Not Doing the Barnyard Dance!

A barnyard dance?

Most likely while everyone else is doing their thing, I’m the one at the well wishing for the nerve to do mine.

I’m not one to do-se-do across the barn floor.

Nor am I one to strut my stuff all over the barnyard.

I’d rather watch, listen, and take it all in.

I adore the look of weathered, splintered barns.

Throw in some red, and I’m smitten.

I don’t need a weather vane to tell me when and from which direction my winds are blowing.

From gentle breeze to gale force, my heart measures all.

Though I wasn’t born to be the dancer, maybe being the music is just as good.

You Are “Gourd” Enough

“Sing, Sing a song. Sing out loud, Sing out strong. Sing of good things, not bad. Sing of happy, not sad. Sing, Sing, a song. Make it simple to last your whole life long. Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Sing, Sing a song.” ~Joe Raposo

Has anyone ever told you that you were not good enough?

Or is this some dreadful conclusion you came up with on your own?

Do you not feel pretty enough?

Thin enough?

Smart enough?

Athletic enough?

Rich enough?

Successful enough?

If you reach those goals, will you finally feel good enough?

Gourds, like people, can be decorative or highly functional.

They come in a charming selection of sizes, shapes and colors.

Some are horned or warty while others are smooth.

For hundreds of years, gourds have known their worthiness, so why do we still struggle with accepting ours?

What will it take for us to know our own importance?

When we stop worrying about what other people think about us,

when we stop trying to impress others,

when we accept ourselves, horns and warts,

when we embrace our authenticity,

we will feel worthy.

When we feel worthy, we will feel loved.

We will feel like we belong.

Most of all we will feel “good enough” just as we are.

I Remember You Today

I remember you today, as I do many days.

Today would have been your forty-ninth birthday.

I would have joked you about being one step closer to fifty than me.

We would have laughed and then talked about something else.

But this conversation will never be.

I remember those bright brown eyes of yesteryear, eagerly awaiting the future…

I remember you jumping, twirling, and cheering our team to victory.

I watched you become the soft spoken woman of kind words who encouraged me in life.

I remember our laughter, oh the silliness of school girls.

I remember our tears, how we cried over lost loves and nearly lost dreams.

I remember how gratefully and graciously you lived.

I remember how gracefully you took your exit.

I will always wear your friendship within my heart.

Though separated by sands of time, you will be forever etched upon my soul.

Wherever you are, know I remember you today…Happy Birthday, Steff.

****In Memory of Steff

Into The Blue

Ever feel a bit melancholy, not all out depressed, just need to recharge your batteries?

Ever want to drift into the cool and calm of the blue zone?

At some time or another, most of us feel the need to take a time out.

We desire to rest, reassess, refocus, and reenergize.

We learn a lot when we do this.

We see what motivates others and how they interact.

We track our own progress in problem identification and solving.

When we reflect we begin to know ourselves on a deeper level.

When you’re feeling stressed, run down, or overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to pull out the time out chair and sit a spell. It does wonders for the soul.

Watching the world pass you by for just a bit is soothing…just be sure to slide off the chair and jump back into life.

Be The Great Pumpkin

Whether you’re all alone or clumped in a group, never think you’re just another pumpkin in the field.

You have the opportunity to be THE pumpkin in your field.

Though you might think pumpkins look pretty much the same, upon closer inspection you‘ll find they are quite unique.

A pumpkin’s fate rests on someone else.

Your life’s path is up to you.

You weren’t simply stuck in a patch.

You were chosen to be there.

You are given the tools you need to chisel your individual design in life.

Wash off the dirt from the field.

Scoop out all the stuff that brings you down.

Remove all seeds of doubt and those which bring your spirit down.

Circulate your seeds of good intention.

Use all you’ve got with the time you have.

Carve yourself a face of your own.

Don’t be empty; let your light shine.

A Gentle Leaf

“Let one who wants to move and convince others, first be convinced and moved themselves. If a person speaks with genuine earnestness the thoughts, the emotion, and the actual condition of their own heart, others will listen because we all are knit together by the tie of sympathy.” ~Thomas Carlyle

Influence. A form of social influence.

It’s how most people get what they want.

How we influence others is in direct response to the results we achieve.

It’s all about our motivation, truly the heart of the matter.

People who rant and rave get results, but at what cost to others?

They resort to name calling and threats to get people to hear what they have to say.

Their main goal is to make us think like them.

Yes, those who demand attention get attention.

But seriously, how much respect do we have for those people?

Have you ever been forced to listen to someone? Did you really think what they said was worth your time? Did you actually place faith in their words? Or were you intimidated?

Do you want people to listen to you because they fear you?

And then there are the people who lead by example.

They are usually soft spoken, compassionate people who forge their way with love.

They don’t call us names.

They don’t even tell us what we SHOULD be doing.

If they have any goal other than to live a good life, it is to make us think.

They softly encourage us to do our best.

They pick us up when we are down.

They are our cheerleaders in this game of life.

In fact, they just quietly live their lives for the good of all.

They generate peace wherever they are.

Do you want to be a harsh force that shapes the world according to your standards?

Or do you want to be a gentle leaf of persuasion for good in this life?

Write Like The Wind

I stand amongst the changing hues of avocado, crimson, pumpkin, and mustard.

I watch the colors mingle as they tango across tree branches and stretch into an azure sky.

The image changes with the breeze and the appearance of two bright white clouds rising above the distant mountain.

Sun dapples fragments of soapstone strewn along the ocher road.

A gust of wind rattles off a song through the woods while my feet shuffle another melody through the fallen leaves.

As I feel the gust whip beneath my sweater, I watch the limbs bend a path. I wonder where I’ll end up if I choose to follow. I question if I have what it takes to bend a path rather than following one.

I stop and close my eyes. I smile at the thought of the wind’s wildness, its reckless abandon…the pure freedom to travel its choice of speed and direction.

I envy its power, but only for a moment. Oh how I’ve wanted my writing to be as free and wild as the wind… I realize I do have that same power. Yes, I do.

I think about the ability to move as quickly or slowly as desired without expectations or demands.  I understand I am the one who places pressure upon me.

I choose to write like the wind. I will set the pace and follow my heart. I refuse to feel guilty about what I do or don’t write. Nor will I criticize my every word; I’ll just write like the wind.

The leaves lift into the air and shimmer in the sunlight. And for a moment, I am the wind. Swoosh!

On Being The LIttle Red Caboose

Photo by Dirt Man. We saw this in an empty field at the base of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

We all long to be the hero/heroine of our story. The problem is that we forget we are also the author of our own life story.

Most of us want to be respected and admired, or at least valued and accepted for who we are.

We yearn for our true worth to shine, yet we often struggle in production.

We seldom give it all we’ve got because we’re afraid we won’t shine as brightly as others in our field.

Or worse, we’re afraid we’ll have to stand alone. When we’re not crowded we have room to grow. Sometimes those of us who stand alone shine the brightest of all.

While it’s true we don’t have complete control of all life circumstances and our resources might be limited, we do have the power to make choices. Even the caboose can be the conductor of his train.

Though you might feel like you’re pushing your way through life in a constant uphill battle. Use that strength and stamina to the best of your ability.

We might not be the little red caboose that saves the train from rolling down the mountain, but we each can be the little red caboose of our own story. Be the hero in your life.

Recognize your talents. Trust yourself to use them. Hone your gifts.

You are powerful.

You are awesome.

Push that train over the mountain!

Shine, baby, shine!

Hiking Humpback Rock

Humpback Rock is a massive greenstone outcrop. It can be easily reached by hiking about one mile from the parking lot at the visitor’s center. Of course, we did NOT choose this route…we hiked around three miles taking the Appalachian Trail from the picnic area. By taking this route, we were able to view spectacular scenery from other outcrops on the way to the main one.

On our return we did manage to shave about a half mile by taking another trail that runs parallel to the AT for a portion of the distance. This was much smoother, less strenuous as it was much less rock scrambling. We assumed it was an old railroad bed. According to Dirt Man: The 1945 topo map shows the return trail as the Appalachian Trail. Pre-1935, the trail we returned on is not shown on any map.

Original rock wall that runs along the AT portion of the trail to Humpback Rock

View from one of the outcrops along the trail

No words for the beauty, a spectacular sight!

A glimpse of ski slopes at Wintergreen Resort

View from the lower portion of the rock mass

Side view

Another shot

This shot shows off the geological formation.

All those beautiful Autumn colors envelope the Blue Ridge Parkway.

People taking in the view

Blue Ridge Parkway

Overlooking the surrounding towns

Amazing how far you can see

Absolutely breathtaking!

I'm tightening the laces on my boots for the descent, and Wylie is resting while Dirt Man takes a pic of us.

Wylie and I are taking it all in!

I took a few of these pictures, but Dirt Man took the majority of them.

Just A Tease, Only A Tease

I am tired and a little sore from hiking, not to mention I have a couple of hundred photos to sort through. I’ll post just a few from our weekend in the country. It was peak weekend for Fall colors. I will mention that we bought a new camera and had a lot of fun (and maybe a bit of frustration on my part) learning how to operate it. Later this week I’ll show you all the cool little tricks it can perform! Meantime, enjoy the Autumn…this is just a tease of what’s to come later this week on my blog!

Quarry on family property

Pumpkin patch at Oak Ridge

Bursts of color everywhere

The mountains present their own canvas.

The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway

Christmas tree farm and what used to be the Maxwell plantation

Sitting on an outcrop along the Appalachian Trail on the way to Humpback, you can see the slopes at Wintergreen in the background.

The Blue Ridge Parkway from Humpback Rock