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! 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! 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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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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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Are you really being grateful?

I love November.  I love Thanksgiving!  I also love that people focus on gratitude intensely this month.

The “attitude of gratitude” is rampant and that’s a problem.  It sounds nice, it has good intentions but often that is where it stops.  I never even thought about it until I heard author and social worker Brene Brown speak about yoga.

She said she loves everything about yoga:

  • the mindfulness
  • the peace it brings people
  • the comfy clothes
  • the music

She loves it and thinks it is awesome and has tons of yoga clothes that she loves but then she said …..

She has never done yoga.

Not even once.  Never on the mat.  No downward dog.

She had an “attitude of yoga” but not a “practice of yoga”.

Makes sense, right?  We can have all the “tudes” we want but until we get out there and actually do it, it remains an attitude with no action.

Every time I post about Thougthful Thursday I always end it with “Now go out and make it a Thoughtful One”!

And today I will challenge you to take your “attitude of gratitude” and make it a “practice of gratitude”

What does that look like?  It will probably be different for everyone but it can be as simple as saying “thank-you” for something somebody does for you everyday but never gets noticed … as in thanking your spouse for remembering to put the garbage out or always changing light bulbs.

It wasn’t until I was almost in the dark after Paul had been gone for awhile that I realized he ALWAYS replaced the burnt out light bulbs.  I thank him when he is home for doing the “Bub” patrol as we call it!!

A speaker that I know, Connie Podesta, put this saying on her facebook page and I stole it ( the saying not the photo) and I also adopted it into my daily gratitude practice.  It doesn’t get any simpler than this:Image-1

So today and for the rest of the month ( and hopefully forever) have a “practice” of gratitude.  It will do your heart good.

Now go out and make it a “Thoughtful One” !  I KNOW you will!

 

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Are you guilty of this bad social media habit?

Social media has led me  to  develop some bad habits.  Shocking I know.  Let me just add those to the list of my less than desirable habits that even annoy me.  The top of that list is forgetting to close cupboard doors  (or any door for that matter).  I have been painfully reminded of this many times when I have banged my head into the open cupboard door.  My friends would say that explains alot 🙂

As far as social media goes I often fall into that mistaken belief that everyone I know and care about has seen my updates or photos.  This is especially true of big events ( weddings,baptisms, birthdays)

I KNOW lots of my family and friends are not on social media and yet I still forget.

If you are thinking “Well these friends and family just need to get with the times and jump onto social media”, remember that for some ( especially older relatives like my parents) it is just not going to happen.

AND social media is a poor substitute for a REAL phone call, a REAL piece of mail and a REAL printed up photo.

So here is where it gets really cool.  You can use social media to send a real printed photo postcard. Honestly I just discovered this so I am going to experiment with the different apps to see which ones I really like and in a week or two will share this with you.

One  app that I know is great is Kicksend.  It will send photos from your phone to a local place to be printed up and then you can just pick them up.  I have a couple of friends who use this on a regular basis after having their photos lost on their phones.  There is nothing worse than realizing you just deleted a photo you loved or your favorite two year old got your phone and cleared it for you.

Toddlers are pretty tech savvy these days.  Remember the 3 yr old who bought a car off of Ebay?

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

So if today is not the day to send a photo then  pick up the phone.  Let someone you love know you are thinking about them. If someone keeps popping into my thoughts I KNOW I need to talk to them.

The whole purpose of Thoughtful Thursday is to make it a day to remind you to connect with someone.

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!  And if you find an app you like please share!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday..an easy way to make a difference


Take a minute and think about someone who made a difference in your life.

Chances are you just smiled.

You remember how happy it made you, how it changed you or how loved you felt that they took the time to do something for you.

Was it a huge thing like Oprah did when she gave away those cars?  Or was it something on a smaller scale?  It might have even been something they did without  realizing they made an amazing impact on your life.

While we would all like to have the ability to do really BIG things most of us can’t give away cars or houses or fancy vacations.

If you go back to the first question and remember what first popped into your thoughts it probably wasn’t something big.  It was probably something much smaller and doable and yet it was still HUGE to you.

This past Monday I had my day all planned and it was going to be so productive.  I got up early, I ran, I cleaned up and I sat down to work.  My computer had different ideas about my day.  I spent all day Monday, some of Tuesday and will spend a little bit of today getting this one issue,that could not be ignored,fixed on my computer.

Monday was NOT a good day.  Fortunately I did not also have to suffer through “crunchy coffee”.  If you missed out on that adventure go here.

So after some mind bending hours in front of this blasted machine I took the dog out since his little dance could not be ignored . I got the mail and my day turned around when I found these:

 

Letters for Thoughtful Thursday

 

Neither one of these friends could have possibly known what kind of day I would have when their note arrived.  I tore into them, read them several times and now they sit on my desk and make me smile.

They made a difference by taking a few minutes to write me a note.  It wasn’t a car or a house or a vacation but it might as well have been because that is how huge it felt to me on Monday.

Want to make a difference?  Make a list ( either written or in your noggin) about all the ways you can turn someones’ day around.  A smile, a note, holding the door open, a compliment, a post it note on the steering wheel or someones’ desk.  A lunchbox note for someone who might never expect it.

FYI we never grow too old for lunchbox notes.

Watch it come back to you in so many great ways including just making you smile when you think of the person finding the note, seeing your smile or savoring your compliment.

Now you know the drill.  Go out and make it a Thoughtful One!! 🙂

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Living Single while Very Married: Hellos and Goodbyes

One of themes throughout our relationship has been the many hellos and goodbyes !  I can best sum them up with this thought I posted on facebook when saying goodbye yet again:

The hellos get sweeter and the goodbyes get harder…

   Our first true goodbye after we were engaged  is still as fresh as when it happened on July 5, 1978 .  We knew it would be several months before we saw each other again.  I remember the date not because I have such a great memory but because when I went back inside the house after seeing Paul off I found this written in my “Nothing Book”.  What he wrote was really something!photo (20)

.…”goodbyes, however temporary are often painful…the months ahead will be rough but nothing in this world comes easy, especially the items we treasure most….

And so began a series of Hellos and Good-byes…Navy Deployments etc.  Most hellos were fabulous..the goodbyes not so much.  Out of it we learned to treasure our time together, trust decisions that needed to be made and made the most of what communication methods we had at the time which mostly consisted of the good old fashioned letter.

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There was one deployment where the only way to communicate besides letters and the rare phone call was over some sort of radio frequency that came over the phone.  I remember how strange it was to say “I love you” “Over” but I hung on to it.  Plus Paul sounded just like Mickey Mouse.  When he finally called on an actual phone about 2 months later and I heard his real voice I cried.

And with goodbyes come some really sweet hellos.  I am fortunate to have a photo of one of the sweetest hellos we ever had.   February, 1984, Barbers Point, Hawaii  Our oldest was almost three, I was very pregnant with our second as in about 10 days away from having her.  The photo says it all:

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That is a little of our story of hellos and goodbyes.  I would like to say we were well prepared for our present adventure but there have been adventures inside the adventure.  Most have been pretty funny ( so thankful for that) others not so much but holy cow have we learned a lot.

I’ll end with some wisdom from Winnie the Pooh.  For a bear he sure has a way with words!  pooh goodbye quote

Be on the look out for my next post as we start this new adventure with the quintessential ROAD TRIP!! Woohoo!

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It’s a Thoughtful Thursday Riddle: What do we ALL have that can be one of the most loving and generous gifts ever?

This is not my usual Thoughtful Thursday post but keep reading.  I guarantee it’s worth it.

What can be some of the most loving things in the world?

We all possess them.  We create them, we change them, they can be loud or soft and they have the ability to love endlessly.

A toddler has them.  Even some animals.

Give up?

The most loving things in the world can be our words.

I have always been a lover of words. Written, read, spoken, and sung. I remember the first word I learned to read: “jump”. Suddenly all those letters put together made sense.  I couldn’t get enough and devoured those wonderful  Dick and Jane Books with their dog Spot and their cat Puff.

When you hand write an encouraging or loving  note to someone your words become personalized with your distinctive handwriting and thoughtfulness.  You took the time to jot down a note and either mailed it or gave it to them.  The time and thought you spent is honored and treasured by the recipient (at least it is by me).

Recently while cleaning out some forgotten boxes I discovered some old letters written by my grandmother. Her distinctive handwriting immediately brought a smile to my face. Her words created a picture in my mind of a time long ago and I could hear her words,smell her fried chicken and picture the long harvest table where we all gathered for family dinners.
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As I embraced her words that made pictures in my mind I am reminded of other loving words that were given to me over the years.  Some I have in written form and some are written on my heart forever.

Whose heart can you write on today? Guess what? It can even be your own! Embrace and cherish your words today and go make it a thoughtful  one!

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