July 31, 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

This post got its title because it grew out of random thoughts, wandering from one subject to another, which started during a conversation with my husband at the river on Sunday afternoon. He was talking about modern technology and how everything changes so fast, people don’t even know what they are missing when they haven’t kept up with the changes. Meanwhile, I was looking at some wildflowers growing in the mud next to the dock and wondering what they were. My next thought was that I could post a photo on my blog and ask if anyone knows the name of these flowers.
 

Wildflowers on the riverbank. 

Then I agreed with my husband that today’s world gives us many options we never could have imagined if we hadn’t seen them. In the ancient pre-Internet world, maybe I’d have gone to the library and looked through a book about wildflowers. I probably wouldn’t have found those particular flowers, but I’d have learned a few interesting random facts. Sometimes when I was a child wandering around in a meadow looking at wildflowers, I just made up names for them because that seemed like more fun anyway.

I have to confess, it took me a while to decide what tag to use for this post. My blog does not have a “Nature” or “Wildflowers” tag because I haven’t taken many nature photos. That left me with a decision—should I create one or pick an existing tag? While looking at the list of tags from my previous posts, I noticed one called Adventures, which hadn’t gotten much use.

Although looking at flowers on the riverbank might not be all that exciting to a grown-up, I would have thought otherwise in the days when I was a child inventing names for wildflowers and fanciful stories to go with them. So I decided to use the Adventures tag and to put the word in the title as well—just to remind myself that in a good life, there should always be time for adventures.

I woke up to a gray morning and a forecast of rain most of the day, which is good for the grass (the lawn service company put down fertilizer on Tuesday) but it’s not the most inspiring view. So when I changed the image on my art display this morning, I chose a beach picture with vivid colors, titled “Colorful Sea.”
 

Green sea with orange sun and deep blue clouds. 

Whether or not it’s raining today where you are, I hope you’re finding lots of bright, happy little things to make your world more colorful!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

July 25, 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve noticed more herons on the river this year and am guessing that the mild winter probably helped the younger ones to survive. Even a small difference can be enough to affect whether they flourish or struggle. Last week when my husband went to the rowing club’s boathouse, he took a photo of one:
 

Heron standing on a small log in the river. 

Unfortunately, a few days before that, some jerk dumped a dog in the parking lot and zoomed off in a pickup truck (with kids in there screaming and crying, ugh) before anyone could get the license plate number. Abandoned pets often don’t survive for long because of not knowing how to find food. We called Animal Control, who came pretty quickly, but the dog already had run off and they couldn’t locate the poor beast.

Most people would never be so cruel to either their dog or their children, of course; but I believe that we all could be kinder. Although animals and young children often don’t understand the details of what’s going on around them, usually they can tell whether or not they are being treated kindly; and those small acts of kindness can work much greater changes than we know. Just as a few more warm days made a big difference in how many young herons lived through the winter, a few kind acts can much improve the life of a pet or a child.

I’m posting this Nurturing Thursday entry on Friday because I felt somewhat distracted this week and didn’t get around to writing a post earlier, but it’s all okay. The work presentation that I mentioned in last week’s post went very smoothly; there was no need to worry.

Often that’s the way it goes—when we’re doing things that we haven’t tried before and developing our skills, it seems scary at the time. Then we find that life has settled back down into a pattern that comfortably includes something more than we used to know. That happened all the time back when we were kids, and it can be just as true when we’re adults exploring new challenges!
 

 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Next week I’m scheduled to present a continuous improvement project, which I mentioned in a post in April, to my boss’s boss. It is just a small beginner-level project, there is a standard template for presenting the results, and it should only take about a half-hour. I thought it was helpful to learn the basic concepts of continuous improvement and to gain more experience with programs such as Excel and PowerPoint, which I don’t regularly use in my work. Still, there’s always a bit of stress involved when doing anything new.

I did a practice presentation today with some of my coworkers, and they were positive and encouraging. When I asked whether I sounded nervous, they said no, I was fine. It’s always good to have a bit of gentle encouragement to expand those comfort zones!
 

Word-art that says "Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My most recent imaginary visit with a younger self didn’t take me very far back in my virtual time machine—only to the summer of 2014. At that time, Not-Much-Younger-Me was in the midst of an ambitious project to visit a positive blog every day and document those travels on this site’s Random Kindness Blog Tour page.

She had in fact set herself a schedule that called for multiple self-improvement and home-improvement projects going on at the same time. The other ones included decluttering the house and writing weekly posts about it, composing a monthly Recovering from Negativity blog series in the nature of a 12-step recovery chronicle, and learning to row a double scull with hubby well enough to compete in regattas. Some might have called it a midlife crisis of sorts, though she wouldn’t have described it as such.

I caught up with her while she was standing in the backyard on a warm sunny afternoon, working on what seemed a never-ending job of cutting back all the bushes and small trees that had been damaged by that year’s frigid winter. She ought to have hired someone to take care of that chore instead, as it didn’t all get finished before winter came again; but, long ago, she had gotten in the habit of taking too much upon herself without realizing it.
 

Willow after pruning off small branches. 

I stepped into the shade of the little tree that she was pruning. She glanced over at me, blinked a couple of times, and then just shook her head in a tired-looking way.

“If you’re a new blog idea or story plot having to do with a visit from an alternate me, well, I don’t mean to be rude,” she began, in a tone that sounded like it was meant to be apologetic but conveyed very little beyond weariness, “but I have a lot going on at the moment. Maybe I can get around to writing about you next week sometime, if nothing else comes up.”

“Oh, no, I’m just here to talk a little, that’s all. No need to schedule anything,” I said cheerfully. The shade felt cool and pleasant. Somewhere in the leaves above my head, a bird gave a chirp of curiosity.

“And I certainly don’t mean to be rude either,” I went on, “but you’re kind of a newbie when it comes to this positivity stuff, so I thought it might help to talk about a few things. Such as, you’re not obligated to put on a happy face every morning and convince yourself that life gives you boundless energy, making it easy and fun to do anything you might imagine for as long as you want. The human body has natural limitations, after all. Needing to rest and recharge is one of them. Although a positive attitude is indeed good to have, it doesn’t literally expand the number of hours available in the day.”

The pruning shears snapped firmly shut on another dead branch, which rattled into the yard waste bag a moment later. “I haven’t been putting on a happy-face act. When I decide to do something, it simply gets done. And if you’re me, then you ought to know that,” Not-Much-Younger-Me declared irritably.

“Well, I’m not quite you, exactly. Coming from three years in your future, I like to think of myself as a more sustainable version of you. Of course, I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I’m working on it.”

“Sustainable… that sounds like we’re talking about a rainforest with little coffee farms carefully planted around the edges, or something.” The snap of the shears came again, not quite as loud as before.

“Yes, sort of, in that we have to pay attention to our own personal ecology and not deplete our resources. When we’re doing too many things at once, that doesn’t leave enough time for our energy to replenish naturally, and after a while we start to feel drained.”

“But just a few years ago, I was busier than I am now, and it didn’t seem like a problem then,” she started to argue. Then her hand went slack on the pruning shears as she thought about it some more and finally said, in a much softer tone, “Oh.”

Three little rabbits chased each other across the lawn before running around the corner of the house. I watched them for a moment before I turned back to my somewhat-younger self and explained further, “I don’t mean to suggest that you should drop all your projects, of course. Just try to keep in mind that if something takes longer than you expected, it’s no calamity. For example, coming from your future, I happen to know for a fact that some trees and shrubs didn’t get pruned this year, and guess what—it didn’t kill them.”

Not-Much-Younger-Me responded with a genuine smile and started to take off her gardening gloves. “Well then, I think I’ll just go inside and drink a nice cold glass of iced tea.”

“That sounds wonderful. See you in three years!” I gave her a jaunty wave as I stepped farther back into the trees and disappeared into my own time.

Along with my husband and son, I went to the rowing club to watch the city’s Independence Day fireworks show. The boathouse is just up the river and has a great view. Each year the club has a picnic before we set up folding chairs on the dock to watch the fireworks. Everyone takes turns cooking hamburgers and other food on the grill, and we all bring snacks and sweet treats for our friends to share. There are old-fashioned games such as water balloon toss and three-legged race. For prizes, the winners get chocolate bars.
 

Word-art that says "There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate." 

Although we didn’t have any rowing races or other events on the water this year because of nearby bridge construction, everyone had a good time anyway. I’m wishing my readers plenty of fun with friends too!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.