Is Change a Challenge or an Opportunity? #Challenge #Opportunity

Change can be a challenge or an opportunity. Often times change is both, and yet a few times in life it is truly one or the other. Challenge. Opportunity. For me, it tends to be both at the same time. I know, ironic, eh?

Change-Challenge-Opportunity

For some reason, some folks just do not like change. You would think that others were asking for a limb removed or something drastic. Hah! I suppose that can be the Challenge…

It occurred to me this past weekend that just about all of my life, my many changes have been challenges and yet opportunities. If I hadn’t moved to Ketchum, I would not likely have discovered real estate that became my career. If I hadn’t moved to Boise, I may not have grown spiritually as I have since moving here. If I had not gotten a dog, I may not have opened my eyes to the beauty of the Foothills that we hike on a daily basis. See, opportunity!

When I think of things such as challenges and opportunities, I look to my family, my friends, my mentors, my colleagues and even strangers for the life lessons I have questions about. No matter what, there is that person in our life that shares wisdom and in turn, opens our minds to the challenge or opportunity at hand.

That “person” can be an enlightening post you read on the internet or listened to in an interview on television or the radio. What about strangers sitting at the nearby table at your favorite restaurant? You accidentally overhear and yet, was it an accident or was it meant to be? The right place at the right time.

At the present moment in our journey called life, pay attention. That is usually all it takes to learn something new. Make it your opportunity!

#challenge #lifelesson #opportunity

 

Road Trips Are Good for Your Mind aka Soul #SolitudeIsTheKey

The past five days have been spent working less, relaxing more. This took driving to not only a different zip code but another area code. Two area codes to be exact!

my Goal

This was the first road trip I took by myself in years – well, with Zeke my rastadoodle in tow – with no intention other than to relax and visit friends. To discover Salt Lake City by myself with Zeke. No maps other than the knowledge of what we wanted to discover. To go back to the mountains in Park City.

First off, the drive to Utah. The reminder of the beauty of the Idaho Utah border tends to be a surprise every time, even though it’s is familiar from a car or from an airplane if you ever fly Delta out of Boise. The landscape was greener than green which in turn took my heartbeat down a pace or two. The serenity was palatable. I have to say that Zeke is one heck of a traveler, just chilling.

The closer we approached Salt Lake City, the darker the weather turned and changed to a downpour that made our entrance to the city unrecognizable. With GPS we managed to find our way to Millcreek to an adorable lower level apartment I booked via Airbnb and it was perfect. And, the pictures did do it justice, no surprises.

Our days were started with “what do we do today?” So, Zeke and I walked Parley’s Nature Trail twice, taking in the Wasatch Range in view no matter what part of the park we were at. Naturally, I did some city shopping and did not, yes, I did not go to IKEA. Hey, I live in 480 square feet! I don’t need anything.

The road then took us to Park City where we spent the weekend. One of my childhood friends and her husband have lived here for over 40 years; thankfully we have always stayed in touch. I will always remember reconnecting with her my first out of state ski trip. I recognized her voice from 20 feet away! The weekend was chock full of catching up on each other’s lives, my writing, walking nature trails, relishing her dinner on Friday night – someone cooked for me!!! and cooking dinner together Saturday night.

UT Trip

This trip was good for me on many levels: a mini-vacation on my own with no schedule other than to take care of myself. The deepest part of my grieving period is now in my past. I have a future and I intend to live again. I will always miss Paul and yet I know in my heart what he would be telling me. He would tell me to live, be present and be grateful. Yes, I am indeed.

I don’t know about you, but my best road trips have always been hanging out with friends. I needed the change in scenery in order to move forward. I feel at peace, I really do.

#lifelesson #roadtrip #solitude

I Ask You: What Gives You Joy? #SimpleThings

I kid you not, this is my fourth draft for my blog post today. I often write over the weekend, and refine my piece Sunday night or Monday morning. I went back to the three other attempts and realized the frantic pace I had last week affected my mood.

So, that got me to thinking: what is it that brings me joy, especially when I need it the most?

choose joy

In the early mornings, it is about 6:00 a.m., when my dog, Zeke, stretches from the living room and jumps on to the bed. He will find a spot next to me, inch up and find that place where he lets out one of those heavy sighs only a dog can do. Someone told me once that when a dog sighs, they are really telling you they love you. I believe that.

After the morning snuggle, we head out the door for the Foothills or the Boise River greenbelt over here in Garden City. The sounds of a morning vary from season to season. It’s the sounds of life that bring me joy, too.

Winter has a stillness that is palatable. Hiking on a winter morning with a light snowfall is the perfect time for me to also still my mind. Believe me, that is no easy task! Meditating has given me the tools to quiet my mind and let go of what I am worrying about. Even if it’s a downpour of rain, the sound from a roof is magic.

Spring is chock full of birds singing, but did you know they are actually calling to other birds? It’s mating season in case you forgot that. This is also the time of year we can open our doors and windows for much needed fresh air. Now we can hear the city sounds or the mountain sounds. The sound of the river rising, the sound of the ocean if you are on the coast. That nearby creek is all of the sudden reminding you it is still there now that it has more water.

Summer is full of people sounds. Bike riding on the greenbelt. Paddle boards on the river or ponds. Surfers and kayakers at the Whitewater Park. The cast of a line even has that distinct sound, makes me wonder if fish can sense it. Walkers downtown at the Saturday Market. For that matter, the Saturday Market sounds: people talking, laughing, greeting, telling their story. The Foothills trails seem to be bursting with people and flowers, everyone says hello. Some of us know each other’s dog’s names but not the people names.

Fall is preparing for the winter. The sounds come back indoors now. So do the smells. A pot or slow cooker simmering of a meal that warms you inside at mealtime. Baking bread. Canning from the summer harvest. The first time you can light a fire in the fireplace. Or, the first time you have to fire up the pilot light. Bringing out your winter gear to make sure you are ready for weekends in the mountains.

All in all, it really is the simple things in life that bring me the most joy. I was reminded of all of these things when I realized I needed a break from what is taking place in the world right now. This break was overdue. How about you?

#lifelesson #simplethings #joy #relax

I Had the Good Kind of Fire #LettingGo #MovingOn

On Saturday night, I had a select group of friends over for a bonfire. These friends were my tribe that were always present for me after Paul died or in the later months or both, offering the kind of love and support that helped me navigate the grief.

bonfire feet

I was never given Paul’s keepsake ashes, so I kept a few things of Paul’s that had meaning to only him. I thought to myself, I’ll just make my own “ashes” later. A few weeks ago I came across a small bag of cards. I recall as I packed to move out of our house, I was touched that Paul saved all the cards I gave him. So, I set them aside for the future bonfire along with a few other things that I was surprised he kept. Men just don’t get rid of anything, do they? Finding the cards recently led me to the decision that it was finally time for that bonfire I had planned.

It was time to do this, not overdue but rather just the right time. I’ve made myself a tiny house into a cozy home. It’s all mine, even down to the garden. In my book, planting means you are staying. I am staying in this tiny house because I am comfortable here. I am staying in this cozy cottage because I don’t want to uproot myself again. I need to stay for now.

But I also wanted to let go of the mementos and the timing could not have been better. It’s Spring! To me, spring is a season of rebirth. The grass grows back in to a bright green color that has everyone asking what I did to make it so beautiful. The trees are budding with new life, some trees even have flowers that will be singing in the wind soon. Some trees already have those beautiful flowers that only the season of spring shows off. Bulb flowers are emerging. Birds are chasing each other. Yes, Spring is my favorite season indeed.

raging fire collage

My bonfire party was full of friends, new and old. Some friends knew each other and some did not. We all knew each other well by the end of the night! My next door neighbor, Lou, asked me what story I could tell as I filled the fire pit. I told everyone that Paul and I had realized we may have been in the same English class our first year in college. Lou then read a lovely poem written by a Polish poet, Wislawa Szymborska, Love at First Sight  The poem was about how we pass by each other for years or even decades, and eventually we meet because it was destiny.

That is exactly how we are in life, brushing by others, walking past someone and eventually we meet. Pay more attention to where you go. You just might meet a person that will make a significant difference in your life. I did. And, look: the ashes the next morning look just like a peace symbol.

peace sign

#grief #lifelesson #lettinggo

What’s In It For Me? A Foodie’s Confession About Pinterest

I used to be a Pinterest Foodie addict. Pinning late at night, pinning early in the morning. The daytime hours had to be for career activities, but the Pinterest button on my add-ons bar beckoned me mercilessly.

Thousands of pins later, I am so over that now.

I am much for selective and spend less time. Why? I am literally “pinned out”. How did I come to this conclusion? Pinterest notified me that I pinned that pin before. Busted.

All kidding aside, Pinterest is the best of the best places to save the awesome things you find on the internet. For me, it is mostly recipes, home décor to share with my real estate clients, travel bucket list places and inspirational quotes.

When it comes to cooking and recipes, I save ideas to play with the recipes. I like those ingredients, but what can I do to make it different or better or healthier? Never a dilemma but always a challenge.

Salad Prep
Salad Prep

Lately, I have been on a cabbage craze. The search was on for a dressing recipe. I tried my cabbage salad with my lemon tahini dressing. Yum. But I wanted a lighter dressing. You know what? Keeping it simple, I found that just rice vinegar and red pepper flakes worked the best.

 

Summer Cabbage Salad

1 large head green cabbage, or mix varieties to suit your taste

4 green onions, sliced

Rice vinegar

Red pepper flakes to taste

Roasted pumpkin seeds, unsalted

Cut cabbage in half, core the stem and cut in half again. Slice thinly and toss in a large bowl. Add the green onions, and pour rice vinegar, keeping in mind you don’t want to soak the greens. At this point, you can add or skip the red pepper flakes. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Now, change this up and add other ingredients that you may have on hand! Julienned carrots, chopped cilantro, sliced water chestnuts, pea pods, matchstick red bell pepper. You get the picture now, right? Or just take a look at mine!

cabbage salad

#foodie #recipe #summersalad

Not Knowing What You Are Doing, But You Are Doing It Anyway

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the heck you were doing, but you realized you were going down that path anyway, against your better judgement?

I choose to navigate a different route.

I learned a great deal this past year or so about attachments and wrong perceptions. Everyone falls in to these rueful situations, and yet we find ourselves getting sucked in to that same ole same ole.

figure everything out at once

I choose to navigate a different route.

I discovered letting go of things or perceptions that were preventing me from moving forward turned out to be my own path of healing. Did I hold on to that grief? I’m not sure but I eventually found myself more than ready to let that go. I had a dream this weekend that clearly was telling me from the other side that it is time to really, truly let go. So I did. I know that in Buddhism, those “things” are called attachments or perceptions.

Attachments can be to a thought, a thing, a person, an attitude. The list is endless. But why do we hang on to something that holds us back in life? For instance, how many of us look around our homes and admit we just have too much “stuff” and that there is indeed clutter in every room? How many of us wear blinders when it comes to performing a task, only to realize there really is an easier way but we still resist? How many of us won’t let go of a failed relationship out of fear?

Maybe that’s it, the fear of the unknown. And that is what is can be called a wrong perception. We suffer from our fears. We may think of a situation is a certain way and instead, because we assumed, that situation was actually completely different. Our wrong perception can hold us back from learning truths, learning about others and those we love in our life.

In choosing to navigate this different route, I have found that listening better, letting others have their say, or watching with an open mind helps me be a better person. I have even learned to not react with emotions because wrong words may come out. It’s better to think first, right? I have learned that true communication is the only way to resolve differences.

If only those in Washington DC did that! (humor folks, humor)

#attachments #communication #perceptions

To learn more about wrong perceptions, please read: The Mindfulness Bell

 

It’s Time for a Group Hug #BetterToBeKindThanToBeRight

As many of you may agree, the rancor in this nation, in our cities and towns and in our own neighborhoods is simply mystifying. We could blame so and so, but let’s face it, our country is enduring an election cycle like no other we have experienced in history. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, pun intended. What are we going to do about this?

better to be kind

I am going to stop posting and sharing the negative news. Some of you know how difficult this will be since I am no wallflower, a bit opinionated! I actually went on my Facebook wall and deleted a number of posts that were spreading that negative message haunting me; this made me feel better and that is what my intention was.

What else can we do? I have always felt that we are the source of our own true happiness and love comes from within ourselves first. Lately, I am beginning to realized it’s our responsibility to spread joy versus negativity.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra made a difference in my life, and in the way I have evolved years ago when I first read the book. If you click on the link, take a look at the right sidebar for each spiritual law in condensed version. The law that made the most difference to me is the Law of Giving, and for me, that is giving a gift whenever I can. Mind you, this does not mean a wrapped present.

Letting someone go in traffic helps me to take those extra few seconds and breathe. I honestly don’t need to be in a hurry.

Holding a door for another person brings a smile and a thank you, which in turn gives me a smile back and allows me to gracefully receive a gift in return.

Sharing with a colleague, even one of my trade secrets. I learned long ago that “your success is my success”. Especially in my field of real estate!

Complimenting a person on what they are wearing, a hat, a scarf, a jacket, whatever. Haven’t you seen a person and thought, wow, that looks great! Or, I wish I could pull that off! Tell that person, I love your XX! The smile of surprise is just as bright as a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

By now I am confident you are getting the hang of this. Try it this week and enjoy!

#gifts #giving #happiness #joy

 

Lemon Tahini Dressing, my way #lemontahinidressing

I have to admit, I LOVE lemon anything. I tried this dressing last weekend with miso. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious. However, I felt making the taste simple would just be a better result. I was right, once again. Insert smile here:-)

Oh, and I make enough to last a week or so. Bon Appetiti!

Image

2/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup filtered water, or more if it is too thick
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 medium lemons
1 tablespoon lemon zest, or more if you really like lemon as I do!
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredients well in small food processor. Chill for at least an hour for flavors to get excited!

Enjoy!

To Do: Your March Home Checklist #SpringCleaning

Of course you all know I am a Realtor®, right? I am one of those houzz.com fans and I have to admit, their daily emails are fantastic not to mention interesting to read. Amazing ideas that are all Pinterest worthy!

I encourage my clients to start their own Pinterest board for projects around the house or ideas for the new house they found. As for me, I use houzz for the creativity I find and then store on Pinterest.

Or better yet, get the houzz app. If I find myself not able to sleep, at least I can see how nifty the world can be and then later dream about it. {insert smile}

#homedecor #organizing #springcleaning

Listen To Others With Open Eyes and Heart #ItsNeverTooLateToStart

I had an entire blog post written for today. But the events of this past weekend turned me upside down and all around. I just could not press the send button. No way, no how. Honestly, I did not have the energy.

IMG_0022 (Medium)

As it was, I wrote about how friends and friendships are critical when one is faced with a cancer diagnosis and subsequent loss of a loved one. Often times, we have the time to say our goodbyes. For those in the position as I was in, with sudden death, that time could have been a life luxury. Some of us do not get that “time”. Some do.

But loss from death has no boundaries, no parameters. Loss has many hats: my first life loss was a cancer diagnosis, and 20 years later the most devastating was the sudden loss of a man I loved and who loved me back.

As fate would have it with life lessons, I was reminded this weekend that friends, family and friendships are indispensable in any time of crisis, the most being the trauma of sudden death.

Death. Divorce. Breakup. Job Loss. Accident. Cancer Diagnosis. Life threatening Illness diagnosis. Illness diagnosis. You get the picture. These all wear the hat of stress for a person, a friend, a family member.

When I first moved to Boise, I met a woman who lost her only daughter to a car accident. She taught me years ago that what meant the most to her were the occasional cards she received months after the memorial, over the next year. Her story made a profound difference on how I looked at the pain of death. I have since learned that one cannot frame the trauma of death in a single word or phrase. One cannot describe how deep the pain is either. Some cannot even begin to tell you what is wrong despite the fact you yourself see the pain in their eyes. Sometimes just hand holding or a card takes the pain away momentarily.

However, one can lend a hand with one caveat: you have to mean what you say. I wrote about say what you mean and mean what you say a few months after Paul died.

Today I’m reminding you to do just that.

#grief #grieving #friendshipsmatter