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!

 

Facebooktwitter

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!

 

Facebooktwitter

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Take the risk and say this….

Sometimes the most thoughtful thing you can do to connect with someone is also the hardest.

Losing someone you love dearly is gut wrenching.  Saying goodbye is never easy even if the person you are saying goodbye to has had a long and good life.

I think there is an added dimension of grief when it is a young child or baby.

We all have good intentions when supporting our friends and family during this emotional tearful time.  We bring food, we call, we send cards and then….well then it gets awkward.  Do we bring another meal, send another card or do we even bring it up at all?

Do we mention their name?

We are afraid of adding to the grief, of being the reminder that their loved one or friend is gone.  We long for them to find joy again, to take away their pain, to have it all be good.

So often we say or do nothing and promise ourselves we will call tomorrow or send a card in a few days.  Those days become weeks and soon it has been months since we have made that promise.

We have all done it.  Put a BIG guilty stamp on my forehead.

And then I had an amazing lesson in what I know to be true.

Many of you know I work at our local hospital in the Mother Infant Unit.  I work with some awesome women.  The vast majority are younger than I am so we have lots of co- workers having babies.  We get so excited over one of our own having a baby.  So much so that you never know we see it on a daily basis.

One of our co-workers was 16 weeks pregnant when shewent to her OB appointment and discovered her baby’s heart had stopped.   She was devastated. We all felt horrible.  We supported her as best we could and after a little while she returned to work.  It must have been so difficult to come back to work and see all the Moms with their newborns but she did it.

Fast forward to 4 1/2 months later and I sat down next to Carol to chart on the computer.  I suddenly realized that her original due date was that month.

I had a little conversation with myself.  Do I say anything?  Does she want to remember?  We are at work, will it upset her too much?  Finally I felt a gentle nudge at my heart.  I like to think it was spirit or perhaps my guardian angel who whispered “What would you want?’

So I leaned over and said ” I just want you to know that I didn’t forget  your baby would have been here this month and I am thinking of you.”  She thanked me, smiled and then leaned into me and said “Want to know a secret?”  I nodded and she said “I’m pregnant” I was one of the first to share her joy.  What a privilege!

That was three years ago.  She welcomed a healthy son into the world to join her two daughters.  I KNOW she has not forgotten the baby that will never get to grow up with the other three. And even if my gesture had not been met with such joy I know it would have been appreciated that I remembered her little one.

I keep that in mind when friends have lost loved ones.  I mention them. I share a memory.  I keep their photo on my frig.  I want them to know I did not forget.

So being thoughtful can sometimes be hard, but it is worth it.  It is so important.

And as gently as I can say this “Go out and make it a Thoughtful One!”

IMG_6751

 

 

Facebooktwitter

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! It’s okay to just be and not fix anything

I spent time with my parents this past week. I went out of fear, out of necessity but mostly out of love.  My parents are 88 yrs young.  My Dad will be 89 this month.

By all accounts they are doing amazing.

Amazing as in I just taught my Dad how to download, open and print an attachment.  He was amazed at how easy it was.  He and two of his friends ( 85 +) were going to try and figure it out together. I can only imagine and chuckle a little at how that scene would have unfolded.

So yes they are doing amazing….. except when they are not.

Two calls to 911 for my Mom in less than a week gave us a bit of a start.  She collapsed twice. Once for outrageously high blood pressure. Once while sitting on the couch just talking to my Dad ..scary I know.

So I went to be with them, bring food (I am not the best cook but I have a few dishes I have perfected) and a few gifts I knew my Mom would appreciate.

Mostly I went to be..just be with them. Not to clean (their house is cleaner than mine) not to clean out the frig (my Mom’s version of Tetris) not to tell Mom to throw out magazines (maybe next visit).

No this visit was just to wiggle myself in, love and just alcoholism be.

Mom and I watched a movie ( While You Were Sleeping), I updated her digital frame and put the same photos in a photo album. We chatted, watched the deer in the woods behind their house, and laughed at the jokes that Dad told. We have all heard them numerous times but he gets such a kick out of telling them again we can’t help but laugh.

It used to be when I went home I fell into the role of daughter which looked a lot like this:Mom and meJPGStill their little girl, or as my Dad likes to refer to me..his fat baby.  It’s a term of endearment referring to my baby days when I was indistinguishable from a rather quishy basketball 🙂

These days our visits look more like this:

IMG_1279

Just so you know, Thoughtful Thursdays came from my Mom. I remember always seeing her sitting in the kitchen writing letters, or notes. And she still does. Never misses sending a birthday card or just a note.

So this visit was not to “fix” anything but just to be with my parents.

We need to do more of that.

Just be, just love and cherish our time together.

It is what Thoughtful Thursday is all about. It’s the connection.

My hope for you is that you get to love and be loved today. There is nothing better!

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!

 

Facebooktwitter

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Time for some Gumby Gratitude!

Have you ever tried to get someone to try something new?  Maybe a new food, a new experience or just a new way to do an activity?  Or have you been the one who had to be coaxed into something you thought you would never do and then ended up loving it?

We have all been there.  Reluctant at first, shaking our heads no but then taking a tiny baby step into the unknown and we are almost always  glad we did!

If you have someone who routinely “stretches” you either physically or mentally (in a good way) then on this “Thoughtful Thursday”  you owe them some “Gumby Gratitude” because like Gumby they made you stretch in good positive ways!

I have six people in my life that not only stretch me on a regular basis but remind me it’s okay to do fun things and quit being such a grown-up!

Every year I do a special day with each of the grandkids ( ages 11,10,9,8,6 and 3). They get to pick the activities we do together and lately it has been quite an adventure.  I am praying my body continues to cooperate !!!

This year we did everything from a fashion show out of my closet to ice skating to swinging in the trees at “Go Ape”.

So indulge me as I hand out my “Gumby Gratitude” to my grandchildren:

What a gift you all have given me!  Thank you Nick, Cris, Ava, Summer, Bella and Tristun!

You reminded me that:

  • It’s easier and much more fun to just jump into the Tarzan swing instead of trying to ease into it ( less scary too)
  • I can climb trees, rope ladders, zip line with the best of you!
  • Falling can be fun ( well I was in a harness)
  • Ice Skating in the summer is the bomb and you thought I looked like I knew what I was doing ( if you only knew)
  • Hanging out at the pool, splashing, standing on our hands, and diving for stuff is way more fun than just sitting and watching
  • An 8 yr old can do my makeup and I can learn from it…plus what fun it was to play fashion show with my own clothes and shoes
  • Your fascination with my old typewriter reminded me how far we have come and how much I want to share other things with you ( pay phones, dial phones, the wonders of carbon paper, real photos, stick shift cars and roll up windows) Everything old is new again!
  • AND Chocolate Chip pancakes for any meal are the best as long as you follow them with homemade chocolate chip cookies!!! YUM

Thanks for stretching and challenging me. It has been and continues to be a blast.  I hope we can continue to learn from one another and see the world through each others eyes.

I sincerely hope that the idea of “Gumby Gratitude” catches on.  Thankfully none of us have to turn green to do it.  Now go out and spread some “Gumby Gratitude” to those people who make you stretch into more of who you are meant to be.

And as always…Make it a Thoughtful One!

P.S.  Leaving you with a few photos of some of  our “Gumby” adventures!

image

imageimage

imageimageimage

image

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwitter

Thoughtful Thursday??? In a backwards sort of way

If you follow my posts you know the hubs was home for a week. If you missed it you can read it here and if you are really curious how all that started you can read about it on this post.

He left me with a mowed lawn, a powered washed house and new tires ( out of necessity) on my car and a very quiet house full of ….dangerous food that is threatening to jump in my mouth every time I walk past it.  🙂  Well at least that is my story.

Seriously he left me with 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream and root beer.  Who can resist that?  Also a half eaten carton of rocky road ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and other various forms of food threatening to add to my girth with little effort on my part.

There is a reason I don’t keep that stuff here as in weak moments late at night.  If there is nothing here then  I am safe.

So as I am making my case for why this can’t happen again in our most recent phone call he agrees with me but then says ” Yes, I left you with all that junk food  BUT ( yup here it comes)  I also left you with a brand new treadmill.

Your welcome.

WHAT???? How thoughtful of him??

Truth be told he wanted the treadmill and when he found one on sale I agreed ONLY because I know he will use it (when he finally gets home) and seeing as how the elliptical has 600 miles on it and is about to wear out I knew it would get used…by him.  I will claim 100 miles of the elliptical but I’ll admit I am being generous with myself.

So the “dreadmill” kept staring me down as did the possibility of a HUGE root beer float.

Not a fan of the “dreadmill”  I much prefer to run outside.  Still I needed to try it out. So I did. It didn’t totally suck and given the fact it was raining and my granddaughter was visiting and still asleep when I wanted to go running…well I’m starting to see the advantages of having it here.

Except now I have no excuses left..kinda like the post office.  Rain, nor sleet nor dark of night will keep me from my workout…gee thanks???

So it’s a Thoughtful Thursday in a backwards sort of way.  I am hoping I will come to love to the “dreadmill” as much as a root beer float.

Rootbeer,treadmill photo

hahahaha  I crack myself up..as if!!  Now go make it a Thoughtful One!!

Facebooktwitter

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!

Facebooktwitter

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!! 🙂

Facebooktwitter

Thoughtful Thursday…Finding Love and Support in Unexpected Places

You just never know where you will find love and support these days.  If you have just one person in your life that offers unconditional love, that you can share frustrations and know it will be understood and not shared and you feel supported then consider yourself lucky.

Most relationships come with more than a little baggage.  It’s that baggage that can trip us up, frustrate us and keep us from feeling free to share, vent and cry when we really need to do just let it all out.

And yet I have found more than one person.  Actually a whole group.  When I joined the group I would have never expected it to become what it is today.  The group was started really out of a need to find a safe place to vent about a direct sales company that slowly and painfully closed it doors leaving many people without their main source of income and their retirement now non existent.  The answers that were coming from corporate often made no sense and when questioned in their online group you were either banned or your post was deleted.

A group was created and we all congregated to  make sense of the nonsense.  That was close to two years ago.  While the original purpose of the group has faded a bit we have gotten to know each other even though many of us have never met in person.

The person who founded the group had a few rules we all abide by one being no bad language.  Finally a place where I don’t have see the f-bomb as every other word. I really can’t remember the other rules but whether stated as an “official” rule or not there is always respect for one another, we never discuss politics or religion and we are by far one of the funniest group of women that ever existed.

It has become a very safe place to vent but more importantly a place to find support and very kind words.

And that is why I am honoring this group on Thoughtful Thursday.  It really became evident when my best friend shared the loss of her father.  While not unexpected it happened rather quickly and caught her family by surprise.   She shared her pain with the group and the support and kind words from those who had also walked this painful path and others words of support and love were amazing.

As a writer I can tell when words are sincere ( really I can) and there were never any words more sincerely written to support my friend.

Social media often gets a bad rap ( and for good reason) but in this group we have the freedom to share, support, love and laugh.  It is one of those rare things you find in life that restores your faith in all that is good.  I for one am grateful for all the love and support from these sincere women.

Now you know the drill..go make it a Thoughtful one!

P.S.  My spell check wasn’t working so all typos are my gift to you  🙂

Clouds

Facebooktwitter

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! How to answer one of the most important questions ever…

A young friend of mine answered a simple question with such grace and inner wisdom that I will never answer that question again without thinking of her and the gift she gave to all who asked.

My friend found herself in the middle of joy and sadness all at the same time.

  • Her new baby girl was bringing her and her husband immense happiness.
  • Her business was flourishing.
  • Life was so good!

And then without warning ,in the middle of all this euphoria,  came devastating news:

Her mother was ill with cancer and the  prognosis was not good.

So we all asked a very simple and natural question:

What can we do to help?

And she did something remarkable .

In the midst of all that was going on she had the presence of mind to ask for what she needed.

More importantly she also told us what she didn’t need.

I swear there needs to be a class in this…a whole class in asking for what we need.  Not what we want but what we need.  I know what she wants.  She wants her Mom not to be ill.  She wants her Mom to see her baby  grow up.  I prayed  and hoped that would  happen but at that moment  she had needs..she had big needs and she had littles needs and those of us who wanted to help could breathe a sigh of relief because we knew how to help.

And here is a little confession.  I am lousy at this.  I either don’t answer the question, or say I am fine or somehow manage on my own until I am drowning and have to make a desperate plea for some assistance.

I have no idea where this comes from but I know I am not alone.  I also know, for me, it is a deeply ingrained response dating back to when I was 5.  As I walked to kindergarten I stepped in a puddle and my shoes and socks got wet.  Rather than ask for help from the teacher I took off my shoes and socks and put them in the sunny window of the classroom to dry and then went to the dress up bin and put on a pair of high heels and wore them the entire afternoon. ( this was back when most of kindergarten was playtime) .

Yes I was resourceful.

Yes I was independent and solution oriented ( I laugh at this term when I think of being a solution oriented kindergartener)

Great qualities to have but not when things get bigger than wet socks and shoes.

Times when  I really need help.

Even when it might be something as simple as someone just being there with me and keeping me company.

Ironically I am the queen of wanting to help and giving help and being there.  ( guessing most of you are that way as well)

How very thoughtful of Valerie to give us a list, to be honest, to be open and what a relief to those that wanted to help.  It was roadmap to really being helpful and knowing it was what she wanted and needed.

So on this Thoughtful Thursday sit down and think how you will answer the simple questions:  How can I help?  What do you need?

It’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself and those people in your life that really want to be of service.

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!

P.S. On a really amazing and awesome note, Valeries’s Mom underwent chemo and on Valerie’s birthday of all days they got the wonderful news that her scan was clean.  No cancer, nada, nothing and just recently a second scan with the same news. So happy for them!

Pretty cute for a "solution oriented kindergartner"

Pretty cute for a “solution oriented kindergartner”

 

Facebooktwitter