The Greatest Healer, Our Lord

Looking in the mirror she saw a tear. It was rolling down that wrinkle next to her eye. She
use to think with age came no sorrow. That perhaps there is a quota of pain. With time, comes experience to laugh off disparaging events, disappointments and hurts.  Don’t old women learn that life always brings challenges and with them, hope begins anew?

As she stared at the reflection, for a few moments, she barely recognized the image. She saw someone who, for a few moments looked slightly broken, as if a piece of her heart had been torn, once again from her chest. She remembered various hurts she had endured during her lifetime.  A flashback occurred of monumental sacrifices she had made for others. Standing there she was hit by the realization that they did not matter as much as she had thought they would to the receivers of her gifts of love.

As she pondered this thought, she also realized the true purpose of a gift is not what was returned lovingly back into her life but what she selfishly gave. That would indeed be her legacy, her blessings God wanted her to return to this world in the time He had given her.  This was her given time to show her love for others, His love for her in action and deeds and not so much in words.

Gripping the sink with all her might, the tears began to flow. With knowledge she realized with growth can often come tears. With tears come doors being closed. When the door is closed, she knew it was time once again to hit her knees and pray. She must once again pray to the one who always opens a new window to faith.  This has happened before in her lifetime and more than likely will happen again, will create another wrinkle, another slow tear to form, another visit to the mirror.

As the tears flowed, rolling down her face, she bowed her head in deep sadness.  She let it overtake her. She let her body be filled with body-raking sobs to experience the full brunt of her emotions bottled within.  Then, ever so slowly she raised her head. She regained her composure, her inner strength, her pride knowing she had done the right thing, what needed to be done.  She knew in her heart what God had whispered in her ear, everyone deserves peace and acceptance and to live free from judgement. If respect and loyalty is absent in a relationship, there is no relationship.  So letting go is releasing a sought after dream that was never coming true.

As she now looked herself squarely eye to eye at that reflection, she once again viewed
her image. Now her reflection looked brighter. She saw what she had become through all the pains, sorrows and disappointments, laughter, successes and growth over the years. Now with a head lifted high she saw a loving sacrificing loyal mother and a fun grandmother with a deep abiding love that would always remain and watch over her grandchildren even from a perch in heaven. She relished the fact she was a giving supportive wife, a blessed friend, and a successful woman with joy and optimism always.  Most of all, this old woman was a devoted servant of God.

Oh yes, make no mistake the tears continued to flow with no rhyme or reason, free abandonment now.   She wore that wrinkle proud and the new one that would form quickly from her new hurt, that new pain she would wear now.  But instead, there was a smile on her face, ever so small. There was a twinkle in her eye. If the truth be known, it was indeed none other but the Holy Spirit mending once again a broken heart.

May you be like this older woman, find comfort in God.  In your moments of the lowest of lows, when and if a door closes, I pray you feel the love of the one that loves you the most, our Savior, the Lord. 


Respect Your Elders is Not Passe

One thing my parents did teach me was to respect my elders. It is important to recognize that people older than you have lived here a lot longer than you and have life experiences you have yet to live through. As such, they are entitled to a degree of respect and debt as they have helped pave the way to your being here, in some small or large way.

I always tried to instill in my children an understanding of this attitude. Whether it was an adult in the neighborhood, a coach, a grandparent or me, have the proper attitude towards them always.  This concept is taught in the home, first and foremost. It needs to extend into school, even those years if and when your child lands up as my children sometimes did, with a teacher who is not kind, not necessarily respectful to all the students they teach and you are not fond of. I taught them to rise up and set your standards not based on other’s standards or how others treat you but on your own value system.  Why lower yourself to someone else’s modest levels? If you are a model of high standards and expectations others tend to follow your lead and if they don’t, it is their loss in the end.

Thus, with my son, in particular, respect was a hallmark of his growing up years. He seldom spoke back to me or his teachers. He could not lie to me very well at all and I think that is because he respected me too much to be dishonest.  He knew I entrusted him enough to give it to me straight. I gave him lead way if he was honest, and so he was.

I recall when his friends would come over in high school, if anyone would tell an off-color joke and I was in the room he would be annoyed. He would let them know that when I was in the vicinity nothing was to be said like that, no cussing, etc. He felt respect was critical around me without me saying a word..”  He was mindful and extremely protective of me and would not let any of his friends, or anyone else for that matter, be disrespectful of me.  If he had to intervene in situations and it was within his power to do so, e.g. an argument with someone, he would.

I knew his transition into the military, whether or not he liked the service, would be seamless because he totally understood the idea of respecting others which is critical there. He always had a sense of personal space and did not invade others without clear nonverbal cues.  He did not betray others trust and maintained others confidentiality. Never would my son break a promise, lie or do something horribly dishonest. If you were a friend, he would support you even if it meant he was going to take some heat.

As his mom, he could care less if it looked unusual to his friends, he was supportive of me. He was a boy and then a man of principle who believed in respecting elders as far back as I can remember. My son was willing to stand up for what was right and just no matter what the consequences were. My daughter believed that too, more so as she aged, crossing the tees.  She realized the world is a far better place to live if we do the right thing.   Perhaps that is why both went into the healthcare profession. They do indeed touch many lives and make those lives better by the work that they both do. I think they respect each and every patient’s lives and in that sense, model behavior that should be followed by others much as they did when they were under my care, my roof.  

In today’s world it is easy to lose the ability to respect others, even those close to you. Priorities change, we age, and we form new relationships over time. But, one thing should always remain at the core of who we are, our commitment to those who made us who we became and those around us who make us better people. If we lose that, we lose a vital part of ourselves.  We lose our self-respect.  Always look in the mirror and be sure you don’t lose yours. With it you have the undying respect of others and without it you run the risk of losing other’s respect you worked hard to create. 


Summertime Moments

Summer flies by but certain times will always stand out like the moments with grandkids. 
This past week was one of those moments for my husband and I. No matter how old you get, children bring out the child in you, the love of life and the nurturing and parenting skills you long forgot.

After having moved to Florida in April, one of the hardest parts of the move was being away from our three grandchildren in Nashville.  We vowed to make certain to stay in touch and knew a piece of them is always with us, no matter where we are, where we go and even in our death, they will remain within our spiritual journey.

But it was with great joy we had the opportunity to have them in our new home, one of them for a week and the other one, for a brief stay.  Funny how the bond is so strong with
them that, once together, it is as if there is no passage of time when we are together. So our time together was full of the usual hubbub, laughter, singing, fighting when the two were together, mischief, calls home when something seemed array, sunburn with one when two spots on the back apparently didn’t get enough suntan coverage even with him only being out in the sun an hour! 

But it goes without saying, with children there is never a dull moment! Even Charley ventured more than ever outside of the walk-in closet. Most of the time they were here, he was everywhere they were. Trains had to be put in rooms with doors closed so his 99 lbs. wasn’t stepping on tracks. The golf cart was on the road more than the entire time we have lived here and the pool was used more by my granddaughter than by us.

One night my grandson popped in our room in the middle of the night and poked me. I asked him what was wrong and he said nothing. I asked what he wanted and he simply said I love you, can I sleep with you. How does a grandma say no?  In he slipped. So naturally on the last night here, when my granddaughter asked if she could sleep with me and grandpa elsewhere I informed, not asked grandpa, your pillows have to go to another room in the house.  And she snuggled in.

Well, it is hard to do justice to a visit full of love and show that the circle of love is complete. The entire time my granddaughter was here she seldom referred to her dad as daddy but instead “your son’ but a video follows with an attempt to show the highlights.

May it resonate with you the importance of grabbing little moments with young people. May it show you that it is not what you do with kids that matter but that you do something. Attention is prized time to children and let’s be honest; it is the only legacy we can truly leave behind, the memories.    CLICK HERE


Smell Clean and Fresh at Bedtime

With my husband running an Avon Website, it has been fun to try out some of the newer product lines. I feel like the new guinea pig and am up for the challenge totally!  Having been a previous seller and a long time user of Avon products, I still enjoy purchasing their new items they offer as their lines have expanded and continue to improve.  Now my list is growing leaps and bounds.

One of the newbies is in the bath product line called Mark Sweet On. Mark product line was originally designed for a younger age demographic and used to be sold separate from the traditional Avon product lines. 

Now though, the Mark products are listed under the Avon name as both are owned by the same company with the same guarantee and quality. They can be sold and purchased by the same representatives and off the same website. If you notice their items such as clothing apparel you will see they are designed more contemporary with a younger styling in mind. 

The one I chose to sample and write about too from Mark is Mark Sweet on Lemon Sugar.  Mark this a MUST BUY! I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed! 

This one is perfect for summer weather especially or summer trips! It is not overly sweet but has a nice clean smell with a slight fruit smell to it. The fragrance I find hard to describe. My clients that have used it love it, and to my surprise my grandson does too. I used it on him in the tub as it comes in a 3-1 shampoo bath-wash, so convenient and worked great on his hair. He smelled so good that the next day I used the lotion before bedtime. Now I am hiding the lotion as he keeps asking for it. 

I highly recommend using the body mist spray as a pre-cursor to your

bedtime routine to spray down your bed linens before going to bed.Any of Avon's mist sprays work well for this as they have a very
low alcohol content so sheets tend not to stain and leave a nice light
smell on them when you slip into bed.  Spray at a distance to be sure! Just enough to send you off into dreamy land with pleasant dreams! 



Don't be Shamed Asking for Help

A new day is dawning. It is more about my attitude I think than the sunrise.  
Funny how going through years of therapy and self-reflection changes you.  If
you are doing the due diligence, it is like you work out so many kinks in your amour, find your missing pieces and put yourself back together again.  I suppose that is partially why I am a strong proponent of professional counseling and recommend it for anyone struggling through issues.

Too many folks use friendships as dumping grounds for problems in their life, be it personal or professional. Honestly, not everyone wants to hear your trash, partially because we all have our own stuff, our own stress we are dealing with. 

It does not mean that the world lacks compassion, people care, people that are close.  Most want to know what you are going thru. I believe people want to help but using others as a crutch, forming co-dependent relationships is detrimental. Most people are not trained in psychology at the Masters or Doctorial level and asking them for help or sounding off on them is risking getting bad advice or working yourself into a frenzy. Too often people simply restate their problems over and over again.  This accomplishes nothing but obsessing over what isn’t right instead of fixing what is wrong.

I think I wasted time in my life doing just this. Talking to myself and even to others about me about what I thought was wrong with me, my life and even my experiences in the past.  I believe I wasted my time and those I confided in. What’s more, I left a lot out, for various reasons. Some memories I never even had total recall for a long time.  

Going to a professional over an extended period of time has allowed me to speak to an outsider, someone who forced me to listen to myself speak. We all need someone with no feelings towards us to mirror our words. We benefit when someone makes us make decisions that force us to change and not repeat errors and accept some responsibility for our own happiness and our future. 

With the right therapist, you can move on, get to a point, where you truly get in
touch with all that you are, all that you can be, and can build a present day and future that is full of joy and peace.  In a world full of uncertainty, we all must stay grounded. That ability comes only from within. People will continue to judge you, reject you and hurt you. However, you can choose to allow it to affect you or not. If you are unable to do so, seek help. The sun is coming out tomorrow, even on a gray day. Those with optimism can sense it, those without won’t. Be on the side that does!  


My New Life in Florida Update

Hot in Florida means  hotter than hell! But living here is anything but hell! Infact, it is downright fun and at times, pretty darn funny!

We made our way to Withlacoochee State Park, named after Indians.  It is named after the river that flows through it.  It is beautiful and located in Dades City, not that far a drive from us. On the route there, we had to pass the largest dump I have ever seen in my life. This dump literally seemed to stretch for miles, like the size of a large amusement park, except there was nothing amusing about a place emitting the worst odor 

There was a farm across the street with cows loitering in the fields. I couldn’t help but notice none, not a one, was remotely close to the fence near the road.  I told my husband even the stinky cows could not stand the stench! Now that is when you know how bad the odor was. I literally drove holding my nose. And if you think that was easy, did I mention the roads were not paved? Nope, it was all dirt roads and they were not smooth so it seemed at times, like driving on ice. Luckily I was apparently the only one, the fool, out on that road!

We arrived at the park and the joy was going to be seeing the Indian village. We thought it would be a blast for the grandkids so we first drove around and scoped out the park
looking for Indian Village signs. None existed so we assumed, they must be on the trail hikes.  Okay, we can handle that.  Parking the car we went on the first one. Off we trotted with excitement and ready for a sense of wonder. We made it to the end of the trail no village.   Wouldn’t you know we would pick the wrong trail and walk the entire path? 

We had two choices, leave in defeat or stay victorious and walk the other longer nature trail. So, like the troupers we are we painted on our smiles.  We can do this, we told each other, and off we went, only not
as fast this time steps more labored and breathing.  Okay, we got to the end, no Indians, no village, and the walk back was long, quiet and blistering hot.  We pulled out saying who wants to see a damn Indian village anyways!

Two days later, we got wind of the first tropical storm coming to Tampa bay area.  How exciting to us, never to have come remotely close to one.  Everyone seemed concerned but we were kinda pumped, wow a real tropical storm. The only thing bothering us was the wussy name, Colin. For our first one why couldn’t it be fiercer a name like Charge, Crush, or Creature.  Wow, was it something to see! It didn’t come as hard as they said but every two hours or so, like clockwork, it rained for two days!  And then an hour of complete silence.  I couldn’t sleep, I had to sit up and listen and watch. We had a toast, our first big storm, toasting many more!

I think one of our neighbors isn’t all that crazy about our lab Charley. She rolls past in her wheelchair and our dog thinks it is a bike, and he does not like  bikes.  So he begins his fierce sounding bark.  She seems to think he wants to tear her apart like a pit-bull. Mind you, we have told her first, he is old and second, can’t even chew hard bones anymore. Lastly,  he only likes to eat males.    

Well, the other night, again, she rolls by as we are sitting out front on our driveway by our garage.  This time, she would not roll quietly by.  She likes to talk, and talk, and talk.  But she is a sweetheart. I wish Charley would give her a chance to speak and not drown her out with his incessant barking.  So, in no time, as she is talking he starts up.

 Now, one of the first things she says is to ask us if he ever shuts up. We explain that most of his day is spent in the walk in closet sleeping so we need to get him outside some. As Charley goes back and forth between lying down quietly during the conversation and picking back up where he left off with his barkfest she starts getting more annoyed. She then says the one thing that makes our neck hairs stand on edge.  She wants to know if we have a muzzle and if we would consider putting it on him.   Now Jim joined in with the barking, right in sync with Charley.

Charley has a rough time with his legs still. Since they are still causing him issues getting up, he is still receiving acupuncture to help. It must be pointed out, the only time he seems to not have any problem at all is at feeding time, walk time and when he is supposed to lay for acupuncture.  We spend the entire time talking to him, taking turns with who gets the joy of sitting in a tiny padded room trying to tell him he is sleepy, do not go to the dark side and please cooperate. 

This time the dreaded happened. There was a dog fight in the waiting room! Do you know what it is like to hold back a 105 lb dog and keep him lying still when two dogs are
growling and barking at each other and adults are yelling right outside the door he is in?  Well, I screamed louder than them, JIM HELP ME!  In came my husband, and he body slammed him to the floor, well not exactly but he did manage to get him down.  Charley was hooked to electrodes this time so needed to be still so as not to shake out the wires.  And there we sat, two grown adults on the floor holding him down, trying to not make eye contact because every time we did, we cracked up laughing.

When the vet came in, which seemed like eternity and back, she said “Oh Charley you were such a good boy this time.”  She says that every time and we both think we would pay double if she would sit in with him just one time to see what we go through.  As she was moving needles from his body, he got pretty frisky. Then she broke her past protocol and gave us her reality check, the words we wondered if we would ever hear from this new vet, the words we have heard so many times before,

“Charley you are a wild boy.  You are the wildest dog I have ever met. Even old, you act just like a puppy, I have never met a lab like you ever in my years of practicing.”

 Join Charley’s fan club, no fees needed.   
Charley is at home in Florida now.  


Clique Out

I have always hated cliques. They remind me of pecking orders. When I use to read Dr. Dobson’s books when my kids were little, he used to say better hope your child isn’t on the low end of the pecking order in school or he/she may have problems and definitely suffer with self-esteem issues.  And that is what pecking orders are as adults, cliques and just as detrimental mentally.

We are all born with innate sense of venerability. We all need to be held, fed and loved. As we are fostered and nurtured, if we are lucky, much of the desperation for those needs to be met immediately and substantially in large quotas goes away. We grow up and mature and do not need to scream, bang our fists and stomp our feet to get our needs met.  Though we all see the occasional exception to the rule, invariably, this is true.

Hitting middle and high school years, the pecking order is so much a part of the norm you can walk into any high school USA and know who is in what group. It usually goes something like this, sports jocks, cheerleaders, popular, band members, goody-too-shoes, science/math majors; we don’t fit in and don’t care, smart-ass kids, drug users, drop-outs, and then a few others. The ones on the top groups of the popularity list get major boosts in their esteem building in high school. It isn’t because they have anything at all over anyone else.  It is simply because of their association with the right group.  It really is an unfair unjust system and schools should work harder to not allow the lines to be drawn so tightly. It alienates kids who need the added lift at school who might not be getting it at home or anywhere else.

Reaching adulthood, all the sudden 18 year olds are thrown into the “real world.’  Supposedly high school is left behind. In many senses it is. In college, if attending a commuter college, there isn’t too much of this nonsense. Big name colleges with fraternities and sororities, you have that acceptance piece again if joining clubs.  Everyone will do everything to get accepted, outside of reason infact.  So many cases have been documented whereby stupidity supersedes logical thinking.  Even with the sports athlete on an all paid scholarship, for the hopes of gaining acceptance and admiration into the right group, no holds are barred. 

We, as a society, long to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  Somehow this must be imparted onto our youth. We harbor that vulnerability that just us, by ourself, is simply not enough and we need to belong, even if the norm is not right. We even pull back and say nothing if we see others hurt by our participation and their exclusion.

In the working world for years, in several different roles, I saw this play out continually. It was much more prevalent with women than men. This stage of the game, they are called cliques. These are groups of people that find niche areas where they seem to fit together well.  Work is obviously a connection.

Men seem to realize independence shows confidence and esteem whereby women seem to equate power with belonging to a power group, popularity.  And many times, that popularity, I have seen firsthand, is not used in a positive way.  There is cat-fighting, gossiping, down-grading, and back-stabbing to get ahead.   Men seem to be much more upfront with the confrontations and thus, resolve them a great deal quicker and without mental stress.

The cliques extend to so many areas of life, including sports teams, churches, and clubs for various ailments that mutual folks suffer from, e.g. cancer.  All of these groups and organizations are for a soul purpose usually, connecting people for a common mission.  And yet, within it, there seems to be an innate human nature to have mini groups form where some folks feel they are over and above others. They use that self-proclaimed power to influence members they deem worthy in a negative way, a select few. It gives them a greater feeling of pride in themselves at the expense of others, other’s hurt feelings.

 The outcome is the members not on their goody goody list fall on the short end of the stick and get left out. They are the ones that have little input, are talked about, not included as much and truly show the group is not operating as a group but as multiple cliques, like high school and not mature adults.  Any of this sound familiar?  These groups often create more esteem issues for members on the outs who are less confrontational and are less willing, over time, to want to get involved.  Infact, they just may walk away. There is no magical age when people enjoy being left out and treated badly. 

It amazes me that some folks just don’t see this pattern, even in organizations that are geared solely for supportive purposes, the good of all that participate.  One bad seed in a group where someone has issues can build up a clique of people in a snap.  They can create an image of themselves in a favorable light and get all those around them to literally leave others out in the cold. 

This happens without folks questioning the motives or the reason the cliques have formed in the first place. These usually always form because the ones that are in charge are truly the ones that are creating this type of environment or the ones leading the cliques are spear-heading it.  Remember, the least confidant person will use others to gain a false sense of importance by manipulating others to join them and by putting others down, excluding them.  Your silence is your acceptance of this behavior.

Not being inclusive with all beings, whether it is with children or adults, in a work setting or play, is never okay.  We all deserve to be treated and respected with dignity. Leaving others out and not working equally hard to make everyone feel a part of whatever they are participating in is making an organization weaker and more doomed for failure.  Think of the things you tell your children when they are not included. Be sure you are practicing these principles in your own activities as an adult. So many adults are not.

If you are part of a group and desire success, encourage members to build each other up and not tearing each other down.  You can be the catalyst for change and redirect energy away from cliques and towards inclusive unions and improve everyone’s esteem and productivity by helping everyone click.