Throwback Thursday: The J-Pets
No Doubt

A Surprise ... In More Ways Than One

One evening last week, I was out running and nearly home when a truck pulling a trailer passed me going Very Fast.  I couldn't help but notice the words on the trailer:


Even so, I was surprised when I got home and noticed what can only be called a "Carnival Atmosphere" in my normally quiet neighborhood.

Because THIS. . .


A hot air balloon (the same one that went low over my house a couple of weeks ago) had made a surprise - but controlled - landing in my neighbor's front lawn, right across the street.

Big Excitement!

Neighbors poured out of their houses and came out with their cameras.  We took turns posing for shots with the balloon in the background.


It's just something that doesn't happen everyday!


After a time, when the Balloon Chase Vehicle guys decided they wouldn't be able to put the balloon UP again (too many trees and houses and basketball posts), they moved the balloon out into the street and let the air out.


I got a bit of that on a video (see below), but I misjudged how big and how close it would be.  Besides, the balloon was landing across my front lawn!  (I don't shoot videos often, and I was holding the camera in the wrong direction . . . but you'll get the idea.)


It takes a surprising amount of time to take a balloon down and pack it up in the Balloon Chase Vehicle!


Most of the crowd hung around and watched for another hour or so as they rolled and packed and stored the balloon.  Tom and I could keep tabs on the action from our front windows.


In the days since, I've been thinking about the Unexpected Balloon Landing event in relation to my One Little Word process this year.  Although I don't blog about it very often, I've been keeping up with the monthly OLW prompts and keeping my word for the year - SURPRISE - in my thoughts and journals.

SURPRISE is a funny OLW word.  Because most of the OLW prompts and activities are focused on how you can . . .

invite your word into your life

translate your word into action in your world

see the word around you

What I've discovered this year . . . is that I can't really DO most of that with the particular word I've chosen.  I mean. . . once you PLAN something . . . or TAKE ACTION . . . it is no longer a SURPRISE!

But I have been able to SEE the word around me.  To be AWARE of how often I am surprised.  Sometimes the surprise is subtle -- an unexpected shadow, a strange cloud formation, a bird song.  And sometimes the surprise is huge -- my reaction to a situation, a new possibility, a puppy!

This is my third year of doing One Little Word.  My word this year is more challenging than I had expected, but I'm getting a lot more out of the process than I ever have before.



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It looks like folding up that balloon might be far worse than folding the fitted sheets I grumble about. I hope your neighbors received some surprise champagne from their new balloon lawn ornament!


A hot air balloon in your front yard is definitely a surprise! How cool and fun! And this is the second time (I think) you have mentioned going out for a run. I thought you didn't like running? Has something changed?


You picked a perfect word, as it is a word that keeps you aware, keeps you guessing, listening, watching and chronicling the beauty and joy all around you. It embodies proof we can only control our reactions to what happens around us. Surprise=joy.


I noticed that running thing too! ;-) Big excitement in the neighborhood...we call it redneck entertainment!


When you wrote about the balloon going over your house I thought that was exciting but to have one drop in right across the street that IS a surprise! Such bright pretty colors and what a great photo op!!


Seeing a hot air balloon is a total delight, but having one land on your street? Priceless.

Cheryl S.



I love that you chose a word that encourages awareness more than planning. So often the best things in our lives are missed when we focus too hard on a plan.

And what a beautiful surprise the balloon was!


I love how SURPRISE is showing up all over your life. Seems fun and lighthearted and creative...just what Neil Gaiman had in mind in that first quotation you shared.

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