That warm, fuzzy feeling

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You know the feeling you get when you KNOW you’re in the right place with the right people? And in the right time? That warm, fuzzy feeling that creeps up and feels your chest with warmth? Yes, that one!

It dawned on me recently when I was chatting with a co-worker and I felt myself filling with joy — I’m in the right place at the right moment with the right people. I’ve had many moments like that lately where I just KNOW that all is where it should be and I’m on the right path in life and it feels pretty damn good. It’s an important feeling for me as I’ve worked hard to get to this place in life. I’ve worked hard to find the right place to work and surround myself with the right people. When you are soul-searching for what’s right for you, sometimes you have to make some tough choices about your career and people in your life. I’m glad I’ve made those tough (and sometimes painful) choices. Because I’m right where I want to be and right where I should be at this point in my life.

As we head into the holiday season, I wish all of you peace, joy and that warm fuzzy feeling.

Happy birthday, mom

Today is my mom’s 60th birthday. Happy birthday, mom.

In true Wandering Pigeon fashion, my mom and I wandered around Wellington Saturday. My mother, brother and I lived in Wellington for a couple of years before moving to Wichita. I spent my 7th, 8th and part of my 9th grade there — go Wellington Blue Knights! My mom worked at the hospital in Wellington — it was her first medical technician job out of school.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVisiting our old stomping grounds Saturday was a lot of fun — and at 60 degrees in January — what a gift!

Our first stop in Wellington was our home on C Street. We lived right across from an elementary school. My brother and I recall burying a time capsule at that home. Our hopes is that the current residents will one day let us dig it up — if it still exists.

Our next stop was our next house we lived in — a modular home located at the edge of town on A Street. We actually had two modular homes, which were connected by a breezeway. Only the main home remains today — alone and abandoned. I loved that home because I had the bedroom in the back and right out my window was a horse corral. I could see the horses right outside my window — a young girl’s dream!

Today, only the horses’ shed remains, along with the bathtub that served as their watering hole and a lone section of fencing. I’ll admit it made me a bit sad that so little remains. I remembered feeding those horses. While they were not ours, I’d sneak into the shed and grab them a tiny bit of grain as a treat every now and then.

My brother and I used to play in the creek that is across the horse field and in some woods — simple, carefree times for us spent at the creek looking for fish.

That house also is where I learned to respect red ant hills. Railroad tracks ran in front of the home across the road. One hot summer day I foolishly decided to go over to the tracks and stomp on an ant hill. The angry red ants ran up my legs, which were bare because I was in shorts. Even today I have a healthy respect — and even a bit of fear — for ants.

After looking around the outside our former home, we headed back into town and drove by the former Wellington High School, which is no longer being used as the high school. I recalled standing on those steps with my friends waiting for school to start.

Our last stop in Wellington, was at what is known as “The Pink Palace.” This adobe-style, (and very pink), home is something I remember fondly from when I lived there. The external architecture is so striking. The outside of the home is covered in pink stucco and tiles lead up to the majestic home’s entrances. A quick peek in the window yielded a level of architecture I had never seen in a home before. “Exquisite” doesn’t even begin to cover this home — the sad part is that the home needs signification repair though it appears recent restoration attempts have been made.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My family and I have always loved to wander around looking at things — not just places we used to live. We once drove to Nebraska on a whim, came across a lone, old abandoned house that we peeked into. Inside the house was an old piano. My then-child self asked mom if we could take it home. Her response: we’d have to take home the spiders that lived inside it too. Enough said. We, of course, left the piano.

Other family road trips included runs out to California where my mom grew up. We’d throw our bags into the car on a Friday night after mom got home from work and we’d be there by Sunday. We’d visit the coast, Disneyland and mom’s childhood stomping grounds. You learn so much about a parent, relative or friend by going with them to their former haunts — I highly recommend it.

One of the best parts about roads trips with someone is time to talk and memories being made. I love sharing experiences on road trips with family and friends taking photos, talking, laughing and just wandering around — most of the time no destination is needed. Growing up we usually just all got into the car and wherever we ended up — there we were.

So, another great birthday road trip with my mom on Saturday. More memories made, more laughs shared.

Happy birthday mom. I love you. Let’s do another road trip soon!

—Brandy Nance is the online and news editor for The Emporia Gazette. Her blog, The Wandering Pigeon, can be found online at thewanderingpigeon.com. Brandy can be reached at brandy@emporia.com.

2015 and the epic potential

Christmas and New Year’s are probably my two favorite holidays of the entire year. Perhaps my birthday is a close second…perhaps. 🙂

Christmas is such a magical time with all the glitter, glitz, giving and just the general holiday spirit. I love the holiday commercials, the look on a loved-ones face when they open a gift, the treats, the trees, the lights…I pretty much love it all.

That brings me to New Years. While in reality it’s “just another day” and another date, it has always felt like a new chance to me, a time to change some things and set some goals. I guess most of us get caught in this with resolutions, but as I get older I find my goals changing — and I usually set goals I know I can keep/stick to.

As 2015 draws near and 2014 folds away, I am keeping a running list in my mind of what I’d like to change and accomplish in 2015. And I’ve decided on one concept: EPIC. I am going to aim to make 2015 epic, not just for myself but strive to make a difference in others’ lives too.

A few of my goals are:

  • Write more letters (real, hand-written letters) to family and friends.
  • I plan on starting a pen pal exchange between a fictional character (the sock monkey in the photo above) and a friend’s grandchild. I plan on making these handwritten, from the sock monkey’s point of view and I plan on keeping a copy of the letters for myself as well. (Judith, thank you SO much for agreeing to be a part of this!)
  • I plan on continuing my health journey. Whatever that may look like. Maybe give Couch to 5K another gander? 
  • I plan on continuing my daily gratitude posts. They have helped me so much.
2015 also is the year I turn 39. I have a list I’ve been working on for a while the “39 List.” Thirty nine things I want to do before I’m 40. Keeping all these realistic — and they aren’t all about me. I’ll be posting more about that later. 🙂

For now, I’m So excited for 2015! 

Day 400 of thankfuls

Today, Dec. 10 is day 400.

A quick back story because I’ve told it a few times: 400 (roughly) days ago I decided to join the November thankful challenge where you post one thing you’re thankful for each day during November. Fifteen days into that challenge a house fire killed my dad. During those dark days my family suffered through that followed that tragedy I kept the thankfuls going — because I needed to — not because someone had challenged me.

Dec. 1 of that year came and I posted another. Dec. 2, another. And so on … until I got to today — 400 days.

When I look at the number 400 in the scope of all this, it’s amazing. For 400 days I’ve posted one thing a day that I’m thankful for. Four hundred days. And no, I do not plan on stopping anytime soon.

What I’ve learned these past 400 days is this:

  • Gratitude increases happiness.
  • Gratitude inspires others.
  • There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Always.
  • Beauty can be found in the darkest of places.
  • Gratitude is contagious.
  • It’s all about attitude — in any situation. In many situation, when I turn my bad attitude into a moment of being thankful for the challenge, I find my entire day shifts.
Here is to the next 400 days!