Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lessons From the Road....

...he allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
~Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera~

Well, here we are once again. July 4th.

If you have been following along, you know that last year, I was running for the hills, trying to get away from the 4th of July. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the day. The day however, had different plans...

So, this year, I was not afraid of the balloons, fireworks, the red, white or blue. I knew it would be a tough day, being two whole years since Stephen died. But I carried with me the lesson of last year, that it is okay to be happy on this day, even through tears. You don't need to, nor can you, run away from life.

My husband and I decided to get away and have a quiet 4th together, remembering a wonderful son and all the love he brought into our lives. We packed the car, made sure Rudy the Wonder Dog was comfortable, and off we went. About an hour into the drive we had to abruptly stop, as we came upon an accident that had happened just moments before. Saying a silent prayer, my mind was racing. I was thinking about the people involved and their families. I was reliving the call I received on the evening of July 4th, hoping that some mother or father would not have to experience a moment like that one.

We sat on the road for about an hour and forty five minutes as the responders worked feverishly to help the occupants of the vehicles. Two helicopters landed to airlift the critically injured.

It's hard to explain the range of emotions as we sat and watched this unfold. I prayed and prayed, hoping for a positive end to this story. Our fellow motorists, cars packed to the ceiling, mingled and talked quietly as they gazed towards the flashing lights.

We all realized it. It could be any one of us. If Mary hadn't been so long in the bathroom, if Joe didn't need to stop for another Diet Coke. It could be any of us.

As the State troopers directed the steady stream of traffic once the accident had been cleared, we slowly drove past the mangled vehicle. A lonely kayak lay overturned on the side of the road, dislodged from its carrier, no longer on the way to the beach.

I'm not sure what happened to those involved. I pray they are okay.

Two road trips trying to cope with the 4th of July have taught me two valuable lessons in life.

Last July, I learned that it is okay to let myself be happy, even on the tough days, even if that happiness is mixed with tremendous sadness.

This year, I was reminded that a happy life is to be lived now.


Because life can bring change with the blink of an eye.

So, on this July 4th, do me a favor. Consider this your Independence Day. Break free from the chains of past hurts and allow yourself to be happy. Don't let your future be dependent on what has happened to you up to this point. Let your life be defined by you.

For me, that independence means starting something new. I've created a new blog called Just One Little Thing

In it, I plan to continue the conversation about life and gratitude, with a focus on life. It is the next chapter. I do hope that you follow me. I've also created a facebook group where you can share your one little thing. I see this as part of Stephen's legacy, as I feel his smile with each bit of goodness that I share with others. It launched today. I wanted it to begin on the 4th, showing myself and others that happy and sad can coexist. Truthfully, one cannot exist without the other.

Today, my one little thing is a big thing. Today I am thankful for being Stephen's mom. My son, my teacher, he continues to show me the way.

I will leave you with a song by an amazing songwriter and artist, Chris Trapper. He wrote this song after the passing of a friend. I simply love it. I think if Stephen could put in a request, he would tell all of us to sing along.

Thanks for walking with me,


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pema Chodron-We Just Don't Know....

When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don’t know. We never know if we’re going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know. ~Pema Chodron~

Happy Thursday y'all.

Just had to share this quote from Pema Chodron. Read it a couple of times and really think about how it might apply to your life. It really made me think.

It's all about the way you look at things. For your daily dose of positive perspective, join the new group on Facebook, Just One Little Thing.

Launching July 4th. Please like the page today and join me.

Have a good one,


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Next Leg of the Journey...

Life is like sailing. You can use any wind to go in any direction. ~Robert Brault~

Hello friends,

First, I want to begin by saying thank you for all the support over the past two years. In life, we truly find our strength, not in isolation, but by sharing and connecting with others, sharing the lessons we have learned along the way. I've learned so very much from all of you, and have been so humbled by your response to Stephen's story. With each person who has connected with me, I have felt his beautiful smile, and have been encouraged to keep writing, keep breathing, to simply keep going. Many days, you have all been my one little thing.

Almost a year ago, on July 4th, 2010, I was at a crossroads of sorts, wondering where to go with this "Gratitude in Grief." A year had passed since losing Stephen, but I was still broken, still hurting. But, I was also feeling hopeful for my future. I wondered should I continue on this path, or immerse myself back in "normal life." Whatever normal is anyway...

It was not until I started to clean out my office that the answer came. You see, I looked back to you for my answers. Since beginning this journey, and sharing my story, I have received (and responded to almost all...still working on it :-)) close to 10,000 emails from all of you. Words of wisdom, encouragement, support. In some emails, you bravely shared your own story, and I learned that each of us has a book within us. Many of you told me what you needed.

Hope, even in hardship.

Happiness, even in grief.

The ability to feel grateful for what remains, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

You gave me my answer. And so, I am pleased to invite you to the next leg of the journey,

"Just One Little Thing"

I've created a community of gratitude and resilience, a safe place where we can give each other a daily dose of what we need to keep going. The Facebook page is now up, but will be officially launching on July 4, 2011.

Join me by clicking on the link above, and "liking" the page. Then watch for the launch of the 4th! The Facebook page is just the beginning, and we've got some exciting plans for the coming months.

My goal is to get as many people to join as we can by the 4th. That's kind of my little thing for that day. So, invite your friends and tell them to invite theirs. Let's get the biggest group to continue this conversation. So, start inviting...

Thanks again for sharing so much of yourselves with me on this journey.


p.s. After you like the page, go to the Join My List tab to sign up for Inbox Inspirations, a daily dose of inspiration to help you find your one little thing!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Open to Hope: Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss Released

A few months back, I was approached to be a contributor to a new book called Open to Hope: Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss. I was both pleased and humbled to be asked and naturally, I jumped at the opportunity.

The book's authors, Dr. Gloria Horsley, PhD, MFC, RN, and Dr. Heidi Horsley, PsyD, LMSW, are internationally recognized grief experts. The mother/daughter team founded the Open to Hope Foundation and are hosts of the popular “Open to Hope” Internet radio show.

Since experiencing my own loss, I have searched for grief support that presented the grieving process with a focus on hope for the possibility of a happy future. I found that in the wonderful resources created by Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi.

So, drum roll please. I'm so pleased to announce the release of the book,

Open to Hope: Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss

The book offers a path for hope after loss, with expert guidance. It includes stories and validation from close to 100 other national experts in the area of grief and loss. The amazing Dr. Bernie Siegel said this about the book,

"This book is about more than finding hope. It is about the natives teaching the tourists how to survive the pain of the loss of a loved one. Loss is inevitable, but what we do with it is a choice we must each make. If you want to recover and turn the charcoal into a diamond by using the pressure you are experiencing, read on."
Bernie Siegel, M.D.
Author of 365 Prescriptions for the Soul;
Love, Medicine & Miracles; and Buddy's Candle

The book is available at local and national bookstores, as well as all online booksellers such as, or directly through For more information about the book or the Open to Hope Foundation, visit .

I am excited to be part of this, and have part of my own story within the pages. I hope it will serve as a light in dark times for many who read it. As Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi so eloquently put it,

Lean on our hope until you find your own.

Take some time to check it out!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Gift of a Brand New Day

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~Mary Pickford~

A brand new day. How many times have you arrived home, flopped on the couch, turned on the TV and sighed, thinking, "Thank God that day is over."

We've all been there. A day we wished would simply end.

But let's be honest. How many of us, that very next morning, begin our brand new day thinking about all the negatives of the day before. How many of us let all those cumulative bad day negatives compound until our brand new day doesn't have a chance.

We need to practice at wiping the slate clean. And before some of you send me the email saying you cannot erase your past, let me finish. I don't mean forget or erase. I don't mean "move on", because as someone who has lost, I know how those two words can sting. I simply mean that life is important enough to deserve a second chance.

We have to be willing to start with a fresh new canvas, and give each new day the chance it deserves. If you are brave enough to release the hurts of the past, your world can open to all the possibilities that exist for you. You need to make room for the good stuff.

So, tomorrow, when you sit on the edge of the bed, ready to face the world, think of yourself as a blank canvas. Your mind, and your thoughts are your paint.

What masterpiece will you create?

Go be an artist,


Have a listen to Joshua Radin in this quirky but applicable video. Love him.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

25 Years Ago Today...Happy Birthday Stephen

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path." ~ Agatha Christie~

Today Is Stephen's 25th birthday. It is a quiet day here, one of reflection and remembrance. I miss him, and I wish he was here so I could bake him a cake, and sing, and just love him. It has always been a day of mixed emotions to be honest. The day I received Stephen, I lost his brother. In many ways, I always go back to that day, where I had to balance both joy and pain. It was the beginning of my education on life and finding gratitude in grief.

I've been thinking about this special birthday for months. First, I wanted to go away. I thought I would attend a retreat. Perhaps meditate for the weekend. Maybe I would completely distract myself with some household chore or activity. I ended up doing something much more personal, sitting with my thoughts. I've spent the entire weekend thinking about what the next step is for me, and how I can continue to spread all the goodness that was Stephen.

25 years ago today, I had no idea one little person would make such a long lasting impact on my life. I, as a very young and very unprepared mother, was worried about what I would need to do, how much my life would change, what I would have to sacrifice. I have to be honest, I was worried about how this would forever change the course of my life, not how I could potentially affect the course of his.

I did not realize that this small, fuzzy wrinkled miracle would bring me nothing but gifts. I simply had no idea of the events that would unfold after I heard that small but determined little cry in the delivery room.

Funny isn't it. Those moments when we think that life is over. They are actually just beginning. The things that appear to crush us do not, but perhaps mold us ( albeit painfully) so that we are ready for the good that will come from change. I know sometimes when you're right in the "thick of it" it is hard to believe that good could come from it. But it does. If you choose to let it.

That's what I'm thinking about today, on Stephen's birthday. The good that came from, and continues to come from his unplanned, unexpected life. Each day, as I write, or respond to someone who has read his story, I feel the ripple of his life. The brilliance of his soul continues to shine and sparkle when I spread love.

Even in something as bad as death, something good can be found. If you choose to believe that it is possible to be happy, even through tears.

That is what I hold onto today.

So today, do me a favor. Celebrate with me. But doing one thing. Look at your own life. See the good and bad. And ask yourself where it can take you. I guarantee you if you let it, it will teach you and lead to something wonderful. Take stock of where you are, and what you want for your life.

Today, I am thankful for Stephen, and the ripple of his life as it continues to impact the lives of so many.

On a side note, I am thankful that yesterday was not the end of the world. In some weird warped way, the thought of the earth's demise and potential rapture made this weekend a little easier for me. As I awoke this morning, I knew the day would be tough, but certainly not as tough as was predicted. One little thing to be thankful for.....sorry, sarcasm runs in my family.

I will leave you with the thoughts I wrote about him last year and a song from one of his favorite bands.

Spread some love today will ya?


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You're Just Like Your Mother...

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

Growing up, I often heard the phrase,

"You're just like your mother."

I've heard it for as long as I can remember. Even at her funeral, relatives and friends alike remarked how much I reminded them of her. At the time, at twenty years old, I could not see it.

But the truth is, I was and still am. I look like my mother, with her crooked flat little nose. I sound like my mother and can almost hear her in the room when I guffaw in a certain way after hearing something that tickles my funny bone. I can feel her when I slam a cupboard in frustration, or get excited about good news. I am private like she was, and live a life that is introverted, even though some would think I am an open book. I am flawed, but accepting of those imperfections because she showed me that it was okay to be less than perfect. When I am baking, and the recipes works, I feel my mother in the kitchen with me, willing me to succeed in cutting squares that are actually square, and not something like a parallelogram out of a tenth grade geometry text. (why does everyone need squares to be square anyway?)

When Stephen died, I longed for her, needing a comfort that only a mother could give her child. And, that not being possible, I instead decided to conduct myself in a way that was "Madge-like." I took comfort in the fact that if she could not be with me, at least she was with Stephen. I tried to be dignified, loving, and sometimes even stoic. But most of all, I tried to be like her and remain positive and strong in the face of tremendous hurt in life. Truly, when I think about my choice to grieve with gratitude, she deserves a great measure of the credit. More than my nose, I believe I am most like my mother in how I deal with the valleys of life. And that makes me proud.

I wonder if she realized the immense responsibility that was hers when she took on this gig called motherhood. I wonder if she understood that through the way she lives, I would grow to see life through her eyes. From her, I learned how to express love, frustration, and anger. I learned how a marriage should work. I learned how much a mother should tolerate and where to draw the line. I learned how to love my own children, and be a protective Momma bear. I learned how to bake bread, make soup and slam cupboards when I disagreed with the direction of the family. I learned about tradition, and how to make occasions special. She taught me resilience, and how to stand tall when life was less than perfect. She showed me that not only was it okay for me to be happy, it was required. She was not perfect, and showed me that was okay too.

So, as we approach this Mother's Day, I would ask you to do two important things.

Give thanks for your own mother, and all she did throughout the years to shape you into the human being you are today. Whether she is living or has passed on, take some time this weekend to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.

And finally, if you yourself are now a mother, think about the life you are reflecting in your own child's eyes. Are you teaching your child about happiness, love and gratitude? Are you, through your own life, showing your child that they are beautiful and worthy of all the joy that life has to offer?

Happy Mother's Day Madge. Heaven is lucky to have you.


p.s. The photo is one of my favorites of my mother, and was taken at my birthday party. It captures who she was, with her hands on her hips and that grin. She was awesome. If you look closely, in the corner of the picture, you can see my neighbor Gary climbing the fence. Shortly after this picture was taken, I had a meltdown at my party ( this happened every year, as I could not take the attention) and was escorted to my bedroom to watch my friends and relatives from my window as they enjoyed the celebration of my birth. I don't think Madge was smiling so much as she dragged me down the hall kicking and screaming and otherwise being a monster. My family and I call it Birthday Party Syndrome. And yes, I still have this affliction, and require some quiet time each birthday....although now, I do not require an escort, and just go quietly without a fuss.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Different Thinking For Different Results....

Happy Tuesday,

I just wanted to share this short video with you, as it really made me stop and think.

Are you thinking differently these days in the hopes of producing some different results?

I don't know about you, but I think our world needs a few more crazy thinkers who think they can change the world.


Friday, March 25, 2011

This Year's Hot Spring Fashion-The Lead Jacket

The fastest way to freedom is to feel your feelings. -Gita Bellin

Yesterday, I was reading a short article about the hottest new fashion items for spring. There is always an article like this at every change of season. The absolute essential ten pieces you need in your wardrobe to survive the next four months.

I don't always buy into the fashion of the month, but the change of season does bring a sense of renewal, and the urge to purge my closet.

So, yesterday, I did just that. I dove into that closet and starting pulling things from hangers and shoving them into bags for the Goodwill. Haven't worn it in six months? Good bye. Don't need the stuffy business suits of years gone by? Off they go. Pants too tight? Adios. Pants too loose? Good bye, but let's take a moment to celebrate shall we?

If you're like me, you have The "Armageddon" Closet. It is prepared for any wardrobe scenario you may be faced with.

Faced with a tornado, followed by a frost warning, with an evening of rain? I have this jacket I've held onto for just that very day. On a diet of lettuce? Choose the pants on the left. Having a love affair with Oreos and Ruffles? Pants on the right please. Zombie attack? I have an outfit with enough pockets to accommodate the various weapons required to save yourself and those you love from the wrath of the undead.

But really, who needs it? Is my closet living in the present moment? Do I need to be prepared for every wardrobe scenario?

So, I purge. There is a steady stream of clothes flying out of my closet. It feels good to clean out, to gut, to purge. It is good to get rid of old clothes and the memories attached to them, to make room for new stuff, perhaps, dare I say, a new size that is more acceptable to me?

And then I find it. A shelf full of memories. The first was one of Stephen's t-shirts. I remember holding this item close to me so many lonely days. If I closed my eyes and smelled the shirt, it almost felt like he was still here. Next I found some papers, school stuff from his younger days, pictures I had tucked away in this private space for me alone. And finally, I found his bag. It was filled with vitamins, allergy medicine, dental floss and contact solution. I'm sure he just emptied his medicine cabinet into this bag before he came home for summer. Everything was neat and organized, and labeled. So Stephen. I'm not sure why, in the 20 months or so since losing him, I have not emptied the bag, or thrown it out entirely. I've just let it sit there. I've looked at it several times, knowing I need to do something with it, but never being able to actually make the move. There is something about the bag and its contents. It reminds me of his personality. It leaves a lingering scent of his life, even after all this time, when most of the fragrance has dissipated.

And so, I sit in my closet and I cry. I look at his organized dental flosses and I cry all over again for someone who is gone too soon.

And I realize. No matter what the season change, or what the fashion magazines say about this year's hottest looks, there is one item I will always have in my closet. My lead jacket of grief. Most days, it hangs there. I look at it each morning, but choose to wear something else. But every now and again, regardless of the weather or season, I will wear it for a little while. I will put it on and allow myself to once again feel the pains of a loss so tremendous that I could never find the words to adequately describe it.

The jacket is heavy, but comfortable in a way as well. It hugs into you, and reminds you of the love you share with the person lost, and how that love still surrounds you to this day. There are always tissues in the pocket of the lead jacket. The heaviness of the garment forces you to slow down, to release some of the minutia of daily life, and just be with the sadness. In your stillness, sitting with the grief, you remember, you lament, and you heal yourself all over again.

You don't have to wear it often, but you will always return to this important piece of your wardrobe. It is important that you do. It is the only piece in your closet that will teach you something each time you wear it.

For me, I wore it for a couple of hours yesterday. I'm not sure when I will try it on again. But I know I feel different today because I did take the time yesterday to let myself feel the weight of the jacket and my continued sadness over the loss of my son. I feel lighter, for allowing the built up sadness to just get out. I feel like I can go a little further. I feel like I have once again been reminded of what matters in this life. It is okay to feel the sadness, and then move forward and live a happy life, wiser because you were brave enough to acknowledge it.

The lead jacket. Not just for spring. And a piece of your wardrobe that will always fit.

Take some time today to look in your closet. Find your own lead jacket. We all have one. Don't be afraid to try it on once and a while and see what you find out about yourself.

Have a spring is sprung kind of day,


Monday, March 7, 2011

The Dangerous Game of Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” ~Fulton Oursler~

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~Alexander Graham Bell~

It's a two quote kind of day.

Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.

If I can be completely honest, those three fabricated words drive me nuts. Those three words are actually what is wrong with the world these days. We keep looking back hoping to fix what's in front of us. Shortly after Stephen died, a person said those words to me. This person said, "I know you must be playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game right now."

Yes, it is true, someone actually said that.

My reply? "No, actually I am not. Even though I wish things could be different, I would not change the way I loved my son, nor would I expect him to have loved me any differently than he so beautifully did. If something happened to someone you love tomorrow, I hope you could say the same thing."

Was I a perfect parent? No. Was he a perfect child? I think so, but I suppose I may be slightly biased. But woulda, coulda, shoulda? Really? I was absolutely stunned that someone would say this to a mother who was grieving the recent loss of her child. Speechless, and let's face it. That does not happen to me very often.

This statement, early in my grief, shocked me. I just didn't see it coming. The person did not see the error in saying it. It was almost as if it was a given for her, a natural process in her own life to look back over her shoulder and "play the game", revisiting your actions and the actions of others with a focus on regret, blame and shame. Looking to the past in the hopes that reflection can somehow change the reality that you are facing in the present.

But we all know you can't erase or change the past. So why do we spend so much time trying to do just that?

It never works. It can't. Looking back does one thing. It keeps you stuck. You cannot move forward as long as you are trying to affect change on the unchangeable. And how far do you plan on going back? To your most recent mistake? How about college? Hell, if we are playing the game, why not go back to that unfortunate incident in the third grade? If this game really worked, we would all spend our today's fixing our yesterdays.

Now, that is not to say that you can never look back and reflect on your life lessons in an attempt to improve yourself for the days and years ahead. That is a good thing. It is also not to say that you will never make any mistakes. No matter how great you live, you will always be imperfect by design. I am cringing right now thinking about some of my own "cringe-worthy" moments on my journey to now.

You also can't change the past for someone else. Many times, when we hurt, we look to the past, and say, "If she didn't do that to me, I could be happy."

Okay, but she did. And unless you are Marty McFly with a DeLorean and a mad scientist for a friend, you can't go back and change it. So what now?

Look back to learn. Don't look back to lament. You can only change your now.

So, today:

  • Wipe the slate clean.

  • Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Everyone else does.

  • Make peace with the fact that no relationship will ever have perfect closure. Whether it is death, divorce, break up, or firing. It will never be the perfect script you write after the fact. And that's okay. That's how you learn.

  • Know that you only ever have power to improve upon the present.

  • Distance yourself from any toxic emotional vampires who tell you that you should play the game of woulda, coulda, shoulda.

  • Promise yourself you are done playing that game. No more. Refocus yourself on the now. It will take work at first, but keep trying. It will happen.

  • Imagine what your loved one would say to you. For me, I think about that chat with Stephen. I think he tells me daily to take all the love I have for him in my heart and give it away to those who need it.

Wipe the slate clean. You deserve to be happy.

Have a clean chalkboard kind of day,


Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review-Doreen Virtue's The Angel Therapy Handbook

The world is changing so rapidly, and many people are paralyzed with fear and anxiety about the future. The angels can guide us through these changes, and give us solid guidance that we can trust. ~Doreen Virtue~

I am pleased to review another book from Hay House, Doreen Virtue's The Angel Therapy Handbook.

Before I begin my review, let's quickly go over some housekeeping items. I received a copy of this book free of charge from Hay House, as they reviewed my blog and thought my readers might like to hear about the book. I want to make sure I am compliant with all FTC regulations, and let you know that although I received this book without charge, the review is my own personal opinion after having read the book from cover to cover.

Doreen Virtue is a world renowned spiritual clairvoyant, also holding B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in counseling psychology. Doreen is the author of numerous books on the angelic realm, and has appeared on Oprah, CNN, The View, and other television and radio programs. She is truly an expert in her field.

The book essentially provides guidance for the reader so we may connect with our own angels. It begins by explaining the "who's who" of the angelic realm, and then discusses how people can connect. Doreen explains in detail how we can all find that connection, and unblock our minds to hear and be guided by angels and our loved ones. It helps a person give angel readings, regardless of your spiritual background. It is a the manual for what she has been teaching for years.

She believes that anyone who wants to communicate with angels, and open their hearts to hear their messages, can do so.

I am not sure why I struggled so as I wrote this review. The fact is, I really enjoyed the book. I liked reading about the various angels, and learning about opening your mind to hearing your own angels. In my own life, since losing Stephen, I have written about butterflies and magic that I could not explain without some acknowledgment in the existence of something beyond our physical life. This book is one that I will not pass along. Rather, I will keep and refer to in the months and years to come. But yet, for all the positives, I still struggled.

I finally realized, in all my writing, I had kind of skirted around the issue of afterlife, of our loved ones or angels being around us. I was just vague enough so I did not have to really hang out there with my detailed beliefs. On that limb. Telling you I go to bed and pray to God and angels and all things good, that I wish nightly for Stephen to come to me in my dreams. Reading this book made me slightly uncomfortable. Not because of the content or the way in which it is presented. It was just so concrete. There was no mist of vague interpretation I could hide within. It was all there, to believe or to doubt.

In the months I've been writing since Stephen's death, the pragmatic logical business person in me had myself presenting this information in such a way that if questioned, I could perhaps answer in whatever way would please the person asking. The generic version if you will.

But here's the truth. I do believe. I believe in life after death. I believe in angels. I believe there is so much we don't understand. I believe in angels and connections from the other side. I believe in the helping hand of God. I believe. And perhaps Doreen's book validated all of my feelings.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for the connection that we all wonder about. The book can be purchased at the HayHouse website, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. If you are in Canada, you can also purchase it at Chapters.

I believe. Take some time to check out this book and learn more about the unconditional love that surrounds all of us.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

We Don't Need to Change the Law, We Need to Change Ourselves...

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

Here's a recent conversation with my husband:

Me: I was watching the news tonight, and I just can't believe what is happening.

Hubby: In Wisconsin?

Me: No.

Hubby: In the Middle East?

Me: No.

Hubby: Then, where?

Me: Everywhere.

All together. What is happening all at the same time.

This was our conversation last night. The speed by which the world is changing, and pulsating, and the growing pains we are all witnessing on the nightly news. Our conversation was sparked by the recent Supreme Court Ruling regarding the First Amendment Rights of protesters at military funerals. It just doesn't seem right that something so hateful should be allowed to continue. But, under the law, in a democracy, it is.

It doesn't seem right that a parent, or wife, or husband, or sister, or brother, or best friend should have to endure that additional pain as they try to say goodbye. It doesn't seem right that anyone and their dog ( if said dog can type) can post their opinion, and say terrible things about others online without having to so much as sign their name and stand by their words. It doesn't seem right what's going on in this world.

But, on the flip side, it is good that we can speak openly right? Is it good that I can read the blog of another bereaved mother and get some comfort on a night I feel lonely and sad? Is it good that we can have public discourse about our elected officials, and be heard? Is it good that I was able to grieve and share openly, with all of you?

The freedom of speech conversation is not an easy one is it. On one hand, we celebrate the nation's freedoms, we praise the revolution by the Egyptian people, propelled by social media, but on the other, we expect those that we disagree with to be silenced.

I find it so interesting that in the past month, we have watched a group of young men and woman in Egypt change their world by demanding their freedom to speak, assemble and choose who will lead them. We all watched the power of words crisscross the globe to spread their message in a grassroots way that astounded the planet; all of us holding our breath, to see if change could actually be achieved in this way. And, we stood in silent reverence when we watched the power of a peaceful protest, in a land that we have been historically conditioned to believe is violent. The ripple effect of their initial shout into the night sky that they had enough is still reverberating throughout the Middle East, and essentially the world. The citizens of the world are discovering the power of their voice.

It just seems to make so much sense when the voices heard are saying what we want to hear. But what about when the speakers are hateful? What about the people who spews lies, fear and pure hatred in God's name no less?

Our voices have power. We can comfort, we can inspire, we can make others want to act or retreat, we can encourage others to believe in themselves, or we can bully them until they believe in nothing but the images we present. We can use our voice to share our opinions, or we can use our voices to ram our opinions down the throats of anyone who will listen.

I believe a change in the law is not what we are wanting. I believe we all are longing for the days of civility, when their was a line that you just did not cross, even if you did have the right to free speech. Policing those who say what we don't want to hear does not change their message or beliefs. Although on a visceral level, I will admit, I did wish the supreme court ruling would say something like,

"We want everyone else to keep their right to speak freely in this country, except those people who use words to inflict pain on others, especially the weak. You may have as much freedom of speech as you want, you may disagree and talk through those disagreements respectfully. But you may not hurt others with your words. From now on, the United States of America will consider your voice to be as much of a weapon as a gun. Use it responsibly, we have no beef with you. Injure the innocent, and there will be consequences."
Sadly, my euphoric vision is not at all realistic. If we accept the beauty of free speech, we must also accept that not everyone sees beauty in this world and has the right to talk about it. I know it seems right to silence the few that show no respect for the last passage of a life, and the bereaved. I can not imagine what I would have done if something like that had happened as I tried to bury my own son. I do know that I probably would not have shown as much grace as those parents I have heard from on the news.
We must not look to the laws to correct what we have created, but look at each other to improve and grow. Technology has allowed us to connect in ways like our grandfathers could never have imagined. We can comfort someone from another country, read a twitter post from a young man in Cairo who is, with his people and changing his world. We can also comment on a news story anonymously, and make judgments about people without ever having to be held accountable. Certain groups can even search online and find funerals of the fallen heroes of this country, and attend ones that will garner the most attention to spread their misguided message.

There is no easy solution. But I believe we must let our own voices of love continue to speak, and we will, by virtue of our volume, silence the fear filled rhetoric that is about as far from God as you can get. The only true defense against words of hate are words of love. If we believe that if our only option is to silence anyone who opposes our view on life, we are no better than the corrupt leaders who try to suppress the voices of their people. We must be brave enough to be able to hear those who do not make sense to us. We must be brave enough to listen and to consider, and courageous enough to speak in our own voice about what we know to be the truth. And when others are hurt by those negative voices, we must use our own voices to comfort.

We do not need to change laws. We need to change ourselves. We can only ever change ourselves. We need to stand up, person to person, and demand something better, for now and for our generations to come. We need to ask for a return to civility.

To circle back, I feel truly blessed that I am married to someone who, on a regular basis, has "How can we change the world?" conversations with his wife. Today, I am thankful for the knowledge that we all have the power to affect change on the planet earth. Person to person. With love and kindness.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Your Prescription for Saturday-Slow Yourself Down and Dance...

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.—Lily Tomlin

I feel rushed. Too many things happening, trying to do all of it. And what happens? Everything I do is sort of know what I mean. I know I am not alone. It seems the world is accelerating.

So, join me on this sunny Saturday, slow yourself down, even if it is just for 6 minutes and 11 seconds, and sing with me. Take some time to dig down deep and find the good stuff that is sometimes pushed to the side as we deal with the to do list.

Have a good one,


Monday, February 21, 2011

Esquire Magazine-The Hard Luck and Beautiful Life of Liam Neeson

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller

I wanted to share this beautiful article about Liam Neeson and his life since losing his wonderful wife. His honesty, and the writer's ability to capture the mood of the interview brought me to tears. As he reflected back to the emergency room, I could relate, and immediately was transported back to my own vivid pictures of memories that will haunt me for a lifetime.

No one is spared from the journey of loss and grief. And it is never a straight path. But, we can learn from each other. I am learning every day.

Take some time today to ready this wonderful piece.

The Hard Luck and Beautiful Life of Liam Neeson

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Raising Accountable and Resilient Children

The ancient Romans had a tradition: whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: he stood under the arch.- Michael Armstrong

I remember my father, after I screwed up royally, having a long talk with me about being an accountable human being. At the time, I kept my eyes to the floor, and prayed it would be a short chat, so I could retreat back to my adolescent angst. But it was not a short conversation. It was a long conversation, as were many with my father. Dad just seemed to take the long way around when he made a point, and I miss those deep as the ocean chats with my father. He was wise beyond his years, and he continues to teach me every day, even though he has long since passed.

One of the things that he told me that day was I needed to take responsibility for the life I was creating for myself. People could help, people could hinder, but the bottom line was your life was what YOU made it. So, if times were tough, it was you who could choose to bounce or stay down. I tried to listen, but to be honest, that lesson took a long time to stick for me. I've blamed more people and circumstances for some of my life experiences than I care to admit. It is only in the last two years that I feel I finally understand what it means to take accountability for your life, the good and bad.

Years after that conversation with my father, I was reading Jack Canfield's book Success Principles, and that long ago lesson was confirmed. The first success principle for life? Take 100% responsibility for your life. Period. No excuses. Whatever is happening is your responsibility, to either build on or change. It is up to you. Why do I bring this up? Because I feel we need to refocus our efforts on building accountable and resilient children.

Helicopter parents, it is time for you to land. It is time for us to take a long hard look at how we are raising our children and ask ourselves one important question.

Are we really helping them?

I understand that life is complex these days. But with all of our advancements in society, do you think we are doing right by our children? Don't you think some old fashioned parenting is what is missing in this world? You do the school project because she gets frustrated. You make an immediate appointment for a meeting with the teacher at the first sign of anything less than perfection to address this issue ( with the teacher, not your kid), you are all smiles and nods when signing the beginning of season information about your child's team, and in complete agreement on how the team will be worked, and how issues will be addressed. But when it is your kid who is being disciplined, what happens? Do you guide your child to an understanding of how to deal with it, and prevent issues in the future, or do you confront the coach and get all "up in his business?"

People, life is simple. Focus on the love and not the fear. Teach your kids the same. Be accountable for what you do and say. Give back and share the best parts of yourself with others. Smile. Leave the world in a better state than when you arrived.

We need to guide our children to find their own respectful voice, and learn how to deal with difficulty, accepting their part in it, and bouncing back from it wiser and stronger. In the big picture, how are we raising resilient and accountable human beings if we send the message that the rules apply to everyone else, but them?

I'm not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But here's some tips I've found to work in raising a resilient and accountable child to be a resilient and accountable adult:
  • Be accountable yourself. Stand up and take responsibility. Your children are watching you and how you conduct yourself. Stop the blame and shame game and present a shining example. Show your children that with accountability for your circumstances, you can have the life of your dreams.
  • Don't be a helicopter parent. For God's sake, stop hovering, land the aircraft, and see what your child can do for themselves when you aren't in their airspace. Let them spread their wings a little because that is the only way they will learn to fly.
  • Talk to them about what they will learn and take from the hard times. Yes, I know that the gut instinct is to fix things when they go wrong for your baby. After all, you love them right? I know you want to march up to that teacher, coach, bully and make this go away. In some cases, it is necessary. In some cases, it is easier to do it yourself. But what about an alternative? What about taking the time to teach them how to navigate those situations independently? What about guiding them, and then standing back to watch them deal with difficulty successfully? Think of your child's smiling face as he or she tells you how "they took care of it" themselves.

I want you to ponder something. When we do and do and do for our children, what is our motivation? Are we trying to protect them from the difficulties happening in their lives, or are we working to prevent them from experiencing things like we endured in our own lives? Are we trying to take away the pain we felt all those years ago?

Here's the hard fact. With every experience that we shield from our children, there is a chance we are preventing them from gaining knowledge and perspective that will allow them to build resilience, to become accountable for their own happiness? By taking away the exposure to real life issues, are we not also taking away their chance to learn?

I know. I get it. You want to protect your child. But maybe we can all exhale a little and realize that we can still be supportive, protective and loving parents without raising children that feel they are the exception to the rules of the world. Maybe we can gently guide them to take responsibility for their individual successes, failures and happiness. Because one day, they will be.

We all need the chance to figure some of this stuff out on our own. It's what makes us who we are. Give our children the chance to rise to the occasion. Because when they are grown, and you are not within hovering distance, they will thank you for giving them the tools to live a successful and happy life.

Stepping away from the soapbox,


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Ultimate Valentine....

Love is a consistent passion to give, not a meek persistent hope to receive. The only demand of life is the privilege to love all. -- Swami Chinmayananda

What if this arrived in the mail today?

My Dearest (Insert Your Name Here),

Happy Valentine's. I have to say, I adore this day. It is all about love, hugs, kisses, and chocolate . The history books will tell you the story of the Saint, and it is a remarkable tale. But I like how this has evolved to be a day with the sole purpose of expressing love for one another. I do wish it was more universal sometimes. I don't like to see anyone get left out of the love fest. Remember Valentine's Day back in the third grade? When your Mom would make you fill out those Valentines for every single person in your class, to deliver to their decorated paper bag taped to the side of their desk? And you asked her why you had to give Billy one because he picked his nose and flicked it at you in math class and then laughed with the other boys as you struggled to get "it" out of your hair? And she told you that everyone deserved a valentine, and it did not matter how he behaved, it was all about how you shared the best part of yourself, regardless. Yeah, your mother had it figured out. She and I are on the same page. Everyone is deserving of love, even if their current behaviour does not align with what you know to be the truth.

So this year, I thought I would get into the act. I feel sometimes that no matter how hard I try, some don't notice the love I place before them every day. I create the most beautiful sunshine, or flowers. I bring you together with people who have the potential to change the course of your life, to inspire you, to comfort you. I send you messages in your dreams, or on the wings of a butterfly. But still, you sometimes don't see or feel My love. So, perhaps a more overt approach would work. I've been cutting out paper hearts for days now. And for you, I think I've crafted the right words.

On this Valentine's Day, I want you to know that you are loved. Like no other. The love is unconditional. It does not matter that you screwed up ten years ago or ten minutes ago. I still love you. It does not matter that you don't look like the airbrushed image within the pages of that magazine you read while waiting in the airport. I still love you and see perfection in you each time I look into your eyes. It does not matter if you feel like a failure, or feel like life just did not pan out like you thought it would. I still love you, and I know that life is taking you to the exact place you need to be. It does not matter if you have cursed me for years now, if you are angry with me and blame me for the struggles and pain in your life. I still love you, and understand why you might be confused or think that I imposed this suffering on you. I did not, but I am here to help you through it. It doesn't matter what other people say to you about Me, and tell you that you are not made of the right stuff to be accepted by Me. I made you, and them, in My image, and I accept every single individual part of you. Your color, your belief system, your sexual orientation, your zits, the darkest parts of you and your biggest mistakes. I accept all of it. And I love you just the same. When you look in the mirror, you see all those things that make you imperfect. I see the opposite. I see beyond the fear and the assumptions, I see the love. Even if you don't. I even accept you when you are close minded, or sometimes make others feel they will not be loved by Me because they are different from you. I still love you, just as I love them. There is room for everyone, and I see that place within your heart that knows this to be true.

I want you to know I happen to think you are perfection and one of My greatest masterpieces. And because I am the artist, I can see that you have only begun to discover just how great you are. You're just getting started. Don't let the minutia of life weigh you down, there is much more on your to do list. There are a lot of people waiting to be loved. Be happy.

You can be happy.

I want you to know that I love you more than all the leaves on all the trees, all the sand on all the beaches, every individual cell in your body and the bodies of every other person on the planet. Start with that love, and build on it. Pass it on, cultivate it in your daily actions and thoughts, and all your other concerns will take care of themselves. It's just that simple.

So, stand a little taller. Strut with confidence. Wear your heart on your sleeve, and tell the world, "I am God's valentine."

One last thing, for any good relationship to work, you need open and honest communication. So drop me a line sometime. I'm listening, honest. In the meantime, get out there and start spreading some love.

Love ya mean it,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Valentine For the Broken Hearted...

Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end. ~Author Unknown

I was reading recently about a woman who, married to her husband for fifty nine years, wondered how she would ever go on and celebrate days like Valentine's in the same way as she did in her youth. Reading her story reminded me of my father after my mother died. It also reminded me of my own thoughts about the needed cancellation of every celebratory day on the calendar following the loss of Stephen.

It got me to thinking, about how the pains of loss are directly related to the depth of the love we feel. If we did not allow ourselves to be in the vulnerable space of love, would we spare ourselves of the hurt when that love changes? How many of us have had our hearts broken? Not only by death, but by life? How many of us have looked around us and asked ourselves, "Where is the love?"

I know I have. I have had many a conversation with The Big Guy about the location of said love. Why do bad things happen? Why do those we love die, or leave, or hurt us?

And there is no easy answer, and no Super Glue that can put a broken heart back together.

But there is love. Sometimes we don't see it, or it is overpowered by negative emotions, but nonetheless, it is always there. It endures. Love is eternal, and has no beginning and no end. The love I feel for Stephen still continues to grow, even if he is no longer with me in a physical sense.

When our hearts break, when the world is bad, we often refuse to see the love, to believe that is can still be there as we hurt. This hurt/love intersection is a fork in the road of life. At the moment of great pain, we have a choice. We can choose to work through loss and pain believing in the existence of love. Or we can believe that when our hearts are breaking, love is nowhere to be found.

The choice is important. Because one produces healing and more love, and one produces bitterness.

So, I have a suggestion that has helped me, and will remind you that love starts within, and is still all around you.

This Valentine's, take some time to craft a love letter, to you and your broken heart. Real love begins with a love of self, deep within, that enables us to then give love to others.

Celebrate how strong you are, sing the praises of your unbreakable spirit. Take the time to recognize the importance of your tears, the tenacity it took to wake up and live each day, even when the pain was excruciating. Recognize the fact that you still allow love in your heart, even when it is not easy to do so. Remind yourself that even though you are not in a Cupid/Red Heart kind of mood, that does not mean that you are not surrounded by love. Acknowledge the hurt, for what it is teaching you, and the fact that it means you took the risk and loved in life. Some people don't let themselves love, for fear of what you are feeling right now. Look in the mirror and see that you are perfect, made in God's image, and worthy of love, and deserving of future happiness. Give yourself a round of applause for the fact that you are still standing.
This Valentine's day, take some time to show your appreciation....for you and that broken heart of yours.
Have a glittery red heart kind of day,

Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review- Marianne Williamson's A Course In Weight Loss

Weight that disappears from your body but not from your soul is simply recycling outward for a while but is almost certain to return. It’s self-defeating, therefore, to struggle to drop excess weight unless you are also willing to drop the thought-forms that initially produced it and now hold it in place.”
— Marianne Williamson

Before I begin my review, let's quickly go over some housekeeping items. I received a copy of this book free of charge from Hay House, as they reviewed my blog and thought my readers might like to hear about the book. I want to make sure I am compliant with all FTC regulations, and let you know that although I received this book without charge, the review is my own personal opinion after having read the book from cover to cover.

I have to be honest, writing this review was different for me, more personal than the other reviews that I have shared with you. The earlier books resonated with me. But this one confronted me. This book asked me questions that I have been quietly working up the nerve to answer for quite some time now as I implement my own Continuous Quality Improvement program for Kelly Inc. You see, I grew up in a family where food was associated with both celebration and consolation. Like many others, food served as far more than just fuel for me; it was part of our occasions, relationships and life events. As a result, I have had a relationship with food that has been more cerebral than metabolic at certain points in my life, especially the times of flux.

As part of my personal journey to live life to the fullest, learning from the loss of Stephen, I have started to answer some of the questions I was afraid to ask before now, the questions about myself and my own relationship with food. I love cookies, but do they love me back....that kind of stuff. To be honest, some of this has been really hard to face, because it involved restructuring my entire life and how I deal with good times and bad. But I finally think things are starting to click. I remember the early days after losing Stephen; the particularly painful days, toasted coconut ice cream with chocolate fudge was one little thing I could count on. Now I know that even in the darkest of days, I have a different one little thing to count on, me.

That said, this book has been a pleasure to read as I continue to journey towards a more mindful and healthy life. The book, which is aligned with the principles found in A Course In Miracles, discusses weight loss, and how it is not only related to a daily caloric deficiency, but is also connected with where you are spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. That alone is nothing that we have not already heard from other weight loss experts. However, the presentation of the information is unique, and really explores what is required for conscious weight loss. And that is the key. One of the light bulb moments for me surrounded the discussion around the
"place within you where you have forgotten your divine perfection."
Again, why is it that we humans spend all of our time seeing what is wrong, and not what is right?

The book, with the twenty one specific spiritual lessons is a beautiful guide through shifting your perception on your relationship with food, as well as your relationship with yourself. From one of fear, to one of love. I absolutely love the focus on reconnecting mind, body and spirit. It is not a quick fix, and will require work on the part of the reader if the changes in thinking are to stick. But the outcome of a love filled fearless life seems worth it to me. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to reconnect with their life, to become mindful, not only about food, but about your relationship with all things external. But, before you buy it, make sure you are ready to be honest with yourself, and put in the work. Otherwise, it will just be another diet book collecting dust on your shelf as you wonder who shrunk your clothes in the closet.
The book can be purchased at Hay House, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Today I am thankful for Marianne Williamson's A Course in Weight Loss. It is helping me with the next step in my journey to choose a happy life. And with each step, I feel Stephen smiling.

Have a good one,


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Musicians and Thinkers...Showing Us The Beauty In The World

Music is well said to be the speech of angels. ~Thomas Carlyle, Essays, "The Opera"

Happy Friday!

I love Fridays. They always serve as a beacon of hope for people, letting the masses know that the weekend has arrived, and we are allowed just a short reprieve from the "real" world, the rate race. Even if that break is only to dust the furniture and do the laundry. There is something empowering about the day.

So, when I was thinking of what I am thankful for today, it should be no surprise that the day itself sits on top of the list. But there are two others things in my life that deserve mention today.

Musicians and Thinkers. When I look back over my life, and reflect on what has inspired me and given me strength, I always come back to music and quotes from the great thinkers of our time. So many times, on the darkest days of my life, I have found solace in both words and melody, and they both have served as medicine for my breaking heart. They remind me that I am not alone, as we all share the same universal pains and joys.

I have used music and words to inspire, to heal, to comfort. They have never failed me. I lost my own music the day I lost Stephen, and it has not yet returned. I listen to others now, hoping that one day, I will pick up my guitar and sing again too. But until that day comes, I will celebrate and be thankful for those who sing for me, showing each one of us that we are all connected.

Today, I am thankful for Fridays, Musicians and thinkers. Have a listen to the talented Macy Gray as you read some of my favorites quotes about music below.

Hope your day is filled with all kinds of T.G.I.F.'ness,


Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

Without music life would be a mistake. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like travellers
And as silently steal away.~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day Is Done

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. ~Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name

I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality. ~H.A. Overstreet

Alas for those that never sing,But die with all their music in them!~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo

Music is what life sounds like. ~Eric Olson

Music is the shorthand of emotion. ~Leo Tolstoy

Monday, January 24, 2011

Poisonous Caesar Salad and a Refresher Course in Gratitude...

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? ~George Canning

I've been so busy. Life has been moving way too fast, and I feel like I have hardly had a moment to sit with my own thoughts. Until yesterday.

You see, I had an encounter with a Caesar salad; I am not sure what I did to offend it or the cook in the kitchen at the restaurant where I ate it, but it poisoned me. While dining out with friends after my son's hockey game, I was almost killed by romaine lettuce, croutons, and dressing. Okay, this may be a little dramatic of me, but the past 48 hours has not been pleasant, not one bit.

In any case, I have had some time to think, as I waited for the next tsunami like wave of nausea to hit. And I've been thinking about gratitude. Because, it seems as my calendar became more full,my focus on gratitude was not kept on the top of my priority list. It is not to say I am not grateful, or did not express my thanks on a daily basis for the blessings in my life. But my attention to gratitude as a deliberate part of my day had fallen to the wayside a little, to make room for work projects, hockey travel, new release movies on demand, exercise etc. And, the conclusion I reached while nuzzled up to the toilet? My life is lacking because of it.

We humans. We don't make sense sometimes. We look around when the sky is falling and notice what has been around us all along and lament and cry out,

"Oh how I have loved all of this. I am so sad it is about to be squished by this falling sky. I did not say how much I appreciated it enough! But I do appreciate! I do! I do!"

But when things are ticking along, when the road is smooth, we forget and take for granted the little things that serve as the foundation of our happy lives. Instead of paying attention to them, they go unnoticed until somebody or something tries to take them away. Instead of recognizing them as the blessings of our time here on earth, we focus our attention on the length of the line as we wait for our chai tea latte, the flat tire, the negative personality we are forced to endure at a social event, or the fact that our waist circumference is not within the suggested parameters of Dr. Oz. It seems that when things are, in the big picture, going right, our human nature causes us to continue to find things that are wrong.

So, it is no wonder that when really bad things happen, we find it especially hard to find any good in our day to day lives. If we could not see it when the sky was blue, how can we be expected to find the good in the blinding rain?

It is all about training ourselves, our minds to refocus, to see life through a different lens. So, with the nausea subsiding, and my new found awareness, I am giving myself a refresher course in gratitude. I hope you will join me.

Each day this week, I will, as I have in the past, tell you about the simple things I find thanks for, as well as simple ways to find gratitude in your own life. I would also like to challenge you to do the same this week, and each day look for, and write down your one little thing.

Think about the little things that you can hold onto this week, and re shift your focus to see a life of abundance rather than lack, no matter what your circumstance. If you are so inclined, post your gratitude in the comments section of my posts. I love, love, love to hear from people, and each one of us is on an amazing journey.

Today, I am thankful for:
  • Dry Toast
  • Ginger Ale
  • Gravol purchased in Canada last summer. I'm not sure why this is not available in the United States, but I praised God and all things holy yesterday when I found it in the cupboard.
  • My husband, who takes such good care of me, but also laughs at me at the most inappropriate times.
  • My son's caring concern.
  • Fuzzy warm socks
  • The love of my family
  • Bubble baths and good books
  • My best friend
  • A nearly complete second book

And finally...

Food poisoning. It was the pause button for my life, and I needed it.

Join me this week. What's your one little thing?

Have a beautiful day,