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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Romeo Small tufts of hair sticking out over his eyes resemble the white bushy eyebrows of an old man. Only a thin isthmus of hair prevents two bald spots on his face from becoming one large one and deep wrinkles that were once hidden by hair are exposed and reveal his age. There is no doubt that radiation treatment for a cancerous nasal tumor has made my dog Romeo look older. Yet, despite his post-radiation appearance, my playful and mischievous dog of the past is slowly returning. As I watch him naughtily shred paper, I smile. Before, such an act would have been met with a frown, but now it brings me joy.

#1 – New Uses for Old Things

Foil Cupcake Liners as Candleholders

Foil cupcake liners as candleholders

I got excited when I found an article on Real Simple’s site called 700+ New Uses For Old Things. With the aid of photos, the article offers many unconventional ways to use everyday items. You can bet I’ll be taking notes as I check out all of these ideas!

#2 – Making Rainbows

Gabriel Dawe Art Installation

Plexus No. 5 by Gabriel Dawe

Gabriel Dawe Art Installation

Plexus No. 19 by Gabriel Dawe

Artist Gabriel Dawe installs rainbows. Using colorful thread, Mr. Dawe transforms large areas of space into rainbow-like art installations. Check out more of his work on his Facebook page.

#3 – Handwriting 101
Ever wonder what your handwriting reveals about your personality? Take a look at the infographic below to see what your handwriting says about you:

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

#4 – Summer Reading
If you or your kids are looking for interesting books to read this summer, NPR has you covered with their Summer 2013 Critics’ Lists. You’re bound to find a title that catches your fancy!

#5 – Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!

Steve Maraboli

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Robert Chang If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then my father-in-law and I certainly came from different galaxies. For forty years our relationship resembled a roller coaster ride with its undulating highs and lows. My touchy-feely-emotional ways and his rigid self-righteous attitude were like oil and water – existing together, but with slim chance of permanently blending. Throughout our relationship, he brought out an intensity of emotions inside of me that I never knew existed. But as I matured and gained a better understanding of his modus operandi, I suspected that his arrogance and bravado masked something deep inside of him. Early Monday morning he passed away in his sleep at the age of 90. How do I go about reconciling my feelings for this proud and highly-principled man? How do I remember a man who made me so angry I screamed or who wounded me so deeply I cried? Despite some rough times with him, my best answer is to remember him with kindness. For in the end he was just a man, a person fraught with human frailties, fears, and insecurities, like the rest of us. He was far from perfect, but I believe he did the best that he knew how.

#1 – Notes from the Universe
Notes from the Universe Every weekday morning I wake up to a “personalized” inspirational email message. Reading these messages, helps me start my day inspired and motivated. It’s a little like having a personal cheerleader. So, if you’re interested in having a little food for thought along with your breakfast every morning, check out and subscribe to Notes From The Universe.

#2 – Ways to Make Your Groceries Last Longer

Freezing and preserving fresh herbs in olive oil

Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil. From the Kitchn.com

A shopping trip to the grocery store nowadays costs a small fortune. Check out these 27 Ways to Make Your Groceries Last As Long As Possible and get some great ideas that will, in the long run, save you money.

#3 – Left Brain Vs. Right Brain
Mercedes Benz Left brain Right Brain graphic This Mercedes-Benz graphic illustrates the inherent differences between left-brained and right-brained people, but it also reflects two different approaches to life – much like the differences between my father-in-law and me. Click on the image to enlarge it.

#4 – Whose Life Is It Anyway?
If your life is not how you imagine or dream it should be, you need only look at who’s in the driver seat – you! Writer and blogger Shelli Johnson wrote a post called, “Need Permission To Follow Your Dream?” regarding her own moment of realization that she needed to take charge of own her life.

#5 – Live a Life Worth Remembering
The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.
Bruce Lee

Enjoy your weekend!

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Bad news blares like an alarm and shakes my very existence. Within a short span of time I’ve received bad news from several people I care about. Too much all at once. Each person’s news is a reminder of the fragility of life and the ever teeter-tottering balancing act of happiness.

These bits of news are wake-up calls that cry out for life lessons to be revisited. In the blink of an eye, life can change. I’m acutely aware of that – savoring joy and living in the moment are underlying themes in many of my posts. Still, I let my guard down occasionally, complacency slides in and auto pilot takes over allowing life and happiness to be taken for granted. I’m sure there are countless others like me who need to be shaken awake from time to time by life’s wake-up calls.

Most of us let the details of our every day lives consume and control us to the point were life’s big picture is no longer in focus. We sweat the details and deny ourselves moments of joy. In my post On a Need to Know Basis I wrote about learning a life lesson when one of my cousins fell ill and passed away. I tell many of my friends, who fret and worry over their children’s grades, S.A.T. scores, and such, about how my cousin’s story has always helped me keep life in perspective. My cousin was close to finishing his freshman year in college when he became ill. Before he slipped into a coma and died he told his dad that he was sorry about his grades. My aunt and uncle are not unreasonable people. Like most of us they had hopes and dreams for their child and they pushed him to study hard. They never imagined that his last words to them would be about grades. We would all probably agree that in the big picture of life, grades aren’t really that important, but yet we can all probably relate to getting caught up in the details of grades. Put the details of whatever makes you angry, sad, frustrated, worried etc., into proper perspective  – or whole life perspective – and see if that doesn’t change your outlook on life a little.

Paint the big picture of your life in your mind and what do you see? What is important enough for you to include? What should you be grateful for? It takes practice and daily awareness to live a grateful life. Life is all about making choices. We have no control over certain aspects in our lives, but we can choose how we react and interact. As we go about our everyday tasks or write out our daily “To Do” lists, we must make sure we don’t forget to find some way of showing gratitude. Acknowledge people that support you in your workplace or in your community, find the positive in your job, be grateful for your health, tell your kids you are proud of them, and so on. We should make sure that the messages we are sending to those we care about come out loud and clear. The “unsaids” should be said more and the “saids” should be said less. The best intentions left undone are often ” I should of . . . ,” “I wish I had . . . ,” ” I was going to . . . .” Don’t miss the opportunities in life to show your thoughtfulness or gratitude or that you care. Don’t wait to be shaken awake again.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Steve Strann, a loving husband, a doting father, a fun neighbor, and a most wonderful friend who’s forever changed my outlook on pelicans, squirrels, orchids, and all things electronic.

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Sitting in front of the fireplace with my furry little dog at my feet, I warm my hands on a mug of hot cocoa and savor the rich chocolate flavor. Ah, the good life. You’d never guess that just a few short hours ago I packed up my kids and sent them on their merry way. Each got a hug and a goody bag of Thanksgiving leftovers. Since they left, I’ve washed six loads of laundry, stripped and remade all the beds, cleaned every sticky square inch of my kitchen, mopped dirty floors, and vacuumed leaf-strewn carpets. That was the easy part of my Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite the nonstop cooking and cleaning, the craziness of playing referee between my kids (yes, even at their ages they still have tiffs), and the constant scheduling of family time around their social schedules, I really love it when my kids come home! But four days goes by quickly, and soon I find myself standing in the driveway waving goodbye to them one by one. As they each drive off, I feel a little emptiness in my heart and sadly I turn around and head back to the house. Miraculously, though, every time they leave and I pass through the threshold of the front door and see the chaotic mess they’ve left behind, that sad feeling is gone! It’s replaced with the Do-You-Think-I’m-The-Maid feeling!

So whether you’re feeling blue because your kids are gone again or you’re just happy to be by yourself again, here’s a recipe for a nice, comforting spicy mocha beverage. A neighbor gave it to me many years ago and it’s a good mix to have around the house during the holidays to serve to guests. For a great gift idea, put the mix in a cellophane bag, tie it up with a pretty ribbon, attach the directions, and tuck in a small bottle of brandy or your favorite liqueur (such as Frangelico or Kahlua) to make your gift complete. Wrapping a bag of mix with a cute pair of coffee mugs is another way to give this mix as a gift. Marshmallows optional with this version!
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Spiced Mocha Mix
Mix together:
1 cup nondairy powdered creamer
1 cup hot cocoa mix
2/3 cup instant coffee powder/granules (decaffeinated or regular)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Directions: Place 2-4 tablespoons in the bottom of a mug. Add 6 ounces of boiling water and stir until smooth and blended. Garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Add your favorite liqueur or brandy to taste – not optional during the holidays!

Don’t forget: When packaging this mix as a gift, make sure to include a printed copy of the directions!

Note: My “Falling Leaves Snowflake” cards were made from outdated calendars. Calendars with beautiful images and high quality paper can be reused for other projects!

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I always say that raising three children is a juggling act. In three ball juggling, there is never a moment when all three balls are in the air simultaneously and that’s pretty much how it is with my three kids. If I can get two of them in the air, or in my analogy, concern-free, then the third is at the bottom and needs a boost up. Not to say that any of my children have huge issues or troubles, but more just a matter of dealing with the curves that life throws at them. Periodically, each of them needs a little parental support and my husband and I are happy to give it. That was the deal when we signed on to be parents. We knew it was a lifelong commitment.

My husband and I always wanted three children. When our first two children were born, we were over the moon with happiness, but in our hearts we knew we had room for one more. When I was pregnant with our third child, a wise friend informed me, that having three kids was not just a simple equation of 2 + 1 = 3, it was more like the chaos theory. Her point was that with two children you achieve equilibrium because you have one hand for each child. With three, there’s always one on the loose and you’re always off balance. Without a doubt, having three is challenging just by virtue of being an odd number. Pairing up for amusement park rides is awkward, packaged toys are often packed in twos, and the two-against-one argument is commonplace.

The thing about having three children is that there has to be one in the middle. Being a middle child myself, I know about threes. I am sandwiched between an older sister and a younger brother, so I am well aware of birth order characteristics. My sister, the oldest child, definitely has the leadership characteristic stamped in her DNA and my brother, the baby of the family, is characteristically comical and entertaining. As for me, three, yes, three, middle child characteristics jumped off the list when I first read it. “Creative.” Yes, I am creative – that’s why I’m a blogger! “Doesn’t like to follow authority.” Hmm, I view it more like I have a lot of questions for authority. “They can usually read people well, they are peacemakers who see all sides of a situation.” I’ve certainly had on the job training as peacemaker in my family.

As a kid, I thought I would never have three children, because I didn’t want to create a middle child. Obviously my husband convinced me otherwise. But as I raised my children, I made a concerted effort to be especially fair to my middle child. The tough thing, though, is life is not fair and will never be fair, so maybe I should have taught my middle child that lesson instead from the get-go. From a middle child’s perspective, it’s all about expectation, therefore middle children are better off if they have no expectations and then they can be pleasantly surprised.

If I had to do it over again, I would still have three, because I cannot imagine my life without anyone one of my children. They are three wonderful individuals marching to their own drumbeats who every now and then need a boost from their parents to get back in the air. Who will be up and who will be down next? Your guess is as good as mine.

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