It’s Thoughtful Thursday! This gift is always “enough” !

It’s September 1st and while others are mourning the loss of summer I am relishing that things will get back to a regular rhythm. The kids are back in school  (or in my case the grandkids), there will be some really gorgeous fall days and crisp mornings and I, for one, am ready for the change of seasons.

Our family will kick off the fall by celebrating my Dad’s 90th birthday.  I cherish this time I have with my parents and know that each day is a gift.  Except for some hearing issues and forgetfulness my parents are doing well.  The internet and “the facebook” baffle my Mom.  My Dad does know how to send an email or play solitaire on his computer.  Downloads confuse him but then they sometimes hang me up as well.

My Dad requested no gifts for his birthday.  He just wants to be around family.  I actually had to convince him that a family gathering would be nice ( he didn’t want a party).  In the end it was a matter of semantics as we are having a party but not using the “p” word.

Despite my mothers confusion about computers she is aware of Amazon and will ask me to order things.  Recently it was a gift for a friend who is turning 90.  My mother was concerned it wasn’t “enough” of a gift.

We have all been down that road before.

I really dislike the notion of any gift not being “enough”. Who decides what is enough?  My parents are actually going to the party which in my mind is gift enough but my mother would not let it go.

Finally I came up with the perfect addition to the gift.  Feel free to steal this and use this as we approach the holidays.  It is definitely the quintessential one size fits all and will be universally loved by all who receive it.

I told my Mom to write Sylvia a note and include all the special memories they have shared and why her friendship and connection through these many years has meant so much.

It is one thing to know this.  It is one thing to verbalize it.  Having it written down adds a new dimension.  It can be read, and reread, held close to the heart and touched.  Running a hand over a written note can be soothing and a connection can be felt to the words and the time and sentiment that went in to writing the words on paper.

A handwritten note is a gift that fills the heart. It can be read, and reread, held close to the… Click To Tweet

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I’m pretty sure something like this can’t be bought at Amazon…or at any store.

Not to spoil the surprise but I know what I want to give and receive as a gift these coming months..and it is more than enough!

Now you know what to do…go out and make it a Thoughtful one!!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday…Cherishing those 45 seconds

It was a busy weekday afternoon.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Life at my daughters’ house was full of kids, laughter, teasing and loud voices.

The voice of  urgency to get everyone ready for soccer practice rang out a familiar tune as kids ran around getting things together, filling water bottles, looking for lost shoes.

A little deja vu for me from years past.  I sometimes missed those crazy days and enjoyed being in the midst of all the chaos for a bit.

Ava Grace sat on her Dad’s lap getting soccer shoes tied with her long wavy hair in tangles around her head sweaty from a day of soccer camp.  She jumped down and handed me her hair elastic to help her put her hair up.  I was grateful there was no need to brush out the many tangles but I made an attempt as I gathered her hair up and stroked it gently…braid or pony tail ….pony tail…I gathered up her hair like I had done her for her Mom for  many years and quickly made a pony tail wrapping the elastic around it…akin to riding a bike, something I could do blindfolded.

How many times and how many pony tails had I gathered up for my daughters?  Did I relish the moment?  Did I cherish it? Did I know how special it was to have that moment.?  Nope. And  today I got a do over in my heart .

It was only 45 seconds.  Ava Grace did not give it a second thought, but I did.  There is something special and elegantly simple in creating a ponytail.  It is just an everyday ordinary moment that I have done a zillion times. And yet today it meant something.  If felt like an honor to do something so ordinary, so simple.  It is those simple things in life that connect us.  Making a meal together, doing dishes, brushing hair, whispering good nights.

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It is the simple things in life that connect us Click To Tweet

My wish for you on this Thoughtful Thursday is to honor those wonderful but often ignored moments.  Cherish those 45 seconds and savor them.  They are quick but oh so important.  Now you know what to do 🙂  go out and make it Thoughtful One.

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday…Loving all that is YOU!

One of my favorites originally published on Aug. 14, 20014

I am reading a wonderful book  “A Thousand Days in Tuscany”  by Marlena De Blasi.

It’s the kind of book that I want to go on forever.  The descriptions of her experiences in Italy are like taking a bite of a decadent dessert that romances your mouth and leaves you craving for more.

Warning:  She is a cook and her descriptions of food will make even the fullest tummy desire a tasty italian dish.

So what does all of this have to do with  “Thoughtful Thursday”?

Marlena writes a passage in the beginning of her book that I have read a hundred times over.

It reminds me of treasured relationships.

Not just between man and wife, but those who have known us and loved us at each and every station of our life.

Loved us at the beginning, the middle and the end and wherever we choose to stop in between.

And we have people whom we love this way as well.

On this Thoughtful Thursday take some time to love with words, love with hugs, love with memories of the people who have loved us well.

Savor this passage..read slowly.  It is divine.

May today be a Thoughtful one for you.

How delicious it is to rest after such a day.

To lay down blood and bones in a place, almost any place

where someone waits to hold what’s young of you and what’s old of you.

What’s just happened to you and that which has happened so long ago to you.

All of you.

Marlena De Blasi, “A Thousand Days in Tuscany”

A Thousand Days in Tuscany

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Look up for some awesomeness!!

I have done a lot of traveling in my lifetime.  Often not very exciting places but between being a military wife and business I have been in lots of different locations  and in quite a few airports.

Lots of changes have happened especially over the last few years.  Gone are the banks of payphones and in their place are “charging zones” for our various electronic devices.  People still bury their heads in books or e-readers.

The nosy person in me loves it when people bring real books.  I love to see what people are reading!!

And for those of you who are curious ( aka nosy, lol) about what I have been reading, here you go:

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The other thing people bury themselves in are their phones.  Row after row of people with their heads down, totally oblivious to the people around them.  I have even spent a whole flight sitting next to someone who never even said “hi”.

I am here to tell you that you are missing out on a whole lot of awesomeness.

When we traveled to Italy two years ago I learned quickly to always look up.  The ceilings in the historic and non historic places always had a story to tell of craftsmanship, beauty and brilliance.  It started to be the first thing I did when we entered a building.  I was never disappointed.

Sometimes I saw incredible artwork:

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So Gorgeous!!!

 

And sometimes we were entertained by a lively conversation complete with hand gestures!!

Wish I knew what they were saying!

Wish I knew what they were saying!

Being in Italy and knowing that if I failed to look up I would miss out on so much instilled the habit of looking up and all around everywhere I am, especially in crowded places like airports and coffee shops.

That one simple habit has filled my heart more than once.

Just last month I was waiting to board my flight and saw an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair parked at the gate agents podium.

He was all alone.

It is almost always easy to start a conversation with an older person.  They love to talk.  This gentleman made it easy because he was wearing a Marine Corps Hat.  A quick “Semper Fi” and we were off and running.

His name was Marvin, he has five kids, told me all about his military service, his farm, his deceased wife, and the fact that he just turned 90!!  I told him both my parents turn 90 in the next 6 months.  He smiled and told me not to tell them but the truth was ( his words) “Its all downhill once you turn 90”  He said it with a smile and I promised not to tell.

He was a delight and far more entertaining than my phone and certainly enriched and touched me in ways the internet never could or will.  My only regret is we didn’t get a photo together.

Other past encounters include a woman dressed to the nines with most impressive jewelry.  She was a blind pianist. I also met a guitarist from the group “White Snake”, a delightful artist from Florida, a retiree with a broken leg moving to Chicago, an inspirational speaker who had a good experience as a foster kid and was paying it forward as a speaker and advocate for foster children!

As much as I love getting a handwritten letter the other part  of this  is interacting with the people around us.  You just never know who you will meet, how you will touch their lives in that moment or maybe forever or how they will touch yours.

Now go out and make it a Thoughtful One and remember to Look Up!!

 

 

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday: # Kindness Counts

Yes !

Kindness counts in so many ways.  

This has been on my mind for a long time.  Just today it came up again as I was reading a post from a blogging friend.  She was uber excited about a trip her family is on and fortunately for those of us who have the pleasure of knowing her, she is keeping us updated on every detail.

Normally I wouldn’t want to hear every detail but this trip is different. The purpose of this trip is both heartbreaking and heartwarming so when I eagerly read her post this morning my heart sank when one of the people commented that she needed to remember the focus of the trip and to curb her enthusiasm.

I wanted to cry.

There is no way my friend could forget the purpose of the trip to Disney or why they were taking it.  She has been preparing for months.  Her organizational skills astonish me.  She has 7 kids.  Most are adopted and have special needs.

I can barely get myself out of the door let alone do it for a family of nine.  And she does it with a smile.

As you may have guessed this  is a “Make a Wish Trip”.  One of her daughters has a limited life span and they are taking the trip while she can enjoy it.

So no she hasn’t forgotten the purpose of the trip .  I applaud her enthusiasm and excitement.  I hope she enjoys it just as much as the kids or even more.

Maybe the person commenting was having a bad day or jealous of their adventure. Who knows?  It’s easy to comment negatively on social media sites.  I wonder if this person would have said the same thing to her in person.

That is my top rule.  If  I wouldn’t say it in person it has no business being posted or written anywhere .

Let’s start a movement of being kind to one another, supporting one another and celebrating others excitement and enthusiasm.

Start now.  Pick up the phone, write a note, celebrate an adventure, support your friends with kindness.

Kindness does count and we all could use a daily infusion of it.

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Now go out and make it a Thoughtful One!!

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Living Single While Very Married! The first of many good-byes…

After our very long road trip to get Paul to his new job the day we were dreading arrived.  No matter how many times we have done this, saying good-bye never gets easy.

I stood in the airport trying not to feed into my fear and uncertainty.  We had no idea how long this would last, how often we would see each other, if he would like the job, or if it would just be too much for the both of us.

What had we done?

The list of unknowns grew exponentially and I finally had to put it out of my mind or I was going to go crazy.

I thought back to our very first real good-bye when we were  at the ripe old ages of 21 and 22 yrs. He headed to flight school and I headed back to college. It was hard enough then but we did have the advantage of a pretty solid time frame and a date when we knew we would be together forever.

Navy deployments followed, along with TDY’s ( temporary duty assignments) and other things that kept us apart.

One thing remained constant.  We always dreaded the good-byes.  The last hug, the last kiss, the promise to write ( calling was not always an option, no cell phones or even computers back then) and the hope that time would go quickly.

Thirty years later and we were back to where we started.

So we hugged and said good-bye, took some deep breaths and I boarded the plane and started this new unknown adventure.

Three  things I knew for sure:

I loved Paul enough to let him go pursue his dream.

He loved me enough to understand that I needed to stay.

And the one  other constant with all these separations that we always looked forward to…

The “hello’s” are ever so delicious!!

I don’t have any photos of our goodbyes and only one of our hello’s but it remains a favorite.  At Barbers Point Naval Air Station, Oahu , Hawaii  Feburary 1984..a few days away from being a family of four!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Feeling a little stressed over the holidays..then it is time to…

“Disclaimer”  Since I am dedicated to NOT make myself crazy I am being a good environmentalist and recycling a post that I wrote at this same time last year.  I had to laugh when I reread it because my tree is up, lights on and once again it is surrounded by boxes of decorations….some things never change 🙂  Enjoy!  Also begging forgiveness from my daughters for giving them that *&*%$#$ Elf on the Shelf several years ago..yikes!

Join me for a  little cup of self compassion and letting go.   At the risk of getting horse whipped by Elf on the Shelf and shamed by Pinterest addicts I will share with you that Christmas is not my favorite holiday.

Pause for a collective GASP!

I mentioned this to a few of my friends and was dutifully shamed since evidently I am suppose to LOVE everything about the holiday and put up my decorations mid November.

I think not.

I don’t LOVE everything.

What I do love is the spiritual side, advent and getting together with family, and pulling out the faded construction paper ornaments with macaroni and toothless grins from long ago.

I love the music…in December and not before.

What I don’t love are the little voices in my head that constantly barrage me this time of year:

  • Did I remember everything and everyone?
  • Wait where did I put this gift…did I even buy it or did I just think I bought it?
  • It’s Dec. 10th and my tree is not up..what’s up with that? ( It is actually up with a trillion boxes surrounding it full of ornaments yet to be hung)
  • The sale ends tonight, must hurry, must bake, must do everything

and the quintessential:

 “What’s wrong with me, everyone else seems to do this without breaking a sweat”

I actually know the last one is not true, it just feels true.  Especially when I hear things like this starting on Nov. 29th:

“My shopping is all done, cards are ready to be mailed and I just baked 15 dozen cookies”

And me….I am thinking ( among other things that can’t be written here):

“Wait, I haven’t even finished digesting my Thanksgiving dinner and you are all ready for Christmas?”

And then to console myself I have another piece of pie.

So what does all this have to do with Thoughtful Thursday?

Aside from starting a support group for those of us who would like to celebrate Thanksgiving and then ease into Christmas then the  best we can do is really, really practice self compassion and let go of what does not serve us.

Take a breath, have a cup of tea, keep it simple and do what brings you joy.  Elf on the Shelf might need to take a vacation this year..or permanently.

If you have small children think about what you remember about Christmas.  I bet you hardly remember the gifts but you do remember your Grandpa’s laugh, fun with your family or making cookies with your Mom ( just not 15 dozen and slice and bake work just fine)

As for me, I am putting a mute button on all those nagging questions that run through my head, making a cup a tea and hoping I don’t trip over all those boxes around the undecorated tree as I go to the kitchen.

Make this Thoughtful Thursday about you today!

P.S. Written quickly so all my typos and grammatical errors are my gifts to you!  Phew..

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Awaken Your Heart :)

I had no idea until just a few minutes ago what I would be writing about today for Thoughtful Thursday.  I started looking through my pile of “to read” that was surrounding me in my little morning nest of books,  journals and just random pieces of paper ( yes this drives my very orderly husband nuts) when the end of this yoga article by Anne Cushman spoke to me:

“And when your hearts awaken, even small gestures can have an immense effect.”candle-386607_1280

As we end November in which we focus on gratitude and immerse ourselves into the often times crazy holiday season I hope we can remember the small gestures we can do for others and even for ourselves.  

What awakens your heart?  What small gesture can bring a smile to your face and a sense of peace?

When I am out and about I look for those little things. Holding the door open for a Mom with little ones or anyone else who seems to need it, thanking  the cashier, complimenting someone on their beautiful sweater or great smile. I am also known for gathering up all the errant shopping carts that are left around the parking lot.  I make up stories about how these people were having a rushed or bad day and just couldn’t get the cart put away ( that may not be true but it keeps me from being negative).

When I am home and grousing about the little things that seem big at the moment ( the endless amount of dog hair, the papers that seem to pile up and breed overnight, the internet that lately only works when it wants to) I try and center myself and remind myself that these are all little things.  If I can’t move forward, if I am really stuck there are couple of things I can try to awaken my heart.

One is journaling.  There is just something about putting it on paper that gives me perspective.  

The other one that always works  for me when I am home is to turn on Netflix and tune into the British show “Call the Midwife”.  Even if I just have it on in the background, the music and the sense of peace around that show settles me down and helps me get back into my heart.  It might not be your preference but this show is all about kindness, love and helping women who are often times living in really dire circumstances and yet the midwives and nuns focus just on the person and love them right where they are.

These are just two of my own personal examples. I have way more and I’m sure you do as well.  If not, have a quiet moment today and find something that calms you and awakens your heart.  It’s good to have it in your “tool” box for those times when things get a bit crazy.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh:

One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict or open the door to liberation. One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity.With compassion in our heart, every thought, every word and deed can bring about a miracle.

Have fun awakening your heart and as always …Go make it a Thoughtful One!

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How I “became” a “real” runner on Saturday!

I recently read a comment from a fellow runner on another blog that said despite the fact she had run 20 marathons ( yes 20!) she still didn’t consider herself a “real” runner.

WHAT???    20 marathons is 524 miles….whoa.

It got me to thinking what makes someone feel like a “real” runner.  Obviously completing 20 marathons wasn’t enough for this woman.

OMG

I have never done a marathon.  I might never do one and yet I felt more like a “real” runner this past week-end than I ever have.   Before I tell you what happened I have to share a passage from a favorite book that has the best description of what it is to be “real”.

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

So for runners I would change that last line to:

“But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be slow, or last or not a good enough runner, except to people who don’t understand”

You are a real runner because you run nothing more, nothing less! Click To Tweet

As promised here is why I now feel like a “real” runner.

This past Saturday I ran an 8k (5 miles).  It was suppose to be a half marathon (13.1 miles) but my training went poorly so I changed to the 8k and wasn’t even sure I could that.

A couple of days before the race I decided that no matter how I felt I was going and I would run with joy and to have fun.  I was a little nervous especially since on Wednesday I had barely eeked out a mile, but I went.

It helped that the day was chilly but gorgeous.  I put a big grin on my face and just trusted that this would be okay.The first two miles were stop and go.  I had to stop and tie my shoe, then I had to stop to get a pebble out of my  other shoe.  As we approached Mile 2 it became evident that I needed a porta potty quick.  I gotta tell you seeing those line of porta potties at Mile 2 was a beautiful site.  I ran in, ran out and joined the race again.

It was all okay.  Never had to stop that many times in the first two miles but I didn’t stress about it.

I looked around at all the runners.

It reminded me of the old Oscar Meyer Weiner Commercial:

“Fat kids, skinny kids, kids that climb on rocks. Tall kids, short kids, kids that have the chicken pox”

Hopefully there was nobody there with the chicken pox!

The variety of ages and sizes was beautiful and we were all encouraging one another.

And I ran with joy and gratitude to just be out there.

That’s when it happened.  I became “real”  and I was surrounded by “real” runners because we were out there and we were doing it and we all had smiles on our faces and we were triumphant in the “doing”.

Wait there was one more “real” moment after I crossed the finish line when I turned to another woman runner around my age and said “Wow, what an awesome day and great race!”  and she asked “What was your time?”

My reply: ” I have absolutely no idea”

That is what sealed the deal and made me a “real” runner.  I ran with joy and because I could. IMG_2458

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday: Remember these two words…

Do you remember when the letters of the alphabet finally made sense?  When you finally realized that if you put those letters in a certain order they actually made words.  Words that you could read?

It’s a powerful moment.

That moment came to me in first grade and the word was “Jump” !  I often wondered why I remembered this moment so clearly and even what the word was and the excitement I felt that this reading thing, these letters, that word finally made sense.S059QDGBOG

So  many years later I realize that making that leap from just letters, to words, to reading opened up an entire new world to me.  It’s like an exciting trip I’ve been on that never ends.

Even if you don’t like to read or write, words will excite you in other ways.  What new parent doesn’t get excited over their child’s first word?  Just recently my grandson started saying “Grandma”.  Up until that moment, for some reason, he called me “Grandpa” 🙂 It may seem like a little thing but when I walked in and he said “Hi Grandma” my heart sang.

This morning as I was scrolling through my mail I ran across a piece of art by Kelly Rae Roberts.

It simply said these two words:

LOVE WIDE

It stopped me in my tracks.  It said to me we can love in all directions.  We can really love wide with all our words.  Make them big, make them simple but spread them widely to your friends, family and strangers.  Spread them via snail mail,  texts, or emails.  Leave them on post it notes for people to find on windshields, in desks, in pockets, on steering wheels, in lunches, on coffee cups.notebook_pen_hires

 

Better yet leave them for strangers to find.  Imagine finding a note under your windshield wiper that said “you matter” or “you are loved”.  Those could be the only kind words that person encounters today.

Those words, that small gesture won’t be forgotten.

So this Thoughtful Thursday love widely with your words however you choose to do it.  I’ll bet the thought of  this just made you smile!

As always, go out and  make it a Thoughtful One!

 

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