Thursday, May 30, 2013

Struggle and Inspiration

FB Post, May 30, 2013
Hello and Good Morning!  Isn’t it bothersome when the things we have to do get in the way of things we want to do?  Hence my late start.  Never mind; I'm here now and that's all that really matters!
Here’s a question: Do you need to be seeking inspiration in order to be inspired?
What is it you struggle with?  I am notoriously late.  Not because I don't care; I do care.  Very much!  But some things come naturally to some and a struggle for others.  And, one of my many struggles is management of time.  I admire those that have that gift; I am inspired to be more like them and I do try.  But, sometimes I think aliens have beamed me up as I go from having plenty of time to a mad dash out the door!  (However, that would explain that strange pentagon-shaped rash around my bellybutton... :) ).  But each of us has a gift and each is different.  Mine may not be the awareness of time, but I do have my part to play.  For instance, I find it difficult to go out and not engage in conversations with perfect strangers (drives my kids crazy!).  I enjoy making connections and hearing people’s stories.  So while I may take longer to get things done, I so enjoy my time along the way and, from the general sense, I believe others do as well.  You just never know where you will find inspiration.
But can a person find inspiration if they’re not looking for it?  I see people all the time (myself ALWAYS included as it is really only my own point of view I can share) passing up moments of inspiration because they are so set on being “right”.  Whatever that is.  People get conviction confused with ego.  And the ego is something that will break a person rather than build them up.
I have a friend who is very self-conscious of her weight.  And it controls her actions, for better or for worse.  And then I see people at the gym who are as big, if not bigger, and they are out there shaking their groove thing right along side of me with reckless abandon!  They don’t let their size get in their way.  As to their internal struggles, I have no idea, but they are living life and not letting an idea get in their way but rather taking an idea and letting it inspire them.
We are our greatest champions and most daunting enemies, all depending on how we see things.
Yesterday, as we were driving to school, Ben and I were talking about “hard choices” and what makes them hard.  I said, “Well, it’s interesting to me how one person can look at a situation and think ‘Oh, that is going to be so hard!’ while another will look at the exact same scenario and think ‘Oh, that is going to be fun!  When can we start?’  It all depends on how we choose to see it.”  (I think Ben may have thought that even remotely interesting by his 10 year old “hmm” response.)
I struggle with perspective like everyone else.  But I am conditioning myself to see the good where many would say there is none.  That is because that is the way I choose to see things.  Is that unrealistic or, as some may say, a “Pollyanna” way of living life (though I love her optimism as it was once described to me)?  Not at all.  As stated before, I fully recognize there are terrible, terrible things in the world.  Real evil.  But I believe the good outweighs the bad.  And the more I look for it, the more evident it becomes.
There is a lady I know who, well, let’s just say, forget cup half-full vs. half-empty; she never got a cup and she’s not happy about it!  When speaking with her she said she is the “bad guy” in her house when it comes to rules and making things happen.  I said, “So you’re good at leading and following through.  That sounds like a wonderful attribute to have!  Something I could surely have more of.”  Based on her response, I don’t think she had thought of it that way.
As some of you may know, there are words I use cautiously and even hold in contempt.  One of those words is the word “fault”, for many reasons, but particularly when referring to ones own character.  One may say writing long diatribes as boring and overly loquacious; others may see it as an attribute in being reflective and thoughtful (if you made it this far, you may be one of them! ☺).  One person’s perceived fault is another’s attribute.  All depending on how you look at it.
So, today, will you be inspired?  I am inspired all the time.  I find inspiration at the doctor’s, standing in line, speaking with old friends, and people I’ve seen for years and barely know.  They’re like hidden treasures.  How am I inspired?  In particular, in humanity.  The kindnesses of others.  When I let go of the façade of being “right”, I allow myself to let in all components of the world and use them to my best ability.  Every creature has a part.  It’s incredibly empowering.  Anger isn’t power.  Compassion is power.  And therefore, I seek it out.  And I am rarely, if ever, disappointed.
I hope you find inspiration that leads you to peace today.  You just never know where you’ll find it!  Peace.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Savor It!

FB Post, May 28, 2013

Good Tuesday Morning!  Started the day with a cup of yesterday's coffee.  Doh!  When I say I love coffee I mean GOOD coffee.  I mean, if push comes to shove, I'll take what I get but that blunder was quickly rectified!  Ahhhh coffee...oh how I love thee..... I think I have a problem. 
I admit it.  I'm a snob.  I am!  But only with food.  I don't judge people who EAT the crappy food, I'm judging the crappy food itself.  When I walk down the bread aisle and see the bags of highly processed donuts, I actually shudder.  Seriously!  Much in the vein of walking by an open pit of venomous snakes; that shitake can kill you!  Don't get me wrong, I love donuts.  Oh you delicious little golden halos of glazed awesomeness how, when done just right, you leave me with euphoric bliss (I think I've already established I have a problem! :) ). 
I love sugar.  REAL sugar.  I don't know if I'll EVER go without sugar in my coffee.  But I have whittled it down to 4.5 grams/8oz of coffee (yes, I measure) from 6g! 
We all have our weaknesses; our Achilles heals in life, especially when it comes to food.  I cannot resist really good bread.  Fresh, piping hot, topped with melty butter or dipped in herbed olive oil.  Mmmmmmm....sorry...what were we talking about? 
The thing is, I WANT my cake AND eat it too!  So - much like in moments of life - I do my best to savor.  I don't wolf food down like I'm on a mission.  I savor each bite, especially the really good stuff.  I close my eyes and take it all in.
Food relationships are the same as human relationships: it's healthy to like food, even to love food, but you're reaching intervention level when you start to stalk food!  I have never deprived myself of anything.  But, since I’ve become a food snob, I don’t WANT to eat the entire bag of Doritos (I will have some because they are the devil and difficult to resist!) but I’ve conditioned myself to become conscious of what I am stuffing into my precious body via the ol’ pie hole!  (Of course, there are certain times when I can be found standing in the pantry eating crackers directly from the box but, thankfully, that’s only about every 4 weeks!)
I have got one body and one shot at this life.  I want to enjoy it.  I used to think that the saying “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” was so cool.  While there is merit in living life to the fullest, I want to be around to see my kids enjoy life too!
I think you can have both.  Especially if you consciously make the effort to see life that way.
No one knows what the future holds.  A lady came up to me after Zumba yesterday and said, “You look so fit!”  After a thank you for her kind observation, I told her probably one of my greatest blessings in life was being diagnosed with MS as it has given me appreciation for the life I have.  And getting fit and healthy has been (and is!) such an amazing journey!  I’m not a fan of exercise.  But I love how I feel afterward.  Of THAT, I am a fan.  Those endorphins start kicking in and I feel unstoppable! 
Everyone’s life is different.  What is fulfillment for me is completely different from what is fulfillment for you.  I just hope you take the time to savor what you have.  To truly enjoy your moments.  Stop, close your eyes, and breath in what is around you when things are really good.  You won’t be sorry you did.  It kindles the light inside of you that carries you through darker times.  Peace.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What Color Are YOUR Glasses?

FB Post, May 21, 2013

Good Tuesday morning!  I just finished watching/listening to a video about a young man, Zach Sobiech, who just passed away after his battle with cancer.  He says "You don't have to find out you're dying to start living."  I posted his video and, even if you just watch the first few minutes, I think it will give you some new perspective.
Yesterday, my sister bought Holly some new sunglasses with pink tinted lenses.  Jokingly she said, "You're literally seeing the world through rose-colored glasses!"  I think it’s funny that, generally, when people say that it is with a certain amount of disdain.  Kind of like “You’re fooling yourself if you think life is THAT good!”  Well, I don’t see anything wrong with it.  It’s not like being in denial.  I mean, yeah, there are a lot of crappy things happening in the world.  There are HORRIFYING things we see in the news every day.  I believe in the presence of good in the world and, to do so, I must also surrender to the idea that there is a presence of evil as well.  But I can only do what I can do.  My peace begins with me.  My view of the world begins with me. 
Nobody makes me see things one way or another.  If someone is unkind to me, the pain they are suffering from has nothing to do with me.  And the pain I suffer from has nothing to do with anyone else.  It is how I handle a situation that makes my reality.  This is as true for pain as it is for my joys in life.  When I give myself the gift of seeing the good in others, to not write them off as some category of human, I am helping me.  And the world around me.  When I spin a situation to see what is good in it, I free myself from the agony of worry, fear, and loss of control.
The other day, Holly and I went to the airport to get my sister and niece.  I could not for the life of me find the entrance to the parking area.  I went by it the first time and a nice lady said, “Oh, you just passed it.  You’ll have to around again”, because, of course, it’s a one way!  So, no problem; Holly and I went around again.  Then I missed it a SECOND time!  Now I’m starting to panic.  “Oh my gaawwwwwd!!!  They’ll be waiting for us!  I’m never going to find this entrance?  What is wrong with me??  What am I going to do???”  I was breaking out in a sweat, my head was starting to get tight, and suddenly, from the back seat, I heard a little voice say, in a very knowing tone: “Well…y’know mom; ya can’t go back.”  Suddenly the dark cloud I was under was lifted with light and love.  I laughed out loud!!  I said “You are so right, honey; I CAN’T go back.  So what am I getting so upset about?!  You are one of the wisest persons I’ve ever met.”  She had no idea how she helped me out of my bad place with her very literal, yet awesome, perspective. 
Thanks to human physiology, we don’t always react with calm and intellect.  The fight or flight mechanism can be pretty darn compelling!!  But when we get our bearings, we can see things a little more clearly.  And that intervention can come in an immeasurable number of places and ways.  The thing is, it is up to us to actively seek out that perspective.  Sometimes it hits us over the head, but sometimes we have to dig a little.  In someone else’s hands that conversation could have gone very differently:
“Well…y’know mom; ya can’t go back.” 
“Well, OF COURSE, I can’t go back?!!  What do you think I am, stupid or something?!!!”
How we influence a situation is equally as important as how we are influenced by a situation.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.  I’m not always going to be at the top of my game and to say I am would be fooling no one, least of all me.  I am reminded of this quote:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Life doesn’t happen to us.  We are not puppets in a grand show.  Well, not unless we allow ourselves to be. 
How I see my life is solely up to me.  Ultimately, I’m the one that has to decide what color glasses I’m going to see my world.  If I do choose the rosy tint, does that make me delusional or optimistic?  Some may say that is the same thing.  I don’t believe so.  How we handle what life brings us; that shows our true character.  That shows what we are really made of.  And that is a very scary thing.  We imagine ourselves to be like those that run toward disaster to help people, but when the “fit hits the shan”, we may very well be like George Costanza, knocking over old people and children to get away from danger!  But, when we condition ourselves to be compassionate, we have a better chance of spreading love instead of fear.  And it starts with everyday things.
Today I’ll be donning my rose-colored glasses.  Not because I am weak, but because I want to see the world as something to love, not to fear.  Love perpetuates the good that already exists.  Fear perpetuates the evil.  “Love one another.”  I don’t care if you’re religious or not, that just makes sense. 
I hope you grant yourself the ability to approach your day with joy and peace, no matter what.  It is all up to you how to interpret it.  It is a gift only you can give yourself. How awesomely powerful is THAT?!  Peace.

How Is YOUR Day Going To Be?

FB Post, Saturday, May 25, 2013

Good Saturday morning!  Where did Friday go?  :P
I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday and we were talking about my posts about Mr. Rogers.  She said, it may sound silly but, some days she starts her day humming "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."  She said she does that to help set the tone for the day.  I LOVED that!  What a great thing to do; start your day with an attitude direction in mind.
We have all started our day on the proverbial wrong side of the bed.  It happens!  So why not try to make a conscious effort to decide where your day is going to go regardless of how it starts or what happens?  Happiness doesn't come from the things around us but from how we see things.  And when we rely on our environment to make us happy, we are at the mercy of everything that happens in the course of a day.
I am so much happier since I have started to look at obstacles as challenges or opportunities.  As another lady I spoke with yesterday said, as hard as it is to see our children go through all the trials of childhood, she reminds her kids how strong they'll be when they come out on the other side!!  Okay, so they may not buy that now but, one day!  :)
Today I've already decided it's going to be a great day.  God forbid something tragic should happen (those are the REAL challenges).  But I will focus on solely what is within my control: where there is sadness I will do my best to bring joy, where there is negativity, I will bring a smile, where there is frustration, I will bring understanding.  I can't "make" another person feel a certain way any more than I can be made to feel a certain way.  It is a choice, how we see things and feel about them.  When we really, really understand that, it is the most liberating thing in the world.  But it's a hard place to get to.  At least, it has been for me.  But SO worth the effort!
I pray you come to find peace inside of you faster than I have discovered the key to peace inside of me.  It will happen when you are ready.  Of course, it's not a destination; it is an ongoing journey.  Obstacles are everywhere every day.  But are they something to be defeated by, go around, or climb over?  Will you do it joyfully, peevishly, or fiercely?  You get to decide.  How awesome is THAT?  Peace.  And I hope you make you day great!  :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Good Thursday morning!!  Busy, busy day.  Just waiting for my coffee to finish brewing and need to figure out what to get Holly's teacher for end of year!  I don't know if you can ever thank a teacher.
Do you remember a particular teacher who made all the difference in the world to you?  I think we've all had the amazing teachers and we've had the teachers that....perhaps should have retired 5 years before.  :)  I remember my grade 3 teacher, Mrs. Jarvis, who was just so kind.  When I had my tonsils out she had the entire class sign a card for me (I still have it somewhere!).  My mother-in-law never ceases to inspire me when I see her teach; she is of a good English stock - stiff upper lip and all that boff - but when she talks about her students from years ago she always gets teary-eyed and it is the most wonderful thing to witness.  She has such a passion for education and for child development.  
We are all teachers in one way or another.  And, whether we like it or not, we decide what it is we want to teach and what we want to learn.  Do we take away from a lesson the good things that where taught, or the negative things?  Two people will have the same teacher and attribute two completely different views, even though the exact same thing is being taught to each person.  So is the same with life.  How I interpret a scene has little to do with what is going on and everything to do with what is going on in my head.  How I choose to see things.  
So, what are you being taught today?  What are you going to teach?  I hope to teach compassion.  I hope to teach acceptance.  I hope to learn how to better love and show patience.  I'm going to look for it.  We tend to find what we are consciously looking for.  So perhaps the better question is HOW are you going to learn today?
Have a great day everyone.  Love where you are, even if it's in traffic or with someone you aren't particularly fond of.  There's ALWAYS an up side.  If you look for it.  :)  Peace.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Be Kind

FB Post, May 22, 2013

"Be kind whenever possible...It is always possible".~~Dalai Lama
Good Wednesday Morning! Just got my coffee. Note to self: empty the coffee carafe from the previous day BEFORE making a new pot. Doh! Thankfully, the coffee on the counter was amazingly retained by some invisible force-field that kept it from running off the edge of, or under any of the things on, my counter. Sweet!
So, kindness. Have you been kind lately? Do you try to be kind? Or do you see it as a weakness? I had someone say to me once that they didn't like to smile TOO much because they felt it made them look "simple". Shoot; then I must look pretty dang daft most of the time! I thought that was a peculiar translation of smiling. Smiling at another person is a leap of faith. You have no guarantee what kind of a response you will get but, done with sincerity and kindness, has the power to brighten someone's entire day. I know because it has happened to me!
Are you kind to only those that are kind to you? I used to be. But then I thought what a waste of kindness. If I only give it to those that are kind to me, I'm limiting myself to a potentially very small circle. BUT, if I show kindness to every person I encounter (I've never been mugged so, if I am, I'll have to see how that goes!) I am opening up a channel for kindness. For love, really. We have little problem showing kindness when there is a great tragedy (prayers and strength going to Oklahoma) but every person I meet every day is, has, or can be experiencing their own tragedy. So why not show kindness to them too?
Assuming the best in people seems to have become a novelty in our society. We hear about all the bad things people do. (I LOVE when “good” is reported. Success stories, triumphs, love found where there seemed to be none, etc.) I hear people say all the time “I would NEVER day that!” or “What is WRONG with her?!”. Well, everyone has a story. When we seek out to see the good in people, we build a bridge. When we stand back and see what is wrong with people, we build a pedestal of “me vs. you” upon which we stand and look down and everyone looks like insignificant ants. When we do that, it’s difficult to have a connection and therefore easy to judge. I’m not sure why this is the norm. But it doesn’t seem to be helping us as a community.
Do I have to like everything everyone does? Heck no! I have no idea why some people do the things people do! But I can try to understand. Even those who appear prejudiced or self-righteous or just "rude". I know that’s just fear. When we don’t understand something we tend to fear it. It is close-minded and people hide behind their “truths” to put themselves back up on that pedestal where, once again, we break the connection with our fellow humans. Because, for whatever reason, that feels safe.
So, today, maybe, be brave. Be kind. Even if someone is mean, nasty, unkind. When you are kind to them, you are taking away their power to poison you and giving them the tools to know what kindness is. Maybe they’ll respond positively, maybe they won’t. It’s not my job to save anyone. It’s not my job to judge. It’s only my job to love. Love my fellow human for the child of the universe that we all are. That’s not idealistic. That’s conducive to a well functioning society.
Have a great day everyone! I enjoy seeking connections with you every day. Peace.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Positive Affirmation - That's Okaaaaay

Good Tuesday Morning!  So, I was thinking about how I am a person of affirmation.  Saying things to my kids, and people around me, that are positively affirming.  But if you don't believe it yourself, does it really mean much?  I mean, it's certainly nice to hear compliments and kind things - I love it! - but when you doubt yourself can something someone else says really bolster you if you're just not believing it yourself?
My mother, my WHOLE life, has described me as beautiful.  "Isn't she beautiful?"  I am NOT fishing for compliments here, because I've always had difficulty seeing myself in that light.  I see myself as kind of peculiar looking, yet nothing terribly remarkable.  And that's okay!  As I've gotten older, I've become accustomed to my face.  J  But I never thought I was "beautiful" no matter how many times my mother told me, or anyone around me. 
So, why would I, someone who could not relate to something as simple as that, be one who believes in positive affirmation?  Because, when we are at our lowest, it is nice to hear that someone else loves us?  Someone else appreciates us in a way we can’t appreciate ourselves?  I would agree with that.  But there is a need for more.
So here’s my goal.  I don’t go out in the world and just say to a stranger “Oh, I love your dress” or “nice shoes” (well, I DO say that too but I’m getting to my point!); when I say I like something about a person what does that really mean?  That “I” like something about that person.  But what really matters is what does that person like about himself or herself? 
So, I’ve begun to more actively focus on admiration and a person’s ability.  I say to my kids (this was just yesterday): “Ooooo, I like the way you solved that problem.  You are turning into a great problem solver.  Would you help me with a problem some time?”  It’s not enough to just pay compliments.  I mean, of course it’s nice!  I love to hear nice things!  Compliments, and kindness, are the threads that keep us connected in the light.  What keeps our relationships full of life.  I just think, sometimes it is important to take it to the next level; to empower someone.  To offer a connection between the person with whom you are engaging and their gifts.  I think that is one of the keys to helping someone realize his or her full potential. 
At the end of the day, what does it matter what I think of your shoes, or dress, or façade?  What matters most is what is going on in your head.  What YOU think of you. 
That has been one of my focuses when I write my daily notes and cards; to emphasize my addressee’s talents and how they have directly impacted my life. 
We are all connected to one another whether we like it or not.  But how are you connected to yourself?  How do you influence you?  How do you see you? 
I think you are beautiful.  I’m talking to each of you.  Because I’m pretty sure the person reading this is human (well, monkeys ARE getting smarter and smarter!) and therefore a child of God, nature, the Universe - however you want to see it.  I hope you know you are beautiful; not just because I told you so, but because you believe it with every fiber of your being; that you know you have your own meaning and place in this grand design.
“You are important, and what you do, MATTERS!”  J

Sunday, May 12, 2013


FB Post, Sunday, May 12, 2013

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! I know I am one of the most blessed people on the planet because I was given my mom, Jean Kelly
She was born in 1935, second youngest of 13 kids in a small mining town in Nova Scotia. When she was born, there was a mission priest who had come into port and her mother brought her to him for a special blessing. That effort was not wasted. 
In her youth she would sing at morning mass every day before school for $10 a month, which meant the world as they didn't have a lot of money. Plus she loved to perform! In an effort to improve her social standing, after completing grade 11 (nobody in her class wanted to stay beyond that), she went to nursing school. She and her girlfriends had all planned to go to San Diego where nursing jobs were plentiful to start their new exciting lives. All the plans were made and she was all set to go! And then her father got sick and was in hospital. So, she told her girlfriends to go ahead and she would join them once her father was well enough to go home. My mother’s father was so proud of her that he had her nursing graduation picture on his bedside table in his hospital room. A young doctor at the hospital saw the picture and inquired “Well, who’s that lovely lady?” Long story short: my dad was that young doctor and my mom never made it to San Diego!
For the next 14 years they built their lives and our family. First in the small town of St. Lawrence and then to the “big city” of St. John’s, Newfoundland (remember where Titanic hit the iceberg? It was off the coast of there!). I love that my parents took so many pictures of us as we can see how much joy they had in their lives with us kids. Sadly, my mom was widowed with 6 children at the age of 37 when my dad passed away from cancer. I think about myself in that situation. What would I do? 6 kids?? Holy shitake mushrooms!!
My mother raised all 6 of us to be human beings that I would want to know even if we weren’t related. She has been a pillar in our lives, each of us having our own unique relationship with her. For me, she has been a spiritual guide and showed me the joys of loving freely. She showed me how to be strong and that it’s okay to need a helping hand sometimes too when things are tough. But mostly to be the helping hand. I see the love and generosity in my family and I know that comes from my mom. And though we, my siblings, generally attribute our senses of humor to our dad, my mom is pretty funny too! Lord knows she’s had to learn to laugh at life with our crowd pulling her in so many ways!!
So, whatever your mother’s story is, even if you don’t get along well with her, know that she has a story too. She’s lived and had trials. It’s cliché, but being a mother REALLY IS one of the hardest jobs in the world and really not one you can truly appreciate until you yourself become responsible for another human’s life.
Thank you, Mom, for all you do, and for all you have done for me and us “kids”. I don’t know what I did to have been given you as a mom, but, as we say, “I must have done something good.” 
Have a wonderful day all you mommies!! Sending you love, peace, patience, kindness, and compassion! Those are the tools required. (A little wine never hurt either!  ) Peace.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Love is Our Connector

Goood Saturday Morning!!  Dress in layers this morning if you're gonna be out because baby, it's cold (for Texas in May) outside!
Here's something fun.  Last night I took this picture of Holly (on the left) and it immediately reminded me of something but didn't give it much thought until I sent it to my sister and she said it reminded her of some sort of 1950's Hollywood baby star - and then it hit me!!  I was looking at a picture of my dad when he was young (on the right)!  Aren't genetics amazing?!!  (Well, especially in my case since members of my immediate family have full-on afros (see pictures from the 70's for evidence) and little Asian babies keep showing up in my kids' photo folders based on facial recognition - what are you not telling us mom!  Because looks like we have an awesome and diverse lineage!)
But aside from the actual genetic likeness, what really strikes me about these photos is the spirit that seems to jump off the page in each photo.  There's such joy in each of their faces. 
I started listening to a course series yesterday by Marianne Williamson for The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles and she starts out talking about universal spiritual themes and how before we are born we are love, and after we die we are love.  Love is eternal.  She says enlightenment is when we are aware of our spiritual knowledge.  When we are reality driven – 3D – it confines us.  When we are spiritually driven, we open ourselves up to infinite possibilities.  And I’ve only listened to the first 7 minutes!!  And this is not about religion.  It’s about our connections in life and how important they are.  We are connected to our past and our future.  And we are connected to each other. 
I look at this picture of Holly and my dad and think how they have never known each other but each has known me.  I am their connector.  And though he left to take care of us from a loftier vantage point when I was just 2, I know in his short time his spirit left an indelible mark on me that I am hopefully leaving with my children.  My mom always talks about how much my dad loved his children. 
I hope my spiritual knowledge leads me to succeeding in spreading the love that has been given to me and know that it is limitless.  These faces show me how relentless it can be.
Have a great day everyone!! Peace.