April 2015 Blog Archives
April 31, 2015
A friend of mine sang, "Hallelujah!" and brought the house down. The song resonated deep in my soul and I cannot get the word to stop running through my head. The words to the song are not really sacred, but the word Hallelujah is. Say it and see what I mean.
It's Friday! - Hallelujah!
The birds are singing outside my windows - Hallelujah!
A new baby was born into our family and she's just beautiful. More pink in the world! - Hallelujah!
A friend who has lived a wonderful long and loving life has gone back to God - Hallelujah!
The sun is shining in Michigan! - Hallelujah!
Those I love dearly are happy, healthy and loved - Hallelujah!
I am blessed. - Hallelujah!
May the peace of Hallelujah be with you today and through this weekend. May you know the deep resonating sound that the sacred can have in your own soul. And may you always have a reason to say, Hallelujah!
April 30, 2015
One of a kind.......
I have an art piece I won at an auction and it's a one-of-a-kind. Sounds great, huh? Not so much. One of a kind, though sought after by everyone, seems to have no market and therefore no market value. So alternately, one of a kind is useless and priceless. There's a conundrum for you.
Searching the world for the one person or persons who might be interested in this particular art is doable, but doesn't it sound daunting? They'll say, "How much do you want for that?" And I'll......stammer. That's why I keep wrapping it back up and storing it. Much like some of the big dilemmas in our own lives.
Last week, a client told me she had been angry with her son for 25 years over a decision he made. She had never asked him why he did it, but she carried the anger nevertheless. I suggested she take him out to dinner and ask him. She thought I had lost my mind! So I suggested she carry it to her grave, be angry, and go on with her life. But she didn't much like that solution either. Guess she wrapped it up and put it back in storage when she left my office........
Damned if you do and damned if you don't. But if you never pick a side how will you know? I could be rich from the sale of the picture or just end up with extra storage space..... Ding, Dong! Ebay calling.....
April 29, 2015
What does it say to you?
My husband got a national leadership award on Monday and I was so proud of him! But his peers? They couldn't be bothered, mostly because they didn't get the award. Some actually verbalized those feelings. But they don't know the work and years of commitment that went into getting that reward. The late nights, time away from family, and true sacrifice that had to occur to be that honored leader.
The term leader is determined by your own perspective. But when you rise to the top enough to receive a national award, I think we can all agree the criteria for the award must be present. But it all goes back to the goals we originally set for ourselves. My husband has always been a leader. It is the path he chooses, despite some pretty rocky road signs, every single time. I had hoped his peers would rise to the occasion, because they had so often benefited from his leadership, but not so. Thereby seperating the leaders from the not-quite-measuring up wannabe's - at least in my mind.
Maya Angelou said: "When people show you who they are, believe them." I believe we got some real information for the future in this endeavor. Never let anyone tell you that sorting is not a valuable tool! It is and it will save you some grief going forward.
In any event, Congratulations Keith! I have never seen you falter in leadership, from the Marine Corps to being a remarkable Dad. I know a lot about who you are and what you have accomplished and it was long, long overdue.
April 28, 2015
A word of advice.......
Adults do what they want to do. And the key word is want. I once had a very important event in my life and one of my closest friends couldn't come because she had an appointment to get highlights in her hair. That taught me a valuable lesson. Adults prioritize themselves and what we think should happen really doesn't factor into it....... Makes you see it from a different angle doesn't it?
Think about yourself. You can move heaven and earth to get to an event or appointment that you want to make. But those that aren't so important? Well, we all have a plethora of excuses to draw from. Admittedly, often there are times that we actually cannot make something, but that is simply not always the case.
In pondering those I feel obligated to, I try to always remember that they have their own idea of what is important. It helps sort out the guilt, frustration and obligation. I have learned to just ask them what they really want/need from me, instead of trying to figure it out on my own. Because when we put what we think matters onto them, it's a very slippery slope.
April 27, 2015
Are you really only as good as your last mistake?
OMG I surely hope not! But while I do believe we need to be smart and remember how a person can screw up, we don't need to always assume they will. People can and do change. They learn from their mistakes and they change their behavior. Not everyone, but most. Those who don't, just stick around to give the rest of us a bad reputation. I often tell my clients to figure out the odds of them actually 'running with scissors'. In other words, how likely are you to: Hurt someone intentionally, steal, kill, disappoint, make an error, and just really screw up? It's all relative. Someone who rarely screws up is less likely to do huge harm.
So how about instead of thinking someone is only as good as their last mistake, we decide they are only as good as their last triumph? I was once told I was only as good as my most mediocre day, so I set about to have grand mediocre days! But that sort of thing is not sustainable and everyone needs a rest sometime. How about you realize that when I show up, I will be trustworthy, kind, smart, helpful, and maybe only screw up a little bit? How about that? Because the older I get the very less I want to be around people who are not willing to at least make those exceptions.
Of course, I have to work on that as well. And believe me if you have repeatedly hurt, misjudged, belittled and mistreated me, I do not intend to extend those same rules. Why should I? Everyone learns eventually......
We are simply not all perfect. So mistakes? They will happen, unless we never endeavor to do a single thing. So I will never accept being treated only as good as my last mistake. I will instead choose to be around people who see me for much, much more. And I so hope you do, too.
April 24, 2015
She said it changed her life........
An eighth grade student decided to celebrate her birthday a little differently than usual. She asked her parents to give her the money they would have spent on a party and she spent it doing 14 random acts of kindness instead. It was bitter cold here in Michigan that day, so she gave out hot chocolate at Wal-Mart to the shoppers. She helped people with their groceries, especially the seniors and ones with screaming children. In other words, she did the small things that really help and matter. Genuine kindness without all the fluff! And best of all, she said it changed her life.
She learned the true value of a smile, reveled in the wonder people have about a random act of kindness, had to explain that the chocolate was free, and realized the small things matter more than words can say. She came from a place of thinking she had to do something huge to make a real difference, to changing her place in the world with small things. And she would so do it again, only she won't wait for a birthday. Because now? Now she knows she doesn't need an excuse.
There is no need to out think or out perform when kindness starts in your heart. Do some of your own this weekend and see for yourself!
April 23, 2015
I'm happy, so I'm crying......
My son is finishing up 8th grade and doing a marvelous job of it. Next step.....high school. He's excited and I am, too. But my baby's not a baby anymore. So I'm crying a little here and there. These rights of passage are hard, even when they are wonderful, and we have worked so hard to make them possible. Of course I want to be happy for him, but I also want to scream, "What about me?" Not that it's at all about me......
Letting go sucks. It does and knowing it's a good thing helps, but it still sucks. I was looking at pictures of him when he was in elementary school and crying. Then I finally got a clue and put those away. We are strictly sticking to current photos until this transition is over! I have to save myself somehow.....
There is a whole lot of joy to be had, even when it comes with tears. And after all, I AM blessed. So high school here we come!
April 22, 2015
Save me from technology!
Okay, I'm not the most savvy tech person, but I'm not still using my dial up phone either. My new phone allows me to turn it on with my thumbprint instead of putting in a code. This morning it did not recognize my thumb. It said it was not my thumb, when in fact it was...... And so it shut off and I can't get it to come back on. Yes, I did the sensible fix and turned it completely off, then back on..... Still doesn't recognize me or my thumb....
A few years ago, I was robbed and they stole my phone. I was happy that I could turn it off and they couldn't access it. So I can't dispair about technology completely, but on the other hand it IS my thumb! So I had to resort to my desktop PC for help. It said, after a few paltry suggestions that didn't work, that I should go to a Verizon store and get some help. Really? So everyone got emails that my phone wasn't working......
I couldn't help thinking that my mother never had this problem. Yes, there were times when she didn't know where we were and she did have to rotary dial the phone, but it always worked. Still does actually..... So here's to progress. We pay dearly for it and we learn all kinds of crazy skills to survive it. We have to be thinkers and use all our skills to be any kind of savvy and it is exhausting at times.
Welcome to the future! May I please borrow your phone?
April 21, 2015
Have you made any lists lately?
As we grow up and mature, our scope on things does change. Especially if we have been paying attention and learning the lessons that come our way. So for instance, the kind of daughter, son, wife, sister, brother, cousin, friend you were ten or more years ago, may not have the same criteria now. Often we catch ourselves striving to please someone hoping for a different outcome in our relationships. But we don't often stop to consider what exactly it is we actually want. Sound complicated? It's not really......
Take someone you love and make a short list - 10 items or less - about what your expectations from them are. Make a short list about what you hope to be to them. If you can, take that list to them and ask if it is what they really want or expect from you. It doesn't have to be perfect, just from the heart. And when you get the hang of it, try it on someone you have difficulty with. Even if you can't talk to them about it, just arrive at criteria for yourself to protect your self from the fallout a difficult relationship can cause.
It's something strong to think about and it can bring you much deserved peace. The truth is that life just requires work. Physical, mental and emotional. This is the emotional work, but it will affect everything else about you and if you are lucky, them. I wish you peace.
April 20, 2015
Accomplishment sure looks good on children.......
This weekend, I got to see some pretty amazing musical performances from a talented group of eighth graders. The stress was off the charts, but they rose to the occasion and brought home an array of blue ribbons. They were encouraging to each other, kind in the face of some powerful emotions and they were incredible. I wish we could take the video and show it to the whole school, for those who are struggling right now with their own identity and needing kindness from others. They ran the gamut of emotions, but they triumphed!
It's not always the big things in life, you know. It's the little things, too. The hugs, the comfort, the encouragement, because these are the skills we all have at our disposal. The trick is to use them. Be observant and understand that a kind word or even a small touch really do matter.
It's a great way to start the week. Be kind, caring and watch the magic occur.
April 17, 2015
I love that nature doesn't give up.......
I'm telling you after the Michigan winter we just had, I wouldn't blame all the flowers if they went south! The buttercups and paperwhites have a very important job. They are the brave ones, the ones who come out first and show everyone else in nature that it's okay, and the harsh winter is really over. They are a true sign of hope, forgiveness, and possibilities.
Our lives can be like that and it takes someone brave to step forward showing everyone else there is still something worthwhile. I talked with some students about their impact on others. We discussed how just a word, a hello, a compliment or a smile can make an enormous difference. Often, people just need to know that they are not invisible. A word or kind gesture can sure accomplish that.
So as a nod to those brave flowers, do the same yourself to someone you don't usually acknowledge. Let them know they do exist, you see them, and they matter. It may seem like a small thing and delicate thing, but so are paperwhites.
April 16, 2015
When your nerves slap you around.....
Big competition coming up this weekend for band students at my sons school. Getting the blue ribbon for individual competition is all encompassing and they have been practicing for weeks to bring it on. My heart so goes out to them! Remember a time when you really needed to just be spot on in an instant? That's what they are grappling with.
In this crazy world often it does boil down to just a few short minutes, as if you can bring everything you are to an exact spot to be judged by others. The audacity and just plain ridiculousness of it all can be overwhelming. I suggested we all just laugh and laugh and laugh to relieve the pressure - it's our best defense. Realize that things like this are just some crazy way we as humans have come up with to measure ourselves, when in fact we are awesome every single day in many small ways.
Mother Teresa said the important thing is just to show up and the Divine will take care of the rest. I like that concept. Showing up can often be a chore in itself, but the Divine never seems to give in to nerves.... And after all, just by showing up, you bring the Divine.
April 15, 2015
Rites of passage.......
Every Spring, we should all give ourselves a 'rite of passage'. It can be as complicated as getting our pilot's license or as simple as learning to ride a bicycle. The problem is that while we are often eager to celebrate others in their accomplishments, we are not so good at marking them for ourselves. We all need positive reinforcement, so why not award yourself a 'rite of passage'?
Children really seem to get it down well, so we can learn from them. Yesterday at school I high fived someone who: Drank all their milk, played the perfect note on a euphonium, got an A in math, new shoes, a new t-shirt, and learned all about a petition to change the dress code from an industrious activist. Surely we can come up with something!
Don't get all involved in waiting for something big enough to come along...... Just go for it! Make a habit of seeing yourself in a brighter, kinder light and remember how wonderfully unique you really are.
April 14, 2015
The real thing......
Today, just for fun, I took my son to an empty parking lot and let him take the wheel. He was delighted at first, a little hesitant, and I think we both got a tiny whiplash from the firmly applied brake, but it was such a fun right of passage.....
I remember the first hot wheels, bicycle, and batman car. And even though we have progressed to snow skis, skateboards, and much more savvy bicycles, the car is a definite leap forward. He said he could really see how owning a car would be fun and he was looking forward to going all the places he wanted to go with his friends. I remember those days. They were awesome!
We have a little more time to put safety and longer legs in place and that's okay. I'm not ready for him to drive off into the sunset right now anyway. But it sure was fun seeing that grin on his face and laughing about the possibilities......
April 13, 2015
New babies are the spice of life........
Someone asked me today if I remember when my son was born......really remember. And my answer? Like it was yesterday. In fact, I am still overwhelmed about the miracle of it and the grace. I don't imagine I will ever forget it. Recently one of my family members welcomed a new grandchild. They had the best grins on their faces! It was just fun to see the magic so clearly. Blessed is the only word for it.
For all the times in our lives when lives are over, a birth is the balm we seek. I love that even though we need both, the new baby part is just so much fun that it really has the power to heal us all. Even miles away when we can only see a picture.
Allow the renewal of life to heal you. It is powerful and may very well surprise you.
April 10, 2015
Just like yesterday.....
I saw my friend, Don Hobbs, sherlockian extraordinaire, just for a brief visit and am still smiling days later. I ran up to his door - surprise visit! - and said, "Can a girl get a hug around here?" And indeed I could. It was just like we talked yesterday and nothing had changed. It was quick, but so wonderful to see him. Folks around here say he is a celebrity and 'big stuff'. In fact, an exhibit is going on right now in a big city place and he is the man of the hour. But to me? Just a wonderful friend with a ready smile and sincere hug. Those are the best kind.......
You can google my friend Don, and if you are a sherlockian, you will especially want to know who he is. And when you get to the part about how he is delightful? Take it from me, it's all true and more. I am so delighted to know him.
Big hugs to you Don and thanks so much for remembering me way past the time we should have visited. I look forward to the next time and hopefully more time!
April 9, 2015
Cold to you and cold to me........
Is not the same thing. We have been laughing at all the Texans who are rushing for jackets because it is 65 degrees. We think that's a great day in Michigan! They say they don't know how we live like that and frankly, sometimes I don't understand it either.... I do know though that the warm Texas sunshine on my face is a true blessing and such a welcome pleasure!
There's just something about seeing the bluebonnets blooming and the sun shining that makes me feel at home. When you add in those wonderful Texas accents, it's all just perfect. I love cowboys all around and cattle mixed in with shopping what a great idea! Then we all belly up to the table for real brisket or tex-mex and it is a day made in heaven.
Great friends, delicious food and sunshine..... Who could ever ask for more?
April 8, 2015
When the babies grow up.......
Visiting friends and family, inevitably the babies have grown up and are looking you in the eye! Of course, it's exactly what you want to happen and you want them to have a happy, successful life, but the shock can really send you reeling...... This week we've got a neurological physicians assistant, high school math teacher, doctor in physical therapy and MBA in accounting, all from those precious little tykes we used to have tea parties and play dates with. Life is so interesting......
They are quite amazing and I like to think about them then and now. Did we know they were going to be so brilliant? Mostly. Did we realize they were such kind, caring people? Always. Did we ever think they would be running the world in a totally different way? We hoped. It's a privilege to know them.
We do all grow up and blossom. Some of us in ways the rest of us could not imagine. So we just do what we know......we love them.
April 7, 2015
It's so much fun to visit people who want to see you........
Our friends are looking forward to seeing us over Spring Break and they are already texting and excited about our arrival. That makes the trip so much nicer! I remember going to see my grandmother and even though I know she was busy getting the house ready and preparing food for a whole lot of people, she would always come rushing out on the porch and scoop us up in huge hugs to say hello. We called that Georgia style, but I bet people do it everywhere. My Florida grandmother would get such a grin and run out to the car opening the doors when we arrived there. Then she would proceed to tell us how long it had been since she had seen us........
Being loved is something you cannot put a value on, no matter how it comes to you. And if you are lucky enough to have someone anticipate your arrival, you might just be lucky enough. If you have someone coming out to scoop you up in a huge hug, be thankful.....
I used to think my grandmother told us how long it had been because she was annoyed with us, but actually it was just her counting the days. It was her way of being relieved that we were all still okay since last she held us. Those are the things that matter in life. Put them at the top of your list and never, ever be too shy to see someone you love or show them how much you do.
April 6, 2015
I love this time of year except for.......
Taxes! Spare me the pain of preparing for and filing taxes someone please! In a word........STRESS!
There is an episode of Friends when Rachel is looking at her first paycheck and asking who is FICA and why does he get my money? Sadly, he's just one of the many in line to get the money. And every year it seems we hold our breath until it is over and the numbers are in. Did we pay in enough? Will we need to pay more? Will we get any back? Such STRESS!
Even as you are preparing for your tax return, you are acutely aware that you are not really keeping up with this years tax receipts and you should be..... But the whole thing leaves you so exhausted that you just can't think about that right now. My husband actually pointed out to me that this time last year he made me a spreadsheet for easy accounting...... WHATEVER! Please, there is no such thing as easy taxes or accounting......
So if you are stressed like me, just know that this time next month it will all be over. That's what I say to myself long about now and I hope that my poor old stressed out body holds out for another year of oxygen depravation. May the taxes be for you!
April 3, 2015
Regardless of what you believe.....
Easter is a time of renewal and celebration. If you haven't colored or hunted eggs in a while, find an excuse to, you will be surprised how much it renews your soul! Rejoice in the blooming of all the flowers and the fulfillment of the promise of spring and the possibilities it brings.......
I am fortunate to have my friends from all over this great country send me pictures of what's blooming in their yards. It is simply exquisite and I'm so thankful for the spark it provides. Traditions do vary, but the blooms speak for themselves......
Take a pause this weekend to just be thankful for all the possibilities in your life and all the promises that did come true, wherever they came from. Check out some flowers even if you have to go to a garden center to do it. Revel in the joy that this time of the year brings and know that it can and will fill your soul.
April 2, 2015
Have you ever found the prize egg?
My sister and I always had to wear pretty, and sometimes matching, dresses with a hat, purse, and gloves for Easter. Every year, we took pictures in front of the blooming azaleas behind our house. Those pictures were the measure of our growing years. My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress and she often arrived for Easter with matching dresses all ready to go and matching short sets to wear after the pictures and church were over. It was an exciting time, made all the more fun with the huge egg hunt at my other grandmothers on Easter.
Five families all came together, each bringing dozens of boiled eggs. One family always put at least one colored uncooked egg among the bunch. My grandmother referred to it as 'the mischief'. All the children had to hide our eyes in the house, while the grownups hid all the eggs. The prize egg was designated and the winner got $5! My grandmother made THE BEST lemonade in all the world. We drank it while eating boiled eggs and ritz crackers. There was simply nothing finer.......
One year I found the prize egg. Not at the Easter egg hunt, I never remember that happening, but in a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. My prize egg was a beautiful baby boy named Ben fresh from God Himself. This weekend, he is turning 14 and I continue to find the prize egg......
I hope you find the prize egg, too! No matter what it looks like to you.
April 1, 2015
Do you suffer Fool's gladly?
I rarely do. Wish I was better at it, but sometimes it is just too much to deal with. I volunteer with a kid at school who just cannot focus or sit down. Ever tried tutoring someone who will not sit and work with you? I have about 5 minutes of it, then I begin to crumble under the frustration.....
On this day every year, lots of jokes are batted around and some pranks are pulled. It's all in fun and we need more fun in our lives. So don't let the opportunity pass you by, but be advised that fools operate on a really short leash! And remember, laughter is the best medicine.