Super Bowl Confession

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I’m not really a football fan. I know! I can hear your collective gasps of shock! I happen to catch bits and pieces of a game when somebody else has it on the TV during football season. And I hear who is going for the Super Bowl. And I even know which teams are playing this year! (The Falcons and the Patriots) Otherwise, I really don’t care.

However, what I do like about the Super Bowl is how it pulls the country together in a big way. I love how it is so American! I can’t help but get into the excitement. I enjoy seeing people excited about this game and the fun rivalries that happen. (It is a game, people!)

I love the rituals. The flying of the flag, the singing of the National Anthem, the fly-over of the Thunderbirds, the coin toss and the first kick-off and play of the game.

I admit that I look forward to the commercials; the only time I can say that.

I love the half-time show.

I enjoy empathizing with the players knowing that this game is the dream of a lifetime for all of them and trying to imagine how that feels. We get a glimpse of that when they show their excitement when a play goes their way.

I also find it fascinating that there is a primal level to this game. The love of a battle and winning at all costs. The adrenaline you can see in the players’ eyes. This game is a wonderful outlet for those primitive urges.

As far as the entire game goes, I usually listen to it and glance at it when it seems there is a big play happening.

I love that people gather for parties, food and camaraderie.

There is a feeling in the air of fun and patriotism.

So even though I’m not really a big football fan, I do enjoy the Super Bowl.

No matter who wins, I hope all of you enjoy it. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Adjusting To Old Fashioned Sundays

Farm view

Around here just about everything is closed on Sundays. I remember everything being closed on Sundays when I was a kid. I think this is a good thing. Having one day a week to focus on what is important in life, revisit your spiritual beliefs, visiting with friends, neighbors and family, or just relaxing seems to be almost a thing of the past.

Not here. It has taken some time to get used to the idea that if I want to run to the store for something, then I have to plan on driving further and it taking longer. And I will have to deal with the traffic and all the other shoppers rushing to get things done before the day is done.

Around here the Amish celebrate Sundays with church and visiting. So driving around is slower. More buggies to pass. Lots more.

But you know what? It’s really nice to be able to slow down, take in the sites you would miss while driving at full speed. Like seeing Amish families all together at one farm, dressed up in their Sunday finest, talking, eating and playing.

I seem to be changing my thinking about the day. Most of the time I stay home. Just knowing that I don’t have to go anywhere and thinking about it being Sunday makes me relax and prioritize in a way I don’t the rest of the week.

Sometimes family or friends visit. Sometimes we go visit them. This is a really nice way to spend the day before the rush of the work week is back.

I think everyone would benefit from this, don’t you?

Book Vlog

I’m going to start by saying that this is a shameless plugging of my daughter’s video blog, or vlog. She reviews books and since I know a lot of you love books I thought you might be interested in taking a look.

I also need to explain that I am not one of those moms who automatically thinks everything my kids do is wonderful. In fact, I am very skeptical until proven otherwise. (Sorry kids!) So when Chelsea told me that she was doing book review videos online I watched the first one not expecting much. Much to my delight, it was good! She’s really good!

So if you are looking for something good to read, head over to see what books she talks about. I know my to-read list has grown since I started watching. Sigh. So many books and so little time! It’s a great problem to have.

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Chelsea Palmer Book Reviews, Recommendations & Hauls

I hope you enjoy!

Creative, Fun and Playful 2017!

The start of a new year is always refreshing. It fills us with hope, inspiration, and goals. It sounds like there is a lot of relief that 2016 is over too. I hope that the new year has started well for all of you. It can be a lot of pressure if we make difficult resolutions. I’m not doing that this year. Instead I’m going to do more enjoyable things.

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Ornaments, lights and begonias

I love the holiday season. Between the gratefulness that Thanksgiving represents and the spirit of giving and serving others that Christmas represents, how can I go wrong? Well, things can go terribly wrong if I get caught up in the material craziness that the media says is the important part of these seasons. If I stick to the real meanings then I enjoy it. I love the lights, the music, the wonderful tackiness of holiday sweaters, decorations, flowers,

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

food and goofy gifts.

Most of all I love spending time and sharing all of those things with family and friends.

Unexpected gifts are very sweet; especially cards and small, thoughtful items that the patrons at work gave to me. I never expect those and their kindness fills my heart.

I also love that my kids, who are now adults, put so much thought into the things they get for my husband and I. (Okay, maybe one or two things I asked for specifically but they did really well!)

My biggest surprise was my husband giving me an antique typewriter! As soon as I put the paper in it and started typing I was immediately pulled back in time.  The unique sound of the keys hitting the paper brings back amazing memories!

Another gift I’m excited about is a new camera.  I have been making do with the camera in my phone and there are times when that just isn’t good enough. I’m amazed by what this camera can do and am slowly learning all the ways to use it. Between the user’s manual and the software manual I will be learning new things for a very long time. I hope to include more photographs in my blog posts. But don’t expect greatness! I’m just having fun!

What do I look forward to in 2017?

Creativity. Being more creative. In any way I come up with. Writing, of course. Photography. Coloring. I may even dust off my old sewing machine and see what I can make with that. How about drawing and painting? I plan on painting walls and old furniture. That’s all creative. No pressure. Just playing like children do. Having fun with it.

Play. I want to play more. We don’t do that nearly enough as adults. My brother sent me a new game called Codenames,6-codenames which we played on Christmas day and it was a lot of fun. I loved it because you need to use words to win. My daughter got the picture version of it and we switched back and forth. Talk about being creative and playful!

All of the responsibilities of life take up so much of our time so we need make more time for more fun in life.

Creativity and play. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

How about you? Do you have creative plans for the new year? What playful things would you like to do? Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it.

Happy New Year!

Another Kind of Blank Canvas

I haven’t had the urgent need to write for a while and that’s concerning to me. After giving this a lot of thought, I think I’ve figured out why.

It’s this new house. The fact that it is new and we are the first people to live in it means it’s a blank canvas; ready to be filled with whatever we decide.  

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

In February I made a note to myself with these words:

New house. This is a blank slate, an empty canvas waiting for us to paint our lives onto. It holds no secrets.

Today I will add: It has no expectations. It exists. Now it is up to us, to me, to fill it with wonderful things.

And that’s where my creative energy is going.

I find myself visualizing what colors to paint the rooms. What kind of furniture and art to decorate it with. (Mainly how to refresh what I have since I haven’t won the lottery!)

Most important of all is to fill this house with love, positive energy, laughter and happiness. Because I truly believe that wherever we live absorbs our energy and I want to make sure that is good energy.

I feel like homes, whether they are individual houses or apartments, take on the life of their inhabitants. You can feel that when you enter any home. Some places make you feel like you need to be very careful not to disturb anything and a need to leave as soon as possible. Other places invite in, encourage you to take off your shoes and curl up on a soft seat.

Have you ever noticed how quickly a house will fall into disrepair when it has been left empty? It seems to happen much quicker than seems natural. When a house is truly abandoned it quickly falls apart.

Which brings me back to my point. This house is taking a lot of my energy to turn it into my home. To turn it into a space that is as nurturing as a person. My refuge. My cozy safe space. A place where I can recharge my energy, be creative, be happy.

So I will try not to worry about not writing as much as I have in the past. I know I will do more writing in the future. I have too many characters, stories and ideas not to.

I see many ways to express myself creatively which I look forward to. I’m being creative and that’s what’s important.

Stay tuned! I’m sure I’ll have more to say and maybe more to show!

 

First Summer Here

Now that Fall has arrived I realize how much I have been observing and soaking in my surroundings.

I’m learning new roads and new places to shop; establishing new routines and favorite routes.

Driving along these back roads in the midst of this gorgeous and productive farmland I realize how out of touch most of us are about where our food comes from. I know! We hear that all the time but when you watch the corn grow on a daily basis and you see the labor put into caring for the earth and the food growing on it, I really feel grateful about how easy we have access to good food. I appreciate the incredible amount of labor that goes into growing it.

One of my observations was how quickly the corn grew making the roads feel more like tunnels. Everyplace felt closed in. I missed some of the beautiful views. In the last few weeks the roads have been slowly opening up again. Row by row the Amish harvest the corn. And row by row the drive feels more open. Some of the fields are left with nothing but a few inches of stalks sticking up from the ground. When you look at a whole field, it reminds me of whiskers on a man’s face.

I hope in time to see a pattern to the planting. Corn, wheat, soybeans, squash, onions, tobacco. None of the fields stay empty for long. Once one crop is harvested another is soon planted. Sometimes cover crops to keep the soil rich and productive.

Oh, and I have to mention the ‘spreading’. This is probably the biggest drawback to living in this area. Manure and a manure sludge are spread and sprayed on the fields continuously until they are all planted. Let’s just say that the smell has a physical substance to it! Ugh! I overheard one woman complaining about the smell in a parking lot one day only to hear another woman proclaim that it was the smell of money. That is an interesting perspective!

The various techniques are fascinating too. In the spring I saw families planting field after field all day. There was one piece of farm equipment that was pulled by one horse or mule. One person, usually a man, steering the horse. Down in front two people, usually women or girls sat on narrow wooden seats with boxes of plugs or tiny plants and leaned down planting them one after the other as the whole thing moved down the row. As I drove to work and back I saw the fields fill up with these plants. I also had to wonder how it felt to do that work all day for days at a time.

In the tobacco fields I saw bundles of sticks ready to hold up mini tepees of tobacco leaves in the fields. I assume it’s one way to let the leaves dry. Sometimes they take all the leaves and hang them in ventilated buildings, hanging them upside down to dry.

Once all the fields were growing the smell of the earth has been amazing. I know we all get that real earthy, loamy smell of good soil every now and then but that aroma is ever-present. With the high humidity and heat this year, smells get amplified and that is a good one.

When we get storms, it pours hard here. I’ve learned which roads to avoid in case of flash flooding and have decided my next car may need to sit higher. Then the sun comes out again with amazing clouds off in the distance.

Now there are wagons and stands full of pumpkins, squashes and gourds everywhere. I didn’t know there were so many varieties of these crops! They come in every shape, size and color. I’ve learned that if nobody is there to take your money when buying some, you leave the money in a box or plastic containers. The local economy relies on the honor system and it works beautifully here.

I feel like I have spent this summer filling up on the way life is here. There are families here who have lived here for decades if not a century. I feel like I am settling in and growing into a feeling of being home.

I know I have rambled a bit in this post and I apologize for that. As you have read, there was a lot to share and this is what happens when I don’t post more often. Thanks for reading!

Writing, More Tortoise Than Hare

A._gigantea_Aldabra_Giant_TortoiseI mentioned in my last post that I was thrilled to have reacquainted myself with a story I started a couple of years ago and was off and writing like crazy. Now I have slowed to a crawl but instead of being daunted by this, I’m continuing to write even if it’s a sentence or two at a time. The fun in writing fiction, for me, is the surprise of how I get there.

This story is tricky. I know where I want it to go and why but making sure that I make it clear to a reader who isn’t in my head is the puzzle. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the nuances of the story as shown in my mind with what I am getting onto the page. And this story is very weird but fun. Once I get it all down, it should come together. I hope.

This is also a short story which I find much harder to write. I tend to write in scenes. There isn’t as much wiggle room to get from one scene to the next in a short story. I’m sure I will end up writing much more than I need to and will then cut it down to size. It’s all part of the journey, right?

Does anyone else sometimes feel that writing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle? Finding tiny pieces of the whole picture and putting it together in the right order? That’s okay with me. I like doing jigsaw puzzles too.

I’m proceeding slowly and trusting that the words will sort themselves as I go. And didn’t the tortoise win in the end?