Friday, September 15, 2017

Back to the "Real World"

I hate that phrase, real world, like vacation isn't real.  But in all seriousness, I am starting to feel the structure of my day to day activities creeping in.  Don't get me wrong, I love my daily life, I love volunteering, exercising with my friends and taking care of our home.  Those are things that bring me joy.  Yet, I find myself sitting here on the balcony, looking out at this amazing view and thinking about the things that I have waiting "to be done" back at home.



Vacation is that special place where these things don't exist.  Where I put my "to do" list on the back burner and just absorb all the nothingness I can.  I sit and listen to the waves crash on the shore, watch the seagulls fly by, and feel that wonderful ocean breeze on my skin  I know as I leave tomorrow morning there will be that pit in my stomach, I can almost feel it now.  As we are driving away from the coast, I feel like I could live here forever.  And maybe I could, or maybe it is that complete relaxation that I would miss more than anything.  And I know I could never "live" in that state.  I would get bored easily.  And I know that once I am home and my dogs are jumping up in my lap, I will feel at peace.

So maybe it is the transition that I am resisting.  That change from vacation to home.  And in reality I probably need to work more "nothingness" or "complete relaxation" into my daily schedule.  For now, I am going to sit here and watch the waves while I still can.  I am going to plan my upcoming week so that things are smooth, and I will be easy on myself and my family.  I hope you all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Ocean Always Feels Like Going Home


Do you ever have the feeling when you are traveling?  Like you are going somewhere special, somewhere important and you just need to be there.  That feeling always comes over me when we travel to the coast.  I almost said traveling to the beach but really it isn't the beach, lakes don't do it for me.  And it isn't the sand, because I can be going to the Maine coast, which is rocky and get that same feeling.  That pull, like you just need to be there, and nothing else is as important in that moment but seeing the ocean and getting your feet in that salt water.  I love looking out and not seeing anything but wave after wave of gorgeousness.  Not seeing anything.  But seeing complete freedom and endless possibilities.  That is how I feel, like typing this and watching the waves, I could conquer anything, do anything.





We drove in late Saturday night, but I could smell the ocean.  And I couldn't wait to get my feet wet.  Walking along the beach the next morning was spectacular.  Not many people out, as the hurricane was headed toward Florida and everyone here was preparing for bad weather, although now bad was not known.  So we almost had the beach to ourselves.  I stood at the shore and just felt a surprising calm take over, like I was home.  Even though this coastline isn't the same as home in Maine, it is the same ocean, and the same feeling.  Watching the crashing waves on Monday was eerily so much like home, wave after wave beating the shore line, amazing sound.


I felt calm, like my dad was right beside me telling me everything was OK now.  I started tearing up as we walked along the waves.  I know he would have loved this place.  He loved and lived the ocean.  I so remember going out with him on the boat.  I remember feeling the spray of salt water.  I remember watching him work.  When I am here at the coast, I hear my dad and know that life is good.

I do love where we live in North Carolina.  More and more, as we hike the mountains there, I feel like we made exactly the right decision as to our home.  I am feeling like those mountains called my name, and I am so glad I listened.  But this ocean is always beckoning me home, with its powerful memories.  So I know I will live my life between the two.  Traveling back and forth, touching old memories and making new ones.  Taking what I need and leaving the rest for others.  Enjoy those moments, wherever you are and wherever you call home.


Most of you know that I lost my dad to suicide 20 years, 10 months and 13 days ago.  I miss him every day, it is something I walk through this world with, and without.  I will be walking in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Walk, again this year in Asheville on October 8th.  If you would like to help me, help the AFSP in reducing suicide, please consider donating to my walk.  Here is the link to my page.  Any amount is appreciated.   Also this  week is National Suicide Prevention Week.   Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  On average there are about 121 suicides per day.  We can change this, you can make a difference, please consider donating to the link I listed.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Beacon Heights

Beacon Heights is really not a hike, although all the web sites say it is a 1 mile total in and out hike, I bet it is about 1/2 that and it is an easy in and out.  The views are amazing, although we felt a little like we cheated to get them.  Much more rewarding if the hike is difficult and ends with amazing views.  This is a well traveled path, there are some rock "steps", and you will not be alone on this one.  Obviously a popular spot, there were many people out here talking, picnicking, gathering and sitting on the rocks.  But if you are looking for an easy hike and beautiful views, this is the hike for you.  And it is so close to Boone, you might as well stop into Coyote Kitchen for lunch afterward.


In this photo you can see Table Rock and Hawk's Bill in the background








This view is in the other direction, looking back toward Grandfather Mountain.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Big Lost Cove Cliffs Hike

The Big Lost Cove Cliffs hike.  We really enjoy this hike as it is near by with beautiful views.  So we have hiked this before and probably will again.  I think these photos were from 2 weekends ago, busy weekend but we took a Sunday and hit the mountain.  Beautiful, peaceful, only us and the rattlesnake. This was the first time I have run into a rattlesnake while hiking.  He was pretty amazing as well.  We let him be and he let us be.


Great place for lunch and a nap

It feels like you can see forever









Monday, August 28, 2017

People Are More Important Than Things

" People are more important than things." I keep this mantra rolling in my head.  It was a phrase my mother lived by, but she never said it quite that way.  She always believed that she could be anywhere and could do anything as long as her family was with her.

I once asked my husband, "if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?"  He responded that as long as the kids and I were with him, he could live anywhere, it didn't matter.  I thought that was a great answer.

And in thinking about the events of the past couple of weeks, with civil war statues and monuments, I think it is important to really evaluate personal values and belief systems.  Are statutes more important than people or are people what really matters.  People matter more than things.  Here is what I wrote in a letter to the editor:

"The events of the past few days have really made me stop and think.  Think about why this Maine girl ended up here in Burke County.  I know there is a Confederate monument in Morganton.  But really I have not taken the time to stop and read what it is about.  It holds no place in my heart, it means nothing to me.

But I can tell you what does mean something to me.  This is the place where my boys grew into fine young men.  This is the county where my husband found work, when we were looking for a place to call home.  The mountains call to me, the trees breath life into this community.  I am surrounded by such amazing diversity.  I have made friends with people of different cultures, races, religions and no religion.  This diversity has enriched my life beyond measure.  I enjoy talking with people who were born and raised in Burke County as well as people who were born all over the county and the world but have also landed here in the place and in this time. 

I see the hatred elsewhere and know that there are people here who would do anything for me and my family, as I would for them.  I may not agree with everyone on everything, but I can always find common ground somewhere.  That is why I call Burke County home. "

Remember that people matter more than things, reach out and find that common ground.  


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Release

I was listening to NPR this past weekend.  There was an interview with Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply

During the interview she was recounting a couple of life changing personal experiences.  A miscarriage at 5 months of pregnancy, and the loss of her marriage from her spouse's addiction. The interview was so interesting that I purchased the book and am just starting it now.  Toward the end of the interview she said something so profound, it made me stop and think.  The author talked about coming to the realization that those were things in her life over which she had no control. That all this time she was trying to change those things, and it was a futile attempt.  She had to let go of those circumstances, release that effort of control, and focus on those areas of her life which were under her control, those things she could impact to change her life situation.

She decided to let go, to release.  That word, release, was my word for the year 2014.  A thoughtful, life changing word for me. Releasing events, people, circumstances, effort, things, and making room for more, so much more.

It can be so freeing to let go.  Try it.  Really take inventory of your life, every aspect, your friends, your interests, your relationships, your living situation and make decisions.  Are these things working for you, are they moving you in a forward direction toward more.  Or are they wasted effort.  Are there areas you want to change over which you have control, or does that control fall somewhere else. Then make the conscious choice to let go, to release.  When you release you free up space in your head, in your life, in your day, for other relationships to blossom, for other ideas to percolate, for other interests to take root.  You free up time to work toward the change you want to see happen.  You free up energy to work on those areas that pull on your attention.  Great things happen when you make the choice to release that which is not serving you.

I need to revisit that space periodically.  Like a room in my house, it needs cleaning on a regular basis.  I need to focus energy on releasing, to make way for continued growth.  I am so looking forward to reading this book, and seeing her process.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Have Tos...

A friend of mine, on social media, posed a question a few days ago, on her page, 'what do your children have to spend their own personal money on.'  And that isn't an exact quote, but pretty close. I was going to respond, then I decided to hold back after I read a couple of the responses.  I was questioning my interpretation of her question and figured I had not understood what she was asking, so I passed it by. But couldn't help thinking about it over the course of the next several days.

As I read her question, in my own head, what I was hearing was "What options do your children have available on which to spend their own personal money."  I gathered after reading the responses, that the intended meaning was "what items do you, as the parent, make your children purchase with their own personal money."  Way different intent, and meaning.  I guess it does show how my thinking has evolved over my 23 years of parenting.  In thinking back to my own childhood, I would have taken that question to be a parenting question of force.  But in my evolution, I am happy to say, that my initial interpretation was one of options.  So much more freeing, so much more autonomy, less about control and judgment.  I am so pleased with my process and my thinking.  It really shows how what initially might take time and effort to change, will become a gut instinct.  That you really can change how you think and respond on a deep level, it may take time but it can be done and is worth every moment of effort.

As a reader, it also confirms, to me, why face to face interactions are important, and on line conversations can be difficult, for me.  You can't always read an intent.

Back to the question, the answer I was going to leave in response, would have been something like...
"Lots of things.  My children have lots of interests and save some of their money, they do enjoy purchasing new computer games, steam games.  They also choose books or at times art supplies. Those are some of the choices they make about spending their own personal money."  I won't get into the "have to" aspect as my boys have never "had to" do anything.  When issues arise we work on them as a family, and that includes money issues.  A topic for another day.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Connections

Standing in line this morning at Lowe's Home Improvement in Morganton, there was a man in line in front of me and I looked down and what tattoo did he have on his leg....a leg lamp....YES on his leg, how funny.  I thought to myself, how cool is that, we have something in common (no not a leg lamp tattoo) but the love of the all time number one Christmas movie, A Christmas Story.  Too funny, I love it.  As this man stood there reading his phone he turned slightly and what T shirt did he have on....another whoo hoo....it was a Citizens Earth Media T shirt.  OK so we have at least those two things in common.  The guys that own Citizens Earth Media are awesome.  I almost said something to the man about his tattoo and his T shirt, but you know my introverted self, I didn't.

Went about my day and then in the grocery store this evening I saw another man with a Mountain Burrito T shirt on.  A delicious local restaurant here.  I am sure you have heard me talk about them before, if we want a picnic to take hiking that doesn't involve a lot of work on my part, we go to Mountain Burrito.

It just really made me think about all the little things we have in common with other people that we never realize.  That if I actually put myself out there I bet I could connect with everyone on some level.  It might not be anything deep or meaningful, but a connection.  Some place that we could put all the things we don't have in common aside and just connect for that one second.  A brief moment to share a common trivial, or not so trivial, item.

I bet we could all do that.  Maybe I need to start reaching outside my shell just a bit more and start connecting with strangers in my path every day.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Growing and Changing

Wow, my oldest turned 23 on Tuesday.  We were unbelievably busy on Tuesday so he chose to celebrate yesterday instead.   His pick was out to eat at The Wisteria, a local restaurant we enjoy. And then it was home for cake, ice cream and presents.  He chose, again this year, a sachertorte, for his cake.  He likes this, but it is a lot of egg, so I am out on this one.  He loved it, so I loved making it.  It is so hard and yet easy to believe he is 23.  I remember everything, the day he was born (of course) all of his firsts, just like they were all yesterday.

I have my BSN and had worked in the NICU and the well baby nursery, I was a lactation consultant and a Lamaze instructor, but none of that prepared me for how amazing and challenging motherhood has been.  Such a wonderful new adventure that changes daily.  I wouldn't change a thing and have loved every second of it.  I can't wait to see what is next for this amazing young man, as well as his brother.

It is just hard to believe, sometimes, that we have lived and laughed here in Burke County North Carolina for almost 20 years.  Hard to believe that I am the mother of a 23 year old human being.  Ah, such is life, my life, a wonderful life of growth and change.


In the photo you can see his tiny hand prints on the wall toward the top right.  
Those were done in the year 2000.  So tiny.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Anti Choice

OK I just deleted a comment from one of my social media pages.  It was against a woman's right to choose an abortion and I have no intention of giving that anti woman stance a platform on my page.  But I did have a few things to say about that.

First off I call it like it is, it is anti choice.  It is NOT pro life.  And I know you have all heard the argument that pro life would mean you would also be concerned for a being once it was born, for feeding, housing and educating that life.  But I would suggest it goes further than that, and would include health care for everyone, since everyone was born at some point.  Pro life would indicate an affinity for social programs that would lift people up, make sure everyone is properly fed, not just cheap unhealthy processed food.  It would indicate you want to support education in all forms at all ages, and a living wage for everyone.  It would also indicate that we should be looking at our elder care, retirement and nursing homes, social security and make sure beings are held with the utmost respect and care.  But that doesn't seem to be the case at all.  So I will call it anti choice.

Anti choice for women specifically.  Not anti choice for everyone, because if that were the case they would also be attacking penile implants, condoms, and erectile dysfunction medications.  So let's be clear it is against women specifically, anti birth control for WOMEN and anti abortion.

One of the greatest factors that impacts a woman's independence, social and economic standing and state of mind, is her ability to choose if/when she has children.  So controlling a woman's fundamental choice on pregnancy is, in my mind, an attempt to control women in general.  Punish them for being sexual beings or punish them for being victims.

So yes, anyone that comments "baby killer" on any of my posts about abortion, will have that comment removed.  If you don't approve, you can block my posts so you don't see them, or delete me as a friend.  It really won't hurt my feelings and actually I won't even notice unless you are one of those that feels the need to announce your exit.

If you are so "pro life" as you say, why not stop attacking and blaming, and start working in areas that really matter. Areas where we can lift women up, give women more independence, and more choices. Lets expand medicaid because nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid. Lets make prescription and non prescription drugs more affordable, those prenatal vitamins add up.  Let's work on housing for the homeless, feeding all those I see in the soup kitchen lines.  Let's make sure people have the education they want and a living wage, so that these families can take care of these babies you preach about protecting every day.  Let's have real sex education in every school, and contraception affordable and easily attainable.  Why don't we work on making health care real, and everyone enrolled in a health care program, so that people are healthy and happy.

Instead of trying to place women in that dependent, subservient role, why not expand the options available.  Bring real meaning to that phrase "pro life".

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Recycling Plastic Bags

At a recent meeting of the Burke County Democratic Party Environmental Committee, we were discussing the recycling of plastic bags.  Just about every grocery store now has bins for taking your grocery bags to have them recycled.  Which is awesome.  I rarely use the grocery store bags, I take my own reusable bags.  But occasionally I forget or I am out and need to stop at the store and don't have a bag with me, so I do build up a little supply of the plastic and paper grocery bags.  I use them in the tiny bathroom trash cans and I had mentioned that I use them to crochet with occasionally, although that is harder than it looks.  I also used them as covers for my art journals.  I enjoy painting but much of the time I just don't have enough time for large projects so I keep an art journal and try to take 15-120 minutes a day to do something in it.  Nothing specific or planned out, just spontaneous random art that makes me happy.



Anyway, back to the cover, I use the plastic grocery bags and kind of fuse them together for a cover. I start with an iron set at a medium setting, and I generally adjust the heat as I go along.  Cut the bags and layer three bags between two sheets of parchment paper, lightly move the iron over the sheets until they are fused together.  I then add different colors of bags and more bags as I go along to get the thickness I want and the size I need.  Cut it down to the size you are looking for and it is great.  I think it adds to the recycled style of the journal as I use paper grocery bags, cut down, for the paper inside and I use bits and pieces of junk mail and magazines in my work.  So it all feels very recycled and loved.

I use an easy 5 hole pamphlet stitch for the binding, and here is a great video for that, if you are interested.



So here are pictures of my art journal, inside and out.  Sorry for the glare, I took these quick pics with my phone:



















Friday, June 16, 2017

Leachate...what is that?

Do you know what leachate is? No, me neither. I had to look that one up. Leachate is water that has percolated through a solid and leached out some of the constituents.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leachate  Why am I concerned about leachate? In reading through a few current bills before the North Carolina House of Representatives, I ran across House Bill 576, Allow Aerosolization of Leachate. This bill outlines what to do with leachate, or waste drainage water, from landfills. So, let that sink in for a minute, think of everything you throw away in your trash on a daily or weekly basis. Think about your neighbors with babies, or elderly populations. Think about the pets, think about food waste, just think about what goes into the landfill each day. And when it rains and filters through all that waste, the leachate is the result. 

That is the first part of the process. Now aerosolization, involves spraying this untreated leachate into the air, allowing any solid particles to settle and the water to evaporate. Now for a moment, think back to recent forest fires. I know here at my house, even though the fires were many miles away, the wind carried the smoke, making it difficult to breath. And then the ash in the smoke settled on everything. I thought about this when I was thinking about House Bill 576. If this putrid liquid run off from all the rotting, disintegrating trash is sprayed into the air, what keeps it at the landfill, preventing the wind from carrying it to neighboring property? Do I really want this blowing over to my house, settling on the land where I grow vegetables to feed my family, lakes in which we fish and swim? Who guarantees the quality of well water? These are important questions.

I read some more about leachate, wondering how long bacteria and viruses can survive, will that present a health risk when aerosolizing leachate. Really, I couldn’t find much. I did read one research paper from the Environmental Protection Agency (remember this is an agency that has been threatened with elimination) that states "This study showed that live infectious viral agents can persist for days, weeks, even months in the landfill leachate under certain environmental conditions."https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?dirEntryId=335601 

This bill has me concerned. Oversight of this activity in North Carolina falls under the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), here in North Carolina. The DEQ is an agency under attack by the North Carolina Budget proposals, some of our representatives in Raleigh would like to slash the DEQ budget. Is there anyone in Raleigh looking out for the best interests of the people? I am starting to think we need an overhaul of the General Assembly. Find and elect people who care about those they serve. People who have not lost touch with living in a rural community. Maybe it's time for a change. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Birthday Card

OK this is the birthday card that my boys made this year.  I LOVE it.  There was so much thought put into this card and it so speaks to my heart.   Here is the card:


The boys explained it like this... The moon represents their father.  The planet on the left is Mars, which represents my youngest son, Phillip.  He was born March 22 and is an Aries which has Mars as a ruling planet.  The planet on the right represents my oldest son, Dallen.  And even thought he is a Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon, they felt that their father's role in the family was more in line with the moon.  That big shining Sun on the card is me.  And my son said "mom that sun is you because you are the center of this family and you hold the family together."  That sentiment just brought tears to my eyes.  I have such an amazing family, so thoughtful and caring.  It feels so amazing to be surrounded by so much love.  My heart and my house are full of love.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Charmed Life

I have been told by more than one person, on more than one occasion, that I lead a "charmed" life.  I think it was meant as a compliment, although I am not positive.  It made me really think about my life.  I would not necessarily think I lead a charmed life.  First off I think that phrase leads a person to believe that her life is not in her own hands.  Like my life has turned out the way it has by chance, or because I had some magical upbringing.  I assure you, I did not.  I grew up poor, as so many of us did.  My parents often times struggled to make ends meet, although they did not discuss financial matters with my brothers and I.  But even so, as kids, we picked up on those things.

I also lost both of my parents, tragically, when I was younger.  I had just turned 29, and my oldest son was not quite a year old when my mother died in a car accident, and I was 30 when my father died by suicide.  I am 50 now, and have no parents or grandparents.  I have navigated parenting without my mother to call for advice or a shoulder to cry on.  Not sure it sounds like a charmed life.

My personality, however, is one to pick up and keep moving forward.  So even though I have had tragedies in my life, I have always worked though those and found the joy in my today.  I can hold grief for what I have lost, and joy in what I have, in my heart at the same time.  I choose not to live in fear and grief, although I have my moments.

I really believe that we make our own choices in life.  I am not one to live with regret, or in a place of martyrdom.  I take my own joy and happiness in my own hands, it isn't up to someone else to make me happy or ensure that today is a joy-filled day.  I do that myself by the choices I make.  I outline my future, I choose how to respond to events, I choose what I want today, I make things happen in my life, I choose my relationships. Not a mythical being, or magic, or fate or chance.

I think relationships are huge. Even as an introvert, the people I choose to have in my life, add to my life, they are people that inspire me, that I enjoy being around.  If a relationship is one sided, shouldn't we be asking ourselves why we continue in that environment.  Not all my friends are alike, they don't think the same, have the same hobbies and passions, they have such differing views.  But they all add to my life, and the joy of my life.  Some are friends that I have had for YEARS, and some are newer friendships.  I just don't hang onto friendships that are draining, or one sided, or feel like they are bringing me down, sucking my energy.  That doesn't serve me well, and it doesn't serve my family well.

So I work hard to have a life I enjoy, that stays on target with my deeper ideals.  I make a point of staying in touch with friends, and seeking out new opportunities for growth and new friendships.  I want to live a joy filled life.  I plan for tomorrow and live in today.  So it might look like I have a charmed life.  But I can tell you that I don't, there is no magic involved.  I work for the life I have, and choose how to respond to situations.

Anyone can live a life like that.  It won't look like my life, it will look like your life.  Take some time to think about what you want in your life that you don't have now.  There are so many books out there to help you see that life, and work out a plan to make things happen.   There is no fate.  Live your joy-filled life.  Live the life that makes you happy and makes other people think YOU live a "charmed" life.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Reproductive Rights are NEGOTIABLE?

"To recap: On Wednesday, Sanders gave an interview in which he said that he “didn’t know” if Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who the day before had earned more than 48 percent of the primary vote in a longtime Republican House district in Georgia, was a progressive......Sanders’s definition of what constitutes a progressive became even murkier when he suggested that the election of Heath Mello, who’s running for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska — and who as a state senator sponsored a 20-week abortion ban and mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions — would represent a “shot across the board, that in a state like Nebraska a progressive Democrat can win.” Not to be outdone, Perez amplified the message that reproductive rights are negotiable for the Democratic Party. " (http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/04/bernie-sanders-and-tom-perez-must-not-abandon-womens-rights.html)

When did the Democratic party decide that women's rights are negotiable?  Women, according the the 2010 census, make up over 50% of the United States population and yes there my party goes, throwing us under the bus.  And how exactly is that "progressive", a term that Bernie Sanders loves to embrace with all his might. When I look up the word progressive in the dictionary I see "favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters." (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/progressive?s=t) So how can anyone call themselves progressive and not stand firm on a woman's right to autonomy over her own body.  Economic issues are non negotiable but basic human rights to self determination are up for grabs.

A woman's right to choose when and where she wants to start a family, or not at all, are core to her social and economic standing.  Why do men find it so easy to negotiate about women.  Why is it OK to throw 50.8% of the population under the bus rather than take a stand for what is right.  If we were talking about a man's right to autonomy, things would be different.  And, in fact they are.  A man has complete autonomy over his body, to the detriment of women.  Men easily get a "pass" for rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse, sexual assault just because they are men.  We excuse this behavior and men are allowed complete control.  And yet women are still struggling for this same basic right.

I think it is crucial to remember this, when we think about the equal rights amendment.  So many people think it has already been ratified, but it has not.  And yes, North Carolina, the state I love and call home, is one of those states that refuses to ratify the ERA.  In doing so, that would mean that women are indeed equal to men, and would have the same rights and protections under the law.  We can't have that happen, can we.

As we erode the right of women to have autonomy with regard to abortion decisions, and contraceptive decisions, we tear at the very heart of what it means to be equal. One day we will wake up and have no rights at all.  We are moving backward. And not speaking the word abortion does not make it go away.

So I would challenge everyone to think about what the word progressive really means before you jump on that bandwagon.  The word is slowly losing any meaning it once had, and will end up in the pile of overused words, like "natural" or "organic".  So watered down that anyone and everyone will be calling themselves progressive.  If you are only moving forward on a few issues, and moving backward on others, aren't you really standing still.  Until everyone has the right to affordable, COMPREHENSIVE, accessible, safe medical care, including everything the medical community has to offer, we are not equal.  Until women have complete autonomy over their own bodies, we are not equal.

Reproductive autonomy is crucial, and not negotiable.  Winning a state while throwing women away is not the way to go.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Common Ground

This T shirt has become one of my favorite shirts these days.  First off my husband bought it for me when we visited Maine a couple of years ago and attended the fair.  I remember this fair (much much smaller) when I was a child and loved it then.  I wanted to bring my boys to see the fair.  So different from what you would expect at a Maine fair.  I just loved it, I want to go every year, although that isn't really possible with all of the other trips we want to make, but you get the picture.  It is wonderful to be around so many like minded people.  Love the whole environment.

But it is also my favorite shirt for other reasons.  It serves as a reminder to me that we all do share common ground.  Not only the ground we walk on, but the community in which we live and the world around us. When we take the time to talk to each other, we will find that we have more in common that we thought, and finding that common ground gives us a place to start to build a relationship.  I have always found the idea of seeking out the common ground to be true, in my family, in my community and with complete strangers. You all know what an introvert I am, so talking to strangers is difficult, but when you can find that common ground, it makes conversations that much easier.

I think we all need to remember common ground, as we go about our day.  In difficult situations as well as the easy ones. Relate to people, build a relationship.  Even if it is a relationship that will only last the five minutes we are together, make it real, make that connection, find that common ground.

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Getting Back to Meditation

I am getting back to my meditation practice. Over the years I have gone months on and off with meditation. It seems like when I am feeling busy in my life, meditation is the first thing I cut out.  Which, ironically is the last thing I should cut out.  It is a peaceful time of emptying my mind and just being in the moment in my space. The same thing used to happen with any form of exercise, which is meditative for me as well.  But as soon as I feel busy, exercise used to be the first thing I would eliminate.  I made the promise to myself about exercise and have kept that promise for over three years now.  So I am ready to make the same promise to myself about meditation.  I mean when I think of all the excuses, there really is NO excuse I can think of to not take even five minutes for myself in meditation.  So that is my promise, five minutes, at least.

I have been back meditating now for three days, and even five minutes is hard.  And I remember this feeling before, that "newbie" feeling, when all of a sudden, when you are still, every thought you have ever had seems to find its way to the surface and demand your attention.  I bring myself back to my breath and let the thought float away like a leaf on a stream.  Not sure where I picked up that visualization but it helps, to visualize your thought as a leaf that floats down from a tree to the surface of a stream and is carried away.  It helps to clear my mind, making it easier to come back to my breath.  But man, right now there are just a lot of leaves in there. I know it will get better, and it will be easier to find that empty space.

I have always enjoyed meditation.  ESPECIALLY when life is busy, to clear it all away and just breath, even for a few minutes.

If you have never meditated before it is pretty simple.  Here is a great link with easy steps to start.   https://zenhabits.net/meditation-guide/

I hope you enjoy your meditation practice and find it useful!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sitting Bear Mountain Hike

This was actually a pretty easy hike, we hiked from Gingercake Acres up to Sitting Bear Mountain.  Great views all around.  Couple of great overnight camp sites that I will remember for warmer weather.  This is a hike Jackson wanted to do as he wanted to hike all the mountains in the area.  We had already done Shortoff Mtn, and Table Rock, Hawksbill and I can't remember if there are any more right in this area, but this was the last of them for Jackson.  Great couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.