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I am at the middle point of the Indie Business Blog Your Brand Challenge. I will admit, there were nights when I thought I was too tired or too busy to stick with the blog ballgame. I am determined to cross the finish line.

Officially, this my 954’st blog post. I am an oldie blogger, not a newbie. I have un-officially, counting a couple of blogs that I’ve scrapped when I’ve reinvented myself, published over 1,000 blog posts.

I needed a big b-l-o-g-g-e-r-sized nudge, however, and here’s the transparent truth in the values that this blog challenge brought to surface for me:

  1. I had drifted away from frequent blogging. I have re-discovered that I have plenty to write about. Life itself blooms with topic upon topic.
  2. Deliberate writing is a mindset that becomes habit.
  3. I have met new friends through blogs, and I’ve discovered things that I didn’t know about old friends.
  4. In the business of social media, my followers have increased through blogging.
  5. Small businesses support small business, and bloggers support bloggers. Need I say more?
  6. I have been uplifted, and I have learned through reading my comrade’s blogs.
  7. I enjoy blogging. What would the world be like without the freedom to write?
  8. Blogging is a part of our online voice. Unique, and self-owned.

In reality, blogging is an integral part of social media that I, or any small business owner, should not ignore. Blogging can be free, or inexpensive, and it only takes minutes to accomplish. Three hundred words, an average-sized blog post, is fairly simple and quick to write.

What have you learned from this blog challenge (if you are part of it), or from blogging in general? I have heard “experts” say that blogging is a dying form of social media, do you agree? What do you like or dislike about blogging?



Our temperature has been right at a scorching 100°F for about three weeks now. When our friends ask us, “Have you been on your bikes lately?,” our response has been “No, it is too hot!”

Tonight, my husband handed me my bike keys, “I think we need to at least start them.”

As soon as I heard the engines running I wanted to ride.

We took off without a plan, “Let’s head east.”

What was east? We did not know.

After the first 20 minutes we were out of the city and still did not know where “heading east” was on the map.

We kept going…and going.

After a while, my husband pulled off the road “Are you okay? Wanna’ keep going?”

“Yes! I am having the time of my life.”

I was hot and I felt dehydrated, but the feeling of freedom was incredible. I wear a helmet, but this sense of elation could very well be described as the wind in my hair.

I thanked God for the beautiful countryside.

I wanted to etch the scent of fresh mown grass, and of corn being harvested, in my head.

The crazy goats that looked up from their evening hay were an image I will not soon forget. We could have ridden by all day, made several trips in succession, and the goats would still stretch their necks and ears in airplane position, with “surprise” written in their expressions.

The cows with coats that looked like velvet chocolate. Lazily grazing with calves at their side.

Thank you God for reminding me to enjoy the gifts that you’ve made for us.

We stopped at a convenience store. We didn’t know where we were. I was not ready to turn back.

After quenching our thirst, hi-ho away we went, to an unknown destination in the east.

By this time the air felt cool as we passed under trees along shaded creeks. The countryside filled with the heavenly scent of dusk that mirrored the gorgeous sunset.

Two hours.

Time well spent. Heading east to nowhere.

Food for the soul.


Musings on Aging

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I find aging, or the topic thereof, interesting.

When I was in my early 20’s I couldn’t wait to grow a little older. Being young can be tough, especially in an office workplace setting. I was at the bottom of the totem pole, and I knew it. I typed invoices on a manual typewriter and I was the one that became the favorite filing clerk. I had a lot of proving to do! I tend to remember how I felt (40 years ago), and younger folks probably want to roll their eyes at me when I tell them I know how tough it can be to be young. I am old, what do I know?

When I turned 25 I was surprised when I realized there were no more age markers to look forward to. 13, 21, and for whatever reason, 25 had arrived and I had looked forward to it. No single age has mattered to me since.

I recently asked a woman about her upcoming birthday, and I made positive comments about our age frame. She did not respond and her facial expression was very controlled, stoic. I started to gently ask, “Did you hear me?”, and then I realized that she had. Oops. That moment was a first for me, and a preventable last.

See, I do not find age embarrassing.

When I was a young child I enjoyed touching my grandmother’s soft hands. I loved to kiss her on her cheek. Somehow, that sagging skin (which was beautiful to me), was precious. She was my elder and I appreciated it so very much. Her eyes and skin reflected wisdom. He gray hair was a crown.

Two things do typically catch my attention, though. The first is any statement along the lines of, “An elderly 60-year-old woman was pushing the grocery cart.” What? Elderly? Or, when I converse with someone 20-30 years old and they say, “My grandmother does the same thing.” I then do the math in my head. Yes, they could very well be a grandchild of mine. A young woman relaxing in our community hot tub said to my husband, “Oh, I know, my parents are old too.” Yep. Ancient. Good for a belly laugh.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Oh, and one more thing, the older I get, people that are my age don’t look so old to me anymore. When did older people stop looking old?

How do you feel about age? Is it a number, or do the oncoming years scare you? Do you hide your “real” age from others?


constant connections www.hispasturepress.com

Sometimes I wonder where we crossed the constant connection line.

I remember when my mother had a tan-colored phone that hung on the kitchen wall. It was a rotary dial. There was no answering machine. If people called while you were out, nobody got mad, and nobody got worried. The caller attempted to call at appropriate times. I remember my mother’s sister asking if she could call on Sunday’s after 5:00. When she called, my mother was usually relaxing and this became family connection time.

I also remember party lines. Folks had phones in their homes that did not have a dial. They called the operator to place a call. They also listened for a set number of rings before they picked up a call. I think I nearly gave my Great Aunt a stroke when I picked up her phone after it rang once. Her assigned number of rings was five. After the phone rang five times in a row it was a guaranteed call for that household, not for the next household down the dusty gravel road.

I miss those days to a degree. Life was more difficult because we had less conveniences, yet it was easier because we didn’t have electronics. The closest thing to an electronic was the big wood stereo that sat in our living room. Mom cleaned house to “long hair” music, which I now refer to as soft orchestra or band music.

We didn’t walk around with a phone stuck to our ear. We went out and did whatever we wanted and needed without staying connected, but then, we weren’t able to share our experiences instantly with our friends around the world.

Families actually enjoyed each other’s company. Have you seen couples or families sitting at a restaurant table together with each individual staring at their own phone? What about moms that walk and scroll on their phones, while dads tend to the kids, or vice versa?

I have visited homes where people were texting each other across the room. Talk about an uncomfortable situation. I do not worry over what people think about me, but the visitor would be dead to not wonder.

What do you think? Would you like to break away, or do you take a vacation from your cell phone deliberately? Do you feel safer with a phone within your reach? Do you go to bed reading on your phone, and do you wake and catch up on updates on your phone before you rise out of bed? I admit. I have a difficult time not reading the news (I know…bad times for that) before I read my favorite fiction books that I call my sleeping pills.

how to start writingSo, you love to write, yet you think you can’t?

Of course you can!

For starters, you enjoy or long to express yourself on paper. Right?

You may keep journals, and you may find writing to be therapeutic.

Writing has become one of your “happy places” in life.

If you have nodded your head “yes” to some of this, you may be a writer.

My advice is to write, and keep on writing. Read, and read a lot.

Write every day. Gradually build up to 100 words a day. Soon, you’ll pen 200 – 300 words in no time flat.

To get started, try writing about any topic or thought that you want to express. Do not worry about grammar or spelling. If you cannot think of a specific theme to write about, start with one sentence (focus on one thing from your day, for example) and build on that. Just start writing. It does not matter how bad you think your writing is, just write. Editing comes later, much later.

When you cannot think of anything to write about, try scrolling through graphics or photos. I usually write my blog posts first, and then I select a graphic or photo, but it also happens in reverse. Photographs inspire me to write.

Your writing will improve on its own when you purposely write every day, and especially when you combine it with proliferous reading. You’ll find your own writing style, and you will also notice differences in writing styles. You will learn to observe, and even work at picking up the writing style(s) that you love.

File or save everything that you have written. This is where journals come in handy. By hanging on to what you’re written, because you never know when you might want to write a book, or start a blog, you’ll always have a starting place.

Thoughts itching to be written are wasted, lost, vanished for good, when they go in the trash (or are never penned to begin with). Trust me, I have to grab a piece of paper, a voice recorder (my phone), or a sticky note when a fresh idea pops into my head. If I depend upon memory, the moment passes and it never gets written. Inspiration tends to dwindle once it is pushed to the back burner. My husband is very aware of this. He’ll toss a used envelope at me and say, “Write it down, now!” Your family and friends may not want to read your writing, but they will become your support system when they hear you say, “I feel writing coming on.”

Some additional signs that you might be a writer:

  • You dream about writing
  • Writing was a childhood passion of yours
  • You’ve dream of screen writing
  • Writing has been a hobby for as long as you can remember
  • You feel you cannot stop writing
  • You are a day dreamer, and it has to be put into words

If you want to write, I hope this post has inspired you. If you already write, then I hope you have found renewed inspiration.

Do you love to write? When did you discover your passion for writing? How did you get beyond doubt in yourself as a writer? What is your best advice for an aspiring writer?


dreamstime_m_17585533Sometimes a slap-stick moment comes out that reminds us that our marriage is improved by a serving of humor.

My husband goes to a pain management clinic for a back procedure every few months. This involves several processes, but always includes a steroid injection or two that develops into jittery goofiness.

Yesterday, after my husband’s post-procedure nap, we got into the car to head out for dinner. The outside temperature was 102 degrees, and the immediate hot air blasting out of the car vents was enough to make me want to jump back out into the much cooler heat. So I reached for the dial to turn the blower off.

My action was immediately intercepted, “Oh no, you have to have the blower going so the gate will open!”

Seriously, “Are you pulling my leg?” Either the meds had really done a number on him, which would have been understood, or he was pulling one of his pranks on me — which has been a part of our marriage.

“No, seriously, the compressor will not be exposed, so it will not kick in. The gate has to open.”

Was I suddenly on Mars? Was I having a brain spasm? At the 15-year mark in our marriage, I’ve learned to let some things go. Don’t make life more difficult by questioning.

So, I suffered through the death-inducing hot air and I drove through the apartment gate. Then I remarked, “There is no compressor in that gate!”

Well, we both laughed until we were crying. Pull me over officer, I am drunk (with laughter). Right? Apparently, as my refrigeration tech husband then explained to me, inside the air conditioning duct is a little door (which he called a gate) that remains closed when the blower is shut off. Cooling will not begin to occur unless the gate is open.

Life is full of humor. The book of laughter continues to fill.

The funniest moment we experienced happened in our first year of marriage. I was standing in the kitchen and heard my husband calling me from the yard, “Come here, you’ve got to see this.” So I walked out on the deck and looked down to see my man covered with chocolate-colored mud from head to toe, with white eyes glaring where his glasses had been on his face. Imagine it as if he had worn little round cups that had shielded his eyes as he fell. This in-grained image continues to bring on the best of belly laughs, happy memories surface, and relaxation follows suit.

I think humor is critical in marriage. We must forgive. We must take life as it comes. Life is hard, and marriage isn’t any easier. Living with our best friend helps, and thank goodness for laughter!



laugher best medicineYou don’t have to remind me about the value of humor, but sometimes laughter is like a nudge. After a good laugh…ahhh…there it is again, I’ve found that wonderful feeling, don’t sweat over small stuff, and it is ALL small stuff.

So, the other day I was scrolling through LaShonda Tyree’s Handmade Soap Coach site and stumbled across a photo with a caption that led me to laugh out loud, “Life is short, smile while you still have teeth.” Hysterical, and oh so appropriate at that particular moment in my day.

A friend at work loves to say, at the times we need it most, “It ain’t no thing,” and “It’s all good.” Don’t sweat the small stuff. Smile while you still have teeth.

Remember the movie The In Law’s from some year in the past (1970’s)? I could be dating myself, but who cares? I still laugh myself crazy over what I call the serpentine scene. These two men end up dodging bullets, literally, running around (serpentining, excuse my language, like idiots). One says, “Serpentine!,” the other asks, “Are you kidding me?”, and the response is, “We’ll never make it if we keep on lying here!” Good old humor, and with a twist…we’ll never make it if we keep on lying here (without our sense of humor). We’ll be dead, and without teeth, right?

Life is tough. Life is short.

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Laughter is good medicine! (HelpGuide.org):

Laughter is good for your health

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

There’s more…

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirt dries up the bones.

Anyone for a good dose of slapstick humor? When was the last night you stumbled on your own feet, but managed to stay upright, and someone asked, “Did you have a nice trip?” Yeah, that sort of silliness. How about this story…I worked in downtown Indianapolis and we wore dresses and hosiery (a requirement), and slips as well. I lost my half slip standing at the corner while waiting for a traffic light to change. Seriously, girl. I stepped out of that slip and stuffed it in my coat pocket. When we walked into the office elevator a co-worker finally brought my special moment up. She said, “Way to go grace!” Ha! My name became Grace for several years after that. Tell me your story. We all want a good hearty laugh!