Curveballs – Can Help or Hurt Us


Curveballs - Can Help or Hurt Us


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 – 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?