Sunday, November 27, 2011

Was Thanks Plucked With The Turkey?

It's the weekend after Thanksgiving and most of us are frazzled,
shopping for the big dinner, cooking,
followed by midnight Black Friday deals.

Where is the thanks in Thanksgiving?

I'm not just talking about the traditional form of the holiday,
but the everyday courtesy of a kind note of gratitude.
I hear you grumbling.
Who has the time?

We do.

 Sending a thank you saves time and effort.
How do you feel when someone goes out of their way to send a gift,
a card or make eye contact expressing gratitude for a small favor?
I want to do more for that person.
Guess what--most people react positively to kindness.

Thanks is the first rule of abundance and returns to you ten fold.

Make friends with those merchants you frequent.
Say thank you and mean it.
I've been informed early when things will go on sale.
The clerk gives me the coupon price even though I don't have the coupon.
People are thrilled to give when they're valued for their efforts.

What about friends, co-workers and family?
It only takes a minute to jot a note and mail it.
Hand written means more today because few people do it.

Be that person.

Neighbor kids have baked me cookies,
others have helped me rake leaves.
I've been surprised with theater tickets,
free pizza,  and dinners have come my way,
because I took a moment to appreciate people.

We all need to be valued.

There's too little kindness and respect in the world.
News of altercations on Black Friday is proof,
fights, pepper spray, and tears,
as people lost their humanity in selfish battles for stuff.

Value people and they will value you.
Those that don't aren't worth worrying about.
As grandma used to say,
what goes around comes around.

Giving thanks opens the floodgates to receiving.
It begins with the warm feeling in your heart
when you share your gratitude and love with others.

This week send three thank you notes everyday.
Just a few words is perfect.
It can change your attitude and lift someone who felt invisible.

Write your experience in your journal.
I challenge you to make it a habit and pen a thank you daily.

I thank you for supporting me and my blog.
You make me feel valued with your comments.
I appreciate your wisdom.
Thank you for being friends and examples of love.

Bless you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tis The Season For Giving--What Again?

Some dread the lines at the store,
the lists of gifts to purchase, and expense.
Is that what we focus on?
Giving is an opportunity to show others what they mean to us.
It's the thrill of watching eyes light up or glisten with emotion.

Why do we give?

Is it because we owe a present?
Is it expected and an obligation?
That's not a gift.
Gifts have no strings.
They come from the heart. They don't expect anything in return.
They are tokens of gratitude for sharing a life and connection.

Gifts are free to the receiver and expand the giver.
It all rests on our attitude.
They don't have to be purchased, but can be.
They come on the form of hugs, encouragement,
cards, e-mails, phone calls, and carefully wrapped packages.
Gifts can be given anytime.
For no particular reason.
No holiday or birthday required to spread a little love.

Does it put a silly grin on your face when your honey brings you flowers just because?
Of course!
Does my hubby get extra loving for the effort?
Yes, and he then has an equally silly grin.
Give what you can from your heart.

I knew an older woman who gave what she liked.
Often ornately, hand decorated, huge Christmas ornaments.
She enjoyed making them.
Unfortunately, many didn't appreciate the thought.
One receiver had a closet where she tossed such creative efforts.
Another woman told me she hid the ornaments in the back of her tree,
where they wouldn't be seen and mar her decorating.


I'm not kidding. 
They missed the point.

Perhaps the bobbles were overpowering,
but the giver cared enough to spend hours adding each bead and pearl.
Her back ached as she struggled to glue another ribbon in place,
until she felt it worthy of those she loved.
I received a number of these over the years,
and gave them a place of honor among my decorations.
When she came to visit, she smiled,
tears fell from her blue eyes and down her wrinkled cheeks.
Because I valued her gift she felt valued.

She's gone now, but I'll still hang her ornaments with love.

Giving goes both ways.

Do we receive the gifts given?
Those who stashed the ornaments didn't receive.
All lost out.

Look beyond to the meaning.

To be loved is everything.
When someone gives believe they care.
Let it touch your heart.


Make the effort to give meaningful gifts.
A writer who uses a particular pen and can always use another.
A child would love to help bake cookies.
Giving is a present to all.

Does this sound like work?
It doesn't have to be.
A letter of gratitude and love is a meaningful gift.
Lunch, grabbing a drink, or going to the dollar movie.

This week jot down three people you want to really give to.

Make it real.
Make it matter to both of you.
Give it thought.
It's worth it.

Once you give the gift.
Write how the process felt, how it was received,
and how it affected you.

You are gifts I cherish.
Your comments let me know my small efforts lift a heart, encourage, and clarify.
Thank you for that gift.
I receive it with joy.
Bless you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dating Is Not Dead

Who do you count on when things get tough?
Who binds your wounds, holds you, listens to your hopes,
your fears, and loves you when your sick and irritable?
If you're lucky, you have a critique partner that will do that,
but most of us rely on a spouse at two in the morning.

That's a ton to expect from the most important person in our life.
How much time do we put into that relationship?

The national average is twenty-seven minutes of one-on-one conversation per week.

Gasp and groan all you like, but that didn't count:
Chores (who is picking up dinner)
Watching TV in the same room
You writing as your spouse does something else in the same room
Both being home, but not talking.
Time spent with kids or others.

I'll give you a moment. I know you want to make your own tally.
Not so good is it?
What ever the number is for the week, does it feel like enough?

It might be a great time for you to jot down that number in your journal,
and how you currently feel about your mate,
and your marriage or relationship.

How can you tell if you're putting in enough face time?
Do you feel close to your spouse,
or do you share more with your writing group?
It should be your mate.
If not, there's work to do.

You need more bonding time.
Having fun, talking about your hopes, dreams, your plans for the future.
Remember when you did that on dates?
Time to revisit that experience.
First Rule:
No complaining allowed.

I know that for some couples given that stipulation,
they'd be reduce to slack-jawed stares over the kitchen table,
as they each tried to find something to say.
But not you. You write!
Never at a loss for words,
you engage in witty repartee at all hours.

For some reason, when face to face with the one person,
who has the power to devastate us,we become buffoons,
unable to string a coherent phrase together filled with honest emotion.

But if you want a loving, supportive relationship,
you must feed it with emotion and time.
We feed our plants, our pets, and the parking meter.
Put your relationship at the top of that list.

If you've been together for a very long time,
(Thirty-four years this month for me)
You may need a nudge to recall just what you did back when you dated.

Dress up.
Date each other
Make it special. (A walk can be special holding hands)
Get a haircut
Put on perfume or cologne
Do your nails
Give honest compliments
Hold hands
Look at each other

Do it all with anticipation for being together.
Those embers aren't dead,
just in need of some fanning to reignite.

Go out once a week and hold that date as sacred.

This is the most important relationship in your life.
Treat it that way.
Your relationship will only be,
as loving and supportive as the nurturing you give it.

No feeding = Starvation.

And we all know what happens when we're starving emotionally.
That ugly dumpster diver shows up resulting in destructive behavior, arguments, affairs, divorce.
Not pretty.

Feed your marriage and you nurture your self.
Smiles all around.
Jot down fun date ideas in your journal and schedule them.
Schedule making love if you need to.

After a few weeks, journal how this has changed your relationship and your feelings.

Please comment with your fun date ideas.
We can all use them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Who Is Your Family?

I'm blessed to still have both my parents, and loving siblings.
I've lived far from them most of my adult life, and miss them.
As a young mother without close family,
I came to value their phone calls, visits, and gifts sent in the mail.
I needed that contact. It fed my soul.
It still does.

Family support is essential.

Because of distance, I was forced to look around me for the hugs and love I missed.
In-laws took over for the dearth of my own family.
Friends, organizations, critique groups, book clubs, co-workers,
and neighbors have all filled some of that need for unconditional acceptance.

As humans, we need to connect to others.
It's part of our make-up.
Primates live in communities, not alone.
Community keeps us alive and well.

In the 1980's, a study was done in a small Pennsylvania town.
These people maintained their bacon, sausage, and high fat consumption,
verses a group outside the town restricting their diets.
The purpose of the study was to prove how limitting fat can prolong your life.

It was a dismal failure.

At the end of ten years, those stuffing themselves with brats and beer had less heart disease,
fewer heart attacks, and when they did succumb to a cardiac episode, they recovered faster.
Years later, more of the gravy munchers were still alive.

Why? It went against all the science.

The researchers decided to study this small town.
What was different?


They found a close knit community.
They took care of each other and supported through illness.
They talked often, hugged, loved and cried together.

They were family.

The conclusion asstounded the pencile pushing intellects.
People need love and support of others more than a pill.
A doctor prescribes three hugs and a good laugh with friends as your cure.

If you don't have the unconditional love of close family,
follow the precepts of the Pennsylvania town and make everyone your family.
You have ample brothers, sisters, parents when you open your eyes and heart.
There is love to be shared everywhere,
and I've yet to meet anyone who refused a hug when offered.
I  hug.

Talk to people, share your hurts and joys and connect.
Be open and honest.

Be family.

The holidays bring family to mind.
Relationship is the healer, connection the balm to our souls.
This week, take a look at who you call family and add to that list.
If you lack a mother, befriend someone.
Think of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.

Family is there when we're willing to open our circle and love.
Give at least one hug every day.
Tell someone they matter.
Do some kindness.
Call someone to say you miss them.
Laugh over dinner with friends.

Connect and be whole.
Be one as your family grows with that love and unity.

Tell people in your life that you love them while you can.
Love and family transform us.

Please comment and share your experience.