Archive for the ‘From the Heart’ Category

Because We ALL Matter

February 17th, 2017

A while back I made a decision to delete the Facebook app from my iPhone, which eventually was followed by me deleting it from my iPad.    I kept the messenger app, plus I also kept the business app, but aside from that-  it’s all gone from my ‘devices’.    I still pop in on occasion from the laptop, but the negativity and mean-spiritedness was keeping me up at night.  The divisivness- the name calling-  all things I couldn’t wrap my head around.

Some people have noticed and others haven’t.  I’m perfectly OK with both.      I’m someone who can overlook a lot of things-    when something becomes too much- the unfollow button works wonders, but it became to be ‘too much’.       I don’t agree with A LOT of things I see, read, hear- but I am also open minded enough to know that my thoughts are based on my view to the world.  It’s different than yours, yours or even yours.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.   We are individuals- not cookie-cutter or Stepford versions of each other.

What I DO have, regardless of whether I agree with someone or not-  is respect.   Even when someone is responding to something in hate-    it doesn’t give me (or anyone) a ‘free pass’ to reciprocate with the same.   It fuels the fire.  It ignites more division, it perpetuates more division, more anger, more of the things that I have no intent or desire to feed.

In the March issue of “O Magazine”   Oprah sat down and had a real talk with women.  Women on both sides of the political lines to discuss what’s happening in the United States, to try to understand.    They were different, but at the core they are the same-  as are so many of us.     The things that bind us are far greater than those that divide us.

We need more respectful conversations.    Real, open, authentic conversations-   it’s only then when we will be able to begin to understand and heal.

To the surprise of many-  I don’t watch the news.  I don’t read the news.    I’m extremely selective of what I allow into my grey matter.   For some it seems crazy, but to me it works.    It keeps me from drinking the crazy Kool Aid that seems to be floating around- be it from fear or all the uncertainties.       I don’t believe the media-  any of it.

We all have the ability to be kind.   To show compassion and grace- to not join in the fear mongoring- spewing the rhetoric that the media produces-  but rather, to show love-  to agree to disagree-   to have honest conversations where we respect and care for each other- if for nothing more because we are all human beings and we ALL matter.

I Am….

February 2nd, 2017

I can’t believe it has almost been a week since I was on here last.     The week has flown by- with last weekend spent in the company of a good friend exploring various inspirational foodie haunts, plus a little trip to the beach.    One of our ‘stops’ during the day was the local camera store, because she needed to get some passport photos made so she could renew her ‘almost’ expired passport.

While this is not a post about Nikon-  I’ve long been a fan of their products and even own several Nikon DSLR cameras.     That being said-   some of my favorite commercials ever are their I AM ads.

I saw this ad in the store and I couldn’t help but pause and soak up not only the image, but also the text and what it means.

I do believe that what we focus on in our lives is what we not only see more of, but also what we manifest.  Yes, life is full of ups and downs- but when I think of some of lifes’ darkest moments in my life-  I also can find the beauty in them.     I would prefer that life had no sadness or tragedy, but to be able to find something beautiful in the midst of pain is important, at least to me.

I was reading an article earlier today talking about life defining moments, and how some of them are moments that have brought us the deepest sorrow.    I was reminded of a moment where I felt a deep amount of pain and in the beginning wasn’t quite sure how I would make it through- as it was something I’d never experienced before.

Rather than becoming angry and bitter- as it would have been easy to do-   I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling, also made a few choices that I wasn’t extremely proud of, as a knee-jerk reaction to the pain, but on the whole-  I took the time to grieve, then I wanted to be aware of what the pain could teach me, and what lessons I could take away from the entire situation.

Through that-  I learned SO much.   It was one of lifes’ biggest gifts and because of the experience, I was able to carry what I learned with me- so that I can apply it to life as needed.   That embodies the above photo-  and the …. beauty of life.

We are all different.    It seems now more than ever there is a focus on how different we really are, but at the core-   it really isn’t us versus them-   we are all very much the same.    We all bleed, we all have hopes- dreams- fears- uncertainties.   We all love- believe in something-  laugh-  sleep- and the list goes on.     The truth is-  we are far more alike than we are different.

Fill in the blank-    I am.. ______  As for me-   I believe the one word I’ll  put above all others for what I AM-    LOVE.   I am LOVE.    Don’t you want to join me in striving to be love in all that we do?     While one person doesn’t have the power to change the world-  we do have the power to change ourselves- to be a shining light-  the proverbial North Star in the night sky-   to leave a ripple of love, respect, inspiration and positivity so large that it creates a tidal wave of the aforementioned and brings something beautiful and positive to every one in it’s path.

That, my friends is how beautiful things happen.    Love!

Is it Really July?

July 10th, 2016

When I logged in today, I couldn’t believe that I haven’t been here since last month and here we are in the midst of the 10th of July. One-third of the month of July is gone, although I’m not quite sure where it has gone.

The old addage that says- Time flies when you’re having fun definitely applies here, because I have been having a blast!

It is celebration month, which means I celebrate my birthday for the entire month. After all, why limit my fun to one day? Birthdays are made for celebrating!

I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking. After all, I’m quickly approaching version 4.9 of my life, and want to make the coming year in this last part of the ‘4.0’ decade is the best ever.

IMG_6304While spending the day and night with some great friends yesterday, one suggested I make a list of 49 things I want to accomplish in my 49th year. I absolutely LOVE the sound of that, so I’ll be working on a list- to publish on my 49th birthday- two days from now.

We had lunch at the beach, spent some time in a lovely little beach side town doing some shopping, went to my favorite locally owned garden center, and our original plans included going back to the beach, but Mother Nature had other plans when the rain showed up, so we made our way back home and had Tex-Mex food, plus cake.  This exact cake to be exact.

A LOT of fresh fruit-   blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries.   Vanilla bean cake, vanilla bean butter cream and fresh lemon curd.  All made from scratch by yours truly.

The great thing about spending time in the company of true friends is that you can laugh, enjoy each others company and know it’s a safe place to ‘be’.    Yesterday was all that and then some, but then every day I spend with people I love is like that.

Do I take it for granted?  I try not to, because I know how fleeting life can be- and how we only have this moment.  I try to treasure those moments and be fully present in each and every one of them.

 

Learning From Those Around Us

February 8th, 2016

Earlier today I was talking to a good friend when I saw she’d posted the following quote on her business Facebook Page:

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~ Pema Chodron

Our particular conversation had been about someone we both have as an acquaintance, who continually tries to bring negativity and controversy into many situations.   Being around her is like walking through a field of land mines, having to be very careful where you step, because the potential of an explosion is highly possible.

Let me say that this person has some beautiful qualities and a good heart being one of them.   I believe she has good intentions for the most part.    What trips her up?   She does-      As is the case with most of us-  It isn’t our obstacles that trip us up- it’s how we react to them when they happen.

Does it mean we shouldn’t ever get frustrated?   No, that isn’t remotely realistic- and Lord knows I have my moments of flying on the ‘broom’ as I like to call it.   The biggie for me is that I don’t live there-   I have a moment (sometimes a day), give it some thought-  and try to understand the source of where within me it’s coming from (it’s ALWAYS within us), work through it and continue moving forward.   Sometimes it takes longer than other times- depending on what’s going on, and what time of the month it is.  haha   I try not to get ‘stuck’ there.

When I was thinking about this person earlier today, I found myself being curious (as I am about human behavior, as I find it fascinating), and wondering what it is about her that makes it so much harder for her.    It didn’t take me long to realize that it was within her own self-admissions-  She’s miserable where she is.   She’s said it time and time again about how she hates where she lives, she hates her husbands family for the most part, she creates these really high expectations and gets not only angry, but also falls into the victim role when things don’t meet those expectations.

Unfortunately, she also wants to share her misery with others- so I believe that because of that, she tends to want to spark that same type of misery and anger with those around her.   You know the old adage-  ‘Misery loves company’-  well nothing could be truer in this situation.

I do, however, believe that she’s doing the best that she can where she is right now.   I don’t mean geographically, but I mean mentally she can’t see a broader scope that change is possible within her, as she’s resigned herself to being miserable and will only be happy whens he moves ‘home’ to her British roots.   So she is stuck in a cycle of misery that she has created for herself.

We’ve all done that haven’t we?  Lord knows I have.  I can be my own worst enemy at times-  and thankfully I have learned enough in life to know that I’m also a few choices away of changing that thought process.  It isn’t always easy but it’s very doable.

As a firm believer that every person we meet has the potential to teach us something-  I am able to find that even this lady teaches me.    She serves as a reminder to me on several different topics-    1- That our thoughts become our reality.    2- That we have the choice to make a change, or not.  3- That when life gives us difficulties, roadblocks. hurdles and even tragedy- that we have the choice to allow something to be a source of growth to make us better, or it can make us bitter.  Ultimately that’s up to us.

So I’m thankful for those lessons.

It also teaches me that there is nothing we can ‘want’ bad enough for someone for them to make a change in their life-   change has to come from them seeing something isn’t working for them, not ‘us’ seeing that from the outside looking in from an entirely different life perspective.

I do believe that we all do what works for us and ‘feeds’ us in some way or another-  even when it isn’t the most healthy of choices, and when those no longer serve us and give us the payout that we became accustomed to, we can see things from a different view and choose what our next step will be.

What valuable lesson has someone taught you recently? 

 

 

Joy in the Little Things

May 13th, 2015

Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying a quiet afternoon when I received a message from diddy-   He rarely messages me unless he has something to share, as was the case yesterday.

He was grilling two slabs of ribs that he’d mentioned him and mom buying-   he sent me a photo of the ribs-   saying he wished we were there to enjoy them with them, plus said he was just starting to put the sauce on them.   We shared a few messages back and forth-    along with a few photos of the new barn kittens, all four of them in a pile of playfulness at his feet.

In a world where we are constantly ‘plugged in’ –   and where geography doesn’t afford me to spend time with my parents every day-  this was our quality time together-  albeit technically ‘not’ together.

For me, there is much joy in moments like those-   moments that I cherish and treasure.   Moments that I know are fleeting and that I don’t dare take for granted.    I’m so grateful for those moments.  They bring me so much joy.

One Week and Counting

November 10th, 2014

This past weekend was spent in an early Thanksgiving with friends.   It started last year and the group of seven couples decided to turn it into a tradition.   This year- someone else in the group hosted and another feast and great time by all was had.   It really made me happy that they decided to have it earlier in the month, since we will actually be at mom and diddys celebrating Thanksgiving with them when the day actually comes-   so it was great to have a ‘kick-off’ to the holiday season a little early.

The thing I love the most- is that we’re a group of people who love to cook and bake-   so everything was from scratch, including my Great Aunt Gladys’ homemade stuffing made an appearance.   Between the main course and dessert- we took a two mile walk along the river and through the quaint town that my good friend Niki lives in.  Bliss- is the only way that I know how to describe it-   one thing is for sure- I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

Our trip home is in less than a week-  In fact, this time one week from now- we should be landing in Atlanta for our short layover.  I’m ready-  we both are.    I’m also going to be helping mom, alongside my best friend of many years to organize and revamp mom’s sewing room-    I’m surprised that she’s trusting us to the task, but I know it will be fun-  and she’ll actually be able to find things once we’re done.

Plus plans with family and friends- and some other life-changing things possibly happening.    Life is good-  and I need to remember more and more to take the time to really pause and think about just how blessed I am.

Attitude of Gratitude

September 18th, 2014

Aside from the weather being absolutely perfect these days- this time of the year is my favorite. I find myself on a fence of wanting to stay at home and cook all day- or spending the day outside as much as possible- embracing the last bits of brilliant weather. Lately, I’ve chosen more of the latter, although I do have apples that I plan to do something with this weekend, and bread to bake.

I continue to learn and grow- plus every single day I’m reminded of just how blessed I am. There is beauty everywhere- but new opportunities keep presenting themselves, and I’m enjoying being able to be a part of them. It’s a joy, and I can’t tell you what an effect it has had on my life.

Does it mean there hasn’t been challenges? Of course not, but what it does mean is that I’m focusing on the good stuff- and that ‘stuff’ continues to manifest and grow into something more beautiful and abundant than I ever dreamt possible.

I’m grateful, for the opportunities, the people in my life, and even for those little less-than-pleasant moments that serve to teach me.

Life is beautiful, and every single moment- a gift.

On Celebrating Another Year of Me

July 10th, 2014

Earlier this week, I met with a close friend to discuss and brainstorm ideas for our upcoming monthly column that we co-author.  It was a good excuse to get together, and it was also a great chance to sit on a terrace on the water for lunch, and really catch up.    It’s always great soul food to spend time with her, and she’s one of those treasures in my life that I’m very grateful for.

The subject of age came up- and her husband had asked how old I would be on my soon to be birthday- and she said she wasn’t exactly sure- because we’d never talked about it- but she guessed I wasn’t much younger than her.   He guessed me at quite a bit younger than I was-  which is always great to hear-  (Thank you Lord for great genes.)   But it was interesting because we talked about whether age was something we tend to hold back, or if it’s something we just let everyone know-        Personally, I am proud of my age.    I’m proud because it means that I’ve been given the gift of another year on this planet Earth, another year to learn, to grow, and to continue to try to live my very best life.

I look back over the past year- and I think about what has changed over the year.     In some ways- to those who don’t really know me-  they may say nothing is different about me at all, but to those who do-    I suspect they can tell a difference.     One of the biggest gifts is that I’ve been able to heal and grow from a very painful situation which occurred a few months before my birthday last year.

I’ve learned the hard way over the years that the only way to fully heal from something is to confront it head on-  walk through the pain-  grieve, when necessary, and through that-  comes healing.   It takes a while- and sometimes it does seem easier to just stuff it in a mental closet somewhere-   but trust me-  it always manifests when you don’t feel and deal.

I personally think I’ve always been a happy person, but I am even more so now-   I feel joy deep within my soul.   I feel more at peace with not feeling like I have to people please just to keep people happy-     That isn’t real- it isn’t who I am, and while I never have ill feelings toward others- I also know that I don’t have to spend my time around anyone who doesn’t add something to my life-    It doesn’t mean anyone is a ‘bad’ or ‘toxic’ person, (although sometimes that is the case) but mostly it means that I need to allow room for great things to happen- and that means cleaning out and letting go of anything or anyone that I don’t interact with.   It’s all about simplifying, and embracing what matters most.

I’m really happy with who I am as a human being-   I have a simply out-of-this-world group of friends both on this side of the pond and the other.    I am blessed beyond measure-   Marcel, is amazing- and well- it just keeps getting better- and I’m grateful.

What will the next year bring?   More beautiful blessings, more joy and abundance-     God dreams a much bigger dream for me than I could ever imagine- but right now- I’m reaching and we’ll see where the new year takes us-    47- heck yeah-  bring it on!

Celebrating the 40’s Club

May 25th, 2014

This weekend, a friend who lives in another town celebrated her 40th birthday.     She was dreading the big ‘4-0’ at first, but I believe after talking to some of us who had been a part of this exclusive ‘time sensitive’ club, she felt a little more at ease into slipping into those glorious forties.      She’s a beautiful spirited person, so it was wonderful to meet her parents, plus see her surrounded and shining bright in the company of those who mean so much to her.

She was a wonderful hostess, making sure that everyone was taken care of, and that we all had plenty of food.   All-in-all a glorious day to celebrate, and I was honored to be a part of the celebration.

As someone who is inching towards tapping on the 50’s club in a few-short years, I find myself really thinking about what these years in the 40’s have meant to me.   The last 7 years have been filled with so much amazement and growth.   I’ve learned a lot about myself, but also- about others as well.    Being an empathy, my emotions have become higher and I’ve become more sensitive than ever about the things going on around me, but at the same time-  life lessons have taught me how to remove myself from toxicity, because it is poison to my soul, and keeps me from being the best me that I am continually striving to be.  (I know I’ll never ‘get there’, simply because there’s always something to learn, and always more growth to be doing.)

The lessons have taught me to be aware when something is nibbling away at my gut instinct, because there is always a reason, and I’m listening.   Sometimes listening means ‘be still’, when other times it means it’s time to let go of something.  Ignoring is no longer an option-   something that I’ve learned in these glorious years.    Ignoring what my gut tells me now is only asking for problems later.    Plus those days of waiting til I get hit in the head with the proverbial brick to ‘get it’ are over.    I hear the whisper in my soul- and I listen.

This year-  I’ve become aware at just how fragile life is, and that sometimes, beauty blooms from tragedy.   But it is a constant reminder to me- that to focus on anything other than what is best for living the life that is best for me- is a waste.    I may not have tomorrow, and you may not either.     Embrace what matters, and let go of what doesn’t-  and if you really stop and search the recesses of your soul- you’ll find that some of those ‘big things’  aren’t so big after all in the grand scheme of life.

Those people you’ve been ‘thinking’ about contacting?   They may not be here tomorrow, and is that reason you haven’t reached out- that important?     Think about it-   look into your soul and act accordingly. The clock is ticking.

More Than a Tea Bag

November 24th, 2013

forgiveEarlier this week, I picked up a box of Chai tea.    Skinny Chai Tea lattes are my fall/winter ‘go to’ drink at Starbucks when they are out of PSL or Gingerbread, and sometimes I like to be able to have a similar experience at home.

You may be wondering why I’m telling you all this-   but there is a method to my madness, I promise.

This morning, I skipped the coffee, and decided that it was a chai kind of morning.   I pulled out my red mug that I always use this time of the year, and opened my bag of tea.   What I didn’t know- is that Yogi puts messages on their tea bags.   This message was on my bag of tea.

“Apologize if you’ve hurt.”   Simple words, right?   It’s honestly a lot harder than it may look, especially when we add a sprinkle of ego into the mix.     I can’t speak for others, but what I do know is that this simple message gave me pause this Sunday morning.

If you know me, then you know my intent is never to hurt anyone.    Some of us may ask the question- does anyone ever intend to hurt others, and sadly, I would say that answer is yes, but I digress.  That’s a subject for another day.

Still, even though I know it’s never my intent; I know that I have hurt people in my life.   I wouldn’t think it was a regular occurance, but I’ve found that just because we say something without intent, doesn’t mean that the way we say things isn’t perceived in a completely different way by someone else.

Sometimes we hurt others with the choices we make, even if it’s necessary at the time.  But I also believe that it’s our duty as responsible adults to communicate when we have been hurt and to attempt to make amends, if, in fact we would like to clear the air.

Some may feel that is an unnecessary step, but is it?  How many of us have stewed in hurt and allowed it to become toxic in our lives?  I would venture to say quite a lot of us, including myself.     It’s been many years since I felt the need to seek ‘revenge’ on someone who wronged or hurt me, but I’ve definitely felt that way.  The person it hurt in the long run-   ME!

So if you’re reading this and for whatever reason you’ve felt that I have hurt you-  whether I am aware of it or not;  I apologize sincerely.

It’s amazing to me how a little tea bag can spark pause and reflection.   I’m a firm believer in that there are no accidents, so I’m listening.  It’s a gift I can give myself, and for that I’m grateful.

Are you holding on to resentment, anger, hurt or felt wronged by someone?   If you can, take the time to talk to them about it- they may be unaware you feel this way.  If not, do what you can to work through the pain and frustration, because the only person it’s hurting is you.     Allow yourself to forgive and to be forgiven.  It’s a freedom and release that can change your life for the better.

 

 

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