Simple steps to transform your life

Hi friends and family,

Life has felt so hectic and out of control lately.

I learned a few useful tips this weekend for a happier, more calm life that I’d like to share with you!

Please visit me over at Bittersweet (link below) and share with your friends if you find this useful.

Hope life has been good to you all. I’d love to hear from you in my comments section.

Until next time, love each other

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2014/10/how-you-can-transform-your-life-in-three-easy-steps/

Sunday Church inspires, renews,

 

Hi all, please visit Chicago Now Bittersweet and read my post inspired after being spiritually “pushed” into going to church today!

If you read Bittersweet last night, you know why I needed a little nudge this morning! But I am grateful  I “felt” the nudge and went.

Please share the story with me.

Read, share, “like”. Please let me know you visited on the blog site itself. I am having such a tough time figuring out if anyone is visiting!

Thank you

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2013/01/made-it-to-church-today-reminded-of-a-very-important-lesson/

I’ve added a new adventure! Won’t you all join me?

 

Well it’s a new year (in a few hours) and I have a new adventure!

I am now writing for ChicagoNow under the name of Bittersweet. On this new site I will share thoughts and spin words as I see fit in the moment. I do hope you all will follow me over there and keep this adventure we call life moving along together! I will not be canceling this site as it keeps my work all linked up and tidy!

For my first blog in the new location I shared thoughts on the old year and the new year. (I know not very original on this day when writers everywhere are covering this topic, but we all have had different experiences and will likely have different angles to discuss and share.)

Happy New Year to everyone. Stay safe and well.

Love each other!

Visit me at this link below and let’s keep our friendship going!

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/

Merry Christmas, this is what I know

As I sit here in our warm home on the eve before Christmas Eve, with a fire burning in the fireplace,  the yummy smell of food being prepared for the next couple of days of holiday celebrations, and  presents all wrapped up and under the Christmas tree, I think about what I’ve learned or was reminded of this Christmas season.

People I love are invaluable, irriplaceable. (This may sound mundane, but really take some time to read this and let it soak in.)

Life’s most important lessons are not complicated.

My family is wonderful, precious, sacred. (Again see info in parentheses above)

Even though our family is not perfect, I really miss my mom and dad who are far away from me this Christmas.

I learned that I should never live as if I know everything about what is going to happen next. Meaning that there are plans in the works and I will not ever know all the details. So, I should always live as if the next thing around the corner is going to be awesome!

I learned that I too matter to others.

I was reminded that there is a certain type of wicked evil in the world, but there is also way more goodness and kindness than there is this evil.

People are all capable of good and evil. It is a choice on how you want to exist in this world.

I learned that I can help other people with simple acts. There are things I may unwittingly say or do that will change a person’s day for the good -or the bad (I’m not perfect). This reminds me to be aware of how I interact in the world as to never make someone’s day worse.

I was reminded that no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot protect our children from all forms of harm, cruelty, hatred. We must show them even more love and kindness inside our homes to make up for what  they see out in the world, in school, on TV.

I learned that, although I do like to get presents as does everyone this time of year, there really is nothing I really need or want this Christmas that is not inside this house with me at this very moment — Tony, Emily, Abby, Minnie, Maggie and Lucy — and the people outside this house whom I love more than words or things can express. That’s a very long list!

Sometimes when I think this is the best it will get, and there is nothing better to come into my family, home, work – something else wonderful happens! This is the fun part of life!

Oh, and the most important lesson – I  was once again reminded that when Kohl’s screams at me from my TV to get into the store for this one and only and final “One-Day Sale!!” they are lying! There are One-Day Sales at Kohl’s every day! (Lying liars!)

What did you learn in these last few weeks.

Merry Christmas. Love each other.

(PS I’ll soon be blogging for ChicagoNow, I’ll keep you posted. Thank you for all of your support!)

Where was God?

Where was God this week?

Where was God on Friday morning about 9:30 a.m. East Coast time? Was He shopping at the mall? Was He in a traffic jam? Was He on vacation? Was He sitting at his desk? Was He just not paying attention? Did He not know that some lunatic with guns was breaking windows to enter into a school and then murdering precious little children?

How dare He not be there. How dare God not keep them safe.

I think this is a normal reaction, whether you are a good, faithful Christian or not.

But here is my answer, I believe God was there. He was in that elementary building with his arms wrapped so tight around all of those innocent children and their loving teachers who fought so hard, many with their lives, to protect His most beloved. He carried their tender souls to Heaven where He had already prepared them a new home.

I know He was there. Then He was with the parents of the children, when they fell to their knees weeping in unspeakable pain. He was there.

I must trust what the Bible teaches me. He was, and is, and always will be there.

One day we will know why this happened. One day He will tell us.

It will not ever heal the way we, as a nation, need to be healed, the way the mommies of those babies desperately need to be healed. Not now anyways.

I keep going back to this one thought. On Saturday morning those mommies woke up and their babies were not tucked safe in their beds, as they very well should have been.

But what gets me through? What makes me not turn against God?

I believe they were in God’s arms in Heaven Saturday morning. And I believe they watched with unspeakable love as their mommies wept. I believe they were holding their mommies as God was holding onto them. And they were once again safe.

See you next week. Until then hold onto your loved ones as God is holding onto you this very moment.

Airplanes, bullets and broken promises

I read an article in the Chicago Tribune today about a number of airplane crashes in the Chicago neighborhoods surrounding Midway Airport. Many people have been killed by airplanes literally falling out of the sky. The story went on to tell of tales people shared with newspaper reporters at the time.

They shared stories of deep anguish and heartache searching for loved ones only to find pieces of them and bloodied remains. One story told of how some died from an airplane falling from the sky and crashing through their homes. People died as they lay asleep in their own beds. A young mother was thrown from an airplane and died while her two daughters lived.

On Saturday, I attended a funeral of a 47-year-old mother of two children. Her husband came home from work and found her dying in her chair. At the funeral, five days later, doctors could still not explain why she died. She was fine, her husband said. He spoke to her on the phone just ten minutes before he got home from work and recalled the last thing he said to her was “I love you.”

A friend of this woman’s said she read her Facebook post on Sunday, the day before she died. It read that she was hanging her laundry outside and enjoying the beautiful weather on a lovely December day. She was just living her life, hanging her laundry, enjoying the oddly warm weather.

And, once again the news reported stories tonight covering the countless numbers of shootings in the city. The senseless deaths of many young people who have yet to even know what their future could have been. Many simply found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Something came to mind today with all these stories bouncing around in front of me.

A couple of years ago this friend of mine named Gina contacted me out of the blue on Facebook. We had not talked for nearly 20 years. At one time we saw each other every day. We had such a great friendship but then life changed and I went one way and she went another. So, when she found me on Facebook I was thrilled. She asked to meet for lunch and we met and had a wonderful conversation about the last 20 years of our lives. We laughed about silly things and talked about old friends and funny moments.

She asked me why we had stopped being friends and asked if she had done something to ruin our friendship. I said of course not. And I recall now having to have to reassure her that she never did anything wrong or hurtful to me.

She also told me that she was dealing with breast cancer, but said that she was at the end of her treatment and was recovering. She really downplayed the whole thing and led me to believe she was on the upswing.

We parted ways that day with a big, warm hug and promised, for sure, we’d see each other again soon.

Well we never did keep that promise.  We never even talked on the phone, not even on Facebook.

About a year later, another friend called me to say Gina had died.

The next time I saw her was at her funeral.

There are so many people I think of often. Friends who I truly love and care about and miss, but don’t see or even talk to as much as I’d like. The reasons are  real and common – they live far away, or have the details of life keeping them running in a thousand different directions each day. And I too have a full schedule of life obligations.

But stories like planes falling from the sky, bullets flying through the air and unforgiving illnesses unexpectedly stopping the beating of a friend’s heart, remind me that I need to do better.

So for all my dear friends who read this, who I have not spoken to lately, please know I love you and I will try and do better. For those of you who do not know me, but have friends you have not seen or spoken to in a while, maybe this story will remind you to do a little better too.

Because when I got that call that Gina died, and realized that we had not kept our promise…..  . It was just too late.

Share, like, comment. See you next week.

The Bad Celebrity and Facebook

I have to say what I am about to post this morning is not anything I was considering writing about. But I read this on Facebook this morning and my heart sank for this stranger and it just didn’t feel right to ignore the feeling.

How would you feel if you woke up this morning and read this on your Facebook wall?

 “***** you are a piece of excrement…feces…the lowest form of life possible. You are the result of pedophile rape, a nasty bloody discharge on a Kleenex nobody wants. There is no lower form of like than your nasty, disgusting black a**. I hope you suffer a horrendous death from sickle cell, AIDS, or some other painful demise which only you could deserve. Rot in f****** hell (person’s name deleted here) you filthy piece of s***……”

This is an actual comment I just read on some celebrity’s page. I don’t know this celebrity or his/her work at all. I am not exactly sure what they  have done that has drawn out this sort of hateful comment.

Whatever happened to what we learned as children? “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”

I deleted the name for this person’s privacy, respect and out of pure empathy and sadness for whatever this person, the target of this anger, is going through. They are clearly not in a good place and this ugly comment, which I pray they never read, is only going to sink him/her deeper into his/her own self-loathing.

Then there was this on the same person’s page:

“I am praying for you (name deleted)…..that’s real talk. Some of your (work) is on some deep conscious and I can appreciate your mind ……God is able to do ALL things……ALL things.”

And there was this, though these types of comments, I’ll admit, were hard to find:

(Name deleted) “… hang in there where ever you are.”

I saw one incident that this person committed and it was ridiculous and mean. Absolutely, I am not excusing the bad behavior. But,  I could see from the video there was something wrong with this person. He/she is clearly troubled and in need of some help, support, love. I think their behavior is the outside expression to what they are feeling inside about themselves and their life.

It can be hard to love or care about people like this person. I know.  But truth is there are so many more people like him/her out in the world than those who are confident, loving and vested in themselves and others.

Truth is, we are one super large community and when one of us is hurt we are all hurt. And we all show our hurt in different ways. Some have people to love them through the hurt and pain so they don’t lash out against others, but more often, many do not. Many are alone with their personal demons and self-loathing.

I don’t even know this person, but the hateful comments are not going to help them to become better, more loving. They only confirm what they are already feeling about themselves. He/she does not feel loved, worthy, cared for, valued. These are the greatest gifts we can give to another human being.

When we see people down, ugly and nasty as they can be, let’s remember at one time they were someone’s little, gentle, innocent infant. That baby was only needing love and kindness. Maybe this person, this celebrity,  is who he/she is today because he/she never received that love and kindness. Who knows.

This person is young, there is still a chance they will realize there is a better, more loving way to go through life.

I do hope he/she reads more of the positive messages on Facebook, though as I said they are hard to find.

So, then what does that say about the authors of the nasty comments?

I know it’s hard, but we need to love those who seem the least deserving, or even accepting of love.

I think when people are in the worst stages of their bad behavior, they are truly begging, screaming out for our love.

They are like infants again and all they need is a warm, soft place to fall.

Please, let’s all do better.

Like, comment, share and see you next week!

The man in the moon and me

As we should all know by now, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, died in August. He was 82. And from all accounts that I have read he was a good man who lived his life quite modestly after doing something that changed, maybe connected the entire world, if only for a little while.

For this Blog entry I literrally scoured the internet and read about a dozen obits on this man.

I did this because when he died, there was one graph in one of the many, many tributes to him that hit me on such an emotional level.

A feeling that I still have not been able to shake. And I believe it is worth reprinting and discussing and sharing with the “blogasphere” why it touched me so.

I finally found it at the end of a piece written on Aug. 26 in USA Today.

Here it is:

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request,” his family said in a Saturday statement. “Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Oh man, it happened again! I got that lump in my throat re-reading this.
Why?

Because the idea, the visual this presents to me is so simple, yet so so so grandiose.

One thing is, I have always seen the face of the man in the moon. And so many times, since I was a child, I remember asking others if they see a face in the moon. And, not everyone does. I could never wrap my head around that.

The other thing is this.

There is one moon, billions maybe zillions of people in this world, again just one moon. OK, we see it at different times of the night. There is one Big Dipper, one Little Dipper, one of each unique, brilliant star in each of its little own endlessly dark piece of the sky. (Please stay with me here)

I have dear friends and family in many parts of this country. Sometimes I wonder as I look up at the sky at night and take in the beauty and the wonderment of the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the moon, that one little super shiny star, that I think is a planet, that sets just to the bottom right of the moon… I wonder sometimes, are any of my dear, long-lost friends or family in other parts of this country looking at that part of the sky at that very same moment. And we just recently had that beautiful, magical Harvest Moon display, and I wondered the same thing. Is anyone out there looking at it and taking in all of its magic at the same time I am.

And if they were would we not be connected in that very moment?

When I was 11 years old, I met my biological father for the first time. Before meeting him I never even knew his name, never even knew he existed. Further, I never even knew that I was not who I had long believed I was. It was– and still is– quite complicated and hard to work through.

The reason I bring this up, is this – I remember in the months and couple of years afterward– after meeting this man, this stranger, this man who added so much confusion, pain to an already tumultuous existence–looking up at the sky sometimes and wondering if he was looking at the same part of the evening sky and thinking of me. I particularly recall one New Year’s Eve, shortly after meeting him, when the town was doing fireworks and fire crackers right at Midnight, and I went outside…There were people and noise makers everywhere, noises from all parts of town, I felt so alone. And I wondered where he was and if he was looking up at the night sky too.

I wondered in my young mind, if before he met me did he ever look up at that vast sky and wonder where I was. Did he wonder, was his child also looking up at the sky, the moon, the man in the moon? Did she see the man in the moon even?

Did he see the man in the moon?

Did we share that?

Did he care?

I’ll never know any of these answers. And the thought of this, me as a confused and sad child not knowing who she really is or whether or not it even matters to anyone, who she really is, makes me so sad.

So now as an adult, now that I have control over my life, and a loose handle on my emotions, I take these same moments when looking up at the evening sky and think of old friends, relatives who make me happy and confident and secure, people who made me laugh, smile, dance. People who love me and make me feel love. And those who may be far away, but still close in my heart and I think- what are they looking at right now? Are they seeing what I am seeing? Do they see the face of the man in the full, bright moon? Are they giving old Neil a wink?

I know, I am.

What do you think of when you look up at the evening sky? Do you see the man in the moon?

Please share thoughts, comments, likes or dislikes, click “follow” and share.

See you next week. 🙂

The furry pieces of our heart

Last week went straight to the dogs!

No, seriously.

I worked on a number of stories last week and three of them had to do with dogs.

I worked on these stories while two of my own pups, Lucy and Minnie, rested at my feet. Awesome working conditions, huh?!

One story had to do with one man’s search for the link between dogs, humans and cancers. 2 Million Dogs raises awareness of the possible environmental links between dogs, humans and cancers. This mission was started by Luke Robinson after suffering the loss of his beautiful Pyrenees, named Malcolm to cancer.  He later put to rest another furry buddy named Murphy. He said he wants to know why his best friends-and zillions of other dogs, cats and humans die from cancer. (This full story will appear in Health and Family section of the Chicago Tribune Wednesday Oct. 10)

The other story had to do with how pet owners can learn a dog’s parentage through DNA testing. By learning exactly what breeds your dog is made of will help in knowing what illnesses, common injuries and other important information to watch out for. (The test cost about $150 and is available at most vet clinics, full story will be out next month in the Chicago Tribune)

The third story was  about  Shakira, a beautiful Siberian Husky with piercing blue eyes who disappeared from her family in Georgia five years ago. It’s unclear where she was for that five years, but she eventually was sent from a shelter in Georgia up to Harvard Illinois to a Siberian Husky rescue.  While at that shelter, she was scanned and an identification chip was found under her skin. The family back in Georgia was finally notified. The last time they had seen this beautiful dog was when she was just 1. They never knew what happened to her, but they  likely never stopped thinking about her or loving her.

So after receiving a call from the shelter that their dog was alive and well, Shakira’s human mamma drove 14 hours, straight through the night, to get her back. The reunion was swift and they turned around and headed right back home to where three children were waiting to reunite with their dog.

Wow!

Where was she all that time? Why was she not scanned by the shelter in Georgia five years ago? Or, if she was not at the shelter all that time, where was she? And how did a shelter in Harvard Illinois, more than 700 miles away from Georgia, get involved anyway?

Many questions went unanswered because the dog and her owner left so quickly after their reunion and Shakira’s owner never returned my calls for the story.

But on the important side, the family is reunited. In the photos provided by the McHenry County shelter,  the dog looked beautiful, healthy and her human mamma, she looked so happy, relieved, and well, tired.(story and photos on-line at ChicagoTribune.com)

Again, what was learned, what was observed here in this last week?

Well, first off, I can say that I for sure, without  a doubt, have the very best working conditions, the most attentive and loyal assistants.

When a human loved one or a pet gets cancer we want to know why. We need to feel that we are  doing what ever we can to learn how to save them. We fund studies, create organizations, participate in walks, to find the answers as to “why” and learn “how” can we fix them.

When we really love another person– or a pet– so much, we want to learn everything there is to know about them. We want to know how best to care for them and keep them with us for as long as possible.

There is no love like the love a parent has for her child —or for her pets. As if a child were lost to us, emotionally or physically, when a dog is lost, no matter how long he or she is away, or how far they travel, they never stop being part of our family.

And  when we love a pet so much -as we love our two-legged children- and suffer their loss only to learn they are still in this world with us, there is no distance too far to travel to retrieve that little furry piece of our heart.

Let’s see what this week’s news brings. See you next Monday!

(Please click “follow” then share and leave a comment!)