The Power of Motivation

I haven’t written much as of late. Life has been busy and there are things to be done. Truth is I have not only been busy living life, but also busy working hard and staying motivated.

It seems that almost everyone I know is working hard to accomplish things that have been placed on hold during the world wide shut down. As we all wake up, so too does our ambition. This is a great time to set high goals and accomplish them. This is a great time to take advantage of all of the businesses opening up, hiring, needing workers. it is a great time to build the life that you want and have always wanted. But it is not easy.

Life, and that which we accomplish, takes a lot of hard work. And whether that is rolling up your sleeves to actually build a building, a business, a garden or working spreadsheets all day, we must be diligent in our motivation. My motivation is a set goal that is coming up. There have been long days, busy night, meetings, calls working late, staying awake and staying in to make sure it all gets done. And it is extremely exhausting. But it will be worth it.

And that is the thing about life, we work and build and pray that it’s worth it. And it usually is. Even our mistakes and missteps can be opportunities for learning and starting over. And that’s a lot of work too – starting over. I have several friends who are doing that too. And all of the moving around, shaking off, letting go, buying in, filling up, coming by, being done, and having faith that goes along with it.

In this day and age of faster the better, cheap is great and disposable is the best, can we really find fulfillment is working hard for that which we want? Does it ever work out? Yes, I believe it does. My own life is proof of it. But it takes time. And that is the hardest part, I think. When we know what we want, and the improvements that we need to make, it takes time to actually make all the changes and do all of the work in one day. So we must be patient.

For me, I am and have been, working hard for this goal, and it is almost complete. It is almost time to move the mountains, benefit from my labor and have the dream come to fruition. I have wanted this for a long time, though I did not know that it would be here and now until I set my mind to it. And prayed about it.

And that is the thing about life. We know when the time feels right, and we know that hard work will always pay off eventually.

Life is short. Dream big. Work hard. Reach goals. And live the best life you can. Only you have that power. and let that motivate you.

Bite the Block

I am having a bit of a writers block…I have a ton of things I want to write about, and have at times during the day, brilliant pieces of thought that just come out of me….in the middle of a meeting, or during a conference call. Then when I sit down to write, they are all gone, escaped into the day and the world of the living.

As the energy of living life ebbs and flows, the ideas and inspiration are there dancing, I am just one step behind. But isn’t that what happens sometimes when you get busy living a life worth writing about? I will catch those thoughts, those muses, those inspirations soon though. I bought a new notebook to jot down notes. More shall come….

Miss Independence and the fridge

Those of you who know me know that I am extremely independent. Something which has gotten me into trouble many times. And certainly life would have been much easier if I had allowed myself to be more dependent…I probably would have been married several times by now. But it just doesn’t occur to me to ask for help, and depend on others. Which is why I am limping with a bruised foot.

The refrigerator went out. After have a ton of fresh fruit vegetables and other groceries delivered for the holiday weekend. There was going to be cooking and grilling and feasting. But only if I could get a refrigerator bought and delivered that day. Yes, I could buy and get a refrigerator in the house myself. Why not? Oh, so many reasons….

Finally found one, on sale that I could pick up that same day as it was in stock. New, shiny, black stainless steel. It was beautiful. And tall. And heavy. What was I thinking? The panic of losing that much food must have put me into temporary insanity.

I rented a truck to pick up the fridge and had the guys from the store load it up, figuring I could unload it once home. The thing could only make about 3 of me (again, what was I thinking?). Determined to get it out of the truck, I huffed and puffed, pushed, pulled, and finally gave up after about 45 minutes. It was much to expensive to take any chances of it falling off, or over. When did refrigerators get into the thousands of dollars? I remember w. hen they were almost as affordable as iPhones. I admitted temporary defeat and asked one of the neighbors to help. He did and it was off the truck and in mu garage in about 30 seconds. He asked me why I didn’t just have it delivered like any normal person. (Because it wouldn’t be delivered for another 6 days and all the food would be bad so I naturally decided to do it myself).

A few hours later, after I finished work, I came back to get it into the house. After about 30 minutes of figuring out how to make the laws of physics work in my favor, a friend suggested asking the neighbor who had a dolly for help. No, I could do it myself, once I figured out how. (what was I thinking?).

After another 30 minutes of slowly scooching the fridge little by little, I finally gave it one last scooch…and it happened in slow motion. I could tell the moment it came off of the base of the box. And I grabbed the top of it, my feet coming off of the ground as I desperately tried to stop the inevitable motion that had started. I watched powerless as it came down, slowly at first, then picking up speed as it fell. As my feet touched the ground, and I tried in vain to throw my weight to stop the fall, it came down and landed. On my foot.

“Well, that’s going to hurt in about an hour,” I thought to myself as I struggled to free my foot. Great. I just broke my new fridge and mu old foot in one loud commotion. After getting my foot free, I chastised myself for not asking for help sooner and messaged the neighbor with the dolly. Sure, he would be over on 3 minutes.

Thirty minutes later, he had the refrigerator hooked up, installed and was taking the old one out to the curb for me. I thanked him profusely, grateful to have a young healthy neighbor who was nice enough to help an independent woman reluctant to admit she needed the help. And I gave him some very nice scotch to share with his wife as a thank you.

Life is short. As for help before you topple over the new appliance and have to hobble away in defeat (all puns intended). Trust me, it’s worth it. And never let a klutz try to install anything larger than themselves. It gets dangerous and painful when they get squashed.

Note: The fridge is working fine and is not broken. My foot is fine as well. However, the fridge does have a nice dent where my foot was…and I thought my head was hard.

Uncommon Communion

We all have those moments in life where we think that would be funny if they happened on a sitcom. But they are actually happening to you, in your life, and one day they will be funny…

I had started the day with quiet meditation and content contemplation. It was a special day and I wanted to savor it, appreciate it and enjoy the beautiful wonder of it. I had been studying and preparing for it for several months and it was here. My Confirmation and First Communion into the Catholic Church.

After getting my hair done (because I am a bit vain and I wanted to make sure I looked good in any pictures). However, it’s monsoon season here in Texas, so I should have known. But the rest of the events could not have been predicted.

I was running a few minutes late, as usual, when I noticed the RPMs going up but the speed going down. This isn’t good, especially in a manual. Shifting gears didn’t help either, and actually made it worse. I had already let the man know it might be the transmission and I was hoping to be able to make it to the church where he and several others were waiting. And then, it happened. The clutch. Went. Out.

No problem. I called the man and let him know the situation – I’ll just get a tow truck and an Uber. I would be there a little later than I thought, but still in time. The two and Uber would be there within 5 minutes of each other. Twenty minutes later, neither had shown up. The Uber was late and the tow was lost, and it was pouring down rain the likes I had not seen since the last hurricane. And my neighbor called asking if that was me on the side of the road – did I need a ride. No, I told her, because soon the Uber would be there.

And when the Uber arrived and found out that I had to wait for the tow, he promptly told me that he could not wait and kicked me out of the car – in the pouring monsoon rain. And the tow was still lost. I called the wonderful neighbor that yes, I did need a ride. She said she would be right there – except that traffic was backed up because of a huge accident and she was trying to get to me but she couldn’t. But she was trying and would be there as soon as she could.

By this time I was crying. texting my man to please tell the priest what was happening. How was I going to make it? And what are the chances – the clutch breaks, the tow truck is lost, the Uber can’t wait, the friend and neighbor is trying to get me but is tuck in traffic, AND I am soaking wet. My hair dripping with rain water, make up washed and cried off, the nice outfit wrinkled and soaked. A drowned rat looked better. And my sweet wonderful man reassuring me that there was time, that the priest would make it work no matter how late I was.

And my man was right. Somehow it all worked out. The tow truck arrived to pick up the car. My friend got there and picked me up. And there was someone to greet me and walk me into the service when we arrived. It worked out. I was confirmed and had communion. With my man by my side. And my friend there with me. And my friends in the church, witnessing this event in my life.

Because that is the thing about life, you can’t do it alone. No matter how independent you are, you are still not an island. And you are blessed to have those in your life who will be there for you. look after you, reassure you, and help you.

There was, unfortunately, no help for my hair though. That was a mess on steroids.

And Another

It is another trip, and plane ride, another session of packing and planning what to wear. It is another time to see family that has not been seen since the last one. It will be another long day of travel and wearing a mask. For another family memorial service to say goodbye.

Seems that there have been far too many of these, over the years. People you never though would be gone because they are always there, always part of the fabric that weaves through families and experiences and memories and happenings.

Yet here it is, another memorial service. Another black dress, another pair of black pumps; another day of tissues, and tears, fond memories and last stories.

Life is short. Hug those you love, hold them tight and close and long, for the are gone far too soon.

Mother’s Day

When you have lost a parent, Mother Day or Father’s Day can take on a new meaning. It can be a day of sadness, because it is a reminder that your parent is no longer there. While others are celebrating, it can be lonely for those who have lost that parent. And eventually it is something we must all go through and feel. That is part of life.

This Mother’s Day was different for the though. For the first time since my mother died, I wasn’t not sad on this day. Maybe it is because it has been 5 years, and time makes everything a little easier. Many because grief has slowly given way to wonderful memories that make me smile instead of cry. Maybe it is because I am truly happy. Maybe it is a combination.

This year, I smiled and the day was truly a celebration. This year was hugs and laughter, drinks and stories. This year, I looked up to the sky, said a prayer in my heart and felt Mom’s love. And there was so much love, I felt it all around. Not just from me, but from and to others as well. This year my heart is happy and full.

So to Mom, thank you for loving me enough for a lifetime. thank you for all of the laughs, and hugs, and smiles, and sacrifices and the everything. The all and everything of 43 years with you as my Mom. Thank you for teaching me all that you did. But most of all, thank you for being my Mom. I will love you forever and I’ll hug you in my dreams.

Right Time, Right Place

In addition to being a massive time waster, Facebook is a reminder of my life and all the paths I have taken along the way. When the memories pop up, I can’t help but get a smile on my face and stroll down that lane of times gone by. And no matter who you are, what you do, where you are, where you have been or where you are going, you can track your life and progress with every post.

One year ago I had moved to Texas and was still getting settled. Everything had shut down and we were just starting to hear about masks and all the rules that came along with the virus. I had met my wonderful neighbors and the Driveway Drinkers were started. Since everything was closed, we sat out, and drank wine and beer while kids played. I met and started dating a wonderful man and we were having great time with “Shall we make dinner reservations at my kitchen or yours?”

Two years ago, was like an entire lifetime ago. I was still in Georgia, healing from all of the family drama and in a terrible relationship with a very toxic man. two years ago this week, I had gone to Cincinnati and Corpus Christie with him to help him with some job interviews, (he did not get the jobs), and he treated me horribly throughout the entre trip even though I was doing him a favor. I was also stuck with a mooch of a roommate who took advantage of my offer to help with out of a tough spot. But I knew better days were coming, and they were. When I think back on this time, I am reminded of the importance of being incredibly discerning with those you help.

Three years ago I was floating along, not much direction, and just starting to the plan to leave Georgia after my lease was up. I started researching where to move – Charleston, or somewhere in Texas. I contacted everyone I knew in Texas and started asking questions about living here. I was starting to get excited about planning my Getaway.

And four years ago I was still reeling from the death of both parents. Looking back it seems like another world, another galaxy ever. And I can see how for I have come since then. And I can be proud. I made it through, didn’t kill anyone, managed to get up and show up every day, and built the foundation on which my life currently stands. Not bad.

The rest of the years show many of the ups and down associated with life. Bad days, good jobs, milestone accomplishments, break ups, funny moments and wonderings of life. And looking back one thing is clear: I have always been in exactly the right place and exactly the right time that I needed to be there. Even when I thought I was in the wrong place…I see, through the magic f the internet and social media, that all I needed to do was trust, work hard and believe. Because through all of the tears and hopes and dreams, and ups and down, and broken hearts, and scrapes souls and all of the everything. It was OK.

And now I have the life that I always wanted. In the end, is is everything that I have done, in thought, word and deed, that got me to where I am today.. All the adventures, missteps, judgements, trips, falls, spills, and victories. It is everything I got wrong, that I didn’t know was right, all of the paths and people i met along the way. And here I am now. Happy. Loved. Loving. Working. Believing, thriving, and living.

Life is short. Have faith that you can get through the ups and downs of life. Because you can. If I can make it, you can too, no matter what it is. And when you do, one day you will look back and see how far you have come. You will see how strong you were and are. Building, rebuilding, reinforcing your li and your belief in yourself. And in that moment, you will see that you were in the right place at the right time as well.

My Roots are Showing

My conversion to Catholicism is nearly complete. There is only one more Sacrament left – my fist Communion. Technically, it is not my first, as I have been taking communion for years, but not as a Catholic. And this is a big deal. It is a special confirmation service, where close family and friends attend. And it is the destination on a path that started several years ago.

After my parents died, my family shattered and splintered into shards beneath my feet, deeply cutting into my heart. Suddenly, I lost so many people in less than a year, and not all by death, but they were gone all the same. And the grief was palpable. I had been brought up that you anchor your roots in your family, because family is the most important thing in the world. I loved that life, but it was gone and neve coming back. And so for several years I was just lost. I was floating around, out there in the world, with no where to put my roots.

When your foundation in life is gone, what do you do? Where do you go to feel safe? Or for comfort? To whom do you run? Losing that much family shook me to my very core and made me question everything I had been taught. Had my parents been wrong? What if family wasn’t the most important thing? But if you couldn’t count on family, if blood meant nothing in the grand scheme of things – then what did? What was going to ground me? What was going to be the truth that I knew beyond anything else, like I knew my family to be? What was going to be the foundation on which I would build my life?

And so I found myself uprooted in every sense of the world. I struggled to find my Peace, to find comfort and love and acceptance. And when I finally worked through the grief and got back on my feet, I moved away to a new place, with a new life. But I was still searching.

And then I saw a pamphlet in my parents church papers – on the Anglican Church being in communion with the Catholic church, and how to become a part of the movement. It was as if a light had turned on and I got excited about the idea. I set an appointment to meet with the priest and discuss the process – what it meant, why, how, and if it was the right thing for me. And in my heart there was an awakening, a tiny tremble of hope as light poured in from the cracks of a broken heart. It was the feeling of fertile ground.

My faith in God had been strong through all of the trauma, as it was prayer and faith in those prayers that got me through some of the hardest moments. But I had not felt a connection to the church in a long time. My views and beliefs had not changed, but it seemed that my church had.

So when I started learning the history of the Catholic church, and why the structure and beliefs are what they are, I felt a deep sense of comfort. It was as if I had walked into a warm room after being out in the cold. To study the events and teachings as an adult is completely different than as a child – which was the last time I studied to be confirmed into a faith. And in that learning, I found the firm foundation for which I had been seeking. I found where to plant my roots. Where I could trust them to grow deep, safe in the knowledge that my faith would be kept. It is extremely liberating and comforting, to know that my parents were not wrong, just my definition of family.

And that is what this journey has meant to be – it is finding my roots again, and finding where they will grow in the rich soil of faith and love and Grace.

Diamond in the Pieces

Every morning I get up, make coffee, meditate, pray and work in the garden. I have never been a morning person, s most of that gets done during of after coffee. But one thing that is for sure, gardening is a lot of work. I must spend time weeding the every. Single. morning. And if I skip a few days, it shows. I am not sure how the weeds grow faster than any of the flowers and vegetables, but they do. It is as if the weeds grow in fast forward and everything else grows in slow motion. And so I get outside, which is wonderful, and weed while I drink the coffee. I breathe in the morning air, notice the sky, and appreciate my life.

And I realize that there are many parallels between life and gardening. Both take a lot of work. Both take dedication. Both require you to get up every day, decide to work hard, and then you do it. And sometimes you must weed out the clutter, the toxic people and minutia or order for what is good to not just grow, but thrive.

No matter what you do in life, or what goals you have, hard work and dedication is what is needed to get you there. It takes hard work to earn a degree, or be successful at a job, to have healthy relationships, do stay in good physical and mental shape, to play piano…or to have a garden. And that is the thing about life, you get out what you put into it. So choose your hard.

I choose to work hard, play hard, rest hard and love hard. With all of my heart. And it shows. Because there must also be balance. And that is what I struggle with the most. Working hard and going hard it easy, it’s the balance that is difficult. Because that to do list is always calling. But I am learning to do things in smaller pieces. For instance, I am tempted to weed all of the gardens in one morning. But if I did that, it would take most of the day. But if I work in the gardens for 45-60 minutes each morning, there is time to weed and do other tasks. It is resisting to “all or nothing urge that I have as a Type A person.

The same with working out. I do not have time to exercise for a time, however, if I do a few sit ups, crunches and squats through out the day, I can get them done. So I have started working hard, a little at a time. And it’s working. Things are getting done, even if it is a little at a time. In resisting the urge to go hard and get it all done in one fell swoop, I do some as I can, then move on to the next.

And maybe that is the key to a happy life as well. You go and do a little at a time, so everything and everyone gets attention, and there is no burnout, even when you give it everything you have. Rome wasn’t built in a day, that garden won’t grow and produce all at once, and there is time to do it all. Once we slow down enough to break it up into pieces.

Life is short. And many times it’s not easy. So chose your hard, and go for it with all that you have. Take it in small chunks, and soon, after all of the hard work, your life will shine like a diamond.

Grow Baby Grow

I have had some of these plants for over 20 years. Some of them are potted, that I have transported, move after move. Some I have planted and dug up, over and over, as I have moved here and there across Georgia and then to Texas. I have carried them in cars, trucks, boxes, paper wet paper towels, pots, and by hand, one by leafy one. They have traveled over state lines, county roads, cite streets, and private driveways. And some are even being kept, watered and loved by friends until I can bring them back home. I have dug them up, repotted and transplanted more times than i can count.

But they all have significance because they were given to my by my mother. And I will always carry them with me, no matter how far. I obsess over them a little, because they were hers and have been passed to me. Some she gave me herself, handing them to me when I first moved out of the house. She said i needed some plants to keep and warm up the place. And some were taken from her greenhouse after she passed away, the ones that had not already died from neglect when she was so sick and could not take care of them.

And some were taken out of her many gardens, after I saw that the yard man was mowing over everything because they were too much to take care of. So I went through her gardens, on my hands and knees, and dug up as many bulbs as I could to save them. I planted them all, they grew, then i gave them away to family, as they loved her and her flowers too. And now there are many more flowers, in gardens of those she loved, across Georgia and Florida.

All total I used to have over 50 house plants, and about 130 of her bulbs. And now, after the move to Texas, I have about 8 houseplants and 12 bulbs. I had to give many away, to family and a few friends, or it would have taken another semi to move everything.

And so it is a bit of a celebration when any of them bloom. My heart smiles as I inspect the delicate blooms and tender leaves. I make sure to water and keep just the right amount of sun. It takes work, but it is worth it.

So imagine my delight when I stepped outside this morning for my regular cup of coffee…to see three wonderful plants she gave me blooming? Her favorite daylilies, which I thought the freeze had killed, the Christmas cactus she gave me many years ago, and the pineapple plant that has never produced fruit in 7 years finally has one coming in.

And I smile. Because it is as if she knows that I am happy here. It is as if she knows this is where new roots are growing. That this place, with these people, are where my home is now. And she is smiling at me. Each flower that blooms feels like a little hug from her, as she reaches down from the sunshine to touch my face and warm my heart.

Life is short. Plant the garden, nurture it and enjoy what comes to fruition. because a garden, just like everything in life, requires love and care and work. But it is s=oh so worth it. For the memories you create and the love that you keep. And so I look at the flowers, and my life and whisper “Grow baby, grow.”

The Slow Morning

How you start your day has a huge impact on how the day goes, how you feel and your attitude. When I was still going into an office, mornings were often rushed to get up, get ready and get out the door, followed by at least on hour in traffic and finally getting to work. Not a great way to start the day, but the “normal” way it happened for many. One of the great things about the the pandemic, is that many are working remotely and are not so rushed in the morning. at least that is how it is here.

While I blog about taking a rest in my home life and chores, I still have to work hard at my job. And what I have noticed is that now that my mornings are not so rushed, so hectic and I am not dealing with such traffic and subsequent road irritation, that working has been more efficient.

And so, I start my mornings with purpose. I always have, but it is even more so now. I want to do the best I can, be the best person I can be. And so I start the morning more slow than I used to. I start my being grateful for all the blessings that I have been given – a wonderful home, a loving family, a fulfilling relationship with a considerate and kind partner, a career that I love and friendships that make my heart happy. Yes it is a full life indeed.

And people think that getting this kind of life, and keeping it is easy. But there is a decision that you must make every single morning – too be happy and appreciate all that is given to you, and all that is brought to fruition from the hard work you have done. A good friend talks about the benefit of slow living, meaning slowing down enough to appreciate all the little wonderful moments. And this is how I start my morning.

I love on my kitties, give them treats, make delicious coffee and go outside to appreciate the morning. And in those moments, I notice the temperature, the clouds in the sky, the beautiful sunrise and the sounds of the birds. Sound corny? It’s not. Because it infuses into the day a deep appreciation for the beauty and peace around you. Then I’ll water the flowers and vegetables in the gardens, and read headlines or a few stories, check and answer messages. Maybe I’ll empty the dishwasher, or put a load of laundry in the wash. And then it is time to work, after a slow start to the wonderful morning.

Take time to start the day and notice, appreciate what is in front of you, it sets up how you move and the way you move through out the rest of the day. It sets up intention and purpose. And it doesn’t take that long, but the benefits are felt long afterward. And way not? What is the alternative?

Why wouldn’t someone want to to start their day in a better mood and pleasant from of mind? Well, some people are quite fond of their bad mood and ungrateful heart. It is easier to complain about life and everything that is wrong when you feed that part of it. Don’t worry about those people, they have a problem for every solution and will find a negative answer to every suggestion you make.

Life is short, and you can spend it in appreciation, or in negativity. That is not to say we don’t all have a bad day, or week, and even year and that is exactly the time we need to appreciate those moments even more. It can make a bad day better and a good day great. So why not? Take a slow start to the day and see how things change for the better.

Happy Cultivation

It seems that there is always a To Do list with too many things on it to ever accomplish. And even when we thing we have completed that list, it magically seems to get longer, with new tasks added while we weren’t looking. But isn;t that the case with having a full life?

And that is where and when we need to be wise and know when to dig in and work hard, and when to take a break, and just rest. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with resting when you need it. There is nothing wrong with self care and convalescing. I would dare to argue that it is a necessity these days.

And that is exactly what I have been doing, even as the to do list grows. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, vacuuming needs to be done, more flowers and vegetables need to be planted. But that will all be there when I return. The tasks are not going anywhere. After having oral surgery , then the Vaccine, I am pooped!

So I have been enjoying naps while wrapped up in a warm blanket. I have enjoyed slow movies and hot chocolate or tea. And eating an extra cookie, won’t kill the waistline and is good for the soul. Long showers and cool nights with fluffy pillows and soft beds.

In this day and age of rushing to get everything done faster, and having it all, is it possible to have a break? Yes, indeed it is. Sometimes that is exactly what it needed. Time to rest, relax, take a breath and sit down. Be still. And just Be. Resting and taking care of yourself is not being lazy. It is doing what you n=must to keep yourself in good health. We were not meant to be constantly simulated with the internet, TV, sounds and things. We were meant to have quiet times for our minds and rhythms to reset.

And when we return, from out break, we are refreshed and excited. It is easier to check things off the to do list, slow and steady, than tp sprint getting it all done. And no better investment can m=be made that=n to and in ourselves.

Life is short. Don’t rush through it, trying to get everything done at once. Take some time, take a breath, take all the moments you need, so sit back and enjoy even the smallest of times. You’ll be thankful you did.

The Time of Confession

It is a journey that I started several months ago. A personal journey that has been quite amazing so far. I made the decision to convert to Catholicism after finding a brochure about the topic in my parents church papers and documents. It was something they were considering as well, though they had never mentioned it to me.

And so I started learning the history, the meanings and the customs. My old denomination is very close, so there are many customs that are already familiar. But during this time in my life, the Catholic Church feels more like home to me. Matching closer with my own beliefs and values. They do not change by the modern day social moors, but rather stand steady in the deep and rich history.

And it is the history that I have enjoyed learning the most. One on one meetings with the priest, discussing the history lessons he assigned in the last meeting. Discussing the meaning, significance, and lessons to be learned. There is a big difference in studying the history of the Bible and the church as a child versus as an adult. When you are a child you do not recognize the significance of the miracle or the events really. You simply do not have the life knowledge to understand the implications. As an adult, I not only appreciate it, but am fascinated. From a historical standpoint, the bible, how it was put together, who wrote it and made those decisions, it is quite an amazing story.

And one of the most meaningful things in the conversation process is the First Confession. And so I did the exercise, the examination of Conscience, and wrote down everything that I was told, all that was asked and examined my life in a way that I had not before. The result was many pages and quite a few to discuss with the priest. And at first the thought of admitting my worst self to another human was terrifying. And then you realize that it hasn’t killed anyone, and of they can do it, and survive the vulnerability of it, then I can too. And so I did.

And so I poured out my heart and soul, crying as it all came out. I confessed things for which I did not even know I needed forgiveness until that very moment. And it was divine it its completion.

And there is a beauty in it, in confessing your worst. and vulnerability. The confessor is vulnerable because they risk being judged. And the priest to whom you confess is also vulnerable, because they hold the trust of the confessor, and must recognize the humanity of judgement and opinions. The priest must exercise Mercy, forgiveness, teaching and contrition. So the Confessor and the priest, together, repairing the bonds of faith and reconciliation.

And at the end, when the priest granted the Forgiveness of the confessions, and gave the task of contrition, it was done. And a weight lifted. Because in that forgiveness was Peace. And Mercy. And letting go of all that had bothered me, because it was not in existence any more.

And I would not have believed saying it to another human, in the safety of a box, of a space so sacred that is can bare the worst in all of us, but I felt it myself. And the totality of it was almost incomprehensible, but could be felt down to my bones, through the heart, bending around the mind, straight to the soul. And in that moment of utter forgiveness and Grace, his Grace flowed through me and I was able to also forgive those that had done wrong by me. After all, if it is granted to me, should it not be given?

Life is short. And we all should do the best we can, when we can. But when we fall short, as we humans often do, it is truly amazing to know that with sincerity and faith, all things done can be mended.

Busy Days

The days are busy with lots to do from early morning till late at night. Editing, writing, doing work, interviewing, planning and getting things done. There is research and calls and conversations and reading. There is getting the garden planted, working in the dirt and soil, making sure all is perfect for little seedlings to grow to the sun.

And there is being tired, in the best way, know when the lights turn out that much has been accomplished.

And there is worry, after getting the J&J vaccine, after the announcement of it being paused due to clots and strokes and issues. There is one in a million chance, waiting for the next two weeks to see. Theoretically it should be fine. One in a million.

It have heard it said many times that every decision we make is based in either fear or love. And that what we do, and the way we do it, it based in either fear or love. So I have a decision – to live in either fear or love. I can do nothing about the vaccine that is now in my body, working it’s way through my immune system.

And so I say a prayer every night before sleep, and am thankful every day when I wake. I will live chose love not fear. And I will throw myself into this life, and make sure that I am doing as much as I can the best that I can. Because at the end of the that’s all most of us are trying to do.

Fear and worry strip us of the very moments that we wont to enjoy and remember. Fear makes it impossible to enjoy those around us. But faith and love? The possibilities for enjoyment are exponential.

Life is short. Don’t worry so much, because it all works out in the end.

Initiate Initiative

Initiative is defined as at starting at one’s own discretionindependently of outside influence or control. Basically it means that you have the drive to get up and do something on your own, you strive for something and you do it without being told. It is a word I think is losing it’s meaning in todays world of “Gimme, gimme because you owe me.”

Taking initiative is hard, so more and more people don’t do it. But many do and you can tell. They show up and don’t give out. We see it in business owners who get up over single day and open the doors of their business. We see in other s who go to class every morning to get their degree, and we see it in those who strive every day to be better, do better and improve what ever situation they are in. And you can also tell those who don’t. It takes initiative to do anything, accomplish anything or be anything in this world.

And whether it is getting up to fold laundry, or working out, or planting a garden, it takes time, intention and hard work. I saw a short video they other day where a sports person was talking about getting up and training every day, to make sure he was the strongest athlete he could be. He said it was hard, especially that morning, when he got up at 6am to run, when he could have stayed in bed. He sad it was hard when his friends where telling him to stay home, and play video games all day, because he could run and work out tomorrow. And then he said something that stuck – in 20 years, that friend will still be playing video games on his couch – meanwhile the sports person will be winning awards. Because he took the initiative and hard the drive.

That sums it up. You have to be willing to work at changing your circumstance, every day. ou have to get up, every day, and decide that your will work towards that goal, that you will do the work and whatever it takes, to get where you want to be. That would be a different career, it could be a sport, it could be to just be happy, or whatever. But be dedicated to that decision. Do the hard work. Take the time and have the dedication to stick worth it.

Life is short, and hard. But the work is worth the reward. Every. Single. Second of it. So make it count. Don’t settle for a life you don’t want because it would be hard to change it. Work hard, play hard, dream hard, love hard. And make this life what you want it.

Back to Not So Normal

It was a year ago or so that our world closed up, shuttered down and we all went into quarantine. We heard the term “social distancing,” many of us of for the first time. Everything was shut down and travel was non existent. All of the sudden we were trying to figure out where to get masks and toilet paper, visually measuring six feet of distance, and heaven forbid if you had allergies or even sniffled around other people.

But something else happened too. We slowed down. All of the sudden. we weren’t rushing around trying to get every child to every practice, and grabbing whatever fast food was on the way. We were forced to stay home and actually talk to our loved ones. Maybe you rediscovered cooking, or read some of those books you never had time to read. Suddenly no one was worried about traffic because no one was driving into work. We discovered Zoon, and wondered why we hadn’t heard about it before…(Does anyone Skype anymore?) And we realized what it means to have a home office…with all of the family and all that means being at home – the pets, the kids, the grocery deliveries in the middle of the Zoom meetings.

And we looked at our home To Do list…because we couldn’t go anywhere. And we needed our homes to be more than just a place to sleep and do laundry. We actually needed to LIVE in our houses, make a life and memories with our families. We had to work, grow, fix, play and relax all in the same space.

And so, as more get vaccinated and the numbers continue to go down, and businesses open back up…and life gets back to “normal,” I hope we keep the lessons we have learned: That home truly is where the heart is. That we can slow down and it won’t kill us. That we can be happy right where we are, with not much distraction. and that we should never take for granted being able to see and hug those we love.

Life is short. Let us not forget that moving forward.

The Exquisite Grief

IT hits you sometimes, and the strangest things will bring it on. And then all of the sudden, you are right there, a vessel of grief, as if time has completely stopped and you are right there again. That is what happened to me the other morning, as I poured coffee into my mother’s favorite coffee cup, like I had done hundreds of times before. Coffee was our tradition. Every time I visited, when I was ready to go, I would load up my car, then always come back inside for one last cup of coffee before left.

During that last of coffee, we would talk about all kinds of things – hopes, dreams, plans, thoughts, the drive, remembering to call when I got home. There was lots of laughter and advice, and just good old fashioned conversations.

And when I poured that cup of coffee the other morning, I was suddenly acutely aware of how much I missed those coffee conversations with my Mother, and how much I missed her, even after almost 5 years. And I cried, right there over and into her coffee cup.

And the moment was exquisite in its grief, because you can only miss that which you loved.

Seven Dimensions of Happiness

It is well documented that there are seven dimensions of wellness that are needed for a deep sense of peace and happiness. For the first time in my life, all of these dimensions are in line. The interdependence of topics, tasks and territory are not over lapping but are instead in unison. Certainly things are not perfect, but they are beautifully recording the fruition of many years of hard labor, hopes, wishes, smiles and dreams. Indeed there have been mountains of sweat equity, oceans of tears and more prayers than can possibly be counted, to make these seven areas serenade my heart with the opera of my life.

Physical: Getting back into shape, exercising regularly and eating healthy has improved my energy levels and cognitive abilities. So has getting enough sleep, though and having plenty of coffee in the morning (because I am still not a morning person). I am lucky to have not had the virus that I am aware of, and have been healthy through this past year. Now time for all of my checkups, there are many appointments being made.

Emotional: Done with grief and all of it’s trappings, I see the sunshine and appreciate every single day. I am meditating and making sure that my emotional health is a priority. Taking care of the garden and creating a warm living space is also paramount to my emotional well being. Nothing teaches you the importance of taking care of yourself like years of self neglect.

Intellectual: I have people around me who are smarter than I and it is simultaneously incredible and staggering. Because that means I am always learning. There is something to be said about not trying to impress anyone, but rather wanting to soak up everything like a sponge.

Social: Yes, even in the time of social distancing I have been extremely lucky to have a great social network. Though traveling to see friends and family in Georgia has not happened, we talk, text and chat often. That and finding a group of wonderful people here I am blessed to call friends has made all the difference. The local pub, my favorite place for ribs and margaritas, friends that have come for a visit and others who are plannig trips make me smile.

Spiritual: Taking the spiritual journey and converting has been an incredibly fulfilling decision that is feeding my soul in ways that I didn’t even know I craved. Learning the correct history and reading the teachings as an adult brings a new level and depth of understanding. This Friday will be a new first as will a set date in May.

Environmental: My home/life/relationship environment is extremely loving and supportive. I am loved, respected and valued every single day. This has not always been the case. Many times in life we have to fight to prove our worth to others. Never again will I do that or allow myself to wallow in the distrust of others.

Occupational: I love my career and am so blessed to be able to do what I love for a living. I temember being told that I was a writer when I was 13. I didn’t beleive it and thought the person was crazy. No, they were right, even if it took me a little while to figure it out. Now, every day I am paid to write. Every day I am paid to do what I love.

Life is short. And in the interim, I am looking forward to this Spring, this summer and everything it has to offer. The garden, the fruits, the flowers, the love, the trying and yes, even the hard work. because it takes hard work to get here. and it takes making a decision every day to love your life and truly do the best that you can. Life is good and I am happy, from the deepest parts of me all the way to my eyelashes. That someday that I dreamed of being happy and fulfilled is here.

Happiness of Little Wonders in Small Hours

I remember many years ago, in the summer of 2001, my Mom and my sister were arguing over which would go better for me that year – my personal or my professional life? Because very rarely are the two going great at the same time. Now for the first time in many years, all facets of my life are in tune. Not only in tune, but singing in glorious harmony and going great. My personal life is wonderful. and my professional life is great and challenging. Both are going well at the same time. And yet it is so much more than that.

It is well documented that there are seven dimensions of wellness that are needed for a deep sense of peace and happiness. For the first time in my life, all of these dimensions are in line. I have worked for many years, wading through the mud and muck of life to get here. To have my life in harmony with all of it’s many moving parts. It almost seems like a dream when I think of the path traveled to get here. Did I really go through all of that? Wow. and now there is Peace and happiness.

But how do we keep this state of balance? There have been many books written about this topic. Some say it is living with intention (that is one of the things that got me to this wonderful place). Others say it is hard work, others say prayer, and still others say setting goals. I don’t think that it is a one size fits all solution. I think there are many factors. Certainly all of those are important, as I have also done them and believe that they have set the foundation. But how to put all of that together to make that peace come to fruition? What is that one, magic ingredient that brings it all together?

I don’t know what works for most, but for me I think the key is shifting my tendency from big chunks to smaller tasks. I tend to only do things in big chunks, the “go big or go home” part of me that wants to sit down and do a task in one swoop. The older I get the more I learn that life doesn’t work that way. You can do things little by little. If you have 20 minutes here, 5 minutes there, even an hour in between, you can work on tasks. Even if you don’t complete them, you have made some headway.

You don’t have to read a book all in one day, you can read 10 minutes at a time. Soon, you have finished a chapter, then eventually the book. You can fold a little bit of laundry in the 20 minutes between meetings. Or you can empty the dishwasher in the few minutes of waiting for the coffee to brew. You don’t have to block off 2 hours for a workout….you can do some crunches during one break, then some planks or squats on another. Whatever it is that I have to accomplish, if I knock out small pieces at a time, over time the goal will be accomplished. But that takes patience which is hard for me, so it is something I must work constantly keep in mind.

Life is short and is made of those small times, the minutes in between our work and our dreams. You have the power to make them ordinary or to make them little wonders. Build what you want your life to be and the great thing is that you don’t have to do it all at once. Small moments, like pebbles, can build a mountain over time. So make them count, because your life becomes that with which you fill those moments.

16 Seasons

Four years, 16 seasons., 48 months, 1,460 days; that’s how long you have been gone Dad. It’s hard top believe that it has been that long since I held your hand, heard your voice, or looked at your face.

If seems like many lifetimes have happened since then, but I know you and Mom are with me, watching over me. My rational mind knows that, but my heart still misses having you physically here. I miss hugging you, hearing your voice, seeing your face, hearing you laugh and seeing that smile. I miss going fishing with you. We didn’t go very often, but I loved when we did. I loved how you laughed at me when I tried to cast the line.

I love where I am and am happy. I wish you were around to see it, to see this life I have built for myself. I wish you could see how happy I am now. But then, I am glad you are not here for something things. I think Covid would have scared both you and Mom. But I think you would love where I am in Texas. You would love the house, the neighbors and especially the food – particularly the Bar-B-Q.

There are still so many questions I would love to ask you, so many conversations. SP many hugs and sharing boiled peanuts. I miss being called PJ, and Chief-Beer-Fetcher-in-Charge. I miss giving you socks.

But as much as I miss you, and I do with my whole heart, I am OK and Happy. You were the best father in the entire world, and I am so extremely thankful that you were my Dad, and that we did get to spend those last 7.5 months together. It was my honor and my privilege. You and Mpm, gave me so much and suppported me no matter what, which is something I could never repay. But taking care of you was someting I could do to show how much I loved and valued you.

I know that you were at peace, and I know Mom was right there with you to take you over. And I know that the two of you are having a great time in Heaven, talking, doing, sharing and love. And laughing at me, your silly girl, down here.

I love you always, and miss you forever. Give Mom a hug for me. Please visit me in my dreams.

A Week of Season’s

What a difference a week makes. Last week at this time it was cold and snowy, this week we are at a high of almost 80. The sun us shining, the sky is blue again and the weather warm. I am wearing short sleeves and planning the dimensions of the garden once again.

And that is the thing about life – the storms don’t last forever. Neither do the Winters.

No matter how well prepared we are, how well educated or well paid, there are times in life that are bitterly cold, extremely difficult and hard to manage. Loss of jobs, divorces, death of loved ones, or a million other happenings in life. But it is during those times that we must know, deep down past our bones, where the heart meets the soul, that the touch times do not last. You will not be in the same place or situation 10 years down the road, or even 5 years, 1 year…6 months even. You will be in a defferent space all together.

When I was 19 I Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and it changed my life. It gave me a new perspective on so many things. Indeed, for a book that was published in 1923, it was far ahead of it’s time and is still relevant today. BEcause it tlaks about things that we expereince in the Human COndition.

And on Joy and Sorrow the books says:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And so it is. And we cannot experience one without the other. So in the long dark nights, know within your heart that it is only temporary. It will soon pass just like a strom. All you have to do is mke it through. And you can.

Life is short. And a full life is a full mosaic of colors and experiences. That is the only way to life it as fully as possible. Soon the sun will shine.

The Normal

As what usually happens after a weather event, things have gotten back to normal for most of the state. Indeed things were bad for many, and still are for a few. Busted pipes are being repaired, the power is back on, temperatures are cooler than normal still, but the ice and snow is melting here in Southern Texas.

Our particular neighborhood handled the entire storm quite well. We checked in on each other, took care of each other, made sure there was plenty of water and food for everyone, shared laughs and drinks. The houses that had the generators gathered up the kids and had sleepovers for the night. There is a deep sense of community here and it shows.

I learned that am definitely not a pioneer woman who enjoys roughing it. I am spoiled and enjoy my morning coffee, favorite TV shows and a warm blanket at night. Though one day without heat and one day without water was stressful, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, definitely not the hardest thing I have been through. It was nconvenient and extremely uncomfortable however.

In the meantime, the power grid in back and running, water has been restored to most, and damage is being repaired. We went from 1.2 million being without power Wednesday night, to only 30,00 the next morning. And that was before the grid was back up. I love my home state of Georgia, and Atlanta where I lived for almost 20 years, but they could not have brought that many people back on line in one night. And neither could many other towns – even the northern ones.

Yes, there are some things that could have been handled better, and no doubt those things will be fixed. But over all, the people have come together and come through. Because people here are tough, even when struggling. Mattress Mac, who made national news for opening up his furniture store and letting people stay there, sleep in his beds and use his furniture, opened up to people in need once again. “It’s Furniture, it’s meant to be used. The people aren’t going to hurt it. After everything is over we’ll just sell that furniture at a discount.” We love him and his wonderful generousity. He is truly a treasure.

A grocery store that lost power, told customers to leave without paying. No doubt this helped many people. And while stores, restaurants and business were closed, there was no looting. No stealing, or breaking in. There was no taking of anything, like we see in New York, Detroit, San Francisco and other cities across the U.S.

Because the people here are extremely generous. Which is why I believe that the leaders will not let Texas down. The issues will be rectified.

I love living in Texas. While no place it perfect, this place fits me just fine. #texasstrong

My Best Interview

It wasn’t Nancy Regan. It wasn’t the Dalai Lama. It wasn’t Francis Ford Coppola. And it wasn’t Brad Pitt.

It seems like it was a lifetime ago, when I was in news, media and broadcasting. At one point I was working in TV, radio and theater. Looking back I am not sure when I slept. But you really don’t need much sleep when you are in your early 20’s.

I was working in news on 9/11. Terrible doesn’t begin to describe that day. I got out of hard news after that, I couldn’t take the heartbreak.

For a while I reported the regular headlines, reported the Dow, and current political happenings. It was thrilling to be around that much information all os the time. It was also overwhelming. What we see on the news, or read online is a minute fraction of what is actually out there. And that was before social media (yes, I was old school journalism.) But working in the news was also exhausting. So I switched to mostly entertainment,. where I could have fun and not feel so depleted at the end of the day (or night, depending on what shift I was broadcasting)

I often interviewed many celebrities and some politicians. And I am often asked about my favorite interview. Nancy Regan is in the top 5. Francis Ford Coppola was cool. Brad Pitt was HOT. and The Dalai Lama was my second. But my favorite was Walter Cronkite. He had retired but was giving a few interviews to promote his books. I pulled every string I could and called in every favor possible, to get an interview. And by lots of work., prayers and promises, I got him on our little station. He was a call in, not in person, that that was fine.

It was the morning show, and I had the list of questions his publicist has sent. The mic was hot, it was time. I opened my mouth and …nothing…I couldn’t speak. It is the first and only time I have ever been star struck. What do I say to the man who reported the moon landing? Watergate? Three Mile Island? The Iran hostage crisis? The Civil Right s movement and the assassination of Dr. King? Vietnam?

What could I possibly say to the man who reported the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

He was a legend, a real journalist, not these fake opinionated hosts that call themselves reporters. He was my career hero. After seeing the look of sheer panic on my face, my morning show partner, and boss at the time, spoke up and welcomed him to the show. I think I was only silent for about 2 seconds, but it felt like an eternity.

I snapped out of it and continued the interview. And he was delightful. And he had the most charming laugh. He was generous with his information and very professional, just like I knew he would be. i had to be careful not to gush, which might happen when you interview your idol. It was a sad for me, and for the world, when he died.

We only had 15 minutes booked with him – that was all I could get, but I was happy to get it. It was such a long shot, and no one thought I could get him. No one thought it would happen. But it did.

That was in 1995, which seems impossible. I am showing my age, talking about an interview I did 26 years ago. But it always stayed with me, as well as some advice he gave me before we ended the call.

Life is short. Go after the long shot. take the chance on trying. It’s worth it, trust me. It is amazing when those long shots come to fruition. And if they don’t, at least you tried.

The More Things Change

As a naturally inquisitive person, sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me. Such was the case today. I have been missing my Mom a lot this week as I start a new job and am working on the garden. Every time I started a new project, I would call Mom on that first day and tell her what I thought about it and how it was going. We would talk and laugh as I told her the details of who I was meeting and what I would be doing.

Mom also had a green thumb, well, green arm actually. She could grow anything. It was pretty amazing. She and Dad always had gardens, both for vegetables and flowers. No matter where we lived, Mom always made it a green paradise with lots of everything that was beautiful and lush. I could use her advice as I dig up and plan for this years gardens. What does best in the sun? Partial shade? What needs a lot of water, or not much at all?

So I looked up the family compound online. Or least the property that used to be ours. And it looked beautiful. The new owners, as of Dec. 2018, had added a few things, cut down a few trees, and changed a few of Mom’s gardens, but it looked great. They added walkways between the houses, built out the outdoor kitchen and extended the workshops. The trees fruit trees that they had were Mom’s favorites. There were a few small changes, but it looked like the place was well loved and enjoyed.

And in that sense, the more things change the more they stay the same. That property meant so much to our family, so many great memories of family times. No doubt the new family that lives there now feels the same. As I looked at the pictures online, I remembered Mom planting those flowers and bushes. I remembered sitting on the front porch drinking morning coffee, talking while Mom smoked. And the many nights of wine and conversation on the back porch. I remembered helping Dad in his workshop filled with every tool imaginable.

Life is short and it is nice to know that the important things have passed on to others who enjoy it just as much.

Hoeing Around

It’s that time of year, that time to start working on the garden. Last year I really couldn’t do it because I had just moved and was still unpacking. By the time I started working in the garden it was almost June and the ground was hard. I ordered the seeds late so they took forever to come in.

This year I am starting on time. It is shortly before the last freeze and I am getting the garden and the ground ready. A few weeks ago I mapped out where the gardens would be. This week it is hoeing and shoveling digging out the gardens. Over the weekend it will be taking stock of the seeds and deciding what I want to grow and what needs to be bought. It will be soaking the seeds in water to get them to sprout, then planting them in starter pots, then out to the garden.

If I work on it a few hours a day, I should have it done and hollowed out in about a week. There will be flowers and vegetables, pretty and yummy side by side.

I was amazed at how easy it was to shovel the dirt under the grass and weeds. So much easier than just a year ago when the soul was hard as a rock. And isn’t that how life is sometimes? When we first try something, it seems so hard. And then later, when the timing is right, it’s so much easier as everything slides into place. A lesson I should and do remember. And sometimes you just need to get good and dirty to remember that. To roll up your sleeves and give yourself to the work that bear the fruits of your labor, and make your dreams come to fruition.

Life is short. And timing is everything. And now is the time for me to have the time of my life.

How the Wonder

As I read the church bulletin, looking at the letters that makes the words and create a sentence, I am extremely thankful that my parents, specifically my mother, instilled within me the value of reading. She would read to us as children, and then as we grew older she made is read out loud to her. And she taught us vocabulary beyond our grade level. Indeed as a 3rd grader I knew 6-8 syllable words, and how to properly use them and in what context.

She would make me read to her out loud as I moved around because I couldn’t sit still. She would never make me sit still as I read to her and she would hold the book for me as I squirmed and read. She would quiz me on vocabulary words that she taught me as well as my school words.

And she would stop and ask me what I liked about the story, and what I didn’t. She would ask me questions to make sure that I understood it. And then we would talk about whatever it is that I had read. She would ask me if I would change anything about it, and what would I change and how would I have the story end?

And I wonder if she had any idea that she was forming a young writer? 

The Birthday Month

It has been a minute since writing last. January was my birthday month and it indeed was quite a month of celebration. It started New years Day, reading the memories of the past year from the Joy Jar, laughing, smiling and giggling sharing all the wonderful moments. I had the best birthday I’ve had in years, and the month just got better from there. A great gift of my dream job.

And now I am balancing that dream job with working in the garden, editing my book, studying to become Catholic, writing for myself (because I have to) and having a wonderful life. And isn’t that the way life is? It is a magic balancing act.

The night before my birthday there was a quiet moment where I looked over at my handwritten journal as I was getting ready to write and it occurred to me…while my life is not prefect, it is exactly what I want it to be. I am exactly where I want to be and with whom. In this precarious, amazing, complicated, happy, crazy balancing act.

Life is short. There is laundry to fold, lessons to learn, a few more pounds to lose, a kitchen to clean, and life to live. And in those quiet moments, between raindrops, between the hands on the clock, between heartbeats and the right an the wrong…we should always remember what makes us happy. And go after it. Beleive it in it. Thrive on it.

The Quiet Sacred

And to inspire to live quietly, to attend to your own matters, and work with your own hands. – 2 Thessalonians

A friend of mine recently posted this verse saying how much it struck a chord in her. And indeed in does within me as well. Both she and I love our lives, love the people in our lives and love making the people in our lives happy. For me that is tending to house and home. I love cooking delicious dishes and planting the garden. I love snuggling on the couch and watching movies, giggles over pizza and who gets the remote next.

I think there is value in hard work. There is a sacredness in using your hands to create what your heart intends, whether it be a meal, or a garden or a marriage or a family. It takes work and joyful dedication. And this year, that is what my life is about. To absolutely throw myself in the passions of my life.

When the world has seemingly gone crazy, as it has, sometimes the best thing to do is to be in constant conversation with your own life, making sure your time and energy is places in building what is most important.

A happy home, a warm kitchen with a fully stocked fridge, music playing whether by instruments or radio, laughter, warm hugs, slow dancing in the kitchen, long late night talks, sharing hope and secrets. Working hard at something that is worth it.

Life is short. And so many times we read about the celebration of it. But maybe it is the quiet times in the space between the second hand, and the moments between the raindrops, at home, holding hands, working, planting, making. And maybe we should be inspired by the sacred mystery of that.

The Help Blessing

In this day and age, it may be hard to ask for help, whatever the topic might be. Indeed, we have been taught to be so self reliant that we forget that needing each other is a part of the Human Experience and condition. No matter how accomplished you are, at some point you will need the help of another. And that is OK. Because we are all human. and I think that it is now more inportant that ever to be able to seek and accept help when in need. And you must allow others to help you, even when it is hard.

I am the first one to admit I have a taught time with this. I Hate asking for help and would rather cut off my own arm than swallow my pride and ask. And really, why its it so hard? I don’t know. Maybe it is pride, maybe it is feeling like a failure if you can’t do it yourself. Maybe it is a tad humiliating, or maybe, as humans, we can simply be too stubborn. Maybe it is the fear of rejection – what to do if rejected or given a sharp unkind answer? I have only had that happen a few times – immediately after my parents death, and also with an alcoholic ex. But they themselves were very broken, and did not have the capacity. Indeed that reaction says much more about them than it does you.

In this day and age of being flashy, being strong, driving the biggest most expensive cars…can we allow ourselves be human and vulnerable enough to ask? Yes.

I remember working at some small radio station in my early 20s, hardly making any money, and the GM firing the entire morning show because they were going satellite. I was crushed, and broke. I had 5 weeks saved up (which was a lot considering how little I made). I called Mom crying and apologized for needing to ask for her help. She told me to take a breath and said something that I will always remember. She told me that as a parent, she always wanted to and would be there to help me. And that while she hated that I lost my job, she loved having the opportunity to help.

Then my very wise and beautiful mother explained that there are people who get joy out of giving and actually need to give. She said that when we refuse to ask for help, we refuse that person the opportunity to be of service to others. So while it is important to be able to ask for help, it is just as important to be able to receive it, because it is important to recognize the need others have to Give.

It seems that now is a very interesting time. It seems that everyone is falling in love or breaking up, closing chapters or starting out new, or a combination. And it also seems that many need help right now, whether it is money, or a kind word, or a strong shoulder. No matter how you are, you will have bad days, go through bad times, and will need. When we accept help, we are recognizing the humanity in each other. And right now, more than ever, we need more humanity and compassion.

Life is short. Ask when you need and give when you can. I have been on both sides of the coin, and enjoy giving much more. Recognizing each other on such a basic level as assistance and support brings us all back on common ground. And therein lies the blessing.

The Cleaning

It’s that time of year again, the time of spring cleaning. Cleaning out the cobwebs of the past winter and making space for all of the wonderful that is coming. Today was vacuuming and mopping, dusting…leaving nothing but the gleam of clean behind.

There is something so magnificent about nesting, and making home, homey. It is a great feeling to walk in the house, and see, feel and smell the clean. I think it also makes us slow down a bit. We have to take time to do a good job and not miss any spots. And we might even have to put on some gloves and apply some elbow grease. But that’s OK, because cleaning is good for soul.

I say that because it is often rather cathartic to clean out the old, to make parts of our house and life, shine again, There is redemption in the cleansing. To make what is dingy shiny and desirable again. To polish it until a clear reflection can be seen. To start fresh.

And this seems to be the season for it. Indeed one of my best friends just moved into a new place, starting a new chapter after cleaning out the old husband who wasn’t really a husband at all. And she is happy in her new clean place, with her new shiny life. Redemption after spending ears trying to make ut work with an unwilling non partner who was wearing a ring.

Another dear friend is getting on a plane tomorrow to start a new chapter, all the way around the world. Almost a year in planning and getting ready, and he is off to a beautiful land with fresh opportunity. He went through, cleaned out and sold almost all of his things. Redemption after running miles to make this choice and to be free. And what will they find? What will any of us find after the cleaning? A lighter soul perhaps? A new path?

Maybe Spring cleaning feels so good because it parallels that we ourselves are cleansed of what we have done, and what we have left undone. Maybe we clean because deep down where it is dark and quiet in the middle of the night, we want to be new as well. Maybe we dust and vacuum and disinfect too because we want to wash away the mud of bad decisions, missteps and backfires. And maybe it is in the process of cleansing that we forgive ourselves of the very shortcomings that make us most human,

Life is short. So enjoy the clean.