Blog

Friends

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Thank you for being a friend

Travel down the road and back again

Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confident.

And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew.

You would see the biggest gift would be from me

and the card attached would say,

Thank you for being a friend. 

The words to the theme song from the Golden Girls have been bouncing around in my head this week.  It has been a glorious week of socializing for me. I feel like a social butterfly who has been set free from its chrysalis.  I got to spend time with so many of my friends that I have not seen in what seems like an eternity!

I had two lunch dates.  One with my old high school friend.  Christy and I have reconnected after years of separation.  It’s been like we hadn’t missed a beat!  I had another date with my good friend that I haven’t seen for months. I had brunch with some of my friends where we discussed some complex ideas that you can’t mull over with a group, text chat.  Another friend that I haven’t seen for six months came for a two day visit. Last but not least, I got to spend an hour and a half with my massage therapist and good friend.  We used each other as a health soundboard discussing physical, emotional and spiritual issues that we are wrestling with.

For months now, with the social distancing guidelines firmly entrenched with suggestions of staying home and avoiding “unnecessary” contact with others, many of us have postponed spending one-on-one in person time with friends.  I don’t know about you but I am feeling the effects of not being able to spend time with some of the most cherished people in my life…my pals, my confidants.

Friends play a huge role in our lives.  They are a much needed support system.  Friends keep us from losing our minds.  They assist us in keeping our feet pointed in the right direction.  When a sounding board is needed, our friends are there to bounce things off of.  Their shoulder is there to cry on and their arms to hold and comfort in times of deep, dark despair.  A friend will defend you, and stand up for you when you need an advocate in your corner.  They will wipe your tears and make you pee your panties, often at the same time.  Friend’s heart strings are connected to yours, you share some of the same interests and beliefs.  With a true friend, you aren’t afraid to say it like it is because you’re not afraid of being chastised for expressing your beliefs.  Real friends don’t have to pretend to be something they aren’t.  A friend allows you to be you and loves you for your quirks.

All good reasons that build a strong foundation for a supportive, loving friendship. It’s no secret to most of us what the benefits a true friendship can bring into our lives. When you think about your friends I’m sure most of the reasons I mentioned describe their attributes.  However, there are some benefits that you may not be aware of when it comes to friendships.  

A Harvard study concluded that having good, supportive friendships in our lives could help promote a healthy brain.  I don’t know about you, but I can always use a little help in the healthy brain department!  Friendships can assist us with keeping our minds healthy!  When you stop to think about it, it makes sense. 

We turn to our friends in times of stress, they assist us in seeing the problems and oftentimes assist us with a solution to that problem, allowing us to release mental anxiety.  If you have good, positive friends, they tend to boost your positive outlook and help you replace your gloomy, Eeyore attitude with a sunny, Piglet one. They are our cheerleaders, encouraging us to keep going after our goals when we want to throw in the towel. They have our backs supporting use in troubled times.

I have a lot of acquaintances in my life, but only a handful of what I consider to be close friends.  You know the kind that I’m talking about.  The ones that you can spill your guts to at 3:00 a.m.  The ones that you can ask an opinion and get an honest answer.  The ones that at times you feel like they know you better than you know yourself.  Those are the people that are your tribe, your back up singers, your partners in crime that you know you could count on if you needed to bury a body.  Quality friendship to me is more important than quantity. 

My friends are each unique, each has a speciality that they excel at.  How about yours?   Who is the first person that you think of if you are struggling?  If you need a laugh or a pick-me-up who do you think of?  What name comes to you if you need a shoulder to cry on?  How about a question on what is the best supplement to take for a certain aliment?  Each of my friends has that special vibe that they and they alone possess.

I have a group of energy worker friends affectionately referred to as “My Cronies” a name given to the group by my dear friend, Dorothy who founded the group. 

Every member in the group is an energy healer of some kind, but that’s where the likeness stops.  Each worker has her own unique talents and the personalities are all over the spectrum!   When we pool our talents and work together, we are powerful. What one doesn’t think of another will.  Each member is a puzzle piece that adds to the collective whole when connected.

That’s what friends do, they complete each other. They make you a better person because they are in your life and visa versa.  Dionne Warwick reminds us:

Keep smiling, keep shining

Knowing you can always count on me, for sure

That’s what friends are for

For good times and bad times

I’ll be on your side forever more

That’s what friends are for.

Friendship has to be a two way street, a give and receive in order for it to thrive.  You need to know that if needed, your friend would step up to the plate for you, just like you would for them.  Both parties deserve to benefit.  When a friendship is a one way street, it isn’t a friendship it’s the proverbial albatross around your neck. It holds you down instead of lifting you up.

Friends are truly blessings in our lives.  I would like to invite you to take a minute today, reach out to those special people you have in your life that you call friends.  Give them a call, Facetime them, make some kind of contact and let them know how blessed you feel to have them in your life and just how much you appreciate their love and support.  You just might make their day and strengthen your friendship even more.

 

Finding Your Talents

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The first essay that I ever wrote was my senior year in high school. I had the toughest English teacher in the school and I so badly wanted to get an A in his class.  One day toward the end of the school year, he offered extra credit to anyone who wrote an essay for a contest that the American Legion was sponsoring.  It was my opportunity to gain some extra points in the class.  I wrote the essay and I won the contest!  Little did I know that my quest for an A would also unleash a desire to pen the written word! 

When my kids got a little older and were all in school, the writing bug surfaced again. I found a teacher who would travel to my home weekly and teach a class if I had at least 10 participants.  I found 9 ladies who were also interested in improving their writing skills. 

Each week we met and shared our work.  Again, our teacher encouraged us to enter contests.  I did and I placed in almost every contest that I entered.  

I was enjoying my new found talent, it brought the joy of creation into my life. Then one day, my world came crashing in around me when I was told by a close family member that since I had started writing I thought that I was better than everyone.  During this time period of my life, I was very insecure and what others thought of me had a huge impact. That day, I stopped writing.  I buried my talent.

We all have talents that are unique to us.  We each have the power to make our lives extraordinary and fulfilling when we use those talents.  It’s your responsibility to find and use your talents. There are many types of talents, we each of us have been blessed with our own uniqueness.

So, how do you find your talents if you aren’t sure what they are? Here are some things to consider.

What Do You Love?:  What brings you joy or happiness?  What do you get compliments on?  What do you enjoy doing? These things can all be clues to your talents. 

Be Open to Possibility:  Talents come in all shapes and sizes. Be willing to open your mind to look outside the box for hidden talents. Take a step outside of your comfort zone and try something new.  You never know if you might be good at something until you give it a try.

Look to Your Past:  What have you done in the past that you enjoyed or were good at?  What did you excel at?  What accomplishments are you proud of?  What did you enjoy doing as a kid?  What made you happy? What were you successful at?

Ask Others:  Sometimes it’s easier for others to see our talents.  Ask a friend or family member what they think you are good at.  What stands out to them.

When you find your talents, you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that your talents can make a difference. It has to begin with you.  You have to take charge of the talents that you have been blessed with.

I became a victim when I allowed the words of another to wound my soul.  I buried my talent because I wasn’t strong enough to stand in my truth.  

It wasn’t until I shifted from victim mode that things began to change.  

Two years ago, when I was on an early morning walk,  a question surfaced in my mind. “When are you going to stop hiding your talents?”  “What?’ I replied.  “It’s time for you to start writing again!” came the answer.  I took a long, slow, deep breath.   It was time to get a grip on the past, overcome my hurt and get past the self-imposed limits that I had allowed to be placed on myself.  It was time to move from victim mode to warrior mode.   I had to take back and control my future and stop allowing someone else to dictate it.  I chose to stand in my power and reclaim my talent.

That week, I began to write again for the first time in 30 years. I activated my buried talent.  The desire and passion once again rose from the depths of my soul and I embraced.

This blog became my outlet.  A place to share the written word.  Hopefully the ideas and tools that I share with you each week have assisted you in some way.  My intention is to cause you to ponder, reflect and see areas where you could, just maybe, implement a change for the better in your life.

I would like to invite you to find your talents if you don’t know what they are.  Embrace them.  Enjoy them.  Use them to serve yourself and others.  You won’t regret it.

 

Finding Your Life Purpose

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I remember the day like it was yesterday.  It was a crisp Fall evening and two of my friends and I were sitting around my kitchen table enjoying a meal of Greek takeout.  

It was a Saturday night and as usual, the following morning I would be leaving for a four day trip.  My childhood dream of being a flight attendant had lost its charm.  The enjoyment just wasn’t there anymore.  Flying had become both physically and mentally draining.  I had expressed my concerns to my friends, and they posed the question, “So what new direction do you want to take? What is your heart telling you”  

For months, I could feel my heart and soul tugging at me, trying to get me to remove the blinders, search for my purpose and start to follow it.  That night as we discussed the joy that comes from doing what you love, my heart and mind connected and went to work, uncovering the hints and the treasures that were buried within my soul.

I didn’t get much sleep that night.  On my hour drive to the airport the following morning I called my husband and informed him of my dilemma. A thought not so gently forced its way into my conscious mind.  I have found that if you continuously ignore your higher self, it will in one way or the other get your attention.  It may start out with a gentle urging or nudge and if that doesn’t work, it starts to violently shake you to the core to get your attention.

The message had surfaced, refusing to be buried any longer.  “Your calling is to assist others find hope and joy in their lives.”  I shared what had just happened with my husband.  It didn’t surprise him, his reply was, “You already do that.” 

My heart swelled with gratitude!  My purpose had been right there in front of me all the time.  Others had always sought me out for advice and assistance with problems. My hotel room had served as an office assisting others for years. I had spent countless hours on the phone and in person assisting others with ways to better a situation in their lives.  Now it was time to take it to the next level and get some training to assist me or assist others. 

Once I uncovered my purpose and made the decision to actively pursue it, doors started to open for me.  A flood of information, opportunities for training and help from others started showing up as if my magic, or was it? 

 So how do you know when you are living your purpose? The following are some hints:

You feel complete:  You stop looking for that missing puzzle piece.  You have a feeling of wholeness.

Your Soul is Your Guiding Force:  You lead from your heart, not your mind.  

You Have Direction:  You know what you want and you go after it.  You stop putting your life on hold. You go after your dreams, face your fears and move through them.

You Find Joy: You feel alive!  You look forward to waking up and conquering your day.  You experience true joy and happiness from within not depending on others and outside circumstances to fulfill you. 

You Are Confident:  You know what path to follow, what direction to take.  You believe and trust in your decisions.  You trust your inner guidance system.  

Everyday I see the person that I am becoming.  When you’re in alignment with your purpose,  you wake up excited to start your day, things  seem to be easier. You feel alive, passionate, and lit up from within. You have confidence and are sure of yourself, even if you’re scared at the same time.

 I would like to invite you to find your purpose in life.  It’s there.  You just have to take that first step and search for it. Ask your Soul to guide you toward your life path.  Have confidence and believe in yourself. Believe that you know what’s best for you. Put your hand on your heart right now and declare, “I trust my ability to make the best decisions for me. I know and follow my life’s purpose.”  When you start living your life purpose, your world will open up.  You will start to experience things you never dreamed were possible, I have and so can you.

 

Be Your Word

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In mid April, my daughter Heidi sent me a link for the Miles de Mayo Challenge.  The challenge was to see how many miles you could log for the month of May.  At the end of the month, you would receive a tee shirt with a Mexican sugar skull on it with the amount of miles that you achieved ranging from 75-300 miles.   

Each day, you would  track your miles, either with a watch or app.  When you had completed your workout, you would then take a picture and email it to the sight where they would tally and rank the miles.  

I signed up.  I figured that it would be a good way to get out and move after being cooped up most of the winter. The challenge would assist me in getting ready for my upcoming half marathon.  I set a goal to log 100 miles.

Each morning, rain, snow, shine or darkness, (You never know what kind of weather you are going to have in Utah in May!) I would put on either my running or walking shoes, set my watch and head out the door.  

On mornings that I had early morning classes, I would get up at 4:30 so that I can finish before my class.  I made a commitment to myself and I was going to keep it.  

So how can you be 100% committed?  I would like to share a few ways that help me stay committed.

Find Your Why:  The first one is to start with a Why.  Why do you want it? Who will you become once you’ve attained it? What will life look like when you’ve reached your goal? Who else’s life will benefit from you obtaining your goal?  

My “Why” for putting in the miles was to get out and start getting stronger so that when I began training for my half marathon I would have a stronger base underneath me.

Write It Down: When you write your goal down it becomes a goal not just a want.  Most people give up on goals when they don’t write out a plan when they begin.  Be specific, put all the details that you can think of.  How will you feel when you accomplish your goal?  What are you going to do?  What are you going to do to reach your goal? If you don’t have a plan, you won’t end up staying committed. When you write down your goals, you bring them to the forefront of your mind.

Tell Someone:  When we are accountable to someone besides yourself, it helps you to stay focused.  If you know that someone is going to be watching and waiting for a progress report, you are more apt to follow through with your commitment.  Our feeling of obligation kicks in, we don’t want to disappoint or let the other person down.  It’s a lot easier to disappoint yourself than to disappoint someone else.  When I set my goal of 100 miles I announced it to my daughter Heidi and several others what my intention was.  When you know that someone is going to ask about your progress, it keeps you hustling. 

Be Persistent Don’t Give Up: Persistence is key to any goal we might have in life. Without it, it’s easy to give up, especially when the going gets tough. 

We live in an instant gratification society. We’re so used to having on-demand everything, we forget that we need patience to achieve our goals. Statistics show that 92% of people who set a New Year’s resolution give up.  They didn’t see their goals through to the end, when the newness wore off and things got tough, they quit.   

How many stories have you heard where a successful person just sailed through life?  My guess is not very many.  Successful people are unrelenting toward the pursuit of their goal. They experience setbacks and failures like everyone else. But, they get back up and learn from their failures, time after time.  They don’t give up, they just keep climbing and persevering until they reach their goal.

Being persistent can help us overcome failure. Success requires hard work, courage, strength and persistence.  By doing something over and over again we gain momentum.  That’s how habits are formed.

Track and Report:  Setup a good system for tracking your results.  My challenge has a daily track and report system.  Each day I record my run or walk, I take a picture and send it.  It helps me stay on task and lets me know how far I’ve come and how close I am to reaching my goal.  

When you track, you can see where things are working and where they aren’t.  You can then keep heading the same direction or correct your course to improve your results.

Believe In Yourself:  Focus on your goals not your fear.   Resolve to not give up.  Tell yourself that you have the courage and the strength to accomplish your goals.  Feed your brain with positive words, images, thoughts and beliefs to assist with canceling the fears that arise when you set out to achieve a goal.  Our minds have the ability to create anything if we only believe.

Successful people believe in themselves.  They have an inner dialogue that consists of successful thoughts, images and beliefs. This positive self talk assists in combating fear.

On May 20th, I hit 100 miles.  I had reached my goal. I upgraded my goal that day to shoot for the next level of 150 miles. At the end of the challenge I had logged 160 miles for the month of May. 

I would like to invite you to be committed to be your word. If you say you are going to do something, do it.  Keep your commitments to others and yourself. Once you decide to do something,find your “Why”, make a plan and write it down, be persistent when the going gets tough, track your progress and most of all, believe in yourself.  

 

A Time For Remembrance

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Most mornings as part of my morning ritual, I set out on an early morning walk.  My favorite place to walk, my hometown cemetery.  The cemetery is a mile from my home and I go there to ”stroll amongst the dead”!  I have had the opportunity to visit cemeteries all over the world and mine is still my favorite.  It sits at the mouth of Box Elder Canyon.  On a typical morning the wind is blowing down the canyon and the birds are singing.  The grounds are very well kept, giving a feeling of peace and serenity.  The outside perimeter is lined with lilac bushes that produce a heady scent for the first 2 weeks of May encouraging you to take long, slow, deep breaths.  The streets are lined with various types of tree.  Huge pines welcome you as you enter the gates.  Several chestnut trees are scattered around the grounds along with one section where you can walk under the shade of a row of umbrella trees.  I love being in the cemetery when the morning sun greets the earth, promising a new beginning as it peeks over our majestic mountains.  I use this time to clear my head, center myself and prepare for the upcoming day.  Many a morning I have found not only peace but answers as I wind my way up and down the roads.  

This morning as I approached the gates, my eyes filled with tears and my heart swelled with gratitude.  The entrance was not only lined with the stately pine sentinels, rows of the stars and stripes were waving in the breeze greeting all who entered. 

For the past few days, the cemetery has transformed from its rich green to a sea of colorful hues and colors as loved one leave remembrances on graves of their beloved.  Today, small American flags adorn the graves of all those who served our country to insure our freedom.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military and has morphed into a day of remembrance for all those who have gone before us.

Originally Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War.

In her article 8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day,  Barbra Maranzaini gives an account of the earliest American commemoration.  As the Civil War neared its end, thousands of Union soldiers, held as prisoners of war, were herded into a series of hastily assembled camps in Charleston, South Carolina. Conditions at one camp, a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, were so bad that more than 250 prisoners died from disease or exposure, and were buried in a mass grave behind the track’s grandstand. Three weeks after the Confederate surrender, an unusual procession entered the former camp: On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered in the camp to consecrate a new, proper burial site for the Union dead. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery, which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30,  In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. This change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

My grandparents always referred to this day as Decoration Day.  I remember when I was a kid, visiting the graves of my ancestors with my grandmother. Veterans of the Foreign Wars dressed in their uniforms would be selling little, red, plastic poppies with tiny black beads in the center.  Grandma would always purchase one for me and I would be thrilled with my bright, plastic treasure.

When I was older,  I wondered about the significance of the poppy.  According to  Barbra Maranzaini, wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day began with a World War One poem.  In the spring of 1915, bright red flowers began poking through the battle-ravaged land across northern France and Flanders (northern Belgium). Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, spotted a cluster of the poppies shortly after serving as a brigade surgeon during the bloody Second Battle of Ypres. The sight of the bright red flowers against the dreary backdrop of war inspired McCrae to pen the poem, “In Flanders Field,” in which he gives voice to the soldiers who had been killed in battle and lay buried beneath the poppy-covered grounds. Later that year, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael read the poem in Ladies’ Home Journal and wrote her own poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” to begin a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to all who died in war. The poppy remains a symbol of remembrance to this day. 

Today, Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer.  Like our family, many celebrate this day by visiting grave sites of their posterity followed by a family cookout and a day filled with fun, games and yummy food.

I’m hoping that as time passes that this day of remembrance doesn’t fall by the wayside and be buried under a blanket of fun and recreation. My hope and prayer is that we continue to remember those who have sacrificed their lives that we may enjoy our freedom.  If you didn’t take a minute to pause for a moment of reflection and gratitude this Memorial Day, I would like to invite you to do so now. Take just a minute out of your busy life for a moment of silence to remember and honor those who gave their all, that you may enjoy your freedoms.