“If each day is a gift, I’d like to know where I can return Mondays.” — John Wagner


“Mondays are the start of the work week which offer new beginnings 52 times a year.” — David Dweck

Every Monday I wake up motivated to start on the right foot. Or the left.  It doesn’t really matter.  My goal is simply to remove unnecessary chaos.  I diligently plan, prep skeleton schedules,create alternate plans should unexpected issues arise.  By Friday, I am on it like white on rice.

“I always try to go the extra mile at work, but my boss always finds me and brings me back.”— Unknown

I often come in on the weekend just to ensure success. I don’t mind. I love organization. I love preparations. I mean…I have managed every single situation that has ever been flung on me.  I got this!  EVERY THING EVERY TIME!  I have successfully worked through earthquakes, civil unrest, teenage daughters, and every other form of man-made and natural chaotic event.

But …then … comes … Monday.

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Followed by Tuesday … Wednesday … Thursday … and TGIF.

“There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” ­— Henry Kissinger

Begin again… repeat …. this week will definitely be different.  Sooooooooo…. Every Monday I wake up motivated to start on the right foot. Or the left. It doesn’t really matter. My goal is simply to remove unnecessary chaos. I ….. well you get it….

“Some days, the best thing about the job is that the chair spins.”— Unknown

 

Paths and Adventures – – and – – Slowing it Down.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  -Mark Twain

 

The shape of a path in no way determines the adventure.

There is very little I fear more than thinking about staying in one place 444444 evahhhhhhhh!!!  I have been moving around nearly all of my life.  First through my imagination. On through books, movies, art, and music.  Followed by the actual physical act of moving around through the military, teaching, and now my current job.

 “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”    -Ernest Hemingway

Moving, moving, moving.

 “Oh, the places you’ll go.”    -Dr. Seuss

The paths I have followed and the decisions I have made have provided me more adventures than I can ever recount.  So many paths and so many emotions with each of those paths.

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”  -Aldous Huxley

I have learned so much from the places I have been.  Maybe the biggest thing is that we are all the same.  Even in our greatest differences, we are the same.  We have kids, we have homes, we have happiness and sadness, we have a life and we long for more.  Each of us longs for more.  More safety, more money, more happiness, more education, more life.  More of everything.. … …

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”   -Helen Keller

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”  -Robert Louis Stevenson

As I think back on it all, it’s hard to believe how many places I have traveled to.  what I have seen and heard and tasted and drank and experienced.

Great experiences all of them.  But as I look back in wonder and happiness, I also feel a bit of a black hole.  Through all of my travels, even when surrounded by many, I was often alone .. felt alone .. sometimes disconnected .. sometimes and only sometimes .. a little sad.  More happy than sad… but sometimes still sad.

I love coming back home and seeing old friends and family. I would say it keeps me grounded.   ~~Coy Bowles

Because of that, I am now oddly considering slowing down.  Considering remaining in one place with only normal, average (never really average with me) vacations that might take me mere miles from my home.  Maybe further, but finding a home base that I will exist in and travel to and from.  The same place always returning to.. the same place..

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.  ~~ Maya Angelou 

Part of me feels a stirring of panic at that thought.  The mere notion of not packing up my life every 2-4 years and starting over seems unnatural.  Makes me feel tense and uncomfortable. However, there are reasons to really start thinking about the possibilities of finding a home base.

These two pictures reflects only five years of separation.  Only five years but a life time of growth.  What am I missing by being so far away all of the time.  I do not regret my travels or my time away.  I just know that for every path and adventure, there are other paths that provide other adventures.  I have traveled the world as well as my home country and I am ready to rebuild and bond with the paths I have left behind.  Include people into my paths that I miss profoundly.  However, that path will have its own challenges, fears, and limitations.  The limitations are where my fears are the strongest.

The key to growth is acknowledging your fear of the unknown and jumping in anyway. ~~Jen Sincero

I have to remind myself though that the limitations that I am afraid of are really only limits in my own mind.  The past paths have led me to amazing places and introduced me to amazing people.  They will not disappear if I stay in one place.  As a matter of fact, I may find that by staying in one place I will be able to connect deeper to the people and places I am constantly leaving behind.

“You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.” —George Michael

Sometimes my heart tells me to stay put and other times my heart says to keep moving.  But my heart of hearts tells me that being around the people that I love and that make me smile and smile with me and laugh at my silly jokes.. is where I need to be…

My personal goals are to be happy, healthy and to be surrounded by loved ones. ~~Kiana Tom

To laugh.. to laugh at.. to be laughed at.. to laugh with..

It was the way you laughed… I knew I wanted that in my life. ~~ R.M. Drake

Yeah.  I do want to slow down, reconnect, connect deeper.  I still have a few years.. but I think that my heart of hearts is giving me some good signs..  love these people and places and so many more…and I think I can combine some new paths, news adventures, new people, new laughs….. AND slowing it down.

 

We are all here for a spell. Get all the good laughs you can. — Will Rogers

The point is seeing that THIS — the immediate, everyday and present experience — is IT, the entire and ultimate point for the existence of a universe. I believe that if this state of consciousness could become more universal, the pretentious nonsense which passes for the serious business of the world would dissolve in laughter… — Alan Watts

Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy. — John Cleese

Other Paths

 nowathome, Le Drake Noir, Shirley’s Heaven, Adventure Calls! , Une photo, un poème, WordsVisual, Leya,  Beyond the Brush, Living in Paradise…, base, africa, Night Owl , Waiting, Samliving, flashfiction, streetart, delicious, world is a book

 

Spring has sprung … and so have I!!!


“Blossom by blossom the spring begins.”
— Algernon Charles Swinburne

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Speaking of spring …. makes me think of change …. speaking of change … makes me think of adventure … speaking of adventure … makes me think of the old dreams I used to have … speaking of old dreams … makes me remember how I envisioned who I would be when I grew up.. speaking of growing up … makes me remember that I possibly never have and possibly never will… and THAT.. IS … OK!!!

Back to the topic of change and spring.  New beginnings and reflections on the changes I have experienced in my life.  Countries, peoples, places, foods, and drinks.  Adventures.. I love change.  Change is the only thing that stays the same in my life.  It’s that time of day, week, month, and year.  I am off again on a new adventure.    I am super excited by this new opportunity …  I present to you Equatorial Guinea..

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“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Some people will never understand what I like about my life.  Sometimes I do not understand.  I am sometimes homesick.. missing family, friends, and consistency.  On the other hand, I live for these adventures.  I always hope that folks will come to visit me and share in my adventure but also understand when they chose not to and even why they do not.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Some feel I am crazy for living this life.. and maybe I am .. but I still love it.  I live for it and look forward to sharing it with whoever in whatever manner they want to appreciate it.  Raise a cup to the crazy ones!!

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Rob Siltanen

Belonging


Sometimes belonging involves being part of a very large group and sometimes it can be a very solitary thing.  While visiting Istanbul, Turkey these images of solitary people praying mesmerized me.

While less than 100 feet away..

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The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.

Brene Brown

Travel Theme:  Belonging 

 

Memories are all we ever really have…


This is a difficult thing to write out.  I lost a good friend this weekend.  Part of me doesn’t want to talk about it but part of me needs to.  I don’t know if it is something I have to do to help me come to terms with such a loss or if it is because I want to share with everyone I know what they will not really hear about from the news… from others who did not know her.  Her name was Anne.. we were friends and co-workers.

I know that I wasn’t her BEST friend.  However, Anne had a way of making everyone feel that they were.  She had a way of giving everyone the type of attention that just made them feel very special.  She had an infectious smile and a wicked sense of humor.  We had spoken less than a week ago and she was telling me she was enjoying her time but looking forward to coming back to the states and preparing for her next posting.  Everyone I know was looking forward to her coming back and just looking forward to watching her advance through her career.

She was an amazing young lady who had so much ahead of her.  Barely 2 years older than my oldest daughter yet with so much poise, grace, humor, humbleness and intelligence.  She was a beautiful person who was loved and respected by everyone.  She was half my age and yet I looked up to her and wished I could be so eloquent, so kind and so beautiful inside and out.   I had been asked to write a review of her for a position she was applying for and I never once had to pause and think of something to say that might fit into a category that would make her “qualify” for anything.  She qualified for everything on her own merit.  She was honest, hard-working and most of all caring.

I spent almost 2 years working with her in Venezuela.  When it came time for all of us to start looking for our next postings, true to her nature she applied for and received an outstanding position that really suited her personality as well as her ability.  She would be working in a public affairs office in a country desperately in need of a person (of people) like her.  She chose this position because it carried with it the opportunity to do something she loved and felt was worthwhile.  She really did believe that she could change the world.

Anne was with a group of people who were presenting books to a school in a little town in Afghanistan.  These books were written by American authors but translated into the local language to help present a different picture of the world for these young kids.  They were gifts to children that really don’t have much else.. especially in the way of education.  Anne believed in this work and was very excited about this opportunity.

Sadly, she and other members of the military and civilian community were killed and others were injured.  You can watch the news or read the papers to get all the sick details.. I don’t have the stomach for it right now.  They were allegedly not the intended targets.. just some people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In my opinion, there is really never a right place for the hate that was demonstrated that day.  I don’t understand the type of people who commit these atrocities.. the sickness.. the hatred.. I don’t understand the rationality… largely because there is none.

I do understand that this was the job she chose.. and she chose it with serious consideration. The newspapers wrote amazing things about her.. everyone has spoken of her sacrifice and how she died making a difference.  They wrote of how she chose this job only with the motive of making a difference.. which she was doing…so many amazing photos and memories and kind words everywhere about her.  These words and things right now are no consolation to me. I know in time they will be.. but…

…right now I’m devastated .. sadly I have to get up in the morning and continue on.  I’d like to take a week to mourn.. but even a week would not bring her back.  It’s beyond anger that I feel. I know that there is always room for hate and anger.. and that is what those people want.. I don’t want to give it to them.. I won’t give it to them.

I want to think of Anne only as how I remember her.. spontaneous, strong and kind.  I want to try to only think of the good things about her and the fun times we had..and to remember she did die making a difference… even though at this time that makes no difference to those of us left behind….

Life is precious.. and memories are all we ever really have .. keep the good ones.  Thanks for listening.

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