What NOT to do…

We are used to seeing signs and messages about what NOT to do… No parking, no smoking, no loitering. We don’t think twice about their meaning. For the most part, they are straight forward and make sense. But what about people? Do you have people in your life who are showing you what NOT to do? Sometimes, I feel like we ignore those people as being signs or teachers. We dismiss them as being annoying or mean or frustrating, but maybe they have a message for us.

If everyone crosses our path for a reason, the difficult people are there for a reason too. For example, the person who is really prejudiced…did they teach you to be more accepting of others? The person who is ungrateful and rude…did they teach you to use softer words and say “thank you” more? I feel like if someone is in my path to teach me something, they won’t leave until I learn it… or someone new and similar will show up. Sometimes it’s a reflection on how I talk to myself (mean things in my head about my weight or writing or parenting). Until I fix or heal those things, I will keep getting opportunities to learn more.

There are plenty of people who are good examples too. The people who you admire, look up to or strive to be like – they also have something to teach us. If we see something positive in others, we should look for it in ourselves too. So, if you are also a teacher for others, what are you going to choose to be?… the positive example or the example of what NOT to do? Each day on Earth, we have a choice. On your journey of enough, I hope you will be a positive example to others and learn from those who can’t seem to find a silver lining.

Friday the 13th…

It’s Friday the 13th. This is my black cat. Did you worry about this day? Were you anticipating the bad things that would happen? If you were planning on the day being bad or full of mishaps you were probably right. If you hadn’t noticed what day it was, or weren’t worried about what would happen, you were also probably right.

I’m learning about the power of thoughts… the background noise in our heads (Some is louder than others). What does your background noise sound like? Is it positive or negative. Whatever it is, it will shape your day. Do you plan on something going wrong? Then it’s likely it will. Do you look for the silver lining? Then it’s likely you will find it. “Thoughts become things.” I’m not sure who said it originally, but my boss said it recently & it really stuck. The saying, along with several classes I’m taking and groups I am a part of – has me shifting my thoughts. My black cat isn’t bad luck. The 13th day of the month doesn’t make it worse, regardless of the day it falls on in the week. Each day we have a choice to make… will it be a good day or a bad day? Some things are out of our control, but our reactions are within our control. If lots of things seem to be going wrong, search for the good. Find one thing, even a small thing & be thankful for that. The next day, try to find two positive things.

I wish you luck on your journey of enough, but mostly I wish you peace and happiness. I wish for you to experience joy and gratitude. Once you do, I hope you will share the good with others… share a smile, a word of encouragement, a compliment. You may be their “one thing” that they are thankful for today.

Pack your bags & try the pie….

It all started with a casual conversation…

My sister, Marie and her friend Heather were talking about spending some time with their daughters. “We should really do something with our girls before they go off to college next year… And while they still like us.” What the mom’s didn’t realize was that the girls overhead the conversation and it lit a spark. Both of them probably knew it was one of those things people say, wishing for it to happen, but knowing that it probably wouldn’t. Time would slip away, and before they knew it, they’d be off to college. So the girls, soon to be seniors in high school, took it upon themselves to plan a trip. The girls told the moms what days to take off of work and what to pack, but nothing else. “You need 3 days off, tennis shoes & shorts for sure.” No clues. No hints. No slip ups. Their lips were sealed, but their minds were racing. You could see the sparkle in their eyes when they talked about the upcoming adventure. 

The girls researched where to go, what things to do in the area, popular places to eat, etc. The moms were still totally unaware of what was in store. Anticipation was thick as they loaded up the car early in the morning of day 1. It was 3 hours into the trip before they found out where they were headed. Duluth, MN. 

Their 3 day adventure would take them biking along Canal Park, having meals by Lake Superior, a trip to Gooseberry Falls, Glensheen mansion & Betty’s Pies & more. 3 days. That’s it. This wasn’t a week long vacation to the Caribbean. It was 3 days in northern Minnesota, and it meant more to the moms than the girls will ever know. It meant that they cared enough to want to spend time together. It mean that they planned out their trip with excitement & mystery. It meant that the love those moms show their daughters came back full circle. It makes me emotional and teary eyed thinking about it. I’m sure it will make them all smile each time they think of their trip together. Time spent together that they wouldn’t trade for the world. 

Take the trip. Try the pie. Walk by the lake. Love. Laugh. 

It makes me think of a surprise trip that I planned 16 years ago. Cameron was about to turn 30, and I wanted to surprise him. Before kids, before 9/11, before airport security & before you needed a passport for Canada, I planned a surprise trip to Niagara Falls. I did have a binder and a plan but it was all secret to him. I got him to the airport & had his bags already packed. I had a sign with his name on it. His plane ticket was purchased & we were off.

We stayed on the Canadian Falls side & had a great time. We went on a biking trip to vineyards in the area and saw the falls up close. I normally don’t add this many pictures, but look at these kids!! I’m not sure what made us laugh at the vineyard picture, but I’m guessing it was something that seemed funnier given the amount of wine we had.

I realize that we do need to work to make a living, but it can’t be at the expense of our life. These moments won’t come around again. We don’t get a “do-over.” I still grin when I think about this trip – as will those 4 ladies when they think about their Duluth adventures.

On your journey of enough, take the time to have a detour. Go somewhere new. Try a new food. Have a new adventure. Stop and listen and soak it all in. Spend some time with those you hold dear. Oh, and for sure -have the pie! 

The rest of the story…

sunset lake

Some people don’t care for Facebook and others love it. The ones who dislike it usually do because they feel it’s “fake” or “too negative” or just not real. I understand that, but I happen to like it. I like to feel connected to my relatives and friends by seeing pictures of them. I slide past the ones that have too much drama or differing views and linger more on the pictures of family adventures or positive quotes. I “like” a bunch of positive quote sites or ones that are scripture based. It’s my way of letting in those reminders or nudges that I need just when I need them. Some days those posts are so meaningful and hit home so much that they make me teary (that happens more now than before.)

Yet with each smiling photo, there is a back story. Paul Harvey was frequently on in our family vehicle while I was young. His segment was “the rest of the story…” and would talk about the back story or give more info on what the headlines were talking about. I thought of that the other day when one of my favorite pictures of the boys popped up in my Facebook Memories. It’s of them at sunset standing by a lake. It’s a gorgeous picture. The “rest of the story” is that there were 10,000 mosquitos by the lake that night at dusk. The kids were getting eaten alive and they all tried to stay still long enough to get that photo then race back to the campground. I love the picture because I love the water and the lake and those 3 men in the photo. It also is a good reminder that things aren’t always as they seem. That mom that posted her smiling kids at the zoo… she might have just lost her cool before that about ice cream or them fighting about what animal they were going to see next. The photo of the runner who finished the marathon… his body is hurting more than you can tell, his toes are bloody and parts of his body are chafing that he’d rather not talk about. The person who has gained weight but took pictures anyway… maybe they are on medication that has caused it or 100 other reasons why. That doesn’t mean that we should stop sharing the photos. It just means that we should take them for what they are and not assume we know the back story.

We do that to people a lot. (At least I’m guiltier of it than I’d like to admit.) We assume we know “the rest of the story…”  We assume that the person in the meeting was just crabby. We don’t know that they just learned that a friend of theirs had passed away. We assume the clerk at the store is having a bad day. We don’t know that this is their second job just to make ends meet. We assume the kid at school is naughty. We don’t know that he’s unsure of when he will eat again over the weekend, and fearful of what will happen to him or his siblings. We THINK we know the rest of the story but we don’t. We should just reach out to people more and care more. Me included. When I post pictures of our family this coming week in Duluth, you wouldn’t know the back story (except I’m telling you now. You wouldn’t know that my Oncology follow up is Wednesday and this was a good distraction to make me think about the Dr. less and of my family more. You might not know that the recent loss of friends unexpectedly has made me want to embrace life. You might not be aware that we know our 13 year old might not think a “Tall Ship Festival” with his family will be cool in 3 years, so we are going now while it is.  We assume. You know what that does. (There is a saying that goes along with that – if you’re not sure, Google it) It leads us to either assume the best or the worst depending on what type of person we are. It makes us judge others when the judging is not ours to do.

My challenge to you is this… keep sharing pictures of your family, dog, cat, kids, and friends – whatever. Just don’t assume you know the rest of the story when you see someone else’s pictures, unless you’ve walked in their shoes. Even then, those shoes might be a different size. Share some love. Help people along their journey of enough – that good karma will come back to help you someday also. Peace be with you.

Turn over a new leaf…

Happy New Year. January 1st is the biggest “Monday” of all. Time to turn over a new leaf. Time to start a new good habit and lose an old bad one. “I’ll start my diet on Monday or on January 1st” – similar ideas. January is typically the time for new resolutions, when we think that somehow things will be different. It’s just a day. Or is it? This year it falls on Friday, which makes for a nice long weekend.

What are your New Years resolutions? What new leaf do you want to turn over? I’m not sure that I’ve decided what mine are. I’m kind of running out of time, huh?  I’m guessing I can come up with something. Here we go…

I will train for and run my 4th half marathon.  

I’m not sure if this counts as a resolution, but it’s something big that I’m planning to do. I start training the end of January. In the early morning. In North Dakota. What was I thinking? I’m not much of a morning person. Even though I’m typing this in my bed, on my phone, at 5 am, I’d rather be sleeping. Every Saturday for 16-18 weeks I will need to be up at this time to drive into Fargo (15-20 min) to run. I’m also not a big fan of winter. We run outside the whole time. And I’m not a fast runner. I jog and walk. I don’t do 8 minute mile pace runs. I’m more of a 12-15 minute girl. So, you may be wondering why I signed up for this. I kind of am too, but there are lots of reasons. Listing them will also help me to remember my motivation. 

1. Because I can. I can run. I lived through cancer & broken foot & hysterectomy. I should be able to go 13 miles.

2. I can be an advocate & raise money for Lend a Hand (an organization in Fargo who helps people with the financial struggles of medical costs)

3. It’s another time where I will get to wear lots of pink & raise awareness for young women – Get your mammogram!!

4. I will have a big cheering section. (I hope) This year, I’m requesting my family & friends to come out and cheer me on. I’ve run the Fargo Half Marathon before, but didn’t specifically ask people to come out & cheer me on. This year will be different. I want to see those people who cheered me on through my cancer struggle to cheer me on to this finish line. And, if you’ve never witnessed a marathon before, you will be inspired. Trust me.

5. My 3 biggest fans will be there. I want to show to my kids that I can do anything – and so can they. I also want to thank my husband for believing in me. (He will be the one with the megaphone & super loud cowbell)

So there. I have declared it. I also plan to lose some weight along the way and get healthier.

2016 will be a great year. Day 1 of the rest of my life. Cheers to you on your journey & whatever “finish line” you are looking to cross. We CAN do it!!  


Friday the 13th

Superstitious or not, it seems there is always something strange happening on Friday the 13th. Kind of like a full moon – people just seem “off” on those days. Today is one of those Friday the 13th’s. So to steer my thinking over to half full instead of half empty, every time I get frustrated, I try to think of something to be thankful for. So far today, I’ve been thankful that I can walk (previous broken foot make this one relevant). I’ve been thankful that I have a job – although it’s a stressful day, I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to support my family. I’ve been thankful for the sunshine at lunch time. It’s amazing to me what a nice sunny day can do to lift your spirits. I’ve been thankful for my muscle aches – it’s a reminder that I went to Livestrong last night and am working to be more fit. The more we shift our thoughts to a positive mindset, the more positive things will seem. I’ve had uplifting music on Pandora today, and I think that background message of hope is a good way to steer me towards the positive.

It’s easy to get caught up in negativity. Just watch CNN for a few hrs – wow. You’d think things are going to end tomorrow. I don’t want to ignore that bad things happen, but I also don’t want to dwell on them. Who wants to be around someone who is always complaining? Don’t get me wrong, I still vent – but I try to be brief (yet sometimes animated). I try not to dwell on the negative and let it ruin my day. Are there days that the concept of that seems very difficult? Yes, of course – it’s not like I have superpowers or something.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and less in the spirit of Friday the 13th, I challenge you to start a gratitude journal. Try to go for 30 days and write down something new that you are thankful for each day. The first few days may be pretty easy. I recently did this for almost 50 days. It causes you to notice and remember what you are thankful for each day. Perhaps it will seem less like a Friday the 13th and more like a day of Thanksgiving. Peace be with you on your journey of “enough”.