Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's Wednesday!

So, what are Wednesday like for you? Do you celebrate because your work week is half over? Or do you get frantic because the week is half over and you haven't done as much as you expected to get done?

Hey, whatever it is like, it's Wednesday! Celebrate that it is another day and you are alive with a chance to do something better today than you did yesterday. Another chance to be the best you you can be this day.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It's That Time of Year

Yep. The holiday season has begun. We've made it through Thanksgiving and are starting the "mad dash" to Christmas.  And for many of us that means we are focusing on others, focusing on gifts, focusing on fixing the house for celebrations, fixing meals, fixing goodies, etc.

And we do all this while we are continuing with what we ordinarily do in our days and nights. We are doing a lot of doing!

So we get even busier than usual, we worry about things more than usual, we miss those who are not with us more than usual, we get really stressed.

So I'm wanting to remind myself and all of you that we need to take good care of OURSELVES. Self care is always important, of course. But when we ultra busy or have a lot of extra stress we tend to forget to do that.

You are important. And taking care of you is important. So I found this video that might help.

What do you think? Try the five things and make your life better. It is hard to make the world better, to make anyone else's life better, if we don't take care of ourselves.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Went Grocery Shopping Yesterday

It made me think how blessed most of us are in the United States and other developed countries.

I watched people pondering the shelves to decide which kind of an item they wanted. Some were choosing by price, others by reading the labels, others just having difficulty deciding which to choose.

I thought first about people living in places where they didn't have a choice. If they wanted a particular kind of item, and they could find any of that kind of item, there was only one to choose from. And I thought about people who just didn't have the money to buy the item, any item.

There are people who live places in the world where there are no stores and no grocery items to buy. They may be able to find produce in a market, but there are no foods already prepared, canned, or frozen. And meat often is very limited or not available at all. They might buy live fowl. (Personally, I wouldn't know what to do with a live fowl and am grateful I don't have to learn!)

I'm able to buy all the grocery items we need and even some we don't need but just want. I'm terribly grateful for that fact. There has been a time in my life when that wasn't true, a time when I had to really carefully budget what little money I had to feed myself and two children. At one point I got food stamps, enough to buy milk for a month but that's all. So these days I relish grocery shopping. I'm still careful not to spend too much, but we don't go without now.

Yesterday I watched a woman in the over-the-counter pharmacy aisle trying to decide on a medicine. I know there are people in our country who can't even afford to buy Tylenol. And there are parts of the world where they can't get any kind of medicines. How very blessed we are when we can so easily buy something for an ache or pain.

And even though I have health and disability issues, I was able to do my own shopping because  I had the luxury of shopping with an electric cart. Imagine. I don't even have to be able to walk for the hour that it takes to shop! But something in the cereal aisle made me find something more for which to be even more thankful. I turned my electric cart into the cereal aisle and there was a team of emergency medics tending to someone lying on the floor!

I was grateful that even with my health issues I wasn't experiencing an emergency on the floor of a store. And even more grateful that there are people trained to come to help in emergencies when they are needed. We have 911 and other emergency systems that come quickly when they are needed. Imagine being somewhere that there are no trained medical persons when you need emergency care. There are many people who live long distances from that kind of help. And there are countries where that kind of help is just not there at all. There are places in the world where there are no doctors, no medicine, no hospitals, nothing. Even if we never have to use the emergency services, we are blessed to have them available.

So my trip to the grocery store has me all set for Thanksgiving Day. There is just so much for which we have to be thankful.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

TW3-Anyone Remember That Show?

It was a BBC TV show that reviewed the news with satire. Like SNL today, it was about comedy and entertainment. You can find it on YouTube now.

But my week wasn't funny and it wasn't what I'd call entertaining. It was a week of challenges for me.

In my last post I shared that a friend had died and that I was stunned. It happened right after I began battling Seasonal Affect Disorder, as I do every autumn. For some reason it hit me harder this year and was more of a struggle. My friend's death found me in a low and vulnerable state.

Then on Thursday my mother-in-law, who is 95 and lives in another part of the state, fell and broke her hip. My spouse dropped everything and went to be with her. Thursday night I learned that they had scheduled surgery for her on Friday at noon.

Also on Thursday night, late, I got word that my older daughter, who lives in Canada, had been in a car wreck and been taken to hospital. I didn't learn that she had broken no bones and was at home resting until the next morning.

Needless to say, I didn't get much restful sleep Thursday night. I wondered if my mother-in-law would make it through surgery and if I'd need to go there to support my spouse, or if I would have to go on my own to Canada to be with my daughter. I worried needlessly, it seems, as I learned on Friday that both mother-in-law and daughter made it through o.k.

Saturday was the funeral for my friend. There was comfort, tears, laughter at memories, and the presence of a multitude of her friends to share our grief. It was hard, it was good, it was important.

So now I am down to only dealing with the stress of managing things at home on my own. I need to take care of my health, so I need to do all the things required to battle the depression and to be sure I take all my medications, eat properly, get some exercise, not isolate myself. And I need to prioritize tasks so that I'm only doing what must be done and setting some aside for when my spouse returns. And I must keep reminding myself that if there is something that must be done that I shouldn't do myself, I must ask for help from friends or family.

Easy-peasy, right? Well, not really. I'm a) the most independent of personality types; b) very introverted; and c) don't do well living alone. So, if you are someone who prays or who sends positive energies, send it my way. This week includes Thanksgiving and I don't know for sure yet where I will be celebrating that holiday. But one thing I know for sure is that I have SO VERY MUCH for which I am thankful.

How about you? Do you count your blessings even when life throws challenges at you?

Thank you for listening to my challenges. I hope you will share with me some good advice for getting through them. Hopefully the weeks to come will be filled with more happy times and I'll be sharing ways to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Friend Died Last Week

It was a shock and I'm still rather stunned. I'm feeling lost and confused about how to integrate the whole thing with my daily life. I'm thankful that I had her in my life for nearly thirty years, yes. And I'm grateful that she is no longer in pain. But after that, I'm at a loss. I'm sure I'll move through the grief process with time. But I keep wondering things like "who will die next?" and "is this going to happen often now?"

You see, I'm nearly 76 years old. While my friend was a decade younger, many of my friends are closer to my age. We are going to be dying, I suppose, sooner than the younger folks.

I remember my mom commenting that all her friends were dying. She outlived nearly all of the people in her childhood. The people she had stayed in contact with were all gone. There was a group of friends who had been in the same Sunday school class since their teens and they met once a month for decades for lunch together. She was the last one living from that group.

She was less than a decade older than me when that happened. Am I to that stage now? Is this friend's death just the beginning of a cycle of losses?

That's sure a grim perspective of my future! And this time of year it doesn't take much to plunge me into depression. I can't let that happen, though, because depression is detrimental to my health. So what to do?

First, I need to take good care of myself. To take good care of myself I need to pay attention to those things that fight depression:
a.) avoid mood altering chemicals like caffeine, alcohol, etc.;
b.) interact with at least one other person every day;
c.) exercise, twenty minutes of physical activity each day;
d.) get sunshine/daylight every day - even sitting beside a window will help;
e.) set and achieve small goals each day - write them down the night before and work toward them the following day.

You'd be surprised how much difference those simple things can make. Try it.

But what about having more friends, or better friends? I've always had a hard time making new friends. I'm very introverted and find it hard to start and sustain a conversation with someone I've just met. And because of my introversion I struggle to be social. But I'll need to overcome this if I'm to make new friends. It is even harder to do as I get older - I have less energy and more physical challenges. But that can't be allowed to get in the way. So how do you make new friends, especially when you are older?

I found a YouTube video that is helpful. If you are interested, click on the link below.

And would you share with me your ideas of how to keep depression away and how to make new friends? I'd appreciate it.

I know this isn't my usual blog post, not all that inspiring. But we all need to know how to take care of ourselves in this way in order to do that which makes the world a better place for all.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What Did You Do Yesterday?

What did you do yesterday for which someone might be grateful for today?

How about we take a different perspective on the month of Thanksgiving. What if we thought of things to do to give others something for which they can be thankful? What if we took the time this month to focus on helping others, to focus on acts of kindness?

We can all be thankful that we can do something for someone else. When we look at our life from that perspective we can realize how very much we have for which to be thankful. And we have so much that we can share.

Maybe you don't have lots of money. Even with just a little money we can probably figure a way to set aside a bit for someone else. Could you spare a dollar? You know that even a dollar can be appreciated by someone who doesn't have a dollar. Have you considered those with NO income? Or someone living homeless?

I help collect things needed by the unsheltered homeless. Think about living like that. Even something as simple as a band-aid is something you may not have. Yes, even a dollar can make a difference.Be thankful that you have more than that, even when it doesn't seem like you have enough for yourself.

Things they need that you may take for granted:
•Small sewing kits (like they give at hotels)
•Small shampoos
•toothbrushes w/caps
• Q-tips
•small bars of soap
• zip lock bags so people can keep their soap and tooth brush clean for future use
• thick socks
•Fabric bandaids and first aide items like packets of neosporin/triple antibiotic cream
•nail clippers
(keeping nails trimmed short cuts back the amount of dirt and bacteria that gets under them. Yuck. And also protects toe nails, etc.)
•hard candy/ cough drops
So, what did you do yesterday to help someone else? Yesterday I took the time to line up the shopping carts in a store where I had been shopping. There were half a dozen carts parked this way and that near the cart stall. So I just put them in an orderly line. Who would be grateful I'd done it? I don't know. But it must have been someone's job to do that and now they would have to. And I was grateful that I had the time and the energy, the physical ability, to do it.

What did you do? What could you do? What will you do today?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

At the Risk of Sounding Political . . .

I try to avoid sounding political, or at least partisan, in my blog posts. But I'm going to quote former President Obama here.

This sounds like great advice to change the world for the better.

Former president Barack Obama addressed 500 young leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists from 60 nations and 27 states at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.  During his welcome speech, Obama presented a set of four rules he encouraged everyone to follow that he believes will help elevate civic culture, rules we can use to effect change in our everyday lives.

“There are just a few of them, and I think they’re pretty simple,” he said.
The rules were sent to the Obama Foundation’s mailing list after the speech. Obama wrote:

1. Listen to the people around you

“Share your stories with one another and try to make a connection. If possible, find someone who’s not like you—who doesn’t look like you, think the way you do, or share the same set of experience as you—at least on the surface.”

2. When you disagree, don’t be disagreeable

“Real change comes through persuasion and openness to others. Have a point of view, be rooted in your experience, and don’t be afraid to share—but listen and be open, don’t be partisan. This isn’t about politics; it’s about our civic culture.”

3. No selfies!

“You can’t have a conversation with someone when you’re busy looking at your phone or trying to get a picture. Shake hands, really connect.”

4. Have fun

“This work is hard. It’s full of frustrations and setbacks. It can be lonely—but it doesn’t have to be. Know that there are other people who share your frustrations and your joy in the small successes—and how those small successes can turn into big ones.”

What if we all did this? How would it change the culture? Listen. Disagree without being diagreeable. Have real conversations. Enjoy other people who share in your sucesses. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

An Attitude of Gratitude

It is the time of year when we begin looking at those things for which we are thankful. Even on our worse days there are things we can be thankful for. Some folks find that really hard to do.

When we focus on the "bad" things in our lives it can seem like it is all bad. But really there are so many things to be thankful for on a daily basis.

What are you thankful for? Can you name a few? Do you have food to eat? A dry, warm place to sleep? At least one friend? Do you have any income? Do you have clothes suitable for the weather? Can you walk? Talk?

We need to focus more on those things that we have that are good than on what we lack. And the Thanksgiving Holiday gives us that opportunity.

This year why not acknowledge what others do for you? Thank people for what they do. Make it a point to thank someone every day this month - co-worker, family members, janitors, teachers, attorneys, military personnel, police officers, mail carriers, doctors, nurses, delivery persons, doormen, drivers, friends, neighbors. Who did I leave out?

And make the thanks specific: "Thank you for keeping the office clean", "Thank you for your patience with my son," "Thank you for cooperating", etc. Let them know what it is that they do that you are thankful for.

Something I like to do is send a thank you card to the mother of someone whose birthday is near to thank them for creating such a lovely friend, etc. It always surprises and pleases their mom to be recognized on their child's birthday.

Who might you thank today?

Develop your attitude of gratitude.

Thank you for reading my blog! Here is a little gift to thank you.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Let's Bring Back Some Old Words: Converse

Converse: to exchange thoughts and opinions in speech :talk

With the explosion of computer use we have lost some very valuable opportunities to truly connect with others. Yes, we "stay connected" through social media, email, etc. But what kind of connections are they? 

The connection made through a screen is a distant connection, one that separates rather than unites. Think about it. True connection through conversation really needs eye contact. And when we converse with another person we also communicate through facial expression, tone of voice, pacing, etc. You don't have that with a screen between you.

In order to make the world a better place, a more peaceful place, we need to develop deep conversations. We need to communicate person to person  about the things that matter.

Maybe this video will help.

Practice conversing with people at a deeper level. Even using written words we can go deeper. We can listen for what the other person's words are meaning and if it isn't clear, ask for clarification. Using social media and email has made is lazy conversationalists.

Live a deeper conversation.