Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Optimism - Sharing My May/June Article From Home and Harvest Magazine

Hi Friends - After a good friend commented that she was missing my blog posts.... It occurred to me that I should begin sharing the articles that I write for Home and Harvest Magazine, and thought I'd begin with the May/June edition. Having followers all over, it dawned on me that I should aquatint you to this wonderful local publication. 😀

I've had lots of thoughts rolling around this ole brain and just haven't given my self time to focus and write on the blog as much as I'd like to.  And to help me accomplish getting a better handle on life.... I  just started a program designed to help you reclaim you life and to focus on getting rid of the clutter in your life that keeps you from being your best.  It's a one year project for 52 weeks.... so I thought I'd make you my accountability partner to keep my feet to the fire.   😉 So in-between sharing my articles from the magazine, I'll share each week what the lesson is, what I am trying to do and who knows, maybe it will be of help to you as well!

As always, thanks so much for taking time out of your day.  I am hoping you are healthy, safe and doing well.  Feel free to comment or shoot me an email at  All my best, Gayle

May/June, 2020

When you are a kid, or at least this was how I was, everyday seemed like a Saturday. There was no urgency and days just melded one into another.  As I write the May/June edition, everyone is in the middle of the mandatory stay at home order and I have to admit, everyday feels like a Saturday, minus the fact that I am actually working from home.    Maybe it’s the fact that the “commute” is just down one flight of stairs, through the kitchen and into my office. Having never worked from home other than a day here or there, my mind is fooled into thinking this is just a really long week-end. I know I am one of the fortunate ones having a job and I take my time in front of my work laptop seriously. But today, which is on a real Saturday,  I let my mind wander as I ponder what life will look like as you are reading this early summer issue online, given the fact that the printer who prints this magazine and almost all the vendors who have magazine carts are closed.  So, I imagine you, the reader taking a moment from your day and sitting down to peruse this issue from your favorite spot, and hoping you are sitting at a sidewalk café, sipping something delicious on a warm sunny day. And that life is flowing back into a place where everyone can relish family, friends and connections again.
And what keeps surfacing as I gaze outside this sunny but cold April day, is the moment in my young life that I discovered I possessed optimism.  First of all, I was not an extraordinary child by any means, I was scrawny with a mop of naturally curly dark brown hair that seemed to have a life of its own. I was bossy to my younger brothers, but outside the family I was quiet, but fairly social.  So to sum it up, I was an ordinary kid and I am still ordinary.  Growing up,  I was not any kind of genius - that title goes to my youngest brother Barry and that is a whole other story of its own. Anyway, I’ve had a couple of life lessons that registered in my young mind that I recognized and actually felt the “aha moment” that have stuck with me and served me well all through my life so far.

I was in 5th grade when my parents sat us kids down and explained that we would probably be living in separate households.  They were contemplating divorce. Back then I knew only one girl who lived with her mom and she seemed sad all the time.  And I was terrified of what life would look like and how my world had changed completely overnight without my consent.  My folks told us that they loved us and that it wasn’t our fault, but it was still a gut-wrenching time.  And then a few days later, after crying myself to sleep every night, I awoke one morning and thought, this won’t be so bad, we can have regular visits with dad and we will live with mom who always was the one who nurtured us. She was (and still is) the “go to parent” and life will go on.  I felt our little world would be okay, actually more than okay, it would be truly good.  And then it hit me, I was aware that this feeling was something important and there was this shift and I recognized what optimism felt like. Even though I was only around 10 or 11, I knew this was powerful and it registered as a life truth in my young mind. The ability to realize that you had the power to choose happy and accept that regardless of what was happening - that you had the power to frame the circumstances.   I remember telling my brothers, it would be okay and actually feeling like it would be.  Maybe they trusted me, maybe they didn’t and tuned me out since I was the bossy sister, but I like to think they took my words seriously.  Anyway, the split never happened, a comprise of my parents ensued and they stayed together until I was twenty. But that life lesson of finding optimism has been a corner stone of getting through many hard and difficult times throughout my life.

I will admit I get more than annoyed with others who only see the half-full glass side of life.  I wonder what made them choose to look at life in that way and it makes me feel sad for them.  My life is probably a lot like yours, in that we’ve all hit our fair share of speed bumps on the road of life.  And the difference is how you view the obstacles that may have temporarily derailed you, what you learned, and what you did to get back on your journey.  I know personally when I hit a major speed bump seven years ago, that it forever changed my pathway and  in turn took me on a very different road. One that I most likely would not have chosen on my own, but one with all of its twists and turns has shown me so much more than I ever knew existed. I guess I would now call it my version of a happy ending to a long journey.  But we before I ended up in my present state, I had to face uncertainty, loneliness, heartache, self-worth and all the other junk that sometimes gets heaped on when a major change happens. But then you have the choice to sink deeper into that hole or stand up and take one step at a time to move forward. Hope and a good dose of optimism are essential items to keep in your back pocket.  And I am here to tell you that today I have never been happier and actually thankful for the bumpy road that has taught me so much. 

Being in the Ag industry for many years, having optimism is also a corner stone in every single farm family’s lives. Year after year, they have faith and hope every time they put in a crop that they will have a bountiful harvest and that the market is kind to them.  Unknown factors of weather and a picky market play a big factor in the end result of the their efforts that is commonly called a paycheck.   If you felt the toilet paper shortage, just imagine for a terrifying moment what a food shortage would be like. But these dedicated full-time farmers & ranchers go out every day and do what they do best, grow our food for our bellies, cotton for the clothes on our backs and give us a safe abundant food source.  God bless them.

Now more than ever with the COVID-19 impact on our lives, I have an even greater appreciation to the everyday heroes of the frontline.  The obvious ones, such as the medical workforce and the police/fireman/military have always been important to me, especially since some of my family are or were in those professions. But now I have even a deeper appreciation for them, along with the clerks in the stores, the truck drivers, the warehouse workers who all faced the risk of being infected every shift. I applaud the educators who on a moment’s notice had to change their method of instruction. And the list of those keeping us afloat goes on.  And I pray every day for them.  My heart swells with joy when the news stations report on ways Americans are bonding together and sharing  the latest of the  good deeds and acts that are being shown to one another.

And the take-away as I reflect back to our forced stay home order is that we all have the opportunity to do a “restart” on our lives and redefine what is important in this journey.  This has been a difficult time, for some more than others, but it has affected all of us.  How we rise up and go forward is equally important and I hope that you as well as myself will continue to seek out and nourish that inner optimism and let it help you which in turn helps our community.  I know for me personally, as I wait for the “pause button on life” to be lifted, that I will be redefining my new normal and reviewing what is truly important and what can be tossed.  The headline of “Let’s be Wonderful Together” from the Ruralite magazine hit the nail on the head. It further quoted my all-time favorite movie from “It’s A Wonderful Life” when Clarence the Angel says to George Bailey, “Strange isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.  When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”  The article talked about volunteers and difference-makers who affect the lives of others for the better. 

And I do look forward to seeing the explosion of life once again where we can gather together to share a meal and laugh at our stories of our struggles and high fives on our triumphs. I eagerly await the time when we all are celebrating the everyday sweetness of life, love, family and friends in ways that have meaning to each of us. Mr. Right (Rod) commented that we need to do some kind of weekly friend/family dinner parties! (I agree) And in the coming months, I hope I continue seeing people out riding bikes or walking together, and where home cooked meals are still eaten in leisure and savored followed by snuggling in to watch a movie or play a game.  Cherished times.

One of my fav family photos

Now more than ever, I see that I am beyond blessed with the special people in my life, some related, some not and it’s that personal connection to others that truly is the spice of life.  So as you go about your new normal, remember the good and the acts of random kindness that arose from our “pause on life”, remember to not be in such a hurry to get things done and to savor those near and dear to you and keep up the acts of kindness.  All my best, Gayle  (for more stories:

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