Month: September 2015

Pursuing Happiness

I do not own this image but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I do not own this image but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

Foreword:  Before I start, please let me explain that I am not complaining in this post.  I am simply stating a fact that I have found happiness to be a somewhat elusive beast in my life. I will not give up looking for it though.

I just want to be happy.  I do not expect to be “over the moon” every day of my life but I would like to have more happy days than sad.  It is a pursuit that I have been chasing for years.

I tried being a slacker and I tried being an overachiever.  I tried buying everything I could find to fill the void and I tried owning nothing.  I tried being single and being married.  I tried being “Suzy Homemaker” and I tried being all business.  I tried higher education and I tried lower expectations.  I tried selling adult toys and I tried selling Christian books.

I tried being an art snob, reading books way over my comprehension level, feminism, and politics.  I tried being an Earth Mother and being concerned about the environment.  I almost tried raising chickens, but I am not good with poop of any kind, so that did not work.  I went to one cooking class, one bellydance class, one yoga class, one Martial Arts class, and one craft class.  I have owned businesses and closed businesses (I mean my own not someone else’s).

I drank a lot of alcohol and gave it up.  I smoked cigarettes and gave them up.  I swore like a sailor, okay I still do that.  I exercised but never stuck with it.  I took prescription meds and I stopped taking them.  I rode a motorcycle, drove a Jeep and went soaring.  I recently tried travel as a way to escape and found I was wrong about that too.

Well, you get the point.  Finding your true authentic self is very hard work.  I have bumbled down many a dead end street just looking for myself.  It should not be this hard.  I often wonder if other people have this problem.  Does it show that I cannot “stick” with anything or am I just not right in “my skin” yet?

I do understand the difference between happiness and joy.  Happiness is situational and joy is something you feel all the time no matter what you are going through.  So in reality I am truly seeking joy because you cannot count on situations or other people to make you happy.  It has come from within.  I just wish I could find a comfortable place in which to experience joy.  Then again, maybe that is the point of it.  If you find it, what is there to look for after that?  Maybe pursuing it is the important part.  I just do not know.  I want to know but I must be too stupid to figure it out.

I guess in the meantime, I will wake up in the morning (God willing), pray about it and go about trying to be a better person.  I guess I will keep trying things, experimenting and searching.  There must be a reason our forefathers mentioned the “pursuit of happiness” rather than a right to be happy.  Today starts a new day, a new season (it is the first official day of Fall), and new to-do lists designed to help me find my true self.  Instead of trying so hard to find happiness, maybe I will try to start enjoying the journey to happiness.  Easier said than done, I know, but I have to try.

Top Three Reasons I Never Became a Singer

I do not own this image, I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I do not own this image, I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be a singer.  Music was my friend, my mentor, my inspiration and still is  today.  Back in the day, you did not have music videos or YouTube.  You only had records and you imagined what the singers were like from the album cover and liner notes.  Then came videos and everything changed.  Now you could see the singers you listened to.

Videos are not as important today as they once were, musically speaking, but they still have their place.  Once in a while I get in a mood and I just go to YouTube and watch either videos or live performances of older music.  I happened to do that last night after hearing “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus playing overhead at the local Sheetz.  I decided to watch Chaka Chan, Whitney Houston and Etta James videos. Oh to be able to sing like that, I would give anything, alas that is definitely not my talent.  I cannot hold a note, am tone-deaf and I cannot even read music.  I am relegated to being a lover of music, not a participant.

Then I got to thinking about why I was not blessed with that particular talent  and these reasons came to mind:

  1. Ego:  If I could sing like young Whitney Houston, my head would be so swelled that no one else could fit in the room I was in.  I would be like “Bitch, do you know who I am?  I am Lois F*ing Hewitt and I sing!”  I would be that way at parties, at the grocery store, the dry cleaners, the gas station…everywhere.  God knew I could never contain myself if I had talent like that, so He made sure I had no talent for that whatsoever.
  2. Facade:  Watching an older video of a VH1 Diva presentation with Whitney and a few others, I realized that the secondary job of a singer is to never show the real you on stage.  I watched as Whitney Houston sang her heart out, smiled and danced all the time knowing, because I knew the future, she was having a miserable time in her personal life.  I can only imagine how hard it must be to have so much negativity in your personal life but be the ultimate performer on stage.  People did not pay to see her sulk around on stage, they expected to see her vibrancy and energy.  That had to be exhausting.  What a horrible price to pay for fame!
  3. Money:  Although I would like a little more money than I have right now, having too much does not seem to be healthy either.  There are some people with money who seem to be able to control it, but I have to assume (since it has never been a problem for me) that having too much money can create unhealthy lifestyles.  I know if I sold millions of records and had lots of money from it, I would be so obsessive.  There would be no living with me.

My night watching YouTube was extremely enlightening.  Just because I would have wanted a specific gift and spent years cursing the fact that it was not my gift to have, does not mean it would have been good for me.  Sometimes those things we want more than anything are the very things that could ruin us.  My mind goes to Amy Winehouse, Elvis and so many countless others who were given a specific talent but it was that talent that helped to destroy them either directly or indirectly.

So for today, I will ponder the things I want in life,the things I wish for, the dreams I have and look at them with open eyes.  Maybe the things I feel I have to have may not be good for me.  Or maybe they will come at a later time when I am ready for them.  I do not know what the future will bring, except I highly doubt my singing voice will ever develop, but whatever comes my way I have to look at it as my blessing and do all that I can to have it make me a better person, not a bitter person.

Nothing Remains The Same

Change

As I wrote those words, I realized how much my life is about to change.  I am afraid, naturally.  I am excited, obviously.  I am unsure, understandably.  Change is never easy but it has to be taken on in order to grow.  So that is what I am doing right now….growing!!  I hope I come out the other side a better human being, because I sure could use the improvement.

I am sorry that the final part of my Epic Journey had to be postponed.  I have had a lot of people tell me how much they were looking forward to reading about it.  I hated to disappoint you!!  As I have stated many times before, life just sort of stepped in and it has required that I act like an adult (much to my dismay) and do what I have to do right now.  I will finish the journey and I hope to be blessed with other trips also.

Even though I have always tried to “change things up” by trying different jobs, going back to school, starting (and closing) my own businesses, as well as other things, I have basically always stayed where it was safe.  I stepped out always with one foot still on solid ground.  It worked for me for many years, but now I need to jump off the cliff and not rely on the safety of the past.

Here is to new beginnings, to flying without a net and to being open to the uncertainty of the present and the future.  I have no idea where I am headed for sure; I do have some ideas but nothing is cast in stone just yet.  Each new page on the calendar brings me another day closer a fresh start.  Here is to change, may it bring the experience, understanding and knowledge I seek to be a better person.

I Can Never Thank You Enough …. There is More To Come

Make-A-Wish Donation Receipt.

Make-A-Wish Donation Receipt.

Thanks to all of you I was able to make a donation to the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana Make-A-Wish Foundation.  I promised that part of the proceeds collected would go there, and the funds are being electronically sent as I write this.  I volunteered for this organization for many years and even though I do not currently, I love what they do for the children they help.  So THANK YOU AGAIN for giving me the opportunity to help them!!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone again for your support regarding my Epic Journey.  As many of you know, the journey is not complete.  I promise there will be more to come.  Unfortunately, life, as it does, has interrupted the journey for now.  But it will continue and I hope it will be much more interesting now that I am a little smarter about traveling.

I hit some road blocks before, during, and after the trip.  I am sorry that the original trip did not go as planned, but I still learned a lot.  I still have much to learn and I hope you will continue to be interested in the blog.  The changes coming up in my life are the biggest challenges I have ever faced, so it should be interesting 🙂

I do not own this image, but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

I do not own this image, but I am respectfully using it in my blog.

Thank you again to everyone who helped with this trip.   If I left anyone out, please know it was honestly by accident.  I appreciate everyone and I am honored that you cared enough to take the time to help and encourage me!!

  • To everyone who shared my blog with others
  • To all the people who came into my shop and dropped money in my travel jar
  • Carson
  • Cindy
  • Debbie
  • Carol
  • Chris
  • Randi
  • Gary
  • Rita
  • Jill
  • Terrie
  • Cathy
  • Mike
  • Mary
  • Joyce
  • Ed
  • Wayne
  • Janet
  • Joan
  • Chuck
  • Jon
  • Patricia
  • Kelley
  • Jan
  • Amy
  • Ernie
  • Kimberly
  • Lisa
  • Marty
  • Avery
  • Dawn
  • Jenny
  • Debi
  • Dani
  • Melanie
  • Tracy
  • Rick
  • Theresia
  • Rich
  • Catherine
  • Denise
  • Branson
  • Patti
  • Bill
  • Robert

Once more, thank you and please stay tuned for another exciting adventure!!!

God’s Healing Hands

God's Healing HandsThere are so many things going on in my life right now, so many changes.  Though I am trying to walk a new path, I sometimes doubt myself and my strength to do this.  I feel like I cannot go on, but then I realize that it is the fire that purifies and on the other side of these trials is the hope of peace and healing.  I need to take the focus off of me and focus on God.

Where Does Food Come From? — Hint: It Does Not Start in a Grocery Store :-)

The beautiful farmlands of this country!!

The beautiful farmlands of this country!!

As a child, I had no idea that food come from anywhere other than a grocery store.  I did not know that meat did not come packaged in plastic, that potato chips were really made from potatoes, that milk came from a cow and many other food misconceptions.  I was in my 20s before I even realized that you could make homemade macaroni and cheese, that it did not have to come from a box.  Over the years, I have tried to educate myself on food and I am much more enlightened.

I even tried growing my own vegetables.  Let’s just say, a gardener I am not!  But it made me appreciate farmers and their farms more.  That is why I really enjoyed traveling through the “heartlands” of Iowa and Nebraska.  The fields were beautiful and my appreciation was high.  I am so glad that I know where food really comes from now.  I just want to thank our farmers for their hard work, dedication and give them some much needed gratitude.  There would be no life without them.  Thank you Farmers of America!!

The traffic (or lack of) was much to my liking!!

The traffic (or lack of) was much to my liking!!

The sky did get scary a couple of times, but nothing really happened.  Just looked menacing.

The sky did get scary a couple of times, but nothing really happened. Just looked menacing.

I thought this might have turned into a tornado.

I thought this might have turned into a tornado.

More storm clouds!

More storm clouds!

Rays of light from above were trying to shine through and eventually did.

Rays of light from above were trying to shine through and eventually did.

The sky then turned very blue.

The sky then turned very blue.

Wind power -- love it!!

Wind power — love it!!

The greenest of green fields.

The greenest of green fields.

Acres and acres of this view -- it was incredible!

Acres and acres of this view — it was incredible!

Love the open road!!

Love the open road!!

Today’s To Do List for a Better Me

I compiled a list of things I need to do today and everyday in order to find inner peace.

I compiled a list of things I need to do today and everyday in order to find inner peace.

During my journey I was hoping to find some peace in my life.  I thought getting away from the stresses of everyday life and living on the road would provide the answer I was looking for.  I found many things on the road but peace, unfortunately, was not one of them.  I came home very disappointed with that aspect of the trip (all the other aspects of the trip were wonderful).  Then I realized that I need to look inside myself first, I need to lose the drama that surrounds everyday life, I need to think of others first, I need to pray and be thankful for all things, good or bad.

Running away from problems or situations is never the answer for they just follow you wherever you go.  You may be able to outrun them for a time, but they always catch up with you.  I may not have found actual peace on the road, but I did figure out a way to have more of it in my life.  I am going to try to practice this to do list everyday  along with living a more simple lifestyle and maybe, just maybe, I will experience the inner peace I so desperately seek.

Sedona, Arizona – One of the Most Beautiful Spots on Earth

When I first posted a few pictures from Sedona, Arizona, I may have been a little bit harsh about the area.  What I forgot to realize was that just driving through the actual town (which was a nightmare) is only part of the story.  The other part of the story is the natural beauty that surrounds the town.  The scenery was breathtaking.  Once I stepped back and really looked at it, I was amazed.

The start of some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever enjoyed.

The start of some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever enjoyed.

The start of the amazing red rocks and red soil.

The start of the amazing red rocks and red soil.

Then come the rock formations and the amazing sky.

Then come the rock formations and the amazing sky.

A scene from the bustling downtown area.  Too many people and cars for me.  But a lot of REALLY interesting shops and restaurants.

A scene from the bustling downtown area. Too many people and cars for me. But a lot of REALLY interesting shops and restaurants.

This is one of the amazing views right from the downtown area.

This is one of the amazing views right from the downtown area.

Here is Devi loving the view.

Here is Devi loving the view.

Amazing red color all around.

Amazing red color all around.

The road back to the highway.  The sky out west is truly a wonder.

The road back to the highway. The sky out west is truly a wonder.

The area of Sedona was truly amazing.  I apologize for not being more impressed with it right away.  The road there was a difficult one for Devi and I was very worried about her, so much so that I lost sight of the wonder all around me.  But in the end Devi made it and when I relooked at the photographs I could see the landscape with amazement.