Friday, October 24, 2014

Quiz Me

As a kid, the word


filled my belly with
butterflies, even though
I worked hard in school
and was a good student.

The term quiz, on the
other hand, felt less serious ~
a bit lighter.  Generally, a
quiz was meant to identify
what you already knew and
discover what you needed to 
work on for the test.

Quizzes, as opposed to
tests, could even be fun.

Some of my favorite types
of quizzes were the ones that
I used to find in my mom's
copies of Woman's Day or 
Family Circle, or later, in my
own copies of Seventeen and

These quizzes covered a wide
variety of topics, from astrology
(which sign is your ideal mate?)
to careers, fashion (what color
season are you?), health and

Rarely were new revelations
uncovered.  When the trues 
and falses were tallied and
compared to the key, I was
generally shaking my head
in agreement.

But once in a while, the results
weren't what I'd predicted.  They 
made me stop, think and consider.

One quiz I took my last year of
college suggested that a career
as a flight attendant might be on
my horizon; a suggestion that I
seriously contemplated.

{I sent applications off to a few
airlines, but apparently they didn't
arrive at the same conclusion as
the quiz!}

It's those once-in-a-while-surprise-
me results that still make quizzes
entertaining to take.  

Can they really figure me out?

Maybe the results will point me
in a direction I hadn't expected.

How well do I know myself?

There are scores of short quizzes
on Facebook, and I've taken my
share in the last couple of years.

What style of house should
you live in? (Farmhouse)

What color is your aura?

What U.S. city should you live in?

What's your real age?
(I liked it.)

Which I Love Lucy character
are you? (Ethel)

Can we guess your job?
(Author....loved reading that!)

Who is your guardian angel?
(My great-grandmother)

Some head nods.
Some surprises.
Some things to ponder : )

Life's tests still give me 
butterflies, just like the ones
in the classroom did long ago.
Not just the kind on paper, but
the hard stuff.  The rubber
meets the road stuff.  The
what am I made of stuff.

But life's quizzes still delight,
spotlighting the things that I
now know for certain about this
journey, while challenging me to
think about the things that I do not ~
new ideas, filled with possibilities.

I hope there will always be

So I'll keep taking those
quizzes, expecting to nod
my head, but secretly hoping

to be astounded : )


all photos P&H

Friday, October 10, 2014

Creepers ♥

My legs and arms quivered
as I held a pose in yoga class,
determined to fight the urge to 
tumble to my mat and curl
up in child's pose.

It had been four fast months 
since I gave up yoga classes for
the summer.  Maybe more.

Focusing on a spot on the
floor (a little trick the teachers 
share to enhance concentration 
and avoid toppling over) the 
vision of a local golf course
popped into my mind.

This particular golf course was 
sold last winter, the land 
destined to become another
housing development.

For some reason, the new 
neighborhood was delayed and
the land sat fallow all summer.

In no time at all, nature began
to reclaim this parcel of
earth as her own. 

I don't drive by the old golf
course routinely, so to me, nature
seemed to take over speedily,
but most likely, it was a slow 
and steady invasion of acres
that had once been well-groomed
and cared for.

I was feeling a lot like that
overgrown land at this early
morning yoga class.  In just a
few short months of neglecting
my yoga practice, I'd lost a lot of
ground--in this case, strength, 
balance and flexibility.

I was shocked how quickly
it happened.

(And how sore I was for several
days afterwards!)

Remember the tumbling mass of
vines behind the door in the classic
story, The Secret Garden?

Yep, that was me and yoga class
following my summer hiatus.

Habits and care-taking go hand
in hand, whether it's taking care
of a garden, cultivating
relationship, practicing a sport,
digging deep into a hobby or 
flexing our mental muscles.

Otherwise, the creepers move
in rapidly.

Depending how long the ground
has lain dormant, it can take a
lot of work to reclaim it. 
Sometimes the vines are so
overwhelming that it's easy to
turn away and give up.

Don't give up.

Think of The Secret Garden.

In the story, fingers were pricked 
on thorns.  Backs and legs were sore.
The mess was astounding and 
seemed, at times, impossible 
to conquer.

But the characters hung on despite
the odds, despite the pain and
despite the skepticism of the adults
who felt they couldn't bring the
garden back to life.

Of course, they did bring
it back : )

Where have the vines crept into
your life?  It might be a hobby you
loved but abandoned due to life's
demands....a friendship that faded
when it wasn't given proper priority....
or, like my mine, a healthy habit that
was put on the back burner.

It's time to get out the shears
and begin to cut those creepers

Pick up the paint brush, the
telephone, the yoga mat or
whatever tool you need to make
your own secret garden bloom,
once again.

Because at the end of our life's journey,
we don't want vines covering a host of 
for things not done or relationships
not given proper attention.

Let's be patient gardeners of our
own stories, replacing creepers with a
landscape we've created out of
good habits, care, optimism

and love.

If you look the right way,
you can see the whole world
is a garden.

~Frances Hodgson Burnett,
The Secret Garden


all images P&H