Saturday, May 26, 2018


I had an A-Ha moment today that unexpectedly brought me joy! 

I have read some articles about decluttering that focus on the question, "Does this spark JOY?" with each object in your home.  From the library I got the book "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, the author of the "spark joy" concept.  It only took a few hours to read, but I'm sure I'm in for many hours of tidying up.  

Even before reading the book, I remembered enough that I have been putting some of her concepts into place with my own decor and clothes closet.  I even used it with my Mom and sorting out her abundance of clothes this week. 

However, in reading the book she describes a pattern of tidying up that produces success.  Sort by category, not location in your home.  Clothes first, then books, papers, miscellaneous (dishware, decor, etc) and lastly mementos (sentimental items).  And at the very last of mementos is photos.  

Gosh dang it!  Why photos last?  The author says, "There is good reason to leave photos for last.  If you start sorting photos before you have honed your intuitive sense of what brings you joy, the whole process will spin out of control and come to a halt."

I have so many photos, both paper and digital that sorting through them is a humongous project.  I have scrapbook material and tools in my closet and even in a rolling bin in my second bathroom to use for displaying these thousands of photos.  It's so overwhelming that I don't know where to start...and have not done anything for years.  

The last section of her book is titled "the magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life."  She encourages the reader to think about what they want their life to be like in their home.  I want a room to escape to that I can read and meditate, if I want, without another person or noise from a television.  There is such a room in my home, but every time I go in there, I feel guilty reading because I know that in the closet are bins of photos and scrapbook material waiting to be sorted and used.  

For the past year, I have rarely taken photos with my camera. Yes, I post some photos on Facebook, but the quantity and quality are non-existent compared to the past.  I have really pondered why this change of pace for me?  Why don't I want to take photos?

Then came my A-Ha moment.  It dawned on me that I feel so overwhelmed with all the photos I have already taken and done nothing with them... that my psyche is saying, "No more! You have enough photos to take care of without adding more!"  

I knew I had a book titled "The Joy of Photography" and sure enough I found it on my bookcase.  Yes, the "joy" of photography has gone away.  Will the joy come back?  Time will tell as I tidy up my clothes, books, etc before I get to my photos. But it is such a relief to know I have options in all my belongings that seem to weigh me down.  I can either keep them and enJOY them or discard them for someone else to enjoy!  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Beach

Concept of upcoming new year and passing of time. Sunrise. royalty-free stock photo

Having spent a limited amount of time vacationing on the beach, I have often entertained the idea of living in a home on beach.  It sounds so seductive.  But then I would think, I would get bored just looking out at water, day after day.  I like seeing landscape and lights in the distance.  

Now that we are in a condo on the beach for two months, I am finding that the view changes every day and sometimes every hour.  The color of water varies from dark blue, black (at night), light blue, blue-green, gray and full of "diamonds" when the sun shines on it.  The waves coming into the beach vary too, even though there is not much of low/high tide here.

The horizon can be distinctive and other times merged with the sea. The clouds above the water are in full view, not obstructed by buildings.  The sun creates a vast array of color hues at sunrise and sunset.  

Yes, I think I could used to this view.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Scars & Compassion

My sister wrote a post on Facebook today about her hands and she posted a photo of her hands.  She mentioned a scar that she has and how she got it from a calf bite.  I looked at my own hand and I have a crescent shaped scar on the knuckle just below my pointer finger.  I was washing a glass in 1980 when I lived in Colorado and it broke.  Created quite a nasty cut on my hand and I remember wearing a huge bandage for a couple of weeks to protect the wound and protect my customers (I was a waitress) from seeing the wound. 

It got me thinking about scars on our bodies.  Isn't it ironic that I can remember the incident that lead to the scar on my hand?  I have scars on each knee from some nasty scrapes and I can tell you where and how those happened too.  All these incidences were a minuscule amount of time in my lifeline, yet I can remember them exactly, even the one that occurred almost 60 years ago.  

I wonder why do we remember these scars?  Scarring is a natural part of the healing process.  Scars, of course are a physical, visible reminder to us of the wounds we have endured.  Physically, we have healed and moved on with our lives.  

Something that is more difficult to see are the emotional or mental scars.  So often these types of wounds are not a one-time incidence, but possibly years of being cut, torn apart, or abused. These wounds may take years to recover from and heal.  They leave scars on our souls and our spirit.  Just like our visible, physical scars, we may not think about them until sometime, these scars can feel like they have been ripped open again as we react to something that is said or done to us.  Then we must start the process of healing again.  

Of course the healing process is different for each of us.  Some wounds require the professional help of a doctor, therapist and/or medication.  All wounds require the help of the Master Healer, God.  Time heals all wounds.  For some people with wounds, their end of time (death) will be the healer.  For others, it may take weeks or years.  

We never know what type of wounds and scars the people we meet have endured.  Their actions and behaviors may show us, and maybe not.  Compassion for all is important. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, spiritual, or emotional hurts and pains of another.  

In typical "Rambling Rayna" fashion, I have gone from writing about scars to writing about compassion.  Our physical and emotional wounds all require compassion.  Whether it's a mother picking the gravel out of your knee or you cry tears of pain as you bandage your own cut.  Compassion heals!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Luckier than Most

Every day that I'm alive and well and can see and hear with devices, I feel blessed.  Some days, like today, I feel lucky!  I think "lucky" involves some unexpected blessings.  

We are headed back home to Hudson.  In Escanaba, Michigan Paul was driving 55 MPH on a divided four lane road when a vehicle went the wrong way on the road and was coming straight at us.  Ohhh yes!  All I could say was "OH, OH, OH!"   I was pushing myself back into the seat preparing for impact.  Paul swerved to the right and then I mentally prepared myself to be rear-ended.  Luckily, yes LUCKY for us, there was no one in the right lane.  The vehicle did not stop and missed us and drove across the two lanes in front of other vehicles to pull into a shopping center.  I think that we were lucky that Paul was driving, as I am not sure how well I would have reacted.  I told Paul, "I didn't even have time to pray!"  

Now, that is MOST lucky we were today, the following are more calmer versions of lucky.  As we drove into Wisconsin, we saw a county sign for Long Slide Falls and both said, "Let's see what's there."  We could hear the falls the minute we got out of our cars in the parking lot.  A short walk and we were overlooking a 50 foot drop of river, rushing over the rocks.  I don't know if I have seen that much water going over a falls.  I took some photos and then I went down the "rugged terrain" on a slippery, rocky path that was about 12 inches wide at the most.  I got to the bottom and realized that I couldn't even see the top of the fall, just the bottom two-thirds.  It was a awesome moment to take photos and video (on my phone).  Luckily, I made it down and up again.  

We found another sign for 12 Foot Falls and went back five miles in the State Forest and got some photos from across the river.  Not as impressive, but still a beauty to see on such a sunny day.

Checked into hotel and looked on TripAdvisor for our dinner spot.  A lot of places are only open for breakfast and lunch, so I chose a place in the middle of the pack (as far as traveler ratings) located on a lake.  When we arrived, the parking lot was full and I was surprised there were so many customers on a Monday night.   Lo and behold, the local Crandon Water Sports were having a water-skiing show!  What fun to watch skiers of all ages doing tricks, acrobatic stunts, and pyramid skiing on the water.  How lucky could we get?

Today, we were very lucky!  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Comfort Food

Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone,[1] and may be characterized by its high caloric nature, high carbohydrate level, or simple preparation.[2] The nostalgia may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture.[3]  

My comfort food is pizza!  It fits all the criteria of Wikipedia's description, doesn't it?

I had a lot of comfort food in the past four weeks and only once was it pizza.  How so?  

Well, I have decided to redefine my "comfort food" as meals shared with dear friends and family.  There has been a bunch of meals.....14 to be exact that we have shared with others. That's an average of 1 every other day!  

We had meals with Texas friends, Arizona friends, former co-workers, fellow apartment residents, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters and my Mom.  These people all hold such a special place in my heart and in our lives.  Sharing a meal with these people has brought so much joy and comfort to my soul.  It's been a wonderful month!  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Guilt and Depression – It’s Not (All) Your Fault

I just read a story in the magazine about a woman about my age who had to change how she felt and acted towards her mother.  It made me feel guilty about my own mother.  

My mother is 85 years old now, not a spring chicken by any means.  Yet, I think of her as independent, strong-willed and in some cases stubborn.  A lot like me, I guess.  My relationship with my mother has been strained at times and I tend to be bossy with her....whether it's because I am the oldest or just because I'm bossy at times.  You may be thinking that we don't get along at all, but for many winters she (and dad) came to stay with us when we lived in Georgia and Texas.  I opened my home to her, but I think I didn't always open my heart to her.  

This weekend, my nephew got married and Mom was there (driving herself) in a beautiful dress and her hair all done-up pretty.  It was quite windy and so her dress was blowing around and I noticed her knee high nylons were showing.  I told her that she may want to pull them up higher and I thought to myself why didn't one of us think to make sure she had full-length panty-hose for this occasion.   I almost told her to take her knee-highs off, but then I noticed her toe nails looked ragged and rough.  Dang! Why didn't I treat her to a pedicure for this event?  Because I am selfish and did not think about her, figuring she can take care of herself.  You know what, she is quite independent, but she could use some pampering now and then.    

After the wedding ceremony, we drove to the hotel to check in (as we couldn't do early check-in) and Mom still had a large box as a present that was half-wrapped.  Of course, I got a little frustrated as she could have wrapped that at home, but I'm sure she ran of time.  The box was awkward to wrap, but I did it for her as she told me the box was full of 12 presents for her grandson and new wife to open one on each monthly anniversary.  Dang! She is still so thoughtful, I remember we got a box full of goodies on our wedding almost 29 years ago.   

Mom decided to change clothes and be more comfortable for the reception and dance.  I knew my sister was patiently waiting out in the car to take us back to the reception.  Mom, of course, surveyed her pants and thought she saw a spot on them.  Just like when we were kids, we all were dressed very neatly when we left the house.  When we were home, we wore mismatched and sometimes spotty clothes, but not when we went out in public.  Appearances are everything.  Sometimes, I forget how she doesn't move as fast as she used to and changing clothes took longer than any of us wanted.  When I was a toddler, I'm sure I took my good ol' time getting dressed independently and she was probably silently cursing under her breath about how long it was taking me to get dressed back then.  

My mother suffers from Osteoporosis and her head is bend down extremely.  In the past years, she has suffered pain in her back and neck from trying to hold her head up.  It's quite sad to see her walking all hunched over, almost like a question mark.  I was watching her crossing the grounds and thinking of how sad she looked.  But what was even sadder was that she was walking alone.  None of her kids or grandkids were walking beside her.  Again, even though I recognized the travesty of it all, I did not get up and join her.  I was selfish and wanted to visit with cousins. 

Mom has lost all three of her sisters and her husband, now all she has is her children and grandchildren.  Has my mother been the best mother?  No.  But she is still my mother and she raised me the best that she could.  

To get back to the story I was reading and made me into this blubbering mess at midnight.... about how the author discovered that her mother just wanted to feel listened to.... therefore, she got bamboozled by a complete stranger.   I can see this easily happening to my mother.   I am retired and I can visit her or call her many times a week if I would choose to do so.  I can listen to her.  I can visit her and play a card game or two with her.  I have choices, so Lord, help me make the right choices and think of my mother instead of myself all the time!  This guilt is killing me and I don't want to have any more regrets about not doing enough for my mom.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Spring in My Step

Today, we took a Sunday afternoon drive on this fine Spring day.  We stopped first at a wayside north of Stillwater.  Found a bridge going over a deep ravine with this huge tree growing up.  

To get an idea of the size of it, we walked down a stairway and could get right up next to it.  It's not too often I have seen tree trunks this size in the Midwest.

Here is another photo from the bottom of the ravine showing the cliffs and St. Croix River.

A few months ago on HGTV, I saw a view of the High Bridge from a property they were showing a couple.  Since then we have tried to see it from the Wisconsin side without any luck.  In asking around, today we found the "half mile trail" going to the river. Of course getting there was downhill. Here are some scenes along the path.

At the top of steep path going down, we came to a fork in the path.  The left side looked very steep, so I took the right path.  Paul decided to stay in place while I went down to view the bridge.  The path I took was a longer walk, but not as steep.  I even had to use my balance beam talent to cross a gurgling brook.  Very picturesque. 
Finally I got down by the shoreline to see the bridge!  I ran into a guy on the path and he told me he was up on the bridge last week walking across it.  And just after he got to the other side a train came through.  He didn't know it was a "live" bridge! 

On the way back, I decided to take the steeper path back to Paul.   I could see him and it took me a while to crawl back up.  Yes, there were spots I had to crawl.  We took our time walking back up hill to the car and were rewarded with some more nature beauty shots. 

Once home, we rewarded with more beauty right outside our main door.  Today is Mother's Day and moms and grandmas are the stars of the day!  I am sure your mom is as beautiful as this "star."  I am sure you put a spring in her step today!