My Mission is Gratitude

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I feel so many emotions throughout the day. I’m on a personal mission to feel grateful far more than I feel anything else. It’s only day two on this journey but just bringing awareness to my thoughts and feelings has had a major impact. I have caught myself going to that place that leads me somewhere dark. I immediately switch my focus to something that makes me feel happy and hopeful. It’s easy to let darkness and negativity in. It’s like a fog that works its way into the cracks until I am surrounded and cannot find my way out. It comes at me from all sides until slowly I remove myself from its reach. Sometimes that means staying away from people and television and anything else that tries to suck me in on a regular basis. What is the secret to happiness? I do believe its gratitude. Not only does it keep my heart and mind in a loving place but it also gives me the motivation to continue my mission to make this world a better, more compassionate, kinder place. What are you feeling grateful for tonight? I’d love to hear about it. Let’s share more of that.

Is Respectful Conversation a Thing of the Past?

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I watched a little of the testimony by Jeff Sessions today. I’m not feeling so well and my body decided to force a day of rest on me. I could care less about politics but what I saw today left me feeling somewhat hopeful. As I watched Mr Sessions today I found a role model that has been missing from the world for quite a while. His eyes were warm and not filled with contempt. His voice was soft and respectful, a kindness in his tone I don’t hear very often, including in my own voice. He is a modern day super hero as far as I am concerned because I just don’t see that calm, respectful interaction between people anymore. It is something I long for but try as I may, I have been unsuccessful so far. I hope someday I can speak to others especially when I feel threatened the way I saw him do today. I just thought I’d point it out. I am reminded of the words I wrote in my daughters yearbook earlier this year. Just be you. The world will adjust. We need more people who change the world and less people so easily changed by it. 

A Moment of Gratitude

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It can’t be a coincidence that just the right person comes into our lives at just the right moment. Sometimes I get stuck in my limited thinking and someone comes along who offers a new hope and a new perspective on a situation that has grown discouraging and stale. Today I say thank you to people who take time to lift others up. Thank you to the special ones who do not stand and judge but rather listen with a compassionate heart. You are the real leaders, the difference makers and a ray of hope for our desperately lost souls. 

Where I Have Been

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I guess you could say I disappeared from WordPress for a while. To put it mildly, the last few weeks have been a total whirlwind.   My youngest finished up his first year of high school. After hours of useless busywork, tutors and endless study sessions, he finished the semester with some pretty terrific grades. Everything comes with a cost. Exhaustion was the result. My oldest graduated high school but not without unnecessary drama that is still too raw to even talk about. Bittersweet yes but the whole situation will leave a scar. I’ve had family in town for three weeks and I am grateful for the company. It is so hard living so far away sometimes and I appreciate that they made the trip to share such a momentous occassion.

 A week ago I held my cat in my arms as I felt life slip away from her. My heart was so heavy as I watched her lie there helplessly gasping for air as she stared into my eyes. She took her last breath right there in her favorite spot on my bed and every night the sadness returns as I try and fall asleep. So much crazy jammed into a few short weeks and I am left feeling drained but relaxed knowing summer is finally here. One thing I have learned is that the feeling will pass. Fear, anxiety, pain, regret, panic….it all eventually comes to an end. So many emotions are situational and although time will never completely heal every wound, it will patch them enough to give me the energy to stand back up and keep moving on. That is the lesson I will take from these last few weeks. I will remind myself that no matter what curve ball life will throw, this too shall pass. The inning will end and a new one will begin. The waiting it out part is hard but sometimes I am grateful that time cannot stand still. Every second is different. Change is the only thing we can count on for sure. If this moment is uncomfortable, another one is on the way. I’ve also learned to soak in the moments that matter. When life feels good, reach out and grab it. Bottle it up and save it for a day you need a little extra inspiration. Life is a rollercoaster and we can’t choose the parts we want to ride so sit back and take it all in. Scream when you’re scared and throw you’re arms in the air when you’re having a good time. Just be present and let it flow through. We never know what tomorrow will bring and we can’t miss out living today. 

Be The Light

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I walk a minimum of 5 miles a day. On Thursday I walked ten. I love to be outside and feel the sun on my back and the wind in my face. A year ago, I suffered from anxiety and depression to the point I thought I was going to break. I thought the only way to escape it would be to find a way out of my skin. I felt trapped and helpless and the light at the end of the tunnel grew extremely dim. One day I made the decision that I had to break free from the prison I had created for myself. I couldn’t live that way anymore because it didn’t feel like living at all. Walking offered a new hope, a calm that I had been running after for quite some time. Today a neighbor I had never met before stopped me to discuss the opinion he had of my yard. He didn’t stop to to say hello or even to tell me to have a nice day. That is what the world has become these days. 

This post is a reminder to everyone who takes the time to read it. You only see the 5 to 10 miles I walk in my shoes each day. What you don’t see are the miles that wear me down as I fight and struggle to be happy in a world I don’t even feel is where I belong. 

Life is short. 

Mind your own damn business. 

Smile at someone. 

Be kind. 

Don’t judge others shoes or think you have any clue about the path that others walk. You only know what you see and looks can be quite deceiving. Be a nice person and offer someone hope and keep your opinions to yourself. 

The world needs more compassion and kindness and less criticism and resistance. 

More love and less arguments.

 More happiness and gratitude and less bitching. 

More smiles and less scowls.

More hope and less despair.

Be the light in someone else’s tunnel. 

The world needs you now more than ever.

I need you.

Be the light in someone else’s darkness.

Be the difference. 

Death

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Death. It’s everywhere I look this week. I just flew home on a plane from my father in laws memorial service. In the blink of an eye, a life is over. As I was exiting the plane I overheard a conversation between two men in the seat next to me. “Yeah, I just flew home three weeks ago to bury my dad and today I am back to say goodbye to my mom”. 

Death evens the score. It reminds us that the ending is the same regardless of how life begins or how we roll through the middle. Doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, happy or sad. Time eventually runs out and all we can do is sit and wait.

My cat is dying. She is wasting away before my eyes. An animal who was once so fearful of leaving the house just wants to sit outside. I am out here with her fighting back tears that are too strong to contain.  I let them dampen my face. It’s been a humbling week. One that will stay with me for quite a while. It’s a peaceful night. Except for the sound of a bird chirping, all I can hear is the gentle flow of the wind. Let it blow through I remind myself. The pain, the regrets, the fear…so many questions. What have I done with the time I’ve been given? Have I loved enough? The cat sits at my feet and the unspoken words between us are too painful to explain. I know and she knows and we just sit here quietly side by side. Have I lived my own life like this silly cat? Have I too stared out the window too afraid to walk outside? I wonder if it’s a message, a lesson that she leaves for me so that maybe one day I can feel the same freedom she feels here tonight. I’ve had this cat for as long as I can remember. I’ve had her longer than my 15 year old son. She started out in Texas and made the move to Indiana and Oklahoma. She was my constant companion through every move. She was a quiet presence of strength and love.

Death is a creeper. I feel it in the shadows as I struggle to make peace with it. It’s been a long couple of days and I am feeling really tired. Maybe tonight I will get some sleep. For now, I will sit with sweet Jimgles a little bit longer. I want this moment to linger. Maybe, just for now, time will stand still and let me enjoy her a few minutes longer. Maybe this last night is all we have. There’s no way to ever know.

And The Truth Lies Someplace In Between

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There are irrefutable facts lost somewhere between the reality of a situation and the story we tell ourselves. No matter how hard I try, my head cannot leave a situation well enough alone. It listens, analyzes, judges, twists and ultimately rewrites the narrative to fit the smallness that stows away inside my head. Overthinking is like a weed that covers the truth and leaves even the most innocent event looking ugly and unkept. It’s so important to reach down and pluck the ugly out from the roots. To be real and honest and admit when those dangerous weeds are hiding the beauty that lies beneath and the only thing allowing them to take over is a simple yet conscious choice. I found myself standing there this week in the middle of my mental garden stomping on the flowers and nourishing the weeds. It took a few days a long with the courage to take a step back and force myself to lift my head and take an honest look to realize what I was creating was far from truth. There are irrefutable facts and the stories we tell ourselves and the truth lies someplace inbetween.