Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review-Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention

" We are already one and we imagine
we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. Whatever we have to be is what we are."
-Thomas Merton-

Well hello there,

Today, I wanted to share with you my review of the book,

The Power of Intention. Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way

Now, before I begin, I want to state 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. Okay, thanks for letting me clear up those housekeeping items. On to the review.

I read this book some time ago. It was a joy to flip the pages and learn more about the power of intention, the force in the universe that we all have the power to call upon to move our lives forward.

But I wanted to wait before publishing this review, to wait until the end of the year, when so many of us are looking to make changes in our lives and to improve upon our circumstances. As we count down the hours to the end of one year, and the welcoming of another, we could all use a little help in understanding how we really create what we want in our lives. And the answer is not in a list of unrealistic resolutions.

And, if you are grieving a loss in your life, or trying to bounce back from tough times, discovering intention can help you understand the power that you have at your disposal to get through anything that presents itself in your life.

The answer? Real change in your life comes from within. It comes when you realize you are not alone, but connected to something much larger than yourself. Dr. Dyer describes this as source, it could also be described as God, Buddha, the universe, whatever works for you. Change in your life comes when you are inspired, letting spirit work through you, to lead you to your purposeful life.

For me, as I read the book, I began to understand what happened to me when I started to write. When I let everything else go, with my own ego, and how I thought I should be, act, live and grieve, I was able to connect with a power I never knew existed. And that power gave me strength, even in the darkest of days. It showed me, at the loneliest and saddest time of my life, that I was not alone. And, the answer to every question is, and always will be, love.

This book is a gift. Not only is the presentation beautiful, with illustrations that provoke the imagination and quotes from some of the greatest thinkers of our time. The words crafted within those pages serve as an awakening for the reader.

The book is divided into three sections:

Part One: The Essentials of Intention. Understanding the power of intention and how to connect to it in your own life.

Part Two: Guide to intention and how to apply the principles. This is the practical application, the how to make it work for you in your own life.

Part Three: Description of how Dr Dyer sees someone who is connected to the power of intention.

I have read previous works from Dr. Dyer, and I am always impressed with how he simplifies complicated concepts and writes in a way that connects with the readers. This book is not different. The most powerful three pieces of the book for me?

1. Intention is not something we do, it is a connection that we acknowledge.

2. We all have a choice to connect to the power of intention or not.

3. The seven faces of intention:
  • Creativity
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Beauty
  • Expansion
  • Unlimited Abundance
  • Receptivity
Look above. It's all the good stuff right?

Now, put the three together.

We are connected to a source bigger than ourselves. If we allow ourselves to reconnect to that source, it will guide us to a better and more peaceful life filled with good stuff. It is our choice to see ourselves either connected or separate.

As I have said before, the answer is love.

I could go on and on about this, and the book is so much more than my simplistic explanation. Bottom line, it is worth the read. Let Dr. Dyer show you the power that you are already connected with, but may not be able to see in your life right now. As the year comes to a close, and you are envisioning the life you want for yourself in the future, take some time to read this book, and truly understand that there are no limits.

Two thumbs up from Kelly Sue.

The book can be purchased at the following:

Hay House: http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=5110&utm_id=3313

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Intention-Learning-Co-create-World/dp/1401925960/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289416372&sr=1-3

Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Power-of-Intention/Wayne-W-Dyer/e/9781401925963/?itm=1&USRI=the+power+of+intention

Chapters Indigo ( Canada): http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Power-Intention-Gift-Edition-Learning-Wayne-Dyer/9781401925963-item.html?ikwid=the+power+of+intention&ikwsec=Books

Have a good one,


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to you...

"I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the word seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses." -- Taylor Caldwell

This quote sums it up very well. So, on this, the most magic day of the year, I wish you all Merry Christmas. May the reason for the season sit in all of your hearts on this eve and throughout the year. Take some time tonight to look up to the sky and count your blessings.

Here's Chris Botti and Ave Maria.....simply amazing.

Merry Christmas,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep....

“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.”-Og Mandino-

White Christmas is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. And each year, after I watch it, I am reminded why this simple song is a classic.

It can be just as easy as listening to Bing's suggestion you know. Look for your blessings today, they are all around you.

Sing along with me...


The Best Gift You Can Put Under the Tree....

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" - Bob Hope -

I 'm working some last minute preparations today. I'm sure I am not the only one.

So, I wanted to share with you my #1 gift suggestion to place beneath your tree this year. I, like so many of you, have learned through the trials of life, how fleeting our time can be with the people we love. And, with life moving at the speed of a text message, we can sometimes forget to slow ourselves down and really drink up the moments with the people who mean the most to us. When I think back to my fondest memories of Stephen, it is never anything to do with material things he may have given me. It is always our late night chats, where we would solve all the world's problems and some of our own as well. When I think back to my cherished recollections of my father, it is never the gifts he gave me that make my heart smile. It is the long and intimate conversations I would have with him, when he would tell me stories, and give me lessons on life from his own experiences, and tell me of his deep and unending love for my mother.

So, this year, give the people you love the best gift that can put under the tree. Your time and attention.

Write a note that explains your gift, wrap it up in a box and put it under the tree. You can do this for anyone that is important to you, but I will give you a couple of examples.
Imagine how your husband or wife or partner would feel if they opened a box and this was inside?

To my Husband/Wife/Partner:

Life moves so quickly. And sometimes, I find myself thinking about how wonderful you are, but when we talk, it is about grocery lists, utility bills, and the upcoming week's schedule. Sometimes, life just moves so darn fast, it is hard to slow down and appreciate the things that are most important in life. So, this Christmas, I decided to give you the gift of my undivided attention and time for us to nurture what we have. I want us to plan, each week, to take the time, just for each other.

Let's make a promise to slow ourselves down, turn off the Blackberry, and give ourselves the gift of time. I want to hear you, I want to really listen. I want to understand your dreams, and have you smile and know that I am your biggest cheerleader. Life is short, and the moments that we really are present with each other are the ones we will remember always. The moments we are present are the real gifts. So, this year, I give you time.

Or, how about this?

To my precious child:

I know this is a weird gift, especially when you thought this box was just the right size for a Ipod Touch. I know it seems like you picked the short straw for presents, being that it is only words, and it does not plug in, or require any assembly. But this year, I wanted to give you something that is more important than any other present beneath our tree.

My time, just for you.

I know sometimes that I am busy when I get home from work, and I am half listening as you try to tell me about what happened in Science class. I know that sometimes I am preoccupied, thinking about the laundry, or the "to do" list. This gift changes that. I want each week, to set aside some time to give you my complete and undivided attention. You can talk to me about your life or ask me about mine. We can bake cookies or launch rockets. It's up to you. But I just want to give you the gift of time so you know how important you are to me. I'm your biggest fan, and I don't tell you that enough.

Your time and attention. The best gift you can give, and it requires no financing, no money down, no monthly payments. And, you don't have to go to the mall today either.

I will leave you with one of my favorite songs from the musical Rent. What will you do with your 525,600 minutes in 2011? Make it count.

Love ya, mean it,

Kelly the Christmas Elf

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Communicationg at Christmas With the Bereaved

A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange. ~Author Unknown

Happy Sunday,

I wanted to re post a blog that I published last year, entitled Communicating During the Holidays and Grief.


If you are loving someone who has lost a special person in their life, please take the time to read my post. Know that you are needed now more than ever, even if it is just to hug someone and let them cry out the hurt.

Christmas is all about giving, a special time of year where we take the time to stop our busy lives and think about others. We make our lists, and bake our cookies, and we try and find the perfect presents.

My challenge for you is to understand that the greatest gift that we can give another is our time and love. The greatest gift we can give is to let someone know they are not alone.

This Christmas, look around your life and give people what they need the most.

Oh yeah, and you can still bake the cookies.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Huffington Post: Grief Medication is Not the Answer...

Happy Saturday all,

I wanted to pass along this excellent article written by Jeanne Dennis for The Huffington Post.

I believe we need to start having more conversations about how we handle grief and loss in this drive thru world of ours. Thank you Jeanne for your insight and wisdom.

As we count down the last week before Christmas, I hope this article may give some a fresh perspective on their own journey.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Toothy Grins from Heaven.....

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Christmas shopping. It's just not as they portray it in the commercials. Where are the happy people dancing in sequence down the aisles, with cheery Christmas music blaring in the background?

On a recent shopping excursion, I believe I may have been sucked into a vortex of negativity, stuck in a store with the most negative people on the planet. I was bumped, and growled at; I was witness to more than one parent completely melting down with their children. I was also witness to more than one child not really understanding the "reason for the season. "

I find the holiday season to be bittersweet for me. As an occasion girl, I have always loved this time of year. But, as with anyone who has lost someone important, it is also a time when you are painfully reminded that there is one less person to shop for this year. Last year, I could barely breathe in the stores. I remember standing in a quiet aisle of car cleaning supplies just about this time a year ago drying my tears with one of those expensive wash clothes for your car (don't tell Target, but I put it back on the rack) I stood there for more than twenty minutes, simply trying to inhale so the pain in my chest would subside, and I could gather the remaining items on my list.

This year, I am stronger, but I still have moments where the thought of Christmas without Stephen is still very difficult to think about. It is especially hard when I shop, and I see things I know he would like, or laugh about. So, as you can probably imagine, my emotions were getting the best of me as I pushed my cart through the aisles of this store, and watched all of these people....just taking life for granted. One Mom in particular, she yelled at her little girl, and I had to physically remove myself from her presence so I did not confront her with the ravings of a bereaved parent. Did she not know how truly blessed she was to have this little girl looking up at her, even if it was only to ask for the $49.99 doll only days before Christmas?

In any case, all the growling and bumping and bah humbugging just got the best of me. And, when I pulled into the parking lot of the final store on my shopping excursion, I just sat in the car for a moment, and had.....well, a moment. I was missing Stephen, and thinking back over the Christmases gone by...in particular, I was remembering Christmas Eve when he was a small baby, maybe eight months old. He had these two lonely teeth at the bottom, and would grin on command and proudly show them to you.

So there I was, sitting in my car, reminiscing about the magic of Stephen at Christmas. Missing him, and wishing that I could explain to my fellow shoppers about the importance of being present in the moment, of just being happy because you never know what is around the corner.

I finally mustered up the courage to brave the final store, and stepped out of my car.

Where I was abruptly met by......

A toothy grin.

It was the toothy grin of a baby girl, out for a day of shopping with her mom. She was sitting in the cart, and she lit up as soon as we made eye contact, and her smile was brighter than any Christmas bulb I've ever seen. It was as if some invisible director pointed to her and yelled "Action!"

I burst out laughing, and the mother popped her head out of the car and smiled. I told her that her little sweetheart just made my day. Her mother replied that she does that, gives out those "two tooth smiles" just when you need it the most.

Boy, was she right.

So, two things to remember. Take a nice deep cleansing breath if you are shopping today. Think about the reason for the season, be present in the beauty that is now, don't miss it. Make a point to give away some smiles, I'm telling you, it works. And if it doesn't work, at least you'll make some people nervous.

Second thing, look for those toothy grins. I believe that God brings them to us when we need them the most, to show us He is listening and comforting us. It is up to us to look for and notice them.

Take some time today to spread some of the good stuff around,


Reflections on a Resilient Life....Remembering Elizabeth Edwards

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good." ~Elizabeth Edwards

A person who is dear to my heart sent this quote along to me and I had to share it. Although I was never fortunate enough to meet Elizabeth Edwards in person, I have thought of her often on my grief journey. I read some of her words about the loss of her own child, and wondered if I would ever be able to find that same grace and serenity in my own life.

She was a woman who lived a life that was imperfect, and messy at times. Her life did not spare her from pain or loss. But she continued to "put together something that's good."

I get up and try to do that every day. Some days, it works, and others, I simply whisper that I will try again tomorrow. Her quote is printed and on the bulletin board in my office. I look at it daily, along with other great thinkers, for inspiration. I look to remind myself that others have found the secret to a happy life, and it is never found in perfection. It is always found in making peace with the imperfections that surround us.

May we all take a moment to read her words today, and know that the resilience that she was able to find and hold on to throughout her rich lifetime also sits within each one of us. To honor her life, and learn from it, let us all make it our job to continue to live a happy life, even when life is difficult. Let us all try, even if it is minute by minute, to put together something that is good.

Sending wishes for comfort and peace to the Edwards family,


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fresh Coat of Paint...

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

I've come to a conclusion. Life is like one big painting project. Let me explain.

I've just finished up a painting project in my house. And, as is the story for most of my life, I never really thought the whole thing through. Instead, I plunged ahead, with the vision of perfection in this little brain of mine, and just starting swinging the brush.

But, as with most home improvement endeavours, once you open that can of paint, you realize there's a ton of things you did not take the time to consider before donning your super attractive paint shirt. You know the one, it has paint samples from every paint project since the early eighties.

To give you some examples, I did not consider:

  • The ceiling height of our front foyer.

  • The confirmed fear of heights as it relates to the ceiling height of the front foyer.

  • That this project may only look manageable, but in four days, I will have a moment where I consider just living with a half painted wall. I will have a pretty convincing conversation with myself about how it would show individuality.

  • That I actually am not sure about this new color. Perhaps I should have just left well enough alone.

  • And finally, I did not consider that this project would confront me with the ugly truth about my housekeeping talents and serve as confirmation that I have not properly cleaned the baseboards since some time in 2007.

I'm telling you, this project was like a month of therapy. With each stroke of the brush, I examined each and every corner of my life. I thought a lot about what sort of mental space I was in the last time I painted these walls, and did wonder if I painted while blindfolded and drinking wine.

I thought a lot about change in life. And how we resist it or long for it, think about it and plan for it, run away from it or towards it.

Sometimes change in life comes in the form of a slap right up the side of your head. It comes as a wallop, knocking your current situation right out of your head.

Others, it is a gradual awakening to a new reality. It is left up to you to push the change forward.

Sometimes, you long for it. Sometimes, you don't.

But regardless of the origin, change comes. Change comes for everyone and everything. It is the nature of life.

So, I see life as a painting project. I picked my new color, jumped in, and realized I had no idea what I was doing. But, knowing that half painted wall that could not be undone, I decided to simply keep painting.

So, when life changes, whether by choice or design, just keep painting, one stroke at a time. If you do keep going, slow and steady, you may see that this fresh coat of paint on your life looks a little cleaner than the last one. You see that you are a better painter, having learned from your past mistakes and successes. You see the value of your hard work. Maybe you will learn to appreciate the new colors in your life, having a better understanding of how they got there.

The biggest thing to learn? That sometimes, life has to get really, really messy before it can be transformed into something beautiful. Sometimes, you just have to keep painting.

Today, I ask you to keep painting. It may not be beautiful yet, but it will be. It will be someday, because of your perseverance.

A Fresh coat of paint.

Grab your brushes,


Surviving Grief by Recording Blessings

Many thanks to Jessica Milicevic for taking the time to speak with me about being a USA Book News Award Finalist and taking the time to write such a thoughtful article. She made me younger too, and that is always welcome!

Thought I would share...

Surviving grief by recording blessings

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Present...

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.-- Buddha

When our lives are in flux, especially with grief, we can find ourselves stuck, not able to move from the point of pain. We look to the past as the better days to which we long to return, and we worry about how we live in a future without our precious loved one by our side in a physical sense.

It is a natural response to the pain, to stop in your tracks.

But truly, as the quote implies, the only power we can have is on our own present moment. We have the power right now to smile, or to cry. We have the power to see what's wrong with the world or what's right. We have the power to choose happiness or despair. We have the power to notice our own failings and weakness, or our strength and resilience.

It is in the present moment that you will find peace. Allow yourself.....even if it is only for one minute.

Take time today to notice where your mind is taking you. Are you living in last year, next year or today?

The present.....it is a gift. Get it?

Have a tremendous Thursday,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gary Ferguson-Walking Away From Grief

Here is a beautiful article from The Los Angeles Times. It tells the story of Gary Ferguson, and his journey following the loss of his beloved wife.

It is personal, and raw and beautiful, and is worth passing along. Each day, I am reminded that we all have a story within us. How that story ends is up to us.

Gary quotes a poem at the end of this article from Mary Oliver. I had to share a little of it here.

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Enjoy the article, and take a little time today to find the beauty in your life.

Walking away from grief

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget.....

With the tears a Land hath shed
Their graves should ever be green.~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
As a little girl growing up in Canada, I remember asking my Dad one morning why we wore poppies on our lapel in November. He explained that it was for Remembrance Day, to pay tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in war, serving our country.

In fact, the poppies became a symbol for the day because of the haunting poem In Flanders Fields. The flowers bloomed all over some of the worst battlefields in World War I. It has been said that the brilliant red of the flower can serve as a symbol for the blood that is spilt in war.

As our day begins, let us take time to remember the soldiers and their families of both the United States, Canada and the Commonwealth on this Remembrance/Veterans Day.

This is a day to put down your political views and your opinions. This is a day to simply bow your head and give thanks for the men and women in all branches of the military who gave us their very lives in defense of the freedoms that we take for granted everyday.

I will leave you with the haunting words by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, written in tribute to his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer after he witnessed his death in May of 1915. Lest We Forget...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where to Kelly Sue?

“The heart is the only broken instrument that works.” -T.E. Kalem-

I just couldn't put my finger on it. For months now, I have been trying to figure out my life, trying to come to some conclusions as to where I go from here. I had it all figured out, or so I thought.

I came back from a summer break with firm thoughts of where I was going to go. I had a plan. I had written the July 4th blog, marking the one year mark without Stephen. And then I moved towards this life that I had envisioned.

People emailed and called, wondering why I had stopped. I simply said it did not feel right, to keep writing. It seemed like the end of the blog for me. What I did not tell them is, as much as I wanted to make the feeling go away, it did not feel right to NOT be writing in the blog either.

So, I've slogged ahead. I've planned out and written some for my next book. I've started speaking to people, in the hopes of sharing some light in their own darkness. I've refocused on my life and my wonderful family. I have recommitted to a life of healthy living, and have religiously taken 10,000 steps a day or more since my birthday. I have cleaned parts of my house that have been neglected since early 2009, and I have decluttered my closets, sending bags of clothes to the Goodwill. I have measured my girth and counted my calories and graphed my progress towards goal. I have rewritten my values and goals, and made some new ones. I have picked happy paint colors and have started to revitalize the walls of my house.

Somehow, I thought I would be able to jump back into the daily grind ( and we call it that for a reason), and all would be okay. I did the hard work for an entire year, and now, with my lessons in my pocket, I could resume to my new normal. Always thinking about him, but living a happy life.

But slowly, the lesson started to illuminate in my life. I noticed little things at first. Emails from people that I could simply not find the words to respond to, letters that I could not read. Appointments I decided to push forward just a few more days. Words I decided to write tomorrow or the next day or the next. To be honest, I've had this blog on my to do list for three weeks now, and each morning, I push it forward a few more days.

I've been smiling on the outside and beating myself up on the inside for months now. Because in spite of all the things I've done in the past year, something doesn't feel just right. And even though my current list of tasks is admirable and things that should make me feel good about where I am, there is something that quietly sits below the surface, gnawing at me.

I'm still broken.

Not only am I still broken, but in certain ways, I know I will show signs of this fracture of my very being for the rest of my days. I keep trying to fit myself back into this life I think I should somehow be healed enough to live, only to find that it doesn't feel the same. I don't feel the same.

So, in my silence, as the days have passed, I've been trying to figure all of this out. For a full year, I embraced the brokenness of my being. I actually opened my heart to it, and tried to learn from it. Accepting it was what actually saved me. I did not fight it. But for some strange reason, I convinced myself that all of that did not apply to this next year without Stephen.

I was wrong.

Hello, my name is Kelly, and I am still broken open from the loss of my son.

And that is okay.

Because making peace with that is what gives me strength. Sharing that is what connects me to others. Learning from that is what makes me wise.

Today I am thankful that I finally wrote this blog, and am moving forward with this broken life of mine, being happy in spite of the eternal sadness that sits in my heart despite the passage of time. Today, I give thanks for my new sense of direction.

Looking forward to reconnecting,


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living a Life of Love.....

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. -Mother Teresa-

I've been thinking about some things in the news lately. And, I recently watched a documentary and I simply had to share it with you. In my dark days of grief, when I tried to comprehend that God's love was still around me, even in loss, I learned a lot about what I believe in. Grief forever changes the way you look at life. I see that as one of the gifts of the pain, for I feel my view on life and how I live it has grown since losing my child.

For me, faith is about love. I know that sounds too simple for you theology folks, but it is just what I know in my heart to be true. Love; giving it and receiving it, and knowing that our job here on earth is to pass it on. Cause let's face it, we all need some.

Anyhoo, I've been writing about life lately, sequestered in my little corner of the world, and contemplating the lessons I've learned and how I will apply them. That is, in between work, and laundry and keeping my promise to myself of getting in my 10,000 steps per day. I've been struggling a little with it all, moving into this second year without Stephen. Thinking about how I move forward and live, even when a part of my heart remains broken.

And, as I am in this deep thought, I keep looking around, and seeing many examples of things that aren't too lovable. You see, I started to watch some news again, right around 9/11, as I was walking on my treadmill to get those steps in.

And I was assaulted with things that were not at all lovable. A pastor who spread fear, and who was given a platform to do so. A war of words and discrimination about worship and faith that just simply made me sad. 9/11 came and went and I felt this emptiness. I was thinking about the families of those lost on that day, trying to remember their loved ones as they were surrounded by all of this white noise, this distraction of fear and hate. It made me sad as I looked at the pictures of those lost on that tragic day, displaying smiling faces that once wrapped Christmas presents, read fairy tales to their children at bedtime, served a city selflessly, losing their lives while trying to save others. I cried, as I watched mothers without children and children without parents.

To be honest, I kept thinking about what some of those people in the pictures would tell us if they could come back for one day and have a press conference of their own, telling us all that they now knew and understood, after being in heaven with God for nine years.

I wonder would they tell us that the only thing....the absolute only thing that helped all of us to survive the horror of the loss on 9/11 or any loss for that matter was love. What saved all of us is when we helped each other, opened our hearts, and loved one another. Regardless of our differences. Period.

I think they would tell us that we must never forget that lesson.

I wanted to find an example of that love. I found this documentary on Father Mychal Judge OFM. You may recall the now famous photo of the New York Fire Department chaplain being carried out of the rubble on 9/11. It was a heart wrenching image of the end of a life of service. But, it was only a small part of the story of this man who spent a lifetime spreading an unconditional love. His approach to spreading the word was not always aligned with the Church for which he served. But, I believe it was most definitely aligned what God wants for us all here on earth. To love each other. Hope you enjoy it..

Thinking about what you are spreading around today....and have a love filled Tuesday.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Joe Sterling's thoughts on Navigating Grief..

Happy Monday all,

I wanted to share an article with you this morning, written by Joe Sterling, News Editor for CNN Newswire. Click on the link to view:

My Faith: Navigating the land of grief since my son's death

It was written a couple of weeks ago, but I thought it was worthy of passing along. It touched me in a way I find hard to explain. His descriptors about the changes that come and stay in one's life following the loss of a child were so accurate, and hit pretty close to home for me. As he wrote about moments where he cries without warning, I felt a huge lump in my throat, thinking about the moments that I too, am reduced to tears when a memory surfaces, for no particular reason.

I am a member of his club, one of the outsiders that truly understand the difference between what is trivial and what is important, having learned the hard way.

Today, I am thankful for Joe Sterling. His courageous and honest account of life as a bereaved parent shines as a light to the rest of us and tells us we are not alone.

Have a great one,


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wisdom From Old Yeller

Well, hello!

Long time no blog....I've been working on some things, taking some time to breathe and live and figuring out where I go from here. More to come about that a little later...but for now, I wanted to share this quote with you. It pretty much sums up my entire life and I thought you might like it too.....

That was rough.... Thing to do now is try and forget it.... I guess I don't quite mean that. It's not a thing you can forget. Maybe not even a thing you want to forget.... Life's like that sometimes... Now and then for no good reason a man can figure out, life will just haul off and knock him flat, slam him agin' the ground so hard it seems like all his insides is busted. But it's not all like that. A lot of it's mighty fine, and you can't afford to waste the good part frettin' about the bad. That makes it all bad.... Sure, I know - sayin' it's one thing and feelin' it's another. But I'll tell you a trick that's sometimes a big help. When you start lookin' around for something good to take the place of the bad, as a general rule you can find it. ~From the movie Old Yeller

The wisdom in those simple words....this point is what I've been trying to articulate for a full year. Does this mean I am simply long winded?
Hope you enjoy it....have a satisfying Saturday,

Friday, May 21, 2010

ABC News and The Thoughtless Headline...

I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people's accomplishments; the front page nothing but man's failures. ~Earl Warren, quoted in Sports Illustrated, 22 July 1968

I had planned to write on a different topic this morning, but after reading an article online, I knew I had to blog about it.

The article in question?

Really ABC news? Really? You couldn't find a better headline, or should I say you decided to choose one that would grab at the attention of people like me.

The story itself talks about the recent announcement of John Travolta and Kelly Preston pregnancy. They are expecting a new baby in November.

But instead of celebrating some good in the lives of two people who deserve a little happiness, this article talks about how bereaved parents can sometimes "replace" their lost children. Questions like, "Is it too soon?" "Why are they having this child?" The title itself implies that you have an intimate understanding of the inner workings and motivators of their family. Do you?

I know you felt like you had something here, bringing in the experts and quoting their statements on bereaved parents. But did you really have to do this? Did you really have to title an article like that? If you wonder if you missed the mark on this one, read your 140 comments at the end of the article. For once, I am on the pro side of the fence for online commenting.

As a bereaved parent myself, I send congratulations to their family as they prepare to welcome a new life. I don't know them, but I do know as any mother knows, your child cannot be replaced. No matter how many years pass, no matter how many other children you bring into this world. The uniqueness of your creation, your baby can never be replaced.

Gone to walk this one off on the treadmill....


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review-Louise Hay's "Experience Your Good Now"

Every thought we think is creating our future. -Louise L. Hay-

Happy Tuesday.....

Today, I am writing a book review for Louise Hay's new release,

Before I begin my review, I want to 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.

Okay, let's talk about Experience Your Good Now..

The book is all about affirmations. What they are, the power of them, and how you can apply them to your life at this very moment.

To quote Louise, she describes an affirmation as:

a message to your subconscious mind saying, I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change....consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something or help create something new in your life.

The book is a practical guide for using affirmations in your own life, no matter what the situation. In fact, each chapter focuses on different aspects of life that you would use affirmations: for health, critical thinking, fear, addictions, forgiveness, love, aging, and prosperity to mention just some of the topics covered.

The book includes a free affirmation CD, which reinforces the teachings within the pages if the book.

I loved every page. It was simply organized, and easy to read. The CD was very helpful as well, as sometimes, putting affirmations into practice in your own life can be challenging. The hour long audio CD walks you through the powers of affirmations and how to bring them into your own life.

I think it is important to note that Louise Hay has played a big part in my decision to grieve this way, and to even share my story in my book, Gratitude in Grief. I had been listening to her audio books prior to the loss of my son, and I continue to do so as I grieve. She may never know it, but she helped me understand that I could make a conscious decision about my thoughts, and I could choose to make my life whatever I wanted, even in the loss of my child.

I know that the general public sometimes hears the word affirmations, and thinks about some new age thinking, some practice that may apply to others, but not them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is everyone on this planet is using affirmations daily already, without this book. But, the difference? Most of us have a steady negative affirmation running through our heads day after day. We look in the mirror and see physical imperfections, we look at our finances and see what we lack. We look at loss and we see that our life is over, even though we are still breathing.

Louise, in a simplified presentation, shows us how to turn those negative affirmations around, harnessing the power of your belief system to change your life.

The book is a practical guide for anyone who is ready to end the negative self talk that they live with daily. But, as my blog discusses finding gratitude in grief, I believe there could be a special value in this book for anyone who is grieving any type of loss.

My decision to choose happiness in the face of loss has been one big old affirmation. Each day, I wake up and I confirm that goodness surrounds me, even when I miss Stephen.

Finding resilience in your life requires beliefs. Beliefs come from information that you feed your mind and soul. Do you feed your mind and soul good thoughts, or negative ones? Do you tell yourself that you will get through this, or that you will never recover?

Louise Hay has spent her lifetime helping others find joy and heal their lives. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to make a change in their thoughts so you may make that change in your life.

Louise makes it simple. Feeding your mind the right stuff.

One last thing!

In celebration of the release of Louise Hay's book, Hay House is offering the chance to win a spot on their I Can Do It! at sea Caribbean Cruise, January 28 to February 4, 2011. Enter for your chance to win at :

You can purchase the book by visiting Hay House. Today I am thankful for Louise Hay and her new book, Exerience Your Good Now.

Wish you a positive affirmation kind of day,


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Raleigh News and Observer Weighs in on Online Comments

“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

If you've been reading along with me, you know how I feel about anonymous online comments. In earlier posts, I have expressed my concern and displeasure with the ability of the anonymous to verbally eviscerate the people in the news and their families. In the comfort of their own homes, they can, without consequence, pass judgment on any event in the news.

Earlier this spring, I travelled to Raleigh to speak to the News and Observer staff on this very topic, having experienced the hurt of comments written in response to articles published following the death of Stephen. Here's a link to my post talking about that visit.


Following that meeting, I have periodically heard from the Mr. Drescher/News and Observer. They have grappled with this issue and tried to, as a staff, come to a solution as to how to handle the issue of negative online commenting, while still providing an open forum for people to express their opinion. I appreciate that they listened to my concerns and have taken the time out of their busy schedules to discuss the issue further.

On Saturday, John Drescher, Executive Editor wrote a column on the topic:

After reading it a few times, I wanted to share some thoughts.

It appears that no immediate solution has been reached, no committee came back with a unanimous solution to this problem as I had hoped. But as I read this a second time, I could understand why. You see, the second time I read the article, I also took the time to read the three pages of comments.

Raleigh News and Observer readers like the ability to comment on articles, and pass their opinion. They feel they are entitled to do so as part of their rights and freedoms as a citizen of this country. Others like to read the banter back and forth, and, in some cases, that banter is truly a productive dialogue about current issues.

So, how do we protect the individuals and families that newspapers write about from unnecessary hurt and anguish? Is it right to police a system to protect everyone from just a few people, knowing that the majority of comments are thoughtful and appropriate? It's kind of like an elementary school situation, where the whole class is punished for the behaviour of a few individuals who wouldn't fess up and tell the teacher that they were responsible.

Mr. Drescher said he does not want to have a staff person full time monitoring this situation, when they could be reporting.
Well, he has a point. But, on the flip side, one could say by not monitoring, he is allowing the anonymous to represent his publication. Because on the day I read the comments about my child, that anonymous person represented his newspaper as much as he did . One of the comments on Saturday's column said that parents like me just shouldn't read the comments. No offense lady, but walk a mile in my shoes for a week or two and see how passive you would be about words written about your baby, when all you have left to protect is his memory.

I have two solutions, and they are both based on a society that encourages free speech, but it is also a culture that respects its fellow citizens.

1. Disable comments for sensitive stories, especially involving the death of an individual: Perhaps the solution lies in disabling the comment sections for those stories covering sensitive topics only, like the death of individuals. Other publications have already decided to do this, and I applaud their forward thinking. Perhaps it should become a standard practice before posting something that a staff person goes through an established set of criteria to determine if a story should have a comments section or not. Don't assume that bereaved families will not read these stories. When you lose someone, especially suddenly, you look everywhere for some explanation, even in your publications. Some may say that they have a right to comment, and they do. But it does not have to be in this forum.

2. Have readers take personal accountability: I don't think this is only the job of the newspaper to fix this problem. I believe we are all responsible to make this world into what we want it to be. Each one of us could tell a story of heartache and loss. Unfortunately, none of us are immune from pain, nor will we live forever. Tragedy comes and goes, and no family ever breezes through life without being touched by loss, it is part of the journey. So, my second solution is for each reader of the News and Observer or any other publication to speak out. Start reporting abuse and make it a point to have those comments removed. When I reported my concerns to the News and Observer, they quickly removed the abusive remarks. If enough individuals did this consistently, we could make a difference. If enough individuals made this commitment, the anonymous commenter may eventually understand that they live in a society that does not support that sort of behaviour.

I am not against online comments. On the contrary, I believe in the power of free speech. Censorship is not a solution. I believe in my right to post my blog posts daily, and express my own unique and personal opinion. I am not against anything.

I am for kindness. I am for respect and dignity for those who are hurting. I am for a culture that understands that free speech is not the same thing as hate speak. I am for a society that thinks about how their words will be received. I am for a world that realizes we all have a responsibility to make this a better place.

In Mr. Drescher's column, he presents us with two different online commenting situations. The two instances are great examples of how this new way of communicating and sharing our lives online can be a wonderful thing and a hurtful thing all at the same time.

At points in all of our lives, we will need the world to just be kind to us, if only briefly. Let's stand up and take responsibility for ensuring that happens. Let's make a change together, and not let another mother or father have to read anything negative about a child they have lost, no matter what the circumstances are surrounding their death.
If you have other suggestions, I would encourage you to let me know, pass them along to the Raleigh News and Observer, or your own local publication.

Wishing you a stand up for what's right kind of day,


Monday, April 26, 2010

Grief Versus Depression

Grief is itself a medicine. ~ William Cowper

I recently made a visit to the doctor's office for a routine checkup on my thyroid levels. No worries, this blog is not getting too personal, that is as much of the details you will get on the medical side of things. But, I had an interesting conversation with the new doctor that I was seeing for the first time. It was about Grief versus Depression.

About a month after Stephen died, I had to go to the doctor for my thyroid check. I felt about 100 years old, my heart ached, I had dark circles beneath my eyes, and life was simply harder than I ever imagined possible. Even with my daily gratitude, I could not change the fact that I missed my son terribly, and was in a deep and inconsolable grief. It was my first visit to this physician, as my family doctor had recently moved.

Sitting up on the examining table, the nurse came in to check me in for the appointment, assess my vital signs and find out the reason for my visit. I was brief in my answers, wanting to get this over with and get the heck out of there. But, she noticed my blood pressure was elevated from the last recording on my chart.

"Your blood pressure is up. Is there anything going on in your life that is stressful right now?" she asked.

And, as if I was a dam on a raging river, I burst out crying, exclaiming that my son had died. I rambled some of the details of his passing through my tears, and grabbed a tissue.

And then, the visit took a turn. The nurse abruptly stood up, looking very uncomfortable with my tears, and said, "Well, I'm going to leave, because I'm not much good to you right now."

Yep, she just left me. Sitting on a paper sheet in a clinic examining room, to cry alone as I stared at a medical poster about the digestive system. Being a nurse myself, I immediately thought back to my school days regarding empathetic communication and surmised that she had missed those classes. Her discomfort was obvious.

But that was not the end of it. The doctor arrived in the room, and was visibly uncomfortable, averting her eyes away from my tear filled ones. She skirted around Stephen's death, never actually addressing it directly, or offering a simple condolence. If I had not been in so much pain, in need of some simple comfort, I think I would have started to laugh. Because I felt like I was part of the filming of the "before" video for, "How Medical Professionals Communicate With the Bereaved."

And then she said it.

"Let's talk about Paxil and Prozac."

Not once in my visit did I ever say I was feeling depressed. In fact, I did not even express anything about my grief, because she didn't ask. I was simply requesting a blood level and prescription renewal for my thyroid medication.

But, in her mind, based on what the nurse told her about me as they stood quietly outside the door, I needed to be medicated. Perhaps it was my tears, sparked by the fact that I, for one of the first times, had to say aloud that my son had died.

My reaction? I gave her my eyebrow, which said more than words ever could, and I told her I was grieving, not depressed and there was a big difference.

Now, Let's back up a little. What's the difference between grief and depression? The dictionary definitions defines them as:

Grief: Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which we have formed a bond. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. Reaction to a major life loss; deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement.

Depression: a state of feeling sad : (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies c (1) : a lowering of vitality or functional activity.

You can see that some of the definitions and descriptors in the depression definition sound like the feelings that one experiences on their grief journey. And honestly, in some cases, people do in fact become depressed because of grief. It can happen, and it is understandable.

But I am here to tell you that there is a big difference between the two.

Grief is a natural response to loss. Grief is a journey. Grief is something that you need to do in order to heal your broken heart. Grief is not something that needs to be medicated because a physician doesn't know what to say and wants to find solutions for you. However pure the doctor's intentions were, she didn't understand an important fact. Medicating grief does not make it go away. It simply dulls it, so it can sit and wait beneath the surface to be faced at a later date.

The reason I rant about all of this? Because my new physician (sorry, could not go back to see this gal anymore) talked about my grief as one of the first things on her list after reviewing my chart. I loved her direct approach, asking me how I was doing. She said that my chart indicated I was having a delayed grief response during my last visit. I explained that was not accurate, and that on my last visit to the doctor's office, my son had only died a month before. She quickly made note of this, and apologised for the assumption. She asked about how I was coping, and listened, nodding approval at our choice to go to grief counselling, and journal. Not once did she ask me about depression. Instead, she assessed me as a professional, and understood that I was doing just fine.

Two doctors. Two different approaches.

If you are grieving, remember that it is a journey, and it is a natural response to losing someone or something you loved. Remember that there is a difference between grief and depression, and speak up if you feel like your grief is being misdiagnosed. Remember that there is no pill that can take away the pain of loss. If there was, everyone would be taking it. The only cure for the pains of loss is time, and it is individual for everyone. Of course, if you experience some of the more marked symptoms of depression listed above or online, you should always consult your family physician.

If you are a medical professional, take some time this week to evaluate your approach to the bereaved when they show up in your office. Do you talk to them, or do you write the pain away? Do you bolt for the door, or do you comfort?

Even for the trained professional, grief can be an uncomfortable reality. Think about your approach and understand that in your quest to heal, that grief is not something to be fixed, but rather it is something to be experienced.

Have a great one,


Friday, March 19, 2010

Walking a Mile in Marie Osmond's Heels

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. -Mother Teresa-

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that one of my new missions in life is to speak out when I feel our new online living steps over the line. I am not fighting with anyone. I am simply writing a blog, and pointing out that we all hurt from time to time, and if someone is hurting, we need to show kindness and compassion, and not judgment.

This morning, I read an article about Marie Osmond's recent decision to cancel this week's schedule of shows in Las Vegas for family time. The reason for the cancellation was listed as family time, as Marie and her family cope with the tragic loss of her son, Michael. For more information on the piece, you can read the Associated Press version by clicking here: http://www.kcsg.com/news/local/88508742.html

I have watched this mother grieve in front of the media since the announcement of her son's passing on February 26th. My own mourning heart has ached for hers, for what lies ahead for her on her journey, and for having to do it in front of a camera.

I read about the memorial, her return to work, and now her decision to take some time. These are all deeply personal decisions in her life, but because of her chosen profession in the entertainment industry, her decisions become press releases. And, much to my dismay, the comments sections for those online articles have been filled with judgment, and opinion, and hate for how she decides how to grieve.

I have some questions. Why is it okay to judge her? Why is it okay for online news organizations to allow hate speak in the comments sections below their articles? Why is it okay for someone sitting home in front of their laptop to say mean things about a mother who just lost her child? Why is it okay to say something bad about someone you don't even know? Who feels they have everything figured out enough that they can pass judgment on whether or not she is grieving appropriately? And if you are so sure that you are right in your assessment of her grieving style, why don't you sign your name to your comment at the end of the article, instead of hiding behind the word,


The backlash that she faced when she returned to work was overwhelming, and it seemed that everyone had an opinion. But truly, unless we walked a mile in Marie Osmond's heels, do we really know what provides her broken heart with comfort in this difficult time? And what person among us feels they have a right to pass their opinion on whether or not it is the right thing to do?

Now, you may ask yourself, why is this grieving mother so passionate about this? Why is she standing on her soapbox on this sunny Friday morning?

Because on July 6th, this is what I read in a comments section of an online article about Stephen:

"Geez, NC State really needs to look at the athletic requirements for their student athletes, because obviously this guy was not in very good shape if he couldn't even swim across the cove."

This was my son.

Did you cringe at you read it? I know I did. I am being blunt because it is time that we stood up for what is right as we live our lives online. I have friends on facebook that I haven't talked to for twenty years, but now because of the power of the Internet, I can sit in an airport and look at their vacation pictures on my Blackberry. I shop online, I register my son for sports online, I am grieving online. We are opening up our lives more and more, but where is the line? Where is the book of etiquette for living online?

There is no book, but we all know, deep down what's right. All you have to do is walk a mile in someone's shoes, and you'll know what to do.

The person who posted that about Stephen did not think before he/she pressed send. I wonder did they know that Stephen's mother would read it? I wonder if they realize I sat and cried quietly in front of my computer screen, crushed that the memory of my child was being tarnished by strangers who did not know he was my sun, my moon, my stars? I wonder would it have made a difference?

I reported each comment about my child, and continue to do so daily when I find someone else is being judged just so the anonymous can see their words on the screen. I may be fighting a losing battle, but I will continue. Because I've walked a mile, I've walked ten. And this world needs a little more tenderness, a little more love.

Today, I am thankful for Marie Osmond, and I send her love and peace as she continues to grieve in front of the world. May she find the solace and quiet to let her heart heal.

On this Friday, I ask you this? Will you join me? Let's all start holding the anonymous posters accountable for their words and report their posting to the web administrators so it can be removed. If enough of us do it, maybe we can make a difference.

Maybe we will be able to save another grieving mother from any additional pain.

Wishing all of us compassion filled days,


I've written more about this here: