truths

Dream Chasing

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I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person. Growing up, I was never much of a people person. I was very shy. Painfully shy. Even after divorcing my first husband at the tender age of 25, I was still very shy. I moved into a gated apartment complex and I really hated leaving with someone in their car. Why? Because it would require me to stop at the entrance and tell the guard who I was.

This was just with strangers. You can ask anyone who really knew me back then and they will tell you that I was talkative, engaging, and fun. But with people I didn’t know I kept my head down, didn’t make eye contact, and would probably faint dead away if spoken too.

Something happened along the way. I’m not sure where. But somewhere in the last 25 years, I began to lift my head and see what was going on around me. I looked people, strangers, straight in the eye and smiled. They smiled back, most of the time. I asked questions. I found my voice.

Now I find that I will insert myself into other people’s conversations. Complete strangers. Recently I was having breakfast with my mom at Cracker Barrel and I overheard a couple talking about their plans for the day. They were visiting Fort Worth and trying to decide what they should do next. They asked the waiter. He seemed to be caught off guard and didn’t offer any real suggestions. I thought about it for a couple of seconds and then got up and walked over to their table. I said “Excuse me. I couldn’t help but hear you asking about what there is to do in Fort Worth.” Then we proceeded to have a very nice conversation about the Stockyards. You can’t come to Fort Worth and not visit the Stockyards. There is major road construction going on I-35. They weren’t too hip on traversing that route again. So I told them how to get there the back way from where we were.

Now see, 30 years ago I would have loved to offer my advice. But I wouldn’t have. I would have convinced myself that they didn’t need to hear from me. That they didn’t want to hear from me.

I hear conversations going on around me all the time. I find it very very hard to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes, even at work, I keep my door shut. This is to not only cut out the outer room noise so that I can focus on what I’m doing, but it is also to keep me out of things going on.

When I stop and think about it, who I am now amazes me. What I’ve realized is, I’m a problem solver. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn. But I think that’s my gift, problem solver.

I think I have great ideas. The problem is, people rarely listen to me when they should. Ha! Ha! You know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

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Example #1 – I had a friend who lived in a small town. She wanted to open up a catering business and maybe a bakery. She’s a great cook! But, in my opinion, she was thinking too big. She talked about renting a building, buying equipment, etc. My suggestion was to start small. Start from her kitchen. Each day come up with a menu of a couple of sandwiches or box lunches. Call local business and find out if they would like to have the menu faxed or emailed to them each day. She could send it either the day before or early the morning of. If people were interested, they would fax their order to her. Since it was a small town, she could offer free delivery. This would enable her to build a clientele before actually making a big up front investment. She didn’t see what I saw.

Example #2 – I had a friend who loved to bake cookies and cup cakes. She was really good at it too. She used only the best ingredients. The first mistake she made was calling the city to find out what she needed to do to open a bakery. Of course they gave her a long list of permits and requirements. She was crushed. We had a long conversation, in which I basically presented the same ideas as Example #1. But she didn’t see what I saw.

Example #3 – I have a young friend who has tried unsuccessfully to launch a homemade soap business. She has made soaps for me and they were lovely. She was a single mom and I knew that there were durable supplies that she needed in order to make and promote her soaps on a larger scale. She seemed to want to go from hobby soap maker to side income soap maker. We talked about farmers markets and different craft fairs. But in order to do those things, you have to have product. So I invested in her dream. I gave her some money hoping that she would buy the molds and things that she needed.  She continued to make small batches of custom soaps. So, she didn’t see what I saw.

But those were their dreams. So they didn’t need to see what I saw. They only needed to see what they see. They shared their dreams with me and I had a visualization of their dream. But apparently what I visualized was not what they visualized. And that’s ok. Sometimes, people just like to talk out loud and that’s fine too. I’m happy that they were comfortable enough to share their dreams with me.

Now, I am chasing my own dream. Four months ago I didn’t even know it was my dream. I’ll share my dream with you tomorrow.

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Happy New Year!

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It’s that time of year again! It’s that time when we try to convince ourselves that we just might complete all those things we never seem to get done. Lose weight, get in shape, get organized, eat better, act better, be a better human being.

The last few years my goal has simply been to be organized, be more productive. It just never seems to happen. I wake up every morning and just fly by the seat of my pants. Before I know it the week has already come and gone, the seasons have changed and I have accomplished not one thing.

Someone suggested a book on organization. That’s no good! I don’t need to read a book, I just need a realistic plan.I have tried breaking it down into small chores. Small Chores with rewards. That didn’t work. I think what I really need to do is get a box, shove everything in it that I haven’t used in the last year or 10 years and get rid of it. No sorting and no regrets.

I want to blog more.At times the ideas spill our of my brain and make quite the mess on the passenger seat of my car. For instance, I have a fictional group of animals that live in a lovely meadow on the edge of a large forest, far from people.Their antics would be based on funny or interesting stories. Some stories would be things that happen at the senior adult community where I work. Others just simply things that I’ve heard or stories I’ve been told. Just mainly quirky, silly every day human interaction stories.

I’ve discussed my idea of a community of forest animals with a friend. It was suggested that my character would be the honey badge. I think it was meant as a compliment. Another series of blogs would be Lyrics of Life. It would be about how a song relates or reminds me of someone or maybe a situation. And of course I would also toss in my usual point of view on every day life or current events at times.

Sound great! Doesn’t it? Even though I now have my new handy dandy iPen (I wrote this entire blog with it on my iPad) Don’t hold your breath. My intentions are good, but normally I’m really just too tired.

Don’t forget that I also like to crochet in my “spare” time. I also like to cook, bake, preserve, visit, entertain and run my mouth.If it wasn’t for the 40 hour work week, the 90 minute commute each way I would have plenty of time and energy. But as it is, especially as I sit here at the beginning of another New Year all I know for sure is, I am so very tired.

I’d really love to draw my animals that live in the meadow. Maybe I can do that with this new pencil?

Are the good times really over?

I’ve mentioned before that I have a long commute. I cancelled my satellite radio a few months ago in a sudden urge to cut out unnecessary spending. I’ve been doing a lot of audio books since then. When I’m listening to a good audio book, I have a tendency to get lost in the story. I’ve even been known to miss my turn.

This weekend I was looking for a new audio book for this week. Everything on my list was not available at the digital library. Since I was on a quest to cut out unnecessary spending I couldn’t justify to myself the cost of buying an audio book. So I decided that maybe this week I just needed to listen to the radio.

Listening to the radio does not require a lot of attention. Songs come on, I pay attention for a short while and then my thoughts stray to other things. Sometimes songs bring back memories and sometimes they make me think.

On my way home Merle Haggard’s “Are the good times really over” came on. Here are the lyrics and here is the video of Merle performing the song. Take a minute and read the lyrics or watch the performance and then come back.

Now when that song came on my first thought was the bombing Friday in Paris. I thought about how crummy the world has become in my lifetime. I could list a multitude of things and events, but why bother? We all know what they are.

But as I listened to an old man sing about how bad the world is, I realized it’s just a matter of perspective. Every generation thinks the world is spinning out of control. Each new generation try to make the world a better place. These thoughts, actions, and reactions have been happening since the beginning of time.

Along with the terrible things that have happened in the last 50 years there have been wonderful, marvelous things that have happened as well. Along with the things that people are still blind to, there are lots of things that people have opened their eyes to and changed.

So in a world where the next terrorist attack could  happen any where, at any time, I say that the goods times are not really over and we are not rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hill.

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I See Your Ice Bucket Challenge and Raise you 3 Homeless People

Charity: 1. Generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless; 2. something given to a person in need; 3. benevolent feeling, especially towards those in need; 4. a charitable act or work.

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral. If you don’t believe me, just log onto Facebook and look at the feed over the last month. I was a little confused about the whole thing at first. I thought “Why are these people pouring ice water over their heads?” It appeared at first glance that this was a way to not donate money.

Once I figured out how it work, I was a little insulted. But I let it go, after all, it was all done in good fun. It isn’t any worse or any better than the events done in the name of Komen Race for a Cure, Relay for Life, National Heart Health Awareness, Easter Seals, and Unicef.

Unicef started sending children door to door on Halloween to collect money. We haven’t done that in years. But occasionally someone will participate in some sort of race, walk, swim, bike ride, bowl-a-thon, that raises money for their charity of choice and also to raise awareness. No one comes to your door, no one calls you. They just post a link on a social media site or send an email. You either donate or not. No one knows, no one “calls you out”.

This is what bothered me about this ice bucket challenge. I mean, what right does someone have to publicly browbeat me into giving to a charity. Luckily, I learned a while back to think for myself and make my own choices. There isn’t anything wrong with donating using the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge template. I just choose not to participate.

Everyone thinks their charity is important and it is. But we all have to make choices. I choose to try to keep my giving local. It doesn’t matter if you know how or when I do anything charitable. It only matters that I do.

I have an old chum, friend, associate, antagonist, foe (you know a former friend) who has apparently taken to social media to educate (brow beat) her connections into giving to her charity of choice – the homeless. Her rants on other subjects and her attack on me personally (because of a difference of opinion) is one reason I am not associated with her any more. But we have friends in common who share the crazier parts of her rants and now its the homeless. It’s as if she just discovered the homeless and thinks they have been ignored because she has not been involved.

There is a presumption on her part and on the part of many others that because a person is wealthy it is the wealthy person’s responsibility to take an interest in her charity of choice. She has no idea what percentage of someone’s income goes towards charity. She has no idea what others have already done for her charity. Her assumption is that her charity is so very much more important than anything you decide to give to.

So I will just mind my own business, give to the organizations that I think can best use my money. The main thing I think we need to remember when it comes to giving is to give. Whether it be to an organization or to an individual.

There’s a storm brewing

I’m a fan of Stephen King novels.  They’re the usual good versus evil with a little supernatural thrown in for good measure.  Normally as he sets the stage and introduces you to the characters you find that they are pretty average people living in average towns.  But as the story starts to unfold you begin to see an underlying theme or connection between people.  Sometimes the characters aren’t what they appeared to be in the beginning. Usually the problem starts small and then as the plot thickens you can see that everyone is headed towards some kind of climax, either good or bad.

I woke up this morning with a lot on my mind.  Thinking back over things that have happened and been said over the past few weeks.  For weeks I have been going about my business.  Doing the usual things.  Interacting with the usual people.  But suddenly this morning during my drive to work I had a very weird feeling come over me.  I suddenly felt as if I was a character in a Stephen King book.

Over the last few weeks, and especially the last few days, things have been happening that have upset me.  There are certain people and situations that I don’t believe are as they appear to be on the surface.  Abruptly this morning it was as if everyone’s masks had been ripped off and I could see what they really are.  The odd thing is it isn’t just these few people that I’ve been dealing with, its like everyone.  Its not just this one or two problems with one or two people, its suddenly every little detail in dealing with other people is somehow all connected to one outcome.

I don’t want you to think “Anna’s gone off her rocker.”  I don’t do drugs.  I rarely drink and every more rarely drink to excess.  So these feelings are clear headed “rational” sensations.  In some bizarre way I feel like I and a whole big group of other people are being swept along towards some kind of life changing climax.  I can’t quite explain the feeling, but it is very odd and real.

Maybe I just need to lay “Wicked” aside and get a good night’s sleep.

A Random Few of Life’s Truths

The following things I know for a fact are true:

People will take advantage of you only if you let them.
Most people appreciate even the smallest things you do for them.

If I make eye contact with someone and smile, they will smile back.
Sometimes my smile may be the only smile a person sees all day.

Christians continue to sin.
Sinners continue to try.

No matter how old you get, sometimes all you want is to talk to your mother.
As we age, we slowly begin to see the mother child roles start to reverse.

Pictures are treasures and can sweep you away to another time and place.
You can never ever take too many pictures.

Birthdays come quicker every year.

Friendships can be made and you can grow close no matter the distance.
Every once in a while, a friend is going to hurt your feelings.

You can say or do something in a moment
that will bring heartache to you or someone else for a very long time.

No one else is responsible for my happiness
Happiness is found within myself.

That when you have given all you have to give
when called upon, you will give more.

True love isn’t always perfect,
but it is always true.

“Things” isn’t what I want my life to be graded on!

Our time is the most valuable asset we have.
Spend it freely with friends and family.

The happiest people I know, don’t really have the best of everything,
they just make the most of what they have.

The most difficult day is usually followed by the most restful evening.

Babies grow way too fast,
Toddlers leave for college before you know it.
Sometimes grown children need their space.

A good book can become a dear friend.

That counting to 10 really does work.
Its best to think before you speak,
especially if you’re upset.

Eating healthy is more important as I age,
I will never be thin and that’s okay.

When you lose a loved one, your heart never really heals.

We are stronger than we think we are
and can keep going when we think we’ve gone as far as we can.

The world is full of heros
they go quietly about their business unnoticed.

Sometimes you have to forgive yourself

Doug is my one true love and soul mate.
Love changes over time.
Its somehow different and better all at the same time.

Life is short
Always leave your loved ones with words of kindness and thoughfulness.