FREE BOOK: Following Your Dreams

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Are you following your dreams?

Are you chasing the life you desire with every fiber of your being?

Do you know what your dreams are?

Get a FREE COPY of Following Your Dreams.  Reflections, Affirmations, and Workbook Exercises help you focus on achieving a life you dream of.

Here’s one of the reflections and affirmations that’s included.

Commitment leads to action.
Action brings your dream closer.

Marcia Wieder

Dreams are destined to remain mere wishes, briefly flitting through our consciousness, until we take action to make them a reality. That’s why so many unwritten novels remain unwritten tomes, living forever in the minds of the author, but never making it to the page.

Ask anyone what their dreams are. Ask your friends, your family, or your co-workers. Almost everyone will have an answer for you. And then…ask them what they’re doing to make their dreams a real part of their lives. That’s where you’ll see the gap. Many won’t have an answer for that question.

Until we commit to our dreams, until we vow to take action, they will stay in the nebulous netherlands of ‘Someday’.

Make the first step towards an unrealized dream. Take the step of commitment.

Affirmation: Today, I commit to following my dream of _____________.

(Fill in the blank with one of your dreams.)

Get your FREE COPY of Following Your Dreams here!

beach vacation

More Beginnings, by Iris Blobel

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~~ More Beginnings ~~
(2nd Edition)
by Iris Blobel

 

♥♦♥  BLURB ♥♦♥

Zach Taylor, an escort in Sydney, living in Hobart, enlists the help of Natasha Peterson when his teenage friend, Mia, runs away. He soon finds out that the ‘dragon’ is really more of a kitten. And although Natasha, Mia’s teacher, is attracted to him as well, she has her own problems to deal with, not to mention her initial reaction to Zach’s occupation.

Will Zach’s job keep him from a chance to be with Natasha?

Life is good for teenager Mia Levesque. But when Darren Schuster shows up in Hobart, she knows something is up once Sophie and Mark cut their weekend away short and rush home in the middle of the night. When Sophie won’t answer Mia’s questions, emotions run high, and Zach confirms Darren’s identity to Mia. Disappointed, angry, and feeling alone, Mia runs away.

Will life settle back into a routine for Mia once she finds out about the stranger in her life?

New Beginnings have given the Levesque girls a new start in life, will More Beginnings be another chance for them?

AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071F7FPQ9/

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071F7FPQ9/

AMAZON AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071F7FPQ9/

♥♦♥ EXCERPT ♥♦♥

Zach Taylor’s young neighbour, Mia, let out a long sigh as she joined him on his front porch and sat next to him on the swing. Enjoying a cool lemonade, he invited her to grab a soft drink from the fridge as well. It was a warm summer day, and the air showed no sign of cooling down. A lot of people in Hobart were weary of the unusual hot spell for the very southern Australian city.

With another hefty sigh, Mia raked through her long, blond hair and stared into the distance. “Honestly, Zach, she’s a dragon. I’m sure she does it on purpose. She doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m spoilt.”

The dragon in question was Miss Peterson, Mia’s high school English teacher. There was no doubt that Mia liked school, and she enjoyed her classes. And even though English wasn’t her worst subject, it certainly was the toughest one, with Miss Peterson piling on homework one after the other.

Zach took a sip of his drink before he replied, “Hey, pumpkin, settle down. What’s that supposed to mean you’re ‘spoilt’?”

She lifted her shoulder in a slight shrug. “You know!”

Raising his brows, he replied, “Actually I don’t know! Isn’t she Sophie’s good friend?”

Another shrug. “Kind of, I suppose. They used to do the boxing stuff together, and since Soph’s carrying a baby, they go and enjoy coffee and cake instead every once in a while.”

Ignoring his chuckle, she went inside and helped herself to cold lemonade. She opened the can with a simple click as she returned outside and took a long sip.

♥♦♥ MEET THE AUTHOR ♥♦♥
IRIS BLOBEL

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Social Media Links:

Click here to subscribe to Iris’ Newsletter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IrisBlobel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_iris_b

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel

Instagram: https:/www.instagram.com/iris_blobel/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/iris-blobel

OMG, I’m Becoming My Mother

Originally published at Scary Mommy and republished in In Celebration of Mothers.

OMG, I’m Becoming My Mother

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Iona Mae Burk – the mother that pops out of my mouth when I least expect it.

I opened my mouth the other day, and my mother popped out.

This was not supposed to happen, ever—at least not when I am still this young.

My sister and I used to joke together, back in our younger days (like, in our 30s) about how our mother was turning into Grandma. We’d chuckle that self-righteous laugh, because we knew that was never going to happen to us.

But somewhere along the line, we grew older and slid into another decade. We didn’t recognize that fact, at least not out loud and not to one another. After all, those odd stray gray hairs appearing at the most inopportune moments can be covered up. That “middle-age stretch?” Well, that’s what blousy tops and jeans with spandex are for. We can still rock it with the best of them…mostly.

Then one afternoon, after a particularly aggravating argument with a teenager, my lips parted, and my mother came hopping out: “Jason Patrick Dean (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent), if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?!”

Oh my God.

There are no appropriate words to describe the look on my face when I recognized the momentous event that had just happened. How many times had I heard this same exact phrase throughout my own teenage years? I called my sister to commiserate. “I know,” she said. “I’ve already heard Mom’s words come out of my mouth too.”

For the record, although she is several years younger than I am, my sister started her family earlier, so she was slightly ahead of me on this downward slide. “I was afraid to say anything. I hoped it wasn’t happening,” she said. As we started talking and comparing notes, we came to the conclusion that we’d been guilty of this for more years than we cared to admit.

“Don’t make me come in there!”

“Don’t use that tone with me.”

“It’s for your own good.”

“I know all. I have eyes in the back of my head.”

“As long as you live under my roof…”

“Close the door. Do you live in a barn?”

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

“Do you think money grows on trees?”

“Because I’m the mom.”

“Because I said so.”

The statements varied with the ages of the children. There were the standard responses we used on the younger ones, and then as their years advanced, we gradually slipped into the intermediate course of Mother Talk, rapidly earning credits that would have us graduating with honors.

The day when that first phrase leaps out and you recognize that it’s your mother talking instead of calm, rational, grown-up, independent you–I think that’s your graduation day, the day you take the mantel (whether you want it or not) and carry on down the road. That’s the day when you realize you’re on a long, slippery slope and you’re sliding down it much faster than you ever expected to.

Not that we’d ever wished to move on down this road. During our 20s and 30s, we thought we were immune to this syndrome. We were strong. We were invincible. We were our own women, not ones who would parrot our mother for the rest of our lives.

“I’m going to give you to the count of three.”

“I’ve had it up to here!”

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

The memories of words spoken long ago come drifting back through my memory. That’s when I realize I’ve been my mother all along. This change didn’t magically appear in my 40s. I’ve been her. I’ve just dressed her up in different clothes and makeup to disguise something I didn’t want to acknowledge.

“I’ll treat you like an adult when you become an adult.”

I guess I am now officially an adult.

I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry for all the times we laughed about how you were becoming more like Grandma Jones every day.

While we’re on the subject, I may as well apologize for all the times I talked back to you. For the times I didn’t clean my room—instead, I shoved everything under my bed. For the times I lied to you about where I’d been or what I’d done. For all the times I didn’t appreciate you or the sacrifices you made to give us what you could.

“If I told you once, I told you a thousand times…” Yes, you did probably tell us a thousand times, just as we’ve repeated to our own children.

I take a look in the mirror. A slight twist, a slight squint of the eyes. Yes, there she is—my mother. Maybe this growing older part isn’t all as bad as I’d thought.

 

 

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In Celebration of Mothers pays tribute to the many avenues of motherhood – from young mothers enjoying their children to mother missing the children in their nest, children’s memories of their mother’s and beautiful tributes to their lives, and the heartfelt thoughts from some who gave a mother’s love to their nieces and nephews. Many women and men shared tributes to mother’s gone from this earth too soon, to some who lived long full lives of over a hundred years old.

It’s Here! Fat and Sassy!

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It’s Here!

Fat and Sassy

Arkansas moonshine and California citrus.

A stone church and an ironing board.

Post-Depression woes.

World War II.

Mix it all up. Add six children into the mix, three of each, and you’ve got a unique product – Bea Jones. A lady, when asked how she was, liked to retort, “I’m fat and sassy.”

Bea’s tale takes you on the ride from California to Arkansas – to Missouri – and back to California in the early forties. The family finally settles down in a small California town, Glendora, nestled at the base of the foothills. While they viewed Mt. Baldy every day, life also threw its own mountains in the Jones’ family path. Come along and join the family as Bea and Casey struggle to keep their family fed and clothed, with just a bit of Arkie sass.

Order your copy direct from Trisha Faye and save!

Only $11.99 by July 30th! (Plus $2.75 shipping)

 

HERE’S A STORY SNIPPET FROM FAT AND SASSY…

The last day on the road seemed the longest. The children were cranky and restless after being cooped up in the car for six days. The food was about gone. Only saltine crackers and two tins of Vienna sausages remained from what they’d left California with. Casey had counted the last few dollars in his wallet, hoping it was enough to buy gasoline to get them to their destination. Bea was tired of refereeing the children, keeping them from fussing and fighting with each other.

When Casey pulled off the main road and slowed down to navigate the dirt road ahead, the children gave a cheer.

Mae recognized what the moment meant first. “Goody, goody! We’re almost at Papa’s house!”

The car jostled and bounced down the road. A plume of dust followed, swirling around the car and choking the passengers. “Roll up the windows!” Bea hollered as she cranked the front window as fast as she could.

Mae got one window up in the back while Bill still struggled with the other. Mae climbed over Helen and started turning the window knob.

“Me do it!” Bill insisted.

Mae kept turning. “You’re not going it fast enough.”

Bea turned and asked her husband. “You remember where?”

“Oh yes. I can make this trip with my eyes closed. Seems like just yesterday I was makin’ this trip, pickin’ up a load of ‘shine from yore Papa. Yes, siree, I know the layout of this land back here.” He chuckled with the memories of an earlier, more footloose time. “Made the trip several times in the dark with no headlights on neither.”

The prim set of Bea’s mouth showed what she thought of her father’s backyard business. “I’m surely glad you ‘aint running his liquor back up into Missouri anymore. Don’t want you gettin’ picked up for running shine and thrown in jail. Not while you have a family to provide for now.”

“No reason to anymore. ‘Cept the money sure was good. I wouldn’t mind a pocketful of cash like that again.”

“No! Don’t even think it. The Good Lord will provide for us. You don’t need to go back to that.”

“I can leave it behind. Besides, I got the best end of the deal. I got me the purtiest little gal out of it. Comin’ down here that first trip and seein’ Sam Goss’s daughter for the first time…why…that’s the onliest thing that kept me comin’ back.” He glanced across the seat at Bea and winked.

“That was on Valentine’s Day, too. 1935. And six months later, we were getting’ hitched.” A blush rose across her cheeks. “My stars, Evan Lewis Jones! Four children later and you can still get a girl all worked up.”

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Evan ‘Casey’ Jones and Beatrice Goss on their wedding day, August 4, 1935

He chuckled and patted her knee. “I know when you call me by name, and not Casey, you’re serious ‘bout what you say.”

“Truth be told…” Bea paused and turned her head to watch his reaction. “…there may be child number five on the way.”

Casey braked the car and it slid to a stop in the middle of the road. “Truly?”

“Far as I know. I don’t recollect having my monthly visitor. I was feelin’ kinda peaked there for a few weeks. I was a thinkin’ it was nerves. Ya know, worrying about the bills and the move and all. But now I’m a wonderin’ if’n I’m not in the family way again.”

A broad smile broke across Casey’s face. “Well, I’ll give a hoot and a holler. I’m gonna be a daddy again.”

Grinning, he straightened up behind the wheel and gave the car some gas. “Guess we’d better git the little mother on home to her Papa’s house a’fore the cows come home.”

Bea sat back in the seat and shifted Tom to her other knee. She was relieved how well he’d taken the news. What with money being so tight and food and necessities so hard to come by, she hadn’t wanted to worry him anymore than he already was. He was a good man and she was proud to be his wife. He was a good father and he loved his children. He was fun to be around and she was still as taken with him as she’d been since she met him. It wasn’t his fault that times were so tough and jobs were so far and few between.

They pulled up in front of a small wooden structure that was little more than a shack in other more affluent areas. Rough, unpainted planks formed walls. A tin roof covered the home and a small porch area off the front side of the building. The back doorway led inside, the threshold slightly tilted as if sinking on one side. The door stood open, the cook room visible to everyone in the yard. Chickens ran loose around the dirt yard and when the car pulled in they ran off in a flurry, clucking with all their might.

A slight frown settled on Bea’s countenance.  “It sure looks a lot smaller and older than what I remember.”

A figure appeared in the doorway, sporting a well-worn, faded pair of overalls.

Bea fumbled with the door before Casey had the sedan in park. She scurried out of the car, hefted Tom up on her hip and hurried towards the house. “Sam!”

Sam stepped out, one slow step after another, in no apparent hurry. Bea enveloped him in a bear hug. “I’m so glad to see you. I’ve missed you, Brother.”

“Missed you too, Sis. Glad y’all got here in one piece.” He tousled the little heads that had followed their mother and were now hugging his knees. “Looky here, how big y’all have gotten.”

“Where’s Papa at?” Bea was anxious to see the familiar face of her daddy.

“He’s down in the holler, checkin’ on the mash.”

“I thought he gave all that up when Mama died. I thought he wasn’t gonna cook ‘shine no more.”

“I don’t know ‘bout that. He didn’t cook any up through the winter. This is the first batch he’s got going. ‘Course, that’s cuz it was so cold and he didn’t want to fuss with the mash that much.”

“Ayup.” Casey joined the brother-sister reunion. “I recollect one winter when it took him a whole month to run one pot of ‘shine. We had some antsy customers that year. Takes too much work in the winter. Once it’s below fifty degrees, the yeast just won’t ferment and then the alcohol content is too low. Not worth the bother.”

Sam tipped his head back and laughed. “And then we really have some unhappy customers!”

Bill tugged on his father’s pants leg. “What’s ‘shine, Daddy?”

 

Distancing

Today’s post is a selection from Every Day’s a Good Day: Remaining Positive in a Retail or Service Based Profession, scheduled for release February 2016.

Distancing

In most real life situations, and especially relationships, distancing is discouraged. Often, people use this create space when feeling overwhelmed or smothered. The downside is that it minimizes authentic interaction and can cause more damage in the long run.

However, in certain stressful situations that occur in retail or with customer service related problems, using this technique for specific occasions can help us diffuse the situation and stay calm.

Much of the time during a difficult moment, one of the parties becomes angry and the problem escalates. When the emotions are raging at full boil, with no resolution in sight, the tenseness and emotional turmoil often permeates the circumstances and without restraint or control, both parties can soon be embroiled in a furious debate.

This is where distancing becomes a useful tool for the person that wants to retain a professional demeanor. If we can mentally take a step back and distance ourselves emotionally, it can help us remain calm and removed from the emotional drama threatening to envelop us.

Personally, I’ve used this method, both in the challenging position in my municipal employment, and also during my seven years of retail. At the moment that I create a distance between myself and the other party who is upset, I also like to place an invisible, protective wall around myself.

Different protective walls can be used. Many like to picture an invisible brick wall surrounding them. Or a clear, impenetrable barrier. My own favorite is to picture a healing, calming spirit of white light surrounding me that helps me remain steady and composed, while protecting my spirit from the barbs being thrown my way.

The psychological effects of detachment that benefit us in a difficult work related positon are:

  • Helps us gain, and improve, our emotional self-control
  • Helps us maintain a polite behavior
  • Helps us remain true to ourselves, and be less swayed by social influence
  • Helps us experience less emotional reactivity

Just remember to leave this tool at work. It’s not one that you want to bring home with you, nor do you want to use this for extending periods of time. Long term this can produce undesirable symptoms in our relationships with others.

But for a now and then use, to diffuse angry interactions with customers and clients…priceless.

distancing

Brownies for Hikers #PCT #trailangel #brownies #hikers #Wrightwood

browniesAfter their first season as trail angels, opening their home to thru-hikers coming through Wrightwood, California, Sue Holman wonders if her family will ever want to eat brownies again.

Brownies proved to be a popular dessert. For Sue, cooking for a houseful, the brownies made a quick and easy dessert. The hikers, after being on the trail for several hundred miles by the time they made it to Wrightwood, appreciated the tasty, chocolaty snacks.

Here’s a short excerpt from Trail Angel Mama. And sending a special congratulations to Zach (Face), who completed the trail on September 15th and made it home in time to become a daddy to a sweet, precious munchkin.

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A mid-May snow storm in Wrightwood left four hikers cold, wet and looking for a warm room for the night. We got a call from Zach and Mike headed right into town to pick them up. By the time he got there, they and their packs and sleeping bags were soaked through.

A roaring fire and a hot dinner greeted our guests when they arrived. It was an easy meal for me to fix; baked spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. A batch of fresh baked brownies was a dessert that everyone enjoyed.

With our tummies full and the fire keeping everyone warm, we sat around exchanging stories. These newest four were a diverse group, as I’m seeing most are.

Zach, or ‘Face’ as he’s called on the trail, isn’t a newbie hiker. He hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 2011. He’s 29-years-old, from Mississippi and likes to garden and make homemade mustard.

Jack, with the trail name ‘Catwhacker’, is a 25-year-old from Oregon. He’s an environmental engineer and he’s taking this time on the trail before he starts his master’s program in August.

While female hikers traveling alone may be the minority on the trail, it’s not unusual to see them. Rachel, or ‘Gazelle’, is an adventurous 23-year-old from Canada. She lived in Asia for a year and wants to live in New Zealand in the future. She’s working her way, a mile at a time, back toward the Canadian border and home.

Ram was the oldest in this group of four. He also traveled the furthest of this group to hike the PCT, being another one that came from Israel.

As much as we all enjoyed meeting one another and sharing stories, our hikers were exhausted. After hiking a 29 mile day, through a light snow storm over Mt. Baden-Powell, then eating and sitting around a fire, energy levels dropped and we all headed to bed by 9:00.

This guest room of ours is starting to get a work out.

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Trisha Faye, along with her trail angel sister Sue Holman, wrote Trail Angel Mama. After the Holman’s experiences sharing trail magic to thru hikers in the Wrightwood area of the Pacific Crest Trail, the whole family now advocates sharing magic with others – whether they’re on a hiking trail or just on the journey of life.

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Topping

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This tasty sweet potato dish is a perfect compliment to your Thanksgiving turkey (or ham). It’s not only delicious, but nutritious too. Sweet potatoes are high in many nutrients and vitamins. Sweet potatoes don’t have any fat or cholesterol (except for the additional ingredients that are in this dish), they contain fiber, high amounts of Vitamins A and C, and moderate amounts of calcium and iron. (See nutrient value here)

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Topping

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla Topping

Mix sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla together. Pour into a well-greased two quart casserole dish. Cover with topping. Bake for 30 minutes at 375°.

TOPPING:
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped

Combine ingredients and mix well to form crumbs. Sprinkle over the potatoes.

Serves 6

Its Thyme for Fall_cover

It’s Thyme for Fall!

This booklet contains 9 herbal blends, 33 fall recipes and 9 crafting recipes.

Get ready for your Thanksgiving meal with a Turkey Basting Blend. Herbed Olives and a Sweet Potato Soufflé complement your turkey, with desserts of Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie and a Grated Apple Pie.

Want to get a head start on a few Christmas gifts? The Pumpkin Spice Latte Body Scrub and Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub are quick and easy, getting you ahead of the upcoming Christmas frenzy.

http://www.trishafaye.com/herbs_and_holidays

Pumpkin Delight – It’s Thyme for Fall

It’s Thyme for Fall! The fall chill drifts through the air, getting us in the mood for nights of fireplaces and hot chocolate, sweaters and boots, and of course…the season of pumpkin anything.

Pumpkin Delight

1 29 oz can pumpkin 1 13 oz can evaporated milk 1 cup sugar ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice ½ tsp cinnamon 3 eggs 1 box yellow cake mix 1 cup pecans, chopped 1 cup butter, melted

Whipped Cream

Directions.

Beat together pumpkin, milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and eggs.

Pour into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish that has been sprayed with vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixtures, then sprinkle on pecans.

Drizzle melted butter over the top.

Bake at 350ºfor 1 hour.

Chill. Cut into squares. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Its Thyme for Fall_cover Thyme for Fall brings you 9 herbal blends with thyme in them and 33 recipes for delicious and tasty delights (Cranberry Conserve, Thyme Lime Chicken, Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Topping, Spicy Pumpkin Molasses Pie…and more!). Also included are 9 crafting recipes such as Peppermint-Thyme Foot Scrub, Pumpkin Pie Lip Balm and Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub.
Only available here: http://www.trishafaye.com/herbs_and_holidays

Release Day – A Second Chance

It’s here! A Second Chance is available, just in time to celebrate the 5-year anniversary of my own Sudden Cardiac Arrest. And yes, many of my own experiences and journal entries in the five years since have been sources of inspiration for Jenny’s story. (With some fictionalizing, much name changing and a lot of embellishments added.)

A Second Chance is the prequel to My Wildest Dream, where Jenny decides to leave Crafty Hands, follow her own dreams, and be true to her inner self. Once she figures out exactly who that inner soul truly is. (My Wildest Dream releases in January 2016.)

The 1,825 days – or 43,800 hours – or 2,628,000 minutes – since my heart started beating again has been an adventure. While no, not all of it has been easy, nor would I want to repeat a few instances here and there, I am truly grateful for my own second chance at life – a chance to create a meaningful one full of passion and possibility.

Here’s a snippet from A Second Chance. I hope you enjoy it and that it raises a few questions in your own life. Celebrate life and enjoy every breath you take!

********

If there’s not something in your life right now that gets you excited to jump out of bed each and every day, it’s time for a new direction. Life is meant to be lived. Life is about expanding your boundaries and squeezing out every bit of your passions and talent each and every day. If things are not working out right now, that’s okay. Decide to chart a new course, a new you, and a life full of possibilities. Brad Gast

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The wolves howling on my phone told me it was Carla calling without even seeing her face appear on the screen. “Meet me for dinner sometime this week? I have a book I think you’d like.”

“Any night but Wednesday or Friday,” I answered. “I have to close those nights.”

“Thursday? At Chili’s?”

“Perfect.

Thursday night couldn’t get here fast enough. This was the kind of week that cried out for a frosty, cold margarita. Carla looked up with a surprised look on her face when I ordered one. “Whaaaat? You don’t usually order alcohol. What’s up?”

“It’s been one of those weeks. Annoying customers, a manager that got on my last nerve, and a few coworkers that I could just about strangle.”

“Your manager being a jerk this week?”

“Not so much that. It’s just that sometimes I wonder how he gets through the day. I have an appointment next week and I submitted my form three weeks ago to have Tuesday off. The schedule comes out today…and he has me working that day.”

The server approached with our drinks and Carla reached for her sweet tea. “Remind him about it. Tell him he screwed up.”

Things were so cut and dried for Carla. She never had a problem speaking up. “I told him. It’s fixed. But it’s aggravating because this consistently happens. Once here or there wouldn’t be bad. But over half the time? That starts to get old.” A nice long sip of the frosty beverage in front of me soothed my inner beast. At least temporarily. “And then there’s Vicky. I was ordering today, so I could see when people went in the break room. Vicky took six breaks today. Six! And at least two of them were close to thirty minutes.”

“How does she get any work done at that rate?”

“I have no earthly idea. When I was clocking out for lunch, she was at lunch in the break room. She got up from the table, punched back in, then went and sat back down at the table to finish her conversation with Shauna.” Another big gulp of slushy margarita slid down my throat. “Oh good Lord, those women drive me crazy sometimes.”

“So…what would you rather do?”

“I don’t have a clue. Anything but Crafty Hands. I want out of there so bad.”

The server sat a steaming plate of fresh grilled tilapia covered in mango sauce in front of me, distracting me. “All it needs is a little sprig of fresh rosemary on the top.” I glanced over towards Carla’s meal. “Those sizzling fajitas look good too.” Those were the last words we spoke for a while as we each dove into our dinner.

Carla groaned and laid her fork down. “I can’t eat another bite. I’m stuffed.” She tipped her glass up and emptied the last of her tea. “Oh, I almost forgot your book.” She rummaged around in the bag she’d carried in with her, pulled out a paperback and handed to me.

The Joy Diet, by Martha Beck,” I read aloud from the cover. “Have you read it?”

“Yes. I really enjoyed it. I thought you would too.”

I barely heard her as I scanned the blurb on the back.

Carla kept talking, even though I hadn’t acknowledged her earlier statement. That’s one thing about Carla though, she doesn’t need much interaction. She can keep the conversation going pretty much on her own. “I marked a section for you.” She pointed to a little yellow sticky note protruding from the center of the book. “Some of it seemed to match the questioning you’ve been going through lately. The author talks about being truthful with ourselves and how we can disengage from our experiences.”

“I don’t feel that I’m disengaging,” I countered. “I’m trying to dig deeper and be more real.”

“You are now. But maybe before you were, to some extent.”

“Maybe,” I reluctantly agreed.

“In the section I marked, she talks about words Virginia Woolf wrote long ago. Something about ‘living behind a pane of glass’. It’s how we distance ourselves from our reality, and that while living behind this pane of glass is numbing and empty, it also feels safe.”

Touché! How much of my life did I spent behind this numbing pane of glass? I’d never knew that I’d done this. Thumbing through the pages, I glanced at some of the headings. “Guess what I’ll be reading at bedtime tonight?”

Carla began humming a familiar tune and I knew the words as they fell from her lips. “…I…have become comfortably numb…”

“Pink Floyd,” I chimed in. The wheels in my head were already turning. I was thinking of the distancing I’ve allowed in my life. To live an authentic life and be true to myself, I must know myself – my true being – without the cloak of protection this gauzy layer provides me. So, what is my true being? What do I want to do with my life?

A Second Chance is available at Amazon

Planning to be a Trail Angel

FB_quote from attila the bunWould you like to be a trail angel?

Most of the hiking activity is wrapping up to a close, with the approaching winter months. Some of the passes in the northern portions and higher elevations are already getting some snowfall and experiencing plunging temperatures. But this is the perfect time to start thinking about what you can do to be a trail angel. There’s about five or six months before thru hikers start hitting the trail. That’s plenty of time to plan and then you’ll be set next spring and won’t be rushing around in a flurry trying to figure out how you can help.

A few matters to mull over and decide are:

How much time to you have to devote to being a trail angel? Unlimited? Occasional evenings here and there? A weekend a month? One day a month?

What are the financial resources that you’re able to share with others? Deciding on an approximate dollar amount that fits your budget helps direct the magic that you’ll share. It might help you decide if you’ll purchase meals for hikers, make some homemade snacks, or only provide transportation when needed.

From Trail Angel Mama, here’s a snippet to get some ideas starting to circulate through the gray matter. We’ll come back next week and share some more specific ideas to be a trail angel.

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Would you like to be a trail angel and provide a little kindness to hikers on the long journey? The magic you provide can be small or large. It can range from something as simple as a ride into town, or a bottle of water to larger gestures such as a warm meal or a soft bed for one night.

You can do as much, or as little, as you’d like.

You don’t even have to live near one of the major hiking trails, although close proximity does make it easier to lend a helping hand.

There’s a touch of controversy about trail angels. A few vocal opponents claim that these gestures of trail magic diminish the hiking experience. These protestors feel that hikers should make the entire trip on their own, without help or cushy evenings under a stranger’s roof. Some state that the hikers have come to expect these kindnesses.

Those in opposition to trail angels certainly have the privilege of their own opinions. They may be right – there may be a few on the trail that are making the trip with the expectation that strangers will provide many pleasures and amenities to help them achieve their own desires of completing a hike of several thousand miles.

However, none of the hiker’s that the Holman’s crossed paths with had any of these thoughts. One comment that was often repeated was how appreciative all of the hikers were.

One thing to keep in mind is that the trails this year, at least on the PCT, experienced record numbers of hikers. While numbers have increased annually since the book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, was written, once the movie was out, the numbers increased dramatically.

A book by Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods, about his experiences on the AT, is now released as a movie, also. Will this increase the number of hikers on that trail also? Probably.

But the question remains, will this increased activity keep escalating, or holding steady? Or, will the numbers drop back down once the excitement generated by the increased promotion of thru hiking dies down? Time will tell.

Thru hiking is not a new venture. Emma Gatewood hiked the AT – not once, but three times, and the Oregon Trail, from 1955 to 1972. She had a lot less equipment and less preparation than many of today’s hikers. In the book, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, by Ben Montgomery, he tells of how she headed off to hike the AT for the first time in 1955. This then 67-years-old great-grandmother started hiking with one change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. But even though she made her journeys so many years ago, she still wrote of the kindnesses she received from strangers – rides, meals, help along the way –years before the terms ‘trail angel’ or ‘trail magic’ were used.

All we can advise, from this side of the page, is to look within your heart. Is this something you want to do? Why do you want to pass along trail magic? Search deep and know why you have this desire. If the answer is still ‘yes’…than carry on and do it. Don’t listen to the naysayers, or the people in your life that may try to dissuade you. Follow your own heart and your own journey.

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Trail Angel Mama is available at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble


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