Monthly Archives: November 2012

“If you give a little love you can get a little love of your own …” Noah and the Whales

A friend posted a video of people doing things for other people.   The video was of little things that people were doing for others, often strangers.  Then, a third-party, who saw the good deed, would then go out and do something for someone else … and it kept happening over and over again.  I guess it’s a variation on the theme of pay it forward except here they were doing good deeds because they saw someone do something for someone else.

I was mesmerized by the video.  That’s my mantra – give love and you will get it back!  Do something for someone and it will come back two-fold.

What I really want to say today is DO.  Do, do, do.   Do something every day for someone else.  Give someone you don’t know a hand, bring in their grocery cart (one of my favorites – as I am at the grocery store three times a day!), hold a door, give someone you love a card (got one yesterday!), chat with someone in the line at the store, smile at them, admire their coat, their hair color … anything.

We can’t take anything with us when we leave this earth.  Absolutely nothing. All that is left is what we’ve done for others, the things we say, our gestures, the hugs, the kisses, the love we give out.  It never fails to amaze me how fantastic it feels to do for people and how wonderful it is to have someone do for me.

As you can imagine (hear the groans from my kids!) we (I) talk about this topic all the time.  Here are some of the basic guides that we’ve come up with for our family and for life:

1. Nice people do nice things for others – and they do them all the time.

2. Be a true believer in random acts of kindness.

3. Live life by sharing your love with others.

4. Do one thing nice every day for someone else.  Look for those opportunities. Pretty soon it will become such a habit that you won’t even think twice about it.  When that happens change to two nice things for two people.

5. Treat everyone – I mean everyone – with respect … no matter how they treat you.

Yesterday I shared with the kids (and now with you) another one of my favorite quotes:

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.”  Buddha

DO – something today and this weekend!

Crazy PLATES (a new Walker exhibit?)

I didn’t win the Powerball, so I am still blogging (I think I might still blog if I won but maybe not so early in the morning!)

Yesterday, I saw a funny license plate … BRAAIN.  Hmm, seemed counterintuitive but it made me laugh out loud (as it should!).   People are so creative – even on their cars!!!

So, when I got home and started chatting with the kids, I asked them (after we discussed what we would do with our Powerball winnings) what were some of the funniest plates we’ve seen over the years.   Here’s what we could think of – I have not put in the swear word ones (although we love those!).  Many of them we now wish we would have photographed.

WUUTEVR (whatever, obviously)

BCONETR (bacon eater)

CHOCLIT

They thought that when my daughter starts driving we should have, on our two cars:  VEGAN and BEEF

ALEGUP

UADUDE

ALI3N

CHEM1ST (wish I would have thought of this for my dad!)

YRUUGLI (why are you ugly?  we saw this on a BMW!)

RUTTROE (their dad’s car)

For those willing to admit their issues, we’ve seen:

ADHD

SLASHER

TADBAD

PIRFCT1

NOTAJRK

SINGLE (must work better than match.com!)

SUPRCOL

BEAST (this is the new “cool”)

2LGT2QT

PLAYER

HUMBULL

My assistant saw, 2NIFTY

We recently saw, SAVESEX (is it going to be extinct? … why not SAFESEX? Maybe that wouldn’t attract the opposite sex!)

FROMMYX (love that one!)

For the generally pissed off:

MENLIE (hmm…)

IHVNOJB (I have no job (but can afford a speciality plate?))

HATEMYX (seriously? on your car?)

PMS24-7 (ahh, yea!)

On a tow truck in CA I saw:

AUTOPSY

My dad saw a truck that installed blinds, which had a sign:

CAUTION BLIND MAN DRIVING

Too funny!  Keep your eyes open today!

Nothing ever stays the same …

I must admit that this is one of the bigger challenges of my life  – dealing with the fact that nothing stays the same.  Why is it that life can’t stay static for one minute … it is constantly changing, despite all my attempts to the contrary.

This isn’t “breaking” news. We all know that nothing stays the same. We all know that life is constantly changing.   However, I have worked very hard over the years  to keep things the same … only to under-estimate that fact that nothing does!

There are some things that don’t change (or don’t change fast enough!).  Studies have shown (where the heck do I get these studies??) that people who are nice in their 20’s tent to be nicer in their 50’s and people who are unpleasant for whatever reason in their 20’s tend to become even less pleasant in the later years. Why? Apparently, being happy or pleasant is a learned behavior!  So, the longer you are pleasant, the more likely you will stay that way.  We all know people that we wish would change, but don’t.

Most everything else changes.  And, if we are to survive relationships, whether a partner, your kids or your friends, we must become comfortable with the changes they make (or don’t make) about who they are and what they want.  This is not about settling (something I allowed myself to do for quite some time) this is about understanding that nothing, not even people, stay the same, and if you love someone, you have to adapt – one way or another.

I was talking with a friend last night about this topic and she reminded me that I am constantly changing too.  Not what I was looking for …  I thought I was going to stay 50 forever!

Change is absolute, it always happens.  Time changes, people change and our world changes with it.   So, I am in the preparation mode for the change in front of me.  If it’s not going to stay the same (and it’s not) then I might as well embrace the change!

Maybe something will change in my kids today.  Maybe they will start unloading the dishwasher, doing the laundry and picking up their room … one can only hope!

Have a great day.

Love is a many-splendoured thing

Love, as I’ve stated, is one of my favorite topics.  Someone once suggested to me that I say “I love you” too much.  In my mind – he’s got it backwards.  Don’t you want to be around people who acknowledge you with those words?  I do!

On a daily basis, many of us spend a lot of time thinking about our life challenges. We think about all sorts of difficult situations, financial problems, familial problems and even work issues.  Yet, do we spend as much time and energy thinking about love?  My guess is, not … I think we just assume it happens.

Over this last week I have been thinking about this topic (well really the last 50 years!).  I’ve tried to come up with one definition … I came up with many:

Love is intimacy, passion and commitment.

One ancient proverb defined love as the highest form of tolerance (that is so true!).

Love is compatibility but it isn’t instant compatibility or even complete compatibility.  The key to any long-term successful relationship is understanding that it is a long, not short, journey and no one is perfect or perfectly compatible.

Love is being there with no walls.  Sharing joy and sorrow, understanding each other, providing space to each other, but always there for each others needs.

Love can’t be measured.  Love is best expressed in deeds.  It is not created by words.  Love can be felt in silence. Love is gentle.

We can’t force love.  If it was not meant to be, it won’t survive.

Any kind of love, romantic, friendship, family, can leave your heart-broken.  Yet, there will always be someone who loves you enough to pick up the pieces and help put your heart back together.

The more we love, the more we experience, the more we get to know ourselves, the more we can share our love.  Eventually, the love you put out there will come back to you.

Love has no firm definition, yet it is the most powerful experience in life.  One thing is for sure …  if we expect love to always be perfect, always at its best, we will never appreciate its existence.

I’ll leave you today with one of my many favorite “love” quotes:

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.  ~Robert Heinlein

Enjoy the start of your week!

Strengthening our relationships.

While this is an important topic anytime, it is especially important during the holiday season.  I don’t claim to be an expert (last I checked, I’m still a single mom!) but we’ve all read studies that show a strong correlation between happiness and high quality relationships.  Plus, it’s not just our relationship with our partner, but with anyone close to us — our friends and even our kids.  When I do get the chance to talk with the kids about their friendships, I talk about these things:

Listen Deeply to the words and the messages from your friend/partner.  Not just what she or his is saying, but also the message conveyed behind the words … the feelings.  Don’t just say you are “hearing” them.  Listen.  There’s a difference.

Respond Carefully after you’ve listened.  Words can build or destroy trust.    A response can be encouraging or discouraging.  You want your words to create a positive impact on your relationships.

Freedom is an important part of a strong relationship.  Granting another person the freedom to be themselves, to stretch and grow is the ultimate result of unconditional love.

Support is an important factor in any relationship.  In the world filled with more things than we can handle, we will inevitably rough spots and obstacles.  A supportive relationship gives us strength and reassurance.  Relationships should rejuvenate and re-energize.  Aren’t we all attracted to people who are supportive of us?

There will always be disagreements, differences of opinion and even disappointments in the relationship.   Solving conflicts with respect, support, and equality can actually strengthen a relationship.

Acknowledge the relationship and the difference the person makes in your life.  Validate them and remind them often how special they are to you and the world.

Trust is the glue that holds it all together.  Trust that the friend/partner will be there no matter what.  Trust that they respect who you are as a person.  If you don’t trust them, nothing else matters.

Don’t forget to acknowledge another important relationship  – the one with yourself.  Acknowledge your own qualities and use them to form stronger and healthier relationships with others.  You will end up attracting the qualities in others that are already in you!

Enjoy the last day of the weekend!

 

Let it go.

The holiday season brings up many things, including our past.  By past, I mean anything from your childhood, to your past (or current) relationships and even things that happen in daily life.  Most of us (read “all”) have things from our past that we must let go of.  Yet, letting go can be one of the hardest things we’ll ever do.  Sometimes we hang on to our past because it is the only way we can gain control over it (wrong assumption).  Sometimes hang on to it because we just don’t know how to (or are afraid to) move forward.

This weekend I had some eye-opening conversations with my daughter and the daughter of my long-time friend (they were visiting for the weekend).  Both girls come from divorced parents so they see the world a bit differently – actually in a way that I think is cool (not that divorce is good but it results in kids having different views of life, love and control).  Why do I bring this up?  Because I spent a good bit of time talking to the girls about this topic – letting go.   Here are my ideas for doing so (I need to use them as well!):

1. Accept that there’s nothing you can do to change the past. I reminded them that their parents did the best they could in the situation they were in.  I also told them that they also did the best they could in the situation they were placed in.  The past is done and I think they’ve got a really interesting view of life.  Use it and move forward.

2. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and forgive your family as well. Dwelling on what you or your parents could’ve or should’ve done is unhealthy and won’t change the past.  This is true for letting go of any issue: past relationships, work issues, etc.  Plus, it wastes a ton of our finite time.

3. Be aware of your feelings. I reminded them that at times they will feel stuck.  They will be in the dwelling mode about something in the past or maybe someone who is gone.  I told them that at those moments just gently stop and be thankful for that person and move on to another thought.  The “dwelling” will come back but you will know what to do with it.

4. Time is your best friend. Some people never move past their childhood or they take it with them and it affects all their future relationships.  Time will heal all wounds (if you let it) and they should allow it to work that way.  Eventually all that is left (if they are successful in this regard) will be an almost invisible mark … I told them to take that mark and use it in a positive way!

I have no idea if our conversations will help the girls.  However, it will certainly help me as a parent and as a person as I continue to walk that tightrope-of-a-role in trying to do the right thing for them and at the same time, doing the right thing for me.

Enjoy your Saturday!

 

 

Reborn an American

I hope you all had a nice holiday.  I met an interesting man at the church where the kids and I were serving food yesterday morning.  He had been in the Army and had two tours in Bagdad.  He was in the security forces.  He had some amazing stories and I found the entire conversation to be so fascinating that I almost forgot why I was there (until my kids came over to ask me to focus on the task at hand!).

The discussion that impressed me the most was his feeling about our country.  He said that he went into the Army because he didn’t really know what to do with his life and he didn’t think college was the right avenue.  On his many tours and years in the Army (20) he said he had been around the world multiple times.  All this travel and all his experiences led him to one defining feeling – that he is grateful to be an American.

He talked about all the fantastic and beautiful countries he’d been to.  He also told me about the opulence and horrors of some of those same countries.  Even with all the beauty and money of other areas of the world, he said that he would prefer to live in the poorest of areas in American than anywhere else. He believes that many of us (I am going to include myself here) take our country for granted … the freedoms we have and the opportunities in front of us.  He thought that we expect so much from our country and give back so little.

I really have no wise or funny thoughts about this conversation other than I am thankful to have had the experience.  I do, however, want to share this:  that on Thanksgiving, in the basement of a church, surrounded by homeless folks and my three children, I was reborn an American.

Enjoy your continued holiday weekend!