Reviews, talk, and fun

Making Memories

This afternoon at 1PM I hopped in my son’s car and headed off to Muskegon to visit with my brother Scott.  I go up almost every Sunday and this time I had a plan for a fun trip to places we use to go as kids.  We picked up coffee and headed out of town taking US31 on our way to discoveries.

We got off at the North Muskegon exit and headed west through to some scenic roads looking for the fall colors.  After a while we connected with Scenic Drive and headed North straight to Whitehall enjoying the colorful trees (though much of the brighter colors of orange and red were passed).  The tunnel of trees over the road was beautiful. we turned around after reaching our first destination along White Lake and headed back till we came to where Duck Lake ran into Lake Michigan.  There were a few people with cameras dressed in winter coats, and older “kids,” wading in the warmer waters that met the icy waters of the Big Lake.

We both stumbled along in the soft sand, and the we, “cliffs,” of the harder sand away from the water’s edge that the water had hardened it earlier in the day when the winds blew the water hard into the shore.  Falling was giggle time when I fell in the sand.  Scott and I slowly made our way back to the car I took pictures of my smiling brother.

We then drove south to the block house.  When we were younger, my mom loved to wear us all there and we both have so many memories from that fort.  We walked up the hill and tried to see the lake at the top like we use too, and spent a while wandering around the fort.  We wandered back down after enjoying the windy hill to the car, and a warmer place.  From there the car took us past the Veteran’s Memorial Park on the Causeway into Muskegon and saw all the work they are doing to rebuild the ponds around it.  It has been a place to memorialize and honor those who have served from the area in all the branches of the services.  It has been there as long as I can remember and it is so good to see that they are bringing it back to its former beauty.

It’s funny how much fun we had just walking in the sand and laughing and talking about what we remembered together.  There are so many places that hold memories for both of us.  When we do things like this I am thankful that I still have time to spend with my brother.  He is one of my best friends.  I am going to do this as many Sunday afternoons that I can before the snow flies, and continue to make wonderful memories for the 2 of us.  It’s a great weekly sojourn for a brother and a sister to share.

 

 

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Oh so true.

Caitlin J. Stout

Dear Non-Affirming Christian,

I have reviewed your offer and the attached job description, and after careful consideration I regret to inform you that I will not be accepting the position of “Gay Friend.”

It was tempting at first, mostly because the alternatives seemed so lonely. And I’ll be honest, you almost won me over with the promise of paying for coffee when we sit down so you can “hear my story.” However, I have some concerns.

First of all, the job description states that you will be name-dropping me in all conversations pertaining to “the issue of homosexuality” from this point forward. I assume you’re referring to the conversations you have with your real friends, when you muse about the world and your faith and the ways the two interact. I’m sure these conversations sometimes turn into debates, especially since your non-affirming position is so quickly losing popularity. That’s where…

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The Sounds of Summer

I live 2 roads up from Lake Mac and I have never heard the boats fly by like I have this summer!  It’s wonderful because I can even smell the lake and I love it!

I guess I should say that summer, HOT summer is what I usually hide from but this weather but we’ve had a lovely June thus far. Some hot days but so many of the summer days I really love.70s to 80s and sun with wind too!!  I actually love having the windows open.  Even my cat loves it!  I sure hope this last all summer with those occasional 90 degree days for those who love that weather.  Then it will really be a fabulous summer for everyone!  AWESOME!

Cooler Days, Cooler Ways

The weather here has been unbearably hot for many, but with Wednesday’s entrance  of our new season it gave all here a taste of cold.  It’s nice for the kids who started school this week, but from the looks of it the weekend and on into the week we are returning to the heat.

I’m not complaining.  It has been a good summer and I am ready for the cooler days of autumn.  Things get busy and many who can are beginning the season of days that are full of washing and packing jars and getting them ready for winter.  Try doing that with a full time job, something some of my friends and family do every year.

I love fall with it’s wisps of winter with frosts some days and warm Indian summer days for others.  I also love the long walks through leaves that seem to do a jig with each gust of wind.

Version 2Fall and winter are my seasons.  I revel in the way those seasons can actually slow us down a bit and find a change of pace in our busy lives.  Not too much though and that’s good thing.

I am going to enjoy our last days of heat and revel in a few more moments of lazy fun.  We’re lucky in Michigan to have the seasons.  It gives us many ways of seeing beauty whether dressed in a twinkling snow cover, or the many shades and hues of fall.

Quiet Days

DSC05696When I’m home from cancelations for meetings, or just needing a way to refresh myself and regroup for the coming days I take a day to practice peace. I have no exact way to find my center but a few habits definitely help find my center again.

The first practice is always listening and taking in music.  All kinds of music!   It is a beautiful way to refill my emotional tanks.  I have always wished that I could have been a musician but it wasn’t to be so I listen sometimes simply absorbing the tunes, and inhale them when I’m down.  It is then I can begin to relax once more.

Another way is to do deep breathing and focusing to let go of the hurts of the days and weeks and the mindfulness can get below the surface and encase my heart in a peace.  This is a new practice for me and I’m slowly getting better at it, but it has already given me joy and with it I can begin to step back into my life’s rhythm again.

The most tactile way to reach outside to calm that inner beast is by taking walks in nature whether through absorbing beautiful pictures on rainy days, or walking when I can. Exercise has never been fun for me, but walking is a meditation of its own in my life.

Finally, when I am calm and centered and mostly unflustered I can pray.  I tend to only pray for people not their needs and often do a form of doodling to keep me focused and write first names along the lines and patterns I draw and sketch.

Life is not contentment in every step for me,  but I still can find my joy. Its still there and a smile is seldom far from my face, or my thoughts with these practices.Version 2

House Sitting Animals

I am really thankful for the late life career that found me.  I began house sitting cats a few years ago and fell in love with both of my girlfriend’s cats and for a while they were my only pet friends.  Since then I have slowly built my business.

The wonderful thing is I love my charges and love playing with them.  I’ve never had a job that was so much fun to work at in my life.

Right now I am sitting for a 3 animal household only one is a cat.  They sleep all around me in the night and love having me play with them.  I really could do it every day of my days.  Why do I love animals so much?  They understand love and give it back unconditionally.

Life is so good!

Well it hasn’t been too long yet, but I am experiencing a much quieter day without the drivel from the continued political world.  I have fine tuned my Twitter account so that I no long receive daily updates from the candidates and thankfully I am sleeping better too.   Writing in my journal about lovely weather or visits with friends has become a daily thing once again.

I don’t know how the change is going to go overall.  Oh and yes, I quickly touch base with FB only for “messages.”  I do a quick in and out and that means friends who want to catch up with me can.

What have I done lately?  Cleaned more closets; Spent time watching professors from Yale on iTunes U on the middle ages (really!); Started to knit again to music(!); and writing.  I knew who I was going to vote for after the first six months so all of the run-up to the election serves only to make me and many people around me more belligerent, so I have asked for a politics-free zone when I am with friends and that has worked as well.

I am also doing Tai Chi with much fewer tight muscles.  I have to admit that a day free of listening to those on television or on FB screaming and arguing is quite a thrill for me.  I have never been much of a political hound with my nose to the ground or in my case to the TV or radio.  I am becoming a calmer person and that is a really good thing.