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Archive for the ‘Sunday Selections’ Category

postheadericon Total Solar Eclipse – Sunday Selections

Today’s Sunday Selection is not about inspiration, but about safely enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime event here in the US. Tomorrow’s total solar eclipse has a large portion of the population in an uproar of excited anticipation.

 

If you’re late to the game or unprepared, we have a few tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Total Solar Eclipse Safety at Red Barn Blue Skies

Travel

Don’t make any last minute plans to travel if possible. The roads and highways, especially leading into the Eclipse’s *path of totality, have been congested if not blocked for days.

 

If you haven’t already made reservations or are in place to view the eclipse, it will be safer to stay put. Camping sites and hotel rooms have been booked up for months if not over a year. Some people have been planning vacations around the total solar eclipse for several years.

Safety Glasses and Filters

Don’t try to view the total solar eclipse without using proper safety glasses. Be sure the glasses are CE and ISO rated for safety. Also, check them for scratches or any damage. You could permanently damage your eyes to the point of blindness if you don’t follow safety guidelines.

 

Don’t try to use binoculars, telescopes, or camera lenses. They are not a filter and will magnify the damage being done to your eyes – and you won’t even feel it! Welder’s masks or glasses are also not rated or designed for an eclipse.

There are other options for safely viewing the eclipse:

~   Watch it on TV or on the internet. NASA has a fantastic site to view it: Eclipse2017.nasa.gov

~   Make a pinhole projector. Exploratorium.edu has a great how-to article. It also explains a few other ways to view the eclipse without actually looking at it.

~   Purchase and install a solar filter made specifically for your camera or binoculars. Never view the eclipse without the proper filter in place on your device.

Chandler Ready for the Total Solar Eclipse at Red Barn Blue Skies

Children and Pets

Pets and children are naturally curious. If they see adults looking up into the sky and pointing, they’re going to look up too. It is best to keep your pets inside during the eclipse.

 

If your kids must be outside with you during the eclipse, be sure they have properly-fitted glasses with the correct ratings. Make sure they keep them on for the entire duration and don’t let them remove them. This is critical as their eyesight could be forever damaged.

Don’t be surprised to feel the temperature drop before, during, and after the total solar eclipse. You might not see a massive change in the actual light leading up to the actual eclipse, but your skin will start feeling the difference. It could be up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit or more in areas under the path of totality.

*Path of Totality is a 70-mile wide swath that cuts across the country through fourteen states (Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennesee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina). Along this path the full and total eclipse that lasts over two minutes will be viewable.  

So have you ever experienced an eclipse? Are you making plans for this historic total solar eclipse of 2017?

Total Solar Eclipse

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Red Barn Blue Skies redbarnblueskies.com

postheadericon Ode to Summer – Sunday Selections

As the end of summer draws near, we’ll celebrate with some famous authors and their lovely thoughts on the season. Please enjoy this week’s Sunday Selection.

Ode to Summer at Red Barn Blue Skies

~~~~~

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer…

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape

Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

~~~~~

~~~~~

 

postheadericon Restore Your Senses in the Garden – Sunday Selections

Today’s choice for  Sunday Selections answers the question of where to go in order recharge your internal battery and to restore your senses. It’s the garden of course!

There is nothing more amazing than going out to your garden (or any garden, for that matter) and recharging yourself by simply being.

Restore Your Senses in the Garden at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Tuning out the world and tuning into nature is a great way to get in touch with all of your five senses. Where else can you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell everything around you?

~SEE the beauty around you

~HEAR the breeze whisper while the water trickles in a pond or possibly listen to the creatures that live in this garden as they chatter

~TOUCH the soft leaves and petals or dig your hands deep into the rich soil

~TASTE the lovely fruit you’ve helped nature bring into being or bite into that lovely ripe tomato on the vine

~SMELL the captivating fragrance of herbs and flowers that tempt you to stay longer

Restore Your Senses

Love is like a beautiful flower

which I may not touch, 

but whose fragrance makes the garden

a place of delight just the same.

~ Helen Keller

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt,

head in the sun, heart one with nature. 

To nurture a garden

is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

– Alfred Austin

So where do you go to restore your senses? Is there a special place you retreat to? Tell me or even show me, I’d love to hear about or see it for myself.

postheadericon Adjust Your Attitude, Find Your Balance, and Carry a Big Stick

I initially had a different post in mind for this week’s Sunday Selections, but the more I thought about it, the more I became refocused on a theme from a few weeks ago – Balance. It seems I wasn’t really finished with the topic.

In trying to find that elusive balance in my life, I regularly come across tons of advice on why you should find your balance. You’re told how important it is and what the benefits are, but never really any concrete ways of how to achieve it.

The experts may tell you to keep a journal, talk to someone, take a vacation or get a hobby, but that doesn’t really help me personally achieve anything. I’m not balanced, I’m far from it.

Our life has felt a little off kilter or tilted lately, always listing to one side or the other, never really tracking straight down the center. We’re looking to change that and find a little level ground. (notice the jousting references??) Which leads perfectly into today’s post…

Adjust Your Attitude, Find Your Balance, and Carry a Big Stick at Red Barn Blue Skies

Knights to the Rescue

This unbalanced theme became even more fixed in my head when I dug up these photos a few days ago. I took these pictures of our friends about eleven years ago and was afraid they’d been lost in one of our moves. It seemed to be destiny that I found them now as these jousting or “tilting” pictures illustrate perfectly – to me anyways, how balance (or lack of it) is ingrained in every part of our life. Kudos to karma and perfect timing as well!

Red Barn Blue Skies Mounted Knight for Find Your Balance

Just like most of us, these guys have been through a lot of changes in their lives, both personally and professionally. But, through everything, they’ve managed to remain upright and centered in the saddle or as my Dad says, “a foot on each side and your butt in the middle”.  Not always an easy feat.

Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies Knight 1

Now I’m not a jouster or a shiny knight, but I am an accomplished horsewoman and I do understand what it takes to stay in that saddle. Other than the obvious horsemanship, three attributes immediately come to mind: Attitude, Balance, and (Constant) Adjustment.

Knight Jousting on Buckskin Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies

Anyone who has been riding horses (or Harleys) for any amount of time will understand the importance and the relevance. But the thing is, you don’t have to be a rider or a knight to embrace these concepts. They pertain to all of us – every day.

Find Your Balance Adjust Your Attitude Carry a Big Stick Red Barn Blue Skies

Change Your Attitude

Your attitude can make or break you, your day, and even those around you. If you wake up spewing negativity and in a foul mood, you set the course and tone for the day. When a knight (or someone like me) has a bad attitude and mounts their horse, more often than not the horse will reflect that bad mood and behave accordingly.

Adjust Your Attitude Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies

Your attitude affects and impacts more than just yourself. If you don’t want that horse to bite you in the backside or have your boss fire you for being a smartass, change that attitude. Only you can make the conscious choice to do it. Attitude adjustment only happens when you’re willing to change. Of course, staying home is probably a good option for those kinds of days too.

“If you don’t like something,

change it.

If you can’t change it,

change your attitude.”

~ Maya Angelou

Find Your Balance

If there is one thing that can make or break a rider, it is their balance – or the loss of it. Whether you have four hammering hooves or two spinning wheels under you, if you don’t remain aware of your surroundings and balanced up on top, you’re headed for a big fall. Same goes for that rolling office chair.

Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies with Jousting Knights

Finding a harmonious way to balance your life on both the personal and professional fronts is necessary. While you may not literally fall on your face or have someone chasing you down horseback, your health can be affected, your relationships may suffer, and you might just miss out on the important moments in life.

Red Barn Blue Skies Mounted Knight on Buckskin Find Your Balance

Do yourself a favor and find what makes you happy. Each person must decide for themselves as it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. What brings me peace in my life may bore the heck out of the next person. Working a hectic 50 hour week and then partying all weekend might bring excitement and joy to someone else while it would push me over the edge. Different strokes.

“Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance,

you must keep moving.”

~ Albert Einstein

 

Make Constant Adjustments

Keeping your butt centered in the saddle of a charging 2000 pound, fire-breathing steed while balancing an 11-foot lance pointed at your opponent is not easy. And lest you forget, on top of this you’re wearing 100+ pounds of protective (and restrictive) armor – with obstructed/limited vision. Fun times..really.

Series 1 Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Jousting Knight

As you gallop down the list (the lane) towards your target (who is also pounding the ground towards you), a series of constant, minute adjustments are taking place – you continually shift and find your balance! If you don’t, it’s all over and the fat lady will sing – really loud.

Series 2 Find Your Balance Red Barn Blue Skies Jousting Knight

Your hard-won equilibrium can be thrown off by any number of things – your horse stumbling or adjusting his own balance, your saddle shifting, the lance moving from the wind, your opposing knight hitting you just right, the list goes on.

Red Barn Blue Skies Jousting Find Your Balance Series 3   Red Barn Blue Skies Lances Breaking in Joust Series 4 Find Your Balance

The point is, you must be in a perpetual state of adjustment – just like Sir Shiny Guy in all of the photos above. You’ll notice he is constantly repositioning the lance (and his butt in the saddle) as he progresses – that is until he shatters it against his opponent’s armor. Could you compensate and find your balance during all of this shifting and maneuvering?

Series 5 Find Your Balance Red Barn Blue Skies Jousting Knight

You don’t just plop in the saddle, run down the list and poke your nemesis knight or beloved cousin with your big stick. With all of the variables you might be faced with, you must be ready to change your tactics and your seat – in a split second. Your balance is in a constant state of flux – just like in real life. In order to take things head-on, you need to be flexible and ready to adjust.

“You’re going to face adversity.

It’s not if – it’s when.

You have to be able to adjust on the fly,

and that is what the great ones do.”

~ Andre Ward

Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Triumphant Knight

More Adjustments

All of these quotes really spoke to me today and seemed quite fitting for making changes as you go. Each is in just enough of a different voice to get the point across while saying pretty much the same thing. One might resonate with you while the others not so much. Again, different strokes.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind,

but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

~ James Dean

Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Jousting Knights 3

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached,

don’t adjust the goals,

adjust the action steps.”

~ Confucious

Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Knight Photo

So how do you find your balance? Do you feel you’ve already achieved it? Let me know!

Learn More

If you want to learn more about modern day jousting and where to see it for yourself, check out The Knights of Mayhem.

You should also stop in at Clif’s California where you can “experience California from a two wheel point of view”.

Here are a few books from my recent reading list that may be of interest:

Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care – Maria Noel Groves

Yoga for Emotional Balance – Bo Forbes

Walk in Balance: The Path to Healthy, Happy, Harmonious Living – A Sun Bear Book

 

Adjust Your Attitude, Find Your Balance, Carry a Big Stick at Red Barn Blue Skies

postheadericon Butterfly Kisses for Dad on Father’s Day

Sunday Selections is a bit different today as I honor my Dad, my father-in-law Tony, and all the other fathers, stepdads, grampas, uncles, brothers and good men out there. Thank you for everything you’ve done and for being there all our lives.

This song called Butterfly Kisses makes me cry every time I hear it, but it fits how I feel and how I grew up. It’s such a beautiful tribute from a Daddy to his daughter. As a Daddy’s girl, I get it. So Happy Father’s Day.

Julie and Bill Dancing to Butterfly Kisses Red Barn Blue Skies

Butterfly Kisses

There’s two things I know for sure.
She was sent here from heaven,
and she’s daddy’s little girl.
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night,
she talks to Jesus, and I close my eyes.
And I thank God for all of the joy in
my life, But most of all, for…

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair.
“Walk beside the pony daddy,
it’s my first ride.”
“I know the cake looks funny,
daddy, but I sure tried.”
Oh, with all that I’ve done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve a hug every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.

Sweet sixteen today,
She’s looking like her momma
a little more everyday.
One part woman, the other part girl.
To perfume and makeup,
form ribbons and curls.
Trying her wings out
in a great big world. But I remember…

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair.
“You know how much I love you daddy,
But if you don’t mind,
I’m only going to kiss you on
the cheek this time.”
With all that I’ve done wrong
I must have done something right.
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.

All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by
Precious butterfly
Spread your wings and fly

She’ll change her name today.
She’ll make a promise,
and I’ll give her away.
Standing in the bride room
just staring at her,
she asked me what I’m thinking,
and I said “I’m not sure,
I just feel like I’m losing my baby girl.”
Then she leaned over….and gave me….

Butterfly kisses, with her mama there
Sticking little flowers all up in her hair
“Walk me down the aisle, daddy,
it’s just about time.”
“Does my wedding gown look pretty, daddy?”
“Daddy, don’t cry.”
With all that I’ve done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses
I couldn’t ask God for more, man, this is what love is
I know I’ve gotta let her go, but I’ll always remember
Every hug in the morning, and butterfly kisses…

~ song by Bob Carlisle & Randy Thomas

And just in case you don’t think fathers and sons have beautiful relationships too, here’s the hubby and his Dad on our wedding day. Happy Father’s Day Tony! We love you to the moon and back. A big thank you from me for raising such a wonderful man.

butterfly kisses