January 2015 Blog Archives

 

 

January 30, 2015

 

I literally starve when I travel........

 

The second we get into the vehicle to travel somewhere, I am hungry!  My husband has long known to add extra money into the budget for food if I am going.  I don't know what it is, but I can hardly think about the trip for figuring out what the next meal will be and when it will occur.....

 

Some things are just common sense.  If you are traveling to Texas, you have to have not just BBQ, but brisket.  Where you go really matters about brisket.  Georgia?  Got to have peaches if they are in season, which leads to peach ice cream.  BBQ chicken and pork are definitely on the menu. Peanut brittle, candied pecans, and if you get close enough to the Florida line, you will need to buy Indian River fruit.

 

Near the ocean?  Lobster in Maine, crab cakes in Maryland and shrimp in the gulf.  See?  It's impossible to travel without being hungry. One of these days when I run out of things to do, I am going to do a traveling, eating show.  People like me can travel and meet me there.  It will be a delicious blast!

 

So here's to a weekend of good food.  And on top of everything else, I get to have my aunt's homemade chocolate cake with white icing, real banana pudding, and cornbread.  But wait, first we have to stop for collards at the Smokin' Pig and if you have collards, you will need sweet potatoes!  I can hardly wait.  Proving once again, that there is so much more to traveling than just putting miles on the car.......

 

January 29, 2015

 

I'm headed down memory lane.......

 

I will be attending a family reunion this weekend and I haven't seen some of the people in 20 years!  Some of them have never met my husband or my son.  Living clear across the country doesn't lend itself to much visiting.  There are tons of new members and I can hardly wait to meet them all. I am really excited about going, and mostly, I just can't wait for the hugs.

 

My father was one of 5 boys and his mother loved me unconditionally.  Only two of the brothers remain.  There has been a lot of grieving over the years, but I know when I walk into this group of people, they will understand.  My oldest cousin, Steve, will be there. Steve taught me how to love family.  He taught me strong guidelines about love and trust that have sustained me.  He taught me that family really matters. Learning the source of my commitment to family from him is one of my greatest gifts.  I can't wait to celebrate with him and his family.

 

I have learned that we can never be too far from our roots.  We may modify them, throw out some things and introduce others, but if you were lucky enough to learn to love, finding that source will set you free.  So here's to all those crazy family members, who I sometimes was not so fond of, but mostly loved so much I could barely contain it.  Thank you for making the journey with me!

 

January 28, 2015

 

Words really matter.......

 

I love words.  I love to write and how words come together really matter to me.  Often in my work, a client just needs to hear the collection of words that changes everything.  Good thing I got the gift of gab!

 

I overloaded my kindle with quotes and phrases taken from the books I read and I can wile away hours going through them.  Just recently my son discovered the writing of Maya Angelou.  He asked me if I have a favorite quote from her.  You know I do!  "When I knew how to do better, I did better."  That quote continues to change my life.  It helps me let go of the guilt and sense of loss in my past, because it gives me an explanation I can embrace.  

 

My new favorite quote is from Dr. Phil McGraw:  "Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you."  Just figure out what it is you are yearning for and get it for yourself!  Stop the sniffling and solve the problem.....  I also love:  "When I stopped fighting life, it ceased to be a war."  The author of it is unknown, but boy were they smart!

 

What's your favorite quote?  Don't have one?  Here's a good starter:  ....."Now faith, hope and love abide.... And the greatest of these, is love." Corinthians 13:13  Not because it is from the bible, because love is always a great place to start figuring anything out.....

 

 

January 27, 2015

 

Sing me back home.......

 

There's an old country song about a man who has a song he listens to that takes him back home when he dies.  I often think about what that song would be for me.  Do you?  I do have different songs that take me back in time, to a spot in my life that mattered and the memories were sweet.  There are even a few songs I still cannot bear to hear, because my broken heart just can't handle it yet.  I guess we need those to balance out the good ones.......

 

Music is so important in our lives.  It not only transports us, but it beckons us.  How many times have you heard the opening lines of a song and felt the urge to dance?  Or the haunting melodies of a lovesong that makes you want to find somebody who loves you real quick?  We would be at a serious loss without music.

 

James Taylor can always take me to a mellow place and in an instant, I am transformed into a greatful, loving person.  What a gift that man and his music have been to me.  He sings about the "Secret O' Life", he says it is enjoying the passage of time.....  I say we do it with song...

 

January 26, 2015

 

How many anniversaries does one woman need?

 

Well I have two wedding anniversaries.  We got married at the Justice of the Peace and then another church wedding two weeks later... So every January, we have two chances to get together for at least a romantic dinner, but it's harder than you might think!

 

I do appreciate milestones, but I'm not so sure we should wait for them to come.  Celebrating ourselves for any reason just makes sense.  My friend Barb would call it seizing the day.  Last week in tutoring, a student got his first 'C' in math and the whole place went up in a huge celebration!  I believe his smile will stay with me a long, long time.  And it proved that we all have different reasons to celebrate, some the rest of us would just let pass by......

 

So do it this week.  Celebrate something!  Big, little, important, not-so-important, make it up if you have to, but celebrate something! And get back that smile that lies in wait for just such occasions.  Remember to be thankful and honor your life.  Those are the moments that will matter in the long run........and it's fun!  Throw January out with a bang and a grin.:)

 

January 23, 2015

 

The silent minority......

 

These days I am the carpool queen.  Don't get me wrong, I love it and I am constantly amazed at how entertaining it can be.  I don't know how girls are, but when you have a car filled with boys, they forget you are driving.....  Then they will just talk about anything!  I love their rapport and appreciate knowing what amuses them, concerns them and worries them.  I love to know what they are proud of!  I also laugh until my stomach is sore!

 

I have long known that if you can get someone in a car, they will talk to you about what bothers them.  Counselors have shared that with me and now that gas is cheaper, more and more opportunities for a ride are possible.  It's a underestimated technique.

 

So if you have some 'talking' to do this weekend, how about an afternoon drive?  Check out the scenery and get it all out in the open. You might just be surprised how well it works!  A little gas, a little heart and a lot of conversation......  Have a great weekend.

 

January 22, 2015

 

Not just another pair of shoes.........

 

I filled in for someone on a job I thought looked pretty easy today, but surprise!  It was not....  So many things going on at the same time and the truth is she made it all look simple.  Hers were not just another pair of shoes!

 

I have been writing something since I was little.  It's the way I think and I love it.  I know people that writing doesn't come that easily to.  But I'm also smart enough to know they can do things I can't.  For instance, you can say the word 'insurance' to me and I space out!  I cannot even stay focused to talk to you about it, let alone decide what we need to buy, use.......whatever!  But I know someone who reads all the small print and can make sense of it.  It fascinates me.

 

So here is your challenge:  Tomorrow compliment someone on something they can do that you really cannot.  Honor it and be thankful for it. It's a big life lesson and we can all use a refresher course in it.  

 

And you?  Whatever you are remarkable at, know that about yourself and don't be afraid to use it!

 

 

 

January 21, 2015

 

Bring me his head!

 

I worked with someone recently who just needed to blame someone for everything.  Funny thing is that sometimes there is no one to blame...... Sometimes things just happen and the only thing to do is clean up the mess.

 

This particular person is big on hashing out all the mistakes under the guise of never making them again.  I can see the logic in that, but I really think he is just responding to enormous fear.  Fear can absolutely cripple you or make you do things you would otherwise question.  Fear can easily make you someone you are typically not......

 

I am just a volunteer in this persons world, but I so wanted to raise my hand and ask him what he was so scared of?  I suppose that's how volunteers get fired!  But that would have been a relief.....

 

When you screw up - and you will.  Don't ask for anyone's head on a platter.  Consider instead a calmer approach.  Learning from that direction is so much more productive and you can keep the respect of others in tact.  Most people who screw up don't mean to.  Think hard now, when was the last time you made a big old mess of things just for the fun of it?  

 

January 20, 2015

 

Your grief is unique......

 

Often people ask me if they are progressing well in their grief.  And the truth is?  We all process it differently.  Sure there are 7 or 9 steps in grief and they are helpful, but we each have our own set of emotions and circumstances that change the way we make our journey through it. Some of us do it in months, others can take years......  

 

One of the best suggestions for grief, whether it is from a job loss, divorce or death, is to really decide what it is you need.  If you are in an argument with someone you care about and you want to make things better, you will have to decide what it would take for that to happen. Grief is much the same way.  What do you need to hear?  Who do you need to be with?  What do you need to do to put one foot in front of the other?  How can your heart and mind be soothed?

 

I once knew a woman who just needed to have her own personal service.  So she took all of her husbands handkerchiefs and burned them, then buried the ashes at the base of a tree in their back yard.  It was the beginning of the healing that she needed.

 

If it were simple we would all be a lot more daring in life.  More willing to take risks and sustain losses.  But it isn't, and there's no need for an excuse to be made.  It is your grief.  You have the lessons to learn and the heart to heal.

 

January 19, 2015

 

Is one person enough?

 

I have a friend who feels guilty if shes not helping a whole lot of people at one time.  She stages big things to get the most bang out of her volunteering time.  I love that she has that kind of energy and can put those things together.  She absolutely does make a big impact on those around her.  But what if you can only touch one person here and there?

 

I see lives like a map, with many spots where someone else intersects the pathway we each have.  I believe those intersections are really important and at that time, often just that one-on-one is what matters most.  It is great if that intersection is filled with people, but by and large, it just doesn't happen that way.  Typically it is a touch, a smile, a comforting word, or a helping hand to just one person who really needs it right then.  I like to think that person then goes on to provide that for someone else.......

 

In short, one person is enough.  Helping anyone eases the burden of the whole and changes the outcome toward a more positive solution.  And while it is true that some people are comfortable with large crowds, most are not.  But it doesn't make them any less powerful with just one person.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Next week.......

 

January 16, 2015

 

Accomplishments do matter......

 

This week I celebrated my 26th wedding anniversary.  We would both have to be in the same town to celebrate, but there's still time for that.  It seems January is a great time for celebrating.  I've noted other friends who are doing everything from birthdays to business milestones and I welcome the chance to chime in with kudos.  Hopefully it sets the tone for the whole year.

 

Sometimes, we just let things slide and really?  That's not a smart decision.  We need to celebrate all the good things in life, even more so than we mourn the difficult ones.  At our house, we celebrate our sons birthday all month long and it still never seems to be enough time.  Even if it's just a toast with a glass of water and a hug, try your best to seize every moment to celebrate everything.  It reminds us all that we are on a clear path and joy can be had most anywhere.

 

When children are small, we celebrate every single thing we can think of from a poop to their first word.  As we age, we tend to take more for granted and celebrate less.  Take this weekend as a challenge and celebrate the little things for yourself and those you love.  And then when the big things come around to celebrate?  You'll be more than ready to party!

 

January 15, 2015

 

Learning from a peer.......

 

I volunteer with the school for a program where kids tutor kids both in music and academics.  The statistics are proving that the method is much more successful than teacher to student results.  The dynamic is so interesting to watch.  It begins with a posturing about who they are and if they will fit, but it grows pretty quickly either into a win-win or a solid no-go.

 

The win-win is that the student tutoring a peer gets to walk in someone elses shoes during the difficult teenage years when often nothing makes sense.  And the student being tutored gets a sure glimpse into someone who is succeeding, who still shares their same day-to-day worries.  I find it particularly interesting to see where they find common ground:  sports, music, humor, organization and academics...

 

As we age, we forget to learn from peers.  In fact, it often seems the people who teach you are teenagers or young adults!  But even then, we can all benefit from direct peer advice.  After all, they are more likely to be experiencing exactly what you are and misery loves company...  

 

No matter where it come from though, don't stop learning.  It is the key to exploring all facets of yourself and can never be overated. 

 

January 14, 2015

 

Remember when you thought 5 degrees below zero was cold?

 

That's what my neighbor said when the temperature was 15 below zero.  OMG!  I really thought only people who dared to live in Alaska or Canada or some polar ice cap somewhere experienced these kind of days.  We are now down to the television saying we have less than 2 minutes to get the mail or our exposed skin will succumb to frostbite.  Screw the mail - I'm staying inside being kind to the thermostat....

 

But much the opposite of what people in the south think, life goes on in the frozen north.  So everything is open and yes, you still have to buy groceries, go to the doctor, get the mail apparently....  And here is what I know for sure:  If you have never been to or lived in a place that had the sun shining and reasonable temperatures during the winter, you probably don't mind it at all.  But if you know for sure that somewhere in the US winter is doable, it drives you crazy!  Truly makes you feel like a loser....

 

People here say, "I just try to leave and go to someplace warm a couple of times during the winter".  Good for them.  But for those of us stuck here?  That statement is just plain annoying.  My only defense is to stay warm and pray for spring to come early.  Perhaps another blanket will do the trick.......

 

January 13, 2015

 

When crazy visits you......

 

Ever have something happen to you that just doesn't make any sense?  Something that everyone else just seems to accept, but it blows you right out of the water?  I don't look forward to those things, but they seem to happen a lot lately.  

 

Yesterday, teenagers around me were talking about nude pictures of their peers on Twitter, Snapchat.  They seemed to take it all in stride and just said they deleted them, mostly.  The school authorities noted that it is against the law to open them, copy them, pass them along - that's their answer, but I just really think they are not totally up with the whole social media technology.  But then who is?  It changes every day.  

 

Today is definitely not predictable.  I remember when reading a Playboy magazine was considered scandalous.  Today, the only point with these kids would really be the articles!  And I know it sounds like an old school approach, but I really miss the pre-technology days when it comes to this kind of thing.  You just can't get ahead of it fast enough.  

 

Are these young people we are desensitizing to the world bound to have less compassion?  It's a fair question.  And all the parental sheltering of them can't cancel one day of school and the influence there.  Or one afternoon with a cell phone.....  

 

We have to rely on common sense, good morals and kindness now more than ever.   

 

 

January 12, 2015

 

Does random ever scare you?

 

It does me.  This past weekend, almost 200 cars crashed into each other in a blinding snow storm very near my house.  I find that so hard to grasp, but they couldn't see each other and it became a true nightmare.  The police said it was just a random thing.  Much like the comments you hear on the news about other disasters....

 

On my best day, I would tell you I don't believe in random.  I believe everything happens for a reason and we are exactly where we are supposed to be - in the scheme of things.  I've heard the old adage about "going when it's your time to go", a million times and on some level I do believe that. My mentor would say that everything happens for a reason, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.......

 

In those moments when I feel like an insignificant dot in a world gone wild, I go back to my touchstone.  Back to my source of love, and spirit.  It calms me and gives me a secure place to come from.  It's a place I recognize and feel safe in.  I hope you have one, too, whatever it may be..... Then, armed with that beginning, I can traverse the world again with hope. And that's the best defense for random. 

 

 

January 9, 2015

 

What if you don't want to be a catalyst?

 

Well, good luck.  When was the last time you sat in a meeting and did not make a comment?  What kind of toll did it take on your thoughts, soul and dreams?  What if I told you that you could not change a thing for the rest of your time here on earth?  Feeling a little STRESSED OUT?  Yeah, you have not choice in being a catalyst.

 

I said from the time I was a child that I was not bossy, my ideas were just better.  I said it in jest, but secretly I really thought so!

Of course. they don't always pan out, but I still believe they have credence......  It's a brain thing and I can no more turn it off than I can cease to breath.  In fact, when I did die, I had a thought process all the way back to waking up in the hospital!  So, no, I don't think we have a choice......

 

Think about it over the weekend and just realize who you are on this earth, why you are here in terms of a catalyst or if you are not, why not?  Who surrounds you and what have you managed to accomplish so far?  May the wind be at your back......

 

January 8, 2015

 

So what if you are not a catalyst?

 

Well, then for sure those people who are will truly annoy you.....  You will find yourself thinking things like, "If it was good enough for my parents, then it's good enough for me."  Or the ever popular, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."  You'll be someone that change is really difficult for, even in small amounts.  You will in effect, be the pull against the push of the catalyst.

 

Sound easier?  Well, it's not.  Holding your ground is vital to a catalyst, because it makes them rethink and more sharply hone their decisions. It causes them to be all the more sure of the changes they suggest.  It teaches them patience.....  And truly?  Somethings are working just fine.  Catalysts need to move on to something that is not and you will be the deciding force in that......  In short, you are critical to a catalyst, even if you don't seem to get along.

 

You simply cannot have change without friction and you are the friction.  Bet you didn't think about it that way.....  Two opposing forces, constantly at work in the universe to teach us all about life, love, and change.  May the force be with you!

 

 

January 7, 2015

 

Are you a catalyst?

 

I've been thinking a lot about catalyst.  One definition is a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.  I believe based on some pretty clear facts that I am just such a person.  I'm not bragging, it has some very serious side affects.  In a job, even a volunteer one, you can get fired and I have.  In a relationship, you can find yourself alone.  And in family or friends, a myriad of things can change their opinion and therefore, their care toward you.  

 

I had a client this week who came in just to talk about how he had been a catalyst in life.  He is a senior citizen now and still chooses to remain so.  He explained that given what he now knows and the fallout of being a catalyst, he arrives over and over again at the knowledge that he would do the same things again.  He cited examples of the change he had caused in education, music, religion and civil rights.  All examples were change each of us would vote to have happen, given hindsight.  But it had taken a toll on his life and those he loved.....  He wanted to know:  Wasn't it supposed to?

 

If we come to this planet choosing to be a catalyst, and I think some of us do, it would make sense that we would be fierce about it.  That doesn't mean we wouldn't grow weary of it though....  My client extended a challenge to me to write down all the things I could remember that I had been a catalyst for.  He noted that there were probably hundreds of things I had no knowledge of because of the ripple a catalyst starts.  I have begun a list and intend to see it through to a better understanding.  And I hope it will help me be a little kinder to myself about my shortcomings.....  

 

This is incredible work for the soul.  So let me repeat the question:  Are you a catalyst?

 

January 6, 2015

 

In the presence of dinosaurs.........

 

I was talking to teenagers today and said something about an old song.  One remarked that they were in the presence of dinosaurs......  I looked around trying to figure that out way too long before realizing it was me!  Ugh!

 

It wasn't unkind on their part and really if they knew the actual math the comment made sense, but I didn't go there.  However, it behooves me to progress from the word dinosaur to sage (a profoundly wise person according to the dictionary).  I like the definition and even if I have to work up to it, I'm going with it.....

 

I hope we never lose the knowledge of wisdom though.  We simply cannot reinvent everything, every day.  One of the smartest people I've ever known was my sage grandmother.  She made all the difference for me, so I know that some wisdom is required.  I have a nephew that is really smart about fossils and he assures me they continue to teach us about ourselves every day. I'm not willing to resort to the age of dinosaurs, but I do appreciate the graduation from recognizing one to keeping company with them.  Mostly because I find them easier to talk to!

 

January 5, 2015

 

Sing me back home.......

 

I have an opportunity to make a trip to Georgia for a family reunion.  I have lots of cousins I haven't seen in many years.  I want to know what they all look like and meet their families.  I think I'm one of the few in my generation that doesn't have grandchildren! 

It promises to be a real treat.....

 

Oh but it brings up so many things for me.....  Like who taught me to love?  Why do I love like I do?  What really matters, why was I put on this earth with these people, in this area of the country, and from this point of view?  I don't want to waste any of it.  I want to learn everything from it I possibly can, and especially want to come away thankful.....

 

I called my oldest cousin and asked him about coming.  I wanted to be sure he would be there, too.  I know for sure he was an integral part in teaching me to love family.....  And his voice was all it really took.  The strength of it, the kindness in it, the care, and the love were so obvious.  It was the siren song that makes me want to be surrounded by all those amazing people again.

 

For sure we are older, and since I can't lose weight or wrinkles in a few short weeks, I have decided to simply walk in with my heart on my sleeve.  I'll be safe there because I know the hugs will be true and from the heart.  I have really missed that old familiar song and I can't wait to hear it again......

 

 

January 2, 2015

 

What is a kindness really?

 

People ask me this all the time.....  And the truth is a kindness to you and me might be very different things.  For instance, I am delighted by manners and simple courtesies.  Other people could care less about that.  I love hearing positive feedback.  Some people think they are doing you a kindness by giving you only negative feedback.  I've always figured most people are smart enough to figure out what they are doing wrong, but need encouragement to continue.....  It's all a matter of your viewpoint.

 

I opened the door for a senior citizen the other day and she thanked me profusely.  Moments later, I did it again and got a lecture from another senior asking me if I thought she was too old to open her own door......  I guess opening doors is a crapshoot, but it won't keep me from doing it.

 

My rule of thumb is to do something for others that I would like to have done for myself.....  And really, we all have to start with some criteria.....  Although maybe the trick is just to learn to accept kindness, no matter where it comes from.  After all, I would vote that there still isn't enough of it to go around....

 

 

January 1, 2015

 

Happy New Year!

 

Well, here's a blank slate just for you!  I hope you write on it what you want to and change the world or at least your place in it for the better. It's a new beginning and the possibilities are endless.  So don't be shy, make the most of it!

 

But no matter what, endeavor to truly love and be loved.  That's the key to this year and to your happiness.  Give from your heart and judge only after you've walked in their shoes.  Remember to be kind and always choose to be thankful.  Hold sacred those you love and know that the sacred really matters......  

 

And when in doubt?  Shine.  Give it all you've got and just shine.  Because you?  You totally have what it takes to soar!

 

 

 

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