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Day 4 – Gratitude

This is Day 4 of my reality check of my own life to see if I am being properly grateful for all that I have.

Sundays are much easier to find things for which to be thankful. As I listened to the various prayer requests from the church congregation, I realized I have many things that are not going wrong right now in my life. For these, I am seriously grateful. In the past six years I have lost my husband and two close family members to debilitating conditions but am spared that trauma currently. Still, we all have issues, some are more difficult than others to resolve. I find that most of the troubles in my life are not the easy fix type. They drag on and require lots of work and time to remedy.

The early morning rain cleared away so by the time church services were over and I got out to the barn, the day was cleansed and the breeze was refreshing. I rode Cree out past the hay fields and I’ll give a half Gratitude credit for seeing the turtle sunning himself on the branch sticking out of the slough. Still haven’t managed to sneak up on him to snap a picture though. It’s hard to be stealthy on a thousand-pound horse.

Sunday evenings are typically lazy times on the boat. I spent my time reading and doing some Sudoku puzzles. In my mind there still rests the clouded thoughts than I am not doing enough. Time to start a plan of action.


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Day 3 – Gratitude

Yesterday was much easier! Woke up to more sunshine although the clouds and the rain came back by the end of the day. As usual, when I awake I am pinned down between two cats. Aspen is my roommate’s cat but she shares her time between us. Her favorite spot is curled up into the small of my back. Wyatt, who is typically asleep in my arms, is not so magnanimous with his affections and won’t let Aspen sleep on the same side of me as he is. I spend a few minutes petting the cats and listening to their purrs before squeezing my way out from between them.

My roommate left early for work so I putter around the boat for a bit, then drive out to see my horse. I finish up the barn chores and decide to give Cree the day off so I head to town for some groceries. Back at the boat I clean house and work on my latest creative project. In the back of my mind, there are thoughts beginning to form, much like a ‘tag cloud‘. All have a recurring theme: You are leading a mundane life, is this boring stuff the best you can do? I pride myself on living as drama-free as possible but does that mean I’ve quit leading a proactive, forward-thinking, always-battling-for-a-cause kind of life? Maybe so. Time for some soul-searching, reach deep inside and see if I can’t pull a magical rabbit out of the hat. Like the Bullwinkle cartoon from my youth, maybe I don’t know my own strength.

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Day 2 – Gratitude

Each day for a week, I am attempting to find something unique and wonderful for which to be grateful but I think I picked the wrong week for this experiment! The day started off well enough. The sunlight filtering through the porthole windows told me we were getting a third day of perfect weather.

There are thousands of intrepid bicycling fans in Portlandia. I am not one of them. However, since the weather was so nice and I feel the need to “get healthy”, I decide to ride the mountain bike to the barn. I got there, cleaned stalls and rode my horse. Finished at the barn, I swing the bike back toward the marina for the 10 mile ride home. I get maybe half way and I hear this clinking noise and the pedals quit turning. The chain, rather than simply breaking and falling off, has looped itself around the gears and is jammed. I call a neighbor, he’s not home. So I walk pushing this miserable hunk of metal. Another biker stops and tries to help. No good, she tells me. I walk some more. Finally, another marina resident sees me and gives me a ride for the last 2 or 3 miles.Here’s where I employ my power of choice. I could dwell on the mishap and end up pushing the bike over the embankment onto the railroad tracks. But the idea of this week is to find something kind to say about each day. So, “YAY” to Wally for giving me a ride home. The rest of the day, I took pretty easy. Maybe tomorrow will be better!


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Gratitude Check

A friend on Facebook posted awhile back that she was answering a challenge to “post a gratitude list once a week” on her page. She did this for a few weeks, then there was nothing new. A couple days ago she said there hadn’t really been anything exciting to report in her life lately. This made me think. Whoa! Are we all so busy leading  mundane lives that we don’t have time to find anything for which to be grateful? I have decided to follow myself around for a week just to see if I am so wrapped around my own axle that I can’t find something good to say about each day.

We’ll start with yesterday. That would be Thursday. When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was the dappled reflection from the sunshine on the river dancing on my ceiling. A sunny day in Portland! One point for Gratitude. I crawled out of the berth and faced the day. Nothing much planned. I spent the morning at the barn. There were a couple other horse owners there and I let them ride my Cree around the arena a few times since these ladies had never ridden a gaited horse. They were duly impressed. A couple more Gratitude points for friends and sharing new and happy things with them. I stopped at church on my way home to help the volunteers pull weeds. The rest of the day, I just worked at my computer.

So, not a bad day but maybe I can make tomorrow better. Stay tuned!

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45 Seconds to Change Your Life

In today’s really tight and faltering job market, being good at what you do isn’t good enough. You have to get a potential employer to recognize your talent. Most hiring managers admit to spending just 25 to 60 seconds scanning a résumé. If nothing outstanding jumps out at them, your cover letter and résumé are filed away with hundreds of others. Hiring managers are also very likely to discard a résumé with spelling or grammatical errors. Many mistakes won’t be picked out by your spell-checker. Words like “their”, “they’re”, and “there”, while all correctly spelled, are not interchangeable. Several surveys conducted over the past few years have found that hiring managers will routinely list poor spelling as the number one mistake a job seeker can make. One poll revealed that over 60% of résumés and cover letters with typos were shredded immediately.

So, what’s the big deal? Everyone makes mistakes, right? The big deal is perception. Many job openings will receive hundreds of applications, an overwhelming amount of material for a hiring manager to read. Your submission may, in fact, be run through a scanner which is programmed to pick out key words. If, for instance, the job description includes having the ability to focus on detail, and your résumé mistakenly points out that you are “detial” oriented, you just ruined your chance. Not proofreading your work conveys a lazy or uncaring attitude, or worse yet, a lack of education that you are unwilling to remedy.

Read your work out loud, have a friend check it for you or hire an editor! That effort can change your life.


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Lonely and Lost

I love the warm sunshine,
I love the budding Spring.
I love the gentle rain
and all that it will bring.

The signs of fresh, new life
all around me I see.
Flower buds and horse colts –
Nature waking from sleep.

When the sun shines on me,
its warmth I cannot feel.
I’m outside looking in,
my heart, cold as blue steel.

I’m trapped by this sadness,
pushed from every side.
Hounded to my limit,
’til panic fills my sight.

When will I find my rest,
be rescued from this plight?
I am drowning, alone –
Who will be my white knight?

I’m wanting to enjoy
the glory in these days.
Where’s my sovereign Lord,
His love said to amaze?

I can’t see my future –
Will You forgive my wrong?
And bring me back to You,
let me know I belong?

I’m scared and I am tired,
please hear my plea, I pray.
Cold winds swirl in my heart,
yearning for warmth today.

My weak soul may have strayed,
but don’t let anger kill.
Let me renew my faith
and always do Your will.

Karen Olin ©2013

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Springtime on Sauvie Island

If pictures are worth a thousand words, then please feel free to savor these shots for awhile! They were taken at a couple of my favorite garden spots on Sauvie Island (Oregon). I see them everyday and couldn’t let their essence pass without capturing them on film.

Spring Flowers

Heather, Daffodils, and Myrtle

Pink Flowers Close-up


Pink Flowers

Pink Rhodies

Purple Iris

Purple Iris


Daffodils under a Grand Old Tree

Weeping Tree

Weeping Tree and Daffodils

Blooming Heather

Blooming Heather