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My First Blog Post

Just Be Brave….

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

STROLLING, SHOPPING, WINE BAR AND A BREWERY

What could strolling, shopping, a wine bar and a brewery have in common? The answer is a visit to a lovely little town called Sylva, North Carolina. On our most recent visit to our cabin in Maggie Valley, we ventured out to the Town of Sylva. We were pleasantly surprised by all that this town has to offer.

A Little History

The Town of Sylva is in Jackson County located in Western North Carolina. It is surrounded by the Plott Balsam Mountains which provide beautiful views, plenty of hiking trails and waterfalls to explore. There are also two colleges, Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University nearby.

Historic Main Street

Like so many small towns in the area, the Town of Sylva has a beautiful historic district. Main Street Sylva is filled with shops, dining and professional services.

Main Street is very walkable and you can literally spend the whole day enjoying the town and the views. There is something for everyone!

Our Adventure

The Wine Bar

We arrived in Sylva around 12:00p.m. and located a great parking spot. Parking is the only issue when the town is busy. Our first stop was at The Wine Bar and Cellar.

The weather was gorgeous and the Wine Bar had the front window completely open. This was the best seat in the house! Robby ordered a glass of French red wine and I ordered a glass of French white wine. These wines did not disappoint.

We also ordered a beautiful charcuterie board and enjoyed every tasty bite! Friends joined us for another glass of wine making this my favorite stop of the day!

By the way, the service and knowledge of the Wine Bar staff is excellent! I highly recommend this establishment if you are in Sylva!

Town of Sylva Wine Bar
Pic of glass of white wine
Strolling and Shopping

Being full of wine and cheese, Robby and I needed to walk off a few calories. We did this by strolling down Main Street and stopping in many of the shops.

Of course I found a few items that needed to come home with me! I purchased a set of black buffalo check napkins for our cabin and two Easter gifts for my granddaughters.

We stumbled upon a very interesting shop with natural soaps and seasonings. I purchased some very unique Kosher salt and I can’t wait to try it out.

A Brewery

All of the strolling and shopping left Robby hungry again, so we made our last stop at Innovation Brewing. The sun was shining brightly and we sat outside by the creek. Nothing better than food and a beverage by the water!

Robby had a burger and Stout beer. I had French fries and a Chardonnay. The creek, the scenery and no agenda left us feeling refreshed and reconnected.

There are three other breweries within walking distance but we called it a day after our stop at Innovation. Everything in moderation and there are no Uber’s in Sylva!! LOLOL

Innovation Brewery in Sylva
Pic of burger and fries

Final Thoughts

Time spent in the mountains always restores my soul. It is even better when we discover new favorite things. The Town of Sylva is now one of those favorite things. Strolling, shopping, wine and a brew, it just doesn’t get any better!

SPRING, POLLEN AND EASTER DRESSES

It’s hard to believe that one year ago we were all facing a new normal. Isolation and masks became the focus of our attention. Spring, pollen and Easter dresses were all but forgotten.

As I think back, I don’t even remember being happy about the warmer weather. The pollen that covers everything in the south just seems a forgotten yellow haze.

I distinctly remember struggling to make myself put out my Easter decorations. It was hard and I felt sad because no one would be visiting to enjoy them. No Easter dresses and no new shoes to show off. No Sunday service and a meal to celebrate together. COVID had changed the world.

Fresh Wind

Well, March has come around again and fresh winds of hope fill the warmer air. Shots in arms are moving us back toward community again. I can’t wait!! In addition, we all have learned to live life a little differently, but LIVE what matters.

Signs of Spring

My shrubbery is blooming and the birds are busy building their nests. The pollen has covered everything in sight, including my screened in porch. Even our pool is tinted green with pollen!

The porch will require many cleanings before the pollen season ends and that’s OK. This year there will be people using it! Good conversation and laughter over coffee or wine will fill the corners of this outdoor space once again.

Easter Baskets

My Easter baskets and decor have been happily placed throughout the family room. I can hardly wait for my granddaughters to rearrange the window clings on my front windows. It is one of their favorite things to do.

Pic of Easter window clings
pic of Easter window clings

Their little fingerprints on the glass will remind me of how blessed I am to have time with them. It’s amazing how much joy something as simple as window clings bring to a child.

Celebration

A proper Easter meal has been planned and at least one of our daughters will be able to join us.

The girls and I will dress up in pretty new dresses and celebrate the Easter season with flare this year.

Of course, the Easter baskets are ready with gifts from “Mimi & Popi”. Most importantly, there will be lots of egg hiding and hopefully “finding” as well! LOL

Easter baskets
Easter baskets and decor

Final Thoughts

As laughter and joy fill our home again, I will relish and hold onto every moment. Time is so precious. So is being in community with family and friends.

It’s a new season. A season full of hope. I will never look at Spring, pollen, and Easter dresses with the same lens. Gratitude and thankfulness will color this season with bright and beautiful hues.

May the warmth and joy of spring and the Easter season refresh and renew your mind and soul.

HAPPY EASTER!

JUST FINISHED READING A BOOK ABOUT THE LAWS OF LEADERSHIP

I just finished reading John Maxwell’s bookThe 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Being a leader does not come naturally to me. This is an area that I wanted to improve so that is why I chose this book.

picture of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership book

John Maxwell is well known as a leadership speaker, coach and has written many books. I appreciate his style of writing which is very easy to read and applicable. The book did not disappoint.

What I Liked

Because I know nothing about leadership, I was looking for a foundational book. That is exactly what the Laws of Leadership accomplishes. It establishes a foundation for instruction which can be applied in business, volunteering, and family/friend relationships.

Each law is presented in a way that is practical and applicable for anyone. Whether you are a seasoned leader or a newbie, Maxwell takes complex principles and makes them simple. I really appreciate this style. Each chapter allows the reader to assess their skills and see what needs work.

In looking at other reviews, most readers find this book to be very useful and the information easy to apply. It is a good outline for leadership principles. The concept of servant leadership and achievement by developing the best in others is a very successful and rewarding method of leadership.

What The Book Is Not

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is not meant to be a complete examination of every type of leadership situation and how to handle them in detail. If you are looking for specific detailed leadership instruction in a particular industry, then this book is not for you.

It is written for the average person who is looking to grow and develop in the area of leadership. The book is meant to be a tool to grow you and help you recognize areas of weakness. In addition, it can help you thrive in areas of natural ability and intuitiveness.

There are readers who did not like this book and found it lacking in substance. They also saw the concept of influence as manipulative. Most people agree that the concepts on character traits of leaders are great, but there is not enough “meat” on how to develop those traits.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In addition, I learned a lot! Considering that I have no training in leadership, I had no where to go but up!! LOL Many of the principles I learned have already been put into practice with good results.

As I pondered why some folks did not like this book, I believe that they simply had different expectations for the book. They were looking for a more specific type of leadership training and so their perspective was that the book lacked substance.

I could not disagree more. The book is well worth the read. And, if you read it with an open mind, you will be able to see the bigger picture and learn more, find more solutions and discover new ideas.

Happy Reading Everyone!

ATTITUDE CHECK

Did you know that YOU are responsible for your attitude? Circumstances and other people are NOT responsible for your attitude.

Your attitude on any given day is your choice. Choose well!!

You will always have a great day when you choose to take responsibility for how you respond to life’s ever changing surprises!

Be flexible. Be grateful. Be thankful.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH DRINKING COFFEE

Coffee has been a staple in my morning routine since the age of 3! Yes, it’s true. I have been drinking coffee with sugar and creamer since I was a toddler and my love affair has continued for 50 years now.

The smell of fresh brewed coffee warms my soul every morning. Each sip brings back nothing but good memories of breakfast with family and early morning table conversations.

white ceramic cup on saucer
Photo by Olga Mironova on Pexels.com

How It All Began

You may wonder how a child of 3 begins drinking coffee. My parents certainly did not start this ritual. My grandfather, however, did! He was a coffee drinker and especially loved a cup after meals. When our family would visit on Sunday afternoons, he always had a cup of coffee and always offered me a taste!

My fascination was not with the taste of the coffee, but how he drank it. Because it was so hot, he would pour some out of the cup into the saucer and let it cool. Then he would sip away. Since my parents did not drink it this way, I thought he was super cool!

My sips on Sunday grew into demands for my own cup at breakfast. My mom eventually gave in with one condition. I had to drink a small glass of orange juice as well. And so began my morning coffee ritual.

True Love

I continued to drink coffee with breakfast throughout my childhood and teenage years. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I really recognized how much I loved that first cup in the morning.

The funny thing is that as much as I love coffee, I only drink it in the morning with breakfast. The caffeine is too much for me to tolerate in the evening. I think that since I limit my intake, the anticipation of that first cup is even more special!

Now in full disclosure, I do occasionally partake of a Starbuck’s caramel macchiato but it must be before 3:00p.m. or I will be up all night!

Why We Love Coffee

Okay, the obvious reason that I and so many others love coffee is that caffeine is addictive. In addition, the caffeine also causes an increase of dopamine in the brain. Simply put, coffee just make you feel happy.

Another benefit is that the caffeine increases your energy level and can help you be more productive.

Lastly, coffee sharpens your brain and helps fend of depression. Who doesn’t want to start their day happy, productive and sharp! (see article 3 Scientific Reasons Coffee Makes You Happier and More Productive)

adult beans beautiful black coffee
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Thoughts

I love that science reveals some pretty nice benefits from drinking coffee. However, I think my love of that first hot cup of pure goodness runs much deeper. That morning ritual connects me to my past and memories of family no longer here and good times shared around the table.

For me it’s a little cup of love that touches all of my senses and starts my day with warmth and joy!

So here’s to all the coffee lovers in the world – keep on brewing!!!

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME – CLOCK TURNING TIME AGAIN!?!

The ritual of turning the clocks forward is upon us again. Whether you like it or not, Daylight Saving Time is this weekend and we all get to “loose” an hour of precious sleep! The good news is that since most of us use our cell phones to tell time, they will do the changing for us automatically.

This year Daylight Saving Time begins March 14 at 2:00a.m. and continues through November 7th. And let’s all remember that this weekend we move our clocks FORWARD one hour.

A Tiny Bit of History

Daylight Saving Time was first observed in the United States in 1918. The main reasoning for the “switch-a-roo” is to allow for more hours of light in the evening. People have always had mixed feelings about this process and every year there is a push to stick with one time standard in the U.S.

About 15 states have passed legislation to end the observance of DST but nothing will change nationally unless Washington, DC decides to do away with the time change.

This may prompt you to wonder who exactly is responsible for time in the U.S.? The answer to that question is The Department of Transportation. They carry the responsibility of all time zones and Daylight Saving Time.

The DOT reports that the change to Daylight Saving Time is helpful in saving energy, reducing crimes and preventing traffic accidents. If you want to read more about DST, here’s a link to USAToday.com

pexels-photo-359989.jpeg
Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

The Ritual/Tradition

This time of year once meant a flurry of running around the house resetting every clock in every room. It was quite the ordeal. Of course, I still have a few digital clocks in my house that will require a little attention but I have conceded to use my cell phone as my alarm clock, so no worries there!

Let’s not forget about appliances both big and small. Unless you have “smart” appliances, you will need to reset the time on the stove, microwave and perhaps most importantly, the coffee maker.

I personally don’t use the timed brew feature on my coffee maker, but I can’t think of anything worse than not having your fresh brewed life juice on time Sunday morning!

Pros and Cons

Experts and average folks alike all have thoughts about the pros and cons of Daylight Saving Time. It is known that with more light in the evening, people tend to get out and do more. Also having more exposure to natural light is good for us.

The negative side is that it can greatly interfere with your sleep cycle. This can be especially difficult for parents of small children trying to maintain a sleep schedule. I even notice that my dog has trouble adjusting to the new sleep/potty cycle.

Some experts have touted that we save energy by changing to DST. This may have been true many years ago, but not in today’s modern society. Use of TVs, AC units, lights, and appliances remain the same no matter how much light there is. There really is no energy savings that is significant.

If you are like me, over 50, then you have had a lot of experience over the years with the time change thing. For me, it does mess up my sleep cycle and I really hate “loosing” an hour of sleep in the Spring.

photo of person holding alarm clock
Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

My Two Cents

I love this quote I found from an unnamed Native American: “Only government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket!”

This pretty much sums up my feeling about Daylight Saving Time. Sometimes it is better to just leave things as they are!

Hope everyone has a great weekend and DON’T FORGET TO TURN THOSE CLOCKS FORWARD!!!!!!