Friends, Family & Fun

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the wonderful people in my life. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family who love and care for me. As I have reflected, on all those I hold dear to my heart, I have felt deeply blessed to be the recipient of so much love and affection.

Each and every morning our bodies awake and arise, from the sleep so desperately needed during the night. As we open our eyes, and take in the morning, a new day awaits us. Our mind begins to churn with the thoughts of what our day might bring. Our heart begins to beat a little faster. Our senses begin to work in earnest, at the realization that a new day is upon us.

Often we begin our day with a quick, mental countdown of everything on our “To Do” list for the day. Sometimes…we awake slowly, and take time to savor those early morning feelings of peace and contentment, and the realization that today is a gift from God.

I have thought often lately of the many gifts that God has given me. Family and friends seem to be at the top my my list. I have been blessed with a wonderful family (immediate & extended), and I have been blessed with so many wonderful, and caring friends.

It is easy to get caught up in the challenges of the day. Each day we are faced with so many choices. What will we eat? What will we do? Who will we see? How will we act? Will we be kind? Or, will we lose our temper? Will we be observant of those around us? Or, simply focus on our own needs? Will we notice how our words affect others? Will we take the time to express gratitude? Will we stop and take a moment to truly observe those we are interacting with? How are they feeling? What can we do to lift them up?

When we take time to put others first, our whole world begins to change. Suddenly, it is as if you can read their thoughts and sense their feelings. You sense their frustration, their sadness, and how lonely they sometimes feel. You can sense their desire to be loved, and their quiet yearning for friendship.

You smile as you observe their joy, as they observe something simple that brings happiness to their heart. You watch as they go about their day. You understand that what they show on the outside (through their words and actions) is often very different from what they are feeling on the inside.

You feel all of their emotions that they try so desperately to hide. You feel their sadness, their pain, their longing for something better. You feel their joy, their happiness, and their love for others. You wish desperately that you could help them to understand how loved they are and how truly important they are in this journey we call life.

It is with new eyes that I observe those around me. My family, my friends, and even strangers that I encounter in my daily life. I am deeply grateful for each and every person who has been, who is, and who will be a part of my life. Each person brings unique gifts and talents to this world and each one seems to have a profound impact on my life.

It is for this reason that I write this post. Know that YOU are a gift from God. He has placed you on this earth to learn and to grow. You have been placed here for a special purpose. You can bless the lives of so many. There are some lives that only you can touch, in the way that is needed. Will you rise to the task? Or, will you go about your day oblivious to those around you. Only you can decide…

My challenge to those of you reading this post is to take the time to be more observant of those around you. Be less judgmental and more loving & kind. You may never know the trials and challenges facing those around you, but rest assured, they have them just like you.

Take the time to express gratitude, to show kindness, and to be patient. Pay attention to the body language of those you interact with. While you can, and should, listen to their words, their body language will tell you so much more. Listen to what they are really saying. Often, when we think others are angry, it is in reality that they are feeling hurt. When you recognize this simple truth, the outcome can be so much different. You can help to heal broken hearts if you will but truly listen.

“No Act of Kindness, No Matter How Small, is Ever Wasted” Aesop

Bright Spots In My Day

This post will be short and sweet. Yesterday I took a quick glance around the yard and snapped a few photos of some colorful flowers. I am constantly being surprised by new flowers and colors in the yard.

I noticed this beautiful flower as I drove home the other day. As I was pulling up to the house I saw this bright spot of PINK in the yard and had to take a closer look…

The arbor near our front door is finally covered by the clematis and the bright flowers are bursting open every day. I love the contrast of the green leaves and deep burgundy color of the flowers against the bright white of the arbor…

The flowers that have been growing on my deck for what seems like months have finally burst open. I still have no idea what they are and have not taken the time to look them up. They have grown so tall that my son and I had to tie a string around them to hold them up. They provide lots of color to our outdoor eating area…

What new things have you discovered in your yard lately?

The Cat That Has Captured Everyone’s Heart

How can you resist eyes like these?

Okay, I have to admit right off the bat that I am not normally a cat lover. In fact, I have severe allergies to cats. It is for this reason that you will rarely find me petting a cat. Sure, they are cute and cuddly, but whenever I pet one I start sneezing and my eyes start itching. In truth, my reaction to most cats is caused by the known effect they will have on my ability to breathe properly.

A few months ago, we had a visitor in our yard. He seemed friendly and cute. He began to greet me on the porch every day when I arrived home. Within a matter of days he began to greet me as I left in the morning as well. Soon enough, my children and husband started commenting on the friendly little cat and we all began to wonder who he belonged to. Whenever we were outside, there was the cat. He seemed to think that he lived in our yard. We would find him climbing our trees, or more often than not, hanging from a branch as he struggled to hang on. It actually became quite comical. He didn’t seem to mind the fact that our dogs were barking uncontrollably through the door and windows at him. In fact, he found it rather interesting and became quite curious about them.

As I was getting the mail one day, one of my neighbors happened to comment on the little cat (who at the moment was following my every footstep). It seemed my neighbor had also had quite the greeting from the little guy. We commented on how friendly he was and who he might belong too. The next day, another one of the neighbors commented about the friendly cat as well. It seemed no one knew who he belonged to. Each person I spoke to in the neighborhood talked about the little guy with fondness.

Tucker seems to live in our yard most days...we're actually okay with that.

About a week later, we were out working in the yard when my son sat down on the grass and began to play with the cat. You see, he had continued to distract our attention as he climbed, hung, and repeatedly fell from the branches of the tree in our front yard. We were all laughing by this time at the cat’s antics. My son soon called out, “Hey, his name is Tucker!” We all turned and asked how he knew the cats name. He then told us that the cats collar had a name tag on it. I’m not sure why none of us thought to look before, but we were all delighted to finally have a name for the little guy.

We finally discovered who he belonged to and realized that our home was just an extension of his own. My husband, who has never been a cat lover, actually said to me one day, “You know, I actually like Tucker.” I looked at him, with surprise on my face, and replied, “Are you admitting that you actually like cats?” His reply was this, “No. I’m only admitting that I like THIS cat.” We both laughed knowing that for the first time, our hearts had been captured by a cat. Not just any cat, but a cat named “Tucker.”

On those rare days when I arrive home without a greeting from Tucker, I enter the house feeling as though something is missing from my day. I actually look forward to his greetings. Yes, I receive lots of licks and loves from my two dogs as I enter the house, but somehow, with Tucker my day is complete.

Now, my blog post would not be complete without photo’s of our two dogs, Teddy & Tyko. I find it fitting that Tucker has a “T” name as well and fits right in with our other pets. He’s not frightened by Teddy & Tyko and actually finds them amusing. Teddy & Tyko on the other hand are not so sure about this little cat who has taken over their front yard.

Teddy is the "Protector" of the house and is a great watchdog. He is very loving and always sits at my feet no matter where I am.
Tyko is the "Playful" one and will play catch & fetch for hours on end. He never gets tired from playing and will continue to bring the ball back to you long after you are tuckered out.

Who greets you at the end of the day? Do you have a favorite pet? Our dogs, Teddy & Tyko, complete our family. They are always there to say “goodbye” in the morning, and they are always there to say “hello” when we arrive home. Regardless of how our day has gone, they are always happy to see us and show their love for us. They are sensitive to our moods and happy to just sit with us when we are down or need someone to talk to. They always listen and never talk back. Their love is unconditional. I think there is something to be learned from the unconditional love and acceptance we receive from our dogs. Perhaps we should all be a little more like them…

When The Rain Falls

Just a small sample of Washington’s natural beauty.

When the rain falls how do you feel? Having lived in Washington most of my life I have become accustomed to the rain. This year we have received more than most. On days like today, when I wake up depressed by the continual rain showers, I try to look for the bright side…

Washington is known for it’s beauty. Everywhere you turn you can see lush, green trees. The grass is a rich, dark green color and the trees are bursting with fullness. The rivers are flowing and the lakes are full. The mountains are capped with snow and the plants are thriving. While we may experience dark days with the continual rain, nature is drinking it up and flourishing in its abundance.

For those of you who travel, you have probably experienced the feeling of “coming home” to Washington. Every time I travel to another state I am reminded of the clean, clear air we breathe here in Washington. It is because of all the rain that we are rewarded with clean air. The rain washes away all the smog and pollution that builds up in so many other cities. There is nothing quite like breathing in the fresh, clean air after a heavy rain.

I recently visited another state. Everywhere I turned it was brown. The hills were bare and the only trees I saw were ones that had been planted by someone for the beautification of a yard or park. Here, in Washington, trees are in abundance. They grow naturally and freely. No, you can’t see what is a block away because of all the trees…but then again, why would you want to? They provide shelter for many animals throughout the year. They provide a cool, shady place to relax when we are blessed with sunshine. They provide wood for the building of homes and buildings. They act as natures own air purification system to keep our skies clear and pollution down. We would not have so many beautiful trees if we did not have all the rain.

It is on days like today when I am actually grateful for the rain. Sure, I would love to see the sun as much as everyone else, but I am grateful for the clean air that we breathe and the beautiful landscape that we call home.

This morning when I was taking my son to school he asked me, “Mom, is the water being absorbed by the leaves on that tree, or is the water being repelled by the leaves?” As I looked closely at the tree he was pointing at I said, “Well…I think some of the water is being absorbed by the leaves but most of it is just rolling off the leaves.” His next comment surprised me as he replied, “Good. That means we live in a rain forest. Water is repelled off the leaves in a rain forest.” As I looked around I laughed out loud, yes, it probably feels like a rain forest to an eight year old.

For those of you living in Washington, be grateful for the rain. It is because of it that we breathe easier and have such a beautiful landscape. My daughter recently visited and said to me one day, “I miss all the trees.” We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Or, we move away and realize what a blessing it is to live in such a flourishing part of the country. Sure, we all want the sun to shine and in due time it will. Until then…perhaps a little vacation is in order or maybe just a trip to the local tanning salon to soak up some Vitamin D.

Yes, I miss the sun. Yes, I would love to see more of it. Yes, it does get depressing at times with the abundance of rain. Yes….I will try to see the positive side of all the rain. At least that is better than dwelling on the negative. Our attitude is all in how we view the world. We can look for the good or we can look for the bad. I choose to look for the good. What will you choose?

I’m Posting Every Day in 2011

It’s official! I’ve made the commitment to post every day in 2011. I was reading about the challenge on The Daily Post and decided to join the thousands of other bloggers who are doing the same. I realized that I was already “posting” every day so I might as well commit to doing it for the entire year. Hopefully, I will be able to write interesting and thought-provoking posts, that you, my readers, will enjoy.

I’d love to hear your comments, and thoughts, along the way. If you read one of my posts, and find it enjoyable, entertaining, or thought-provoking, feel free to “like” it, or post a comment. Hearing your feedback will help me to know what type of posts you enjoy so I can work towards making my blog better.

Thanks for reading! I hope you check back often.