The plastic pigeon’s journey begins…

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He’s all ready to go!

Recently I had an idea compliments of the Letter Writers Alliance, which I am a member of. I had an idea to mail a plastic pigeon.

I was skeptical as to whether it would actually make it — and make it intact. So Sunday, I slapped the label to his back (he required extra tape to hold it down) and I headed to the local post office to drop it in the mail. There was only one issue at this point: the pigeon didn’t fit. So, I drove to a town about 10 miles away to see if they had a different type of mailbox and bingo! I had to squeeze him in a bit, but he fit and hit with a thud.

Since Sunday my grandma and I have been anxiously awaiting his arrival to her house. He arrived safe and sound today! Intact even!

I wasn’t sure if it was OK to mail him, but according to the Letter Writers Alliance, it doesn’t violate any rules to mail a plastic pigeon — but you can only mail it domestically as it doesn’t fit the rules for international mailing on its own.

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Safe at grandma’s!

So, I’m looking forward to his return and exchanging him back and forth with my grandma.

I’m so glad I decided to get creative!

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The magic country roads

One of my favorite forms of therapy is driving up and down country roads — for hours at a time. There is so much I see during these drives and so much I would miss if I simply sat on the couch every night.

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One of my favorite places to photograph sunsets coupled with reflections.o to connect wi

 

The long, winding roads of Lyon County have become my second home, where I go to recharge, where I go to, connect with nature and unplug. It’s like a mini, one-evening vacation.

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Why is this guy here?

In my many years driving these roads, I’ve seen many interesting things. I’ve seen sunsets that will blow your mind, about every kind of animal possible in the area and interesting landmarks.

The other day I came across a slightly disturbing sight: a random scarecrow placed on the side of the road with no homes nearby. Of course, my writer mind went all kinds of places. But it was quite funny that it was just hanging out there. Perhaps someone had a sense of humor or perhaps someone just thought it was a nice place for it to hang out.  But I just found it plain creepy.

20151219_170732Another drive led me all the way to the Waverly Wind Farm. It’s incredible how much beauty wind farms hold. The towering turbines grace the landscape as far as you can see and on the country ro12562467_10153430811502992_1286719168_oads you can get pretty close to them to get some pretty nice photographs. At night from a distance red lights from the turbines blink in the night sky.

Other quirky things I’ve seen is a burned-out stump that looks like a rooster. It’s interesting it burned that way, in that shape. Speaking of fire, spring in Kansas is a great place to take drives in the country as farmers and ranchers burn off grasslands to make room for new, healthy growth. It’s an amazing sight. This post explains an experience I had last year with fire.

So, my advice to everyone is to get out, hit the dirt roads and see what you come up with. You’ll be amazed at how much there truly is to see.

 

 

 

 

The greatest gift

“The greatest gift is the love of a family.” This is inscribed on a little mirrored bear figurine my brother’s family gave me for Christmas this year. Sunday, we finally had an informal Nance Christmas in Wichita. After a nasty bout of vertigo over Christmas, I wasn’t able to attend the regular Christmas gathering this year.

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My nephew, Kizen

But, in my self-declared year of “silver linings,” we had a delightful, informal time this weekend. And everybody got a bonus — a Christmas in mid-January.
Wednesday is my mom’s birthday, so Saturday we spent some good time together. She hasn’t been feeling well either, so we spent a low-key day hanging out and watching movies. Saturday night we watched some Harry Potter movies — I hadn’t seen them in years and I had forgotten how magical they truly are (see what I did there?).
With my mom and I, everything is an adventure. So, naturally, we ended up at the laundromat Sunday morning before heading over to my brother’s house that afternoon. The day started out with two defective ATMs, but everything in the laundromat worked, unlike the time we went several months ago when the power partially went out and there was smoke coming out of the light fixtures. I remember the day clearly. We were sitting there watch the chaos of people pulling their wet clothing out of the washers, attempting to dry and others had their washers refuse to unlock entirely (yes, we were two of those people). As the lights started smoking, I wondered if we should evacuate, but we all just sat there. It’s still classically hilarious — and so like my mom and I. Like I said, it’s always an adventure with us. But, that’s off-topic.
Sunday brought more gifts at my brother’s house — both in the food variety and in the material variety. My sister-in-law, Amanda, made this amazing crock pot taco recipe with shredded beef. It’s a good thing I don’t live closer or I’d have to go over there and eat it all the time!
As we all ate, talked and played with the baby, I reflected on the gifts I have received this year — the most precious one is time and love — time with the people I love and the people who love me. Those gifts included laughter, heart-to-heart talks and cheering for the football teams during the playoff games.
Some of the greatest gifts in this world aren’t wrapped in a package — they are wrapped in our hearts. For me, those gifts are the most precious of all and even if I won the lottery (and who needs over a billion dollars anyway), it still couldn’t buy me the love of family and friends. Yes, I did play the lottery and I admit I got caught up in the fever, but, I have already won because I have this: the love of a family.
Jackpot.

2016: The year of sliver linings

So, usually I make a h12512526_10153179574482035_1188196950185852739_nuge list of things I want to accomplish in the new year and usually most of those don’t get done.

This year I took a different approach. I have decided to make 2016 about silver linings. Sure, I have a few goals, like keeping up with my daily thankfuls and a few others, but mainly I want this to be the year I finally train myself to look on the GOOD side of things first, instead of going right to the bad side of things.

I’ll admit, I have always been on the pessimistic side of things, a glass half-empty type of person.  On the heels of my 40th birthday this summer (July 8, if you want to mark the date..hint hint…haha) I decided it was time to change my way of thinking.

Today on the way to work it was cold, rainy and just plain wet. And I’ve been struggling with a head cold. At Christmas I had an inner ear infection, which caused me to miss Christmas with my mom, brother and his family. So, on my way to work I found my mind grumbling about the cold and wet roads and the fact that I’ve been sick since Christmas and then I realized, I don’t have to be grumpy about this: I can find the silver lining.

Flipping this around: I love the way the streets look in the rain. I love the way the colors of the cars and stop lights dance off the wet pavement leaving colored streaks. I love the way the colors reflect off the raindrops on the windows. I love the peaceful sound of the rain hitting my car windows gently.

Bingo. Silver lining. I came to work with a smile on my face.

It is amazing how if we find the silver lining, how quickly our attitudes can change for the better.

So, introducing 2016: the year of silver linings.

I hope you join me.

The happy jar

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My happy jar is on the right, sitting on top of the box the pieces of paper are stored in.

For the third  year in a row, I kept a “happy jar” next to my bed and each day I put a slip of paper in it with one “happy” thing that happened that day. I also threw in events and movie tickets.

I started doing this after seeing a Facebook post about it. Years ago I set out to find my happy jar. I found it in a local antique store — an old glass jar, which I suspect was used to store honey at one time since it’s shaped like a bear. I love that old, vintage jar.

Each year, on Dec. 31, I empty the jar (which has usually takes several shakes as it’s been stuffed many times). This year’s pile, all 365-plus of them, took a while to go through, but I realized, most of them are simple, everyday moments. Reading all those made me realize how much I value the moments — after all, that’s what life is made of anyway — moments.

These moments included the birth of my nephew, Kizen, getting to see my cousin get married, attending my niece’s 16th birthday party, getting to spend time with my grandmother and my aunt from California and getting to spend time with my other aunt and cousins and lots of time with my mom, brother and his family. I also made new friends in 2015. I realized, reading all those notes of time spent with various people in my life that I’m close to — family and friends are most important to me. Which, on a side note, leads me to some of my new year’s resolutions, which include eliminating things that get in the way of those moments.

This year also was the year of movies for me. In 2015 I had movie tickets from the following: Crimson Peak, Kindsman: The Secret, Star Wars, Vacation, Jurassic World 3D, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Still Alice, Poltergeist 3D, Paranormal Activity: Ghose Dimension and Everest. And those were just the ones I threw in the jar. I’m sure I saw more.

I also got to see Loretta Lynn in 2015, the Blizzard Bash and got to go to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, twice for long weekends. And there were lots of day trips in between taking photos and just exploring Kansas.

In the middle of all this, I also had a major surgery just a few days after my 39th birthday.

All the preceding is in one year — so many treasured moments. So. Many. I am so excited to see what 2016 has to offer. I have many personal goals that will make this year even better.

So, if you want a real treat, considering starting a happy jar (or box) and placing one slip of paper in it each day. Then sit back on New Years Eve and realize how many moments you might have forgotten that life blessed you with that year.

Happy 2016!