Family, Life, Quotes, Today I will

National Day of Service 2021

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Steve and I wanted to do something today for #nationaldayofservice. It had to be Covid-19 aware and something important to us. The Covid Aware part was the biggest struggle. What can we do that is adequately socially distanced and we will not risk exposure? Today we chose to take the afternoon, enjoy being outdoors in the cool day sun, and pick up trash. We were not without subject matter to work with!  There are several local parks we like to visit. Some days there is a good bit of trash and it is terribly sad to see. 

There is a growing awareness that single-use plastic is detrimental to the planet. Do you know what’s worse?

Humans.

If we would make better decisions, pick up after ourselves, and work for the good of each other so many issues in life could improve.

I digress. This is not a post about how much humans can sometimes suck. Although, I’m sure as my husband hauled a giant lawn leaf bag full of trash around our favorite park the thought crossed his mind several times.

While there was plenty of trash to pick up, there was beauty worth working for. Nature always finds a way to make us smile. Deer and raccoon tracks were all over Pharr Mill park. Families were using the trails or playing by the water at Frank Liske. From trash to fungi to waterfalls our time outdoors today was wonderful. 

It is not uncommon for us to take trash bags with us when we walk the beach at our favorite Dauphin Island. I believe it will now be a regular part of our park excursions.  The parks that do not have on-site attendants fare poorly.  I expected to need the large trash bag, I did not expect to fill the large trash bag overcapacity.  

Our parks are not able to have their regular clean up events. They are understaffed as it is. Picking up is something that needs to be done, and we don’t mind doing it.  I believe this is a regular task to add to our 2021 goals and I want to find others.

Organizations that rely on volunteers are struggling. They are struggling to raise money for their organization. They are struggling with volunteers and health protocols.  I encourage you to find something you care about and discover how you can contribute. It doesn’t have to be for a specific day. Every day is a great day to work for the good of our community.

 

 

Family, Life, Rambles

Weekend Fun

So how was your weekend? Our guest room and bath are getting a fresh look. We are the weirdos who find home improvement projects to be fun. There’s always something that needs attention.

Next month we will tackle the upstairs bath. The next, our bedroom. One project a month is the goal. Floors in the bedrooms will come at some point and kitchen cabinets are in the agenda before year’s end. I do believe both of us are putting off trim painting for as long as possible.

Family, Life, Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday January 14

Happy Thursday! For Thankful Thursday, I reflect on these two. Julie and Aubrey have grown into amazing young women. These two are strong, independent, and straight-up good people. They take things as they come. They are accepting of others. They are supportive of each other. They go out of their way to help when needed.

Ten years ago I met an acquaintance that would change my life. It was not the easiest year for me. That acquaintance became a friend. Nine years ago, that friend became more. Almost 8 years ago, I married him. Julie and Aubrey have accepted us without question. He’s not their dad and has never tried to be. I jokingly said they treated him like a pet. So, I am thankful for their acceptance.

When we have faced difficult circumstances these two have dropped everything to step in and help, even if it is just being around. No hesitation, just what can we do? Or, they just do. I’m thankful for their empathy.

Both had lived life on their terms. It’s not always easy to take a chance or do your own thing. I’m thankful for their adventurous spirit.

I’m thankful that I was the one that got to make them.
I’m thankful to be their birth-giver.

Leave a comment or LinkyLink below. I would love to know what you’re thankful for. I’ll be by to visit this evening.

Family, Life, Motivation, Rambles

Aspiring to be

In an attempt to not break my workday writing streak I headed over to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Inspiration Button. After several uninspiring, or I don’t know you like that, clicks I was inspired by the following prompt:

When I grow up I want to be like…

Let’s get something straight. I’m not growin’ up and you can’t make me. I hold dear my Ravenclaw coffee mug, coloring books and super amazing twisty Crayola coloring pencils, and my silly accents I use while making dinner and jamming to 90’s hip-hop. By jamming I do mean dancing in my kitchen while wearing dachshund printed PJs and fuzzy socks. #dontjudge

There are also many in my life who have inspired me to be the best me I can be. However, weird and sometimes immature that may be. Hey, I hope they are proud.

#1 My Grandmother

#2 My Aunt Merita

#3 My Great Aunt Hazel

Despite being terribly sick, my Gran raised me from two years old until she died in 1997. Off and on I spent time with various family members when Gran was in the hospital or recovering from being in the hospital. She was declared dead once, and we were told she was brain dead another time. She wasn’t ready for such a final diagnosis and managed to push on.  Because of her health, her time spent directly entertaining me involved reading, drawing, coloring, word search, or other word games like Scrabble or Boggle.  I learned to entertain myself by playing outside, climbing the fruit trees, picking blackberries, kicking a ball around, or building with legos. Not those lego kits either. I had to use my imagination to come up with what to build. My favorite was designing lego houses. I wanted to be an architect or a veterinarian. Gran never discouraged me. Our games gave me a love of words and creativity. When I discovered music she would listen to me practice for hours. Never complaining. At the beginning that had to be terribly difficult. By the time I was in high school I was pretty good, but a trumpet is loud and had to be difficult to listen to hours on end. She knew music was my ticket to college. Living on her fixed income, there was little money for extras. I did not go without needs and she did her best to make sure I got some things I wanted. Others helped with some of those too. She instilled her love of art, reading, and her “do what you have to do” spirit.

My Aunt Merita is my go-to for all things advice. I know she helped Gran when things were tight. I remember staying with her regularly. I grew up as her 5th child. When I discovered the level of math and advanced science necessary for architecture or veterinary medicine, I realized my goals needed to be revised. Social Science and teaching became my area of interest. As a teacher who began her career later in life Merita was able to guide and advise. She stepped in as a grandmother to my children, an advisor when I needed to find my way, and a friend when I needed an ear. She is a strong independent woman who battled cancer and won. Given only a few months to live and asked by doctors if they could study her case, she emphatically proclaimed she was not ready to give up yet and sought treatment. That was ten years ago. While we are separated by distance these days, she is only a phone call or text away. In a sense, we share a mother. It is because of Gran that Merita and I have similar views on getting done what has to be done and pushing ourselves.

Lastly, my Great Aunt Hazel.  She would come by regularly to chat, sometimes bringing fresh vegetables. She loved Gran’s cooking so it was usually at lunch and the vegetables would be part of it. Aunt Hazel was loud, vibrant, and lived her life the way she wanted. After her husband died she ran their coal mining business and kept it successful. Talk about a woman in a man’s world. I can remember staying with her once and she took me for a 4 wheeler ride around her property. It was terrifying and exhilarating.  She was in her 70s and loved the adventure.  By her 90s she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She had such an amazing attitude about it. Very much an “it is what it is” mindset. Once, at a family gathering (decoration if you are familiar with the Southern tradition) Aunt Hazel was riding her scooter along the dirt walking paths and weaving in and out. She was having a joyful time, happy for anyone to tell her all about her grandkids…even if she had just heard about each.  Aunt Hazel was willing to help Gran anytime it was needed, and she didn’t have to be asked. She recognized the need and filled it. She was vibrant and didn’t let anyone tell her what she couldn’t do or how she should do it. She also did what made her happy.

These three summaries of amazing women are extremely condensed versions. Gran, Merita, and Aunt Hazel are my best examples of tenacity, strength, and joyful living. Each rose above their circumstances in life. Each faced adversity and pushed on anyway. Each modeled the tenets of continuous improvement, be your best self, and help others when you can.

I want to be like them. I want to be me, not what others think I should be. I want to be driven, creative, and strong in the face of adversity. I want to be happy where I am and help bring happiness to others. I want to offer words of wisdom when it is needed. I want to be able to ride a 4 wheeler in my 70s and a scooter in my 90s.