Monthly Archives: October 2017

Good News > Bad News

Bad news happens. That’s a fact. But good news happens too. Remember today (and every day) though it will not be headlining mainstream media, positive, happy and heartwarming moments take place, like confetti falling softly, blowing gently, the good stuff in life hasn’t halted. If only our eyes could see, then our minds and spirits would light(en) up like the heart-shaped affirmations dancing across a live Facebook broadcast. Be encouraged.
Close your eyes tonight knowing good deeds, kind acts, sweet words, friendly smiles, neighborly waves, scheming surprises, popping questions, rescued pets, favorite meals, winning teams, passing grades, faithful promises, generous tippers, studious graduates, successful potty trainers, new arrivals, met deadlines, delivered bouquets, fresh starts, needed closure, granted promotions, high fivers, good Samaritans, returning soldiers, sacrificial teachers, first kissers, disciplined finishers, acceptance letters, paid in fullers, traffic yielders and even Yahtzee game winners 😉 happen every day. And if you had a small part in any of the good stuff in life today, lie your head down in peace. You are not alone.
There are millions like you, working hard, while mindful of others and helping those within your reach. Humility (and a lack of good-news reporting) camouflages genuine folks like you making your efforts seem futile and your ‘kind’ extinct. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You and the millions before (and after) you, are the glimmer of hope, the faith in humanity, the encouraging cheer-leaders and the bright example of good newswhat makes this world go ’round. Whisper a prayer. Rise with hope. Shine, smile and carry on.

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Tomorrow is not Promised

You know how it feels when you pet a cat and it leans forward, into your hands, closing it’s eyes, pushing its head into your palm, purring a bit and wanting more? Or how a tired puppy or and old dog will eventually lay back and enjoy your soothing caress? I’ve learned a lot about the power of touch and the patience of silence during these last few weeks as our kind, friendly neighbor nears the end of his life. Perhaps the analogy is lighthearted but the reality for me is heart warming. Our dear neighbor Howard, lies in a Hospice bed tonight, heavily medicated but pain free and so responsive to my touch.

“Ah,” he said the other day, “that feels so good,” as I held his hand, stroked his forehead, caressed his arm. There was a time silence scared me and I felt compelled to break it somehow but Howard has taught me to wait, to be quiet, to listen closely, to touch softly and cherish each word as treasure.
Wincing eyes, deep breaths, raised arms, squeezing hands and intermittent words, between root-bear-float sips and my flood of (what I thought were silent tears), he softly utters, “Don’t cry.” While I wait through more silence, he opens his eyes and says, “Thank you (both) for being my friend,” then more silence, closed eyes, hand squeezing, more sips, deep breaths and finally, I tell him I spoke to his son the other day. “Tell my son he brought all the love in the world to me,”  without any hesitation. A half Kleenex box later and in what seemed to be a realm of ‘time standing still’, I finally whispered his name, leaned in close and made eye contact. I told him I loved him and I’d be back tomorrow. He mustered the strength to say, after more deafening silence, “any time with you is good”.
A few weeks ago he was picking up debris from Hurricane Irma, enjoying coffee brewed from our camp stove (during the 9 day power outage) and a French press he claimed “made the best, real coffee in the world.” But an ER visit, an ambulance ride, a helicopter transport, an emergency surgery and a terminal diagnosis led him to this Hospice bed. Cancer has ravaged its way through the most unsuspecting. It has cut short the relationships we thought would remain for decades. It has summoned tears we try hopelessly to conceal. It has caused hearts to reflect, souls to forgive and spirits dare to live boldly in their honor. But it has also caused regret, if-onlys and it’s-too-late-now realizations.
Those who should be closest to you, should be. Period. Chase after peace. Do everything in your power to remedy the relationships that are coming to your mind as you read this. No one ever gripped the hand of regret skipping happily into the future. Those words you said, apologize. The visit your pride keeps you from, swallow it. The unforgiveness your clinging to, release it, now, while there is time for reconciliation. Standing alongside the death bed of someone you love is difficult enough. Standing there with regret is even harder. Not standing there at all just doesn’t make sense. Read this and with a click of a button, dismiss it, call me a PollyAnna, (or worse) tell me I don’t understand, make accusations all you want or humble your hardened heart, embrace love and chase after reconciliation knowing that tomorrow is not promised, yesterday is gone and your someday is now.

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Make the world go away…make YOUR world a better place.

  1.  Turn off the TV – it’s likely the loudest, most invasive voice of negativity in your home.
  2. Go outdoors. Look up, around, far and wide. Look as far as your eyes can see. Take a mental picture of the beauty around you and know you are a part of it… another beautiful part of it. Remember this picture when feeling stressed or unable to sleep.
  3. Get to know your neighbor on a first name basis. Exchange phone numbers. Check in on them, no matter how awkward that may feel. It could be the beginning of a meaningful relationship.
  4. Help someone – a stranger, a co-worker, your hairdresser, a client, your busy, drive-through bank teller, the grocery bagger  –whoever is an ‘outside’ part of your life. One little gesture of kindness by you may be a life-long heartfelt memory for them.
  5. Sweep off your porch, sit a while, notice the view. Enjoy the silence. Sip a little something. Hang some wind chimes, a bird feeder or a wind sock. Plant a pin-wheel flower in the ground and watch it whirl away. Make your space alive in some way.
  6. Light a scented candle in your living room. Watch it dance. Enjoy the aroma. Let the flame energize your space and enhance your senses.
  7. Listen to relaxing music, even if you’re not relaxing. Let it be the background mood- maker while your taking care of domestic duties. Allow it’s rhythm to guide you with peace and light-heartedness.
  8. Exercise. Put yourself out there, wherever it is and move. In motion there is life, and euphoria from endorphins, and health for the body, mind and spirit.
  9. Call “home” –wherever that might be, and say, “I love you, I thank you and I miss you.” Never withhold your sentiment. You may think they know you love them, but oh, what sweet affirmation it is to hear it just one more time from your lips.
  10. Do something creative. Paint, garden, write, cook, decorate, take photos or re-arrange the furniture. Change is good, beauty inspires and creativity energizes.
  11. Relax in a bubble bath, by candle light or linger longer in the shower singing your favorite tunes. Condition your hair with coconut oil. Massage your scalp. Buy a loofah and exfoliate your skin. Rejuvenate your body. You’ll feel better.
  12. Breathe slowly. Inhale for 4 seconds. Hold for 7 seconds. Exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat. This is especially helpful when you cannot sleep.
  13. Use the good china. No good china? Well, light a candle, dim the lights, choose ‘dinner’ music on Pandora and savor the moment as well as your meal – even if you are the only one at the dinner table. Allow your body to relax as your nourish it. Do not stress it out by watching nightly news while you eat.
  14. Wear the polka dot dress, or the tie dye shirt, or the dangly earrings or the crazy neck tie or those cowboy boots collecting dust in the back of your closet. Let your outfit spark some happiness.
  15. Pull out the yoga mat, lie down, stretch, breathe, relax and release worry, tension and fear in absolute quiet. Acknowledge the Divine with gratefulness and trust the direction you sense.
  16. Remember your happiest moments. Give thanks. Create more. Dare to create more.
  17. Got photos? Reminisce a while. Let the tears flow. Let the smiles surface. Let the heart direct your next move, your plan B, your ‘what if’ and your future memory.
  18. Look up at the stars, the clouds, the moon, even the rain. Feel it, acknowledge yourself in the midst of it, imagine life without it, give thanks for it.
  19. Sprinkle cinnamon, pumpkin-spice or nutmeg on your coffee grounds before brewing and sip with simple pleasure. Enjoy your morning Joe on the back porch, not in front of the day’s talk shows.
  20. Tie shiny ribbons on an oscillating fan and see how they dance for you. Let fans, music, flickering candles, aroma diffusers, houseplants, opened windows, breezy curtains and simmering pots, make your house alive.
  21. Eliminate excess stuff from your home and enjoy simplicity.
  22. Sleep naked. That’s all. Just sleep naked.

 

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