Take it off cruise…

How many of you use cruise control in your vehicle while driving? I use it on the interstate when I’m going lots of miles without stopping (unless it’s icy). How many things in our life feel like cruise control? We just set it and forget it? Recently, I got a health reminder in my medical app to have a Pap smear. Normally, I’d be glad for the reminder and I’d call to get an appointment. My medical team was on cruise control, because I don’t need a Pap smear. I no longer have the parts for it. I had a radical/total hysterectomy almost 5 years ago. I chuckled to myself and sent them a note asking to remove the reminder.

How often do we go through our days on cruise? We go through the motions, assuming we have plenty of time. Then, a sudden jolt disrupts our routine and we feel lost. It may be a job change, an illness, a death, an accident. We come out of our hypnotic state, like when you’ve been driving on the interstate for a while and suddenly realize you missed your exit. A family from my sister’s town lost their adult son in a farming accident last week. He was a newlywed and sounded like a great guy with a zest for life. This is not the detour his new bride or his family and friends wanted. There are so many why‘s that we will never have an answer to, until we meet on the other side. There are no words to ease their sorrow, and our tears cannot bring him back.

Maybe in honor of him & those no longer with us, we take it off cruise on purpose… take a detour, try a new road, stop and look around, pretend you’re a visitor in your own town & see all things you missed as you were cruising by. Pick up some flowers to share with someone or use them to brighten your own space. Be silly, spread joy, share some kindness. It doesn’t take much effort to find the bad/negative news. I challenge you to look for the good stories. Find something to be grateful for. Share that with others.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Take it off cruise this week on purpose. Maybe you’ll discover something new.

Wait, we are NOT related?

(photo of me & my actual sisters in Waco)

I grew up in a small town in ND. The population was around 500 people at the time. We lived in a 1911 era farm house on the edge of town. Town was on one side of the gravel road and we were on the other. We had a hobby farm with a few cattle and some sheep. My parents’ friends lived less than a block away. My mom’s best friend was Lois. She was the one who helped fix my hair when my mom was out of town. They stuck by my parents through some rough times. She was the first example of a “sister friend.” Even though my mom has many sisters, they didn’t live in the same town. Lois has been my mom’s Gayle. Oprah said “everyone needs a Gayle. Someone they can call up anytime. Someone to listen, not judge and be honest with.”

When my husband and I got our first house, we ended up living pretty close to them again. Our kids grew up hearing us talk about what they were up to and visiting just like relatives do. Recently, my oldest son and I were talking and somehow mentioned Lois. He said, “Wait, we are NOT related? I always thought we were.” I’m not sure what relation he thought we were, but he knew that we were close. I said, “It is kind of like you guys growing up with our Jessie and her kids. You spend more time together than many cousins and get along better than siblings.” It made sense to him then. I didn’t tell him Jessie is my Gayle because he’s not a fan of Oprah and he wouldn’t know what I’m talking about.

To be a “sister friend” is an honor. You get to love someone like your sister. If she already has a sister, you are not taking her place… you’re filling in, being there physically, enhancing each other’s life. I know that if I called up my sister friend, she would first off know something is wrong because I’d rather text… but she would listen and be there. When we lived closer, we’d go for walks. Literally miles would be walked – more or less, depending on the events of the day and the status of the kids. We still keep in contact, almost daily. We both miss our in person walks, but we will settle for the texts and the time we do spend together because we get each other, just like sisters.

This week, I am lucky enough to be traveling with my sisters to Texas. We stayed with my niece and her husband, met up with our aunt, uncle and cousin. We’ve laughed and eaten, walked and driven, laughed and eaten some more. We’ve crossed things off our bucket list and tried new things. We’ve had fun shopping and enjoying the 75 degree weather (it’s 112 degrees warmer than MN was last week!) Our time together is short, but we are thankful to be together. Whether you have a sister or a sister friend, take time to cherish them. Include them in your life, let them know how much they mean to you. Even if life takes you in different directions, you can always make time for each other. I’m 150 miles from one sister and almost 2,000 from the other, but they are in my heart every day.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. And if you’re in Waco, stop for the cupcakes at Magnolia bakery. They are amazing!

What’s your super power?

Last week, I wore a T-shirt that says #writer. It’s chilly in MN (it was -1 that day), so I wore my buffalo plaid shirt over the top of it. I realized I was self conscious and almost changed shirts. “What if someone says something?” I kind of felt like Clark Kent. Writing, for me, is a bit of a Superman type secret. Not everyone in my normal life knows that I write a blog each week. I’m not sure all of my relatives know either… or maybe they just chose not to read it. Some days I think it would be great to have a large following and other days I struggle to feel worthy enough to be an inspiration.

WordPress does a neat job of showing how many people read your blog. It also shows where they are from. One day, I had a bunch of readers from Ukraine and I was a little worried that I was being flagged or something. That lasted one day, so I figured they realized I was kind of boring and not any type of threat or spy. I’ve had people from all over the world read my words. It’s kind of cool, if you think about it. Without the internet (and my phone), I couldn’t reach this many people. I am going to be writing a book. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve had people tell me I have to write but they didn’t say what it should be. I’ve leaped forward into classes and then I’ve slunk back into my cave, wondering what my topic should be and if anyone other than my 24 followers would read it.

Superpowers. While writing isn’t really a super power, it’s something I do that isn’t known to everyone. Maybe my writing makes someone feel like they’re not alone or that they are enough. Do you have a secret talent? A super power of sorts? Something you love to do but you aren’t sure if you should share it with the world? What if you shared it? What would happen? Everyone is good at something or has something they love to do. Most of the time, if it’s something you love to do, you’re probably pretty good at it. Part of what makes it good is the joy that it brings to you. Each time I write, I feel like I am giving something of myself. When someone reads & comments and even shares my words, that brings me joy. I also love to bake. It is like therapy for me and I love that it brings joy to others. I enjoy sewing and gardening and tending to my chickens.

Whatever your super power, I hope you will feel it’s good enough to share with others. Start out small if you need to. Remember that you don’t need validation from others though- if you love doing it and it brings you joy, then it’s already enough. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

Find one thing …

This is my cat in his “cat cave.” I’m jealous… I wish they made them for humans. Ever feel like you’re at the tipping point? Just on the edge of ok and not ok? Yeah. Me too. Some things seem silly and still drive me nuts. There is a road sign by a beach area – it’s a yellow sign suggesting to slow down. It’s winter in Minnesota. Nobody is at the beach. It’s not even plowed out as an ice fishing access. Every day I drive by it twice, and most days someone slows down for the beach area. I let it bother me. I know it shouldn’t but it does, so that frustrates me. When I know how to respond or how to act, but I don’t do it, I get frustrated with myself. I feel like a pouting kid needing a “time out.”

I’ve taken a lot of classes, read books and gone to retreats to help me be more self aware. I am much more aware of what things trigger me and how to respond. It doesn’t mean that I respond appropriately on a regular basis. I know I feel more relaxed when I meditate. I know I feel more clear when I am outside. I know I feel more grounded when I go for a walk. I know my mind feels less cluttered when I journal. Some days I feel like I have a tool box full of options and it is sitting on a shelf, just out of reach. That’s when I am jealous of my cat and want to crawl into a cave.

We had the cloudiest January in Minnesota this year. When the sun doesn’t shine for days on end and it’s cold & snowy outside, it can impact people’s moods. It does for me. I’ve been frustrated with others, frustrated with myself and just out of sorts. I think it’s a reminder to me that we are all human. Even when we know what to do, sometimes we struggle to follow through. Some days it feels easier to be like my cat and hide away.

This week, I challenged myself to find one good thing about the day. Even when things go wrong, I am going to find at least one positive. I know that focusing on the crappy stuff brings in more crappy stuff. The things that frustrate me in others are often a mirror to what frustrates me about myself. I can’t even fix it with a Snickers because I’m trying to eat healthier. So instead of candy or saying something I’ll regret, I’ll try gratitude. I’ll try focusing on something good. Will I be 100% positive? Probably not. But it’s enough because it’s a start. We all have to start somewhere and each day is a new day.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Give yourself some grace, but challenge yourself to find at least one good thing about your day. You’re worth it!