Travel Stories

I’m rarely home on the weekend between the months of November and April because I travel for my job. I fly out of Manchester on Friday morning so that I can arrive at my destination early enough to help the event organizers set up for their Saturday competition. Most of the time I spend all day Saturday working (if you could call what I’m doing work), and I head for home on Sunday. I spend a lot of time in airports and have had my flights delayed and cancelled. I’ve missed more than a few connecting flights, and a few weeks ago my luggage arrived at a destination that was more than 2000 miles away from where I was. I wish it had brought me a souvenir! I don’t often have the opportunity to sight-see, and my general impressions of the region are largely based on the people I meet at the event.

Fortunately, the people I meet are almost always wonderful, friendly, interesting and very passionate about volunteering. I hear amazing stories at the events I attend and more than once, I’ve been moved to tears.

At an event years ago, I met a team made up of kids from a life skills school – kids who for one reason or another were not thriving in traditional schools. For some kids, a life skills school is a last chance at a diploma. This group of young men and women were energetic and clearly having a blast. They weren’t terribly competitive but they were thrilled to be competing. They cheered for their team mates and for every other team with equal enthusiasm. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them. At the end of the day, the team was presented with an award for their spirit. They were shocked. One tearful student told me that their school would need to build a trophy case – they didn’t have one because nobody from there had ever won an award before.

Almost every place I go, I hear a story like this one.

I miss my Trophy Husband, Beautiful Daughter and Jake when I travel. I’m a shy introvert, so spending twelve or sixteen hours at an event takes a physical and emotional toll on me. I do this work because I know that even small things, like winning a spirit award, can be a mind changer to a young person who might have believed they had no options.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this for a living. I am beyond grateful to my Trophy Husband and beautiful Daughter who are understanding about my absences from home. For me, Life is Sweet and I have much to be thankful for.

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Where does the time go?

Wow! It’s been more than a year since I’ve posted anything. My inner critic says “That figures – you never follow through with anything”. That might be true, or not, but it’s boring to think about and even more boring to write about.

I was going to stop there – the amount of catch-up that I need to do to get from my last post to here seems overwhelming, but I guess I’ll give the highlights.

I still love what I do for a living. I work for a non-profit and I continue to be motivated by the hard work our volunteers do, the great ideas our participants have, and by the level of goodness that still exists in my world.

My beautiful daughter is finishing up her senior year at college, and I was lucky to spend part of last week with her.

My Trophy Husband just started a new job and is very happy in it.

Jake has settled in to our home and our hearts, and even though he might not be the perfect ‘first dog‘ dog, he’s ours and we love him.

All is well in my tiny little universe. I hope all is well in yours too!

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Happy New Year!

Intentions are funny.

I started this blog with a blast of inspiration and a host of good intentions.

Forgive me; it’s been 3 months since my last submission.

I intend to do many things.

I intend to get more exercise, to eat better, to drink less wine and drink more water.

I intend to learn a new language, to become a better cook, to be a more compassionate and a more spiritual person.

Yup. Intentions.

Looking back over the year I can plainly see that I have made no great progress with any of those intentions.

I exercise sporadically, and usually only the day before I need to fit into something that ‘shrunk in the dryer’. I eat better most of the time (unless there are potato chips). I drink less coffee, but not more water, and probably not less wine.

I can still say the same 5 things in Spanish that I could say at the beginning of the year (Por Favor; Gracias; ¿Dónde está el cuarto de baño?; Una Cervesa por favor; and Hola). I have not become a better cook and I don’t believe I have become more compassionate or more spiritual.

All of this makes me wonder why I’m not content to be who I am.

I like to think that many people are like me. We get caught up in a desire to become more. But more is elusive, hard work, and maybe not even better.

So this year, I will not resolve – for the whole year. I’m not adding more intentions to my list of failed intentions. There will be no new goals to add to my list of abandoned goals, and no new dreams of a shiny new me that will replace the tarnished old me.

Instead, I’m just going to try to like myself a little more. Just the way I am.

Crap. Is that a resolution?

Happy New Year!

Posted in achievement, diet, exercise, spirituality | 1 Comment

In celebration of Volunteers

I am one of those lucky people you hear about who absolutely loves their job.

I work for a non-profit organization with a mission that I believe in. We have a tremendous force of volunteers who do all the heavy lifting. They inspire me to work harder and smarter, and they are the reason I do what I do.

In a nutshell, my job is to provide support to those volunteers. Did I mention that they inspire me?

Our volunteers have day jobs. They put in 40 or more hours a week earning a living, and then they spend their nights, weekends and holidays working with my organization. They create, raise money, do outreach and recruit other volunteers. For many of them, it is a labor of love. And it shows.

Every day I see the difference that a volunteer can make in the life of another person. Every day I see the difference that volunteering can make on the volunteer. Everybody wins.

This week, give some thought to becoming a volunteer. Even an hour a week can make a big difference to a cause you believe in. Find something you are passionate about. Broaden your horizons and share your skills or your time. You won’t regret it.

Posted in achievement, gratitude, Volunteer | 3 Comments

Practicing Gratitude

The resort my husband and I visited last week was ‘all inclusive’. A part of what was included was dinner and breakfast. Sounds like a great deal, right? The tiny catch is that for those meals, you are seated with random other couples. It’s a nice way to meet other people, but for someone as shy as I am, it can be a little intimidating.

One morning at breakfast a gentleman we were seated with quietly took a moment and bowed his head. He didn’t make a big deal about it, he didn’t look at the rest of us at the table like we each had 3 heads. He just took a moment.

I’m having trouble getting that moment out of my head.

Grace has never been a part of my mealtime ritual. It’s not that I’m ungrateful. I’m very grateful for all the blessings I have in my life – food included. I just never take the time to formally recognize them, and call them out as they occur.

I have noticed that the more time I spend Practicing Gratitude, the more happy and content I am as a person.

So this week, my goal is to try to take a moment to be thankful for the things I usually don’t notice.

Somehow, that seems so very obvious.

What will you do to be happier this week?

Posted in gratitude, spirituality, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Six Hours

My husband and I celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary Thursday, and tomorrow we are driving back to the place where we spent our honeymoon. I am excited about the vacation, but apprehensive about the travel.

It’s a SIX hour drive.

I love my husband very much. He is one of my best friends. He makes me laugh. Generally speaking, he’s an excellent husband…

and, I might be the world’s worst passenger. I hit my imaginary brake. I check the mirrors before we change lanes, and as much as I try not to, I say “watch out” at least once during every trip…

and my husband might not be the world’s best driver (don’t tell him I said that!).

To be fair, I think many of the things my hubby does while driving that annoy me are deliberate, and intended to bug me. That’s the way his sense of humor works.

So, the sudden acceleration or braking when I’m taking a sip of coffee isn’t really poor skills, it’s my wonderful partner, amusing himself. Ha Ha.

If the driving stuff wasn’t bad enough, Hubby has satellite radio in his truck and a love of jam music and people yammering on the radio about sports.

Ugh.

I am bringing my iPod. And my headphones.

I might just sing along to music that only I can hear.

That’s only fair, right?

If we survive the drive, we’ll have 3 days of pampering. We’ll eat like royalty. We’ll relax, we’ll swim. We’ll people watch and we’ll re-charge.

And then we’ll drive another SIX hours to get home.

Wish us luck!

Posted in achievement, family, music, schedule | 2 Comments

Meet Me on Monday, Blog Hop

OK, I’ve never done one of these blog hop things, but it looks like fun, and since I have a blast reading blogs, this felt like the perfect way to spend a Monday Morning.  So, with questions courtesy of Java, here are my answers.

Questions:

1. What is your favorite kind of doughnut?
Sadly, until there is a super yummy Gluten Free Chocolate Glazed doughnut available, I’m not able to partake. Life’s too short to eat bad doughnuts!

2. How often do you pray?
A lot but not on any regular schedule. I know different people have different views of who they’re talking to when they pray and that influences the way they pray. Me – I just kind of talk to God. I hope she listens, but if she doesn’t (and I wouldn’t blame her, she’s probably pretty busy), just the act of praying often helps to clarify my thoughts. Maybe that’s what praying really is – a reaching out to the better part of ourselves.

3. What is your favorite kind of music?
I love music and can groove to almost any kind. I don’t quite get rap, or the super screaming metal stuff (to me, that always sounds like the singer is projectile vomiting). I love almost everything else, including Old Country (alt-country, Americana, roots music, etc), Bluegrass Jazz, Rock, Pop, Folk, Classical, Opera and Choral music.

4. What do you order when you eat Chinese food?
Veggie fried rice, Vegetarian spring rolls, and if they have it, General Tsao (Gao, Tso, etc.) Tofu. Oh, and Ginger Green Beans. YUM!

5. Would you rather snowboard in the winter or swim in the summer?
Neither, but I’ll opt for the swimming just because I hate the cold.

Posted in blog, diet, music, spirituality, Uncategorized | 3 Comments