Climbing Over The Rock

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. ~ Joshua J. Marine


Have you ever tried something new or started a project just to have someone tell you it’s beyond your abilities?  Thanks for the confidence buddy! Do those words make you want to give up or do it in spike of them?

Have you ever become overwhelmed in the midst of an endeavor and told yourself you couldn’t complete it? Your family and friends assure you that you can, but still you feel defeated…ever happened to you? Where does this mindset originate?

I’ve been in both situations. Often I’ve considered a door closed, not realizing I had the power to open it.

I’ve found it’s not how well I do something that defines me but my courage to attempt it in the first place. My attitude and perseverance (or lack thereof) tell my tale.

Both of my children have always taken things (computers, telephones etc…) apart since they were small. Of course, we were not always thrilled by their curiosity nor did we always appreciate their efforts in restoring those items.  They also had a tendency to create/invent new things by combining pieces of other things.

My oldest son recently purchased an older motorcycle with plans to restore it. He doesn’t have any mechanical training. The hubby was wary of his plan but proud of his effort and figured it would give him a challenge. The bike was not in working order. Various unassembled parts came with the bike. Oldest had it running in a day. He’s been working on it for a couple of weeks. If he hits a snag he searches the internet for answers. It has been a learning experience for him.

I love that my sons don’t allow other people’s opinion decide their course of action. They get it from their father. (Perhaps it’s stubbornness, but it’s a good thing!) I wish I was more like that.

I want to believe in my talents. I want courage to continue the things I start. I want to make a positive difference. I’m taking the scenic route which I call my gestation period…hopefully someday I’ll birth a worthwhile project.

When you approach the huge boulder in your path, realize it’s a just a rock. You can kick it out of your way. If it’s too large, climb over it and continue the journey. Remember that anything unattempted remains impossible.

Space Invaders

St. Mary's Wilderness 017


“He’s touching me,” wails the little one from the back seat.

“Stay on your side,” whines the culprit.




“He hit me!”

“She hit me first!”

For some reason children just can’t seem to keep their hands (or feet or other various body parts) to themselves. They are constantly encroaching upon one another’s space.

As adults we are space invaders as well. We don’t always use our hands to poke and feet to kick, but we often stick our noses where they don’t belong.

I enjoy people, but I sure enjoy my space as well. There are times I welcome intrusion and other times I become annoyed. Perhaps it depends on the person who invades my space or the activity in which I’m engaged at the moment. Or maybe, it’s really more about my mood.

It’s difficult to draw boundary lines at times. People invade our space in various ways. There are the solicitation calls or the inconvenient time of the caller. There are the people in checkout lines who comment on our purchases. There are the unsolicited advice givers. There are the nosy neighbors who must come out and converse whenever they see you in your yard, no matter whether you have guests or not. There are conversation interrupters, line shovers, and road rashers. And then there are know-it-alls around every corner.

The fact is we invade other’s spaces as well. We might know we are doing it and there are times we haven’t a clue.

Have you ever had a neighbor who is constantly invading your privacy? Trust me, fences might keep people on their side but it doesn’t always stop the questioning of what you’re doing or the attempts at veering your attention from the tasks or people at hand. I usually don’t say anything when people invade my space. Is that the polite thing to do or should I speak my mind? I have found myself giving one word answers or ignoring them which is probably ruder than just telling them to mind their own business. I suppose I’m sounding harsh but there are times I’d like to spend quiet evenings with only my family or friends. There are other times I want the solitude to sit in my yard and read, write, or think.

I have neighbors who are my friends and we are respectful of one another’s privacy and family time. This post is not in reference to those relationships. I’m just wondering how to handle those who push the limits.

From a young age we are taught to share our space and our toys. I admit I’m better at sharing my toys than I am my space. How about you?

How do you insure your privacy? What do you do to ward off interruptions? How do you handle space invaders?

Perhaps I simply need to be less of a hermit.

Finding My Way Home

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

river cairn by Dirt Man


“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” — Matsuo Basho




“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau




Come out of the azure. Love the day. Do not leave the sky out of your landscape. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life




This river will teach you everything you need to learn. The water follows and trusts the current. It doesn’t try to direct itself but allows itself to be pulled easily and naturally to the ocean. The current knows where its going. That’s why its the current. The twigs bob merrily along the surface and trhe fish trust everything the current brings. The water is called by what is greater, the ocean, where the current both begins and ends. And this is how we are led when we trust our source and allow that source to lead us along to the fullest, happiest expression of life. ~James F. Twyman




Each stone, each bend cries welcome to him. He identifies with the mountains and the streams, he sees something of his own soul in the plants and the animals and the birds of the field. ~Paulo Coelho


Montebello wildflowers 099


“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Spin Cycle: The Great Outdoors

Before And After

Where do we fit into change? Willing or not we evolve with social conversions. Personally, we are each in constant motion of change, small or large. Experience places its mark on us internally while time molds us as the sea does driftwood.

Out life eras are often described as “before” or “after” the fact. We each have significant life events that alter our very being. Before the illness/after the illness. Before the death of a loved one/after the death of a loved one. Before the stock market crash/after the stock market crash. Before the tornado or hurricane/ after the tornado or hurricane. Before the fire/after the fire. Before the divorce/after the divorce. Before the weight loss (gain)/ after the weight loss (gain). Before religion or spiritual awakening/after religion or spiritual awakening. Before your significant other/after your significant other.

No matter the nature of the life event, we change. Sometimes the changes are minor and other times profound. We might look the same but we are different people inside. We see things from a new perspective. People respond to us in various ways.  While some have a new understanding toward us, others may no longer trust us.

Then there are physical changes we go through. We might lose a lot of weight (or gain), have plastic surgery, get a haircut or dye our hair, or even get a complete makeover. Do these things make us different inside? I suppose it could if it boosts our confidence enough to allow the hidden parts of us come to light. Mostly, we are the same people we’ve always been deep within. Jealousy can often rear its ugly head, and people might judge by appearance rather than by actions.

Change happens willingly and also through situations in which we have no control. We learn in our own way how to allow faith to guide us. I admire those people strong enough to rise above circumstances that can pull one down. We have each been a victim of sorts at one time or another. It is truly a gift to become a victor. It helps to have outside support, but it starts with attitude. No matter what we think, we are not totally in control of life.

When our lives have shifted from the “before” to the “after”, we have the power of choice by the ability to act or react to circumstances. That alone can make all the difference. And may grace pave the rest of the way for us.

Gee, I’m not sure where all this came from…it started out I simply wanted to show you the before and after photos of Wylie. She got a haircut. Wylie had no control in the matter, but she always enjoys a spa day! My point is she looks entirely different.  With her long hair there were people who were frightened of her size. Beneath all that hair was a fit and trim girl. (Wish I could get a haircut and suddenly look fit and trim!) Her eyes are much more noticeable which leads to the guilt trips like when we went out of town without her.  Regardless of how Wylie looks, she is still the sweet loving dog she always was…

Picnic table


Portrait table


Window seat

Red Hats Go Hometown!

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

I met up with some lovely ladies from high school this weekend. One of them made us "red hats". She did a great job designing them to our personalities. We had a blast!

I met up with some lovely ladies from high school this weekend. One of them made us “red hats”. She did a great job designing them to our personalities. We had a blast!

Gotta' love men secure enough to wear the ladies hats! They look great, don't they?

Gotta’ love men secure enough to wear the ladies hats! They look great, don’t they?


This Moment Belongs To You

“It stands to reason that anyone who learns to live well will die well. The skills are the same: being present in the moment, and humble, and brave, and keeping a sense of humor. (361)” ~ Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit

First Landing 036


Do you find yourself looking over your shoulder or glancing around the next corner?

Do you take time to breathe in the beauty of this moment life is presenting you?

Say hello to that voice inside you. Notice the person inside your skin. Become friends.

In. Out. In. Out. Be aware of your breath. What are your body and spirit telling you?

What do you see, hear, or smell? Reach out and touch the world right where you are.

For a time, forget about yesterday and tomorrow. What is today, this moment, calling you to do?

Cast yourself upon the bank of time.

Be the driftwood forming beauty with each passing second.

Be the waves gently lapping upon the shore, soothing all in its company.

Be the clouds dancing in the sky to the melody of the wind.

Be the sand absorbing all within its realm.

Enjoy this moment. It will be over before you know it.

Take this moment. Let it exist for you.

Fun With The Sexy Voice Command

Today I’m not posting inspiration or photos, but something to lighten you day and perhaps give you a chuckle.

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” ~Mark Twain

In the evenings DirtMan and I sometimes hang together and other times we each disappear into our various hobbies. When we hang we have moments of serious conversation and other times quite light. Though we are both cancers which make us sensitive homebodies, we still have other varying personality traits which balance each other. We have been known to absorb into serious levels of thought which takes the humor of the other person to pull us back to reality! The following is one of our lighthearted exchanges from the other night.

We both recently updated our cell phones. I’m not quite as savvy with mine as DirtMan. He’s playing with the voice command.

DirtMan: Oh, she has a sexy voice.

Me: Seriously, you think her voice is sexy? She’s the same voice on everything.  (But then again NOW she belongs to HIM!)

DirtMan: Come on, listen to her: Call. Susan Payne.

Sexy Voice  Command: Did you say Message. Craig (last name in audible)?

DirtMan: No, I said call Susan Payne

Sexy Voice  Command: Did you say Call. Craig (last name in audible)?

DirtMan:  No, I said CALL Susan Payne (I’m laughing my butt off at this point. Obviously Sexy Voice is either dumb or she has a hearing problem!)

Sexy Voice  Command: Message Susan Payne.


Sexy Voice Command: Call A$$hole

Me: Did Sexy Lady just call me an a$$hole?

DirtMan: (Laughing like crazy) No, she’s talking about a contact.

Me: What? Who has a contact named A$$hole?(Meantime Voice Command is calling A$$hole and DirtMan is struggling to shut it off before he answers.)

DirtMan: I do.

Me: No way!

DirtMan: Yes, it’s someone I don’t like but must deal with. Then to Voice Command he says Call Susan Payne

Voice Command: Call Susan Payne…my phone starts ringing…

Then DirtMan programs his phone to a special ringtone for A$$hole: A$$hole calling! A$$hole calling!

Me: I can’t believe you just did that. You better hope you’re alone when your phone starts ringing like that!

DirtMan is a trip…he keeps me laughing for sure. Perhaps Sexy Voice Command has a sense of humor as well.

The Matter Of Back Story

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Teresa


How important is back story?

In fiction back story creates sympathy for an otherwise less likeable character.

We think it is necessary to know someone’s past to understand their present.

In reality is it necessary to know someone intimately in order to overlook their shortcomings? Is it pertinent to know why they did something in order to forgive them?

The lady who lives around the corner complains about everything. She annoys you to no end. You find out she lost her family in an accident years ago. Your heart softens.

A guy at work talks about his male companion. You have issues with his sexual preference so you exclude him from your conversations. You hear through the grapevine his father beat him when he was a child. You begin to feel sorry for him.

An acquaintance goes through men like you go through underwear. You call her despicable names behind her back and avoid contact with her. You hear she was molested as a child. Her life begins to make sense to you.

Someone embezzles from a charity organization. You are enraged. Then you hear he was downsized from his job. You excuse his behavior.

Your neighbor is always in everyone’s business. The soccer coach drinks too much. The room mom wears low-cut blouses. The math teacher picks on your kid. The car on the interstate cut you off. The teller at the bank was rude. The cashier at the supermarket ignored you. They all have stories. So do we. Is it necessary for each of us to know another’s’?

Must we excuse a behavior to accept a person? Or does it depend on the behavior/crime?

We are human. We have strong opinions and we use them to judge everything and everyone around us. If we sympathize with the person or situation, we allow a bit of slack. Otherwise we are downright harsh.

Is it law, society, or perhaps our own personal agendas, which determines the degree of wrong we place upon those we accuse?

If we have worn another’s shoes we humanize them, thus we show them compassion. If the circumstances are beyond our understanding we scorn those who empathize.

Our societal conditioning demands back story to comprehend. Our moral compass determines judgment. Our reaction deals the punishment.

Living in a civilized society does require us to follow moral and legal codes. It is necessary those be dealt with accordingly. I am referring here to how we allow our own opinions and emotions to rule our judgment, what and who it allows us to accept or refuse.

How difficult it is to forgive freely? How difficult it is to love unconditionally?

Ego demands back story while the heart simply loves. Today I will place my ego in the back seat and allow my heart to drive. Will you come along for the ride?

Water Meditation


DirtMan and I canoed this past weekend. We rowed eight miles starting in our own neighborhood. We traversed the city by connecting channels of water.


With eight miles of rowing and taking in nature all around us, it was a bit of a Zen session.  Many life lessons can be compared to elements of nature.


From this viewpoint my daily surroundings appeared smaller while the creeks seemed larger and at times swifter.  Ever feel like your life in general is quite small in comparison to the size of a current predicament?


From the bank one doesn’t experience the varying shallowness and deepness of the water. A few times we found ourselves (purposely as we were observing egrets) at the bank’s edge. We pushed our oars against the bank to flow back into the current of the deeper water. We often find leverage in friends or family during life’s difficulties.


There were times we delved into darkness (beneath bridges) in order to emerge to the other side. For a short period of time, the roar of cars overhead pounded our heads while our visibility was dimmed. We came through to the other side with all intact. We might feel similar when faced with life challenges. We learn to be resourceful, prioritize, and most importantly we learn to persevere.


I See The Light!

culvert under the interstate


(This photo was taken Saturday as DirtMan and I canoed through the box culvert under the interstate. We rowed eight miles. When we got here the water rolled and we kicked back and enjoyed the flume ride…upon the return, he had to push us through it because we made no headway rowing against the current!)


“Regardless of the shadows that cross the moon to make it appear less than it is, to the moon, it is always full. So it is with us.” – Buddha

As a child I was petrified of the dark. We lived in a huge house on a hill, and often there were attempted break-ins. My mother used to pour flour at night to test our theories behind the barking dogs, ratting doorknobs, and cut window screens. Sure enough we’d wake up to find boot prints all over the porch. I wasn’t afraid of the people trying to break in. My daddy was massive and muscular. He owned a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it. I felt safe from intruders. What I feared couldn’t be seen.

No, it wasn’t monsters of my imagination. My grandmother who was quite religious often warned us of the devil and his demons. She told us they couldn’t hurt us in the dark. I insisted on a night light. Though I eventually slept in the dark, it was well into my adulthood that the fear vanished.

Relatives always told stories about my grandmother’s house being haunted. I got antsy when the sun set at her house. I refused to EVER spend the night there….And then the day came I had to…

My grandmother had been sick so my father insisted my cousin, Cindy, and I spend the night with her. Big Mama lived a mile uphill from us, at the base of the mountain. We lived in the middle of nowhere. Bobcats and bears roamed the woods at night. Dogs howled and owls hooted, not to mention the noises of all the other animals. Cindy and I were spooked. Not only were we a mile away from the nearest human with weird noises penetrating the walls of the house, we did not even have a telephone.

We packed lots of snacks and a radio with intentions of staying up all night long. Big Mama settled in her room downstairs while we were upstairs. We chose the bedroom because we when we opened the curtains we also had the light of the outside lamp. Now you bet we rehashed all those stories about the peg leg ghost and swore to each other we could hear him coming up the steps and down the hall after us. The old house moaned and groaned and whispered into the night. Rats scratched and scurried in the walls and bats and wind hit at the windows now and then. We were so fearful we prayed our way through our waking hours. When we were so tired we couldn’t keep our eyes open we decided to drift off with the light on.

Cindy’s fingernails dug into my arms and the bed squeaked as she shook me back and forth. “What?” I asked groggily. Then I noticed the light in our room was out. I swore I heard Cindy’s knees knocking as she scrambled out of the bed and turned the light back on.

“Hear that?” The stairs creaked with footsteps. Thump. Thump. Thump. They came down the hall. Rattle. Turn went the doorknob. I covered my eyes and Cindy let out a blood curdling scream. I opened my eyes to see Big Mama standing in front of us.

“I was just checking in on you, too.”

“You scared us half to death,” I said. She laughed and switched off the light. Cindy and I pleaded with her to let us keep the light on. She didn’t want to waste electricity; besides there was plenty of light from the lamppost outside at one window and enough light emanating from the front porch light and the moon from the window on the other side of the room.

We huddled and curled up in a ball in the center of the bed. We swore to each other we’d heard ghosts. We wondered how Big Mama could live in this haunted place all by herself without neighbors or a telephone. We began to wonder if we could even trust Big Mama…we wondered if the ghosts would get her to help them do away with us. We took the tales told to us and spun them to new lengths and endings. Though in reality we never witnessed a single paranormal moment, we rewrote the story of Big Mama’s haunted house.

We awoke to a crowing rooster and a fully sunlit room. “Sheeeew, we made it to daylight!” We hugged and smiled.

Big Mama said she was feeling well. She made us a big country breakfast of biscuits, bacon, and eggs. She laughed at our silly night time antics which we, of course, denied and offered to stay with her anytime.

As walked down the hill to return to our homes I told Cindy, “I sure hope she never asks us to spend the night again.”

“Me, too.” Cindy said. We organized our tales and stretched the truth to the max between us.  After all, we needed a good story to entertain the family.

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?  ~Maurice Freehill