With the holiday quickly approaching, and the election a dim light in the rear view mirror, it’s baffling to me how the news have focused on “how to have a calm holiday” due to differing political opinions. Apparently, some people have such strong opinions they are cancelling their holiday with family members sharing opposing views. How is it politics can ruin a family? Could it be possible all of the happy, wonderfully blissful families pictured together smiling on Facebook are as much of a fallacy as a unicorn? Say it isn’t so!

Amidst all of the negativity in this country, it was good to see holidays are still the most traveled time of the year. As I arrived at the airport—-wrangled my luggage to the ticket agent—-schlepped my way through TSA and finally made it to my gate—-I fell deep into people watching—-one of my favorite past times at the airport—-do you ever wonder what some people are thinking when they put on stilettos the morning of travel? Do they think they will meet the man of their dreams smashed like sardines in a metal cylinder better known as a plane? What dream man would want us walking through an airport in stilettos anyway? I love my stilettos—-having rollerboard wheels scratch them up would be fatal! What good man would want that? I’ve digressed–

Back to my people watching—-as I watched everyone traipse by me….some dragging luggage behind them—-others with bags hanging on them—-I looked to my left and saw the most beautiful male face! He had just flown in from St Kitts. A 5 1/2 week old puppy being escorted to his new home in the US. His quiet face and soft brown eyes looking at me—-isn’t it amazing how animals look right into us? Who can keep any semblance of composure around a puppy? Of course I immediately had to hold him—-cuddle—-smell his amazing puppy breath! In that instant—-all negativity in the world diminished. What was left? A group of adults stripped into childhood —-adoring a puppy who had been homeless just days before—-now on his way to his new home in this wonderful country we have the luxury of living in!

If only the country could focus on what happened in the airport —-simple compassion. What we can learn from our canine companions—-unconditional acceptance—-calm silence—-warm hearts—-how wonderful this world would be. It only took one set of brown eyes to join everyone at the gate—-in that moment no one focused on holiday travel—-only the adorable puppy. holidays are all about what we are grateful for. In this moment—-I am grateful for a reminder of what matters in this world. Compassion—-warm heart—-genuine acceptance.

Now off to the ticket counter to rebook to St Kitts to find my own puppy!

Have you ever had one of those days where your balance and grace stayed in bed and what you’re walking around with is something between Lucille Ball and Steve Martin? Those days seem to be happening more often then lately. Considering the time and care my grandmother took to teach me poise and grace—-I envision her patient, yet frustrated expression every time one of those moments pops into my world. It’s at those times, I chuckle at myself and appreciate the memories.

On one of those awkward days, my friend and I were decorating my master bathroom. We have fun decorating together. She has an amazing eye—-I make a great grunt to position or hang where instructed to do so. The bathroom has a huge tub tucked in one corner with a chandelier perfectly positioned overhead. Probably not the best spot for a hanging electrical device—-but it looks good! The faucet positioned perfectly in the middle of the long side closest to the bathroom floor. My friend had found the perfect piece of art to hang on one of the walls next to the tub. Our mission — hang said art on the wall–and we commenced. With her eyeballing the wall from the middle of the room– my job– to climb into the tub—-measure the spot—-hold the art for perfect eyeball alignment—-nail the hanger in the wall and put the piece on it. Seems simple enough—-except when Lucille Ball and Steve Martin enter your body at the same time.

Remember the faucet I spoke of earlier? It is perfectly positioned—-unless you are climbing into the tub. As I swung my leg over the side, my knee tapped the faucet handle. Water began to fall. Already in forward motion, my foot dropped into the bottom of the tub. My first instinct was two fold—-shut the water off—-don’t get wet! However, my body apparently can not perform both functions at the same time. While in motion, I reached for the handle to shut off the water. This set in motion my body lunging forward. In an effort to not get wet and stop the forward motion I attempted a jump onto the ledge of the tub wall. This was a big fail. The motion flipped my body—-arms flailing—-legs up—-I hit the side of the tub and slid down — falling into the water–face up. To my surprise—-I had my very own indoor water park!

Stunned silence as I took inventory—-”Can I feel my arms—-yes! Can I feel my legs—-yes! Do I have fingers and toes wiggling—-yes! I’m good!” Looking up I noticed the stunned look on my friend’s face. It Informed me with certainty there should be injury. Luckily there wasn’t a single break. As my clothes soaked in the water—-boldly I exclaimed “I’m good!” while giving two thumbs up—- laughter filled the room. We were laughing so hard it was impossible for either to move.

Eventually we collected ourselves—-I crawled out of the tub with my clothes like a waterfall—-put dry clothes on—-and we continued our mission. The art was placed perfectly on the wall without incident.

In life, great-true friends are difficult to come by. Moments where you laugh from within your core so hard your eyes water and stomach hurts are rare. Mixing both together is a memory you will remember always.

Hanging the art isn’t what is important–it’s the memories created in the process that count!

Sometimes in life—-no shoes are required!

Throughout the news over the past months, we have seen many signs of hate. Typically my posts are humorous and uplifting. However, sometimes there is a need to point out what seems to be obvious—-but apparently is not. Hate is a very powerful emotion. Whether it be in written, rhetorical or action—-hate in and of itself is toxic—-comes in many forms—-many are speaking about hate—-what are we doing to irradicate it in our daily lives though?

Years ago, I began dating a man who quickly took my heart. Throughout my life, I had always dreamed of having a sister. When he informed he had one, excitement set in to meet her. The day we met still resonates in my mind. My excitement quickly diminished when the realization she was the most negative, toxic person I’d ever met hit me in the head. She immediately began a campaign of hate comparable only to the taliban. Her brother oblivious to the extent of the destruction. Sadly, this woman claimed to be “religious”. She would proclaim “I’ll pray God helps me to be less judgmental!” Sad but true. Her alter ego has apparently not heard of something God created—-it’s called “free will”. God does entrust some things to us. People can not walk this earth negative and toxic only to pray it away. Hate in its true form—-is toxic.

The other day, while waiting for my hot tea at Starbucks, I noticed two attractive young women. Their smiles radiated. They were cordially saying, “hello”—-speaking about attending their church that morning—-talking about how they were going to “help” people. Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention to anyone, or their conversations. These two were unique. When a person would pass by, they would smile at the front and become caddy once the people left—-make rude comments about their attire or size—-comment on hair styles, shoes, pocket books—-suddenly they were like gremlins up after midnight. If you are not familiar with the movie, gremlins if kept up after midnight, became evil and destructive. Their cute faces turning to frowns.

In both of these cases, day to day the hate is destructive. People claiming they are “nice” when their actions are toxic. One should not have to verbally validate they are a “good” person—- rather your actions should speak for the person you are.

To the sister—-I pity the person she truly is at the core. The character she must mask while amongst those at her church and people in the community so they are unaware of the toxicity underneath. It must be exhausting keeping up appearances—-the toxic core eating within. I can only imagine the difficulty she must have looking in a mirror—- when she is dealing with her true self. Luckily, we as individuals are able to deflect hate—-and block it from our world.

To the girls at Starbucks—-having a “pretty card” only masks bad behavior for so long before high value people see past it. High school and college are over—-it is time to develop your core beyond caddy or superficial.

In this world where hate—-toxic behavior—-destruction —-all seem to be at the forefront—-it is within us to diffuse it.

We can choose to warm the heart—-not freeze it.
We can choose to compliment—-not judge.
We can choose to be happy—-not toxic.

Kindness is the key to peace.

Every positive thought propels you in the right direction!

 

 

Aging is a privilege! That seems to be the mantra I’ve heard over the past few months. I will say aging is interesting! Some days even quite humorous! As your body changes with each passing decade, you can either laugh and enjoy the journey–or take the more negative, pessimistic approach and only think of your younger years.

As for me, I’ve always been one to enjoy life and laugh at myself! I tend to have plenty to chuckle about.

Roughly 6 years ago, while reading a magazine, I noticed the small print was suddenly blurred. With perfect vision my entire life, this was odd. Once my eyes were checked, the Optometrist had determined my eyes were– “aging”. Suddenly small print became a black blob unless reading glasses were available. From that day on, I carry them in my pocketbook. Where did you think I would put them? I refuse to be one of those women with goggles dangling around their necks hooked to a bobble resembling that of a teething necklace creating a beacon they have poor eyesight. Have you ever noticed the crazy characters in movies always have this concoction around their neck?

Back to present day—-while returning from the gym, I was starving. After rummaging through my gym bag and finding a granola bar, I was able to stave off passing out. The added bonus were the chocolate chips in it! As I walked into my house, it was impossible to un-tie my shoes without both hands. Therefore, I set the bar down on the kitchen counter. After my shoes were off, I grabbed my bar and finished it.

Preparing my food for the day was my next task. Working in my kitchen, out of the corner of my eye, a fly appeared on the countertop. I did what anyone would do–grabbed a magazine–rolled it up–and swung for all I was worth! Why is it we whirl so hard at such a tiny insect? I whacked and whacked but the fly wouldn’t stop moving! Was this a fly with super powers?

As I continued madly whacking  away at the super fly—-my eye caught notice to its body shape—-it had a flat spot. How could a fly have a flat spot on their body? Off to get my glasses! This would require a closer look. With glasses on—-my eyes came into focus –was it a dead carcass of a fly? It seemed a bit odd–hmmm–to my amusement the “fly” turned out to be a small chocolate chip that had unknowingly apparently fallen out of my granola bar!

My laughter filled the room as my legs buckled with amusement! One has to find the humor in aging! There I sat sitting on my kitchen floor—-laughing hysterically at myself!

Off to the Optometrist I go for another eye screening!

Life is a road with many peaks, valleys and holes to fall in to! Take enjoyment in traveling the road—-make note of the great view at the peaks—-and find humor in the holes!!

 

Have you ever had an experience that literally stops your life–causes you to step back–take a breath and do a complete evaluation/restructure of everything in your world? I’ve recently had one of these experiences. The kind that cause you to think about your mortality–look at your life–and adjust everything you might have been ok with putting up with prior.

Take employment for instance. I heard a quote the other day, “working without a purpose is stress—-working with a purpose is passion”. Profound isn’t it? When you stop and think about it, that makes sense. I’ve been happy in my career and then there have been times I have been miserable. When I had purpose and believed in what I was doing—-working with great people in getting to our goals—-it was passion. While working with less than miserable people whose only purpose was to bring toxicity and negativity to everyone—-it was stressful. When I left the stressful situations, did that mean I could not hold a job? Absolutely not. Did it define me as unsuccessful? Not at all. Success is defined by whomever is speaking about it. Very much like “normal”. I am the most “normal” person I know! Aren’t you?

Personal Lives can be even more complicated. With the invent of social media, everyone now have a cost effective way to brag about everything in their life. For some people, they just make up a form of their life in order to achieve envy. In years past, Adults set an example by not bragging. It was a classless sign of insecurity to brag about anything. Now, when you sign on to social media everything is out for everyone to see. Pictures from meals to pets to family and friends. Pictures of wonderful couples smiling–when you know they are cheating on each other. Pictures of parents with children seemingly happy –when you’ve heard the children speaking sadly about how they dislike the incompetences of their parents. Posts about trips and vacations –when you know the couple struggle to pay their bills. Phantom success stories published for what purpose? Personal lives are out for everyone to see. Or at least what people want everyone to think they see. It was once said a person could look at Facebook for a few minutes and become depressed about their life because of illusions created by people more miserable than the person looking. Is that the society we have become?

We continue in relationships with people who do not return our feelings–people who we are disposable to–those that can not give a genuine hug that warms the heart to let us know we are loved–people who blame us for everything anyone has done to them in their past– who will never truly commit their lives to us because they are afraid to be loved–yet we stay and fight for the “us” because we love someone with all of our heart –all while they fight to destroy it–while we dream of building a life together–they look for people to justify the reasons they concocted not to–we surround with positive –they surround with negative.

We keep hold of blood ties with family who are toxic–we listen to their manipulative “advice”–advice not given to help us but rather to destroy anything positive and happy in our lives–we justify it by telling ourselves we can not be manipulated all while we are just that–we push away positive people always there for us because of past idiocracies –all for what? To achieve stress?

Then one day—-mortality hits us like a cement truck falling out of the sky.

If we were to look at life as two categories–passion and stress– positive or negative–optimism or pessimism–judgmental or accepting– term it however you would like. Without clouding anything with blood ties–opinions of others –social media –or anything toxic. Put the people, actions and “stuff” which are positive in the passion category. Conversely, put everything toxic and negative whether you are related to them or not–into stress. Now eliminate or ostracize everything in the stress column. How different would your life look?

What if you migrated towards the positive in your life with no excuses? Took chances instead of succumbing to fear–stopped listening to the negative influences and looked at the positive. Isn’t it interesting what happens when we evaluate life this way?

In life we can ask ourselves — are we hypocrites? Or do our actions match the words we speak.

Recently, I was listening to someone complaining of aging and wishing they were younger again. I felt pity for them. Aging is a privilege — not a punishment. There are many people who do not get the privilege of seeing many different ages. Your best age is where you are right now. Make it impactful. Make it count for those who did not get the privilege! Embrace each year with excitement! Do not bury your nose in your work so as to hide from your heart–live life! No one ever thought on their death bed about how they could have made more money–or how they could have posted one more brag item on social media! Many have regretted following their heart–or hurting those that loved them–who were the most loyal to them.

When the truck of mortality fell out of the sky and threw me to the ground—-little did I realize my evaluation of life began. Colors became more vibrant–fragrances became sweeter–taste became bolder. I wanted to squeeze every ounce of life out of every minute. Tomorrow is not guaranteed–the realization of that gave me strength and fear at the same time. So much so, it was difficult to keep my feet on the ground. I suddenly wanted to be closer to those that love me and further away from those that did not.

My challenge to each of you is to diminish the toxic, negative things in your life. Embrace the positive–the passionate side of life. Life is so much brighter when passion supersedes stress!

Hold your head high and don’t let anyone or anything tear you down!

Remember the goal—-Passion over stress!

Do you know anyone that rarely makes a mistake? One of those individuals that is on point on everything every second of every day. I have a friend that is just that person. In all of the years I have known him, he always makes the right decisions –at the right time –turns the correct direction–and his “wild guess” is always on target. I fully believe if he were blind folded–turned in the opposite direction of a target–and instructed to shoot over his shoulder behind him–he would hit the bullseye every time.  I absolutely adore him.  However, I am a mere mortal compared to him.  For me, I typically learn from my gazillion mistakes–and require the navigation system to dig me out of the level of lost I can achieve for myself. This in turn tends to frustrate my friend while I’m flailing about learning from my mistakes. It typically wards a response from him of “you think you know everything”. Which I assure you–is far from my being. I am well aware of how very little I know–and how very mortal I am.

One weekend, he was visiting me in a city neither of us were familiar. He was driving, as given my ability to get lost, his driving and decision making skills were much safer behind the wheel than mine. We were on a major four lane artery into and out of the city. The artery had concrete barriers deeming it impossible to make a turn across traffic. That meant if your destination was on the opposite side of the highway, it required passing that destination by a mile or so and making a u-turn to back track. To complicate things, the highway was under massive construction. Our goal–to find a good lunch joint.

Have you noticed when you have a goal, you become so focused on that goal you sometimes miss minor details? When that goal entails food –add starvation to the mix–the mind becomes completely fixated on achieving the goal–or at least our minds were.

My friend noticed a Chinese buffet on the opposite side of the road. His face lit up with anticipation. “I love those kinds of places!”, he stated. We had one errand to run and decided it best to finish our errand further down the road and return back to the buffet. As we were heading back down the highway–my friend behind the wheel–we approached an inner lane lined on each side with a concrete barrier–no signage. We determined it was the carpool lane. With traffic picking up steadily, we decided to jump on the carpool lane and make better time. Success!

We were rolling along passing all of the vehicles in steady traffic. How wonderful the carpool lanes are. We were talking and enjoying ourselves. Proud of our decision.

I noticed a few drivers looking at us somewhat odd. So did he. As we continued down this lane, we noticed there were no other drivers in this lane. Why were no other vehicles taking advantage of the carpool opportunity?

We continued a couple of miles when the signage finally appeared–BUS LANE ONLY–we were in the bus lane! No wonder other drivers were looking at us so odd.

Unable to control myself–I burst out laughing. I’m not sure which was more funny–the odd looks we were getting from other drivers–or the wrong decision my friend had finally made to make him as mortal as me. As I laughed, I said, “let’s just wave at everyone!” Which I did.

The bus lane seemed to go on for miles and miles with the concrete barriers deeming it impossible to gain access into normal traffic. Along we drove isolated in the bus lane with no other vehicles–laughing–hoping for an exit. Together in our decision–wondering when the lane would end–laughing. About the time we were in fear the lane wouldn’t allow us a departure until we were in the heart of downtown–the lane–including the barriers, ended. Relief!

Our laughter continued as we turned around to head back in the direction of the buffet. As we laughed through lunch–and continue to laugh about it today when remembering — it was also good to know even the best of us mortals can make wrong decisions. Find the humor–don’t make it more stressful than required–remember to laugh. Most mistakes are not life altering or ending–most can be corrected with a u-turn.

Learn from mistakes–Remember everyone makes them–Alleviate the stress–Find the humor

A day without laughter is a day wasted!

 

  Have you ever experienced sleep deprivation to a point your brain stops functioning? I experienced this very thing this week. I have had 3 flights in 4 days. If you count each connection as a flight, then I’ve had 6 flights in 4 days.

I slept 3 hours in 4 days. Fatigue had set in to a point of delirium. During my flight back—-I was reading through emails—-I was informed I had to fly again the next day. Sleep wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

The next day, I arrived at the airport. First stop after baggage check—-Security. If you haven’t heard of TSA Pre—-you should research it. During heavy traffic times, it is a godsend. TSA Pre affords you the ability to not have to take your shoes off—-no taking your laptop out—-no removing anything. It is security nirvana. You merely place your bags on the screener—-walk through the metal detector—-and done. Typically no lines as few know about it.

As I approached the TSA Agent—-I pulled my driver’s license from my wallet—-put it with my boarding pass—-and handed it to the man sitting on the barstool behind the podium. The man looked shocked and said, “Really?” I stood there baffled by his look and response. Moments passed—-the agent said again, “Really?”. This time with a smirk on his face. He seemed to think something was comical. I remained baffled. The sleep deprivation very much pulling me down. My body was screaming for me to drop to the floor and close my eyes.

A few more moments passed. I was the only one in line. I stared at the man. Analyzing the situation to figure out the issue at hand. The TSA Agent smiling now —-still holding both my boarding pass and my—-WAIT A MINUTE—-the TSA Agent had my boarding pass and my credit card! I had pulled the wrong card out and didn’t notice!

Embarrassed, I took the card back—-grabbed my wallet—-removed my driver’s license—and handed it to the Agent. He smiled and said, “You have special clearance. I knew this was not your first time at this!” We both had a good laugh.

In life it’s best to stay rested and alert! It’s easy to get run down or in a rut and lose track of the important things—- Such as showing the right documentation to security employees. There are so many things that pass us by when we aren’t alert. Some are as small as the beauty of a butterfly fluttering around—-others even more significant like a chance to say, “I love you”—-or the ability to see the beauty of a moment.

Hold your head up—-stay alert so as not to miss anything—-present yourself and your documents properly—-and always—-always remember to laugh!

 

.

Do you know the value of kindness? I’m not talking about those people who do things for others to make themselves feel better or those that require any kind of personal gain from their actions. I’m speaking of a wholesome kindness coming from a good heart and desire to help their fellow man—-making the world a kinder, better place. No accolades expected or needed.

Some people can live such harsh lives they may not be aware of how important this is in the world. Some may have never experienced true unconditional kindness. I’ve met just such people in my life. It’s sad, as their environment has turned them dark with narcissism. Personal gratification is their only goal.

It never ceases to amaze me the people that consider themselves to have a “kind heart” or who are “following in the way God wanted” yet everything they do is for their own personal ego. Every action to lead them to feel better about themselves. Yet when a person falls down—-they criticize and offer no assistance. When a person is impaired —-they judge. If a person has gone through hardships—-they think of themselves as better and offer no compassion. Does that make them truly kind —-or closet narcissists?

Please allow me to digress.

As an adult, I’ve been exposed to the harsh criticism of negative people. For whatever reason, these people tear me down in order to feel better about themselves. I started to believe the harsh criticism—-though it had no basis or truth. I withdrew from the people who brought out my sunshine.

Conversely, as a child, I grew up in a household with a strong Catholic influence. When I say strong —-I mean intense. It was not harsh or overbearing—-more closely related to a safety net. Church was a place to go for guidance, comfort or acceptance. Going to church was more of a requirement than something I enjoyed. Kind of like cleaning my room or doing the dishes.

In my family, my grandmother was a matriarch—-what she said—we did —-without argument. It’s a good thing she never asked us to step in front of a moving train, as I’m sure we would have done so happily without argument. We gave her all of the respect a matriarch deserves. As with most great matriarchs she was very in touch with her spirituality—-her sister (my great Aunt) a nun—-two of my aunts pledged to the convent as well. My mother was president of the Alter’s Society, which translated to the priest having dinner at our house on numerous occasions. I spent my grade school years in parochial school with nuns as teachers and my aunt as principal. We were at the convent often visiting with everyone there. We were a Catholic Mecca!

Before you think of the old school nuns that scared children half to death and traumatized with rulers across knuckles daily—-these were a different breed. The nuns that I was exposed to were smart —-happy—-enthusiastic —-spiritual yet not overbearing about it—-and calming. They could make the worst of days—-amazing. They taught me kindness—-integrity—-and to love completely without fear as a barrier.

One nun in particular was tall, slender and has a smile that intensifies a room with happiness —-her mere presence warms your soul from the inside out to a point it bursts a smile out of your heart. In addition to teaching academics, she also played the organ and piano. During school presentations, her entire face lit up while she accompanied our little voices. She would sway to and fro while she played. Her excitement beaming from her face with numerous expressions that to this day bring fond memories. One glance her way and we’d smile. A real smile—-from the core. She was—-sunshine.

Years and years have passed since those days. As adults, we get into the stresses of life. Work, children, relationships—-at times these experiences build animosity—-pessimism—-life breaks down into a rut. We forget our core and allow the world to break us down—-taint that child—- that smile beaming from the inside out. Our sunshine turns into dusk—-then darkness.

I was guilty of this. Through the years I let small things adjust my sunshine—-pessimistic people—-the loss of loved ones—-difficulty with family members—-it all shaded the sunshine.

Do you have a person in your life that is a rock? They are there no matter the mood you are in? To quote Marilyn Monroe, “If you can’t handle me at my worst—-you don’t deserve me at my best!” Wise words.

My family’s rock recently had her 50th Anniversary. After all of the many graduations—-weddings—-awards ceremonies—-for the first time all attention was on the rock. She is a nun—-Phd—-counselor—-confidant—-therapist—-exceptional listener—-advisor—-sibling—-and my aunt. Words can not describe the amazing person she is. Nor can they describe the love I have for her. She rarely places a demand, but when she does, everyone stops and listens.

As for me, I’m stubborn—-strong willed—-independent—-and moved over a thousand miles away from where I grew up. I hadn’t been home since 2006, when I made a promise to a friend to attend a class reunion. Since that time—-quite honestly—-I checked out.

Until now. Two months ago the “Rock” summoned my attendance to the 50th anniversary party to be held at the convent. It was turning into a family reunion. The rock wanted me there and that was that. Who argues with a rock? I was seriously thinking about arguing until family protocol kicked in.

I had no idea what to expect. Would there be arguments—-uncomfortable situations—-criticism—-I was planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

When I arrived at the convent, a calm melted over me. It was familiar—-soothing. One by one each of my aunts came to give me a hug. The soothing familiar hugs—- only those that love you from the soul out can give. Humans sometimes call it “unconditional love”. What is that? I define it as a love beyond yourself. A love with no expectations or demands. Animals know it well. It is a love that does not require accolades, attention or explanation. It just accepts you quietly and establishes your safety net. It gives you a raft when the flood waters of life are raging rapids.

We all went to lunch at the convent. It was like going through the line in grade school —-tray and all. As I was walking with my tray to join my family—-there she was. The happy—-smiling face from my childhood. That amazing smile still polished on her face—-her beam of light stronger than ever. My entire body filled instantly with a warm, soft, burst of sunshine—-breaking through with a smile. After all of these years, she had not changed a bit! For the first time in years—-I was “home”. I was the burst of sunshine I had always been—-the positive spirit —-the dreamer that believed I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right. Once again—-a hug reminded my core who I was —-and still am. The sunshine came out of hibernation and beamed stronger than ever. I merely needed a reminder it was there.

In life, tragedy can bring depression—-cold hearted people can bring disappointment with negativity. As humans we forget the sunshine within us. Smiles and hugs brought back my sunshine—- whose sunshine will yours bring back?

In life, we must deplete the shadow—-look into our souls—-find the sunshine! Always remember to hold your head high—-let your sunshine beam from the inside out—-and strut!

Have you ever had someone in your life that literally stops you in your tracks for a smile and a laugh? My friend’s husband is that very person for the both of us. He manages to take the most innocent of circumstances and turn them in to something hysterical!

Not long ago, my friend and I were out shopping. Upon returning to their house, we found her husband sitting in his chair putting lotion on his legs and feet. He had an uncomfortable fidget as he was rubbing his lower legs and feet—-holding the pump bottle in one hand and rubbing vigorously with the other. His face filled with a squint that clearly showed his discomfort.

“What’s the matter?” My friend asked her husband. “I have dry skin. I’ve been putting lotion on my legs over and over, except the itch is getting worse—-not better!” He continued to put lotion on his hand and rub it vigorously into his legs and feet.

My friend stared at her husband in shock, then began to laugh. “That bottle has shampoo in it!” She exclaimed in amusement. “I bought a large economy bottle of shampoo. Then I bought a small bottle to transfer it to so it didn’t take up as much room. That is the bottle I put it in!”

Her husband looked at her. The wheels of deduction spinning ferociously in his head. All of us stood in silence for several seconds, pondering what had just happened. Then hysterical laughter filled the room!

He stood up from his chair and walked into the bathroom to shower. “Be careful you don’t slip on the shower floor! Shampoo is slippery when wet!” We exclaimed in laughter! “Well at least my feet will be clean!” He yelled from behind the door.

Sometimes in life, we get so wrapped up in routine, we forget to verify what’s in the bottle. The result can lead to an undesirable result.

Always take time to enjoy life. Pay attention to the people that love and care for you. Above all—-communicate—-laugh—-and always pay attention to what’s in your bottle!

 

Are you your worst critic? It is a toss up in today’s world whether society or our own personal opinions are the worst critics. As for me, the idea of judging another person is out of my thought process. However, I constantly hear people giving their evaluations of others as if they have been given the power of evaluating others and to them their opinion matters. Those that judge the harshest, typically have the most faults to hide. It is no wonder there is such a problem with body image—-personal image—-and self esteem. How does one have any of those things in a society more critical than ever?

As a teenage girl, I was plump. If I were a boy I would have been called “husky”.  High school is where the perceptions of our bodies begin to develop in profound ways. In college, I found working out to be a fun source of entertainment and stress release. I slimmed down and met my first long term boyfriend. He used to tell me, “if you ever get fat I’m gone!” I spent most of my time stressing about every morsel entering my mouth so as to stay slim and keep him happy. Why? Looking back —-it was the person judging me based on aesthetic traits that had the problem—-not my weight. Why can’t people look at important qualities such as loyalty—-honesty—-integrity—-and moral turpitude?

I asked numerous beautiful women to give me one word to describe their bodies. Their answers were shocking. Gross—-fat—-jiggly—-disgusting—-were the more common descriptions given. Why? These women were some of the most incredible, loyal, good hearted people. Why do they not see themselves that way?

A few years ago, a guy I was dating and his family decided it would be funny to call me “big”. When I confronted him with the question of why, to make himself feel better he came up with a response of “well….you’re tall.” Since when are tall and big the same thing? So I asked numerous people to define in one word “big” for me—-just in case I was evaluating this wrong. The responses were—-large—-heavy—-plus —-not one response came back as “tall”. How did it affect me to be described to my face as “big”? I had difficulty eating. Even the healthiest of foods I looked at and worried about gaining weight. When looking in a mirror, I saw a “big” body that needed to lose weight. At that point in my life I was 16% body fat. Hardly what any medical professional would term as “big”. Words do more damage than any fist.

So why are people so cruel? Typically it is their own insecurities that cause them to critically judge others. I have known 3 anorexic women in my life. All three are the first to criticize others and yet they are offended when criticized. Why as a society do we allow insecure, miserable people to get in our minds and alter our opinions of ourselves?

Recently, a beautiful young lady made the cover of People magazine. She created a huge stir. Why? Not because she is beautiful—-which she most definitely is. Not because of her famous family—-as she isn’t part of anything famous. But because she is a size 22. In watching an interview with this delightful young woman, I noticed her very positive self image. How wonderfully refreshing it was to watch a young woman with a positive self image. Why can’t we all have the same positive image of ourself?

I was speaking with a friend recently. They are wonderful in so many ways. Yet the one constant in every conversation was how fat —-disgusting —-unable to lose weight—-my friend thought they are. Yet what I see is a beautiful person with a good heart—-who is not overweight. Yet their stimuli and morphed thought process of what “normal” is has created a poor body image. In fact, their thought of what their normal weight should be would make them too thin and unhealthy. How do you turn poor thinking into positive? Why does a number on a scale determine self worth? Some of the ugliest people I have ever met —-internally—-are the lowest numbers on a scale. They are miserable and toxic.

My challenge is to strike that thinking from your mind. See the beautiful person you are. Take pride in defining yourself in a positive way and become deeper than a puddle. Life is too short to dance with ugly people. Ugly is defined as self absorbed—-critical—-judgmental—-why be around anyone who does not see you for the beautiful person you are both inside and out. Eliminate these critical, toxic people from your world. If anyone in your world makes you feel insecure or critical of yourself—-they do not deserve to be a part of your world.

You are beautiful—-You are special —-and you deserve to be around people of the same caliber.