Posted in Just what I think, Oklahoma, Photography

Slowing Down

Photo credit: Susan Spaulding.

I remember a family vacation when my children were young. We were traveling from Oklahoma to Colorado and about three miles down the road, a small  voice from the backseat asked, “Are we there yet?” At the young age of five, my son had already learned to focus on the end result. Patience was not his virtue

This is expected of children; they don’t have a good concept of time or how long things take. They lack experience, which is the building block of judgement. Over time they learn basic truths about time, such as the school year is too long and summer is too short;

We adults know better, except when it comes to change. We understand change takes time but we don’t have the patience to see it through. Our five year old self questions how long it will take. We tire of the questions, so we give up.

How we view time is part of the problem. In Western cultures, time is viewed chronologically as a straight line.  It reminds me of a Gantt chart:  we plot our lives from birth to death, with milestones in between.  Other cultures view time as Kairos; things happen at the right or opportune moment. Time is circular, which means no more missed opportunities. Life will present what we need, when we need it.

One of my mentors, James Clear, says that when we decide to change we should not focus on the end result but rather on the process itself. For example, most of us focus on the scale when we attempt to lose weight and can become very disappointed when the scale doesn’t move. Instead, our focus should be on doing the things that will lead to weight loss: tracking what we eat, tracking our exercise, checking in daily with ourselves or others. If we place our focus on what we need to do, we will eventually get the results we desire.

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

The ancient concept of detachment is one I have been trying to embrace, especially in my writing. In the past, when others did not find what I wrote excellent or inspiring, I would get discouraged. Now, I release my writing and ideas into the world and do my best to let go of how and when they are received. I’m not perfect at this but I strive to be better.



At five years old, my son (and I am sure myself) were impatient for life’s next great adventure to arrive. At 60, I am more content to take life a little slower and let the adventure unfold on its own. Life will give me what I need, when I need it.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit   


all photos are the property of Susan Spaulding and cannot be reproduced without permission.




Posted in Just what I think, Photography

Unanswered Question

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photo credit: Susan Spaulding

I wonder who I would be if I were not someone’s wife, mother, sister, friend, employee? Who am I, in the purest sense?

These were questions Eve asked herself one quiet morning as she sipped coffee from a mug with the words World’s Greatest Mom barely visible from the many cycles in the dishwasher.

She listened for an answer.

She heard the ticking clock on the mantel and the silent hum of the refrigerator.

With a heavy sigh, Eve went upstairs and woke her children up for school.


This story was also posted on my sister blog My Million Words.  

Here, I ask the questions philosophically… who are we when we remove the masks from the roles we play?

There, it is just a flash fiction.

Take your pick.



Posted in Just what I think, Photography, Photography 101

Connected 24 x 7 (Day 6)


imageBeing connected has its ups and downs. As a mom, I feel comforted knowing I can reach my children when they are away from home. As a wife, knowing that I can call my husband and remind him that we need milk while he is at the grocery store makes my life much easier. But as an employee, being connected comes with baggage.

Like many professionals, I feel an unspoken expectation that I need to be reachable, even on my days off. This not only includes phone calls, but e-mails and instant messaging. It seems there is no escape from the possibility that at any given moment, I am expected to be back “on the job”,  a feeling that negates some of the benefits of being away in the first place.

Even if your employer is not that demanding (and mine really isn’t), as employees there is an addiction to being connected 24 x 7.  It’s part ego and part insecurity. We never want to find out that our employer, boss, or team can actually get along without us.

The umbilical cord that connects us with our employer also connects us to our co-workers through social media. We are Facebook Friends, LinkedIn, and Twitter mates. Personally, I think it is unhealthy to be that connected with the people I work with, especially my manager. While most interactions are harmless, we all know people whose opinions are so ‘out there’ that it affects how we feel about them as a co-worker. And heaven forbid we get too carried away with our own posts our of fear of what our office mate might think.

Connections are like bridges, joining us together, and that is not a bad thing. But even  bridges have limits: times when they may be crossed, limits to what is brought from one side to the next. Our personal connections need some limits tooDSCF8429





Posted in Just what I think, Photography


It’s been over a year since my last post. In all honesty, I didn’t think I would return. I’m not sure why I stopped blogging, except maybe due to a lack of ideas and an unrealistic expectation that I needed to create something of value. I’m sure part of the reason was life “getting in the way.” Too much to do at work, too little time doing things I enjoyed. I had to pick-and-choose what activities I would spend my limited free time on. Blogging seemed like such a chore. I couldn’t compete with the big boys and girls. I’m too much of a perfectionist and I set myself up to fail.

What is different, you may ask.  I started The Artist Way (re-started is more apt) by Julia Cameron and have been working through the tasks. Things have started to change, slowly and every so delicately. I enrolled in a journaling course that started today. I guess I just feel like writing. Not for anyone else. Just for me.

I’m not sure what I hope to gain. Or maybe I should just say, I hope to gain. I hope to free myself of fear, eradicate my negative thoughts, let go of the things I cannot change. In a nutshell, I hope to sort myself out.  And some of that is going to end up on this page. Fair warning.

I am reminded of Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, a sad reflection on missed opportunity:

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back



But here I am.






Posted in Just what I think

Death and Dignity

When I was in high school, back in the early 70’s, I wrote an English paper on Euthanasia. The idea of assisted suicide was not widely discussed in the public domain as it is today. This was before Jack Kevorkian came on the scene. At age 16, my interest in “mercy killing” as it was so politely called was a direct result of living with a Grandfather who had lost his mind to alcoholism and disease. By day I attended school and tried to have as normal of a social life as possible. At night I listened intently as he prowled the house, fearful that he would somehow wander away. At times, his dementia caused him terrible outbursts of anger toward my grandmother. There was name-calling and curse words that had never passed his lips before, at least in my presence. My grandmother and I watched him slowly die, day by day. It took eight months and I became an advocate for death with dignity.                                           

Death is not an easy topic to discuss, but it fascinates us in a strange way. The wide span of our beliefs vary from ‘nothing exists beyond this life’ to eternal bliss or damnation. We believe is ghosts and spirits and an afterlife where we are reunited with loved ones. We personify death . He is the Reaper, the Angel of Death. He snatches us away, he guides is to a better world.  On the verge of death, our brains in fits of electrical impulses show us visions of  the White Light of heaven. We are at peace.
Death is as personal as it gets. It is the greatest mystery yet to be solved. 

We perceive death as something that happens to us, completely outside our control.  After all, who wants to die? If we are lucky (so we say), death will come fast and painless. Our greatest fear is a slow, painful death. Yet even when death is just around the corner, we wait. Afraid to give up one minute of life, no matter how bad death may be.  
But not everyone believes Death has the upper hand. This past weekend, Brittany Maynard cheated death of much of its sting. Brittany was a young woman, dying from a fast-acting form of brain cancer. When she was diagnosed, she had less than a year to live. Brittany and her husband decided to move to Oregon where Brittany could legally receive from her physician a lethal dose of medication.  Brittany did not simply walk into her doctors office and receive a prescription. There were many steps, and waiting periods before she was granted her request.
On Saturday, after much thought and consideration, Brittany ended her battle with cancer and ended her life. She made a choice to die on her own terms, with dignity.
Brittany’s decision re-opened the debate surrounding the ethics of assisted suicide. Personally,  I support Brittany’s decision. As someone who has not walked in her shoes, it is not my place to judge her.  But I do believe this topic needs to be fully debated  to insure that those who are most vulnerable are protected from pressure to end their life for the sake of another’s agenda. 
Dying with dignity is not a simple “yes I can” or ‘No you won’t” type of decision. Like most important things in life, there is a complex gray area that needs to be explored. Support groups and law makers need to keep an open mind and find ways to protect the rights of those who, like Brittany, want to make the ultimate decision for themselves while ensuring we don’t go too far. 
 I leave you with Brittany’s final Facebook message and a hope that we find the right answer.

“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” Brittany.

Posted in Just what I think

Facebook and Friendship


I have been remise about posting lately. Blame it on poor time management. Between my job, my writing class, my genealogy research and general vegetation on the couch, there doesn’t seem to be much time to create interesting content that everyone wants to read (or comment on). One thing I can’t blame is social media. My Facebook page is not getting much action these days. Maybe it’s just me but I find I am just not interested in Facebook anymore. I started my Facebook page about five years ago as a way to keep in touch with people I didn’t see often and to reconnect with old friends. But what was once a virtual hangout has become nothing more than a constantly changing billboard of meme’s and pages for every cause and voice under the sun. My friends don’t post status anymore; they “share” what they have found.  Sort of like Pinterest but with more words. One friend shared with me today that Congress doesn’t care about my petty problems. I guess she felt I needed to know why my Internet speed will never get faster. Don’t get me wrong. Some of what they share great. I especially liked “Shit Country Women Say.”Another friend shared the worse pickup lines ever. I think I will skip that one. Continue reading “Facebook and Friendship”

Posted in Just what I think


Have you ever thought of cheating on your significant other? Not the juicy extra-marital kind. I am talking about the other significant partner in your life – your employer. I’ll be honest. Things are not going well between me and my employer “M”. There is a lot of stress in the relationship. “M” demands too much out of me. I feel like all my time is spent with “M” with nothing left for me. “M” makes irrational demands, sometimes telling me to do one thing and then telling me I need to do something else. Our once exciting relationship now bores me. I can hardly wait to say good bye at the end of the day. Continue reading “Infidelity”