Numbers

I’m simply intimidated by numbers. Those numbers are 911. Last Tuesday I was all ready to start a pithy little blog about this watermelon I cut. I noticed there was a heart shape in the cut, so I took a photo. As I was writing a short blog with a message something like, “How can you not be positive after cutting into a watermelon and finding a heart?”  I looked down at the date. 9.11.18. I found that anything I tried to write fell short of inappropriate, maybe even stupid on this particular day.

I also had a very weird intuition about that Bitch in the Atlantic, Florence. Why intuition? Why did you have to be right this time? I’ve come to trust intuition —-sometimes it’s helpful, other times, you just wish it was wronger than wrong.

Considering positivity, one must acknowledge there are times of serious remembrance and fearful anticipation in the world. Additionally, when that anticipation becomes reality, a sense of empathy for the suffering and loss in the aftermath is in order. Sweet little stories need to be quiet. There are reasons to be less than positive aren’t there? At the same time, I constantly wonder, thus this blog, why look for and embrace the negative? How has it become good marketing technique to emphasize negativity? There are enough things that happen in life that make me want to quote something from the book, “Alexander’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” without the constant barrage of negative marketing.

When crisis occur whether that be world, national, weather related or at home, there is nothing positive about it. However, our response can be.

I’ll write about 911 in “Numbers” (Part 2). However for today, let me tackle flooding.

I’ve lived in Central Pennsylvania since 1995. For a Jersey Girl, it was quite surprising to me that there would be a great problem with flooding in the mountains. Yet, creeks rise, run-off happens and, wow! I’ve seen homes destroyed again and again. The Red Cross, churches and civic groups all collect much needed funds to help the victims of flooding. Yet, what I have found to be even more rewarding is volunteering. Whether it be along the Susquehanna River in Shickshinny, or a helping a year after the flood in a town up high in the mountains, help is needed. Often by folks who fall between the cracks where assistance is granted. Or something as terrible as Hurricane Sandy, or now Florence, getting involved with clean up, rebuilding walls and helping those who just happened to be in the path of something awful is incredibly helpful and personally rewarding.

The urgent aftermath is daunting, but trust me in months, even a couple of years from now, people will still be picking up the pieces of their lives and homes. When I was working with Penn State students we did quite a few trips to help others that were affected by devastating storms. What we found was very grateful recipients of our attempts to help. What I also found was a great sense of humanity at it’s finest. I saw students that never picked up a hammer before helping to stud-out a room. I saw others climb under crawl spaces in what looked like space suits pulling insulation out of the floor joists of a home that had been flooded (6 months after the storm). The results were wonderful. A sense of pride in a job well done. Statements like, “I never thought I’d ever do anything like this!” or, “I can’t wait to tell my Mom!”

I think anyone would agree with me that there is nothing positive about any crisis. Nothing. However, our caring response is priceless. Knowing there will be folks that will give of themselves in coming months and years to help gives me reason to celebrate humanity. Looking at first-responders risking themselves for others is the beginning. However, I see those who will be last-responders too. There are many unsung heroes who will respond to crisis in very practical and helpful ways. For this I’m grateful.

When I think of these good things that will happen in the near and far future in response to crisis, my heart is full.  (Maybe a heart in my watermelon isn’t inappropriate after all).

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Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink

 

 

 

 

 

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Change

Today’s blog is in response to a request. “Karen, can you write about change?” Oh my, change, no matter what the change is can bring different responses. Change can bring great joy, ambiguity or great stress. Even change that we ask for can cause us to be unsure, afraid, and excited all at the same time. Change is usually coupled with new responsibilities and differences which can be hard to identify at first.

When we experience changes in our lives, some are greeted with a sense of relief. Only you know those times in your life when things were tough and you made a decision to do something about it. Possibly you threw your hands in the air and said, “Enough is enough!” I have made the decision that this will not happen anymore and you became the catalyst for change. As much as you know this was necessary, there were more questions than answers, more mystery than common stability.

Oftentimes change surprises us. The event may be celebratory or filled with grief. But, no matter what, we are different afterwards. How can I write about the essence of change? Because, like every other human being, I’ve experienced it too. Over and over, some change was welcome, some vilified. I think the ability to handle life-change may have a lot to do with our personality type or possibly how we were raised and our life experiences. However, I do know we all handle it differently. I’ve taken many classes to learn about life change. I’ve had my own life experience, and have also helped others to either welcome or learn to live through change. I don’t much appreciate it when there is an expectation that everyone will respond to the same thing similarly. None of us truly knows all the dynamics that bring us to today and today’s response, or for that matter the thought of tomorrow.

For me, most change is welcome. I have always signed letters and now this blog, “Enjoying the Adventure!” Rather than think of change as imposing it’s way upon me, I look ahead wondering, “What’s next?” Therefore, when change occurs, I’m more likely to embrace it. Although, there are some very serious instances where I just wanted to tuck my proverbial tail between my legs, shiver, hide under the carpet and hope that I would wake up only to find that I was having a nightmare. I’d be a fool to pretend that all change has been welcomed and it would be deceiving to write in such a way.

Let me give an illustration through a gift I recently received. While away last weekend, we had the opportunity to watch a demonstration of a tree being sliced into slats of wood. It was a poplar tree. The event was amazing to me as I have been a woodworker most of my adult life. The tree itself had a very light colored wood, not a whole lot of character, other than a knot in the wood every now and then. It is pretty, and it could certainly make a nice piece of furniture but not extraordinary.

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Then the next slice was made. The stunning piece of wood hidden deep inside this tree was so fantastic that they stopped the demonstration so that the folks gathered could walk up and see it’s beauty. I am an observer of people and what I noticed is that after about a half hour of gazing at what had been hidden by the mundane, the people were in true community. They were talking about the beauty of this wood, then conversations evolved. The people were talking and laughing together, some knew each other well, others were total strangers, but this revelation of beauty brought peace in the woods that day. There was beauty within that we all enjoyed and were touched by.  May I remind you that this beauty was revealed by a huge band saw cutting 2 inch slices into this tree? Is it even remotely possible that our life band saws cutting into our ordinary stable lives may feel quite painful, but also have the opportunity to bring about something incredibly beautiful?

Please take a look at the board pictured above.

Now, let me reveal what the next slice (The other side of the above board) revealed.

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How can something with such nice, but not extraordinary character have such beauty so close, so hidden. This basically white board had deep mahogany, purple, gold and gray colors. Somehow that basic pattern of wood became one of the most unique and beautiful specimens I have ever encountered. I feel so privileged that it was given to me as a gift. When I make something with it, (I’m not quite sure what yet) I think that it will have to be displayed in such a way to see both sides to remind me that there may be incredible beauty hidden in the most surprising places.

So, what about change? It happens. If we think that all will remain “as is” we kid ourselves. Sometimes change brings great pain and grief. Even that pain can be something we look back on and say, “Wow! If I only knew that it would lead me to where I am now!”  If we walk in the reality that  we know change, good and bad, will come so that we are not surprised by it

, we may be more able to accept and possibly even walk through even the most difficult change knowing that we can do it! We can adjust! We can find our lives rich and full once again.

I hope that as you experience change that you can look forward, find peace and yes, know it will visit us again.

Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink

 

Tree Photo by Pixabay, Pexel

After the Storm

I’ve wanted to experience one of the intense Sonoran Desert storms and finally got my wish! We plan to move to Arizona in a couple of years. We will live is in the desert highlands north of Phoenix. It is wild, beautiful country. One thing that my daughter has noticed living in “The Valley of the Sun” is that many of the storms in monsoon season are “up north”. Oh was I up north when this one hit!

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Anticipation grew as we watched the storm slowly move toward us. It rains very little in the desert, but when it does, LOOK OUT! It will make up for lost time! When the storm finally hit, it was a total wash out. We couldn’t see beyond 50 ft because of the solid white wall of water. Thunder and lightening were loud and plentiful and then, before you knew it, the storm ceased.

After the storm passed, I was told go out and look quickly, it won’t last long –what I experienced was beautiful streamline waterfalls flowing down our cliff. They looked like shiny little precious silver necklace strands. There were so many! I wish I had a better camera to help them show themselves off! Within a few moments all that water gathered into the creek below and once again there was a loud roaring sound. The sound wasn’t thunder this time but from the flash flood. I’m just glad as I stood taking this photo from our house-pad that I was 300ft above it all!

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Then the most glorious sight of all happened. The sky began to show off toward the west as the sun began to set. I was in the middle of majesty, surrounded by ocotilo, giant saguaro cacti responding immediately to the water. The cliffs even seemed pronounced. I was in complete awe. I found myself running from one place to the next to experience such beauty.

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Ocotillo Cactus after a good drink of water!

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Giant Saguaro Cactus at Sunset — King of the Sonoran Desert

What analogy do I give this wonderful, scary, exhilarating experience? Should I leave it for the beauty that it provided? Should I compare it to the storms of life? I know that this same storm wreaked havoc further southeast and homes were flooded in a few communities. For me what brought excitement and beauty caused stress and insurance claims for others. Isn’t that the way it is sometimes?

I think that being someone who has suffered a few of life storms, I am tempted so say that sometimes, and I repeat sometimes, it is possible to have something of great beauty when the storm has passed. Maybe the beauty was there all along and the storm just helped enhance that beauty. I’ve been a part of people’s lives as storms have raged and watched them thrive. I’ve also seen the opposite. So, I’m not naive enough to say that all your storms will be something that leaves beauty behind. However, I think it doesn’t hurt to have hope. A new day is coming.

That Simple

My daughter was cutting up small pieces of paper, of course, I had to ask. She motioned to the fireplace mantle and said it’s a gratitude jar. That simple.

I remember cuss jars at work. If you let a 4-letter fly, you were to put a quarter in the jar. But that was in the day of having change in your pocket! (Obviously, if you read my blog, I don’t mind so much having no quarters in my pocket!)

I like this idea of a special place set aside for gratitude. A reminder. I believe gratitude is the basis for all sorts of positive reactions to life.

Begs the question . . . what are you grateful for?

Enjoying the Adventure! (And grateful to be on it)

Dr. Dink

I’d love to hear your comments and questions & promise to get back to you quickly!

You are welcome visit my other blogs:

Nail in My Pocket            —-Adventures in Frugal House-Flipping

Down to Earth Positive   — Looking at positivity in everyday life

Brown Bag Letter            —-Antique Photos and family folklore preserving personal history.

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They Clapped!

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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

It was toward the end of the 10 mile race and a young woman came in toward the finish line.  Everyone clapped! Even the elderly couple sitting on a bench stood up and clapped. She wasn’t first, as a matter of fact, she was probably close to last. She was a runner. They clapped for them all. I’m not a runner and have never been to the end of a race before, it touched me to the core that everyone, just for finishing was acknowledged.

It got me quite emotional. It makes me want to clap my hands for others!

Have a wonderful day!

Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink

Memory & Hopes & Dreams

I am amazed by the power of memory, its effect on us, and how it can lead us to our hopes and dreams.  After a text conversation with a friend last night about Arizona, I received a message from my daughter this morning. She said when they drive on dirt roads when on an Arizona discovery adventure, that my grandson starts talking about wanting to see a cow! I find this, not only exciting, but AMAZING!

My grandson is so young so I wonder how can he remember a ride or two over the past year? How does the mind work that he associates dirt roads with cows?

One of the best parts of our property and future home in Arizona is the 12 mile dirt-road-adventure to get there! Along the way, it is commonplace to see free range cattle. Truthfully, it is difficult not to stop and tell them how beautiful they are! Mooooooo a time or two, and if Grandbaby is along, to say, “Look at that cow”, “Cow says, MOO!”  This particular bull was eating a Prickly Pear Cactus for breakfast —I know, right?

As if free range cattle isn’t enough, for me, the wild donkey take first prize. They are the cutest animals . . . EVER!

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Now Gbaby has my memory going wild!

This reminds me of my first visit to Rickett’s Glenn State Park. It was easier when I lived closer, but I try and make a yearly pilgrimage there. It is a place of peace for me. When we first moved to that area we took a ride to see the park and I had this weird, “I’ve been here before familiarity feeling of, WHAT?”  Only to find out that when I was nine months old, my family went camping and did the 19 Waterfall Trail. My Mom’s a tough one, she carried me most of the way for 3 1/2 miles!

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With this experience in mind, and Gbaby relating to cows and dirt roads, I am reminded of just how amazingly powerful memory is. Memory can lead us to good, bad, or neutral feelings. But it can lead us into our day or even the future. It can affect our life-choices and relationships. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that the memories we concentrate on, as well as, those we are creating for ourselves and others really can make a difference. Even if it is something as simple as riding on a dirt road!

 

These memories, particularly of Arizona and hugging my Gbaby, give me a sense of expectancy and urgency for today. It makes me want to climb up on the roof of the house we are flippig and nail in those shingles! Even though I know it will not be easy, it brings us one step closer to our dream. It gives me gumption to want to finish the model of the house we will build out in the desert highlands. Memory is a powerful tool for the future!

future house model

I write this blog as my protest against the negative era we find ourselves living in. I believe that we are all effected by it in various ways and different levels. I do what I can to “fight it” because I believe it is much healthier to embrace a more positive attitude, thus changing the world for the better.

I generally try and ask a question, or give a challenge in my blog. Today begs two questions:

  1. What memories just make you feel great?
  2. What will you do TODAY to create a good memory for yourself or someone else? (How about tomorrow?)

I hope that today you find yourself enjoying your memories and challenged to create new ones! You are welcome to share your thoughts, memories and hopes for new ones in the comments!

(Truly) Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink

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Please visit my other blog: The Brown Bag Letter

An earlier Cow blog —- one of my favorites!   Slight Glance to the Left

The Beautiful waterfall image was found at: https://www.google.com/search?q=waterfall+trail+ricketts+glen&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjU5Ym28dXcAhXnpVkKHZU0BGIQ_AUICygC&biw=1242&bih=557#imgrc=-8iGBceeF_usqM:

Can’t Help but Giggle!

We had some pretty significant flooding here in Pennsylvania yesterday. Our yard became a lake for a short time, well, actually twice. Thank goodness our house was unharmed and we actually had fun, I mean, there is nothing better than playing with a German Shepherd in your flooded yard!

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We saw waterfalls on our hill that we never knew existed.

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One of the highlights of the day was finding a mother duck and 8 ducklings at our local park. They must have hatched during the rain the night before, they were so small.

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While I was admiring them and taking photos and squeaking, “How cute!”, my husband says, “This poor mama is exhausted and there is no way the little ones can get out of here.” They were stuck in a dead-end area with walls and steps that were too high for the little ones to manage.

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So, he slowly and gently leads them toward the steps. He guided the babes up along with Mama who suddenly decides that he’s a predator and went after him. (I have video, it’s hilarious!) Determined, he continued his mission and the babes and Mama were reunited with the other ducks and waddled off telling them about their recent adventure.

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Later in the day, hubby shows me his hand where there’s a red mark —- evidently, he was bit by Mama-Duck! This morning I can’t help but giggle, I mean, really, WHO GETS BIT BY A DUCK!?!?!?!

Many people have stories to tell of grand adventures, but what a wonderful minority hubby can now claim. . . bit by a duck. Now, that’s something to tell the grandkids!

Enjoying the Adventure,

Dr. Dink