.

Thanks for sparking a fun memory.

My favorite hat is my Northpoint Aviation hat. I won it in a “Name The Plane” contest.

About 8(ish?) years ago, I was reading our local airport’s lovely newsletter. At the end of the newsletter was a picture of a plane, with no other identifying information. Whoever could correctly identify the plane in the photo won a prize. I don’t recall a lot of the details now; I think I emailed in the correct name of the plane. It seemed I didn’t hear anything for a while, so I thought maybe I guessed wrong. (The name of the plane was a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket.) At a later date, the airport emailed me to let me know I was the winner of the Fall Name the Plane Contest. The prize was waiting for me at the airport.

It was this fantastic hat!

Here’s a photo of the hat, near other airplane mementos. I have a tiny obsession with planes – especially the P-51 Mustang.

The map on the wall is from our visit to EAA AirVentures in OshKosh, Wisconsin. (I also have a tiny obsession with maps.) EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an annual air show and gathering of aviation enthusiasts.

We went to the EAA show one year and I was able to wear my Prize.

Snapshot of me, my Prized hat, and my favorite plane – The Rebel, a P-51 Mustang.

Fun Times!

P.S. I tend to use hat and cap interchangeably. I don’t have enough hats or caps to be a connoisseur.

Happy Weekend Before Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is on Monday. These handmade Valentines are in the process of being put together. They’ll arrive late to their destinations. In the paper recycling bin, I found only one thin strip of red paper, and not enough pink. That doesn’t seem right. Aren’t all Valentines supposed to be red and pink?

Several years ago, if anyone would have accused me of being an ‘artsy’ person, I might’ve been offended. I’m a hard-worker, a realist, busy getting things done. I was not the ‘arts and crafts’ type.

Little did I realize how embracing creativity can open up brand-new problem-solving ideas. I’m a bit embarrassed by my brash judgment of crafting.

It’s been a blast to make these artistic projects with my grandbabies. Their creative imagination just blows me away. They’re so much better at thinking up designs than I am.

My handmade cards are not as refined as the store bought. Perfection is not the goal. Loving people is the goal, while enjoying the process of creating something unique and different.

Below are a few Valentines M’Love and I have bought each other over the years. I absolutely love re-reading them! Yes, we have been ‘taken in by the commercialization of love’. And it has been so much fun! Bravo to all the creators of Valentine’s Day cards who know how to celebrate the sentimental declaration of love! And double Yay to all the card companies championing sustainable forests and using recycled papers!

~Dream, Believe, Achieve~

2022 “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”

I’ve been trying to choose a simple theme for the year. I was considering something along the lines of “Finding Joy in the Fear of New Dreams”. However, it didn’t seem to hit the right sentiment.

The 2022 Rose Parade theme is “Dream. Believe. Achieve.. This is so much clearer and easier to remember.  

While some people think it’s detrimental to create ‘themes’, ‘words’, or ‘resolutions’ for the year,  I find they inspire me. Making Plans makes me Happy.

When I create new goals, I cobble them together ‘loosely’. It’s nice to have targets to work towards. But it’s also good to have flexibility to adapt as necessary when things go awry.

Life is not always easy – sometimes it is beyond difficult. In the last month or so, multiple family members suffered Covid, my mom died, a loved one was recently diagnosed with cancer… This is nowhere near the complete list of horribleness that 2020/2021 has brought me.

Sometimes these challenges feel like they’re being presented to me by a bully asking me, “Have you had enough yet? Isn’t it time to throw in the towel?”

To those questions, my answers are, “I’m not giving up. Whatever comes, count me in. I’m going the full 12 rounds. I have no intention of stopping.”

Insomuch as I’ve been able to, I’ve lived my life on my own terms – thinking, speaking, and doing for myself. I care about being a better human than I was yesterday. I care about the people I love. It’s important to me that I’m someone who encourages people to become better. I do my best to give my loved ones a road map, demonstrating how hard work and a good attitude can overcome almost any challenge that’s before them.

I want children to grow up in a world where hard work is seen as more valuable than likes; where honor is more sought after than gold; where kindness, wisdom, health, and strength are more important than the most expensive junk.

Because of the choices I’ve made, my life has me feeling Grateful, Blessed, Joyful, and Fulfilled.

Why wouldn’t I believe bigger dreams could be achieved?

To achieve the next big thing, I keep working and learning, hoping to get wiser, healthier, kinder, stronger, faster, and better at life. I have to be the best me I can be, so I’m ready when an out-of-this-world opportunity arises.

How do I do that? Well, I start by learning more about the things that interest me:

  1. studying strategies to learn faster and remember more
  2. focusing more on my finances – how can I improve, so we don’t have to keep working so hard, how do people become FIRE members (financially independent retire early)
  3. paying attention to people and the planet, so I have some idea of what’s really going on
  4. reading books and blogs that show me that the world is better than we think
  5. not worshipping politicians, tv evangelists, talk shows, and social media, not wasting my time on the hatred that has consumed so many people in the last few years
  6. I want to be a reason someone smiles
  7. reading history, trying to understand the motives behind leaders’ decisions
  8. learning about the physical geology of the earth, from old college textbooks to new data on the climate
  9. studying my plant, tree, and animal guidebooks so I have some idea of what we should expect of animal behavior and floral growth
  10. reading books by astronauts and astrophysicists, and gazing at the Universe through the eyes of astrophotographers
  11. checking in on the websites of NASA and the United Nations – what are they doing, how can I help…
  12. taking care of my health; proper food, movement, rest, hydration, developing a thicker skin, a longer fuse, and increasing my optimism
  13. checking in with my attitude and my emotions – what are they saying and why?
  14. proudly collecting all my determination and holding onto it tightly, right in the center of my being, so I can overcome whatever I have to
  15. carrying all the best, most positive, most inspiring, writers, poets, artists, creators, inventors, and innovators in my memory, as a reminder that everyone can do awesome things

All of this may not be enough to make my wildest dreams come true, but it will surely get me closer to the kind of person I want to be.

And that is an Ultimate Goal – Becoming the Kind of Person You Want to Be.

~Dream, Believe, Achieve~

2021 Reflection

I almost didn’t attempt this popular tradition. But looking back helped me see much to cherish from the past year.

The year began and ended with pictures of my Adorable Grandbabies. Their smiling faces dominate my photo files. I Cherish each and every one of them. When someone makes you feel this Happy, you can never spend enough time with them. Even though we had to juggle our visits carefully due to covid, we managed to still have some fun times together. There are so many happy photos of activities, art, projects, planting, and traveling.

I witnessed Glorious Sunrises and Sunsets. Marvelous full Moons decorated crisp, clear nights.

We attended a couple of Exciting Air-shows, while safely sitting in our vehicle. We went on many Exhilarating Motorcycle Rides.

Close-to-home travel was the theme again this year. Multiple state and local parks were explored. We took only one out-of-state trip to see Loved Ones, and we frequently exclaimed, “Oh look at the view!”, all the way there and back.

I collected a lovely supply of maps which prompted sharing on my blog, and the planning of many future vacations. I read some great books from authors who motivate us to be our best.

I had my first “fluffer-nutter” sandwich, marshmallow fluff and peanut butter on gluten-free bread. It was a bit too sweet for me. I think I’ll stick with plain pb.

My flowers bloomed and my garden produced, despite some critters helping themselves to the tender sprouts.

I experienced seeing my first white robin. I also saw my first sharp-shinned hawk. The gorgeous specimen spent quite a bit of time in our back yard, sadly it frightened all our other little birdies. Flocks of wild turkeys made several treks through our property. The wildlife photos didn’t just showcase our feathered friends – herds of deer, a couple of big-racked bucks, adorable twin fawns, red fox, gray fox, Bear, chipmunks, squirrels, wood chucks, pretty cats, and fluffy dogs also visited us this year.

While the following items weren’t in the photo files, I enjoyed some amazingly Positive and Inspiring emails, letters, and texts from loved ones. It’s incredible how Loving, Supportive words can sky-rocket a person right into a Joyfully Jubilant state.

Topping off all the Goodness of the year, was holding the hand of my True Love, my Teammate, my Soulmate of nearly 27 years. Our New Year’s Eve kiss lasted from the very first midnight, to the very last midnight of the year.

The most difficult thing I learned was how to deal with grief, or more precisely, I learned there isn’t a clear way to deal with it. It’s something I’ll have to keep relearning. This year held far too much grief for too many of us.

What’s interesting about this review, is my perception. I was thinking this past year was nothing to look back on. Yet I’m so glad I did. Wonderful things have happened, and I may not have noticed if I hadn’t looked for them.

One Photo a Month, Year in Review

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

A Pain I’m Familiar With

Let’s see, how do I start this, and how do I say things the right way. There is no ‘right’ way, really, just an honest way.

I’ve had a few loved ones find the ‘end of their rope’, as they put it. They’ve had enough. They’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and, in the most impolite of words, ‘they just don’t give a ____ anymore’. Some have gone as far as threatening/attempting suicide.

How do we help our loved ones thru this? They’ve already been seen, and been destroyed by the Systems who claim – help is available. How can we help when the ‘experts’ can’t?

I’m struggling to say things here so they’re easy to understand, yet do not diminish the issues.

I’ve been to that place of deep, crushing, unending pain, where I felt my heart and body was literally going to splinter apart, the pain was so …. I’ve sobbingly, mournfully, soulfully begged for the world to be better.

I realized a couple things:

  1. Few people care about what I want. If I want change, I have to do it myself.
  2. I have no idea what I’m doing. All I know is, I need to do Something.

I write.

I write about what I’ve learned; through my education, my hard-work, my volunteering, my mistakes, my misguided judgments, and my years on this planet.

I write about the beautiful places I’ve been, and still want to go to. I write about the gorgeousness of nature’s life-sustaining abilities. I write about these things, intending for others to see this planet with a same shared vision.

I write about all the good people and good values I can find. Some people fill the world with every ounce of goodness they can squeeze from themselves. They offer their best through their words, work, art, and actions.

I gather all these awesome things together to try to give people:

  • Examples: maybe people will see how gorgeous life is/can be/will be.
  • Hope: maybe if we all do our best, we won’t all be wishing for a way out.

I write ignorant words that go unacknowledged or are misunderstood.

I refuse to write in Soundbite Hatred. I don’t enjoy the kind of writing that’s filled with hatred and no solutions. People seem to be looking for ways to “GET FIRED UP”. They seem to need the drama to spur them on, to keep them fighting – about what? Anything and Everything! All the things must be a raging battle to the dysfunctional end, or at least until the biggest bully feels they have won the imaginary humiliation contest.

I keep writing, trying to bring truth, peace, balance, and shine a light on the ‘real goodness’, the “Real Things” that make our world worth living in.

I ramble on, trying so hard to get people to reach the highest abilities of their hearts and minds. People lose interest. If only they knew how much rambling work I throw out…

Perhaps all I should say every day is:

  • Please help me give our families a better future.
  • Please help me save our planet.

But then people wouldn’t know the personal reasons I keep writing and sharing.

People wouldn’t know the Immense Love I have for all of my Perfect Grandbabies, for my True Love, for My Only Child, and for my entire huge family, and lovely, wonderful friends.

People wouldn’t know how Awesome I find so much of this world, or how deep my heart aches at our destruction of it.

People wouldn’t know how much I care or how desperately I want change.

Chippewa Lookout view of the Mississippi River at Crow Wing State Park

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.