The Wisdom of Dogs

225531893809428622_EQ0KJW6C_c“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” 
 – Marilyn Monroe

I can’t imagine what our home would be like without a dog residing here as well.

After we lost our last dog, we swore that was it…no more dogs.  After a few weeks we knew we were both liars.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that our dogs have been excellent judges of character. When they warm up to someone right away, I’m pretty sure it’s okay for me to as well. They seem to sense the general personality of people pretty quickly.  They tend to try to share that knowledge with us as well, we would do well to listen.

Dogs are certainly attention hogs, they have been known to make a mess now and again, they also seem to know which items in the house are the most expensive as they seek out a chew toy; however, they’re always worth the cost.

Dogs love us unconditionally.  Whether we’re in a good mood or a bad one, they still offer us kisses.  And I don’t know about your canine pals, but ours smile.  They have moods and they express them in their body language.  I think the reason people are so attached to their pets is that, no matter what we do, they will always, always love us.

I’m sure all you cat lovers have wonderful things to say about your pets as well, but we are a “dog” family and probably always will be.

And as it is often pointed out, dog is God spelled in reverse.  I’m thinking that’s for a very good reason.

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Grown up Christmas List

FIO_039“So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself
                                                   But for a world in need”                                                                          – by Amy Grant

It’s that time of year again…family and friends are asking what we’d like for Christmas.

Most of us are fortunate enough not to “need” anything, so we run through our mental inventory and see if there’s something we would like.  A new bathrobe (I have 3), perfume (don’t wear it), clothes (I have plenty), a new kitchen gadget (I have several in the pantry that I still haven’t used).  So what would be the perfect reply to this question?

How about sending them this short note?

Hello my dearest loved one…As snow begins to drift

It’s time again when you would know what I’d like as a gift.

The gifts you’ve given in the past continue to be treasured,

The care you took selecting them just really can’t be measured.

But as we celebrate anew I have a small request,

There really is a gift I’d like, the one I’d love the best.

I ask if you would take the funds you’ve set aside for me

And rather than a gift with bows, give to a charity.

Make it one that helps the most or one that helps a few,

Think of one that means a lot, one that touches you.

Feed some hungry souls in need or help retired vets,

Help to buy a new, warm coat or help some lonely pets.

I have been blessed abundantly and just don’t need a thing

It’s a season of love, a season to share, a season about the King.

I love you so and want to say a “thank you” in advance,

I see your loving heart each day, now other’s have the chance.

So as we celebrate this year, we’ll do it knowing this…

The gifts bestowed were needed most. 

Love, Me

– Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving & a Few Trivial Tidbits

imagesGrateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
                                                    Blessed that we are able.                                                                                                                                
– Mary Chapin Carpenter

We, as a family, have always been fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving together.  I am most grateful for that.  As the years add up, I know this may not always be true – so I hold them close and treasure these moments up in my heart. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

A few fun Thanksgiving facts…

Thanksgiving Facts throughout History…

  •  Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
  •  Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
  •  Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  •  The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
  •  In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.
  •  Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  •  Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He “pardons” it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.
  • The turkeys typically depicted in Thanksgiving pictures are not the same as the domestic turkeys most people eat at Thanksgiving. Domestic turkeys usually weigh twice as much and are too large to fly.
  • The Pilgrim’s thanksgiving feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 1. It lasted three days and included 50 surviving pilgrims and approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians, including Chief Massasoit. Their menu differed from modern Thanksgiving dinners and included berries, shellfish, boiled pumpkin, and deer.
  • Thanksgiving football games began with Yale versus Princeton in 1876.

Earned

old-ladyYou cannot open a magazine or turn on the television without seeing a miracle cure for wrinkles.

I happen to go to a health club in which there is a spa.  Within the spa, the amount of money one can spend on skin rejuvenation is mind boggling.  While I am not counted among the ranks, many spend thousands monthly on trying to erase the lines that life has put upon their faces.  Thousands!

The only thing I’ve ever used on my face is soap, water and Oil of Olay.

We, as women, need to stop focusing on removing the things that make us…well…US.  We earned every line that is on our face.  Those lines are caused by smiles, tears, worries, laughter, and vacations in the sun (yes, wear sunscreen).  The only thing you need to do is drink a lot of water – water is the cheapest and most effective skin enhancer.  Well, water and smiling.  Smiling has the same effect.

So instead of looking in the mirror at all the things you wish you could change – look into your eyes and see if they are “smiling”.  I bet they are.  If they are, count yourself blessed and stop looking for flaws.  If they are not, fixing a few wrinkles isn’t going to make a difference.  Figure out what the problem is and then fix that.

If people are said to wear their heart upon their sleeves, faces are wearing their soul upon their surface.

You can’t buy contentment.  No specialist can put a truly peaceful look upon your face because it comes from within – not from a Botox vial.

Wear your wrinkles proudly, you earned each and every one.  And, to paraphrase Mark Twain, a wrinkle can only go where a smile has been.

Tomorrow’s You

463fe78961e669e9f2ec7d7af1639816Regret is one of the worst things you can do to yourself.

The problem with harboring regrets is that you are powerless over them, there’s nothing you can do about them – what’s done is done.

I once had a creative writing project in which I had to write a letter of advice to my younger self.  What advice would I have given to myself if I could have gone back and done so?  While this is a clever idea, and was pretty fun to do, it wasn’t very constructive.

It got me to wondering about things I COULD do to help my future self – if that makes sense – because that WOULD be constructive.  So I decided to write a letter.

(To be opened and read 11/26/2014)

Dear Future Me:

I hope that you are happy and that you have found a greater purpose for your days.  I hope you are surrounded by friends and family and love.  I hope that you are healthy and fit and free of worry.

Since I realize that there may have been some hard times in this last year, I also hope that you have been able to find peace through it all.

I have some things I am working at improving and I’m hoping and praying that you stuck with them and have achieved some goals.  Here are the things I hope you followed through on:

  • Following a healthier way of eating.  Incorporating mostly plants and protein while dropping the processed foods completely.
  • Continuing to exercise at least 5 days a week and working extra steps into your day whenever possible.
  • Finishing up and launching your new website – learning how to maintain it yourself.
  • Challenging yourself to learn something new that is a little intimidating (i.e. Java Script)
  • Reaching out to new friends in a faith community.
  • Letting go of the things that stress you out the most.
  • Praying more.
  • Telling your friends and family how much you love and appreciate them by sending notes and cards frequently.  (Written words matter more than emails)
  • Being positive about situations when being negative feels easier.
  • Getting that book you wrote ready to send to a publisher.
  • Finding a new place to call home

Love,

You (on 11/26/2013)

I challenge each of you to do this.  I challenge you to look at the things over the past year that you regret not doing and to do them in the year to come.  Don’t wait for New Year’s Day to resolve to change – do it TODAY.

Put your letter in an envelope and put it in a place where you will see it often, but don’t open it for a year.

Create a little sign to put on your refrigerator with key words from your list.  Mine says this:

          HEALTHIER FOODS – WORKOUTS – WEBSITE – JAVA SCRIPT – CHURCH –        LET GO – PRAY – WRITE A NOTE TODAY – BE POSITIVE – BOOK – HOME

Here’s to the future “US” and that we reach all of our goals and follow our own advice. After all, we have our own best interests at heart – let’s listen this time and put some action in those things we hope for. You can do this!

 

What Counts

count1_610x316What are you counting in your life?

Everyday, life happens. Some of the happenings are joyful, some are not.  When we breathe our way through the day, we take a lot of mental notes.  I believe that those of us who count the joys are much more content than those of us who only count the raindrops.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve met many people and I love to learn what it is that makes them tick.  I love the ones who radiate joy and positivity – especially the ones who aim to spread it around.

We all know people like that, when they enter a space…it changes.  It becomes more positive, lighter, brighter and when they leave, it seems to be a little colder than it was when they first arrived.  So what it is it that causes that?  Can we be like that?

I think the things that set people such as those apart from the rest are these:

  • They care more about you than they do themselves
  • They are genuine in their warmth
  • They look for the positives in every situation
  • They don’t speak negatively about others
  • They don’t seek to impress
  • They are comfortable in their own skin
  • They have a pure spirit – uncolored by pessimism
  • They are really glad to be with you
  • They are encouragers…always
  • They don’t complain..they count their blessings instead
  • They count the rainbows rather than the thunderstorms

So, the answer is…yes, we can be like that.  It probably will involve a paradigm shift.  The good thing is, if you know someone who is like this – they can become the pattern you follow.

It’s all about choices.  It’s all about deciding what to count in life.

I choose rainbows.

p.s.  Please let your encouragers know what an impact they’ve had on your life – do it today.

 

How Bizarre, How Bizarre

69214f94d58a58b428461289580f6bb6Most of us remember high school as a place where we simply wanted to get by each day without sticking out like a sore thumb. Anonymity was your friend…unless you were one of the “cool” kids, then it was lethal.

I remember the first time I saw the movie, The Breakfast Club.  I had only been out of high school for a few years, but I immediately remembered what it was like trying to be myself, but not too much of myself.

The thing is, as we mature and age – I’m not sure many of us actually outgrow the way it feels to be in high school.  We still want to belong to a group – we want to be accepted and wanted.  We want to put on our best face as we encounter others, and in doing so – we often hide some of our best qualities. We just want to be comfortable in the place we wish to fit in.

Funny thing is that when we hide what makes us a little bizarre, we hide some of our truths.  In that circumstance, we will never be comfortable.  The best friends we can find are those that know how weird we actually are and love us anyway.  The very best ones join in on our weirdness.  I love those best ones the most.

When Emilio Estevez’s character, Andrew, proclaimed that, “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all,”  I don’t think anyone realized just how much truth had just been spoken.

Fitting in all of the time is boring – it makes us a little bit robotic, don’t you think?  I believe that when we dance to the beat of our own drum, we are much more interesting.  And, certainly, more unforgettable.