Wanderlust Unleashed

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I’ve always loved trains. Ever since I can remember trains have held a special place in my heart. Mysterious ladies with “a story to tell” meet up with tall, dark and handsome men; murder happens on trains, as well as fantastic fights on top of trains with the inevitable tunnel that takes out at least one inattentive bad guy. On a lighter note, trains allow for dining and drinking, sightseeing and socializing, as well. Where the train is going is always the best part because I would imagine places that I had read of in books, seen in pictures and been told of in stories. Ireland, home of part of my ancestry, along with Scotland and bits of France and other assorted lands. Growing up in California, I lived where other girls dreamed about and dreamed about living somewhere cloudy and cool with an ocean between us. I love to travel and although I haven’t journeyed often overseas, I am beyond excited to have booked a trip to Edinburgh this December for my birthday.
Yes, I said December. In Scotland. Crazy? Sure. Do I mind? Not at all.
It will be a quick trip, but as I’m hoping it will only be the first of many trips there, it’s a good start. I’ll spend a Wednesday and Thursday getting there and fly back out on a Sunday (my birthday!) arriving home on Monday. I’ll be home for Christmas, our first since Mom passed, which will be good.
To Mr. Liam Neeson (if you happen upon this post by some cosmic turn of the Universe) I will be in Scotland for 4 days and even if you could just meet me at the airport for a quick hug and a photo, that would be the most treasured birthday gift I can think of. No pressure, though. I know you are a busy man and it is during the insanity that is the Holiday Season.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled post.
I have always had this wanderlust and believe it is one of the reasons I used to move every 6 months. Not to a new city or anything, just to a different apartment. They were all perfectly decent places, I would just get anxious and feeling trapped or like I had been there too long and I needed to Get Moving. Ever time I travel, whether by train, plane or automobile I feel better. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories of where they’re going and where they’ve been. I love waking up and seeing a different ceiling, hearing new sounds and seeing new sights. It opens a door for me, allowing me to peek into a different world, culture and energy. Even if I’m going to Jackson, Minnesota I know it will be a different world than the one I left. It helps me to reevaluate what my beliefs are when I see them in a different setting. I guess it’s like the Big Fish in a Small Pond/Small Fish in a Big Pond kind of thing. Lastly, when I do return home, I am thankful to be back to the familiar and the routine, at least until the wanderlust strikes again.

A Mother’s Last Dance With Her Son

A Mother’s love is miraculous and powerful. Beautiful photo, beautiful story.

Kindness Blog

A Mother’s Last Dance With Her Son

by Frank Somerville (Evening Anchor atKTVU)

“This is one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the most heartbreaking pictures I’ve ever seen, because of what happened just 72 hours later.”

Ryan Manning dancing with his mother

This is Ryan Manning dancing with his mother Mary Ann Manning at his wedding earlier this month.

He says simply: “It was very special.”

The reason it was so special is because three years ago Mary Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer. And in the past few months her condition got so bad that she was confined to a wheelchair.

But there was ONE thing she was determined to do. She was determined to dance with her son at his wedding.

And this is a picture of the two of them as they slowly swayed back and forth to the song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

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Little Brother 2014

My brother’s birthday is tomorrow and I wrote this memory about his birth and homecoming from my perspective; I was about 2 when he was born but I remember so clearly his homecoming as well as our baby brother’s. I am so proud of him, so happy to know he has found a happiness that is true and beautiful and feeds his soul. Happy birthday, Little Brother. I love you!

The Day You Were Born

The day you were born,
I was so excited to meet you.
Mom said I wouldn’t be the youngest anymore
I couldn’t wait to see what was in store;
A big sister at last! I had watched and waited and asked Mom a lot,
“When will I meet the baby? When will he come out?”
At last, you were born and they brought you home wrapped up tightly in blankets and with a cheery blue cap.
Everyone rushed up to see you, to hold you, to check you out.
I stayed back a little while, suddenly unsure.
What if he cried and didn’t like me?
What if Mom didn’t have any love left for me?
These fears were dismissed almost instantly, when
I held you in my arms and you looked up to me with those big beautiful eyes
And whether it was gas or something else,
The smallest smile crossed your tiny face,
A tiny hand grasped my finger and with that,
My fears flew away.
“Welcome into the world Little Brother.
I am your Little Big Sister; I promise to
Love you, protect you, teach you and never leave you behind.
I’ll be your sister forever, little brother of mine”.

You’ve taken a place in my heart
That belongs to only you; you’ll always be my little brother,
But now you’re my best friend, too.

Happy Birthday, Michael Mouse. The best is yet to come!!

Mean Girls & Brave Girls

I know that most of, if not all of the women that read this post will be nodding their heads in agreement, remembering the ghosts of Mean Girls Past; whether from high school, college, grade school or even present-day workplace, we have met and endured them. They are the ones who gather followers in an ever-present revolving door of “you’re In” and “you’re Out” with little to no regard for the feelings of anyone other than themselves. You see, these Mean Girls believe that the only way they can be popular, get noticed and have any power is to steal it, manipulate others, lie and a host of other methods I won’t go into detail about. They are under the mistaken impression that if they surround themselves with followers, that will make them popular. There is a huge difference between being popular due to being a good friend and a thoughtful human being and being popular based on campaigns of fear, intimidation and attempts to shame and/or humiliate someone. Those girls are only following that Mean Girl because they believe that so long as they are faithful to her, they will escape her acid tongue and horrible acts. They are wrong, sadly. These Mean Girls are also so insecure that if someone doesn’t follow their direction, they become afraid that they will lose control of the group; maybe even lose the status they crave and the attention that is their motivation for all things Mean. So the BFF of yesterday is the outcast of today.

I have a co-worker who has a daughter who is currently experiencing first-hand the tactics of a Mean Girl at school and I have to tell you, she’s my hero. She is so brave and so strong and doesn’t demean herself by lowering her standards of behavior and “returning fire”.
There’s an old saying that fits nicely in this scenario and it goes something like this: “Never wrestle with a pig – you get dirty and the pig likes it” (said to be attributed to Abraham Lincoln). This Brave Girl doesn’t tell lies and spread bad things about the Mean Girl (even though they would be truths) and she doesn’t force other girls to be My Friend, Not Hers. She has a grace and a maturity that is well beyond her years and I am in awe. Not to say that these attacks haven’t hurt her deeply and the loss of girls she counted as True Friends, along the way. But she doesn’t let it break her spirit, she doesn’t give up, she doesn’t let the Mean Girl win. Do you know why? I do. It’s because she’s better than that; she’s meant for greater things and at the core of her being, she knows that. She is not and never will be a Mean Girl and I wish I could tell her that these things go away when you leave the playground, but I couldn’t lie to her. Mean Girls are a part of life, just like PMS and taxes; you can’t get away from it. But how you choose to see yourself when faced with one will be the difference between Victim and Victor; have faith in yourself, believe that this, too, shall pass and know that Brave Girls always win because they are true to themselves and make it through tough times, knowing that they will be all the stronger for having gone through them.

I dedicate this post to Shelby, the Brave Girl I know and to all the Brave Girls out there, fighting the good fight and staying strong. Be good to yourself and be good to your sisters; we can make a difference.