Monday, September 26, 2016

The Art of Letting Go

I have been a creative soul since birth. I enjoyed drawing and coloring when I was young. Then once I got married I was introduced to the crafting world and got my first glue gun! Since then I had tried at least every craft hobby at least once. My favorites have been painting, cross-stitch and scrapbooking. I had a little dream that someday I would have a craft studio in my house so that each time I felt the urge to create, my kitchen table would not look like a disaster. For the most part art or the act of being creative has always been an outlet for me, a stress reliever and even a peaceful meditation. But lately something was different, I was getting craft supplies from friends and my collection of supplies for the first time was overflowing which became overwhelming. Rather than being excited at this windfall, it actually caused me a great deal of stress. I had too much stuff and not enough time to do it all. I could not decide what to make and my creative mojo had left the building. I then noticed other parts of my organized life following suit. I became overwhelmed at the books I brought home from the library book sale. They were lovely and I had the intent to read them, but there they sat on the book shelf every night like a reminder of something else I didn’t have time to do. Finally, my little pantry in my kitchen that is really my hutch began to taunt me as well. You know you have too much of this and too much of that and there are expiration dates on those items! And don’t even get me started on the spices! Which ones hadn’t I used in the last few months and needed to toss? I had no idea! So basically I was in my own little tornado that I myself had created. By praying and asking for abundance, boy did I get abundance. Even a few extra pounds snuck in too-Drat! I realized I was using my creativity in a bad way and creating an anxious environment that was affecting me like never before. I came to the conclusion that I know where the craft store, library and grocery store are located if I need to craft, read or cook. So I cleaned out my pantry and in the process put aside items I will donate to a local thrift store. I took the books I got from the library and gave them to my co-worker who desperately needed some reading material for her Jewish holiday time. I went through my craft items, shared some with friends and donated the rest. I am only keeping enough scrapbooking supplies to finish some scrapbooks and then I am done. The lesson for me was “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. I am turning 50 soon and want the next 50 years to be a little bit more peaceful and calm and that begins with me. By being creative and alive in the moment, I will get much more out of being creative. I learned the art of letting go and my world didn’t come to a catastrophic end. Instead, it gave me clarity, focus and freedom.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It is better to give, than to receive

When it comes to gifts, is it the thought that counts? Absolutely! If someone is thinking of me in any way, a conversation, a handwritten note or merely a passing thought in their busy day I am thrilled. Any gift that goes along with that is a wonderful added surprise. Spending quality time is another of my favorite “gifts”. However, there does seem to always be two types of people when it comes to gift giving and/ or gift receiving. There are the ones who love being the recipient of a homemade gift because they appreciate the time and effort you took to make it. But, then there are the ones who think you could not think of anything to buy them, so you made something instead. Some people enjoy receiving gift cards while others feel that like cash it seems cold and not thoughtful enough. I have learned the hard way to identify these types and act accordingly, but it is somewhat confusing to me. For instance the folks that think gift cards were insensitive actually give me gift cards? Or I don’t mind if you do not have the money to get something and choose to re-gift something, but please do not re-gift my gift back to me. That is like a present wrapped in an insult. I can’t help wanting to cheer people up and if they cannot identify with the love and thought that goes into it, not sure what to do about that situation. However, I do plan to continue to be as considerate as I can when it comes to gift giving and receiving and hope that on some level, I brighten someone’s day and make them smile.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Message in the Mess

My blog is all about the lessons and the blessings and more so lately the message in the mess. In mid January, I fell down a flight of cement stairs at work. I actually blacked out and came to when folks were attending to me and telling me not to move. In my 49 years, it was my first ambulance ride and my first broken bone (wrist). I had fallen completely on my right side, so amidst the bleeding, swelling, broken bones and injured pride were many lessons and blessings that would soon unfold. As someone who is a self-proclaimed caregiver who lives her life with the intent of bringing care and kindness to all, I suddenly found myself on the receiving end. Not that I had never received kindness before, but for the first time I was unable to be the giver. As foreign as this was for me to handle, so were the thoughts and words coming out of me. For the first time in my life I literally uttered the words “I would rather be dead!” Not really, of course, and just the thought of what could have happened to me that day stopped me in my tracks…literally and figuratively. The first few weeks were the hardest as I was suddenly in a splint and then a cast and then another cast. I was unable to shower without assistance, unable to use my dominant hand and swollen from my black eye down to my foot. I was scared, concerned and overall just overwhelmed. But then something happened. I let go and let God guide me. I had to learn patience. Not an easy task for someone who has none, well at least none for herself. Then I was blanketed by the kind words, cards, gifts and gestures beyond my wildest comprehension. I began to adapt and adjust to my circumstances and in doing so began the healing process. Then I was informed that a reorganization at my workplace was taking effect and not only was my senior status job position being removed, but with a significant pay cut. Initially shocked, but then I again chose to trust in God’s plan and roll with it. Then another setback occurred. My husband who has been dealing with cervical arthritis suddenly experienced his most excruciating pain and was forced to take some time via short-term disability to see specialists and seek a pain management plan. We were losing money fast. So God doesn’t put you through what you cannot handle, but really? What to do? Sit in worry and fear or trust God. I chose to trust and what happened is nothing less than a miracle. I continued to heal and did not need surgery as I was previously told I would need. Through all of this, my husband and I grew closer. We spent part of the day meditating and reading scripture strengthening our relationship with God and with each other. His neck pain is beginning to lessen and I continue to pray that one day it will be easily managed and/or gone. Did things go wrong during this time? You have no idea! But did we make it through? You bet we did. Was there always just enough money and food? Yes! It was a 44 day experience overall. The biggest lesson and blessing was that we have the strength to get through anything when we let go and let God. I do believe that I was meant to fall that day. I saw myself falling forward but yet didn’t feel the impact of hitting the floor. However, I have felt the impact of this experience. In a sense, I was pushed into this situation in order to be ready for what God has in store for me. There are greater things coming my way. I used to think lessons and blessings were separate things, but this experience has taught me that they are intertwined and that even in a mess there is a message if we allow ourselves to hear it. On a funny note, when you blurt out things to the Universe like “I wished I didn’t have to work and could just stay home!” try to be "very specific"…just saying! ;)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Goodbye 2015...Reflections

I have not posted on my blog in so long and I have no excuses. Like that John Lennon quote “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans!” So I decided to end 2015 with one last post. Ta-da…see, I meant to procrastinate… really I did…lol I started this blog to write about the lessons and the blessings and there certainly were a lot of them this year. I was blessed to travel with my husband to Niagara Falls to celebrate 32 years since our first date. I was blessed to meet my cousin who lives in California while she was in Massachusetts visiting her grandmother. Her grandmother happens to be my Godmother who is 98…and my superhero! I want to be her when I grow up! Among the blessings were some tough speed husband has been suffering from chronic pain which not only makes his everyday living difficult, but also affects the quality of life. He just doesn’t know when it will be a good day or a bad day. So, we are thankful for the good days and try our best to get through the bad ones. For the most part, 2015 has been a peaceful year. Peace of mind and heart. Moreover, my husband and I know how blessed we are to have each other, our daughter and our fuzzy cat-who-thinks-he-is-a-dog Frankie. We have a home, we have food, but most of all we have each other. In these things, we are rich beyond compare and very thankful! 2016 will be an important year for my family. It is hard to believe that my husband and I will both be turning 50! But I cannot imagine spending life with anyone but him. He was my first love and he will be my last love. He is my strength and my best friend! Looking forward to holding hands for whatever else comes along during this adventure called life the next 50 years! Our daughter will be graduating college in May of 2016. She is an amazing human being and we could not be prouder of her. We are so excited to see what the future holds for her! She is a blessing! So as far as goals and inspirations for 2016, here are mine. I will learn patience by being patient with myself. I will remember that just because I have an opinion does not mean I need to voice it (all the time). I will make time each and every day for meditation, creativity and gratitude. I will smile at everyone I meet. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sea of Love

Marriage is like the ocean. When you first fall in love, it is similar to when you see the ocean for the first time. You are in awe at the sight and you can’t imagine your life without it. You visit it frequently. You build your time around it. Everything is amazing! You notice the sparkle of the sun on the waves, the beauty of the seashells and the vibrancy of the sea glass! The feel of the sand on your toes! As time goes on, you still love it, but you get wrapped up in your life and you know where it is, but you don’t give it the same attention. When was the last time you showed appreciation for it? When was the last time you spent time and energy with it? Has it become too rocky for you? Is it too overwhelming? The ocean is not always a calm and gentle place. When a storm hits, the ocean can come smashing down and cause destruction. Riding those waves can seem impossible. But the ocean itself does not break. With each wave that crashes onto the sand, the ocean takes the roughness of the rocks and glass and makes them smooth. Over time, what was once something that you avoided becomes something that you don’t want to let go. Those rough patches of your marriage are just as important as the beautiful moments. The combination of time, attention and appreciation are what makes your marriage your story. No one else’s love story is the same. Only the two of you can write each line and while some chapters are not as exciting or some you would like to skim over and forget completely…take your lessons from the ocean. Enjoy your marriage for all that it is. Remember what brought you to each other. Marriage is hard work, but it can calm you and bring you peace. It is a love you will never experience in any other way. It can be strong and resilient and there is no storm it can’t withstand. There is salt in the water and salt in our tears. But when the sun shines on it, look at it sparkle!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Embracing Modesty

In this fast paced world in which we live in, our kids are growing up too fast. Innocence has gone by the wayside with exposure to whatever our kids can download to their phone or tablet. It is sad to see young girls wearing makeup far too early. When I was in high school, most girls didn’t start to wear makeup until they were around sixteen and even then it was more about wearing lip gloss than anything else. Take a stroll through any mall store and you will see that the choices for clothing for our young girls are far from modest. When I see the photos on Facebook of teen girls attending their school dances in strapless dresses that barely cover much else, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that something is drastically wrong with the message we are conveying to our children. When you look at a picture of a girl in a dress and wonder how in the world will she be able to sit in that dress without showing the world what only her doctor should see, then that is a problem. Hello! Lightbulb moment! It all begins at home. By instilling values and morals from a young age, our children understand the importance of embracing things such as respect and modesty. Too many kids nowadays feel the peer pressure to fit into what society seems to think they should be. Just because we live in a country where women are not forced to cover up including their faces while in public does not mean that our girls need to dress inappropriately to show our freedom. Girls taking scantily clad selfies and posting to Facebook for the internet world to view is just wrong. Even the kissy face selfies are sending the wrong message. You attract what you put out into the world. Our girls need to know that they are beautiful on the inside and on the outside. They don’t need to wear makeup or dress sexy to be more beautiful. You know what they need to be more beautiful? They need a smile on their face. Your smile is what you want people to remember you for, not how short is your skirt or how low is your shirt.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mother Teresa said "We can do no great things, only small things with great love!"

We all tend to get caught up in our own worlds most days that we cannot see those in the world who are truly suffering. We get to shower every day. We get to eat three meals and snacks. We drink fancy coffee. We wear clean clothes. But what if suddenly the most basic of life's needs were taken away. Every time I go to visit my daughter at college, I see homeless folks panhandling for money. What to do? Throw a few dollars their way or drive by and try not to look them in the eyes to see their pain? We say what difference can one person make? But one person can make all the difference in a person's life. But we have to step outside of our own world to see those who need help. If just one person, helped one other person we could create the chain reaction of love and hope that would help change the world for the better. Suddenly our silly problems and complaints would have no justification. At this time of Lent when some are choosing to give something up, I am choosing to do something different by adding things to do instead. I am making the effort to take the money I would normally spend on coffee and food in my work cafeteria and I am choosing to put it to better use. I am taking that money and using it to purchase health and beauty supplies, socks, gloves and food to create "Blessing Bags" for the homeless. How easy would it be to just buy a few trial sized items on your next visit to the pharmacy. Or when you go to Walmart, but a package of socks. You get clean socks every day, but there are some that are not that fortunate. It is not the big things we do that make the most impact. It is the small things. Start small. We can all do something. The point is to do something. We are more blessed that we know and we can share some of that blessing with others. I read somewhere that a fifty dollar bill is still a fifty dollar bill even if it is crumpled up and dirty. Human beings are the same...would you want to be loved any less because you came upon hard times and found yourself struggling for the most basic of life's needs such as food and shelter. Please start today. We can be the change we want to see in the world! Let's do this together! Blessings!