Tag Archives: inspiration

Where is the Sun, Dooby Dooby! Where Is the Sun, and I Say, We Miss You! Da Da Da Da Da Da

The last time it was nice enough for a decent bike ride was April 12th. I’m writing this two weeks later (April 27th) and publishing on May 1st (Hooray, hooray, the first of May…), and the forecast for this week calls for cloudy skies and rain just about every day.




I am sincerely hoping that I am publishing this AFTER the Highland Howie Thursday night bike ride with the BSBC (Bay Shore Bicycle Club) but I’m not optimistic, because it will probably be raining.

Given that, I thought I would post the pictures I took on April 12th, with a little story to boot. I follow a blog called The Travel Tales of Life, where my alter ego Sue (also married to a Dave – Great Sue’s think alike) posts tales of her many visits to other countries, often on the seat of her bicycle. A few weeks ago, she was in Scotland with her hubby, and while he was busy with work stuff, she asked the locals what she should go see while she was in Aberdeen. Being locals, their response was “Not much here to see” to which her response was “Rubbish!” (don’t you love saying “rubbish”?  It’s really an awesome word.  I must find a way to sneak it into my day-to-day conversations.)  And her blog is filled with photos of treasures she has found while traveling, that perhaps the locals take for granted.

So, my post is basically this: Traveling is wonderful if you have the time and the resources. But if you don’t, remember to seek out the beauty in your own back yard. You don’t have to go far to find it. Sometimes it’s the way a stark tree silhouettes the sky, or a fall blanket of leaves in a cemetery, or pelicans riding the thermals while the sun reflects the dazzling white of their feathers, or the single green shoot of a spring tulip.

When I ride my bike, that is what I love the most – chancing upon the treasures God leaves for me to find in the beauty of the earth. Even when the world seems like it has been gray for so very long, I know His laws of nature are furiously working in the background, just out of reach, and that soon the sun will shine and when it does, my eyes, my ears, my skin, and my heart, will feast on richness of His design.  (Was that not just one of the most smarmy paragraphs you have ever read?  But it’s true – and the hope of spring is about the only thing that is keeping me from pitching myself into my moat right now.)

Meanwhile, Dave and I walk the neighborhood and pick up trash left over by winter winds, constructions sites, and plow trucks. We pond-stalk the geese and blue teal ducks and hooded mergansers. We walk at twilight and hope to see the deer herd running along the ridge, and carry binoculars in case the eagles are out.

So enjoy my photos of the blue sky, the sun filtering thru the trees, and a bit of left over snow and ice, and take heart knowing that the snow is now gone and the ice has moved off the bay.  Spring progress is being made beneath all this grey. And when you see the sun shine again, you will have so much more to see.

See you in a week!


cottage2These are photos (above) of my grandparent’s cottage. Well, it used to be theirs. It hasn’t been in the family for years, but all of us grandchildren have many memories of fishing on the dock with Grandma and the bamboo fishing poles; walking out to swim while navigating large seaweed covered rocks; the huge spiders that hung outside the windows and by the boat house that we begged Grandpa to kill; finding crayfish skeletons and dead alewife while walking the rocky beach; playing croquet on the lawn, and crazy eights at the big table inside, all while drinking bug juice and getting noogies from Uncle Jim. If I shut my eyes, I can hear the bang of the wood screen door, smell the damp cedar, and hear Grandma calling us from in the kitchen.

The following photos (below) are from Bayshore Park.

Best bike EVER.  Did I ever mention how much I love this bike?  Pedal and Paddle Performance - get yours!

Best bike EVER. Did I ever mention how much I love this bike? Pedal and Paddle Performance – get yours!

There are a few trails along the cliffs at Bayshore Park.  I found this one to the left of the main entrance.


Walking down in clip shoes was probably not one of my brighter ideas.  Doing it while wearing prescription sunglasses without bifocals didn’t add to the brilliance of the decision.  I had the nasty sensation of the ground trying to float up to my eyeballs a few times before I got smart and just took them off.  I can see decent enough without them.


Speaking of these sunglasses – they cost me a fortune, but I had leftover money in my flex spending account and had to spend it on something before December 31st.  Well, when I stopped to take pictures at the cottage, I set the sunglasses on my bike bag.  I totally forgot to put them on when I left, and almost lost them along the side of the road.  Before that, they were lost in the move – I found them by chance in the glove box of my car.  Not sure why I put them there, because I bought them for biking so one would think I would have stored them with my bike stuff, which is where I spent the last four weeks looking for them.


Such a pretty place to fall on my head.  Thank goodness for the rails.


So, I’m huffing and puffing up and down these steps, talking to myself and crashing thru the brush and twigs, when I spot some guy standing on the rocks just above these steps (He’s not in the photo.  That would have been rather stalker-ish to take his picture).  I felt like a complete idiot, because here was this guy, probably trying to get a little peace and quiet on a Sunday afternoon woodsy hike, while this buffoon in a blinding yellow jacket is stumbling about below him, carrying on a conversation with herself like a crazy person.  Then, I got a little nervous, because what if he was really a serial killer, just waiting for his next victim, and there I was, in non-bifocal sunglasses and clip shoes, a catch as easy as a B-movie actress in a mini skirt and high-heeled shoes?  As he ran in the other direction, I realized my crazy talk was too crazy for even a serial killer.  Chalk one up for menopause.


This greeted me at the top of those steps and around the corner.  No clue what it was made for.  Besides hiding bodies, I mean.  Anyone have any ideas?

Here are a few more shots of it.


I love knarly old trees like this (above).

View from a rest stop on Nicolet. You can still see a little ice left on the bay.

nicolet1A shot of the fence at the rest stop.  Pretty sure these pillars are really old, and not just manufactured to look old.  No clue when they were built.  I suppose I could find out by going to the library.  I think I might have to do that.  Get a my research on, baby!


And finally – a picture of my Road ID.  This is to prove to Kay that I actually do wear it.  It’s yet another of those items I frequently misplace, and never have it when I need it.  For you runners and bikers out there – it’s a smart idea to have one, especially if you run or ride alone.  EMT’s don’t have to search you for vital information, and it saves time and could save your life, too.  Get yours here:  ROAD ID



PS- I was right – it was raining.  No ride tonight. 😦



#100HappyDays Plus Lent

Lent.  When I was a kid, I always gave something up for lent.  Usually it was candy or soda.  As an adult, I have only very rarely participated in that aspect of Lent – mostly because the motives for giving something up became linked to losing weight or some other selfish end.  That’s really missing the point of what Lent is all about, which is a time of reflection and growth in your relationship with Christ, as well as a preparation for the most holy of weeks and the grand finale – the Resurrection.

However, this year I ran across this article, posted by a friend on Facebook: 20 Things To Give Up For Lent.  This inspired me to try something different this year, and I am heeding the advice given in the article by giving up Guilt and Worry.

Living my life consumed by guilt is like telling God He isn’t big enough to heal my past or that I am beyond forgiveness.  If I say with my mouth that I don’t believe those things, then I should practice believing it in my heart.  And if I believe it in my heart, then it’s time to move away from that damaging self talk Guilt whispers every day, and move forward instead into change and forgiveness.

Worry is the Ugly Step-Sister to Guilt.  I worry about things I have absolutely no control over with the misguided internal belief that if I worry about them enough, I can somehow control them.  And even though worry has never changed a single outcome in all of my 50 years of existence, I continue to practice it.  You all know the definition of insanity, right?  So it’s time to start practicing Trust, in place of Worry, and learn to allow Peace to follow Trust.

A tall order for only 40 days.  And I am pretty sure I will fail.  But every day is a new day and a new chance to start again.  No success has ever come without failure along the way.  I will give you an update after Easter.

Now, on to #100HappyDays!  These are in no particular order, by the way.  Nor do I have a picture for everyday since my last 100 Happy Days post – things have been a little hectic with all the moving stuff.  I am sure you will enjoy what I have though.  🙂

Birthday Stragglers:  My brother and my oldest sister decided I needed a little more Nifty Fifty-ness in my life.  Below are their contributions.

Words of Wisdom from my OLDER brother

Words of Wisdom from my OLDER brother

Old Age Tool Kit From my OLDEST sister, complete with sticky note instructions.  Because us old people are so forgetful you know.

Old Age Tool Kit From my OLDEST sister, complete with sticky note instructions. Because us old people are so forgetful you know.


We got to meet John Kuhn at our sales meeting.  Besides me and Kuhn, that's our sales rep Judy on the left and my co-worker Kirby in the middle.  Notice I'm wearing Packer gold.  Totally not planned.  I'm just sort of awesome that way.

We got to meet John Kuhn at our sales meeting. Besides me and Kuhn, that’s our sales rep Judy on the left and my co-worker Kirby in the middle. Notice I’m wearing Packer gold. Totally not planned. I’m just sort of awesome that way.

Besides going thru all the photos, I also went thru a pile of the kids old toys we still had.  I ran across this truck and had to take a picture.  Matt used to do this to a lot of his trucks – he would draw up decals and tape them to the body.  Seeing this made me smile and remember the sweet boy who spent so much time laying on the floor with his cars and trucks.  “Matthew the Vehicle King”.

Another Nifty Fifty Event!  A beautiful necklace from my friends Karen and Betsy, from their store, Pretty Poppy.  If you happen to be in Newburyport, Massachusetts, stop in!  It’s a girl’s dream.  Seriously – I could never bring my daughter in there.  I would go broke.IMG_1700

Latte Friday!!  Every Friday, I go thru Jitter Bean for a latte.  Yummy delicious – and Julie always gives out an animal cookie with each cup!  If you have never been there, you need to check them out.  Buy Local!!!



This adorable girl.

Daisy Duke aka Dobby

Daisy Duke aka Dobby

This goofball cat.

Rub ma bellay!  Rub it!

Rub ma bellay! Rub it!

Lucky with his snowbeard.

Let me in, lady!  It's freezing out here.

Let me in, lady! It’s freezing out here.

Going to see Wicked with my daughter, my sister and my niece.  I will say this was the one time I liked the play or movie better than the book.  Excellent performances by everyone and we had fantastic seats.  IMG_1803

Lindsay’s “Wicked” inspired drink at the restaurant.  It looked like lime jello.



Cousin Mike’s retirement after 24 years in the Navy.  Thank you, Mike, for standing the watch!  We are grateful and blessed to have men like you serving in our country.IMG_1727

This – just because.IMG_1835

Finally getting to meet my adorable grand-niece who is almost a year already.  Where does the time go?  A popular old fart lament, I know.  I’m not putting in our picture because this is a public blog, but suffice to say she is super cute and takes after her auntie in Greatness.  Happy Birthday, B!!

This ginormous snow pile on the corner of our street.  My neighbors had to have made this on purpose.  Too bad they don’t have any kids – it would make an awesome fort!

Holy snow pile, Batman.

Holy snow pile, Batman.

This “Goodbye Winter, You Suck” cookie we got from work today.  Okay, that’s not what they called it.  Something more politically correct like “Beat the winter blues” or some happy horseshit.  But we all know the truth.  Winter, we are done with you! Done, I say!IMG_1851

My new bedroom set.



Ha!  Just kidding.  I really did get one, but it’s in the garage at my in-laws.  In our 28.5 years of marriage, we have never had a matching bedroom set, so I am pretty stoked about this.  Once we are moved in, I will post pictures.

And finally, random pictures of our new house while under construction.  We just went out there last night, and it’s almost all done.  Wheeee!  One more week!

IMG_1816IMG_1841IMG_1814IMG_1845IMG_1779IMG_1787This will likely by my last post for a few weeks due to the move.  We got rid of my old desk and I’m sitting on a low stool with my keyboard on my lap, gazing up at my computer which is on an end table.  I thought the stool would work but it turns out I’m still a little low.  Anyway, long story short – it’s not super comfortable, thus the suspension of blog posts until I am set up in our new house.  I expect it will be the 27th before you see me again.  Hopefully we will be firmly above the freezing mark by then!

Stay warm, my friends!




Meet Joe

A few years ago, I met a young man named Joe.  Joe is one of my best friend’s nephews, and we went to a Toby Keith concert together.  Joe loves country, and Doreen (my friend) asked him to come with us seeing as we had an extra ticket.  She said to me, “I can’t wait for you to meet Joe.  He’s my hero.”  It was a fun night, but I didn’t fully understand her “hero” comment .  Then last spring, I had the opportunity to work with Joe on a project, and got to know him as a person, and not just as “Doreen’s nephew”.  It changed my life, and Joe is pretty much my hero now, too.

The next three blogs are about that experience.  Yesterday I was talking to my sister about how I tend to jump first, and ask questions later, and that when I buy in, it’s at a dead run.  At jump time, I usually don’t realize I am making a life changing decision.  Getting married, having kids, giving my life to Christ, changing jobs, signing up to run a half marathon… Doreen says it’s because I jump in heart first, not head first, and I think that is a pretty good description. My project with Joe was exactly one of those times.

On the outside it seemed pretty straight forward.  Joe and I were going to run the Bellin 10K together with a couple of his other friends for a really good cause.  Before I get into that, though, I want to tell you a bit about Joe.

Like many of us in Northeast Wisconsin, Joe lives in a home town community within minutes of family and friends. He has a mom, dad, step-dad, two sisters, a brother, and a whole slew of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews-all of whom he loves and they, of course, love him right back.

Joe has a best friend yellow lab named Tyson and a best friend human being named Tyler.

Joe’s favorite food is wings, and he also won’t turn his nose up at Butterfingers, ice cream, pizza, and anything his Grandma Marge whips up (I have been blessed with sampling some of Grandma Marge’s culinary delights. God sure loved me that day!).

Like a lot of men, Joe has an unhealthy relationship with the remote control.  Did you know the average American spends 5 hours a day watching TV?  Joe spends his 5 hours with Judge Judy, Pat Sajak and the boys from the Nerd Show (The Big Bang Theory for those of you not in the “know”).  He is also a diehard WWE fan, catching WWE Raw every Monday and WWE Smackdown every Friday , and will shell out for the Pay Per View specials as well as documentaries.  (On a side note – it’s kind of fun to say the word “Smackdown”.  I’M GONNA PUT THE SMACKDOWN ON YOU, BRO!)

Seeing as Joe always has a smile on his face, it’s only fitting that his favorite types of movies are comedies.  He likes silly humor along the lines of Austin Powers, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura, but the Rush Hour series, The Hangover and Ted are his current top picks.

As I said in the beginning of my post, Joe is a country boy at heart.  Shuffle his iPod and you’ll get a mix of Toby Keith, Zac Brown Band, Bryan Adams, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Dierks Bentley, Darryl Worley and even a little Bon Jovi for good measure.  Bon Jovi isn’t country, but hey – a little Bon Jovi on anyones iPod is a good thing, right?  Plus he’s cute.  Not that Joe cares.  Just sayin’ though…

When I asked Joe what his favorite books were, I figured he would be like a lot of guys, mostly reading internet articles or magazines.  But he surprised me by coming back with a couple of unexpected titles: Max Lucado’s Outlive Your Life and Nick Vujicic’s Life Without Limbs.

Joe loves to write, and has aspirations of becoming a journalist. He has written for his hometown newspaper, and feels his strength lies in freelance.

Joe has a couple of bad ass tattoos.  A ginormous one on his back, and a smaller one on his arm.

Joe would like to travel someday, and the first place on the list to visit is Italy.  He and his family talk about going often, but like most of us, his cash flow doesn’t have Italy in the budget.  Knowing Joe, he will get there someday, though.

Taken all together, Joe seems like an ordinary guy, living in an ordinary town, with an ordinary family.  Pretty much just like the rest of us.  So why am I focusing on Joe?  Why the ordinary?  I did so because I left out one important detail about Joe.  Joe has cerebral palsy.

Like many people with disabilities, Joe has lived his life in the shadow of what he can’t do and has fought hard for normalcy in his life.  It’s sad and frustrating to Joe that some people can’t see past the wheelchair to the person sitting in it.  He refuses to be victimized by his circumstances and strives daily to make the most of his life.  In fact, even the word “disabled” bugs Joe.  “I’m differently-abled, not disabled,” he told me.  Hey, Joe – me too!  The world shudders at the thought of Sue The Brain Surgeon.  God knew what he was doing when he put a pen in my hand, and not a scalpel, and He knew what He was doing when He created Joe, too.

That’s why it was important for me to spend this first post telling you how much Joe is just like the next guy.  I wanted you to see him as a living, breathing, feeling, thinking, loving, worthy, person – with friends, family, ambitions and desires, and not defined by the first impression you may have gotten if I had introduced him as a young man with cerebral palsy.

So what about this ordinary guy?  This “average Joe”?  What makes the ordinary extraordinary?  What is it about Joe that changed my life and reminded me to be true to myself?  Check back with me next week for the rest of the story!


Wild and Crazy Inspiration

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending…” – Kermit the Frog, Rainbow Connection


What inspires you?  What drives you?  What motivates you?  What keeps you going when you want to quit?


Different things have inspired me at different times in my life.  When I was a teenager, I learned to play the banjo because of Kermit the Frog and Steve Martin.  True story!


My friends and I were huge Steve Martin fans, and listened to his comedy albums all the time.  Regardless of what you may think of his sense of humor, you have to give the man props for being a phenomenal musician.  I can remember playing the part of his album where he plays “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” over and over – I loved it made my heart pound a little faster and put a smile on my face.  Like Steve said: “The banjo is such a happy instrument – you can’t play a sad song on a banjo”.

And, of course, Kermit plays the banjo in the Muppet Movie.  It was like a sign – learn to play the banjo, then go to Hollywood to become famous.  Three of us did learn to play the banjo.  We found an instructor (Barb!) at Mecca Music on the corner of Baird and Main in Green Bay (anyone remember that old music store?) and we would schedule our lessons all in a row so we could all go together – probably much to Barb’s dismay, although she seemed to genuinely like us.  While one of us was in the lesson, the others would be across the street getting malts – real chocolate malts, mind you.  Superbly delicious chocolate malts, the likes of which I have never had since.  I would love to tell you the name of the malt shop but time has worn it from my memory.  It might have been Dehns?


While we didn’t become famous (although we may be legends in our own minds), I don’t think any of us regret buying our banjos and the time and money spent in lessons and practice.  Or the malts, for that matter (if I shut my eyes and concentrate, I can still remember how they tasted.  THEY WERE SO GOOD!!)  We played our banjos for school projects, in talent shows (I think), around the camp fire, and later,  to entertain our children.  We used them to make up limerick songs at parties and to get out of doing dishes (I have to practice, Mom!).  One of us, I know, still owns hers.  I’m pretty sure she plays it in her garage bar now and then!


I stupidly sold mine in a rummage sale.   A RUMMAGE SALE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD  – WHAT WAS I THINKING?  It’s not so much that I want to buy another one.  I just want my old one back.  So many memories!


This post has totally taken on a life of it’s own.  My main point, though, is this:


Don’t sell your banjo!  Maybe you don’t play it anymore or maybe you think you’ve outgrown it or maybe your goals are polar opposite of what they were when you bought it.  However, that banjo is a reminder of the driving force that made you make a change in your life.  It’s like framing the first dollar a business earns – a symbol of the spirit and inspiration that brought you to where you are. And while maybe the results weren’t exactly as you planned, they certainly weren’t a waste of time.  Maybe you just need to write another ending.




PS – Steve Martin is STILL a phenomenal musician and STILL a very funny guy.  You should check out his latest CD’s – The Crow and Rare Bird Alert.


PPS – While Jim Henson may have gone home, his Muppet legacy lives on, and continues to bring joy to many.  What is your legacy?  What are you leaving behind to give others hope and joy?  Food for thought!