“I’m telling you up front, I don’t care who wins.” Jason walked to the starting line, bounced a couple times and stretched.

Matt stopped his warmup and looked at Jason like he was speaking a foreign language. “How can you not care who wins? That’s nuts, Man. Why are we even doing this?”

“To help you practice.”

“If you just let me win, how will that challenge me?”

“I never said I was going to let you win. I’ll do my best. If your best is better than mine, happy for you, Dude. If it’s not today, maybe next time. Either way my personal best is an achievement, right?”

Matt shook his head. “Sorry. Losing is failure. Pure and simple.”

“Really? But doesn’t someone have to lose for there to be a winner?” Jason asked.

“Now you’re just messing with my head.”

“I’m not. It’s not hard. Pure and simple, competition isn’t the only thing that motivates excellence. Achievement works, too. Otherwise, you would have to be the winner all the time in everything, and that simply isn’t possible. There is always something that someone can do better than you can. We all have gifts.”

“That’s crap, Man. I’m good at this because I work at it. I train. I make sacrifices. Nobody handed me no gift.”

“Yeah, but the next guy–probably me–could work side by side with you, working on the same skill in the same way just as hard and never be as good. It’s called talent. Natural ability. And it is a gift. Something you are born with. Every person has one.”

“Look, Mr. Philosophy, don’t you have a photography group to meet up with this afternoon? Are you going to race me, or just talk me to death?”

“I don’t care who wins,” Jason said, giving him a taunting grin.

“Fine. You’ll eat my dust regardless. Achieve that!” Matt grinned at him and punched a button on his watch. “Five, four, three, two…RUN!”



A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. ~Ayn Rand


One Day Down

I have designated January the month of the house reboot. I have chosen 9 days, each devoted to a room of the house, to purge, rearrange and clean, top to bottom.

Today was day one. I chose to tackle the kitchen out of necessity. The new stove cost me some drawer space, so the kitchen was a shambles anyway. Too. Much. Stuff. For one. Second I decided to be a bit more strategic about what occupies prime shelf and drawer space.

We shall celebrate progress. I knew this would be the hardest room to wrestle to simplicity, so I went with “eating the live toad” philosophy from the poster in my sister’s bedroom from long ago that advised: Eat a live toad in the morning and nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day.

Kitchen is half done. We will revisit.

And I even managed to use my new oven in the midst of all the chaos. No-knead bread and roasted garlic chicken.

And that’s all I can manage today. Boring I know.


It’s not my color.

I made my own dress for my 8th grade graduation. Loved the fabric–a flowing, soft yellow and pink floral print and I was totally in love with the pattern for the dress. I worked hard on that dress–carefully, painstakingly. It was as perfect as I could make a dress. I couldn’t wait to wear it.

When I finally put it on, I was so disappointed. Something was off. Couldn’t put a finger on exactly what, though.

This was to become a theme throughout my life, but that’s another story.

Much later I came to learn it was likely because I can’t wear yellow. Or cream. Or brown with a yellow base. When I do, people inevitably ask me if I’m sick or tired.

So for a long time I thought I didn’t like yellow. But that was wrong, too. I love yellow, just not on me.

I Am Here

For now I am linking my posts to my photo challenge for the day,

Until I get on a roll.

I miss this. I really do. I have been writing for myself since September, but I’m ready to get started again for a broader audience. If they will have me.

We’ve been talking to Alexa. Surely we can do better. ūüôā

<<<<<<<<<“I am here.” Is the prompt:

It was a job getting here today. Went back and forth from car to house three times before I finally left my house. To arrive here. Where the berries are beautiful, and the birds are frantic about the sunflower seeds that are left.

Inside is warmth and fragrance and football and good food–hearty, healthy and simple. And most important, family. Family with wide open arms to graciously accept strangers as part of the family, even if the “temporary” family is deaf, legally blind and autistic.

I married into a special family. I wish I could adequately express how grateful I am.

Revival? Revival!

I need to get back in the habit. Boy howdy, do I need to. I couldn’t even remember how to sign in to write here!

Just under four months and counting till my next awesome adventure.

I did not write enough about the journey through Bulgaria and Greece. I have tons of pictures and lots of memories. But sometimes combining the two….Or recalling the details, vivid ones….There was hardly time.

I should have made the time.

The trip was exquisite in every way, except I didn’t capture it the way I wanted to.

So four months to establish a habit. To show up, to write it down, to notice those everyday miracles.

Because in four months, I will be cruising through Northern Europe–with an eye on Belgium and France afterward…..ten countries in all, I believe. I want to be fully present, in the moment, for all of it. The best way to do that? Share it.

There’s a lot to do in these four months, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Good Morning, Sofia!

Good Morning, Sofia!

It’s a new day.  A new hot day, apparently.  Bring it on!

Getting here wasn’t the easiest thing.  Getting up yesterday morning after just a few hours’ sleep wasn’t the easiest thing.  But the day was more than worth the push to put difficult beginnings behind. 

I feel much more ready for today.  Hopefully my mind will be a bit more willing to put words together for all of it in the coming days. A good night’s rest has already done a world of good. 

My Sofia Sisters, Old and New



Prairie_fence.JPGThere’s nothing quite like going somewhere else, or getting ready to go somewhere else, that makes you take a good long look at home.

I am looking forward to seeing sights and hearing sounds, and tasting things that I don’t normally. The other side of the coin is that to those I am going to visit, I live in a far-away and unusual place.

I am watching out my window as I type. ¬†There is a juvenile rabbit hopping along the fenceline in the yard next to ours filling up on an abundance of overgrown clover. ¬†A flock of sparrows keeps darting from a variety of perches in the chain link fence to the dirt pile under the elm tree. ¬†I wonder if locusts are digging out. There’s something delectable scurrying about down there.

Ah, there’s my pigeon buddy. ¬†I don’t think it can fly. ¬†For the past week, it has visited me in my garage, I have frightened it out from behind our air conditioner when I walked out the kitchen door, and right now it too is darting about around the dirt pile. ¬†It flaps every now and then, but not much and lists a little to its left. Oops, well….it just made it to the top of the chain link fence. ¬†Then came down to the ground again to feast on something. ¬†Wait, no. ¬†That’s a second one! ¬†The injured one is climbing up the tree trunk now. ¬†I might have to stop writing and watch to see what happens.

I hope in the next few days I can put together a digital photo album to showcase familiar parts of my surroundings that might be intriguing to those I meet.  My son was already sweet enough to put family pictures on a small digital key chain for me to take with me.  Now I need to learn how to say family, husband, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, niece in Bulgarian.  Should have done that a long time ago.  But I can say hello! And please and thank you and introduce myself. And count.  And gesture a lot.

Language. That’s a whole other adventure.

So will I get to do any of this in Bulgaria? ¬†Will there by time to watch birds or find rabbits or catch the smallest glimpse of everyday life, somebody else’s mundane that is strange and fascinating to me?

I certainly hope so. In the meantime, where did that pigeon go?