Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stress Free Christmas

We made a commitment, a conscious decision this year that we were going to have a stress free Christmas. If it wasn't fun we weren't going to do it. We were going to focus on family, fun and festivity. If we started to fret about the "perfect" present or getting everything done, we'd just remind ourselves that this was going to be a stress free Christmas, and we were able to let go and enjoy the moment(s). What is even more wonderful - it worked! We had the best Christmas ever, not just in our opinion, but the kids felt the same way too. One of my favorite things at Christmas is the lights on the tree. I love to turn out the lights in the house leaving only the tree lights on, Christmas music playing and a glass of wine with my honey - my idea of cozy. This year we gave ourselves an early Christmas present, Melissa Etheridge's "A New Thought for Christmas". Her "O Night Devine" is a guitar solo interpretation of "O Holy Night" that is completely reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner". Check it out on Amazon or iTunes to hear the clip, I promise you will love it! A friend also gave Carol a mix of Ella Fitzgerald Christmas tunes. Add Charlie Brown's Christmas Soundtrack and that is a perfect mix of music to set the perfect holiday tone.

We didn't put up every decoration we own. It saved some time and was in keeping with our stress free theme. However, we all have one favorite decoration that we always put up and that is "Lynn's ornaments". For years my sister hand painted each family member a one of a kind ornament. On this picture you can see a star and a stocking that are from her, with a close up of the star. These are truly precious treasures and each year as we unwrap the tissue we 'oh' and 'ah' over them all over again. Everyone of Lynn's ornaments will always make it on the tree.

We haven't done Christmas cards yet. We are thinking about starting a new tradition and doing New Year's cards. They were the biggest casualty of our stress free Christmas, but since we haven't decided to "never" do them, we aren't feeling too guilty about it. One other little thing we gave up was putting ribbons and bows on the packages. A couple might have snuck in here or there, but for the most part we wrapped and tagged and called it "DONE".
As a family present we got Guitar Hero World Tour Band Kit for the Wii. (We got one of the very scarce Wii last year for Christmas, thanks to my cousin Paula who braved bad roads to get to Best Buy early one Sunday morning, and then rode the ferry from VT to meet me to exchange the goods. Thanks Cuz!) We rocked out!! As you can see we are almost world tour ready! Truly a fun for the whole family game.
More than anything we found that our stress free Christmas was a state of mind. A decision to be joyful, grateful and to not give into the chaos and frenetic pace that can be Christmas, made all the difference. I'm hoping we can use the same plan to create a stress free New Year - No stress in '09! Cheers!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remembering Charles "Charlie" Wight: December 10, 1915 - November 17, 2008

My grandfather passed away last week and his funeral was Friday. As hard as it was to know that he is gone, it was a wonderful opportunity to hear from many people who loved him, what a special man he was. Each of his sons spoke at his funeral about his example, his work ethic, his generosity, his faith and his dedication to family.

In this picture my grandfather is surrounded by my Uncle Glen, my Dad (Ed), Uncle Paul and Uncle Bruce. I can't think of anyone better suited to raise 4 sons. My grandfather was a gentle man, a true gentleman. When my Uncle Glen spoke of getting ready to leave home and go out on his own, he told of how my grandfather sat him down and told him that when you work, you give your work everything you've got, always more than 100%. When you leave work, you leave work, and give your family the same.

As I listened I realized that my grandfather truly is the foundation of who I am. While I have always given my father credit for my work ethic (aka workaholism), my peaceful nature, my faith, my consideration for the feelings of others, my desire to be helpful and make a difference in the world; I recognized that my father inherited these qualities from his father, and I from him.

My grandfather was in touch with his emotions. I can remember many occasions when saying grace before dinner that my grandfather would begin to cry; so overcome with gratitude for his family and his many blessings. I can also remember that it was the rare occasion that my grandfather didn't fall asleep at the table after dinner; so overcome with fatigue from always giving of himself.

I know my grandfather has gone to a better place, and is overjoyed at being reunited with my grandmother. Two more loving human beings, I could never imagine. I was so truly fortunate to experience their kindness and generosity, their support and encouragement, their passion for sharing the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Tribute to my Dad on the 25th Anniversary of his Ordination as a Deacon

Anyone who knows my dad, and especially anyone who’s been to his house, knows that my dad is a packrat. He can’t throw anything out. He’s brings to life the expression, “one mans trash is another mans treasure”. That’s because he sees the potential in everything. Where others see broken and worthless, my dad sees possibility. He can envision that an object might be worth more than meets the eye.

He sees people in just the same way. He believes in the inherent value of each person. He has an exceptional capacity to do what we are all called to do; see Christ in others. My dad has the gift of creativity. Many of you know that he uses that gift to make things with his hands. Creativity requires the vision to see not what something is, but what it can become. This applies to how he views others – not as they are, but as they can be. I believe his creativity is one of the greatest expressions of his faith.

If I had to think of one description of my dad it would be hard working. He worked many jobs to support our family. But more importantly, he worked hard to share God’s love and bring more people to the full understanding of the Kingdom. My dad never sought glory for himself, but always sought to glorify God. He became a deacon out of his desire to share the joy he found in the Lord and out of his deep commitment to help others experience what he has found in the power of love and the grace of redemption.

Growing up with my dad was a gift that I will never stop being grateful for. My father expresses his belief in us through unconditional love. He is able to be Christ like in his acceptance, his patience, his perseverance, his generosity, his service, his humility and his example. I have always seen my dad as a servant; one who could put aside himself and focus on the needs of others.

I consider my father to be the greatest role model any child could have. He taught us that you never give up, you treat people the way you want to be treated, you give thanks for what you have and don’t complain about what you don’t have, you pray when you are in need and you love your neighbor as yourself.

One of the things that made my father so successful in his ministry over the years is his humanness. He never came off as a pious, holier than thou religious figure. He is an everyman, no better than anyone else and he’ll be the first to admit it. People respond to that and can relate to him. He puts a real face on Christ.

I’ll bet you didn’t know my father had a “girlfriend” ministry. When he took communion to shut-ins, many of the people he visited were women. He would always say, “I’m going to see my girlfriend”. He brought not only communion but a good natured playfulness and joy to these women. He’d walk in and say, “How’s my best girl today?” and they would glow and grin from ear to ear. I wonder if he could even count all the girlfriends he’s had over the years.

I often run into people who knew my dad as a teacher, or a deacon, or a hospice volunteer. Our name is unique enough that I’m often asked, are you related to Ed Wight? When I say, “Yeah he’s my dad”. I always get the response. “Oh I love your father. He’s such a nice man.” To which I always respond, “Yeah, I love him too, he’s one of my favorite human beings on the planet. “

Sunday, November 16, 2008

~So Much to Celebrate!~

If you have visited this blog in the last couple of months, you know there has been absolutely no activity. That is not to say that there hasn't been anything going on in my life. Quite the contrary. So many wonderful things to catch up on!

I am going to be a grandmother. I haven't figured out what title I will have Maria's daughter Alana Marie call me, perhaps Oma, perhaps MiMa, something that doesn't quite sound as traditional as gramma... Maria's due date is March 29th. Here is a great sonogram picture from her last appointment on October 29th.

Pretty cool huh? I could show other picture, but you can't really tell what you are looking at like you can in this one. We are planning a February baby shower, with a Flower Power tie dye theme. (My little hippie...)

My dad celebrated his 25th Anniversary of his Ordination as a Roman Catholic Deacon on Oct. 3rd. His current parish St. Mary's in Bath, NY had a wonderful recognition dinner for him on Nov. 7th that our whole immediate family was able to be present for. Many people who couldn't come sent letters that Lynn and I read as a testiment to the profound impact my dad has had on their life and how his ministry has touched them in so many ways, both great and small.

I too celebrated a religious milestone of my own. I was received into the Episcopal Church at St. Luke's the Beloved Physican by Bishop Love on Nov. 9th. My reception took place while the Bishop was at St. Luke's to confirm our high school students. I had the privelage of helping prepare the students for confirmation. I have been so blessed since I joined St. Luke's and have found a beautiful community to share my love of Christ and passion to share the Gospel with young people.

And if all of this wasn't enough to top off our joy, David's team has made it into the State Semi-Finals for Class C Football. They play in Kingston at Deitz Stadium Nov. 22nd. If they win they advance to the State Championship Game in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This is so exciting and David has had a phenomenol season. This is an excerpt from the Press Republican coverage:

"But Red Storm Head Coach Mark Farmer saw an even more significant play earlier in the game from his defensive unit. With the Cannoneers already up by a touchdown, quarterback Chris Hughes led Tom Ebenhoch with a perfect toss over his shoulder, and Ebenhoch raced toward paydirt without breaking stride.However, David Snyder made a game-saving tackle after catching Ebenhoch on the Red Storm five-yard line. 'David made the best play of the game, knocking him out at the five,' Farmer said. 'That turned the tide for us.' The Saranac Lake defense, electrified by the game-saving play, stiffened and prevented the Cannoneers from scoring, capped by a Snyder interception on a fourth-down play."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Change is inevitable

Well, you can see from the pictures, fall is on its way. While many of the trees haven't turned yet, the color is starting to show and in no time it will have arrived in all its glory. I personally love fall; the crisp air, warm sun, changing colors. The changing seasons are one of the many wonderful things about living here in the mountains.
Like the seasons, life is full of changes, many of which we have no control over. Rather than wish that we could control the change in our life, why don't we accept that change as inevitable like the changing seasons? I think in part we try to avoid change because it makes us approach the boundries of what is comfortable, familiar and let's face it, safe.
I myself, and many people I've known, have struggled with changing jobs when we admittedly were unhappy in the job we were in. And yet, embracing something new can be so much harder than living with something known, even when we know it not be to good. Positive thinking challenges us to believe that something new, can in fact be better. We need to remind ourselves that we are strong enough to face the unknown, and that God wants good things for us and will be right there with us, weathering the change.
Is there a change you are fearing? Are you staying safe, but missing the joy of the new and unexperienced? Let go. Move on. Try it. I bet you'll find, you like it!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Toast to Summer

Today marks the end of summer. It was a glorious summer day today and one that reminded me of everything I love about summer. We started our day lazy and slept in. (I had a crazy nail polish accident that involved dropping a basket of nail polish in the bathroom, two of which broke, splattering electric pink and red nail polish all over the tile floor. That slowed our morning down considerably.) After lunch we headed to Lake Clear Beach. Locals know this is the place to go to spend the day at the lake. As you can see the beach is long and the lake is gorgeous. The water is everything you'd expect from a refreshing Adirondack swim.
We napped in the sun. (And yes there was snoring...) When we were nice and toasty like a well roasted marshmellow, we headed back into town, but not before stopping at Donnelly's for ice cream. If you don't know, Donnelly's is a local landmark of sorts. Since forever, they have sold only one option a day of soft serve ice cream. Most days it is chocolate and vanilla twist. There are a few fruit days where the flavor would be raspberry and vanilla twist or some similar fruit flavor, or the favorite in our house; nut day. This could be pistachio and vanilla or maple walnut and vanilla or even coffee and vanilla. The flavor of the day is always twisted with vanilla. This ice cream has the highest fat content on the planet and is truly the creamiest ice cream you will ever eat. For me, that is actually not a desirable quality, but since today's flavor was pistachio, I was happy to indulge in a "two tone cone" to celebrate the end of summer.
If you are wondering why I am holding a green shirt out the window, that was a little fun I was having drying Carol's shirt that got wet at the beach. We came home and had a wonderful dinner of pork tenderloin and potatoes cooked on the grill with corn on the cob. We ate outside and enjoyed the perfect summer night. Summer hasn't been full of perfect days like this one. It was a delicious treat to have one last day to enjoy all those things that make summer so sweet.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

In the Moment

Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to be "in the moment"? Do you realize that while you are in the midst of one experience, you are already mentally preparing for the next? Do you find yourself not really listening to the person speaking to you because you are somewhere else "in your head" rather than present, attentive, engaged "in the moment"?

I think we all fall victim to this, perhaps some more than others or perhaps under some circumstances more than others. It's particularly easy to not want to be in the moment, during unpleasant moments. My focus is, rather on those everyday moments to which we could be more connected. For me, talking on the phone is a huge "not in the moment" time. I allow myself to do things while I'm on the phone, I'd never do if I was talking to you in person; check my email, read the paper, do chores, watch TV. By doing those other things, I'm dividing my attention and really likely to miss some of what you are saying, or giving minimal responses to what you are saying or even worse leaving you feeling like I wasn't really listening or giving you my attention. Because I know how big a pitfall this is for me, I'm trying to be conscious about not engaging in other things when I'm on the phone. I'm trying to bring my subconscious distraction to a more conscious level and not adding to it by doing things that I know take my attention in different directions.

Another reason I think we end up not in the moment is anxiety. We worry. We stress. We distress. We fret. We obsess. We dwell. These aren't positive, life and faith affirming behaviors and they never make things better. No situation ever improved because we worried about it. Action changes things, worry does not. We too often miss the good around us, because we are focused on the fear within us. Fear robs us of joy. Just like I have to make a conscious effort and decision not to check my email while I'm on the phone to be able to be truly present, we must also make a conscious effort and decision to stop our mind from wandering down the path of fear which leads to anxiety/worry/stress...

If something is weighing on your mind, rather than letting yourself get stuck in the vortex of distress, ask yourself, "What am I going to do about it?" Look for action you can take. Can you learn more about something (where you're traveling for the first time, a medical condition someone has been diagnosed with, etc.)? Can you speak to someone who has had a similar experience (join a support group for parents of children who have a similar need as your child, call a friend who has also tried to quit smoking, etc)? When you can come up with no action you could take, prayer is always an option. When you are thinking, "There's nothing I can do..." that should be a prompt to you to think, "I can pray about this, I can pray for them, I can trust God and turn my worries over to Him."
There is so much enjoyment, pleasure, peace, fulfillment, to be gained by really experiencing the world and people around us. We must challenge ourselves to recognize when our mind and body are in different places, and exercise the mental control to get back to the moment. When we are absorbing the good around us, we will then be so much more able to turn around and give it away. We can't do for others when we are worn out or worn down by worry.
Matthew 6:25-34 Do Not Be Anxious
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ah, Camping...

One of the reasons it's been so long since I posted, is that we've been camping at Fish Creek for a week. I have to say, camping is simply one of my favorite things to do. There is nothing that soothes my soul quite like camping. This slide show does a nice job of highlighting some of the best things about camping.

Waking up to the sun spilling across the water is a magical sight. I've searched and searched for an adequate word to describe the sparkling fireworks of diamonds that dance on the water when the light hits the moving water. It is just the most mesmerizing vision, especially for someone who likes "shiny" things. I'm a huge fan of having my coffee sitting at the edge of the water, absorbing the early sun and basking in the morning quiet. It doesn't get any better than this. If the day ended right here, I'd be totally satisfied. But it doesn't.

Another favorite part of camping is living at the water; having your outdoor kitchen in full view of the lake, swimming, kayaking, lazing, playing in the sand. Perhaps I'm more of a sun worshipper than God intended, but I just love soaking up the sun, jumping in the water to cool off, laying back down in the sun and repeating often. (And if a cold beer snuck up on me, I wouldn't send it back where it came from.)

In the absence of TV and computers, there is plenty of time to devour a good book or two. We always bring games to play especially in the evening. Usually games that use cards because they are small and easy to pack. In addition to games played with a deck of cards like hearts and rummy, we played Quiddler, Flinch and the "Bean Game" (Bohnanza). This is a clever and strategic game that is different than anything I've ever played, and I've played a lot of games. If you like games, check it out. The expansion pack of High Bohn is great fun and once you've mastered the original bean game Bohnanza, well worth trying too.

And of course last, but certainly not least is the campfire. Camping life revolves around acquiring wood for the fire, (scouring the woods for downed wood, scavenging empty sites for wood left behind, and waiting for the wood truck to come when you are desperate enough to buy wood) starting the fire, (everyone wants to build the fire, because there is the hope that this time will be the time that I can build the perfect fire and it will take off quickly and easily and everyone will be impressed with my fire building prowess, but in reality, some fires just don't want to light and no matter how much newspaper or kindling you try to add, you end up feeling dejected that the fire held out on you) and keeping the fire stoked and burning until that late night time when you decide to just watch the embers glow and not add any more wood because you have to go to bed soon.

I've loved camping almost as long as I can remember. Our family vacations as kids always involved camping. I had no idea at that age that it was the only vacation we could afford, it was a tradition and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. When you ask my brother or sister or me what our favorite childhood memory(s) is/are we all will say "camping". Camping was a time we could count on all being together. My Dad in particular went camping with us, while the rest of the time he was usually busy working at least two jobs. Playing games was always part of the camping fun as kids too. My siblings and I have all remained family game players with our families and I know that goes back to playing games camping as kids.

The unspoken attraction of camping is that it strips away so many of life's distractions, places us back in the natural world and reminds us of how wonderful it is to live simply. We spent time talking about camping as a retirement lifestyle. We discussed whether we'd ever give up our tent for a camper. We talk about downsizing to one vehicle and a motorcycle and traveling from campground to campground. While retirement seems a long time off, the next camping trip isn't. We remind ourselves of the importance of living in the moment, and not putting off till tomorrow what will bring us joy today, for tomorrow may never come.

What pleasures are you saving for tomorrow that you could be enjoying today? Live everyday like it's a gift and be thankful for what you have right now. And Go Camping! You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Attitude, after all, is everything.

I got this story in an email from my friend Greg. I thought it fit so well with the theme of Be Positive that it was worth sharing. You may have read it before, but that's ok. It's a good reminder about perspective.

"John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?' He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.'
'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested. 'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'

I reflected on what he said. Soon thereafter, I left the tower industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?' I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. 'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.' 'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.

He continued, '..the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.' 'What did you do?' I asked. 'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'. Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34."

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

The Search for Happiness

I'm borrowing this entry from a daily devotional called "Hugs: Daily Inspirations for Women" published by Howard Books. This entry appears for August 9th.

"Happiness depends less on our circumstances than on our thoughts. When we turn our thoughts to things positive - when we thank God for His gifts and revel in His glorious creation, those positive thoughts bring a reward. But when we focus on the negative aspects of life, we invite needless suffering into our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.

The Roman poet Horace noted, 'You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within reach of every person - a contended mind confers it all.' Happiness is, to a surprising extent, a creation of our own making.

Here are two facts worth considering: first, happiness is a choice; second, no one can choose your happiness but yourself. Happiness is in your own hands - take it!"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I Believe...

It's all in what you tell yourself.
You can change how you experience your life by changing what you believe is going to happen. When you expect the worst, it's what you'll find. When you expect goodness, it's so much easier to recognize. You can find good or bad depending on what you go looking for. Why would you want to find anything other than good?

Everything happens for a reason.
Sometimes the reason is hard to see, and may take a long time to be understood. But believing that I'll eventually recognize the purpose, makes moving forward much easier.

Praying for your "enemies" makes them your "allies".
When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about someone else, ask God to bless them. I've used this countless times when I am having a problem with someone. If I catch myself grumbling in my head or even out loud, I'll try to stop myself and just simply say, "God Bless ___ (name of person)." I repeat it as often as I catch myself being angry, frustrated, annoyed or whatever. So many times something has changed in those relationships and I no longer think and feel the same way about those people. Other times I've developed deep and meaningful relationships with someone who used to "bug me".

Treat people the way you want to be treated.
I don't think this needs any explanation.

Noone else can make you happy or unhappy.
Happiness comes from a satisfaction with yourself. It can be shared with someone who you enjoy. But if you base your own happiness on what someone else does or doesn't do you are bound to be unhappy. The only person you can control is yourself and therefore your true happiness depends on you. It depends on the choices you make. It depends on the messages you tell yourself when someone else behaves in a different way than you wish they would. You can be happy with someone, in fact I think that is what most of us are looking for. But you are not happy because you are with them. If that were the case then you couldn't be happy without them. The quest isn't someone who will take responsibility for your happiness, the quest is someone who has their own happiness to share with yours.

Laughter is the best medicine.
'nuf said.

You can't look at a sunflower and not be uplifted.
Thank you to all of you who grow sunflowers for the rest of us to enjoy.

You can do something every day to make a positive impact on another human being and on the planet.
Smile, let someone go ahead of you in line, make eye contact, walk, bike, carpool, reduce, reuse, recycle, consume less, donate blood, walk a dog at the animal shelter, call a friend, have tea with an old friend (or an old lady :). In fact comment with your suggestions and I will add a list of free ways to make the world a better place.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Become the Change You Wish to See

On July 2nd we had the awesome good fortune to see Melissa Etheridge perform at the Cape Cod Melody Tent. This is the most amazing venue. The stage is a circle in the center of the tent (think circus tent) and there are 20 rows of seats. Every seat in the house is a GREAT seat because the stage very slowly revolves so that the performer is facing everyone at various points in the show.

Prior to the show I had been "stressed". I was giving my work worries too much power over everything in my life. I was going to the doctor for chest pain that turned out to be an ulcer. I was becoming conscious of being miserable and not liking the person I was with others. I spent the beginning of the vacation daydreaming and focusing on how I could change jobs, have a job that was like being on vacation, not working so hard; essentially how could I get away from what was weighing me down.

Melissa's concert was titled The Revival Tour 2008 because she was wanting to share "The Awakening" she experienced during her chemo and beyond. She had an opportunity to re-examine her life as she faced losing it, and discovered new realities and priorities, including a new spirituality.

There are so many words, phrases, ideas that spoke to me from this concert (that are on The Awakening album); "God is in the people"; "If not now, when? If not today, then what happens tomorrow?"; "Truth is of the people, By the people, For the people". With so many positive, life affirming messages, I found myself realizing that I didn't need to change what was outside me (my job) but what was inside me (my attitude). This spoke so powerfully to me; "If you become the change you wish to see, you change". (from "What happens tomorrow")

I have a choice how I respond to every situation, whether I see it as a problem or an opportunity, whether I focus on my distress or focus on my blessings, whether when asked "how are you?" I take the time to think of something uplifting to say, for myself and the person who asked, or just go with my standard, "busy". I realized that by changing the message I am sending myself (and everyone around me) I could change what I was experiencing. One of the reasons I started this blog was to help keep my focus positive. I've purposely selected music for the playlist that reinforces positive thinking.

It WORKS! Since making the commitment to Be Positive, I have seen my stress go down and my joy go up. No more ulcer meds, no more coming home grumpy bear, no more feeling dissatisfied with my job, no more not liking the person I was becoming. I now have room in my head and my heart to think more about sharing this joy with others and spreading the Good News. God is Good All the Time! God Loves Us, is Always with Us. And we meet him every moment of every day in the people we encounter. How Cool is that?! Every moment is a gift. We say Thank You for that gift by making our lives a celebration of all the grace and blessings we've received.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Truth

Click on the picture to the right to view a procative narration of The Truth. Before you go to this link to view this clip, I need to offer the disclaimer that it may sound contrary to the philosophy and beliefs of this blog; watch it through to the end. And remember, things are not always what they appear.

Monday, July 21, 2008

No Complaining

I found this article on the Guideposts website and thought it fit perfectly with Be Positive, so I've copied it to share. For more Positive Thinking inspiration, check on the Guideposts link on my Worth Checking Out list.

Six ways to build a more positive workplace.
By Jon Gordon Jacksonville, Florida

"Everyone complains from time to time. But mindless, chronic complaining is toxic in the workplace. It's linked to increased stress, reduced productivity, even client loss and lower profits. Why not institute the no complaining rule, like my friend Dwight Cooper did at his nurse staffing company PPR? Morale and client satisfaction went up, and PPR made Inc. magazine's list of fastest growing companies. By eliminating mindless complaints, real and justified complaints can be transformed into solutions. After all, every complaint represents an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Some tips:
1. Hold a complaining fast.
Monitor your words and thoughts for a day. You'll be shocked at how many negative thoughts pop into your mind and out your mouth.

2. Add a positive.
Tack a 'but' onto a complaint, and make it a positive statement. For example, 'I don't like long meetings, but I do like bouncing ideas around with my coworkers.' Use complaints to identify likes as well as dislikes.

3. Turn complaints into solutions.
Brainstorm several solutions for every problem you point out, and bring your complaint (and ideas) to someone who is in a position to address it. Don't bother venting to those who can't help fix the problem; it only creates a negative atmosphere.

4. Focus on 'get to' instead of 'have to.'
Think, 'I get to work while so many are unemployed,' rather than harping on 'having to' go to work. Express gratitude instead of resentment, and share that gratitude with others.

5. Create a positive environment.
Communicate with coworkers, bosses and subordinates clearly. Gaps in communication cause the fear and helplessness that's behind most complaints. Put the no complaining rule into practice and create a system through which justified complaints are identified and tackled.

6. Celebrate success.
Each night before bed, write down one great thing about your day in a success journal. At work, highlight people who turned complaints into innovative solutions."

Friday, July 18, 2008


Have you ever noticed how we seem to have a hard time with quiet? We have music or the radio on in the car, we have our cell phones and our mp3 players, we have TV's in every room in the house. When there is a pause in conversation we are racking our brains trying to figure out what to say to fill the silence. Are we afraid to listen to ourselves think? I think we need more practice doing just that; listening to ourselves think. I think we need to pay attention to thoughts that are running through our mind. Not the endless list of "to do's", but the self talk, the messages we are telling our selves about what's happening to us or not, our reactions to others, our fears and stresses. Too often we accept as fact, that which is not.

Example, the price of gas is crazy high. I have fretted and worried about the financial strain of driving to work everyday. It adds stress to the rest of the challenges that come with going to work. I have complained and spent plenty of negative energy because of the increasing cost of filling the car with gas. I know I'm not alone. Then one day I paid attention to what I was thinking and realized, I had choices. I could carpool. While it seemed inconvenient and could pose some lack of independence issues, I decided it was worth trying. What I was seeing as a problem, I reframed to see as an opportunity. And I'm glad I did. Now my half hour drive to work goes by so quickly. Not only am I saving money on gas, contributing fewer carbon emissions to the planet, but I'm listening and sharing and relating to another human being in a way we don't often make time to do. I feel great when I get to work and get home. Carpooling has literally lightened my load. While it may seem simplistic, it's an example of listening to my self and recognizing the need to make a change.

Take time to listen to yourself think. If you hear negative, defeatist, frustrated, anxious and fearful thoughts, question what other choices you have. Is this problem an opportunity waiting to be discovered? Does a fear present an opportunity to exercise faith? Can you choose another perspective that will bring you more peace, more joy? Do you recognize that your perception may not be the only possible reality?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Alone

"We don't have it all together, but together we have it all." Good friends gave us a sign that hangs in our house with this message. Sometimes we forget how much lighter the load when shared. That goes for offering to help as well as accepting support. (At this very moment, I have to say how time spent in the company of someone who values you, with no words, no actions, just presence can be an amazing balm to the soul.)

I have to thank my dear friend Greg (of Midnight Garden fame) for his help and encouragement to get this blog up and running. His blog was such an inspiration that I wanted to give it a try. My BE POSITIVE reminders are more for me than anything or anyone. As I come here every day to check the blog, listen to the playlist, and compose something, my mind focuses on what's good, what brings joy, how to share that peace. I go to a better place in my mind, heart and soul and it stays with me long after I log off.

Can you do something to bring some light, joy, tenderness to another person? If you are down, pick somebody else up. You'll be amazed.

Ruby Slippers

Are they the most amazing shoes you've ever seen? Haven't you ALWAYS wanted a pair? Didn't you love the image of the Wicked Witch's feet sticking out from under Dorothy's house with the magical ruby slippers showing?

At the end of the Wizard of Oz, The Good Witch tells Dorothy that all she has to do is click her heels three times to go home. Glinda tells Dorothy she had what she needed all along. I love that message - You have what you need, you just need to use it. We all have so much power to make our lives what we want them to be. Dorothy dreamed of going back over the rainbow; home. And while she wandered all over Oz, trying to figure out how to get there, she carried the ability to go the whole time.

We look in so many places before we look inside. So often, the answer is within. What have you been looking for?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Here Kitty, Kitty

We do love our Kitties. First, let me introduce the newest addition to the family, Delilah. She's just a little over a year old. We got her as a 6 week old kitten and she has been our delight every moment since. She fetches her little fur mousies, which I will try to capture on video and post another time. We have nicknamed her Dilly Girl. We've had enough bad experiences with cats when they are out of doors, that we've decided to keep Dilly an indoor cat. Most of the time she doesn't know the difference, but there are moments when the other cats go out that you know she's wondering what she's missing.

Skitty is actually our oldest cat, and in a way the reason we got Delilah. 2 years ago we moved into this house. When we did, Skitty kept running away and going back to our old house. We fetched her and brought her home many times. Once the cold weather came, she stopped running away. However, the following year, she took off Memorial Day weekend. Our old neighbors never called to say she was back in the old neighborhood, so we assumed the worst. Eventually we decided we needed to fill our kitty void with a kitten, and got Delilah. Then the first snowfall came, and home came Skitty.

BJ (Black Jack) is our high adventure kitty. He stops by to eat, sleep and off he goes. He got hit by a car once, and a passerby had the good sense to bring him to the Humane Society where we had adopted him, and they had microchipped him. It meant they could get ahold of us in time for us to take him to the Animal Hospital so he could be in Kitty Intensive Care for a week, getting his jaw wired back together. Other than a very crooked smile, he's as good as new. And it hasn't deterred his adventuring one bit.

And then there's Isaac. I will say he's our laziest cat. But in his defense, he wasn't always that way. Some years ago, Isaac was gone on a kitty day out, but never came home. We went looking for him and finally found him 11 days later up a tree, way up! We had to get a tree service guy to come and climb the tree with gear and harnesses and everything to get up to rescue Isaac. Isaac has never gone anywhere since. He's played it safe and barely moved inside the house as well.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Letting Go

I can be a control freak. I have a "healthy" sense of my own ability to do everything. But then reality creeps in and I find myself in situations that I can't control, fix or handle. These are necessary reminders that I am mortal, and that I do in fact depend entirely on God. The funny thing is that when I remember that, I actually feel so much better. The mere act of remembering God travels on our journey and shares all our burdens, is enough to lighten the load. But more than just realizing I'm not alone, I need to make a conscious decision to turn to God and surrender. I saw a sun catcher once that was imprinted, "Let Go and Let God". I still see that green glass sparkling in the sun as I am recognizing a worry or stress as an opportunity to "let it go" and turn it over to God, knowing that only He can truly control, fix or handle anything.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Getting Started

I'm very fond of saying, "It's all in what you tell yourself". It means that what we think can change how we experience reality. If we expect the best, it's much easier to see good things. If we tell ourselves, we are going to be stressed, it's hard to feel calm.