My son-in-law, Travis Royce is rather a fanatic when it comes to his yard. He really always has been. When you think about it, that works out very well for my daughter, Amy…his wife. It’s not that Travis does all the work, but that he is happy to help with the projects that make their back yard a sanctuary where they love to spend time. This year, they have been working on their covered patio are. Travis built that a while back, and now they are adding to the ambiance with lighting, flower gardens, and games, like the latest addition to the back yard…darts. They got the dart board up, and I mentioned to Amy that now she could beat him at darts indoors and outdoors. Well, she informed me that he won the first game played out on the patio. They are both good dart players, so my comment was really a joke, but Travis proved that he has a good handle on the game. They have several back yard games that they like to play, but they also like to just sit and relax…enjoying the quiet nights.
Travis is a homebody in many ways, something I would never have expected when he and Amy first started dating, about 27 years ago, but time changes us all. Those party/bar scenes get old after a while, and it too loud anyway, so most people would rather have friends over and enjoy a little bit more quiet party atmosphere. Nevertheless, Amy and Travis do like to go to the casinos in their area, and they tend to do pretty well there. Still, they aren’t about throwing their money away, they just play for fun periodically. When we go to visit, we enjoy that too, and sometimes we do pretty well. Maybe it’s all about having them there with us, I don’t know. Sometimes, I think we should give them our money to play while we stand and watch.
Travis is an excellent “griller,” as anyone who has had his food can attest. If the cooking is being done indoors, Amy is the cook, but if it’s being done outdoors, it’s all Travis. He prides himself in grilling great steaks and seafood too. His friends consider themselves lucky to have been invited for the barbecue. Amy and Travis are very social people, and entertaining is something they both enjoy, so those summer barbecues are always fun times for them and for everyone who is privileged to attend. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It’s a yearly tradition for my husband, Bob Schulenberg and me…a time to re-connect. We make this trip to Thermopolis, Wyoming every year on a weekend near our anniversary. Some years have been harder to take this trip than others. When you have a parent that is not feeling very well, and you are a caregiver, you struggle with me time. There is always that feeling that you might be needed here. This year is a little bit hard too, because I suddenly have one less parent to care for, making this anniversary trip a little sad, but much needed after the stresses of planning a funeral and saying our goodbyes. I only wish that my family could all take this weekend to unwind too, because I really think they all need it badly.
In reality though, this trip is about spending time with the love of my life…my dear husband, Bob. When I think about the fact that we have been married for forty years, all I can think is, “Where did the time go?” Forty years seems like such a long time, and yet, it seems like just yesterday that we said, “I do.” I guess that is the way it is when the marriage is right. I feel so blessed to have been in such a marriage all these years. The squabbles and tough times never manage to stay in our lives very long, because the love always shines through. Love just couldn’t get any better than that…now could it?
So, as we head out, with a slightly heavy heart and high hopes for a wonderful weekend, I am reminded of just how beautiful the Thermopolis area is. We love the fact that there is so little to do there. Very few shops are open on the weekend, so we just relax, soak in the hot tubs, and walk the trail along the river and up by the mineral pools. It is kind of a forced way to relax, I guess, but with our busy lives, sometimes that is the only way to make us relax…how sad is that? Nevertheless, through all the caregiving work of the past ten years, I must say that my husband, Bob was my biggest supporter, helper, confidant, and comforter. Could love possibly be more strong and compassionate than that? When he said, “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”, he took those words very seriously, and for that I am eternally grateful. So, now…today, and this weekend…is our time to re-connect. It is our time to relax and enjoy being together again, with the love of our lives…each other. I could not be any more blessed if I tried. I love you Bob Schulenberg!! You have filled my life with love and blessings. Happy anniversary weekend!!
When you are on vacation, the idea is to relax and enjoy yourself, but all too often, there are so many things to see and do that you find yourself needing to go back to work to rest up. I have been on many of those trips. I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed my trips. I have been blessed to have gone many places, and I have many wonderful memories from my trips. Still, I must say that not all of them have been relaxing.
As a caregiver, who also works full time…when I can stay at work full time, I have a lot of stress in my life, and sometimes what I need the most is to relax…even if only for part of a trip. Today was that day. The drive from Mississippi to Florida was beautiful, with splendid views of the Gulf of Mexico. The green trees and lush grass were calming to my soul.
The time spent at the beach, however, was the best of all. We walked barefoot through the sand, which is really crushed sea shells, and laughed about the fact that is squeaked as you stepped in it. Then we laughed at the little birds who were eating something at the water’s edge. They would run out there when the water receded and then turn and run away from the next incoming wave. Their little legs were moving as fast as they could possibly go. Then they would look back at the water as if to scold it for interrupting their dinner. They were just so funny!! I only wish I could have been quick enough to get a picture.
We walked along the water’s edge, letting the warm Gulf water run over our feet. The breeze was gentle and warm. It was so relaxing to just enjoy the sensations of the water and the salt air. We stood in the water, laughing about the way the water made our feet sink into the sand,and trying not to fall down as a result. Then we found a place to sit in the sand, and we sat relaxing for quite some time. There is just something about listening to the waves crashing into the beach and the gulls squawking above that is somehow peaceful.
We talked very little. It didn’t seem like that kind of a moment. It was a time to sit and quietly reflect on the trip we had taken, and the beauty of the Gulf water around us. We watched the waves coming in and waited to see if they would finally make it to our feet. Bob found a sea shell that the waves washed in, and we watched the sea gulls trying to steal fish from a pelican.
Finally, we picked up our sandals and the sea shell and made our way back to the car…relaxed and contented, and grateful for the day God had blessed us with. It was a perfectly beautiful, amazingly relaxing, wonderful kind of day.
Going to the dentist is not usually something that kids like doing. It normally frightens them because of the painful Novocaine shots and the scary sounds of the drilling. Once they have been there, most don’t want to go back…but my niece, Chantel had a little bit different experience with the dentist, and I will never forget just how funny it was.
Chantel went to a children’s dentist. That was pretty much unheard of in the mid 70’s when she was a little girl, or at least it was pretty new to us. This dentist wanted to make it a good experience for the kids. So, when she had to have her teeth worked on, he gave her something to relax her. That would make her sleepy by the time she would receive the Novocaine shot, and probably pretty numb too. My sister gave her the medicine about 30 minutes or so before the appointment. Of course, it not only relaxed her, it was similar to being drunk. She got pretty goofy.
We were asking her questions just to hear her slurred speech as she attempted to answer us. This was not the first time she had been given this med and so we kind of knew what to expect, and she loved her dentist, because he had found a way to remove the fear of dentistry. Not only was she not afraid, she was always given gum after the dental work, as a reward for doing so well throughout the procedure. No wonder she liked him. What little kid didn’t like gum.
So, we asked her where she was going, and she said, “To da detist.” And then giggling, we would ask her again, just to hear the funny slurred speech. She tried very hard to tell us the whole story of the upcoming adventure she was going to have…with us laughing all the way through it. Finally we asked her why she liked the dentist and she said, “Ma buddy guve me gum.” Aw yes, the ultimate reward for a sweet little girl on medicine to make her relax.
We had a chance to spend some time on the mountain at my boss, Jim’s cabin this last weekend. It was just so peaceful to sit and watch the hummingbirds. I look back on the time we spent there, and it occurs to me that there wasn’t a lot of talking, just bird, and squirrel, watching. I suppose that could have looked, to someone outside the situation, like we were ignoring our hosts, but everyone’s eyes were transfixed on the flurry of activity at the hummingbird feeders.
The birds vied for the best feeding spot, hungrily feasting on the sugar water dinner they were so generously provided. Jim and Julie were telling us of the massive amounts of sugar they go through just to keep their little charges satisfied. Now I call them charges, but if you ask me it sounds like they are the ones in charge, and Jim and Julie are at their beck and call. And the squirrels are so smart. They didn’t take the peanuts that had fed down through the feeder, they lifted the lid to make their own choice
It was so relaxing. The birds kept us entertained with their antics. They didn’t mind having us quite close to them, in fact the only thing that seemed to make them fly off very much was when another bird flew in to feed. As far as we were concerned, the must have thought we were similar to a tree, because while they didn’t try to land on us, they buzzed right by us so closely sometimes that it made us duck. Several times I wasn’t sure how they missed me. It was great fun.
There were so many of them, that you never ran out of tiny birds to watch. The area was alive with them. Hummingbirds are so unique. I don’t know of another bird quite like them. I could be wrong, of course. I’m not an expert, but I have never heard of any similar. Maybe that is why they hold us spellbound like they do. I find myself able to sit for a long time just watching them, and in my busy life, that is such a rarity that I am…well, grateful. My life is so busy that sometimes I don’t take enough time for myself…to slow down and regroup. There is just something about watching the hummingbirds vie for position that is interesting and yet relaxing at the same time. It was a day that I so enjoyed and I am so thankful for and definitely a day I look forward to experiencing again. Thanks Jim and Julie
I have never thought of myself as a Type A personality, and in reality I’m probably not even close, but as is the case with many people, I can find myself having trouble relaxing. There is just so much to get done in a day, and not enough hours to do it all.
Sometimes, I just can’t seem to give myself permission to slow down, until I drop. And of course, when I do sit down, I usually doze off. It’s like the minute my body isn’t in motion, it is just done. And yet, after 20 or 30 minutes, I feel like I need to do more. So, I often find myself still up at midnight or later. Probably because I tried to fit too much into my day…again.
People today, especially those who, like me, are cramming too much into a day, really need to learn to relax. I know how hard that is, believe me, but it is so important. Being overworked leads to stress, which leads to a multitude of health issues, so I am working, not on getting caught up, but on better planning of my day. And maybe, just maybe, on taking the occasional moment to do something just for me. Learning to relax…at least a little.
Most of my life is spent running here and there. I help care for my mom, and my in-laws, I work, I go to as much of my grandchildren’s activities as I can, Bob and I walk 2 hours 5 days a week, and we bowl. Basically, we live our life, but once in a while, I like to spend a lazy Saturday just sitting around in the quiet, maybe reading my Kindle…doing nothing really.
I think everyone needs a day, now and then, that is just for self. Our lives are so busy these days. You watch shows about the west, and while they worked hard, it just seemed like a more peaceful, easy time than today. The work day ended and the family spent time together reading, sewing or listening to someone play music. There was no rush to go here and there.
I guess those feelings of wanting a lazy day, is why Bob and I like being out in the wilderness areas of the Black Hills…hiking. There is no schedule, no hurry, no cars, and few people. That’s what it’s all about. Now while many of you might not consider hiking to be in the lazy day catagory, but it certainly is in that, all thought of responsibility is gone, and it is just you and God’s beautiful creation. That is what puts it in the lazy day catagory!
Now, remember summer vacation when you were a kid. School was out for 3 months. The weather was warm. The air fragrant with flowery scents. The breeze was gentle. You had no cares. No job to go to. No homework. Just days and days of freedom to play, and very little chores to do. It was a time to rejuvenate. Looking back, I think, “Why was I in such a hurry to grow up?” I wouldn’t want to go through the whole growing up process again, but really, who wouldn’t love to go back in time for just one more lazy day of summer?
When everything around me is in chaos, and I feel like I am being pulled in several different directions at once, I find the need as I’m sure most of you do, to escape to a place of peace. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just fly off to somewhere exotic every time life got a little stressful? Unfortunately for most of us, that isn’t feasible, and well…how many Calgone bubble baths can a person really take? And yet, we can all relate to the woman in the commercial with all the screaming kids, barking dogs, and broken dishes, holding her aching head and begging to be magically taken to a peaceful place where she can be alone.
Sometimes, when life gets too stressful, we really do need to find a place to have some alone time. A great peaceful place can be as simple as a quiet room, just you and a good book…or in my case, my Kindle. Curling up with a good book, especially in the Winter cold, a warm blanket, and a nice fire, can be very soothing to the soul.
The great outdoors is another great place to find a peaceful place. A quiet walk on a trail near my home is so peaceful to me. My husband and I walk almost every day, and when we can be outside, well that’s perfect. We love to hike, and the mountain is the perfect get away without having to go far. Some people, like my cousin Greg and my brother-in-law, Chris, love to fish. Now being on the lake or by a river is quite relaxing to me, but that whole waiting for the fish to bite, not to mention the worm issue, puts fishing in the “I don’t think so” catagory for me, but, that’s what makes people unique. You guys are welcome to the fishing thing…I’ll just soak up the sun, thanks.
When I was a little girl, and still today, one of our family’s favorite things to do was to go up on the mountain for a picnic, and stay there into the evening sitting around the campfire roasting marshmellows and laughing about any funny stories we could think of, and believe me, there were quite a few. This was one of my Dad’s favorite things to do. Just the smell of the fire, and the comfortable companionship of family puts everyone in a relaxed mood. Now you can buy a fire ring to use in your back yard, and many people find that to be a geeat get away. In fact, Bob and I just bought one at the end of the summer, and I look forward to using it this summer.
In the hectic world we live in, if you don’t find a way to unwind, you will find yourself moody and depressed. But if you can unlock the secret to your own peaceful place, you can rejuvenate your spirit, and be ready to take on the world.