So you know I like to bring you good, and I found some this week.
If you haven’t heard Luke Bryan’s new song, “Most People are Good,” you need to. The title is pretty much self-explanatory, but the lyrics are great, too. I do believe mothers deserve sainthood, especially mine and possibly me, if I survive my daughter. Lol. I believe this world “ain’t half as bad as it looks” and I most definitely believe most people are good. I have thought about that a lot lately.
I know a lot of people have been debating the school shooting issue. And any time there is fear, there are also opinions. As a teacher for 20 years, I have some opinions, too. And I could name the student I thought was most likely to show up with a gun, but my job isn’t to tell you what to think. Mine is to help you look past all of that and find the good.
So I hope you take a minute to hear Luke Bryan’s song and truly listen to the message. It will remind you that there is a lot of good. Instead of watching the news, look around your own little world and the people that wave at you, scoop driveways for the neighbors, ask how you’re doing, go to committee meetings for new things in your town, and help the little kids walking in the doors of your local school.
If that isn’t enough, go read about Billy Graham and what he did for thousands of people. No, he wasn’t perfect, but he believed in his cause and he dedicated his life to it.
They say when he was a kid, he and his brother saw a plane go overhead and it said, “GP.” He took it to mean “Go Preach” and his brother took it to mean “Go Plow” and kept the family farm. I love that. I believe in signs, too. My husband thinks I’m half-crazy (yes, only half) because when I am going through a rough patch or need to make a decision, I look for a sign. God and I have this understanding that I occasionally need reassurance or clarity.
I was having a rough day on Monday, and needless to say, I was doubting myself pretty heavily. As much as I hate to admit it, yes, there were tears. When you pick up your whole life, move, change jobs, and try to raise a 3-year old, it happens. However, when you’re a success-driven person with a creative mind and no clear path, it’s even worse. So teary-eyed, I headed to the shower, only to get out to the radio playing a series of songs that were, officially, my sign. Two of the songs, Homegrown and I Love this Life, never fail to play at my greatest moments of uncertainty, but he added one more in for me this week. When David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney’s song, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” came on, I knew it was my sign. I don’t know what is yet to come, but I know I’m in the right place. And I guess that’s what the family said about Billy. He was ready to go be with God and his wife, so they were rejoicing in his honor. Friends, that’s good right there. You can always find it. Sometimes, you just have to look harder than others.
So Go Protect, Go Please, Go Participate, Go Pray, Go Perform, Go Problem-solve, Go Provide – do whatever you have to do in this world, but Go Peacefully and remember that Good Prospers.
What signs have come your way? Do you have songs that lift your spirit? Is there something more to add? Let’s hear it.
A few of you had a good 2017. More of you had a not-so-good, very bad, frustrating, craptastic year you’re ready to kick to the curb. Either way, 2018 is upon us.
Some people have spent the year deep in the political realm where others fought natural disasters or family traumas or simply their own personal demons or even all of the above. Life is never easy.
For me, it was the ying and yang of years. It’s what I call a “transition” year. We moved home which was what I wanted, but there was that whole part in there where I decided to do the Steve Harvey “jump.” As Steve says, when you jump, there’s a time where you are waiting for the parachute to come out and it may be a little bumpy. (Bumpy is his word. Mine is more Metrodome-imploding-esque) Yeah, I’m there. Change and I are not big friends. I left the consistency of a career I’d had for 20 years to venture into the unknown. And the unknown is a new world of jobs, trying to find new friends to add, and navigating the world with a 2/3-year-old who knows no boundaries. It’s been a harder struggle than I expected. Surely not my usual, but here we are…
I had been craving a fresh start and 2018 when Christmas hit. My usual preparations were not complete, and I was feeling a sense of failure that I should know not to put on myself, yet I do. We ended up having an unexpectedly great Christmas. I, especially, was given a little piece of happiness I didn’t know was missing. My husband and I were opening presents while the wild one played with hers. Yes, he knows how to give gifts! But it wasn’t the expensive one that made me cry, it was the $5 one that did. After all my doubts and worries and second-guessing if I made the right decisions for our family, my husband gave me a box with a journal in it that simply said “follow your dreams.”
At 43, I sometimes think it is frivolous to still want something bigger and to be such a dream-seeker, but at 43, I also can’t quit dreaming. I believe everyone has a reason they were put on this earth. Although I don’t fully think I’ve figured out my reason, I know it’s coming and that little gift was a reminder that I have someone who truly believes in me even when he questions my route (and Hell, even I question my route!).
I guess my message is that as 2018 approaches, take a little time to think the impossible and don’t be afraid to go after it, especially if your current has been a little more ugly duckling than Bret Michaels-rockstar. It’s a new year – a new chance to get it right or at least less wrong or to find peace in what you have done or what you are about to do. There’s a lot of good in this world, we just have to find it. And here’s my wish for you:
May 2018 be the year you live your life,that you love yourself, that you make the world better for those around you, and that you find that little piece of happiness you’ve been missing…
Happy New Year, my friends!
So people have always laughed at me because I often mention that I used to do what I called RAGCRAI every year. I called it my Regular Annual Great Car Ride Across Iowa, because let’s face it, I’m not much of a biker. In fact, I’m not a biker at all! I fully admit I cannot, nor want to, ride a bike! Does it change my feelings about RAGBRAI? Not in the least! I am all about RAGBRAI* as long as nobody expects me to take part in the 2-wheel portion of it!
So you’re laughing, right? Why would I like RAGBRAI if I don’t even ride a bike? It’s simple. I love that people come to Iowa to party. Seriously! Sorry. Let me restate that: I love that people come to Iowa to test their physical endurance… lol. First of all, I’m thrilled that people in Iowa take part and that others actually come to our state to participate. Secondly, I’m glad that Iowa shows we do know how to have fun and that we can make a week out of it! I love that it even involves exercise! But mostly, I love that it involves a bunch of towns gearing up for a big event and putting on a good time. That makes me happy! I can see the good! And I hear lots… and I do mean LOTS…of stories!
You hear stories all the time about people stopping to help someone with a tire, giving them a water, offering their barn for a nap, or their bathroom in the middle of nowhere. I love that those stories come out of Iowa because that’s who we are. We want to be the good guys. I still remember when RAGBRAI came through Oakland a million years ago and the church did a food-stand. I got to help my mom make signs and we did Burmashave signs that lined the road saying things like 3.14 ahead for homemade pie. I was pretty damn proud of my signs and if I’m not mistaken, they sold out of food! 🙂
Of course, another favorite story was my trip to Muscatine. As many of you know, my best friend from my cattle showing days lived there and RAGBRAI was scheduled to hit the river one afternoon when I was there so we ended up taking her parents’ boat out and watching as the bikers came in to dip their tires and end the night with a fireworks display. It was so freaking cool to watch these people celebrate making it across Iowa – tears, laughs, personal victories, beers…
Sure, there are much crazier stories as we all well know, and good for them! Live it up, my friends! Just keep me out of the pictures! 🙂 But whether the story is one of accomplishing all the miles or the naked mud slide, there’s no way you can’t find a little good on the road!
So Happy RAGBRAI, everyone! Tip the stein or dip the tire for me!
*Footnote: For you out-of-staters, RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Thousands of locals and out-of-staters bring their campers and buses and bikes to bike across Iowa for a 7-day bike ride/party. They ride by day and drink by night! I kid you not! And the route changes every year, but they start on the Missouri River and bike to the Mississippi River so sooner or later everyone gets included.
*Further disclosure: Just call me Schultz off Hogan’s Heroes: I know NOTHING!
*Final footnote: for you in-staters, don’t forget that means extra State Troopers on the road if you’re traveling. 🙂
Have a RAGBRAI story? Let’s hear it! Out-of-state and curious? What do you want to know?
Do you ever wonder how other people just “don’t get it?” And by “it,” I don’t mean that kind of it! I mean do you ever look around the room and wonder if you’re the only one present whose elevator actually goes to the brain-storing penthouse? Or if you’re surrounded in a store by people who have hamsters that haven’t figured out how to make their wheel go round? I am often baffled by the cluelessness of people I run into or that I see in the news. For instance, Zac Efron. Dude, you are a multi-millionaire, people think you’re gorgeous, you are clearly talented, and so you said to yourself, “Boy, I bet cocaine will make me even more popular.” Wow! You might want to rethink that one, buddy. And what’s with all the talented female singers thinking they obviously look their best in unitards? Trust me, that’s not the case, (cough, cough) Madonna.
For the life of me, I wonder what some people are thinking. I have to think you guys are with me on this one. I’m sure you’ve said WTH? plenty of times. So I’ve concluded there are a few things I’d like to stamp on the forehead of some that shall remain nameless. These are just some general truths I feel like I need to put out there into the world so us normal people can get on with our lives.
*First off, money does not replenish itself. It’s not like starfish. It doesn’t regenerate. At some point, you do have to pay. (How do people not get this???)
*Secondly, it’s not okay to drive in the fast lane to detain fast cars, to get a better view, or to flash the college boys in the convertible next you. (Okay, maybe the last one is if you’re in college, too. None of us are above it.)
*Third, here’s a novel concept: Amazingly enough, if you want to keep your spouse, you need to be nice to them, at least once in a while.
*Fourth, you will get older. You will turn into your mother or father. And if you try too hard not to, we’re going to talk about how you’re trying too hard with your teeny-bopper clothing and inflated lips. Just sayin’.
*Fifth, in the adult world, decent trumps pretty. You can be perfectly beautiful, but if you’re a raging bitch, people will avoid you, or at the very least, complain about you behind your back.
*Sixth, I know you can’t prove it by our magazines, our gyms, or our facebook posts, but there really is more to life than being skinny.
*Seventh, you can’t be a lying, cheating bastard and not have people find out. It’s called a cell phone. We can track you, numbnuts!
*Eighth, if you really like them, then by all means, feel free to continue wearing your thongs, but we can see those lines, too.
*Ninth, somebody loves you. They may wonder why, they may be stupid for it, they might even pay for it, but they love you. Quit pushing them away and appreciate it, damn it!
*Finally. Number 10: If you don’t want to raise an asshat, don’t be an asshat example or encourage asshattedness. (It makes sense, right?)
There. What do you think? You on board with me? Did I miss some you’d like to put out there? Throw ‘em in the comment section. You know they’re welcome.
I hate to say it, but my summer is gone. No more can I lounge outside at 1:30 in the afternoon and eat meals when I feel like it. My world has been rocked back into submission. However, unlike most summers as of late, I kinda feel like I had a real summer. “Real” meaning I took trips elsewhere, and I have plenty of stories for the Christmas letter. Now that is the mark of a good summer.
If you think about it, can you quickly tell me 5 things you did this summer? I can. I can tell you a lot more than 5, even though my memory is sketchy at best now that I am back on the work schedule. I judged things. I went to Minnesota twice. I have the pleasure of saying I’ve been to Shell Knob, Missouri (Yeah, how would you like to have to say you were from Shell Knob and listen to all those giggles every time?). I boated. I made RAGCRAI – my Regular Annual Great Car Ride Across Iowa to see my college bffs in Galena, IL. I found my new fave TV show, Camp. I played a bajillion games of Scramble with Friends. And I didn’t feel bad about it!
Sometimes, I think I forget that summer is supposed to be fun. I’m so busy getting the to-do list done that I can’t complete during the school year and trying to write books that I will probably never sell, that sometimes I don’t enjoy life. I’ve had enough of that. It was an epiphany this summer that maybe I am more a blogger than a full-fledged author so here I am devoted to you and devoted to summers off! lol.
As my summer comes to a close, so does my tan, my ability to go to the post office when it’s open, and pissing when I actually need to, but at least this year, I can say I did some cool crap with lots of funny moments and lots of wonderful people. OMG! – I actually went on a vacation with my husband for the first time in 10 YEARS! And if that wasn’t enough, I saw a dog riding in the sunroof of a crappy car with aviator goggles on,I rode on a trolley, and I took a picture of King Kong’s butt. These are exciting times, people!
So now that I’ve blathered on about my summer, what was your highlight of summer? I’m waiting impatiently ready to hear!
Okay, I’ll say it: goals suck! Sure, I know how to write them. I did plenty of it in 9 years of 4-H (of course, I wrote them after I finished the project lol), and even now, my boss requires them, but you know what? I still hate them!
I’m not trying to be negative, but I am a fairly self-motivated person. Catch me on a Sunday afternoon and you might think otherwise, but in the big scheme of things, I think I am. And you know what happens when I set goals? I become completely discontented. My mind will tease me with what I haven’t accomplished until I’ve reached the goal, given up completely, or failed miserably. And when I fail at reaching my goals, I suddenly don’t like myself a whole lot. So goals are a vicious circle in my world.
But supposedly we’re better people, more accomplished, and more motivated when we set them…
We’re better people when we quit thinking about ourselves, help others, do things that make us happy in turn making others happy to be around us, and doing the right thing.
Now, I won’t sit here and be all high and mighty or judgmental. Goals are probably good. They just aren’t good for me because I set the bar too high. Think I’m wrong? You be the judge:
Goal 1 – be a successful writer bringing in substantial $ so I can make sure money is no object, or at least no concern, to any of my family members
Goal 2 – be confident in myself
Goal 3 – be all things to all people
I could go on, but I think you can see in a matter of 3 goals, I am completely unrealistic and in over my head. I really don’t like admitting that to you or anybody else, but I know we all feel like that sometimes. Sure, I could set those “attainable” goals about numbers of blog followers and facebook page likes, but at the end of the day, it’s not the numbers that matter. It’s what I believe that matters. And some days I believe I’m making progress, some days I feel like I should probably not go outside of my house, and some days I’m just happy being me sitting on my ass on my couch knowing I made people laugh.
So today, today, I’m making goals that I like, that won’t make me bitter and might make you wanna join in:
Goal #1 – Eat more DQ ice cream cones when I’m feeling down
Goa l#2 – Car dance to more songs on my way to work
Goal #3 – Smile more when I’m really ready to chuck a flying object at someone’s head
There. Those are mine. What are yours?
On Mondays, I’m pretty sure all of us are looking for Fridays. At the beginning of the week, we can’t wait for the end of the work week. Then we hit the weekend and at the beginning of the weekend, we are making plans and having some adult beverages. But then Sunday comes around and we’re dreading the end of the weekend. So what does that mean?
Don’t know about you, but it pretty much means I have a love-hate relationship with beginnings.
The thing about beginnings is that they always lead to endings sooner or later. Sometimes, I’m happy about that…and sometimes, I’m not.
More cases in point:
Beginning: Every summer vacation when I can be on my own schedule, I am super pumped, but my to-do list makes me freak out!
Ending: Going back to work sucks. The end. There’s no better way to say it.
Beginning: Falling in love where you don’t sleep and your stomach quivers thinking about it so much that you don’t even feel the urge to shovel food in your face. Woo-hoo to that!
Ending: I better be the first to go. That’s all I have to say.
Beginning: Rydell High. Danny Zuko was at the beach all summer? Oh, yeah, I love it.
Ending: Do your hand jive. And just try to sing louder than me. Just don’t expect me to put on any hot pants. (Dear God. Nobody wants that!) Love the end almost as much as the beginning. It’s the middle with beauty school drop-out I could do without.
Beginning: The first drink with a plate of cheesy bread in front of me. Um, yeah, I’m in.
Ending: Wow. I might be too old for this…
Ending: Are we ever going to get there? Are we home yet? It’s going to take me a month to do laundry.
Beginning: Sure, I can do a blogger challenge! I’m all about it! I need to write more!
Ending: Holy cow! I never realized I was so busy all the time. No wonder I never get anything written…
Beginning: Jan. 2013 – Woo-hoo! The year I finally become successful! Resolution #1…
Ending: Dec. 2013 – What the hell did I do all year? Maybe next year’s resolution should be to put shit in my smartphone so I have a record of it…
Okay, so you get the point. I could do this all day. Beginnings are often fun, but often an anxious time for me, too. I’m always nervous about something new and different and I’m always tired at the end of something. Then again, sometimes, I’m damn happy about things being done, too.
Most of the time, at least in my life, I can’t really control beginnings or endings. They just have to play out. Sometimes, it goes okay. Sometimes, I think I’m at the 3rd level of Hell, but life goes on. Whether you Robert Frost it or John Cougar Mellancamp it, it happens. Best wishes on finding a happy appreciation for it…