Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy, Happy

For 20 years my parents have
celebrated my birthday by giving
me the gift of a trip somewhere with
my mom.  She does all of the leg
work -- research, reservations, etc.
and I show up for all of the fun.

{Yes, I'm totally spoiled!}

As I've written in the past, these
trips have grown in the same way my
children have, beginning with the
baby steps of long weekends away
 and progressing steadily to more
lengthy forays from the nest as
the years have unfolded.

Our travels have commenced in late
spring or early summer. We've been
to southern cities festooned in
azaleas and live oak; southwest
cities glittering under expansive
skies as blue as topaz; pacific
ports bedecked in sea-loving
gardens and hanging baskets; and
for the last few years, we've
cruised on ships sailing through 
sparkling seas.

Although Mom and I have seen many
grand sights over the years, it's
been the small things along the
way that have been deposited to
my memory bank.

Laughter.  Sunrises and sunsets.
Morning coffee savored together, on
porches and decks, at cafe tables
and on balconies.  The scent
of local flowers and local flavors.
And the warm smiles and hearts of 
so many lovely people that we've 
met along the way. 

This year's trip, in mid-June,
was no exception.

Sitting down to breakfast each
day in the expansive casual dining
room, we'd hear a sing-song,
accented voice calling out,

Happy, happy coffee! Who needs
more happy, happy coffee?

Pushing a trolley laden with
shiny silver carafes of coffee,
matching creamers, and packets of
sugar, Wilmar from the Philippines
dispensed equal parts refills and
smiles from 6-10am each morning.

Often, he sang a little tune, 
soft and low, such as You Are The
Sunshine of My Life or, on our last
morning, Leaving on a Jet Plane.

After our first day on the ship,
guests would greet Wilmar like a
cherished friend.

Happy-Happy! they'd call out,
waving, believing that to be his
actual name. 

Although Wilmar's work was humble,
he took his tasks very seriously,
treating everyone like VIPs who
required the utmost care and
consideration.  His personal mission
seemed be that every person would
leave that room with a smile, even
the most grumpy, non-morning types.

Mission accomplished.

Although we observed so many
beautiful natural wonders on this
trip, it's the memory of


and what I learned from him
that still lifts my heart.

The phrase Happy, happy coffee!
 will always transport me and my 
mom to a time and place that
brought us great joy together,
even once many of the other 
details of that trip have long

Let no one ever come to you
without leaving better or
happier. ~ Mother Teresa


(All photos of glorious
 Alaska, my own.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Other List

It's that time of year when many of us are taking 
trips ~ to cabins and beach houses, family reunions,
theme parks and other fun destinations.

In the past, I may have mentioned that although I love
to travel, I really detest all of the packing and 
other related chores that lead up to the trip.
Several years ago, as I was stressing over my pre-
travel to-do list, I had an epiphany about the whole
process of list-making, which I later wrote about.  
It was time for me to re-read these words, and
I hope you'll find them useful, as well. 

Good luck with your own list, and
happy travels!  xx

Beware the barrenness of a
busy life. ~ Socrates

Preparing for a trip recently, I
found myself overwhelmed with a
especially long to-do list.

As I plowed through each task,
diligently checking off the
completed items, it suddenly
occurred to me that many activities
I consider essential ~ the kind that
make my heart glad ~ never get
jotted down the way that stop the
mail or water the plants do.

So for fun, and as a break from
the more mundane tasks I was
tackling, I turned over the to-dos
and on the other side of the paper
created The Other List:

Kiss my husband. [Repeat!]

Dab some lavender oil on my wrists,
pausing to rub them together and
inhale the soothing scent.

Cuddle my dog, my faithful companion
who gratefully leans in when I
slow down and hold her close.

Light a favorite candle....
or two or three.

Take five minutes to stretch.

Send an I'm thinking of you text
to a friend.

Laugh with my kids.
[I listed this twice.]

Turn on some music. 
Sing.... loudly!

{I'll admit that yes, sadly, there
are days when these simple,
wonderful things do not happen
amongst all of the ceaseless 

Regularly consulting The Other List
as I tackled my ordinary docket
of chores, anticipating both the
action and the ticking off of each
sweet entry, brought me immense

It also helped me to ensure that
another day did not slip away
where I hadn't taken the time to


or appreciate the many, many
small joys of our human journey.

Socrates, wise man that you were,
I'm listening.

Will you join me?

What will you write on your

Other List?


{all photos my own}