Thursday, February 28, 2013


I'm not sure what it is about this time of year, but I am ready for spring!  In my opinion, it is time for the snow and ice to go away.  The last few days have been sunny, and the temperature has been above freezing.  I have watched and listened to the drips from the roof as if they were signs that spring is just around the corner,  However, as a Minnesota resident, I know that we still have March to get through before spring will be here.  So, what can we do to keep the joy of spring alive?

I am thinking about the spring flowers that will be appearing in the next few months.  I recently bought a Watch 'Em Grow bulb garden to help feed my yearning for spring.  So far, mini irises and daffodils have made an appearance.  I am looking forward to seeing the hyacinths, crocuses, and tulips as they bloom in the upcoming days.  These reminders of spring bring me great joy and help satisfy my yearning for spring.

I think that sounds, smells, and visions of spring can help us survive these last gasps of winter.  Last night we attended a play at the Guthrie Theater-Other Desert Cities.  At the end of the play, rain falls.  I was amazed when the theater filled with the sound, smell, and humidity common with rain.  I was immediately transported to experiencing a warm spring rain.  It was wonderful!  I realized how much I am looking forward to spring rains and how the dripping of the roof reminds me of those times.  I am also waiting for the smell of hyacinths as my indoor garden blooms.

My mother used to laugh because I LOVED driving with the windows open when I visited her in Arizona.  After being cooped up inside of our winter houses, the fresh air flowing through the windows was invigorating.  Perhaps I was a dog in a former life.  I can totally relate to sticking my head out of the window-sniffing the air as the wind blows past me.  This full immersion of self into the environment is a true pleasure when I can finally open my windows and moon-roof as I drive or when I can open the windows in my home to allow the breeze and fresh air to flow through the house.

Spring is not that far away.  For me, it is truly a time of sensory enjoyment.  I am so excited for these experiences, but I know I still have some time to wait.  In the meantime, I will search for spring joy with visits to the Como Conservatory, trips to Bachman's Floral, and moments enjoying the birds outside my windows as my indoor garden grows!  What will you do as you wait for spring?

Have you found your joy today?

Thursday, February 21, 2013


While this post is late this week, I wanted to keep to my original intent of posting every week.  So, I decided to write about why I am so late writing this post.  It is because I was overwhelmed this weekend.  You would think that retirement would bring carefree days with little or no stress.  However, that is not always the case.  I am in the process of going through the accumulation of over 27 years in our house with a strong commitment to clear out what we really don't need.  What makes this stressful is that I have deadlines to meet.  That is also a good thing, because I can't put it off like I always have in the past.  We are clearing things out, because our son and his family will be moving in with us late in April.  They will use this time to save for a house; we are all excited about spending time together. It's just getting everything done in time that adds stress.

I'm not sure why I was feeling so overwhelmed this weekend.  I think it was a combination of several things. We have all been working at going through things in the basement and have made a lot of progress.  We now need to tackle our storage area.  I think we are tired and needed a break.  I also know that I am tired of winter!  I want tulips and daffodils.  I want to be able to go out without worrying about the ice on the walk or  in parking lots.  While my head knows that we probably only have one more month of real winter, my heart is ready for spring!

I know when I feel so overwhelmed and stressed that I need to revitalize my inner self.  As an introvert, that means that I need to be by myself and feed the inner soul-usually by reading, listening to music, or watching a movie.  Since I wasn't very good company, I chose to lose myself in reading.  I got my Keurig-brewed cup of coffee, grabbed my Kindle and sat in the sunshine spilling through my living room window to read.  I decided to re-read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series; they always pull me into the story.  After spending some time immersed in the world of Scotland, my reading therapy did  the trick!  Now I am ready to tackle the task at hand.

All of this has made me wonder what other people do when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.  I know some turn to exercise or hanging out with other people.  I'd really like to hear what works for you so post a comment if you have a chance.  How do you de-stress?

I hope that you are having a wonderful week filled with love, friends, and hugs.  And as always...

Have you found your joy today?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weather Junkie

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of sleet hitting the windows of our bedroom.  For several days, we had heard weather forecasts predicting a winter storm warning for this weekend.  Yesterday was a day of wintry mix.  We started the day with freezing rain, followed by sleet, then snow, and now high winds.  If you were like us, you tuned into the news programs to get updates on the storm or you watched Facebook to view pictures posted showing road conditions.  You probably also spent time looking out your windows to see how much snow had piled up or to wonder at the large snowflakes.

I admit it!  I am fascinated with weather.  I know I'm not the only one.  So, why are we so interested in hearing the predictions and seeing the actual event?  This is true even if it isn't a local weather event.  I made sure to watch the news reports of the snow storm in New England and was amazed at the 3-4 feet of snow blocking city streets.  When the hurricane hit the east coast last fall, I watched with great interest.  I thought it was probably because I grew up in Florida and had experienced a hurricane firsthand.  However, I now realize that I am a weather junkie!

Before I retired, I always wanted to watch the weather report so I had an idea about what road conditions I would be facing on my drive to work.  This allowed me to plan to get up earlier if needed or brace myself for a difficult commute.  However, now that I am retired, I still have to catch the weather news.  I will admit that it is great that I can watch and know that I don't have to join the Monday morning workers as they navigate their way through slippery, snow-covered streets and neighborhoods.  In fact, I am looking forward to staying home and enjoying the beauty of the snow.  I know that I won't have to wake up early to check the school closings.  I can instead watch the birds at the feeders while I drink my cup of coffee and celebrate the fact that I don't have any appointments to travel to tomorrow.

I know that the weather will change again, and I will once again search for weather news.  For now, I hope that all of you are safe and warm.  I wish you easy driving if you have to go out today.  If you weren't able to do so yesterday, take a moment to discover the beauty of the winter weather surrounding you.  I hope that you find great joy in being in the moment of snowflakes landing on your eyelashes, snow crunching under your boots, and the laughter of children playing in the snow.

Have you found your joy today?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Family History

When I first retired, I mentioned that I wanted to spend time exploring our family history.  It's a fascinating project.  I have spent quite a bit of time researching using, and now I have been scanning slides to try to preserve pictures that are beginning to deteriorate. I also have family pictures and film that I need to convert to a digital format for preservation.  I think that this project will take some time to complete!

We are currently visiting my husband's family in Arkansas.  While we were here, we visited the new library that was built in Mountain Home.  What a lovely facility!  And what a serendipitous outing!  The new library has a genealogy center and is staffed with a genealogist, Vincent Anderson.  My husband stopped in to see if they could find a copy of his father's obituary.  He did.  We also spent some time chatting with the genealogist who shared some tips on research and shared his genealogy blog.  Mr. Anderson was very helpful and willing to share ideas.  I may be contacting him in the future.

One thing that I have become aware of through my research is that both oral and written history are very important.  I am very glad that I spent as much time as I did listening to my parents talk about their families.  These memories have helped me a great deal along the way.  I wish that I had started researching earlier so that I could ask my mom and dad questions about things I don't remember or never thought to ask.  That is one reason I am trying to capture what I remember so that my children have a written history to refer to as they get older.

While we were in Mountain Home, all three siblings in my husband's family were together so I started asking questions about when they were growing up.  It was fun to hear about their childhood especially since some grandchildren and great grandchildren were in the vehicle when they were regaling us with their youthful adventures.   It is very rare for all of the siblings to be together so I am thrilled that we were able to hear their different perspectives on their childhood. This oral history is very important! 

We also discovered boxes with memorabilia belonging to my husband's mother.  What a treasure!  She kept scrapbooks and wrote meticulous notes on each picture.  There are letters her husband wrote her during the war when he was in the navy.  There are pictures going back to the 1940s.  We are very grateful that she has  such wonderful records that we can explore as we try to recreate the past.

If you haven't already done so, take some time to sit with the older generation in your family.  Ask as many questions as you can.  Make a recording to preserve for future generations.  Collect both oral and written history.  You will find great joy in knowing that you have these memories to explore.

Have you found your joy today?