Wrong Turns, Right Places

spud

Just wondering… Actually, not entirely sure what I am wondering…

But something close to…ARE WE GIVING OUR ALL? Walk with me to a place when we were young, a place where we were all grouped by “kids” and grouped by “adults”. Ha Ha-that was something. Our moms sent us out of doors with strict instructions to NOT come home until dinner. We were kids, we followed directions without asking questions. But we were together, we were the “kids”. It didn’t matter if you were Irish, Italian, Catholic, Black, White, Protestant. Not to forget the townies, hicks, bumpkins, motor heads, preppies … and by the way, back when I was a kid those were the minorities of the day. There were names for ALL of us. I could identify with SEVERAL of the groups that were looked down on. What the heck did I care? I identified with most all of them in some way. We made forts in the woods, we played SPUD (kickball), we stayed out until the the bats came diving, played truth or dare, we picked fights, we ran home from the bus stop because a bully was chasing us. BUT, we woke up each day and we didn’t check social media, we weren’t politically correct. I mean, we just WERE. We were kids of immigrants, we were all poor, we all had to work, barely any of us went to college and if we did, we went to the one down the street. And everyday, we gave our all… At play, at school, at life because really, there was nothing that was promised. We went to our little schools big–big attitudes, big shoulder pads, big hair. And eventually it was big brains, and not-so-big apartments and maybe big or small cities but they were all ours. Our people, our family, our jobs, our cities. We contributed and created. We have voted for 7 presidents, bought homes, started families. We gave our all. This letter is to my generation and any who read this and agree, we need to give our all for our families, for our friends close and remote, for our beautiful country… Our home. Politics and divisiveness have set us against each other. Please remember that we are all Americans, we all fear each other and revere each other. God bless our country, our home, our us. God bless us every last one.

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The Power of Perspective

00bdaa16a3a44b5cbd8f0650ff39014dPerspective is everything. It starts the moment you wake up in the morning and lasts until you fall back to sleep at night. It is one of the most powerful tools in a happy life. I know this because one day in my life (about twenty years ago) I woke up and decided to treat my perspective as the precious gift that it is. Since that day my perspective and I have been great pals.

This is something that I have been giving some thought to because in my daily conversations with people I get to hear their point of view, which is sometimes the same as my point of view and sometimes different.  I have come to realize that in all avenues of our lives the thing that makes us, molds us, changes us, grows us, nourishes us, feeds us and turns us into the eventuality of who we become is born out perspective. It always amazes me that two people can have the same set of circumstances and end up living two completely different experiences. Why is that? It is because of what we believe and what we tell ourselves. It is because of how we percieve the experience–anticipating the outcome, participating in the moment, and then reflecting on what transpired. Really, in any of these steps our perspective is what sets the tone for how we enter an experience, how we react to it and how we sum up our feelings about  it. When one of my children is worried about an upcoming practice or performance I have been known to, every once in a while, say “Just get out there and shine your light, and if you cannot do that then just try to fake it!” I do not say that as a joke! And I don’t mean to actually fake the whole thing, but I am trying to illustrate to them that if you set your mind to thinking that you are going to go out there and shine, you convince yourself that you can do it, and even if you were faking it, when you walk away that light will follow you. This is the magic of perception. It is something that no one can take away from you and something only you can give away. It is your own gift to yourself. I read something today and this is what it said, “We are never really alert to our destinies, are we?” and it hit me– we do not get clues along the way to finding our destiny and creating a fulfilled and happy life. We are not given a map or a cheat sheet. We don’t know that one particular minute that changes our lives forever, but we know that it happens. Poof! One moment in time and our lives are changed forever! Just for kicks, over the next couple of days, try out opening your perspective every day as a gift! … Use it to transform your ordinary experiences to extraordinary ones. Imagine that you are going into an everyday experience and create an inner dialogue of positivity as you anticipate the experience. I can do this and it is going to be fabulous. Once you arrive, set the tone with your attitude, fake it if you have to. Oh yeah, I got this, I’m workin it! Once you are finished, reflect back with as much intention as you started out with. That was amazing! Maybe when asked, “are you excited?“, “are you nervous?“, “how did it go?“, your answers will reflect the attitude that you brought into the situations with you and they will reflect that you transformed the experience into something beautiful just by your perspective! Is your glass half empty? half full? or three quarters of the way there? Is the grass greener in your own little garden or does it look greener on the other side?  Was that small moment the biggest part of your day? Count the simple times on the same hand that you count the big ones. Each second that you fully experience the moment are you laying the foundation for a magical minute, hour, day, week, month and year? We only get these minutes once in a lifetime, and hey I get it, they might not all be exactly what you dreamed of, but with the right perspective they make great days, great years, a great life! When that alarm clock sounds tomorrow morning just get out there and let your light shine, shine, shine!

How Old Are You?

Artwork_00001This is gonna sound a little (or a lot) crazy, but I love getting old. I actually am fond of the “age” that I see smile back at me in reflection. I looked in the mirror the other day and saw the shiny silvery-sheen highlights in my dark hair made from packing and unpacking moving boxes in anticipation of the next adventure with my husband’s new job, the crease in my forehead made from gazing out at my children playing in the sun or learning to ride a bike–the feeling in my heart when they fell and got right back up again and finally the triumph of pushing one foot, then the other as they glided down the path on two wheels. I saw the spots where the sun kissed my face while building sandcastles on the beach, digging holes large enough to engulf children to their knees in the sand and from applying countless amounts of sunscreen and hats. I saw the slightly droopy-firm arms that were made from holding my son for hours in the NICU, not wanting to let go or go home, and from laying in bed with my daughter holding a book overhead and reading until my tired voice cracked because we just needed to see what happened next to our friend Ruby Lavender,  or from standing in ready to dole out hugs as they both bounded off the big yellow school bus sharing tales of their day at recess or lunch or latest creation in art class. I saw wrinkly hands from holding treasures found in the woods, seashells at the beach, and little sticky fingers grabbing up for guidance along life’s path. I saw my not-so-perfect middle from growing two little souls in a safe and healthy belly of love, and from standing at the playground pushing a swing back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth instead of running around the block in my running gear, or from driving from home to school, to dance, to cross country, to cheer practice, to piano. I saw legs strong, but a bit crinkled from sitting on floors for hours building lego towers, crouching down to kiss a boo boo, quietly bending to knees to pray for God’s hand in the new job, the big test, the tryout, the meet… I saw sneakers in place of heels, I saw a pony tail in place of the latest coiff, I saw yoga pants and t shirt in place of a snappy business suit. And you know what? I looked, I saw, I noticed, I remembered, I hoped, I dreamed, I loved, I lived, I thanked God for it all. Best of all, when I saw all of that  looking back at me-I smiled! I’ll take that and more. Grayer, Wrinklier, Crinklier… Happy, Full, Grateful!