Monday, June 24, 2019

Top Twelve Tags & Search Terms

Someone heard I kept a blog and asked what I wrote about.  I said something like, "Oh, all sorts of stuff.  Food, hikes, books, tips on simple living and gardening.  Just all sorts of stuff I like.  It doesn't really have a theme....just my life."
Not long after, I joked over dinner that I actually talk more about food and nature than I do about my family or friends.  The tags confirm it.  Hmmmmm, that might be telling.

Or maybe not.  Several tags overlap, after all, and are almost always interlinked--Cooking of Food from the Garden in our Household to share with Friends, for example.

This top twelve list made me smile and nod.  I am a food and book obsessed treehugger who is very family oriented and enjoy music, animals, gardening, and hanging out with my friends... when I actually make myself stay home long enough from traveling to do so.  Yup, that's true.

Labels are funny though.  I mean, that is totally me, but there is so much more, too.  (I recently did a diversity workshop that included an exercise in self-labeling which was very interesting!)
Ruminating on these tags prompted me to check out the Google keyword search stats from my blog, too.  The list of Amish proverbs is still far and away the winner.  Forever and ever, it seems destined to hold on to this top spot.  I really do think that is telling.  Especially since the post is seven years old at this point.

I sincerely hope my review of various non-dariy milks has been helpful to folks and was fairly surprised to see it so high on the list.

I almost never think to mention it, but another topic I frequently cover:  Personal Statistics.  😉  There should probably be a tag for that...

Friday, June 21, 2019

Boot Laces and Love

He tied my shoe.

My new boots have slippery new shoelaces.  My right boot lace kept coming un-tied as we explored Petrified Forest National Park.  I tried double wrapping it.  I tried double knotting it.  And still.  So, I kept re-tying it every 15-20 minutes.

After like the tenth time it happened Matt stopped and tied my shoe for me.  Double wrapped and double knotted.  Tight and precise.  And it stayed.

Life and love are made of the little things, these tiny acts of care and kindness.

Today I welcome the Solstice--summer, glorious summer--and bask in the great blessing of fourteen years out on the trail with Matt, the last five as husband and wife.  We've got a cosmically good thing going, dancing around the sun together.
Wedding photo credit to Jenny Lynn Photography.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Inspiration Thursday: You Win Some, You Lose Some, You Keep Trying

I want to be a better person than I am.

Don't misunderstand.  I know I am good person and I have a lot of positive traits.  But, I also know I am too much of a miser.  I'm too quick to criticize.  I can be so cynical and hypocritical.  I am too frequently selfish or self-involved.  I fight against these tendencies because I strive to be a better, kinder, more honest, sympathetic, and generous person than my base animal nature would have me be.

Some days I do well.  Some days I fall on my face spectacularly.  Recently I had back-to-back experiences in which I quite disappointed myself one day and redeemed myself the next.
Earlier this week a friend dropped this video into my path and I had to ponder how much of a complainer I can be, too.  Could I go a whole day without complaining about the little annoyances that pepper my remarkably blessed life?

There is always going to be something to moan about (rainy days, bad restaurant service, aches and pains, misplaced belongings, dental procedures), but there is always so much more to be grateful for (clean water, love, family, cats, sunshine, flowers, full bellies, friendship, tasty beers, good books, a meaningful job, a nice home, a stupendous lifemate, and another day to live this life I love).

This sprung into my mind yesterday when I pulled up Facebook Messenger to complain to my besties about a woman who'd brought her increasingly unhappy toddler to the library and sat near my office for hours.  I realized my instinct was to find someone to complain to about it--about how put upon I was by the distraction and noise.

But, I checked myself.  I closed the Messenger app.

(I'm going to make up names here for clarity.)

I observed the young mother.  Kate sighed heavily and rubbed her forehead with strain as she tried to placate little Mary with snacks and videos before turning back to type at her computer.  Still Mary cried and cried, expressing her discontent at being cooped up in the library for hours.  Kate took Mary outside for a short walk in the stroller.  She tried to encourage nap time by pushing Mary back and forth in her stroller with a foot as she typed.  Mary was not having it though.  She was up and down and running all about the library with Kate repeatedly jumping up from her computer to give chase and bring Mary back to her desk.  Kate was typing a long document with a serious expression on her face.   She looked tired and sweaty and absolutely frazzled.

I realized that rather than complain I could try and be helpful.  I drummed up a can of Play-Doh and some crayons and asked Kate if I could offer them to Mary.  Kate was so grateful for the new distractions....not that they really helped all that much, but Kate's appreciation and gratitude still made it worth the effort.

Mary toddled into my office a while later (for the seventh time) and when Kate chased after her she apologized and we started to talk.  The young woman unloaded a little bit explaining that she'd just gotten notified her ex had filed new documents relating to their parenting plan and she had to file her reply with the court by Friday, but was going to be out of town so she only had the one day to work on it and it was so important and she was so worried and....on and on.  Kate then thanked me for listening and went back to writing, scanning, and updating her documents.

And I thought:  Well, I am sure glad I didn't complain to my friends.  My day/life is going so easy compared to all that.  That poor woman has enough weighing her down without me griping about noise when she's doing the best she can.  What did it matter in the grand scheme of things?  And what good would complaining have done?  I felt so light.  It was incredible, like I was actually winning the battle.  It was surreal how different I felt about the whole situation when I looked outside myself first.  It reminded me of the Arbinger training Matt's taken and that line my sister once told me about how it is never too late to be the person you aspire to be.

I'm sure I'll keep falling on my face.  Sticking my foot in my mouth.  Regretting and overthinking the careless things I say or do.  I am such a fallible human.  But, each day is a new day to try again.  How remarkable to think I've got so many chances to grow!