The Time Has Come

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Lately, I have been coming home so weary that I find it quite difficult to even enjoy my evenings.  I know that the stress of losing a loved one has a lot to do with this.  The constant wave of emotions that sneak up on me, cloaking me in sadness one moment and then swinging to joyous revelations of just how lucky I have been in life to have known a person so marvelous are extremely draining and leave me feeling depleted of all energy.  I also realize that, like many of you, my job is more than demanding, oftentimes, by the completion of the day, having sucked all vitality from my being.  So as the days roll on and I am made more aware of just how expended my spirit becomes by the end of the day, I understand clearly there needs to be change.  Something has got to give.  I love my job.  I love the people I am surrounded by every day.  I must embrace the fact that taking care of myself more right now does not mean loving them any less.

This weekend as I sat pondering just how to do this, a clear vision of what I want for myself developed.  I love what I do and take great pride in the impact that I have on the future of our society.  It is a most important contribution and I realize the responsibility that comes with it is great. So as I sat in a reflective state, beginning to fully understand the goal forming in my mind, I struggled with how to balance the two worlds of their needs vs. mine.

I began to really analyze what I felt was happening and I believed I discovered how things might be altered.  I noticed that my day, like most, begins with the responsibilities of my job and then eases into my personal time just at the point in the day when my body just wants to give out.  I know I must alter my thinking and behaviors in order to achieve a greater balance.  My job is not my life.  As it stands now though, it does take the most invigorated, prestigious time of my day, if only because it holds the coveted spots of morning and afternoon.  I became increasingly cognoscente of the fact that I was losing my own time to pure exhaustion.

I’ve now decided to approach my day a little more differently.  I need to embrace the fact that my job is a job and should not demand the coveted position of center of my mind and spirit.  It will have to shift to something just outside of that coveted spot.  That spot is now being perfectly balanced for the “my best interests” moments of my day.  These moments are what must be made the central point of my life.  I think as we age, we begin to truly realize this.  I guess the fact that I am on the cusp of turning one year older has me reevaluating my priorities.  I’m finding I’m okay with that.  I may even be….possibly…..totally…..excited about changing my belief that morning is not necessarily the beginning of a “my” new day…..but…..afternoon might just have to take that title…..effective…..immediately!

 

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Bad Day?

I think that sometimes we believe the doubt that rises in our minds, telling us that no one can understand what we are going through.  It is one of those things that in our darkest moments manifests in our minds leaving us feeling alone and either sad or fearful.  This video popped up on one of my social media sites and I felt it to be so authentic to how people feel in moments of doubt and what we should reflect on when those such moments arise in our lives.

Having A Bad Day? Here Are 46 Powerful Things You Should Really Hear.

Heartfelt

Single Heart ~ Los Angeles, California

Single Heart ~ Los Angeles, California

“Whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.”

~ Oliver Wendell Homes, Sr.

Feeding a Little Hope and Peace

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I have to admit, I have the best friends ever!!  They always know how to lift up my spirits and make me smile.  Most of the time, a good cup of tea, coffee, or champagne with idle chit chat and a little relaxation time is all we really need to rejuvenate our energy levels. I like to refer to them as my “just breath” moments.

Some of the time though, I’m lucky enough to be given the best little Happy Day Treats.  As an Easter gift, one of my sweet friends gave me this beautiful bird feeder, mentioning that it reminded her of me.  I have to admit, she’s was pretty spot on.  I even believe this bird feeder was specifically meant to find its way to me.

Now I’ve never owned a bird feeder before and this particular friend has never been to my parents’ house or been made privy to the fact that my mom loved bird feeders and had several of them placed throughout the absolutely gorgeous garden at their home.

So again I ask you….just coincidence?  By now, I think you know my answer to that.

Nostalgic Jubilation

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I knew that Easter might be a bit rough this year, and it was.  Luckily, my most difficult moments were in solitude and I allowed my tears to flow freely without an ounce of self-consciousness.  Sometimes, a good cry is really all that can help with the sadness.  I needed a few days to get my thoughts together enough to relay my memories of the holiday.  I had wanted to do it on Easter day, but found that when I sat to write, my emotions were still a bit too raw to think clearly.  So I waited, until it felt right.

Thank goodness for loved ones because, although there was an absolute absence within my heart, I was definitely well taken care of and included in the true essence of Easter in its most traditional sense.  I adore Easter and all aspects of it, including the commercial aspect.  I think it’s one of those holidays where there is a nice balance between recognizing one’s faith and enjoying the simplicity of family fun.

As a child, Easter was always a pretty big deal.  Mom was a seamstress and for years made us new, crisp, white dresses.  To add to that were hats adorned with pastel ribbons and shiny shoes squeaky enough to demand all the attention one might need when dressed in their finest.  In preparation for the big day, I can remember all the fittings and adjustments needed, which just added to the anticipation.  Mom was really good about allowing us some say in which dress patterns we liked so that on the actual day, we were always pretty excited about our new outfits.

I don’t know how she did it.  She managed to always find time to do it all.  We dyed eggs until our fingers were little multicolored shriveled up prunes.  The image of aprons and wire scoops balancing delicate, wobbling eggs with pink, blue, green, and yellow cups of brilliant liquid to plop them into is such a vivid picture in my mind.  It was always so exciting.

Easter morning we would quietly sneak to the living room to see what kinds of goodies the Easter Bunny had blessed us with, knowing full well our bellies would be ever so delighted with the delicacies we would soon be engulfing.  We were never disappointed.  Whether it was hollow chocolate bunnies, old school jelly beans, or the creamy smoothness of specialty chocolates, we were in complete heaven.  Also hidden in our baskets, at least for us girls, would be a fun little piece of jewelry and a book that we might have been longing for.  The sweet simplicity of it all was what makes it so endearing to me now.  I often wonder just how some of our holidays have lost that nostalgic feel and are now so much more grandiose and pretentious.

For some reason, on this special day, our lovely little church always seemed so much brighter and more full of light than on any other day.  It was always buzzing with laughter and happiness on Easter day.  Right in the middle of the aisle stood a big white cross with holes all over it specifically meant for freshly picked flowers from the garden.  The simple act of finding the perfect hole so that my flower stood out among all the rest was part of the fun.  The sermon was uplifting and the hymns always joyful.  Having an exceptional voice, Mom was certain to sing in the choir.  Even today, if I close my eyes and make still everything else….I can hear her singing.  She sang without reservation and enough jubilation to fill an entire room.  I believe it will always be something I can hear.  I don’t imagine it will ever go away.

So this weekend, as I sat in an unfamiliar church listening to a service a bit foreign to me and mostly hymns I had never heard before, I was comforted by the fact that I was with amazing people, experiencing what Easter has always meant to them through the years and it warmed my heart to know that we are all different and yet so much alike in so many ways.  Although Mom was not with me in person, I felt that she was there.  Of all the hymns sung that day, I only knew of two of them, both being hymns that Mama used to love to sing.  Luckily for me, they were the processional hymn and the recessional hymn….they guided me into the service and lead me back out into the sunshine.  I think she knew I needed something to get me there and then a little nudge to get me back out to enjoy the rest of the day and the company of those with especially big hearts and open arms.

 

Floating Prayers

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There are certain days in our lives that conjure up a multitude of emotions, such as holidays, birthdays, the death of a loved one, and other monumental moments in our individual journeys.   For each person, they are different. The magnitude of how strongly they affect us is equally varied.

Memories of Mama and our holiday celebrations make me very nostalgic. Therefore, with the onset of Easter Day weekend, I knew the need to ease a little bit of the pain was essential.  It was, in fact, the opportune moment to send up a few “floating prayers.”  I was not the only one in need of a bit of support these days, so I asked my sweet friends to come along for the ride.  Remarkable enough, the stresses, losses, and uncertainties have been prevalent in all of our lives lately.  There remains one thing that is certain through all of this, the love, laughter, and unwavering support of our chosen family is a blessing beyond belief.

Floating Prayers

So yesterday, just as the sun was beginning to say farewell, we took a leisurely stroll by the lake.  We must have been a sight, each of us holding tight to a thin, curly ribbon linked to a bright purple balloon adorned with personal prayers for our families and friends, good health and an abundant of well wishes for those who have passed.  A day that predictably could have been lonely and fraught with tears was replaced with acknowledged grief, renewed wishes, and laughter among friends.

Floating Balloons

 

We used standard balloons and Sharpie acrylic paint pens in white and silver to write our prayers.

Bucket List

Church Top

 

Some of my most treasured memories are those traveling with my parents as an adult.  The experience is completely different than that of when I was a child.  The dynamics shift and there is sense of “friendship” that evolves.  Over the years, I have been lucky enough to travel with them numerous times to all sorts of different places.  One such trip was through the Northeastern states just a couple of years back.

Once Mom discovered she had cancer, she added one thing that I can recall, to her bucket list.  She was bound and determined to visit all fifty states.  Mind you, my parents were extensive travelers and had already journeyed to most.  It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to call them up and discover they were on the road or in route to their next destination.  Which is probably why I enjoyed hanging out with them so much?  They had more energy in their seventies than I ever did.  I admired them for their thirst for adventure and commitment to staying connected with friends.

There were but two final states that we needed to visit to complete Mom’s bucket list wish that year, New Hampshire and Vermont; but, my parents don’t tend to do things minimally.  We conquered fifteen states and Niagara Falls that vacation.  This is where both of my parents’ true character shines through.  We only needed to visit two states to fulfill Mom’s bucket list.  However, the same wish was on my bucket list as well and my parents made sure we visited a chunk of states to add to mine.  Their generosity to help others fulfill their dreams is something I will always be grateful for and strive to emulate myself.

Lake Sunapee

The sunset pictured below was taken the final night of our visit through the great states of New Hampshire and Vermont.  It was breathtaking and left us with a feeling of peace that Mom’s final bucket list wish had been achieved.  The image of that moment remains in my memory as vividly as Mom’s colorful personality.  It was as glorious as she and left me longing to visit again, much like the effect Mom’s infectious personality had on others.

New Hampshire