Curveballs – Can Help or Hurt Us

 

Curveballs - Can Help or Hurt Us
HIT OR MISS

 

Curveballs – can help us or hurt us – that is a great way to think about things. I can either hit things out of the ballpark or miss and try again. Home runs don’t happen every day, but they can happen more often with practice.  That is why when you miss, you can keep on trying!

When we practice, we learn what didn’t work and what will work.  We think about the ways in which we can make things better.  A curveball is sent to the batter, he can either swing or let it go to the catcher.  Maybe he sees how the ball came in – fast, inside, outside, low or high.  Maybe the ball is outside the batters’ box – the pitcher must be right on to make the batter swing.

Sometimes we wait to see how things could be.  Waiting is a terrible thing to do.  Why do you ask?  What if by waiting, we miss the opportunity to get better or we miss hitting the home run we have been wanting to hit all along.  Another way the opportunity comes to you, curveballs – can help us or hurt us.

I took a few chances in the last couple of weeks.  Heck, my hubby and I both did.  We didn’t know what the outcome would be, but we were betting against the odds and looking to hit it out of the park.

Being scared is easy – your mind makes up all kinds of reasons for not doing something.  It is constantly looking for reasons to keep you safe.  I have been reading a lot and listening to experts tell me one thing – Your brain is hardwired to keep you safe.  It is constantly on the lookout for the proverbial saber tooth tiger, the savage in the next village, or the approaching dangerous weather.

Decisions are so tough when you have the emotions that go along with the outcome.  If we can make our decisions without emotions, many of us wouldn’t be in the turmoil that we are in.  We always want what is best and our FEAR takes us to levels of uncertainty that can only be soothed or escalated after we have made that choice.

We are creatures of fight or flight.  Our brains are hardwired to always look for the enemy – in this case, the what-ifs that might have bad outcomes.  If we didn’t have to think about the emotional toll for any of our decisions – life would always be a thrill ride.  Yes, a thrill ride.  Taking those plunges and climbing those mountains – because we can and that is what we chose at the time, without fear.

We don’t need to worry about those things anymore.  We need to tell our brain that we can do the things we want and learn from the failures.  Making our choices safer – doesn’t allow us to learn and grow from them.  Granted, I do not want people to make decisions that will harm them or anyone else, in an incapacitated way.

We spend months, sometimes, in trying to decide what are the what-ifs.  We have others to consider all the time.  It is never a one and done decision.  We have to make choices that not everyone agrees with but the best choice has to be made.  We can’t sacrifice one without changing the fate of the others – curveballs – can help us or hurt us.

I love trying new things that I would have never dreamed about trying.  The interests may have come from a family member or friend.  I might have put a lot of time in at first and then walked away or I may still be dabbling in week after week.

Going back to the batter – what are his choices?  Swinging and hitting, swinging and missing, or watching the ball go to the catcher and hope the call is foul and walk to first base.  I enjoy at least taking a couple of chances and seeing if I can connect.  Letting the pitcher know I am not scared to try.  Learning that I can hit the ball, make that one connection, to get to first base or circle the mound, is all I need to know that I can do it and will do it.

That is not a failure and I am no longer scared.

I read a saying once -“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” – Robin Sharma –  http://www.robinsharma.com/ has some great insights.

Mix it up.  Try something new – even if it isn’t on a grand scale.  Make it count and chalk it up to new experiences.  Choose to live a life well-lived.  Opportunity knocks all the time.  What door do you want to walk through next?  Where will your life lead you?  A curveball can help you or hurt you.  When will you swing?

 

The Bus and The Girls

 

 

Bus Girls
The Swing

When I was around 8, we lived on a farm in southern Minnesota.  We had to travel to school by bus.  I was the oldest, at the time, of five.  My mother stayed home with us and Dad was the breadwinner.  We had a small farmhouse but a large plot to run around on – barns, groves, sandpits, pastures and that half-mile-long driveway.

We also rode the bus to town every day during the school year.  My sister and I made the trip to and from.  Back in those days, those buses were packed full.  Older kids didn’t have the luxury of driving to school.  Sometimes we had assigned seats, most times we didn’t.  It was a crazy few minutes on the ride home depending on the schedule of your drop off or pick up time.

I am so glad that we didn’t have to ride that bus for very long.  I do, however, have some crazy stories.  Pulled hair, getting punched, squirt guns, fights in the backseat, name-calling – all the things that happened in the 70s.

There were several families on our route.  In those days, families were large!  Ages of the kids that rode that bus ranged from high school seniors to kindergarten.  There were hard lessons to learn when you had never ridden on a bus.

I liked to keep to myself most of the time and was always scared when those boys got on the bus.  You know the kind – rough on the outside, picked on little kids, didn’t like girls and thought they were tough.

Our route would start one way and then partway through the year, it would reverse.  I hated being almost the last to get off the bus – sitting through the verbal entourage of words and the cruelties of those boys.  I couldn’t wait to get to school or get home and get off that bus.

I survived.

One family had three girls.  The oldest was just a bit older than I was and the other two were younger than me.  I didn’t get the chance to really know the oldest girl. She ended up going to a school that was for different people like her.

I do remember the mornings when they were the last on the bus.  We were picked up about two miles from where they grew up.  As the bus rounded the corner it had one more stop and then off to pick them up.  Their house was close to the road and they would be waiting for it outside.  You always knew who was going to be on the bus before it stopped.

When the girls got on the bus, it was usually packed.  I was never afraid of sharing my seat.  We shared three and four people in one seat – sometimes on laps of the older kids.  They would get on and off we would go.

Wondering why I bring up that specific family?  I keep in touch with the middle girl.  The youngest is somewhere in the central United States.  The oldest passed away not too long ago.  The picture at the top of this post is where they grew up.  I remember those girls on that swing set over 45 years ago.

I cannot drive passed that home without seeing one of the girls on that swing so long ago.  Memories have a neat way of bringing back childhood.  Sometimes we start with one and then travel back or forward and remember all those times – good and bad.

I will never forget the oldest girl.  When I did see her, not having seen her in over 35 years, she asked for the first letter of my name and BOOM – she knew exactly who I was.  I can remember a face before I can remember a name.  We have that instant recall if we are in tune with others and our memories.

Sadly, so many of us forget – for reasons we may or may not wish to share.  My mind always takes me back to unforgettable times – good and bad.  Lessons learned, people that pass through our lives, situations we got through – changing us and I believe mostly for the good.

Nowadays kids rarely ride the bus.  If they do, they can pretty much sit by themselves and not worry about who gets on and off.  The terrors of those long days still exist but not in a packed bus driving down the dusty roads of years gone by.

Those drives back home always bring me back to my childhood.  To those that still live “back home”, thank you for being there to share those good memories with your families.

 

 

Those Irreplaceable Shoes

Shoes that are hard to part with.
Those irreplaceable shoes

 Those irreplaceable shoes have so much history.  Do you have a pair of shoes that you just do not want to part with?  Well worn, comfortable, a little tear at the toe, paint splatter, dirt from everywhere?  When do you replace them?  Why would you?  They have been through hell and back with you.

I had a pair of those shoes.  I finally replaced them, and, yes, tossed them.  I had a hard time doing that.  My husband tells me that for every pair I buy I must throw three pairs out!  Ummm, NO!  We laugh because it is kind of funny that he would even suggest such a thing.

I loved those shoes.  I spent money on those shoes – don’t we all.  I only wore them for running errands at first.  Then they turned into work shoes around the yard.  Then they were my go-to shoes for everything!  They got wet, full of mud, had doggie doo-doo on them, paint-splattered, baby puke dripping on them.  They have been through almost as many miles as I have in the time I had them.

I wore them with socks for a long time and sometimes without socks later.  I dried them in the sun and on the heat grates.  The washing machine didn’t get a chance to clean them, because I was afraid they would fall apart.  They were falling apart – just like I did a few times when I wore them.  They hung on and didn’t fail me.  I was always trying to find a pair that would be the same – I did!  They are not the same.  Similar is a better word.

We would all love to find the “same” things to replace our worn-out items.  Either they don’t make the style or the brand is no longer available.  I don’t know.  I just like the shoes that I like.  When I am on my feet all day, my shoes have got to be there for me.  They have to make my feet feel secure, surrounded by support.  I can’t have floppy shoes or ones that make my feet ache at the end of the day.

Everything we do on our feet travels through to the rest of our bodies.  We don’t feel like doing anything when our feet hurt.  We want to put them up, take the pressure off, get a massage (pedicure), bath them in something to make them feel better.

I don’t know about you, but I wish I could do a pedicure every 4-6 weeks!  To me, having a pedicure is like getting a backrub for my feet.  I know the hubby doesn’t like having his feet touched and that is ok.  People are sensitive when it comes to their feet.  Foot care is so important – not only having a pedicure done but having the right shoes to wear, too.

Now, go to the closet, or wherever you stash your shoes and take a look at all the years, the memories, the miles that are on those shoes.  When will you replace yours?

Missing Your Beautiful Face

I cannot tell you when I wrote this, exactly.  I know it was written while I was pregnant with my daughter over 30 years ago.  I had more time than money and still have more time than money!  I am sharing this for the first time and putting it here just as it was written all those years ago.

Missing Your Beautiful Face by Tammy Hammerschmidt Elsing

I can’t wait till the time

When we again

Can share our love,

Just you and I.

I want to stare into your starry eyes

And wish again you won’t leave.

Now, I await till your return,

To see that beautiful face

I so much wish to see.

I think of it often,

Hoping it will be there, here.

Why do I sit here

Missing your beautiful face

When I know you will be here soon;

You and your beautiful face.

 

I have come a long way in my writing, however, this makes me feel like anything can be done with a little practice.  That, my friends, is exactly what I have been doing – practicing.  We all have things we want to do better and with a little time, patience and practice – we will get better.

This is a short, but interesting blog post for me today.  I have more old writings to share and I hope you enjoy, comment and share.

Time and Time, Again

Hour, Time, Past, Imagination, Clock

 

Time and time, again we think that today is the day.  Sometimes I don’t feel like doing things. I still try to do something.  There is never a day that makes me want to give up. Keep going, it will get better. 

I am up early and going outside makes me feel refreshed. The quietude of the last bits of night, preparing for the day. The moon is a sliver in the sky, the stars shine bright. As I listen to the train whistle off in the distance, I can’t help but wonder where it’s going or what the driver sees as nature provides a variety of scenes.

We have so many plans, places to go, people to see. What is the next step? The answers are there just waiting for us to find.  Time is elusive.  It hides and never giving in – even just a little.  When we least expect it, we seem to find it.  Spending vacation without a wristwatch or phone is a great way to feel time slow down.  

I try to slow down. I get lazy and forget that time is our most precious commodity. It doesn’t care what we did or didn’t do. It continues on whether we make the best use of it or not because we cannot stop it.  Time is something we cannot see or put under a microscope.  

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I struggle, sometimes, to understand why. We don’t need to know – just believing it is enough.  They say that there is always a time and that things will happen when it is right.

I always want to be awake and aware of that one moment that can change everything. Do I see it? No. Do I make the best of every moment? Probably not. I do know that life has moved at a very fast pace and it catches me off guard, subsequently, I have taken it upon myself to start a project that I haven’t worked on and is collecting dust.

Does everyone get everything done? No. Why? We have the same 24 hours, so what keeps us from doing more? From being our best self? Taking action is what we need to do, therefore, that is what I am doing right now.  

After leaving this sit for almost a year and a half, I started writing for my blog again.  I have taken the time to build it and work out some kinks.  Learning something new is always fun and sometimes a challenge.  This is something I really want to get good at. I have time, I made time, I want to tell you that there isn’t as much time left as you think there is. 

I love this quote and have used it often – reminds me that the clock is ticking —-

“If you do not like where you are, MOVE!  You are not a TREE!”

A Woman Wears Many Hats

 

 

womans hats - which ones do you whear

 

A  woman wears many hats –  and they don’t always fit.  Some hats are tight-fitting and some are large.  Some fit perfectly and some we would just as soon get rid of.

Like many of you, I dabble in things because it piques my interest.  Maybe someone does something that I always wanted to do or they know something that I have always found fascinating.   I may have discovered something that makes me feel like I did when I was a kid – the curiosity, the dream, the thing that was worth the wait.  

We never know until we try, ask, do.  Sometimes we find that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t what we thought it would be.  Did it satisfy our curiosity?  Did it feel more like an obligation than a dream?  Another hat to be worn.

We took classes, bought books and supplies.  Trying to figure out which one thing would make growing up worth the wait.  Trial and error in trying on the hats that we liked.  Did it fit well?  Maybe we thought so, but, we ended up throwing it in the closet for a while thinking –  maybe later.  I will buy another hat.

I love trying on hats.  They make me feel alive and ready to tackle something new.  I am a creator, a maker, a doer of things.  I have failed at many things and that has not stopped me from doing something new.  This is something new that I never thought I could do.  Blogging gives me a chance to hone my writing skills, meet new people, learn new things. 

I love learning.  That is a hat that I love wearing.  It fits perfectly on my head and I have worn it to the point of comfort.  Women wear many hats and we often take for granted that old, worn hat.  It is a hat we go back to – for comfort, for security, and for strength.

When I am wearing other hats, I feel alive or sometimes I hide.

My New Housecoat

New housecoat Old housecoat

Posted – 2014

Sometimes it’s about the clothes…. my hubby got me my early birthday present – my new housecoat.  The thing is, I have to throw the old one away. That may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me, it is a little “big” deal. I am all for sending it along for someone else to re-use, but, I can safely say that this has seen it’s days.

Today I am throwing that old thing out.  Now, before you laugh….what is one thing that you have that has more memories attached to it and you wouldn’t get rid of? ( I am usually not a materialistic person either). My old housecoat has been through Christmases and cool fall evenings.  It has carried babies at night.  Witnessed awesome kids and naughty ones. It has been my security blanket through good times and bad. Oh, that coat has had more spills and spit-up on it than anything else I own!

I have cried and laughed inside it. I have spent all day wearing it.  It has been used to wipe the snot from the noses of little ones.  It has been worn as I sat on the dock and wondered at the stars in the middle of the night.  Pulled it tight as I keep the winter wind from blowing through me.  It has been washed so many times that it has worn in places that are almost see-through.

I will throw my old one, because, it is, quite frankly, worn out! Before you throw away or donate something, let the good times roll through your mind and roll on to make new ones.

Update -2020

I have kept that housecoat and it has moved as many times as I have.  It hangs as a backup on the hanger on the door of my bedroom.  The suggestions and support I got to keep it was amazing.  Make it a quilt, turn it into stuffed animals, use it to make small blankets for the grandkids – all of which I may do.

I got to thinking about this because I had a memory pop up on Facebook. I love how it conjured up memories for many of you and that is why I have kept it, too.

Fridays

 

Are Fridays really Fridays, anymore?

Are Fridays really Fridays?  What do you think of when you think of Fridays?  It used to mean the weekend for many and probably still does.  For many of us, though, Fridays do not have the same meaning.  The world has definitely evolved into a 24-hour mess.  Why do I say mess?  Because you use to have to make sure all your shopping and errands were done during the week.  Now it means getting it done on the weekends and not enjoying our awesome break!

Fridays were a time to wear casual and tidy up so that you could be ready to work on Monday’s business.  It meant planning for an evening of fun with friends or make sure relatives were home so that you could take a leisurely drive on Sunday to visit.

We often think of Fridays as a closing of the week.  Having done our job we could feel good about enjoying a couple well deserved days off.  I think of Fridays as another day because my Friday is Wednesday!  Yes, it is nice having a couple of days off during the week to go to the bank, post office, and vet.  These places are rarely open on the weekend.

Many people work on weekends.  We are there to serve those that have weekends off.  I am not complaining, mind you.   My choice is to work some weekends.  It is why we have a mess.  We want everything available to us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Remember when you had to make sure you had enough milk in the house for the weekend?  Did you get all your errands done during the week so you didn’t have to take time off of work?  Do you use your lunch hour to go to the bank, post office, vet clinic, or grocery store?

Grocery stores, if we were lucky, were open when you got off of work – if you were off by 5:30.   The bank’s drive-through was open until 6 – on a Friday – if you needed their services.  What about the post office?  The vet probably doesn’t have office hours after the noon hour on Friday.

All the things we take for granted when we want to have things at our disposal.  Forget your son or daughter’s birthday gift for a party?  You can stop at many stores and get what you need whenever you need it – before work, during lunch, after work, after supper, or in the middle of the night!  Don’t forget a gallon of milk!

I would love to see this country go back to the “good old days” to take back our weekends!  Fridays may never be the same again.  None of us are the same either.  I have the same things to do like you on the weekends.  Running my errands on my lunch hour, before work or yes, on the weekend when I have a day off.  Going to the convenience store to grab a gallon of milk because I didn’t get it done during the week.

What do Fridays mean to you?  Bring on the weekend and I will see you when I am working!!

Prayer is Not Always Done in Church

 

Praying anywhere

 

 

Prayer comes easier to me at night.   I try to pray. Doing it doesn’t make me more or less religious.   I do it because I believe. I am a strong believer that there is more than we can ever know.

Religion doesn’t have to mean an hour, or whatever time, of praising God. It is the belief that there is a God. Some may argue that you need to know the scriptures or read or study the Bible – I don’t.

We started going to classes as we grew older and eventually stopped going to church.  I was brought up by good parents, good role models, and supporting family and friends is why I argue that.

Faith is a strong virtue, but only if you are compassionate, kind, and try to see the good in others. That, to me, is faith. Faith that everyone is as you are.

Understanding your family and friends, sharing kindness, showing vulnerability- these are values of virtue. The definition of virtue is – behavior showing high moral standards.

It boils down to that – behavior. We are human. Everyone makes mistakes. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness and apologize.

I am surely not of “high” moral standards. No one I know is. Judgment day comes to all of us. And I do know this – God forgives all because He is an all-forgiving God. Not having a religious background, I still know that.

I can’t recite much of anything, except the prayers learned in religious education. They are all I need – to learn, to remember, to understand. It is enough for me to work on my own “high” moral standards without having to go somewhere to do it or someone telling me how to do it.

I have a home, a sanctuary, to pray in. Asking for forgiveness, receiving guidance, and feeling safe are things I can have wherever I want. To tell you the truth, I drive and thank God for another day. That’s all I know he wants me to tell him – the simple prayer of thankfulness.

Think about all the things that you worry about, the people you lost, the words you said, the things you’ve done wrong – just ask for, say a prayer and be grateful for another day.  Have faith that He will answer when He knows you are ready.

Faith – strong belief in God – is believing in something that you can’t physically see, hear or touch. You just believe. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it untrue. I like knowing that. Knowing that I believe because I just do.  Say a prayer tonight, it can just be a simple Thank you.

Fall into another Season

 

 

fall on the lake

 

I wrote this last fall and have finally had a chance to publish it.

I have been feeling a little nostalgic, lately.  Fall always brings back those childhood memories.  The clear skies, fresh air, short days, football games, leaves falling – there is just something about this time of year.

Yesterday and today I spent a couple of hours just burning leaves. Why is this important? Sometimes connecting with nature and listening to the sounds is therapeutic.

My neighborhood is relatively quiet. We live on a dead-end road with many summer families. The highway isn’t too far away and the sounds from across the lake, today, can be a telltale sign of what is going on. Lawnmowers, power tools, vehicles – these interrupt my silence.

The wind through the trees, the squeaking of the branches, and the few birds that stay year-round are amazing – blue jays, cardinals, seagulls.

The remnants of summer – lawn chairs, a basketball, late-blooming flowers, robins chirping and heading south, boats getting that last trip on the lake.

Time stands still. The smoke rises until the breeze pushes it over. Memorized by the red, orange, and yellow flames. Crackling of leaves giving their last energy to the fire. Ashes to ashes.

Green needles from the cedar lose their moisture and slowly join the leaves. They will meld together and fertilize the earth again.

My hubby and I usually do this together and it takes all day. Today my Dad joined me when I was almost done for the day. As I stood patiently waiting for the clippings and leaves to burn, he said it reminded him of hunting. Standing, watching, listening, waiting. Waiting for that one opportunity to shoot.

I went hunting once. During my senior year of high school, I was 18. It was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Alone in the woods, trees dropping their cover, animals scurrying for scraps of whatever they were looking for, silence.  The season begins, protecting the earth until it renews in the spring.

Fall is one of the most magical times of the year for me. The nostalgia, the smells of the upturned earth, the coming of winter, changes. Changes that take place under the leaves and snow and sometimes inside of us.