I’m not old…I’m living in the moment!

Watching birds at our backyard bird feeder and bird bath has become a daily ritual for my husband and I…when we slip into “bird” conversation, ie. mention a species of bird we think we saw, attempt to identify a newcomer or describe the activities of birds in the bird bath…I often immediately judge us as “old”.

Geez – we sound like your father! Papaw used to love feeding the birds. He fed the birds every day at the store (we owned). It’s one of the many fond memories I have of the time he lived and worked with us.

And please don’t let our adult children hear our conversation…they will laugh and DECLARE us as OLD!!

As I’m sitting in one of my favorite chairs, feet propped up, with a clear view of the bird feeder and bird bath, sipping a cup of hot tea while I “wake up”…I notice a robin taking a rather aggressive bath in the bird bath. I think to myself, “only a couple of days ago, that bath was frozen solid”. It’s amazing how the birds NOTICE when things have changed, the water has thawed and not only can they now drink the water…they can bathe in it too. I wonder how good that must feel to the bird. He really seems to be enjoying it! (I know how dreadful I feel when I haven’t had a shower in just a day!) How incredible that they are so in tune with their surroundings…I mean…how do they find our measly little bath in this big ‘ol world?

Anyway…all this is going on in my head. I again smile and internally tease myself about being…getting…”old”…

Suddenly I realize…I’m not OLD!

I’m living in the moment!

Isn’t this what I’ve been striving to do? Savor each moment of NOW. Notice what is going on around me. Live in THIS moment.

Perhaps “old” people have simply learned to notice THIS moment. Perhaps the stage of life they are in contributes to that ability. When I was in my 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s I was so busy with LIFE pulling me in all different directions that I’m confident I didn’t savor each moment…or even notice the GIFTS of each moment. Looking back, I wish I could change that.

I can however change my perspective from this moment on. I will allow myself, heck…I’ll ENCOURAGE myself to live in THIS moment.

Observe. Listen. Live. Be fully present.

So children…laugh if you will…go ahead and call me old; I know that I am living and loving THIS moment…and enjoying the sound of YOUR laughter…it’s one of the sweetest sounds there is.

My backyard friends are calling…

(image from fungopher.com)

YOLO!

Jan

Chocolate Kiwi Popsicles…Yes Please!!

They say chocolate is good with everything…I agree!

My daughter discovered a recipe via Pinterest this morning…and I happened to have the ingredients in the house…so she made them! Chocolate Kiwi Popsicles.

You’ll find the recipe here: Chocolate Kiwi Popsicles

Dark chocolate is indeed good for you! What’s not love???

…I think I’ll have another…

And by the way…I’m just discovering Pinterest…feel free to stop by and follow me…who knows what we’ll learn from each other :  Spiritofyolo

YOLO!

Jan

Miss Angel’s 12th Birthday Celebration

Today is our family dog, Miss Angel’s 12’th birthday. She is truly a member of our family. She’s lived with a cat, a rescued Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a Black Lab and always is the Queen Dog.

No she’s not well trained…we love her anyway. She clearly is the alpha dog/person in the house. She does what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. She’s so cute and cuddly that we’ve allowed her to get away with it and there is definitely no changing her now. Clearly, she’s smarter than we are and she has US very well trained.

I swear she speaks English and doesn’t respond or not respond based on the tone of my voice. I don’t care what the trainers say…I KNOW she KNOWS exactly what I’m saying.

She’s a gum thief…so don’t leave any in a purse, backpack, suitcase, jacket pocket or anywhere for that matter that she can reach. She can and WILL get it and eat the entire package when you aren’t looking. She’s smart enough to try and hide the evidence…key word being try! I’ve even found my purse behind the couch where she dragged it and unzipped it to get the gum. Yes…she’s that clever and agile.

We’ve many stories of her stealing food…the most fun ones involve the accomplice of our cat, Lucky Lady (who is no longer alive). Probably the most notorious story is known as the Thanksgiving chocolate cake incident. We had many people over that particular Thanksgiving Day; much food was left over after the feast…including an entire chocolate cake. The cake was on the sideboard in the dining room…Angel could not reach it. (Though she’s been found atop the dining room table if someone left a chair pulled away and she thought there was food to steal.) The cake CRUMBS were discovered under the dining room table and strewn about the dining room. Since there were no witnesses and Lucky and Angel both had guilty chocolate stains on their faces…we can only surmise that Lucky jumped onto the sideboard and knocked the cake to the floor…where she then shared it with Angel. I know…chocolate is lethal for dogs/cats…they both survived the incident as it was years ago. Angel did suffer extreme stomach upset in the hours following…I hope it was worth it to her…it certainly wasn’t to me!

Tonight I made Angel some homemade dog treats for her birthday. Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers. If you like to pamper your pets with homemade treats the recipe link is at the end of this post. There were many treats to choose from!

Then she and I had an impromptu party. She doesn’t play for extended periods like she did when she was younger, but she sure enjoyed the bubbles tonight. She ate her cookie and promptly took a nap after her photo session. Birthdays only come once a year – time to celebrate!

First the Birthday Party game: Bubbles!

Then the photo shoot:

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YOLO!

Jan

PS – No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post…humiliated maybe…harmed…never!

Recipe: Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

 

Funky Guitar

Fun night with my daughter tonight at Sips n Strokes! You choose your class from a calendar with different paintings offered. Bring your favorite drink, receive your blank canvas when you check in…then follow along with the instructors! The painting you create is yours to take home that evening!

Here is the progress of our “funky guitars” from blank canvas to finished product.

YOLO!

Jan

$49 Cruise – Really? Yes!

I’ve had many  people question me about the reality of the $49 cruise my family and I took to the Bahama’s a few weeks ago. Since there seems to be such disbelief, I decided to write a review and answer some questions.

Did we really pay $49 per person. YES! With port fees and taxes, the total came to about $180. We were on the Carnival Fascination and sailed out of Jacksonville, FL…I closely watched Southwest Airlines and purchased direct, non-stop flights from Nashville when they were on a super sale! Our ports of call were in the Bahamas, Freeport and Nassau.

I am a member of a discount travel club which purchases cruise cabins in bulk. We had about 300 people on the ship (15% of total guests)…hence the great price! The savings on this cruise alone paid for my membership fee!

Instead of paying the suggested $30 per person transfer fee…a big bus taking you and your luggage from the airport to the pier…we took a cab for $30 each way, for all 4 of us. Saved 50% on getting to and from the ship. I called ahead and verified the typical cab fare…I would suggest doing the same before you bail on the suggested transfer option.

I opted for us to stay in an interior cabins. At the time of booking for a nominal additional $50 per person you could upgrade to a porthole window and for a bit more you could have a balcony. I wanted the full $49 experience, so we stayed in the interior. I have to say…I was worried about feeling claustrophic and was I pleasantly suprised! We were only in our rooms to sleep or change clothes…I never missed the window! The ship had a webcam we could access on the tv – so it was like a virtual window…showing us what it was like outside. The twin beds can be arranged into a king for couples or into separate twins for room-mates. Honestly…I never missed the window!

Service on the ship was absolutely incredible! Everywhere you went there was someone available to wait on you. And with a SMILE!! I spent time getting to know our support staff, from cabin stewards, to waiters in the dining room, to the dining room Maitre D, to the manicurist and masseuse…yes…my husband spoiled us with some extras!

Everyone…absolutely everyone that worked on the ship that I came into contact with…did their job happily, with a smile, with a true heart for service…I honestly felt it was all about ME having the best possible experience with them that I could. They got to know my name and I knew theirs. Imagine if we all approached our businesses with such a heart for service. It would be game changing.

The activities on the ship were plentiful! You could participate…or not. It was your choice. No pressure. Comedy shows. PG and R rated were incredibly funny and entertaining. 2 different comic’s with distinctly different styles. Games to participate in or just watch. My daughter and I went to the Love Game – kinda like the newlywed game but with couples at different stages of marriage. We also went to a towel folding class to learn how to make the cute animals you find on your bed every evening. There was a main show of singing and dancing – great talent! Disco, piano bar, casino, kids area, pools, hot tubs, slides, mini-golf, art gallery and more! There was a huge party on the Lido Deck the night we sailed out of Nassau and headed back to the US. Live music. FOOD.

Food was everywhere. Constantly available. Do NOT attempt a diet while on a cruise. We ate in the dining room every night and were treated to steak, salmon, mahi mahi, crab cakes, prime rib, lobster, shrimp and the most decadent desserts! There was no limit to the amount of food they would bring you…our waiter commented on a guy at another table eating 10 lobster tails!

We had a private cocktail party for our group after a group photo on the main staircase. FREE wine, beer, soft drinks, fruit punch for the duration of the party. DJ, dancing, birthday recognitions (it was my birthday the day before we sailed)…fun, fun, fun!

There are many opportunities on a cruise to spend money, so come with your spending budget in mind. You could cruise and not spend much extra at all. The food, water, tea, coffee was all included and readily available. Tips were added to the bill automatically though you did have the opportunity to change the amount if you felt so inclined. Bottom line, you’ll get information about opportunities from your cruise line once you have booked your ticket. Set your budget and your mindset and then have FUN!!

We did massages, enjoyed some fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas in them and an excursion to the Atlantis on Paradise Island to slide through the shark tank and we contributed a tiny bit to the casino. We had fun with friends, met some great new friends, had quality time alone as a family and as individuals.

It was a great get-away for us and the best $49 I believe we’ve ever spent! I’d love to have you join us…or have the ability to take your own dream vacations. Call me. Email me. Facebook me….just raise your hand and I’ll let you know how you too can travel, save money, have fun and build relationships!

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YOLO!

Jan

PS – It was WONDERFUL to wear flip-flops in January!!!

 

 

 


 

Back into the light…7 days of darkness is enough!

I’m back!

Last Thursday, my family and I went “dark” electronically.

It was a choice we made during our vacation. We were on a cruise to the Bahama’s and while we had the option of “sea” connectivity, we weighed the “going dark” option vs the fees for the international connectivity and chose to go “dark”.

The point of a vacation is to rest, relax, recuperate and reconnect – right?

Well….what better way to accomplish those 4 R’s than by not being electronically leashed?

We had an AMAZING vacation! I’m working on a review for my next blog…stay tuned! It’s taken me a while this week to get back into the swing of things…and I’m back!

YOLO!

Jan

What are you looking forward to this year?

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to:

  • quality time with my family
  • several family vacations – starting with a cruise to the Bahama’s!
  • generating an additional stream of income
  • supporting Rich in his business endeavors
  • de-cluttering
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • simplifying
  • attending a women’s retreat
  • flip-flops!

How about you? What are YOU looking forward to? Tell me below – I can’t wait to hear!!

Remember – we only live once – make it count. Live with passion!

Yolo,

Jan

Flip-flop Friday:Gratitude Style

Today is the kind of day I wince about…ok…I do more than wince…I complain loudly… when I realize fall is leaving, summer is well behind and winter is fast approaching.

Cold. Grey. Cloudy. Absolutely NO sun or blue sky visible.

I decided to put on my pink Maui cap (instead of the black cap I’ve been wearing) when I bundled up in layers to take Angel on our morning walk. As I walked I’d let my eyes notice the pink brim of the hat and remember what it feels like to be in Maui.

Warm. Sunny. Blue skies. Blue water. Sound of the surf hitting the shoreline. Feel of the sand between my toes. Smell of the perfumed air. Beautiful flowers. Palm trees. White clouds. Happy people. Drinks with little umbrella’s in them. “Pollock-ini Lookout” (a spot my family has claimed and everyone takes a picture there when we visit). Happy times. Fun memories.

My mood lifted as I walked and purposefully filled my mind and soul with these feelings of gratitude for the memories. I choose to remember that even though the sun is not visible here today…it IS shining above the clouds. It IS present. I WILL feel it’s warmth on my skin again and soon I WILL free my toes from these stifling shoes, back into flip-flops where they belong!

Always maintain a kind of summer, even in the middle of winter. ~Henry David Thoreau

Yolo,

Jan