Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You Don't Want to Shelf This One

Like I've said on my blog many times before, EVERYBODY has a story ... it's a matter of how much time we have to listen to it. Sometimes we learn some interesting lessons.  Often times we feel blessed that we don't have to live through through their LIFE'S situations. And at other times, these stories can be quite entertaining.

I'd like to think that as I've gotten older, I've become more patient and understanding in realizing that some people just like to talk.

As a young mom, I certainly was absorbed and involved in my family's lives.  Unless they were a close friend or member of my extended family, it was hard to 'hear' anything that others were saying, because I was busy.

When I took on my part-time job almost 6 months ago .... first of all I didn't think I'd last 6 months and secondly .... I didn't know I would hear so many stories.

To protect the innocent, I will not use their actual names.  And I guess that I'm lucky when I say... I don't have that many people who follow my blog, so if there is some clause that I signed when I started my job that I'm not 'allowed' to blog about my day to day activity... I don't think anyone would find out.

Insert fun picture: to break up the text and to give your eyes a rest.
There are all types of people who frequent where I work.  Most of you know where that is ... but all I'll say here, is that it is a place you buy used things! :0)
Over the past 6 months ... we have become familiar with the regulars who come in pretty much every day.  Sometimes even twice a day. And of course by now, we (the cashiers) are on a first name basis with some of those Tom, Dick and Harrys. We have found out why they buy what they do.  We find out where they might go with that item and we find out that for some, it is a hobby to sell on the side, and for others.... shopping and re-selling is their way of making a living. And some are buying because they discovered they can find some really cool things at great prices.
Our regulars are both women and men.  And each of them have a speciality that they are knowledgeable about.  A few know a thing or two about electronics.... from stereo speakers to old vinyl record albums.  Another strictly purchases toys. One looks for items in original packages that have never been opened.  One regular buys a little bit of everything, from name brand clothing to character glassware that was given away as promotional items at the gas station in the 70s. And they tell us they sell items on EBay, Craig's List and at Flea Markets.
It is all very interesting!
We are starting to look for items they might like and sort of hold them back until they stop by!  Ssssshhhhh.....

I'll end this post with a very heart warming customer story.  I can recall it vividly.  Last Friday an older gentleman was looking in our electronic department at a portable piano.  In his broken English he wanted to know if it would plug in.  For some reason it came with no electrical cord and no backing on the battery slot.  He couldn't quite understand what I was saying.  But he said thank you and moved on.
As I put 'new' items on the dvd/cd/cassette/8 track/album shelf, he came up to me again and asked if we had any other instruments.  He had played the accordion, maybe we had an accordion for him.  Other than kid 'toy' instruments I knew of nothing else available that day.  He nodded.  Then he told me that he liked music. And wanted to know how much the cassette tapes cost. I told him .49c and he nodded again.  He told me again that he had played the accordion.  I smiled.  He said he played when he was in the concentration camp and proceeded to pull up the sweater on his arm.  He raised it as high as he could to show me the I.D. tattoo on his bicep.  He was in a Jewish concentration camp in Poland.  He was here today because he played the accordion for the soldiers, he was a musician.
I didn't know what to say. 
He was telling me quite a story.
He then asked me how old I thought he was. I don't wish to insult, but I don't know if age for him was a milestone or a heartache.  So I guessed 84.  He laughed and with his strong Polish accent he said 90!  And he smiled.  Then he asked how old I was.... I said 50.  He smiled.  Shook his head and said 35.  I laughed.

He talked to me a bit more.  I told him that I had to get back to work.  And he smiled and 'wished that God be within me!'
Well to say the least, his story touched me. 
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to tell a few people that I got 'hit on' at work.  Nobody expected it to be a 90 year old gentleman.  His story touched me because recently in my book club we read a Unbroken, a book about American Prisoners in Japanese POW camps (you will see trailers for the movie directed by Angelina Jolie, by the end of the year.)  And I've also read other books about different concentration camps and about families that hid Jewish families during WWII.  Not that by any means did I understand what he may have gone through ... but I knew of what he may have endured during that time in his life.
Not so surprisingly, he came back in today. 
He smiled when he saw me.  I just had to ask him what his name was so that I could address him properly... I said what should I call you "Mister....?"  He shook his head and said no, you don't need to call me Mister.... I said that you have earned it!  I will from now on call him Mr. Todd. He pulled my hand and kissed it.  He asked if I would look out for a translation from Polish to English book for him.
I said I would.
The people that I meet....now that I have a bit of extra time to hear their story!
This is one of the ways that I can SHINE in the corner of my world.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What Have I Been Missing

When opening your mind and heart to an adventure, anything is POSSIBLE.

In my last few blog posts I wrote about the adventure I took with my friend Becky when I was out in her neck of the woods, UTAH. 

I'm sure there are lots of people who write about or tell stories of their travels.  Lately, I look for symbolism in a lot of the things I do.  In my second 50 years of living, I truly want to enjoy LIFE with my eyes wide open and my mind clutter free to learn what I have been missing!

I am interested in so many different things. 
I believe, but not sure how it is all figured out.... that the day I was born.... I became an Aries .... Aries personalities are independent. Being the first of the zodiac signs, they venture out and are go-getters, often leading the way. Their upbeat and magnetic personality often entices others to follow their lead because Aries personalities bring excitement into others lives.
Also, I'm a Dragon ....they turn out to be high achievers who love attention and refuse to compromise or take orders.
And I'm a  dominant*Type 4 with a strong secondary Type 1 personality~ A bold striking woman who is constant, still, firm, simple, structured and clean.
*I learned this last one most recently through Dressing Your Truth. Becky introduced me to her friend Carol's website http://dressingyourtruth.com/ , and we visited the actual store. I am confident that I was born this way, with a certain ' just my nature' attitude. And she made it POSSIBLE for me to visit a place I only new through the cyber world.

We visited a store by the name of Dear Lizzie.  A shabby chic store where a group of entrepreneurial women showcase their creations.  Many of their friends are artists who paint and up cycle stuff from the past, and crafters who make jewelry, clothing & accessories, and designers who know how to throw a fun girly party. And then they all eventually blog about their shared experiences.  They design, create and inspire ... and sell.  It was a very cute place that even had magic fairy dust!  It was very whimsical.
Look at this view!!! 
I wont see anything like this in my neighborhood!!! This is American Fork Canyon outside of Salt Lake City.  It was breathtaking.  This area is called Tibble Fork. It is just amazing to see other places.  I am in such awe of the majesty and beauty in the mountains.
And as a complete funny, we stopped on the side of the road coming out of Heber Utah to take a picture with a cow.  I loved the fact that Lacee and Becky had no problem pulling off the side of the road and turning around to capture this moment.  I mean for no other reason that it was weird and fun .... It's a cow, so we stopped to take a picture!

And finally, more beautiful than the postcard this could be, was the LDS Temple in downtown Salt Lake City.  What a view from the office building next to it, the eighth floor I believe .... and then just right after that we went back down to the inspirational gardens and walked around the solid foundation of the Temple.

I had a fun adventure!
My friend Becky shared this all with me. 
How special it is to see in person, places and people I've only read about.  From little eclectic art & clothing shops filled with people willing to  help you to find your inner beauty, to majestic mountains to see God's natural beauty, to a Temple that leaves an inspirational beauty through faith.
Through God, all things are POSSIBLE.
What an adventure LIFE is!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing Someone Elses' Story

Day 1 Utah visit continued .....

Just breathing in the air in Utah was different.  I can't explain if it seemed cleaner, or if it was the different trees, or the higher altitude.... but I could breathe easily.

My dear friend BE had some things planned for me on our little adventure.  After lunch, our first stop was a visit to Ben the Potters' home studio.

While we were waiting for Ben to finish up with a customer, we just wondered around his home compound.  Everywhere you looked, there were pieces of him.... or his art.  The side of his garage was filled with fun and whimsical faces.  The posts holding up the pergola were filled with glass, pottery and interesting other things. It was a truly awesome place to soak it all in ... head, heart & hands.
A few minutes later, I got to meet Ben the potter, and Ben Behunin the author (one in the same.)  I have posted stories throughout the past few years about Ben (like he's my friend.)  Becky met him a few years ago... I'm not sure exactly how .... I'll have to find out.  He was local. She discovered he had a great story.  He made wonderful pottery.  And he wrote an amazing trilogy about Isaac.
For some wonderful reason, Becky thought that I would enjoy Ben's story.  So, she sent me Book 1, a ceramic mug and some Forget-Me-Not seeds.  When you read the book, you will see how they all intertwine.
I'm not sure which story I like better, the one of art imitating LIFE or the other one of LIFE imitating art.  Either or ..... I was hooked.  If you'd like to read more of Ben's storie(s) you can go here  http://www.potterboy.com/
He is a trained potter.  As a young man he developed a rare arthritis in his hands.  Not such a good illness for someone whose livelihood depended on the pottery he made.  During his illness, a story came to his mind and he couldn't write it fast enough.  He thought writing was impossible because he was not trained to write .... but the words and the story came to him.  And he wrote a book about Isaac the Potter .... and then another book and another.
His story continues.... after he published his first book and bought all of them himself to distribute, he doubted that anyone would buy, let alone read his book.  He was a potter, not an author.  One thing lead to another and he met people in many different walks of LIFE and his story got out. Someone recommended that he use magnetic bracelets to help 'heal' his hands.  He found titanium magnets worked for him and has been pain free for over 3 years.  And now being an author, he is once again a potter and much more ... all by the time he was 40.
Here is another link to a video about his home that he re-built... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GkG_Clzk5I

I'd love to describe the books to you ... but there are excellent reviews on Goodreads here....  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2839817.Ben_Behunin
So, I got to meet Ben. 
He has a very firm handshake. 
We got to see where he creates. 
I got to buy 3 more books and two pieces of pottery.

While skimming through Put A Cherry on Top ~ The Secrets of Creating an Artful Life... I found a line that really resonated with me .... especially for 2014.  "...I have learned that opportunities abound for those who dwell in POSSIBILITIES."
And now I know for sure .... everyone has a story. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Moving in More Ways Than One

Day 1 of my trip to Utah.

I'm happy to admit that my flight to Utah was uneventful.

I think I was too excited about the whole trip ... I forgot to take more pictures, and was actually living in the moment as I experienced my trip.

This has been a staple picture in my travels.....

I've noticed a few other bloggers that I follow, have the 'foot' shot.  It is pretty common. 
Maybe it's the shoes I'm wearing, because I really like them.  Or I'm showing my travel Vera Bradley bag, or.... I don't know.  It's the beginning of my adventure.... wherever the first step takes me!
The best part of landing at the Utah airport besides the glimpses of the beautiful mountains, were the crowds of families waiting at the bottom of the arrival escalators. 
At first I was a bit confused. 
Obviously I knew they weren't there for me.... there were colorful helium balloon bundles, huge banners and colorful signs... there were parents and grandparents and new babies ... all chattering in tiny groups.  You could feel the excitement. What I was witnessing were families of LDS Missionaries waiting for their loved ones to arrive home from their Missions.  
Since my friend Becky lives in Utah and is a Mormon, I have learned a lot about her faith.  I am fascinated by the family strength and love of the Mormon members.  These families were patiently anticipating the arrival of their sons who had been away from home for 2 years and their daughters who had been away 18 months serving their missions.  While I stood by the conveyor belt waiting for my for my suitcase to arrive, I was able to watch 5 welcome home celebrations.  Cheers and applause errupted each time a missionary came into view.  It was very, very touching!
There was happiness in that airport. There was love. It made the beginning of my journey be joyful. What a great way to start my adventure.
All I had to do once I landed was take a step on to some moving stairs.  It is quite "possible" that you never know what can be down at the bottom of the escalator you get on!
Brighten Somone's Day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Me & BE in SLC

Hello Friends.... are you still out there???

I've been on a self-made sabbatical.

I'm working on my Year of Possibilities ... and I actually was able to make another one happen.

So, I could say my Year of Possibilities is a small 'bucket list' of things to do before???? 

I have a very special friendship with Becky.  It's a bit complicated to explain, but it is a real nice 'thing'.  We met over 23 years ago while working in the same company in Racine.

She has always lived in Utah, and me? Well, since that time I have lived in Wisconsin, Tennessee,Wisconsin again and now Illinois.
In Wisconsin for a sales meeting, she missed a plane home one day, and stayed in my house for the night ... and we became Pen Pals. 
We contacted each other through snail mail for years .... talking about our new marriages and our babies.  Becky has older children, but we both have a boy and girl who were the same grades growing up.  So it seemed, we had a lot in common.  Across the miles we began sharing ideas and our love for crafts and making people happy. Along the way were many trials and jubilations of being moms, and the milestones in our children's lives.... potty training, school, dance, sports, driving, dating, grades, graduations, college planning ....  we shared, we connected!
Over the years with new technology, we dropped our pen and stationary and found new ways of communicating... via the computer.  And now one of our most advanced ways of staying in touch is texting and sending each other videos over our iPhone.
And one day, because it's my Year of POSSIBILITIES.... she invited me to visit her in Salt Lake City, and I was able to make it happen.
Talk about Brightening Someone's Day!!!
Stay tuned, (it's a tease) more to follow.


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