TMG Philosophy- Is It Good Enough?

In a week, I’m going to run a half marathon in San Francisco to honor and raise money for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew from Prescott, AZ and all others that have given the ultimate sacrifice while on duty.  Because of the growing popularity of the half marathon, I’m guessing most people know the distance is 13.1 miles.   I have tried to run one or two of these a year for the last 5 years or so, and every time someone hears only the word “marathon”, they mistakenly assume I am running the more accomplished big brother, a full marathon.   Then I’m forced to use the word “just” as I explain I’m running “only” 13.1 miles, and not the more impressive 26.2 miles.  More often than not, the response is an indulging pat on the shoulder, cock of the head (as if to say, “isn’t that cute”) and the phrase, “Well, 13.1 is good enough!”.   What does that even MEAN?  Good enough for what?

We hear the phrase, “it’s good enough” probably more often than we realize.  You might say it yourself more than likely.   Conversely, we hear and say, “It’s NOT good enough.”  Yet have you ever stopped to think about it?  I certainly say it, and cringe, when I’m in a hurry and want to mark the task at hand off my list.   I use the phrase when trying to placate people who are being too hard on themselves.  But what DOES “good enough” mean to you?  Does it mean full contentment with circumstances?  Does it mean satisfying the dreams of your heart? Or does it mean going along, status quo?  Is it settling for mediocre?

Back to the half marathon.   This upcoming run is very different from the others because I haven’t had the time, the energy, the health or the motivation to put the needed hours and effort into training. Last  year I ran a PR of just over 1:50.   (My ultimate goal is to run it faster than Sarah Palin at 1:45.  Don’t ask why.  I don’t really know,  it just is.)  Each time I’ve run one of these races, I try to improve on the time before.   With just under a week to start time, I’ll be lucky if I finish anywhere near that, based on all my training.  So now I have to let go.  Let go of unrealistic self-imposed expectations and just run.   Run the race to finish.  Run the race to honor others.

running shoesAnd that IS good enough, even if I tell myself my time isn’t good enough.  Running the race to finish WILL be good enough.  After all, I’m running to raise money for a very worthy cause.  I’m running to remember.  I should be running with my heart, not my legs.  I should be running for the memory of those 19 firefighters and their ultimate sacrifice.   Yet, I keep beating myself up for not putting more sweat in.   I keep lecturing myself about half-assed efforts.  I keep thinking of me, not those we are honoring.  This isn’t about me, and any attempt to make it so just isn’t good enough.

TMG Philosophy: Integrity-Part 1

Integrity is tricky.  It doesn’t have to be.  But it is. Integrity is about consistency, values, honesty, expectations and outcomes.  It’s about what you preach matching what you do.   It is something that takes daily discipline to maintain, and yet takes only a shadow of doubt to break down.  Integrity is perhaps the most attractive virtue I find in the people around me.

Integrity is spoken of as often as diaper changes are in our family.  (For those that don’t know, we have a 24 month old and a 7 month old.  That is a lot of diaper changes.)   Each day, my husband and I work to be the best examples of integrity for our very aware babies.  Each day, we encounter teaching opportunities that test our own integrity.   Antagonistic  voices whisper, “it’s okay to cut this corner…you are tired, don’t have enough time…just do it this way…you said you’d do it, but maybe next time…good enough…you meant well.”  And then little eyes look at us and we struggle to show the right example.

I could discuss so many levels of life that I think integrity includes (hence the “part 1”), but I want to focus this entry on integrity related to people holding steadfastly true to their commitments.   Because I’ve recently struggled with balance and my own commitments, it’s raw and ready to be written.   The idea of commitment can encompass many different kinds of intentions, promises, beliefs and relationships of trust and expectation.  We are usually committed to any number of people, organizations, even traditions and ideas. Sometimes we make these commitments with ourselves in projects and work lists.

That is where I start to over analyze.  When I don’t stick to a training plan for an upcoming race because of any number of “reasonable” excuses, do I lack integrity?   When I make my list for the day or week, and I don’t get to the hand written note for the neighbor lady whose husband just passed away, am I chipping away at my integrity?  It is easy to say I didn’t make that commitment explicitly to her and she’ll never know the difference…but if I can break my word to myself about an easy and quite meaningful task like that, what’s going to stop me from breaking my word on another level?  After all, isn’t integrity wrapped up in doing the right thing even when no one is looking?

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TMG Philosophy: Balance

Most people, seemingly, struggle to juggle life’s demands whether they are personal, social, family or work commitments.   We may even be pushing the limits of our daily time allotment to see how much can be accomplished in 24 hours.  Less and less down time is “scheduled” into our lives. 

Personally, turning “off” the go button for me has always taken great effort, and probably will always take extra discipline.  Though I’ve usually been aware of my fight to find balance, it hasn’t been until the last couple years that I’ve worked so hard to achieve that stability.  

Two years ago, I was an office manager who worked too many hours and days, had an amazing husband of 10 years, lived in a lovely home with our puppies, and yearned for a day we would become parents.  I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t happy.  My husband and I filled our calendar squares with working, camping trips, hikes, fishing and hunting trips, dinners with friends and family, movie dates, dinner dates, and alone time.  

Then came Nathaniel who will be 2 years old on Wednesday.  Then came a major work change from office manager to working from home doing something I get pleasure from every day at The Transmogrifier.  Then came Lyla, 7 months old.   So now, here I am, given an incredible gifts of my babies, being at home with them, and the opportunity to work with other creative people.  I get to do artistic and original work every day whether it is writing or photography and all that comes with it. 

Never before have I felt I’m where I should be.  Never before have I felt such happiness in all areas of my life.  Never before have I struggled so much to find balance.  Our calendar squares and the hours each square encompasses are filled with baby memories, field adventures, taking pictures, writing, picking, laughing, teaching our kids and learning from them.   Now the work that fills my squares brings me such pleasure I have to compel myself to stop.  Or, when I’m not doing it, I find myself pulling away from other things to focus on work. 

It occurred to me the other day that my work and family life/free time are no longer neatly compartmentalized, but are seamlessly becoming jumbled up together.  Our family vacations, field adventures, and road trips are full of image photography opportunities, blog entry inspirations and family memories.  To a multi-tasker like me, that seems pretty darn cool!  I get to check multiple things off my list with one event!  Win win win!  Or is it? 

That depends on me.  A few weeks ago on a field adventure with our babies and my husband, Chad, I realized with no small amount of horror that I was losing my balance.  Or maybe I had lost my balance.  We were out taking pictures, stopping at the San Francisco Zoo and the Japanese Tea Gardens.   Throughout the day, Nate kept tugging on me, beckoning me.  I can still hear his eager voice, “Momma!  Momma!  Momma!  Mom! Mommy!”.   Each time, I told him to wait.  Each time, I barely acknowledged him because I didn’t want to miss my shot.  I had work to do.  I couldn’t be bothered with the love and exuberance of my son.  

It wasn’t until I was lying in bed that night that I realized I hadn’t ever stopped to discover what Nate was so excited to show me.  Epic fail.  I then began wondering how many other times I had done this to him.  How many times had I dismissed him or my husband?  I was most certainly out of balance.  With renewed vigor and effort, I have begun the battle to regain some balance. 

Having a balanced life is different for each person as we all have different components that make up our wheels of life.   But I do really believe it is realistic to get to a balanced place, even if the glitches come.  The glitches will come.  It comes down to with what and how we choose to fill our calendar squares. There is that word again: choices.  We choose, for the most part, what and how much of what comes first in our lives.  Quality and quantity.  Obviously this fluctuates on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.  But we have a large say in how busy we are…and being busy all the time doesn’t mean we are more productive or more fulfilled, necessarily.  It might just mean we are busier.  And that might mean we are missing moments and opportunities, like I did with my son. 

TMG Philosophy: Work

Today, in the United States, we are celebrating Labor Day.  As a kid, growing up in Michigan, the idea of Labor Day was more about the end of summer with the first day of school being the next day.  We would often spend the day at a barbecue in the backyard of a friend’s house with the Jerry Lewis Telethon on the black and white TV in the house, the rabbit ears on the TV positioned just so.

Labor Day in the United States was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894 as an effort to lessen the tension between big business and the workers after several large strikes in which workers were killed.  It was quickly approved by a unanimous vote in Congress.  In upper society in the US, Labor Day was considered the last day of the season in acceptable fashion to wear white clothing.

The idea of a national holiday that celebrates the laborer may sound suspiciously communist to some of you, but nonetheless – it is the holiday we have.  For most of us in the US, Labor Day is more of a name and a chance to have one last big backyard party with our friends and family, while enjoying a day off, than a chance to honor workers.

Stop and think about the idea of hard work and what that means for a moment.  We are often told as we grow up that if we work hard, we will get what we work for.  Some people get this and dive into their work with enthusiasm for the sense of accomplishment that often comes at the end, and some on the other end of the spectrum seem to be as accepting of doing work as a pulled pork sandwich vendor would be at the Wailing Wall.

But let’s be honest, not all hard work leads to a positive end.  Sometimes we work really hard and things still don’t turn out the way we expect.  I know a few people who work hard and have a good work ethic, yet they struggle to find work.  I am sure we all know a few people like that, just like we probably each know a few people who don’t seem to work much at all, yet are doing just fine.

At the Transmogrifier, we believe in the value of work and the realization that pretty much anything of value, takes a lot of work and effort to create, maintain or make grow.  It takes a special level of commitment to stick with the work even when the rewards are not readily apparent.  That is why we have been committed to our websites and the incredible amount of work it takes to build them up, for several years now , and we know it will be work for many years to come.

We are happy with the “fruits of our labor” and we hope you are too.  Give us a “Like” on Facebook if you like what we have done, sign up for an account (it’s free) on our sites if you have not done that already, or share what we are doing with a friend or coworker.  We would appreciate that work on your part, which helps us with our work.  Let’s take this Labor Day to think about the work we all do and show some appreciation for the work other do, as well at take pride in our own efforts.

Thanks, and Happy Labor Day!



TMG Philosophy: The Amazing Power of RESPECT

Respect is something I have written about before.  It is a subject that is personally very important to me and I firmly believe that if the rest of the world felt the same way – it would be a far, far better world.

The incredible, life-altering power of respect was made crystal clear, last week, on Tuesday, August 20th in an elementary school in Georgia, just outside Atlanta.  If you have not heard this story, then you really, really need to go look up the details.  It is an amazing story and that is NOT an exaggeration!

I want to focus on one aspect of the story that has not been directly mentioned in the news much if at all, and that is the respect element to the story and how, when it was used with honesty and love, it was more powerful than any gun.

On that Tuesday morning, a 20 year old gunman came into the front office of the school with an AK-47 (he may have had other guns as well) and at least 500 rounds of ammunition.  He was clearly there to commit mass murder.  In the front office that day (even though she originally was not supposed to be there but ended up being there as a result of a scheduling change at the last minute) was a woman by the name of Antoinette Tuff.  We have since learned that she was one of a few school administrators that had received some training on how to deal with a crisis situation, but let’s be honest – what she does goes well beyond any training any school administrator would ever take part in.

Standing in front of her is a troubled young man who is heavily armed and clearly intent on killing as many people as possible.  We know the whole story because she was on the phone with a 911 operator and the time and her entire conversation with the gunman was recorded of course.  At first, when in a moment of frustration he goes outside and fires his weapon into the ground, she asks the 911 operator if she should take this opportunity to run.  The vast majority of us would have seized the opportunity to run and save ourselves.  But she stays as he walks back into the office!

She then proceeds to talk to him and try and calm him down.  Listen to the entire conversation and you will see something truly amazing.  She treats him with love and respect!  She sees him for what he really is, a troubled fellow human being and tells him about the struggles she has dealt with in her life, making it clear that she wants to help HIM.  Seriously…?!  Again – a vast, vast majority of us would be thinking about ways to either flee from him or hurt or kill the gunman, but she, through the strength of her character – reaches out to him and treats him with the respect that he deserves as a fellow human being!  In later interviews she credits her faith and the strength she received from God in that situation.  While I believe that was true, I also believe that she was still acting in a way that was true to her character.  God may have given her the strength to do what she did- but who she truly was as a person was what He strengthened.

Here is verbatim what she says to him towards the end after he has agreed to give up and lie down on the floor so the police can come in and arrest him:  “It’s going to be all right, sweetie.  I just want you to know I love you, though, OK? And I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re just giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life.”

Read that again.  She actually tells him she loves him…!  I would be willing to bet that virtually none of us when faced with a mentally unbalanced, heavily armed gunman, intent to kill us, would tell him that we love him and go on to say that we are proud of him for now doing the right thing and not harming anyone.  The cynical (and I would add – heartless) among us would have you believe that she (having been trained) was simply acting a part, and was therefore telling him things to calm him down so that he wouldn’t hurt her.  I say that is complete 100%, Grade A, directly off the stable floor – bullshit!

The NRA has said time and time again that the only way to stop a badman with a gun – is a good person with a gun.  While it is hard to argue the cold, simplistic and narrow-minded logic of that – I think on August 20th we were given a powerful reminder that there are things that, when we recognize the humanity in another person, can do that are far more powerful and with greater positive results than reacting to anger and aggression with more of the same.

A lone woman, fearing for her life, used RESPECT to disarm a heavily-armed gunman with the intent to kill, and saved many lives (including his) in the process.

Think about that…

TMG Philosophy: “Exploring Your Neighbor”

Now, before some of you start thinking, “Ahhhh, poor Tim.  He must be getting a head start on senility.  He must have meant to say ‘Explore Your NeighborHOOD’ and not neighbor…” I will tell you that I, in fact, meant to say just that.

By now, I am sure any of you loyal readers will have noticed a number of themes that appear regularly in each of the sections of our blog.  One that we clearly believe strongly in is the idea of exploration.  Quite simply – the world is a great big playground and since we are curious people, we here at the Transmogrifier believe there is no doubt that we are meant to explore every bit of our world.  That desire to explore and the world to be explored is one of the very best things about our jobs here.

Obviously, exploration can be a scary thing.  The thing that makes it scary is the (insert dramatic music sound effect here)  the unknown…  We are both intrigued by what is on the other side of that mountain in front of us and scared of what may be lurking there.  This is not a new idea at all.  If you doubt me, take a look at old maps.  It was a widely held fear before Magellan circumnavigated the globe, that if you sailed too far you would fall off the edge of the world.  And to make it extra scary, map makers of the time put ravenous sea monsters at the edges of the maps to reinforce the fear of the unknown.

From the 500 year old map known as Carta Marina. It is in the public domain.

From the 500 year old map known as Carta Marina. Presumably the sailors are hoping the sea monsters will eat the cargo and not them.  My guess is the cargo is really just an appetizer.

While we all understand that exploration has both risk and reward and it is that combination of the two in unique proportions that taunts us to do things like climb Mount Everest, why is it that we rarely see the challenge in getting to know people as a worthy exploration?

Yes- people (especially those we do not know) can be even more scary than sea monsters, but I will bet that all of us can think of a great story of when we took a risk and spoke to someone.  That may have started out scary or hard, but then turned out to be a wonderful experience, and may have even led to a life-long relationship in some cases.  A blind date leads to a marriage.  A suicide leads to a strong friendship among those that dealt with it.  Offering a homeless guy a chance to stay somewhere on a cold winter night leads to a friendship and a life saved.

I am not naive, clearly good things do not happen every time or even a lot of the time when we risk reaching out to people.  Just like the risk that comes with exploring the world, there is real risk in getting to know people.  But the rewards can be so much greater than a cargo hold full of spices (that was what Magellan’s crew saw as their dream goal and why they were willing to take the risk of falling of the Earth.)

I am not suggesting that we spend every waking hour walking up to complete strangers and offering to be their BFF, but certainly we can agree that if we at least change our perspective of people we do not know from a virtual map with sea monsters, to the chance to discover and explore, that will be a step in the right direction.  This applies to those who look different, talk different, and even have different views, customs and beliefs.  If we see those people as a chance to explore and get to know them, rather than scary and unknown, there is no telling where you might go next.

So that nice, cute waitress who smiles at you – talking to her is like stepping up onto a pitcher’s mound compared to the Everest that is talking to the homeless guy who smells of urine and stale beer.  Both deserve our time and both deserve to be treated with respect.

Go ahead – talk to someone you don’t know and see what is at the edges of that map…

TMG Philosophy: Words

Words.  They are everywhere. Spoken and unspoken.  Words mean something different to different people.   When I say “no” to my toddler son I am very clear about what I mean.  On the other hand, to him, “no” means “yes, do whatever it is you are doing even more! Actually, add another inappropriate action as well!”.    When someone says “rusty” to me, I get excited and think it must be beautiful. Show me the rust!   To someone else, “rusty” might have a negative connotation, meaning dilapidated, junky, unworthy of notice or even dangerous.  When someone hears that part of my work is photography, they assume that the websites are just a bunch of pretty pictures.  Well, they are kind of right!   But our websites are more than just pretty pictures.

Our team at The Transmogrifier loves words.  All of our images have keywords and descriptions attached to them.   We get to look at an image and come up with as many descriptive and informative words as possible.  We pride ourselves on these words being accurate.  Our team wants users to count on these words being accurate.  Our goal is to not only provide inspiration to other creative people with our images, but also to inform others with our images, giving background and interesting information on each photo.   With over 50,000 combined images on our Textures website and Imagery website…each with keywords and descriptions attached to them…well, that’s a lot of words.

Without words I wouldn’t be writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading this.  You might even be wondering how many more words I’ll use to get to the end!   Words can give us strength.  Words can undermine our strength.  Words can change our days.  Words can change our lives.  Words inform, educate, and entertain.  Words incite emotions and encourage action.

I’ll use just a few more words to ask for your action.  We are proud of the work we’ve built and the culture of quality and variety we are creating in our network of websites.   We are humbled by the support and encouragement of our families.   Now we need you to use your words and tell anyone and everyone you know about our work, the websites and this blog.  Words are powerful.  Word-of-mouth is influential.  Please share yours.  (377 words not including this word count!)

*Perhaps this was a borderline non-philosophical entry.

TMG Philosophy: Cause and Effect – Part Two

A while back I wrote on the idea of cause and effect, specifically as it pertains to choices we make in life.  Amanda, added to that with her entry on “Choices“.  So, I am sure it will not be surprising to you that since I titled the first entry “Cause and Effect – Part One”, I would therefore have more to say on the subject.

So here goes:

If you have been reading our blog for some time now you will (hopefully) notice that there are a number of recurring themes.  One of those broader and more common themes is the idea of personal responsibility, especially as it pertains to how we all make choices in our lives.

We can choose to be happy or sad.  We can choose to see people a certain way.  We can choose how we treat people.  We can choose how we treat ourselves.  You get the idea.  Life is a series of choices we get to/have to make and the bottom line is that what we get out of life is a direct result of those choices – the good and the bad.  Cause and effect.

Here at The Transmogrifier, we all chose to give up other jobs we had in order to pursue this passion.  Some thought we were a bit crazy (or even a lot crazy) but it was nonetheless, our choice to do so.  Over the past almost year that we have been focused on this, there have been times when all of us have wondered and even said out load that maybe this wasn’t the best choice, or the best timing, or… We doubted if we made the right choices.

Another theme you will see repeated in our blog is the sense of adventure that we appreciate and enjoy (as much as we can!)   The choice for all of us to dive into this adventure and take on what will be an ongoing effort for years was a big one.  Like some of the great explorers hundreds of years ago – we had no map to go by when we set out on the journey.  We simply have a desire to explore and create and we hope you are willing to go along on this journey with us to see what we create.  Though we will at times have doubt about our choices, we have chosen to push forward.

So, let’s see what the effect is for this cause we have embarked on…

TMG Philosophy: Kindness

Sometimes it feels like kindness, especially that between strangers, is becoming rare, harder to find.  Sadly, it seem random kindness is the unexpected, the surprise in your day.   Yet, how many of us need that boost, that pleasant shock to lift our spirits?   Once in a while, that moment of kindness comes and encourages us or changes our perspective …or, if we are fortunate, both.

It was on a recent field adventure with my family that I experienced both.   We headed up the Northern California coast to Fort Ross on a beautiful, blue-sky, summer day.   I didn’t see the beauty though.  I was too busy focusing on the list of negatives I had chosen to worry about that day.  With a pounding headache, an upsetting conversation from the day before still processing in my head, an overwhelming list of things to accomplish in the next few days, and a doctor appointment I was anxious about I was anything but focused on the beauty outside.   Every turn on the twisty highway annoyed me, threatening to make me sick.   Every noise from the babies in the back seat sounded more like whining and grated in my ears.   Every tense minute that went by found me more and more uptight.  

It was a day where people’s smiles seemed like smirks and their “hellos” seemed to have attitude.   Or maybe that was just when I looked in the mirror…It was a day where the gorgeous sun was too bright and bothersome.   I knew that being around me on this day was anything but pleasant, but apologies weren’t coming all too soon.  I was digging my grumpy heels in.   We were about 45 minutes into the hike and the walk inside Fort Ross when we came to one of the last buildings.   I was relieved that we would finally be out of this place and on our way home.  

As we entered the building that obviously was a workshop, gunsmith and artillery supply, I started taking photos as quickly as possible to move along.   The baby I was wearing was getting heavy and my patience was almost gone.   The stupid bars around everything made it hard to get a decent photo.  Stupid bars.  One of the volunteers, Harold, tried to engage me by asking about the pictures I was taking.  He only made me grit my teeth more.  I’m ashamed to say I was probably quite rude to Harold.   That didn’t phase him though! He continued to share about the Fort, the history and the artillery.  Any other day I would have been intrigued, would have engaged, for there was no doubt his passion and knowledge was infectious.  I just happened to be immune today.  Or stubborn. 

I was getting ready for one last attempt, digging deep in my arsenal to brush off Harold when he pulled out his own weapon: kindness.   He looked around and then told us to come closer.  After suspiciously agreeing, I realized he was allowing us to come on the other side of the stupid bars, behind the sign that said, “NO ENTRY”.   He was bending the rules so I could take better pictures.  An act of kindness I surely didn’t deserve.   In that moment, I felt my harsh walls shatter under his kindness. 

Behind the Bars

Behind the Bars

A Shot of Kindness

A Shot of Kindness

The rest of the afternoon, I noticed that bluer than blue sky and how it complimented the warm grasses dancing in the wind.  I noticed the amazing craftsmanship in each building, could almost hear the soldiers and traders that walked at the Fort in times past.   I smelled the salt air, the eucalyptus trees and hugged my babies.  I appreciated my husband for taking time for this field photo adventure and for putting up with me the first half of the day.   Most of all, I thought of Harold and smiled.  He had encouraged me, had reached me like nothing had been able to that day.   And he had done it with such a simple, easy gesture of kindness.  

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TMG Philosophy: Perhaps I Was Too Quick to Judge

It’s me, Nate.   Yea, I know it’s not Wednesday, my assigned day.  Before you turn in unhappiness and irritation because I have once again hijacked the blog entry of a fellow writer, hear me out.  I may have something worth listening to.  Don’t be too quick to judge me or my insight because of my age. 

So this whole road trip thing has been something I’ve been disgruntled about from the first day I realized it meant I’d be captive in the back seat.  Notice I say captive…not captivated.  I don’t know how many times I tried to explain-using toys, color crayons, facial expressions and hand gestures- that caged animals don’t thrive.  I would think you big people would get that the only thing worse than a caged animal is perhaps, a caged toddler boy and his baby sister.  Some people are slow learners. 

Mostly, our sequences of screams and inconsolable outburst have done nothing to burst the happy smiles, excited voices and clicking cameras of my traveling companions.   Lyla turned out to be less than helpful, with only one bad afternoon out of 5 days on the road.  So the opposite of what we discussed and planned.   Clearly her comprehension skills are lacking; like I said, some people are slow learners.   But to be honest, I tried to be grumpy for long periods, and acted like nothing was exciting…but THERE WAS SO MUCH COOL STUFF!!!  Sometimes I got caught smiling, wide eyed or pointing in joy. 

Perhaps I was too quick to judge this whole road trip thing.   Perhaps there is a lot to learn on the open road and from that map thing that Momma insists on using.   Just as I suspected, there have been a gazillion stops for pictures.   And there is talk of many stops on the road back.   We’ll see.  But so far, this road trip thing has given me many first experiences:  My first time in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and now South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho on the way back home;  my first time seeing fire flies;  my first time riding a tractor;  my first time with sparklers; my first time seeing corn fields, huge rolled hay bales, baby cows, bean fields, silos and so many parks;  my first time eating cheesecake;  my first time meeting more cousins and other family; my first time at a family reunion with so many meatballs and potato dishes…and no beans;   my first time seeing a movie in a theater. That’s a lot of firsts and that’s not even all of them!   

The journey that brought us to Minnesota was supposed to be horrible.  Instead, it was amazing.  The week in Minnesota was an unknown for me, and I expected to be overwhelmed.   Instead, it was a week that brought me more family to love and be loved by.  It was a week that gave me stories of people I won’t get to meet, people who are sleeping in the clouds, but people that Momma says are part of her and who she is.  That means they are pretty cool.

The journey home begins today, another 5 days on the road.   Instead of making a story about what it WILL be, I’ll just wait and see what it IS as it comes.  Momma would think that is very wise of me.  This road trip thing has taught me not to be too quick to judge, and the time in Minnesota has been more fun than…than…than playing with all my cars at once, taking a bath, riding a tractor AND eating blueberries.   Don’t tell Momma though!