Sometimes I see half a blurry face.Sometimes I see only feet.Sometimes a dog suddenly appears on the screen.
Magnum wants to join in on the fun
Our Love Language is Connecting
Sometimes I see a pair of feet
4-year-old Abby and 6-year-old Sadie are two wiggly and giggly sisters.
The girl’s attention span can weave in and out. This is not unusual for children.Especially when I am reading a book to them in front of a computer screen.
“Molly Finds Her Purr”
Molly, a lonely, stray cat watches birds fly away from her.
I do know they are listening to me because of how they respond.The questions they ask:“Where is the guard dog that barks as loudly as a dinosaur’s roar?”Their faces are now glued to the screen.
In awe of the guard dog, Buster, who barks as loudly as a dinosaur roars.
Sadie and Abby are glued to the screen
They sometimes become very still and quiet, engaged in the story.
Their faces will zoom in closer to get a good look at the pictures.
At times they ask me to bring the book closer to the screen.Especially when they are both trying to find the dragonflies.
A closer look to find the dragonflies
Engaged in the story
When A Book Is More Beautiful In Real Life
I opened the box from Amazon and I was thrilled to see the book, “Molly Finds Her Purr” had arrived.I knew I would like this book since I love Pamela Wight’s writing.I have been following her popular blog for over a year.Rough Wighting
Pamela Wight has written a delightful, engaging story about Molly, a lonely, stray cat. This story shares a message of kindness, inclusivity and compassion. Molly meets some unique, colourful animal characters who help Molly feel accepted.They create “A Circle of Friendship” and they help Molly find her purr.
The detailed artwork in this book is exceptional. The vibrant colours help bring this captivating story and the animals to life.
Life Is Different Right Now
Cuddling and reading stories used to always go together.
We are all trying to find new ways to navigate this new life.
Our present day Love Language is Connecting.
Today, this means virtual connections while we are sheltering-in-place. Letting friends and family know we are thinking about them.
Children are adjusting to this new life, too.
Love the smile!
Reading “Molly Finds Her Purr”
We Set The Example For Our Children:
To be kind.Respect the boundaries and recommendations to help people stay healthy and safe.Yet not live in fear.
Adult worries do not belong on children’s shoulders.
To model grace under pressure.
It is okay to feel sad one moment, and be smiling the next.
To expect change.Change is a constant in life always.Especially today.
To feel hopeful.People have adapted, evolved since the beginning of time.We are still here.
To play.To have fun.To create.To find joy in each day.
To be grateful.Always remember how lucky we are.
Our children are watching us.
Reading a book to children in the Zoom room and on a computer screen can be a challenge.
It does make it easier when I am reading an engaging, fun, beautiful book like “Molly Finds Her Purr.”
Of course, I would rather cuddle with Abby and Sadie in person.
For now, I am happy to see feet, half a blurry face, a dog and
Especially a Smile.
What type of connections are you making with family, friends and children while we are sheltering-in-place?
Postscript:In future I plan to make one on one reading dates.There was some bickering on whose turn it was to find the dragonfly on each page.In the past, they have appreciated the dedicated time and undivided attention.
I have had very vivid dreams all of my life.My dreams are in full colour and they contain elaborate story plots. When I wake up I remember all of the details of a complicated story, the colours, the smells, the emotions.
When I wake up, I also realize it was all a dream.
This past week, for a brief second, when I wake up I feel life at the present moment is a dream.The present events are surreal.
I feel I may step out of the movie sets, “The Truman Show” or “Capricorn One” at any moment.
Then reality sinks in.
When Did We Begin To Take This Pandemic Seriously?
Is it social distancing, social isolating, quarantining, shelter in place?
Last Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to completely hunkerdown.
Up until then, my husband was still going to the gym daily and I was on Day 16 of a 30 day yoga challenge at my yoga studio.
No more gyms, stores, visiting with family and friends.This is a serious pandemic and we need to take it seriously.
“You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem,” my husband’s quote.Sometimes he does have something smart to say.
Many Things Have Not Changed
We are fortunate we live in a home and we are comfortable with basic necessities.
Everyone in our immediate family is healthy.
Spring has arrived. We have access to trails and many walking areas in our immediate neighbourhood.
We had tickets to a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert in April.This event is also cancelled or postponed.Cancellations are common around the globe right now.
My early evening walk is usually filled with the sound of children laughing and playing at a park nearby.Yesterday, all of the parks were closed. Yesterday, the park was completely empty and eerily quiet.
I met with my best friend last Saturday, and for the first time in 50 years we did not hug good bye. We giggled and stepped back.
Inside, I am choked up.
We usually have a lot of interaction with our daughters and their families.The grandchildren are 4 weeks, 23 months, 4 and 6 year old.They are very huggy, smoochy, drooly, and they touch everything.They would not understand boundaries.Our goal is to help keep everyone healthy.We FaceTime and Video Chat.This is temporary and this is important.I put on a brave, happy face and I tell them this will only last for a few weeks.
Inside, I am choked up.
The Question: Do You Recognize The Common Denominator?
I have continued my yoga practice and I am doing a 30 Day Challenge with “Adriene’s Yoga” on YouTube. Thank you to Deb The Widow Badass for this great recommendation.I love and miss my yoga family at Found City Yoga. How Hot Yoga Changed My Life
Thank you to Marty, Snakes in the Grass for your witty, humorous posts, always.Your last post reminded me how I should keep a thermometer easily accessible.I hunted through the house and I found the thermometer we keep for when we watch the children.I tested it twice.36.6 C each time. Whew.
I am going on longer and more frequent walks.Thank you to Mark, Swinged Cat for sharing information about the Voice Recorder app and Voice Memo app.When a bolt of inspiration hits me or I need a simple reminder, I can just press on the big red button and record my thoughts.
Janis’s post Retirementally Challenged “In this time…” contained many gems that resonated with me.I copy/pasted her last paragraph into a Gratitude/Positives file. Thank you, Janis, for your wise words “….we don’t have to distance ourselves from much that nourishes us.”
Pam’s words Rough Wighting warmed my heart. “I wish we could all meet in a safe place and hug each other and talk for hours. Well, I suppose that’s what we do right here in the blogosphere!”Thank you, Pam, for reinforcing the importance of connections.
Thank you to Liesbet Roaming About for always reminding me how little we need to lead a happy, simple life.We are all living “a life less ordinary right now.”In your last post you discussed the positives, negatives and reality of the present events.Your phrase “our solution is our flexibility” has stayed with me.Thank you.
Anabel Glasgow Gallivanter shares a great deal of history and information about Scotland.The photos on her site are breathtaking.Thank you, Anabel, for helping us plan our next vacation.You have helped put Scotland high on our list.
Jo Restless Jo shares posts containing stunning photography of exceptionally beautiful, historical buildings. Thank you, Jo, for reminding me how humankind has weathered many challenges over the past thousands of years.
This too shall pass.
The Answer: “You” Are The Common Denominator.
I am sharing a quote from Suzanne, Picture Retirement “I have always been grateful for my connections throughout the blogging community, but now, more than ever.There is so much sharing, caring and outright humour being delivered to my inbox daily.”
I strongly agree with Suzanne.I am entertained.I learn something new.I laugh.I cry.You touch my heart.
This Is Not A Dream
I realize when I wake up in the morning, all of this is not a dream.This is our present day reality, changing by the hour. We are also in the early stages of this pandemic.
I have a great deal to be thankful for always and especially right now.
People have been very kind and thoughtful.Almost everyone in our neck of the woods is respecting the social distancing, social isolating guidelines.
We are going to get through this together.
I appreciate the connections in my personal life and in the global community.
Please continue writing, sharing and connecting.You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.
Thank you for making a difference in mine.
How are you connecting with friends and family?
Has someone recently made a difference in your life?
I shared only a few posts from blogger friends.I could easily include gems from every single post I read.
I just finished listening to a very good, empowering podcast.“The Tim Ferriss Show #414:Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos.”
A Bonus Gift:“People Be Weird”
Kate’s witty posts Coffee Kat Blog often bring a unique perspective to daily life and the human condition.She sometimes addsa “people be weird” in her post.
I was walking by a house yesterday and a couple, likely husband and wife, were quibbling about whose turn it was to take their dog for a walk.The husband yells out how “the dog had better not poop.I am not picking up dog poop.If the dog poops, I am calling 911!”No humour in his voice.
Likely cabin fever and too much togetherness already setting in.
I was very moved by a recent comment I received on my blog.
I was asked whether “all was well” since I had been silent for more than a month in the blogosphere.
Life Happens, To All Of Us
There are many reasons we may hit the pause button or stop blogging for a period of time.
We may need to be quiet to divert our time and energy to pressing concerns.
We may have health complications.
We may need to replenish our body and our spirit.
We may not need a specific reason.Just time for a break.
In my personal life?An unexpected family crisis.Then Christmas came along.
After all, blogging should be a fun part of our lives.Not a self-imposed chore with a strict timeline.
Yet, I respect how many bloggers set different writing goals and parameters.
The First Post I Read in 2020
I read Shelley’s recent candid post Quaint Revival on why and how she continues to blog.She brought up the concept of clicks as “fly-by clicker types” and other categories of superficial followers. Not a new topic in the blogosphere.
Shelley’s wisdom helped me reflect on the blogging friends I have made and the reasons I blog.
Are they Real People who treat me like a Real Person? Do theyactually read my stories?Do they read my comments on their site?
My Aha Moment
Just like in Real Life, I prefer to hang out with Real People who genuinely share and care.Blogging friends who truly make a difference.
You impact the Real World in more ways than you may realize.
Five Ways The Blogging World Entered My Real World This Past Month
1. Thank you, Donna and Richard, for a fun lunch date.Retirement Reflections We are long past the introductory Blind Date (Link) stage when we met last Spring.It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.It was also a real treat to meet your son and his girlfriend visiting from overseas.We look forward to many more future get-togethers.
2. Thank you, Annika, Annika Perry for writing a beautiful children’s book.I received “Oskar’s Quest” just in time for my granddaughter, Abby’s fourth birthday.A beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship.Abby loves to follow along and she is already reading (memorized) part of the book, especially the sound effects.
Abby opening her birthday present.
Abby loves the golden bird, “Maya.”
Abby can read some of the words.
We love to cuddle and read books.
3.I met Joanne Tracey on her blog andanyways.comJoanne’s book, “Happy Ever After” was a finalist in the 2019 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) Awards. I can see why Joanne won this honour.“Happy Ever After” is an engaging and compelling story about the nuances and challenges of relationships, marriage and happiness. Suspense, too.I am almost finished reading this book and I still have no idea how the story will end.
So many books, so little time.
Our precious four year old, Abby.
4. Thank you, Yvette, priorhouse blog for your inspiration on my title for this post.I have always remembered a sentence on your blog that resonated with me.“Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”
5. Thank you, Suzanne, Picture Retirement for commenting on my “radio silence”and “hoping all was well.”You entered my Real World and you touched my heart.
I Appreciate The Blogging Community and The Friends I Have Made
I learn something new from every post I read.
I have the opportunity to vicariously experience parts of our planet through your adventures.
I see the world through your lens.
I am informed and I am entertained.
I learn lessons when you share your vulnerabilities.
I appreciate when you share your wisdom.
Most of all, thank you for your Humanity. You make a difference.
Especially, when you touch someone’s heart.
Have you ever been emotionally moved by a comment on your blog?
Have you ever hit the “pause” button and taken a break from blogging?
I love Kathy Gottberg’s sentence on how the “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging” “….offer a glimpse into our personalities and how we approach both our blogs AND the world around us.”This past year I was surprised to learn how blogging is actually a team sport. I greatly appreciate all of the interesting, kind, supportive members of the team from all parts of the Globe.
I am especially grateful for the privilege of meeting these amazing ladies. I know you will appreciate the candor, insights and gems found in this post.
Chuck:“What do you want for your birthday this year?”Me: “Go for a Weekend Getaway and attend a Blogger’s Meet Up.”
Chuck gives me a puzzled look.He does not roll his eyes at me.One of the reasons we have been married forty plus years.
Donna and Richard Blind Date had kindly invited us to their home this Summer.Donna had Blogging Buddies, Friends, arriving from out of town.It would give us all a great opportunity to Meet Up and share many of the thoughts and challenges specific to the blogging and writing community.
I was excited!I felt like I had already met these ladies, although not In Real Life. I had met them through following and reading their blogs. I already respected and admired them a great deal.I knew we had lots to talk about.It was a privilege to be in the company of these inspirational women.
My concern was that my husband had not met anyone in this group.He was out of his comfort zone.This Meet Up was his unselfish birthday gift to me.
My worries were all for nothing. My husband had a great time, too!
We arrived early in the morning to a warm welcome.The ladies began setting up in the dining room to begin the meeting, our laptops and itineraries placed in front of us.
Chuck went to meet the men in another area of the house.We heard lots of chatter and laughter.Five minutes later, Chuck returned with the group and they headed out the door.
Chuck’s tear away cargo pants had become shorts.It was the beginning of a fun day!
The Meet Up
Thoughtful, organized Donna led the meeting.We covered many topics and shared a great deal of information.I will write a separate post on my takeaways and specific gems.Right now, my mind is spinning and my brain is full.
More importantly, my heart is full.
I had the privilege of being surrounded by smart, kind, supportive women. Mentors. At all times, I felt accepted and heard.Opposing opinions were welcome.Constructive advice given.We were in a safe place amidst like-minded people, bloggers, friends.
I could also feel the energy in the room.Everyone was passionate about how they spend their time.They care a great deal about their families, their goals, their new endeavours, their life.A common thread in our conversation was
Life First, Blogging and Writing Second.
Donna, Ann, Erica, Judith, Janis, Kathy
Sunday Morning Gratitude
Thank you to Judith and Rob for inviting all of us to their home on Sunday morning.Another opportunity for great food, West Coast scenery and especially for enjoying each other’s company
Paul and Janis
Kathy and Thom
Richard and Donna
Rob and Judith
Thank you to Donna and Richard for all of their preparation and wonderful hospitality.A common response to Donna’s last post Blogging Buddies Visit was how Donna has a knack for noticing the good in people, bringing out the best in them and bringing people together.
We all had an amazing time!
Thank you to my husband, Chuck, for his unselfish gift of time with me and the gift of the Blogger’s Meet Up, time with my New Friends.
Thank You To Everyone for the Best Birthday Gift!
Blogger’s Meet Up – Vancouver Island – July 20-21, 2019
I was slightly nervous.My hands were a little clammy.I was out of my comfort zone.
I was also curious and looking forward to this Blind Date.
I have had the opportunity to meet many new people in my life.This was different.This was a first for me.I was meeting someone face to face when we had only communicated in cyberspace.
Spoiler alert:Donna is even nicer and more interesting In Real Life!
Donna Retirement Reflections and I initially met last Fall, when I was reading anniversary stories on WordPress blogs.I was deeply moved by her beautiful letter to her husband, a gift of words.ALove LetterWhen I found out that Donna and Richard lived on Vancouver Island, I knew we were destined to meet.I believe that our paths were meant to cross.I believe in synchronicity.
As many of you know, Donna and her husband Richard are preparing to hike La ViaFrancigena this Summer. Monday nights include a two hour drive each way into Victoria to attend Italian lessons.
Donna and I had arranged to meet before the class at a restaurant called “Victoria Sushi.”
An initial big, warm hug was followed by over an hour of non-stop talking about many topics.
We talked about blogging in general.Bloggers know the challenges of writing, editing, revising and critiques.We know the feeling of vulnerability when we share our stories.
We shared personal stories.Donna has led a varied and interesting life with adventures in many exotic locations. I always look forward to opening my inbox and reading Donna’s stories. They make me laugh. Bear Attack!! They inspire me to be a better person and a better writer.
Early on I recognized Donna’s warmth, kindness, intelligence and wit through her posts and her comments. Donna has a supportive and kind comment for everyone.She has a gift for recognizing and validating the core message and underlying emotions in a story.
I know that Donna has a large following of bloggers that admire and respect her.I am one of the lucky few that have had the privilege of meeting Donna In Real Life.
I had the opportunity to see her face light up when she talks about her family.I saw how she smiled at Richard when he entered the room.I can see why they will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary next year.
I enjoy this positive corner of the internet.I have met many like-minded individuals.I have also met people with diverse interests and different perspectives. You have enriched my life on many levels.I live vicariously through your adventures and photos.You make me laugh. You inspire me with your stories, your writing, your wisdom.
I have also made friends along the way.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you go on a Blind Date with a fellow blogger.You will not regret it.
Especially when you meet someone as genuine and kind as Donna.
I always have a lot of material to condense when I write. Since I enjoy watching outtakes, I decided to add a few notes. aka “my inside voice“
Donna sent me links to past meet ups with fellow bloggers.In the photos I see bottles of wine on the table and glowing cheeks on the bloggers. Thank goodness for Marty’s timely wine post. Snakes in the Grass We can stay within a budget.
Do I warn my husband about my computer history?I did research “blind dates” and “what are the ten best dating sites in Canada?”
Re: IRL.Susan’s Swooning Grace comment on Donna’s Retirement Reflections blogmade me smile. “Is IRL a secret code word among bloggers? ha ha.”I am naive about the blogosphere, too.I saw IRL a few times before I figured out the meaning.Susan, you also made me cry on the same day you made me smile.I read your beautiful post, Tribute to a Father
In the age of Marvel comics and superheroes, Kindness is a quality that supersedes all of the other powers. Thank you Donna, and all of the bloggers that continue to make this community fun.
They just seemed to appear.I did not know their names.It was a gentle touch or a kind word.It may have been only a small gesture to them although it made a big impact in my day and in my life.
The tow truck driver who came to the rescue when my car broke down on a busy highway, smoke coming out of the hood of my car.I had two very young girls with me, one who made sure her precious “Mr. Bear” was tossed out of the car first, saved from certain peril.While transporting the three of us and our vehicle to the garage, this kind man first stopped to buy the girls treats, snacks and drinks.He turned a stressful day into a fun adventure, especially for these two little girls.
The lady sitting next to us at the Michael Jackson 3D show.Many hours ofnonstop amusement park rides resulted in our 7 year old having an upset stomach.To our little girl’s embarrassment, she became ill on the lady sitting beside us.This very kind lady discretely joined us in the bathroom to tidy herself and help us.She was thoughtful and concerned.She helped turn an awkward, embarrassing moment into something minor and now it is a funny story we continue to share.
The lady that seemed to appear out of nowhere when I had a meltdown in the school washroom and I could not stop crying.It was the first trimester of an intensive school year. I was overwhelmed with the demands of school work, homework, lack of sleep and raising a young family. No words were exchanged. She stopped and gave me a big hug. I will never forget that hug and how it made me feel.I could now pick myself up and go on with my day, my morale bolstered by that spontaneous act of love from someone I had never met before and whose name I will neverknow.
Many strangers have made a difference in my life.Their acts of kindness have strengthened and renewed my spirit, oftentimes when I needed it the most.
Since I cannot go back in time, I can thank them by remembering, sharing and paying it forward.Hopefully, I will make the difference in someone’s day and ultimately in their life.