Friends

When I was younger and watching the TV show, Friends, I always thought it would be amazing to have the kind of relationships that those characters had. They had fun, were silly, but also cared about each other deeply. They accepted each others’ quirks and always tried to have each others’ backs. I loved how comfortable they were with each other.

Growing up my family moved. A lot. The good thing about that was that it taught me to be flexible and adaptable. I learned how to get along with most people. I developed really good people skills.

The bad thing about moving was I was never able to develop those life long friendships that I saw everywhere. Kids who had known each other their entire lives; who had a long history together. I kind of envied that but was always grateful to those who included me despite my being the ‘new kid’. They were the ones who made it all easier.

When I got married, I moved away from my family to start a new life. And this wasn’t as scary as it seemed. I was good at moving.

What I wasn’t prepared for was once I was out of school and working, the dynamics of making friends became different and more difficult. I relied on my husband’s friends and that was okay for a while but I soon realized that they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. I socialized with coworkers and I had some fun times and made some good friends but something was still missing. 

But I hadn’t achieved that long ago dream of having a group of friends who felt as close as family. Who shared my interests and accepted my quirkiness.

Fast forward many years and a few jobs later. I eventually got a job in a large chain bookstore. I was working with books! Any of you who have read this blog for a while may have noticed that books are kind of my passion. This bookstore was a new one in a new building and I got to help set it up while meeting other book lovers. For the first time I was having discussions about the books and authors I loved. I also discovered that many of the people there were also closet writers like me. Once we realized that we all wrote in isolation, we formed a writing group. We also formed many book groups of different genres. These were my people!

I felt very connected to three others in particular. This was when the new Lord of the Rings movies were coming out and we discovered that we loved these stories and decided to go watch the marathon together. And that was the start of my group of ‘Friends’.

The four of us just clicked despite the fact that we spanned four decades. Each of us represented the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. It didn’t matter. We were silly but could also talk about issues about which we felt deeply. And we laughed. A lot. The great deep laughter that brings tears, leaves you breathless and feeling healed and whole.

We call ourselves the Fellowship because of course we were our version of the Lord of the Rings Fellowship!

Now to the present day and more than a dozen years later these three people are my family. We still laugh a lot! We have LOTR marathons at each others’ houses. We go to Renaissance Faires together. We watch movies and eat out together. Like Bilbo and Frodo, we have adventures together. Sometimes our schedules make getting together a challenge but we keep working at it and make time for us.

They are my greatest friends and I now have the friendship I dreamed of all those years ago. We have shared all the ups and downs that we as humans go through and have been there for each other.

Whenever I spend time with the Fellowship, I feel like I’m recharged.

I am incredibly grateful that we found each other and continue to be the best of friends. So many times we have talked about our bond and how strange and wonderful it is. We know this is an incredibly rare thing and never take it for granted.

I hope you have people like this in your lives. Whether they are related to you by blood or you find each other along the way, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you.

And may you all have wonderful adventures together. Remember to laugh! A lot!

(The featured photo is a picture of the paver that we designed to honor our Fellowship and is at the Pennsylvania Renaissance fairgrounds.)

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Rainy Sunday Morning

It’s a dark, wet morning. The sound of a downpour of rain on the roof and tapping on the windows makes me feel extra warm and cozy in bed. Knowing it’s Sunday morning lets me pull the covers up and breathe in happy contentment. The experience of being warm, cozy and relaxed with no reason to have to get up. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Soon the Possibilities of the day start nudging me. “Hey!,” they whisper, “You can write, read, draw, play with the cats and more today!”

Oh yeah! I say to myself, stretching, waking up more.

Then the Shoulds speak up. “You need to dust, vacuum, pay bills and more today.”

Ugh! I curl back up and hide under the covers.

Then Common Sense and Logic step up. “How about if you get up now? Then you’ll have time to do a little of each? In fact, let’s start with something nice. You know, ease into the day.”

That does it. I’m awake with my head full of all this day can hold.

Now I’m sitting with a hot cup of green tea, a book, the occasional raindrop running down the window, birds on the feeder outside, the cats watching eagerly with tails twitching, a notebook, favorite pen and these words.

A day full of possibilities.

I hope you have one too.

The Wisdom of Kittens

It was a long week so I looked back through some of my posts and this one still makes me smile. I can’t believe my kittens are almost three years old! They still show a lot of wisdom about life and are a joy to have. I hope you enjoy this too. 

Just for fun, this is a small list of watching kittens exploring the new world they find themselves in. We can look at the world like it’s all new again when we watch the young do this.  I hope you enjoy some of these things in your own life. What would you add to this list?

-Look at anything new that crosses your path with curiosity and wonder. Then play with it!

A box and tissue paper. Amazing!

A box and tissue paper. Amazing!

-Play a lot.

-Remember to notice even the simple things in life. Take nothing for granted.

So that's the sky!

So that’s the sky!

-Enjoy the comforts life offers like a big warm pile of laundry. 

Warm clothes.

Warm clothes.

-Sometimes you just have to run at full speed because you are so full of the energy of life! Plus its fun.

-Play until you can’t keep your eyes open for another second.

-Eliminate the negatives in your life by swiping at it, slapping it, shaking it until it can’t hurt you anymore.

-Get plenty of rest.

-Cuddle with a friend. 

Cuddling

Cuddling

-Take care of the ones you love.

Taking Our Time

One of my greatest pleasures in life is having a day to take my time. Those are rare days.

People in this world always want us to rush. Everyone is always in a hurry. Time is money but maybe we have it backwards. Maybe we would get more satisfaction in life if we didn’t have to rush for everything. If we put value in quality rather than quantity.

I’ve always done things slower than most people. I like to savor things in life. I eat my meals slowly. I like to read every word in a book and not skim. I like to take my time to make sure I am doing something right.

And while the world makes us rush, I know that I can make myself rush. Like when I have a whole day to do as I please, I find myself running around trying to cram in everything. That takes away from enjoying it. I end up jumping out of bed and rushing to get to as much as I can. There is something much different about rushing because you want to rather than outside influences forcing you to do something your heart isn’t into. Yet even when we rush ourselves, we are missing something. That isn’t the best way to go about things.

At the same time it seems time is limited and if we want to do all the things we want to do in life, we have to hurry. There is a sense of urgency to life. Maybe that’s why it’s hard to take our time?

My best days are when I wake up in the morning with a clear picture of what I want to get done that day and make a point of doing each thing at my own pace. My own pace is the key. Then I can relax and enjoy whatever I’m doing.

I feel like time favors those who are truly in it and appreciate exactly what is going on; really being in the here and now. The entire feeling of time seems to shift. That feeling of being in the flow happens and isn’t that what life is really about? Being and enjoying exactly where and when you are and what you are doing? Appreciating every breath? Looking around and realizing that there is no place else you would rather be?

I wish I could do that all the time. It’s harder than is sounds which seems silly.

Maybe hobbits have it right and we should just have more mealtimes? Good food with good company makes time just right.

Do you like to take your time? Do you get to?

Believe and Focus

2017. What a year!

I was really struggling in the last quarter of 2017. I’m usually a pretty positive person and for the short times when I’m not, I can pull myself out of it and move on. I wasn’t able to do that as well as usual. I had a sense of anxiety that didn’t seem to be caused by any one thing. That was unnerving. And scary. And for those of you who suffer from severe anxiety on a regular basis, I have a new respect for what you deal with on a regular basis. And I’m so glad there are a variety of treatments out there.

I knew that I needed to keep searching for a solution and an answer to why I was feeling this way. But the more I thought about it the more I worried and the worse it got. So I stopped questioning why I felt the way I did and shifted my focus. 

This all sounds very deep and wonderful but I’m also a bit stubborn so I sometimes overlook the obvious. After a week or so (maybe it was longer) I was in a store looking at Christmas ornaments and I found one that had the word ‘believe’ on it. I realized that I had been seeing or hearing the word ‘believe’ over and over again for weeks! I mean a lot. Like a ridiculous amount of times. I finally really saw it and knew that this was my sign, my word, and I was on the right track. I bought the ornament and hung it on the Christmas tree at eye level, (which is pretty low because I’m short) so I could see it as a positive affirmation every day.

Just focusing on that one word a few times a day made a difference.

For me, focusing on believing that things happen for a reason and that it will all work out was what I needed to get out of my funk. Mostly. It’s a daily practice. Sometimes it’s hour by hour or minute by minute. It depends on the day.

So that brought me to the word ‘focus’. Our thoughts are powerful so we need to focus on what we want in our lives and not all the craziness in the world around us. I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s true.

If I can focus on finding something beautiful, positive or inspiring every day it’s amazing how much better life is. It never fails. It isn’t easy, but it works.

Like what?

Like the miracle of the tiny Juncos that visit my feeder in this frigid weather. The fact that these tiny creatures can survive outside when the temperature has been in the teens during the day and in the single digits at night amazes me. 

Junco hanging on a windy, frigid day.

Or the soft touch of my cat’s paw resting on my arm at night. And that gentle look of contentment on her face.

Or the giggle of a toddler at work.

Or helping someone anytime and anywhere. It doesn’t have to be big. Just seeing someone smile or say thank you because of something I did is huge.

When I focus on these things then I can believe that there is good in this world and if we choose to focus on that instead of all the terrible things the media throws at us then I believe that 2018 will be a better year.

I wish everyone a positive 2018.

Happy New Year.

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning

This is a beautiful post from one of my favorite blogs. Please visit Live & Learn by David Kanigan. Happy Sunday.

Live & Learn

See how the trees
Reach up and outward
As if their entire existence
Were an elegant gesture of prayer.
See how they welcome the breath of spirit,
In all its visible and invisible forms.
See how the roots reach downward and out,
Embracing the physical,
The body and bones
Of its soul of earth and stone,
Allowing half its life to be sheltered
in the most quiet and secret places.

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning,
To feel the breath of invisible spirit
Touch me as tenderly as a kiss on the forehead.
If I could courageously and confidently
Dig down into the dark
Where the ground water runs deep,
Where shelter and sanctuary
Can be had and held.

Ah, to be like a tree
With all its bent and unbent places,
A whole and holy thing
From its topmost twigs
To the…

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Saved Flowers and Hummingbirds

It has been almost two years since we moved and I am happy to say that there isn’t much that I miss from the old house. It’s a great feeling to know that while we were there we were very happy but that time is over with and I have moved on without any regrets.

I knew however, I would miss some of the plants in my gardens so I brought two of them with me.

One is a Canna that I have wintered over in a pot for years. Canna in pot

I’m not sure of the exact cultivar. It has amazing leaves full of color and patterns. And the flowers are a bright cheerful orange. I keep it in the pot and put it in the garage every winter since it isn’t winter hardy here. Every couple of years I divide it, keeping some in the pot and planting others in the ground. I got this plant years ago when I worked at a nursery. I’ve always had it grow in the pot outside our garage and I have continued that tradition here. This summer I needed to divide it and I planted four small ones along the side of the house. Needless to say they are very happy here! cannas 1

The other plant that I knew I would miss is called Lady-In-Red Salvia or Salvia coccinea.

Lady flowers

Salvia coccinea

 

The flowers on these delicate annuals are hummingbird magnets. I had them planted just outside of my screened in porch and it was magical to sit in that porch and have hummingbirds come right up to me.

 

I collected some seeds and brought them with me when I moved. Early this spring I started them in pots and when they were big enough I planted them in the ground outside our front porch and in the back by the patio. Then I waited.

You can’t imagine my delight the first time a saw a hummingbird sipping from these flowers. A female ruby-throated hummingbird has been visiting for the last few months and it makes my day whenever I see her.

I discovered that she likes the flowers on the Cannas too so that was a fun surprise.

It may seem silly if you aren’t into plants and gardens but these two plants make me feel settled here and somehow that despite everything, all is right in my little part of the world. That there is beauty and continuity even when so much changes in life.

And if you believe in such things, hummingbirds represent joy. I couldn’t agree more.