Traveling Near and Far, Making New Friends, Seeing Old Friends

“See the USA in your Chevrolet.” Remember that jingle, or are you too young?

full-service-gas-station-in-new-mexico-jpg

No that’s not a Chevrolet we’re filling, but we were on a road trip and the gas station attendant was filling our tank. When was the last time you had that kind of service?

Tuesday is Travel day, and while there is a plan in the works for a regular post about traveling. For today you get pictures of some of my travels.

Most of the time my traveling is done locally. Although, not riding a bike for my traveling like my sister sometimes does.

Keren and Nappy bike riding

A few years ago I dipped into the savings and took a quilting/Fall foliage tour in part of New England. While I thoroughly enjoy the trip, I did not have the time or opportunity to see several sights. Guess, I’ll be going back.

crowne-plaza-hotel-oct-2015

One of the hotels where we stayed, the Crowne Plaza. Not sure which state we were in, I need to be better about documenting my pictures. Very sure I won’t be staying there again, it’s a little out of my price range, but a wonderful experience.

partying-on-a-quilt-tour2

I met some wonderful people, we danced, we ate, we celebrated birthdays. We had fun.

Didn’t even have to leave the country to meet some wonderful women from Brazil.Brazilian ladies on Train in NewEngland.

 

Another time I “traveled” all the way down to Texas, (seriously, it was less than a four-hour drive to my destination,) to meet an online friend, and author, Mariam Kobras.

 

Last year I “traveled” all the way to Stuart, a whole twenty miles. To participate in a 5K event (I walked it) with a friend. In the rain no less.

So far this year my travels have taken me back to Stuart for a birthday party (mine), to Colorado for a graduation, (my grandson’s) and through parts of south central Oklahoma as I drive to a Toastmaster meeting.

There is no telling where my travels will take me as the year continues. One thing, I will enjoy wherever I go and cherish my time with friends (old and new) and family.

Do you enjoy traveling?

Do you prefer to travel local or international?

What is your favorite place to visit?

 

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Answer Journalism Questions to find Daily Gratitudes

Yesterday I did the who, what, when, where and how of gratitude, it’s here in case you missed it. I was tired, and not sure it all flowed together right.  However, my rule (when I don’t break it) is, “Better done than not.”

Today, let’s take those journalist prompts and find a gratitude or two.

daily-gratitude

Who?

Who are you thankful for in  your life?  You can be specific and name a person, or persons, Michelle, Cleo, Bryan (my children) or you can be more general, family, friends, neighbors. My favorite thing is to start with generalities and each day pick one person, and expand on the reasons that person makes me feel grateful. Doing individual gratitudes will take a month or more, still it’s nice to stop and consider why a person is a blessing.

For people we like and love this is most often simple. We can write, or remember three or four sentences that express how a particular person is a blessing. We can also write, or reminisce whole stories of their blessings. No rules.

birthday party at the gasebo

For those we feel have harmed us or hurt us in some way, finding a grateful heart for them is much more difficult. Being grateful is better for our health than being resentful. Which means it’s important for us to find a way to be grateful even for those we feel don’t deserve our blessings.

Remember, just because we acknowledge a person as being a blessing to us doesn’t mean we have to continue to associate with them, or have them in our life. Sometimes people are toxic to us and we need them away from us. We can be grateful we can remove ourselves from them, we can be grateful they showed us their toxicity, we can be grateful for the blessings they gave us before they became toxic to us.

Expressing gratitude is about us. the joy we receive from acknowledging our blessings spill over and enhance the lives of those around us.

What are you thankful for?

What do you have in your life you’re thankful for? Your car, your job, roads? Maybe you’re thankful for your hobbies, the supplies you have to enjoy them, as well as the feelings you have during and after spending time on your hobby. Our lives are full of “things” we can be thankful for.

If you struggle to find things to be grateful for consider, you have a home, it may be an apartment, a trailer (or recreational vehicle), a mobile home, a tent, or a house. Wherever you live, chances are you have a roof over your head, many people don’t.

You have clothes on your body, and more clothes stored away to wear at a later date.

Your living space may have indoor plumbing, it wasn’t always the case.

Outhouse Collage

 

 

When, what time period of your life was, or is being enhanced.

We all have times in our lives that leave an impression. A time period we are grateful to have experienced. If you’re old enough think about all the things that are available now that weren’t when you were a child. You can be grateful for the fancy new items. Remember when you played outside, and your parents didn’t have to worry? What kind of memories did you make then? What lessons did you learn? Remember listening to records? Remember records?

What about as a young adult? What happened in your life that made an impression on you that you can be thankful for? Maybe it’s the time when your children were born you are grateful for.

If you’ve been living life, there have been times in your life that made an impression or taught you a lesson. Times that may, or may not, evoke gratitude that time travel doesn’t exist.

Where. What places in your life are you grateful for?

This can be a particular place, the house where you grew up, grandma’s house, an amusement park you enjoyed or still enjoy. It can be something bigger, a town or an area, maybe a state or country.

We all have people, places, experiences, and everyday items to be grateful for. The challenge is to notice and acknowledge them.

Don’t forget on twitter you can list your gratitudes with the hashtags, #3dailygratitudes and simply, #dailygratitudes. Hope to see you there.

 

SIDENOTE:

In yesterday’s post, here, I mentioned the Alphabet Challenge and someone asked about it. In April (I have no idea how many years it’s been going) a group of bloggers join together to blog Monday through Saturday (most years) in April. Each day they will blog about something in alphabetical order, bloggers can follow a theme or not, their choice. You can read more about it here.

This year I forgot to sign up but thought I’d piggyback the Alphabet Challenge with the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The plan was to blog about living life with intention, and share the posts with both challenges. Sounded like a good plan. It fell apart in execution. This time around I’m just doing one challenge, and somedays doing it is a major challenge.

How often to you express gratitude?

What is one place you’re grateful exists or that you’ve visited?

What is one event you’re grateful you participated in, even if you hope to never do it again?

 

 

 

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The Who, What, When, and Where of Expressing Gratitude

Letter G

It’s time for the Ultimate Blog Challenge once again. When I make an attempt to write a blog post, and publish it every day.

Every.Single.Day.

Whew! That’s a tall order. Not to mention I still haven’t finished the alphabet challenge from a few months back. No, I will not be doing a letter a day.

Instead, I’ll post a letter a week, not promises what future posts will cover. Today, the letter is G.

G is for gratitude.

Why?

Expressing gratitude helps us physically, psychologically, and social.

According to experts people who express gratitude on a regular basis may lower their blood pressure, exercise more, sleep better, among other benefits.

For those who have gone through a traumatic event, expressing gratitude can help them heal, and find their new place in life by improving their social life. Expressing gratitude helps a person be more outgoing and feel less lonely and isolated.

Who?

Anyone can express gratitude. There are no rules as to who can express gratitude. We don’t need permission from anyone to express our thankfulness.

What?

What are we grateful for? We can be grateful for anything, from the people in our lives who help us through the dark valleys to the rocks we throw in ponds to release some of our anger. We can be thankful for our the nature that surrounds us, whether we live in a city jungle or a rural area there’s bound to be some bit of nature for us to enjoy. We can be thankful for the negative, for what we don’t have. When we see someone struggling we can be thankful we don’t have their problems.

When?

When is the best time to express our gratitude? There isn’t a best time, it’s whatever time works for you. For some people, first thing in the morning is their preference. By starting the day being grateful they are starting on a positive note, it helps make the day go smoother.

Others offer their gratitudes throughout the day, when they sit down to a meal they express gratitude for the food, the time to eat, and the companionship. When a particular item catches their attention, they take a moment to acknowledge their gratitude for that item or event. There are those who prefer to express their gratitude at the end of the day, the enjoy closing their day out on a high note of positives.

Choosing a time to express gratitude is up to each individual. Any time is a good time to be thankful, combining times or selecting the time that works best. Creating a grateful time is up to each person.

Where ?

Where do you express your gratitude? Wherever you want. Consider listing things your grateful for, and why, while exercising. Acknowledge your gratitudes while having your morning coffee or while stuck in a traffic jam. Gratitudes can be expressed any time, any place.

How?

Gratitudes can be expressed in several ways: photographs, oral words, written words. Taking pictures of anything that inspires gratitude creates visual trail of blessings. Speaking gratitudes out loud helps cement them in our minds, and reminds us of our blessings, whether we say them to anyone else or not. Writing gratitudes down, in a journal, or in a list on a board is both a visual reminder (we see the words) and a trail of grateful reminders. Gratitudes can also be shared with others on social media. Twitter has two (at least) hashtags for gratitudes; #dailygratitudes and #3dailygratitudes.

Thus ends day one of the July UBC challenge. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow when we can explore area for gratitude. Some things common things for gratitude, and hopefully a few new ideas for you. In the meantime, please check out some of the blogs on the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Do you have a daily gratitude ritual?

List one to three things you’re grateful for?

Do you have a difficult time expressing gratitude?

 

 

 

 

 

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Focus is For Serious Business, Or Is It?

Focus is not serious and stuffy all the time.

When I started to write this post that’s where it was headed, stuffy and serious.

And then, I got lost. Okay, not so much lost as turned around. My daughter likes to tell people I am directionally challenged.

Maybe. Or, maybe I just get involved in the scenery that I forget to pay attention to where I’m going. Is that another way of saying I don’t focus well?

With gps on so many cell phones today, you would think I (or anyone else) couldn’t get lost or turned around.

You would be wrong. It’s easy. You see I didn’t pay close attention, or any attention to what I was doing and input the wrong direction. When I should have typed (or said) the number address followed by “south” and the street name, I inserted the number address (correctly) and “north” followed by the street name. Oh-oh

I did not arrive at my destination. When I reached a certain point the voice on my phone said, “you have arrived. Your destination is on your right.”

Huh? The voice had to be wrong. The only thing on my right was pasture and I was looking for a house.

Now what?

Find a safe place to pull off the road, look up the address, put it in again, this time correctly, and try again.

It worked. I arrived at my true destination, completed my errand, and returned home.

Taking the “scenic” route allowed me to see scenery, home designs, and plants I might not otherwise see. There were no unusual animals this trip, but I never know when something out of the ordinary will be in my path.

Focusing can be serious business. Putting nose to the grindstone, and all that. However, I like to think Focusing on less serious actions is just as important. After all, if we don’t put some focus into enjoying life, will we, or will we be constantly striving to reach the next destination.

I think focus comes in two parts. The first part, the serious, “Let’s get it done,” but there is the other side, the side that helps us remember to enjoy the journey and live life.

What do you think?

Is focus only for the serious side of life, or can it help the fun side too?

When does focus help you?

When do you focus the most?

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Enjoy Today and Live a Fuller Tomorrow

letter E

I’m all mixed up. Tried doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge, posting daily. Every. Single. Day. Needless to say, that plan got botched. Also tried to do the A to Z challenge. Again, botched.

However, there is no rule that says posting alphabetically must be done exclusively for the the challenge. So, I will continue trudging moving on. When last I blogged, here, for the letters C & D, celebrate and dream.

No, wait. The last post was  here for the letter N. See? I told you I was confused. Now, working to get back in the flow of posting alphabetically, I’ll go back to where we left off and go from there. Which means today’s post is E . . .

Today E is for: Enjoy

Enjoy where you are right now.

It’s easier to live in the moment and with intention when we enjoy where we are and the world around us. Happiness is truly reached when we are ready to be what we are, not what we think we should be.

According to the Thesaurus, there are multiple synonyms for enjoy. Among them: appreciate, like, love, revel in, relish, savor, and take pleasure in.

Whether it’s raining, snowing, or the sun is shinning today is a day to relish. Enjoy it all. Rain or snow gives us moisture. The sun brightens our days, and feeds our soul. What’s not to enjoy?

If you left home for work or errands, or other reason or you’re at home. Enjoy your ability to be where you are.

When it’s meal time, take a moment to really taste the food. Enjoy the aroma of it, the warmth, and taste of it on your tongue.

Enjoy where you are now so that you can move toward your next goal with intention.

One of the synonyms of enjoy is “rejoice in” which always makes me think of the Bible. The Bible has plenty to say about enjoyment.

I like this verse from Ecclesiastes in the King James:
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.   —Ecclesiastes 3:13

What do you enjoy?

What do you anticipate that you know you will enjoy?

 

 

I will trudge on with the A to Z challenge, just for kicks. Can’t promise how long it will take me to get through the alphabet. Best guess is less than twenty-four months. After all, four letters are complete, and there’s only 26 letters in the alphabet. 

Of course, there may be some posts thrown in that have nothing to do with living with intention done alphabetically.

 

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No Isn’t Just For Children, Say No To Your Inner Negative Self

Letter N

Have you read one, or more, of the hundreds if not thousands of articles or heard a podcast about the beauty of saying “no?” These pieces all encourage women to say no when their first reaction is to say yes

It’s not that the idea is wrong.

These writers and speakers have a valid point. Sometimes we need to say no to other people, rather than always saying yes and overloading ourselves. When we say yes too often to others we end up stressing ourselves, and being so busy we don’t feel like we have time to stop and live in the moment.

However, one person most of us are excellent at refusing is ourselves.

Just a reminder, this month I’m posting about living in the moment alphabetically. At least that was the plan several days ago. In fact, I’ve missed several days, which I will catch up, at some point. For today however, the letter is N, and the word is NO. How often do we let negativity control our actions. Let’s say “NO” to negativity.

We tell ourselves, “no, we don’t need that item,” “no, we can’t afford that trip,” “no, there is no time to read that book,” “no, we  don’t have enough stamina to do a 5K.” We let our negativity dictate what we will attempt doing.

Well guess what? We can say NO to that negative thought. After all, we might need that item, and if it would make us smile, brighten our day, or make our job easier, why do we not make the purchase. If it’s too expensive, we can save our money, other wise way not enjoy the item? Instead of saying no and doing without, say yes and make the purchase. After all, if it was for someone else, you wouldn’t refuse them would you?

What do you mean you can’t afford that trip? Maybe not right at this minute, but why not start saving specifically for that journey? Start planning the trip, what will you wear, what will you do, how will you get there. The anticipation is part of the enjoyment Instead of saying no to the trip, say “yes, I will go next month, or next Spring, or whenever you will be able to make the  visit.”

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We’re on our way

What do you mean there is no time to read that book? Spend an hour in the evening before going to bed to read. It will help you relax and unwind. In a few days you will finish the book, and choose another one.

 

Books meme

What do you mean you don’t have enough stamina to do a 5K?” You don’t have to run, most organizers allow participants to walk the route. Okay, so maybe you don’t have the stamina to even walk that far at the moment, that can change. If you gasp for air when you walk through the mall, a 5K might be a little far. After all that is 3.1 miles. But, what’s stopping you from building your stamina and strength. Start a walking program. Walk a little further every few days. Before long you’ll be walking the 3 miles, or running, your choice.

start of Stuart 5K in the rain 2017

And they’re off, rain and all the 5K has begun.

 

Nita and Ronda at Stuart 5K 2017

We ,might be wet and we might be behind everyone else, but we did it. We walked the whole 3.1 miles

 

Say “no” to your no. When you say or think “no” about something you want, you’re letting your negativity rule. Think again. Don’t stop yourself from enjoying life. Say no to no, and yes to life.

What did you last say No to?

Is there something you hesitate to say yes to?

This post is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I’m sure you noticed I’m a little behind. Little is an understatement. We are almost halfway through the month and posts here have been few and far between. Going forward attempts will be made to play catch-up as well as stay up-to-date. Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate and Dream, Two More Ways to Live in the Present

 

Today’s letter:
                                                               C is for celebrate

For many people celebrating their birthday is a one day event. For my sister, it has always been a month long. This year I took a page from her book and celebrated the entire month of March for my birthday.

There was a party, with cake and guests and everything.

It was held at a local historic Stuart hotel.

The birthday fell in the middle of the month. The days leading up to it and following it were also days of celebration.

There was a day spent with my grandchildren from out of state. There was dinner with a friend. I slept in late one day, just because I could and it was my birthday month.

Not every day was a big huge celebration. But, everyday there was something to celebrate. It was just a success, I’m continuing it in April.

Celebrating every day means paying attention to the day. It means paying attention when someone buys you a soda, or holds the door open for you, or you get an unexpected day to do nothing.

Taking the time to notice what is going on, and celebrate the good things  helps keep us living, really living as opposed to existing, in the present.

Following the lead of Vidya, at Lady In Read Writes (love that title), and posting two posts in one.   She is also doing the UBC Challenge as well as the A to Z. She posted for three days in one post. I’ll limit it to two in one post. Next up, the letter:

                                       D is for Dream

You might wonder how we can live in the present if we’re busy dreaming? Because dreams lead to goals and goals are something to strive to achieve. When we dream we’re reaching higher and further.

Having a dream means we live in the present and go forward and rise. Without a dream, we stop and sink. Without a dream we are so mired in yesterday that we can’t acknowledge and appreciate today.

Dreams help us live in the present. Dreams help us tap into our creativity, we look for new, different, sometimes innovative ways to make our dream a reality.

Whether your dream is to go to Disneyland, or on a cruise, whether it’s to climb a rock wall, or spend time at the ocean, or whatever your dream is, finding a way to reach it, keeps us grounded and focused and living in the present.

How about you? Do you celebrate your birthday?

Have you reached one of your dreams?

How do you celebrate your steps toward your dream?

 

 

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