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A Holiday Memory….books for the library

Two things this week brought this story to mind.  When I unpacked my Christmas decorations I found a note that my daughter wrote me last year about our secret library project.  I also had a status update from a friend who was promoting her schools holiday book fair to buy books for their school library.

It’s probably been close to 20 years.  I think it’s ok to confess, yes, it was us.  🙂

As a mom, I did my best to find creative ways to teach my children about sharing and making the world a better place.  Instead of rooting through the cupboard and finding stuff that we didn’t want to eat for the canned food drive at the school, I made it into a lesson.  I gave them each $10 and we went to the store. My thought, one they could pick out their favorite things—within their budget to make their donations. This also let them see how much that box of Fruit Loops cost, and did they want to spend that much of their $10 on a box of cereal.  They made great choices, a nice balance of what was a bargain, and what they would like to eat.  

I’m not sure how the Christmas book project came to be.  When they were learning to read, they would bring home books from the elementary school library.  These books were not in the best shape.  There weren’t a lot of books to go around, so they were well read, and showed signs of wear and tear.  I was working at the school as a volunteer and I would see the time that the librarian and the aides put in fixing the books up so they could still be used. 

I’m not sure how much we spent, or how many years we did this project—20 years later it doesn’t really matter.  I did a big craft show every year and I would take part of the money and head to the local bookstore with my daughters.  I would give them a budget and they would pick out books for the library.  They picked out books for all of the grade levels, and it was a blast to buy all of those books.  When we got the books home, they used a rubber stamp and we tagged the books, we bought a new rubber stamp to use every year.  They each then wrapped their books in Christmas wrapping paper and I would drop the books off at the school. The books were always from Santa and the bag of books was always dropped somewhere in the school for someone to find.  

It was a secret that we kept.  When they would bring home one of the books they had bought for the library home to read, it was a reminder to them, and to me, that even little kids can make a small difference.   It’s been close to 20 years.  I’m sure those books we bought have long since been retired–I hope all those kids learning to read wore out those books reading them.  

It’s a cherished family memory.  I believe that it instilled in my daughters the importance of giving back and making the world a better place.  I’m proud of the women that they have grown to be.  I’m sure they will forgive this 20 year old confession…I’m very proud of the little positive ripple we added to that tiny elementary school library.

….tis the season…

Where the heck do I come from?

I’m on a quest to find my roots.  Not so much for myself, but for my two daughters.  I’ve had a family life filled with divorces, disconnects, relocations. I really didn’t have much of

a connection to where I came from or how I got here.  Both of my daughters know quite a bit about the paternal side of their roots, the maternal side–frankly it’s a hot mess.  My oldest daughter, Shelly started to try to put things together on Ancestry.com. She connected there and was able to find a photo of my mother’s parents on their wedding day.  I remember my grandmother, she was always in the kitchen cooking.  My grandfather, I don’t remember much at all.  But the names were familiar and I encouraged my daughter to continue and even offered to pay for a gift membership for her to continue the research.  But she’s working full time and going to school part-time and her plate is pretty full.

I’m not sure what nudged me this week to pick up this task and continue on. Maybe it’s having a birthday, maybe it’s seeing friends dealing with medical issues and knowing that life can be short and can change in an instant.  This week I decided to do the DNA testing on Ancestry.com and I ordered the kit.  I am not sure how much information I will get from that.  But decided that one day I want to visit Denmark, where my family is from.  When I visit, I want to know where they lived and visit that part of the country.

My parents divorced when I was 12.  My mother’s mother disowned her for divorcing my dad, so ties with that part of the family were severed.  So I have to go back 45 to 50 years in my brain to try to remember names of aunts and uncles and cousins.  I have some fuzzy memories, and family lore to go by.

Like most projects it starts with that first step.  I filled in the blanks that I could remember. That wasn’t all that much.  I’m on the 14 day trial of Ancestry, but will probably continue on until I find some more pieces of the puzzle.

So far I have discovered:

  • My paternal grandparents did not come over from Denmark, they were both born here in the US.  Their parents did travel here and one of them was born in Lonstrup, Denmark
  • My maternal grandparents, who I always thought came from Germany actually had roots in Romania.
  • My older sister who I haven’t seen in years died in 2010.
  • I was able to track down information by looking at obituaries of favorite aunts that had died. It made me sad, but I know that all three of them would approve of this project that I’m working on.

It’s like a giant puzzle.  As you snap in a piece the little leaf lights up and you see more clues and more pieces to the puzzle. I’ll see familiar names and memories will pop into my head.  Most of the families were larger than I remembered.  It’s so much easier to do all of this online with the technology.  As a name comes to mind, I enter it in, or do a Google search and another layer of my family, my background appears.

I like to think that my legacy to my children will not be measured in dollars and cents, or large parcels of land.  I know that I’ve shown them some things by example.  They both have a creative streak, a giving spirit and are both strong independent women.  That’s a trait that was handed down to me by my mother.  It’s important to them, this family connection.  I’m realizing as I work on this it’s important to me too.

As time allows, I plan to take some time to upload photos and to share stories that I remember about my relatives.  You know I love to write… I think what is driving this is that so many of them are gone, and sadly their stories gone with them.  I want to be sure to leave a footprint when I am gone so one day if my great great great grandchildren decide that they want to find out more about me, it will be available.

Hey…it could happen.  🙂

Image

Write More Inspire…

I’ve been home quite a bit this spring.  I have realized that while I’ve been filling my time with lots of things that I love—dancing, knitting, doodling I’ve not been writing nearly as much as I normally do.  I tend to write when I’m feeling inspired, I don’t write well under pressure.  But I also know that when I write it makes me feel better.  There’s something about putting those words out into the Universe that makes me feel good.  I honestly never write with the intent that there’s an audience or even one person reading what I write.  I write for me.  🙂

I had a reboot kind of moment over the weekend and worked on taking everything off my vision board and deciding where my head is at the moment.  It’s probably the least amount of things I’ve ever posted to the board, and most of them are not things, but thoughts, plans and goals.

Vision Board

Be Healthy—I am sporting a fitbit flex and I am loving the motivation that I am feeling at the moment.  I’ve even started getting up 30 minutes earlier to get in a walk before work.  I’m looking at this as one step at a time and moving in the right direction.  So far every day I’ve met my goal of 10,000 steps.

Expand and Learn – Learn one new thing a month, do one new thing a week I like all of the possibilities this goal opens up for me.  Hmmm..something new I think I’ll try this combination pear/apple.  It’s nudging me to try new things.  (I’m not going to get all crazy with the green stuff just yet.)  I’m still pondering my new thing to learn for June.  It doesn’t even have to be a big thing–just something new is a good idea to continue to grow.

Be Positive ~ Joy ~ Gratitude ~ Abundance – These are the words that I need to focus on a whole lot more.  I’m a very upbeat and positive person mostly.  But there are times when even I fall off the happy cliff.  I’m finding that the yoga classes I have been taking along with the time out walking give me lots of time to ponder life, and to be amazed for all that I have.  A year ago today I was in Australia, two years ago today I was in Ireland.  Never ever in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to experience so many new and amazing places.  I have a trip to Houston on the horizon and a long weekend at Big Bend.  I love more chances to see more of this amazing state of Texas.

Write More Inspire – Like anything in life, if you do something for 30 days, it can become a habit.  And if you don’t do something for 6 months apparently it can stop being a good habit.  I can’t promise that I’ll write something every day.  But I feel better when I am writing, so I’m going to work on the effort to put at least some rambling posts out there about what I am experiencing at that particular moment in time.  I’m not traveling as much, but I’m still out there enjoying life and experiencing new things.

My goal that never leaves my vision board….

Help someone achieve a dream.
Inspire someone to catch the giving spirit.
Make someone smile each and every day.

I’m not sure if these are measurable goals, but I know when presented the opportunity I do all that I can to make these thoughts a priority.

Reboot completed…let’s do this!

Looking toward a new year…some new steps on the path.

At the end of 2011, I took some time to reflect and decided that instead of making new year goals or resolutions I would focus with gratitude on all that I have in my life each and every day.  Feeling that abundance…yes, that’s my word.  If I were to ever get brave enough to add a tattoo to my body, I would have that word tattooed in white ink, probably on my wrist.  Not that I forget to savor the abundance of my life.  I do it every chance I get.

I started searching for images with the word abundance to post as my page topper on Facebook.  I found a few, but then realized that I had taken some incredible photos in 2012.  I was lucky enough to get to go to places from coast to coast and I also spent 4 weeks in Australia.  Really? This is my job? I’ve said since the beginning of this adventure that I get all of the best offices.  That’s my attitude when I walk in to a new place every week.  I think that’s my attitude about life, I have the best life.  My life has been filled with all sorts of roller coaster up and down events but I’ve held on for the ride and life is very darn good.

I started a list of resolutions.  But today, when it comes time to put those goals out there for the universe, they seem pretty small in comparison to being grateful, being happy, knowing that my life is filled with abundance.  I’ll still do that list of resolutions, and put it on my vision board.  A reminder of things I plan to make happen this year.  *If you see a skinner me, tossing out a little Spanish now and then sailing off into the sunset…I have probably accomplished a few of those goals. :)*

My theme for 2012 was: “What will you do today that will make you proud in a year…”  I think I did lots of things that I am very proud of.  My theme for 2013: “This is my year to shine…” no sure why that popped into my head, but I will find ways to make it happen.

Ask…believe…receive… Right?

If your still trying to decide on some goals or resolutions for 2013, these might come in handy.

2013 Funny

2013

…and these are never a bad idea..and will be on my list for next year too.

http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/12/31/12-powerful-resolutions-you-should-make-every-year/#more-544

My 2013 will be filled with abundance…

Abundance….

Yep, there’s that word again 🙂

I sit in the hotel lobby writing this post just outside of Melbourne, Australia in Bundoora.  It’s Sunday morning, I’m waiting for my room to be ready and I’m just passing a little time while that happens.  It’s August 5, 2012.

Zip back in time to 4 years ago, August 5, 2008.  That was my official cross the border Texas citizenship day.  I had driven from Ohio across all those flat cornfield filled states on my way to a new life in Texas.  I had no idea 4 years ago just how much my life would have changed.  I would have never in my wildest dreams predicted that in 4 years I would be in Australia–for the third time.  I chuckled about that on the cab ride from the airport this morning.  How easy my trip was from Dallas to LAX and then on to Melbourne.  It’s a much easier adventure than my last trip here.  This time I have one hotel, one office and it should be a very easy week. 

An easy week…half way around the world.

I marvel at that person who got in her car, loaded down with her most prized possessions and started the trek across country to Texas.  I had a job, a place to live, and I knew one person in the Dallas area, Carol.  I stayed at her house that first night, and spent many weekends there when I first moved to Texas.  Gradually over the last 4 years I’ve made so many new friends.  Coworkers, dancing friends–people who add so much to my life in Texas.  My world has expanded out bigger than I could have ever imagined. 

I’ve worked with 50+ offices all over the US, Canada, Australia and Ireland.  According to Trip It I’ve been on 73 trips to 123 cities and traveled over 175, 000 miles.  I could not have imagined that would happen in my entire lifetime, let alone in just under 2 years time. 

Abundance, appreciation of all that I have done, the people, the experiences, the wonders of this life in Texas.  I shake my head in pure amazement.  I am so happy for all of those who add to my life on a daily basis.  Making so many major changes in a person’s life can be stressful.  For those of you who knew me 5 years ago, you will understand the monumental shift in my life this has been.  There were lots of growing pains, lots of challenges, but I also had so much support along the way from people who care about me.

I truly believe that I lead a charmed life.  I think in part because of my attitude of gratitude, and realizing how full my life is of wonderful joys and experiences.  Abundance is so much more than numbers in a bank account.

Tonight at dinner I plan to toast my 4 year anniversary of becoming a Texan.  It was an incredible leap of faith and wow, just wow what an amazing life I lead.

“Leap and the net will appear.”

A Step Back into the Past

While looking for something in a draft folder in an old email account I came across a story that I wrote while taking a creative writing class about 5 years ago.  I forgot how fun the story was, and though parts of it were made up–to protect the innocent, parts of it definitely were me.  Reading the story yesterday made me chuckle, and also tugged at my soul and made my heart ache a bit for the person in the story–who of course was me.  

This evolution of my life has been gradual–although there have been times I have felt there have been some warp speed changes.  I am constantly urged to write more, to write a book, the truth is I enjoy writing. But mostly I write for myself, as a release of the energy out of my mind–sending it spinning out into the Universe.  Heck, I really don’t know or care if people even read what I write.  

Sharing this story, and a piece of the old me with you….and my belly dancing teacher really was named Jiffy!

Looking for a Butterfly

Martha stood at the back of the room trying to hide in the shadows and to avoid looking directly into the mirror. She stood in the very back corner of the room as far away from the mirror and the other students as possible. The wooden floor felt smooth beneath her bare feet. My word, her toes were naked and exposed! What was she thinking? On the drive down to the dance studio she had thought about getting off at the nearest exit. One with a fast food restaurant so she could drown her sorrows in a cheeseburger fries and chocolate shake, super-size it!

She wasn’t quite sure how the idea had popped into her head to take a dance class. Yes, she had joined a gym and started a weight loss program. Hell, she hated weighing in and having someone see those numbers on the scale. The first time she stepped onto the scale it registered 194 pounds. How did that happen? Twenty years and three children ago she weighed 124 pounds soaking wet

When she arrived at the dance studio, she paid her ten dollars for the class, filled out the medical release form. Good grief, could she really die from this? Other people filed into the dance studio in skimpy tights, midriff baring tops and bras that left nothing to the imagination. There were twenty bodies scattered across the full length of the room with plenty of elbowroom to dance. She was surprised to find women with a little roundness in their middle quite comfortable with showing off their bodies.

She didn’t know any of the women, but she gave a few of them names in her mind as she sized them up

To her right Ms. “I-am-so-skinny-I-can’t-gain-a-pound” was dressed in the skimpiest of sports bras and spandex leggings. Over the top of this she wore a coin belt that seemed to jingle each time she moved.

Mrs. “I-am-not-ashamed-of-these-rolls-around-my-middle” stood in the row directly in front of her in a short red top and low riding pants that exposed her entire mid-section. Around her waist was tied a brightly colored shawl. She almost blushed at the sight of seeing so much of her and her willingness at that size to show so much skin.

To the left Ms. “Twenty-something-full-of-seriousness” reminded her of her oldest daughter Susan. She knew in her heart her daughter would never take this kind of a dance class. She had looked at her mother as if she had two heads when she told her where she was headed tonight. There are just some things that moms don’t do, like shop at Victoria’s Secret or take belly dancing classes.  How embarrassing!

She was a bit wistful when thinking about her daughters, even though they rolled their eyes at the idea of her taking belly dancing classes.  You would think that by the second year that they all went off to college leaving her with a very empty nest she would be used to this.  She missed them terribly, missed the fun summer they had enjoyed seeing 80’s concerts several weekends over the summer.  She guessed it was ok for moms to go to concerts, drink a little beer, dance around and have fun—as long as they paid for the tickets.

It was time to break out of her protective shell and to experience the other side of life. She wasn’t off to a very good start padding her body dressed in big baggie sweats. She realized that the sweats made it very apparent she was a newbie.

She had been pondering a number of changes in her life lately.  Maybe the big baggie clothes acted as insulation from the world, or maybe they were to hide the person inside who was struggling to figure out just what she wanted out of the rest of her life.  She felt that the empty nest had landed her at a major crossroad in her life. Her daughters were growing up; they didn’t need her as much anymore.  It made her a little sad, but she had raised them to be independent, self-assured women.   How did she lose track of that part of herself?

The instructor walked confidently to the front of the room and introduced herself as Jiffy. “Jiffy?” She wondered in her head. It was a pretty safe bet that by looking around, she was the only Martha in this room. Martha’s just weren’t the type of people to take belly dancing classes. Martha’s were probably the kind of women you might find in the middle of a quilting bee, a book club or at the local knitting guild meeting.

Jiffy asked for a show of hands of the new people in the class. She timidly raised her hand. “Oh great, let’s make it even more obvious that I am new” ran through her mind. Jiffy started the Middle Eastern music and the class began with a warm up.

In her mind a warm up meant a little stretching. She remembered the aerobics classes that she had taken before becoming a mother. This was a time to slowly limber up the body to prepare for class. Drill Sergeant Jiffy seemed to have other ideas.

“Assume the belly dancing position.”

“Feet together, slightly apart, pelvis tipped up and arms in the air.”

“Um yeah, I can do this part.” She muttered in her head.

A series of stretches from left to right seemed to limber Martha up a bit. Sometimes she would catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror and did her best not to laugh at how awkward she looked. Everyone seemed to be focusing their attention on Jiffy and watching their form in the mirror.

“Ok, down to the floor.” Jiffy commanded.

“Yes, I get to sit down and rest!” She cheered in her head.

Then the sit-ups began. Not 5 or 10 she was pretty sure it was close to a thousand. Of course they weren’t the normal crunches they were encouraging her to do at the gym.

“Cross your legs and raise them off the floor.” Jiffy smiled sweetly and as she came up for the sit up instead of throwing her arms to propel her off the floor, Jiffy did delicate belly dancing arm movements.

About halfway through she looked around for some sort of club or sharp object to show Jiffy just how much she was appreciating these damn sit-ups.

“Come on let me see you all smiling” was Jiffy’s cheer to the class. She was glad that Jiffy could not read her mind at that particular moment.

The song ended and the torture was over. She lay flat on her back, panting at the exertion from this warm up. She had only done about half of the sit-ups yet she was already feeling the pain.

Jiffy jumped up and announced to the class, “We are going to be working on veil tonight”. In her mind she pictured those old I Dream of Jeanie shows from her childhood and tried to figure out how she was possibly going to dance with a veil slapped across her face.

Jiffy pointed to three racks of veils at the end of the dance studio. “Choose a veil to borrow for tonight.” She held back and let the others do the choosing first. The fabrics were beautiful chiffons and satins with all sorts of colorful shiny edges and designs.

The veil Martha found was a bright fuschia with a striped pattern in the same color but shiny on the edges. The veil was about six feet long and 3 feet wide. She looked in the mirror as she wrapped the billowy scarf around her and felt a bit like a butterfly. In reality she thought she looked like some wildly wrapped up mummy. The mummy part was about to really come true.

“The veil is held between the first two fingers of the hand.” Jiffy demonstrated by pulling the veil across her back and extending her arms. The end of the fabric hung delicately down evenly on each end.

When she looked in the mirror she saw that her veil was a little off center so she adjusted the veil so it was even, she thought that now that the sit-ups were over that class was going to be easier—quite the opposite was about to happen.

Easy, since when had her life felt easy these days?  Part of the reason for coming to this class was to shake up her life a little.  She found as she got closer and closer to that big birthday with a zero at the end she was taking a long look at her life.  Fifty was definitely not the end of the world, but it was feeling a bit confining.  Her old life didn’t seem to fit anymore.  For the last twenty plus years her life consisted of being a mother, before that being a wife.  What happened to Martha? How did she lose sight of that person she was so many years ago?

The iPod shuffled to the next song and a slow graceful melody blasted into the room. Jiffy instructed the class to follow along and slowly made sweeping motions with her arms dipping the veil first to one side and to the other. She smiled, she could do this. She was dipping and dancing and had long since forgotten that there were any other people in the class other than Jiffy. Jiffy dipped, Martha dipped this was a piece of cake.

“We are now ready to move on to a little bit more challenging move.”

“Yikes” she thought, “there goes my comfort level”.

Jiffy twirled the vest around like some sort of Middle Eastern matador and smiled as somehow the veil went from behind her then in front of her and ended up over one shoulder. Martha stared at Jiffy as if she were the female version of David Copperfield standing in front of the class.

“She can’t be serious.” She chuckled to herself, nearly snorting at the silliness of this.

Jiffy did the twirl again, this time slower a step at a time. She really concentrated on Jiffy’s movements. She pulled the veil from the back started to twirl the fabric around to the front and soon found herself wrapped up in the veil like a mummy. As she wrestled her way out of the veil she realized that this action was creating static electricity in the veil and her hair was starting to stand a bit on end.

She caught sight of herself in the mirror. She looked more than a bit disheveled with the veil still tangled around her arms and legs. Her hair stood out like a crazy person. Her cheeks were flushed from the heat and the embarrassment of her mummification just a few minutes earlier trapped in the veil.

She began to laugh

Not a timid giggle, but a real belly laugh at how funny she looked. She also realized for the first time since coming in the door of the dance studio tonight, she was actually having fun.

Mrs. “I-am-not-ashamed-of-these-rolls-around-my-middle” looked at her and started to laugh to.

“Is this not a blast? Hi, my name is Megan. I’ve been coming here for 6 months just for a little fun and exercise. I just can’t seem to get this dancing with the veil stuff down right but I still enjoy the class.”

She loosened a hand from the veil and shook hands with Megan. “I’m Martha, nice to meet you, please excuse the way I look at the moment.”

Jiffy made her way back to the back row and stood between Martha and Megan. “Let me stand next to you and we will work on this together a little slower.” Martha and Megan followed along step by step and caught on to the twirling and ended up every time with the veil delicately draped over one shoulder. Heck, they could even twirl the veil in the opposite direction and get it to appear on the opposite shoulder.

“David Copperfield look out!” she giggled to Megan.

She managed to survive the rest of the evening with the veil. Jiffy introduced all sorts of moves and gyrations with the veil. At one point in the evening they switched from several lines to one big circle walking around the room veils flowing behind. It was quite spectacular to see. Yes, she messed up a few times.  Arms were down when they should have been up, but walking in a circle this way and seeing most of the people in the class she realized that everyone made a mistake here or there. Even the people who seemed very serious and passionate about being totally correct didn’t always execute every move smoothly.

She had been way too hard on herself at the beginning of class. Was she being way too hard on herself and the decisions she had been pondering too?

When class had ended and as she was hanging up her veil, Jiffy stopped and put a hand on her shoulder.

“You did really well tonight. It’s not easy to dance with the veil and you tackled that head on tonight and had fun with it I hope we see you back again next week.”

She smiled, Jiffy had no idea how this small little victory over the veil would impact the decisions swirling around in her head.  Belly dancing was something that she had always wanted to try. For years she had pushed down the things she wanted in favor of making first her parents happy, then her husband and next her children.

The veil had lifted in many ways. It was Martha’s time, her turn to find happiness in her life doing what she wanted toward her dreams of a bright and happy life.  

“You can bet I will be back next week!” She chuckled to herself, wondering what type of torture Jiffy had in store for.

Celebrating the Red, White and Blue….

Abundance….I use this word a lot.  I’ve discovered if  you really stop and take a look around, you have so much to be thankful for, so many things with real meaning–but sometimes you need to look inside to truly see the abundance.  My 4th of July was a day filled with abundance, so much that I climbed out of bed wide awake to try to put these thoughts together in a post.  (I’m hoping for an abundance of sleep after I get this written 🙂

My 4th of July started with a parade.  In my mind when invited to this parade I’m thinking Fort Worth, big parade, brass bands, floats, horses and a grand event.  What I got instead, was a Norman Rockwell painting type event of a local community parade.  There was a band, there were floats, there was even a kazoo band.  I sat in my lawn chair in the shade and had one of those *home town* feelings that my friend Maria used to talk about in the small town that I lived in back in Ohio.  Fort Worth could hardly be considered a small town, but on this particular corner, in this neighborhood I felt that sense of family, community and being part of a long standing tradition.  I was invited in as a guest and was treated like a part of the family. That’s just how the day started….

The rest of the day I was scheduled to be at my happiest place on earth, the Fort Worth Stockyards to spend the day at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.  I went last year, by myself, and had an absolute blast.  This year I would be joined by some of my dancing friends, and I would be connecting with Billy Joe.  A day with Billy Joe always seems to be an adventure.

It’s July in Texas, not exactly the coolest time of the year, yet there was a breeze blowing, and in the shade it was tolerable to be outside to listen to the music.  The day started with the Randy Rogers Band, I had no idea how many of their songs I knew and that I dance to.  It was clear that they were humbled by the experience of playing at the picnic.  Not every artist or every band achieve that level of success in the music business, in fact I would guess that the odds lean more the other way.  It made me feel good that they seemed to appreciate their success. Abundance, right?

Late afternoon, I had the opportunity to go backstage with Billy Joe to meet Amy Nelson, Willie Nelson’s daughter.  Earlier I had seen her perform with Cathy Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie’s daughter.  I would describe their music as irreverent, but their voices were so sweet as they sang these hysterically funny songs.  I’ve become a fan of Folk Uke, and I look forward to hearing them sing again.

Seriously, backstage at Billy Bob’s? Inside, I’m screaming holy crap am I really back here?  I wanted to pull out my camera and just take photos of the room.  There were people milling about, and we took a seat on the couch to take a look at some photos that Billy Joe had taken.  At one point Jamey Johnson walked into the room, he’d just finished singing with Bill Anderson on stage.  Me, oh yeah, I’m cool, this sort of stuff happens all the time to me.  NOT! I no doubt looked like the Cheshire Cat sitting there in the chair smiling that Mona Lisa smile.

Then the sharing of the photos began that Billy Joe had brought for Amy.  Yes, there were photos of Willie and members of his band performing on stage.  To a person from the outside, that’s probably what it would appear.  But as Amy picked up each photo and looked at the picture, she had a comment for each one.  These were more than just photos of a celebrity, these were photos of her family.  Her reaction was the same as your reaction would be if you were handed a photo from the past of someone that you loved.  For me, it was a very moving experience that I felt honored to be a part of…more abundance.

I was thrilled when some of my friends decided to come along with me to spend the day at the picnic.  I wanted them to experience the event, and I know that they all had a great time.  We had some great stories to share, and a lot of memories were made spending the day with all of the great Texas music.  I can’t begin to count our smiles as we spent time listening to the music and just enjoying being together.

….and tangled up in the middle of all of this was a life lesson…

I’ve been pondering how to put the life lesson into words.  I tend to focus on the positive in life, and to let the negative drop off, as much as I possibly can.  There’s a quote, something I’ve read that’s tugging in the back of my mind that I just can’t pull out to add to this post.  It basically has to deal with not liking something in another person because it’s a trait that you see in yourself that you don’t like.  I had one of those moments on the 4th of July. I had a glimpse back in time to how I once was.  Struggling, feeling the need to have another half complete me as a person.

It’s taken me some time to realize that I complete myself….

I am happy with who I am.  I have an amazing life.  I have friends who add to my life each and every day.  I have experiences that even I can’t believe.  I have two wonderful daughters. I lead a very active and fulfilling life. The list of joy in my life is endless.

My life is filled with abundance…..

I’ve been considering a tattoo.  A word tattoo, abundance of course across my left wrist, in white ink.  That whole pain thing has me a little scared about the whole idea.  Also seeing the good, the bad and the ugly of tattoos yesterday at the picnic has me seriously reconsidering the idea.  I may just pull out a few of these doodle markers that I have and doodle the word abundance on my left wrist.  I could color coordinate it to my mood of the day. The idea was that seeing that word on my wrist would be a reminder of the abundance in my life.  What I realize is that I don’t need a reminder, that feeling of abundance is in my heart each and every day.

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. ~Wayne Dyer