If You Chance to Meet a Frown…… SMILE!

Day 29~

When I was a little girl, I learned a song about smiling when you’re feeling bad.  The words go like this:

If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay!  
Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away.
No one likes a frowny face, change it for a smile!  
Make the world a better place by smiling all the while

Isn’t that a great little lyric?  Good advice for anyone!  

Sometimes when we feel bad, we need to try and do things to cheer ourselves up.  It may not always work, but trying to think about happier things can help.  Learning to have a positive attitude about everything can make all the difference.  The lyrics to the Nat King Cole song, SMILE explains that pretty well.

Smile

Smile though your heart is achingif-you-dont-have-a-smile-ill-give-you-one-of-mine
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

And being happy can rub off on other people!  My husband has a great smile and he smiles a lot.  People are always telling me that they notice that he smiles a lot and seems to always be happy.  He is a pretty happy go lucky guy… and it rubs off.  Smiling at others can cheer them up too.

I’m grateful for smiles.  For others who smile at me and for my own smile.  I do try to share it and help lift others up!   How about you?  Who have you smiled at today?

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

And of course…… when you smile, you’re Happy!  And minions always make me Smile!

 

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Blessings Unmeasured!

As I lay in bed this morning, my thoughts turned to the many things I’ve been blessed with in my life and I became overwhelmed with gratitude! I truly have a wonderful life!

I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities over my life that have brought me so much happiness!  I’m particularly happy today for where my life is at right now.  Even facing the health challenges I am currently facing….. I am so blessed!  I couldn’t ask for a better more loving or supportive husband.  He IS the best.  I love him so much and appreciate all he does for me which is way above the call of duty!  Thank you, John for entering my life!  You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Your children could not ask for a better Father and they will all attest to that!

I have 3 wonderful children who I adore.  They are the joy of my life.  I love them so much and know that they can achieve anything they want to in this life.  I pray for them and hope that THEY know they can achieve their dreams!  They are truly wonderful people….. smart, witty, good looking, helpful and loving.  I could go on….. but I won’t lest I give them big heads.  <grin>

I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It has brought me so much joy and comfort over the years!  One of the many advantages of being a member is having a Ward family.  That’s the unit of the church that you are assigned to in the area you live in.  We meet weekly as a Ward for our Sunday meetings and worship together and lift one another up.  I have been blessed to live in three areas during our marriage and all with terrific Wards and people!  It’s been hard to leave each area when we moved just because of that!  The people I have met and associated with in each area have all been a blessing in my life!  And that includes other neighbors and friends around that weren’t/aren’t members of the church.  We’ve been blessed to live in some great neighborhoods.

Though John and I would like to get out of the condo situation we are currently in….. for reasons that apply to ‘rules’ and the fact that there are a couple of things a home would have that we don’t have here…..  I truly do love my condo!  It’s beautiful and comfortable and provides us with all the necessities of life.  Again, we have great neighbors and friends here and we know we are loved.

I love that John is retired and that we are not tied down to jobs that dictate when we can do things.  We are able to pursue other things both in fun and in making money.  (Which is still a work in progress….)   Time is such a blessing to us.  Though I don’t use it all as wisely as I would like to, I have that option.  Again… truly blessed.

I had a great family life growing up.  I had/have wonderful friends and wonderful precious memories.  I have a terrific family and though I didn’t feel I was really close to my siblings growing up, I have that sense now.  Even though I don’t see my brothers as much as my sisters…. I feel a closeness to them.  I’m grateful for all of them.  My parents were great.  It’s hard to see them get old!  I miss my Dad terribly…. especially in the summer when I long for his vegetable garden and fruit trees!  I miss his silly sense of humor and his loving ways.  I’m just grateful to know that I will see him again someday.  I’m grateful for my Mom.  It’s hard to see dementia setting in.  I don’t spend as much time with her right now as I would like to and feel I should because of my health issues.  Though I do have good days and just need to get out there!  If  I lived a little closer, I know that would be easier for me.  I’m so thankful to my sisters for being there for her!  I know they are wearing themselves out!  I hope to get back on the schedule soon for regular visits.

Wow.  I’m blessed with such awesome friends! Both near and far.  They love and care about me so much.  I just wish we could all see each other more…. but I’m so thankful that we stay in touch!

I’m so grateful for music in my life and how much joy it has brought me in so many ways!  I love to perform and have had some wonderful opportunists to do so.  I have met so many amazing people through my journey with music and theater.  All friends that I love and adore!

I know the Lord is blessing me with my health right now.  I am improving daily and know that I will get through this chemo stuff with flying colors!  I know He has plans for me to stick around for a long time!  It just needs my effort in finding out exactly what those plans are!  It is amazing how a health issue like this will make you think deeply about things that you may not have before.  I’m grateful for the time I’m taking to learn and study about things….. particularly about health and self improvement.

I have a great life!  There’s always things out there that we all wish we had or hope to have someday.  I have those dreams too…. but I truly feel gratitude for where I am right now and what I have….. and as my images says in today’s post….  “Gratitude turns what we have into enough!”

What a wonderful time of year to have these feelings.  They just need to be carried on everyday in my life.  Perhaps it’s time to drag out that gratitude journal again and start reminding myself everyday of what I have to be grateful for!  The list could go on and I haven’t even come close to saying it all here.  I just felt I should be thankful for the things that were meaning so much to me at the moment.  Just recognizing that where I am and what I have is enough!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  I hope you will take the time to be grateful for your life, just the way it is!  Know that we are all here to learn, and the experiences we are going through at the moment are only for our growth and betterment!  Find out what lesson you are to be learning through it!  Hang onto that gratitude and it will pull you through!

I am Grateful!  How are you?

The Journey To Be “Me”!

I have discovered the last few weeks that I am embarking on a journey to be me.  With the recent challenges I have been faced with…. it has been a real awakening to what’s really down deep inside of me.  A me that has always been there and longed to come out but maybe hasn’t known how!

With my recent diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I have done some real soul searching and praying.  There’s always those questions running through your mind…. “Why me?”  “Why now?”  “Why NOT me?” and many others that really start you to thinking.  Luckily, this is a disease that can be cured.  So I know I have a long life ahead of me.

This is me! I’m on a journey to find what’s deep inside me so I can share it with the world!

I have come to know deep in my heart this last week that this has lead me to the beginning of this journey of who I really am… and what I have to offer the world.  I’ve realized that I haven’t really ‘believed’ as strongly as I know I can of my divine worth, of my true magnificence and that I am truly a child of God….. and as such…. what a great inheritance I have and am and should be!

It’s amazing how the Lord puts people in our path for a reason.  I have met people just these last several months that are playing an integral part of this journey for me right now.  I had another overwhelming feeling from my Heavenly Father this morning that I am on the right path…. but it has only just begun.  I know there are many people that are and will help to lead me there, for which I am so grateful!

I have much to read and study and pray about and oh so much to dream about!  Part of what I am being counseled is to get really clear on what I want out of my life, both short term and long term.  This too has been things I have known and read about but haven’t taken the time to write and down and be clear about.  Oh…. I’ve attempted writing out goals and dreams…. but following through with a daily affirmation reading of them has not been very good.  Probably because I felt they weren’t complete so I needed to wait till they were.  I’m learning that it’s always a work in progress….. and that just getting started with it AND reading it everyday is going to make a huge difference for me.

I don’t know how long it will take me to become completely clear on what my specific personal purpose is.  I have vague ideas… but not sure they are right.  I know that by getting clear on everything I will be lead to an answer.  I truly believe the Lord is just waiting for me to ask!

In a crazy way….. I’m so grateful this challenge has come to me!  It has blessed me so much already.  I know I am taking the right steps to heal myself.  I know that my diet and supplements I am taking will help me to hyper heal.  I also know that I was lead to feel OK about taking chemo along with it.  I fought it for a long time because I also know that many people are beating the cancer fight without chemo.  But I felt I was lead to a peaceful answer for me.  Though I know I may have some tough days ahead of me…. I also know that most of them will be wonderful!

I also feel that this is a blessing in disguise to those around me.  I know that it will bring us closer in a way we’ve never been.

So…. as I embark on this journey to be me…. I hope that I can inspire many of you to do the same!  We all are so much more than we allow ourselves to believe and can give so much more to mankind than we have any idea we are capable of!  So…. join me in this journey!  I’ll try and keep you posted on what I’m doing to make that journey happen for me.  Perhaps it will inspire you to do some of the same things!

I am grateful!  How are You?

P.S.  If you are interested in hearing ALL the details of what my life has been like the last few weeks…. you can go to my page here on the blog called “When Life Hits A Wall”.  It’s right there at the top of the page you are looking at.  Clicking on that link will take you to my first journal entry where I tell everything ( and I mean everything….) about my experience.  I will also be updating those journal entries which you can look at by hovering over the “When Life Hits A Wall” tab.  It should give you options to scroll down to.  That way if you want to follow all the gory details you can.  It’s a pretty open book here.  Kind of crazy that I’m making it so public… but perhaps it will help someone else!

Judge Not!

This is a post I’ve been needing to write for quite a while.  I don’t know why it seems so hard to make a post now that I’m out of the ‘habit’ of a daily post.  Honestly…. I liked it better when I was disciplined to do it daily!

Because of several recent events that have happened, I’ve had a real awakening about judging people.  I’ve always thought I was a pretty open and accepting person, but I guess when you have some things slap you in the face, you become aware of just how judgmental you really are.

Last week we spent several days in Vegas.  Let me just preface this by saying I have never liked Vegas.  It’s not my kind of thing.  I don’t like the smoke, I’m not into gambling and I just don’t care for the all and all feeling of the atmosphere there.  With that said… we went to Vegas for my husband to play in a softball tournament.  At the time we booked the hotel we stayed in, we were not sure what softball diamonds they would be playing on so we got something sort of central to a couple of different softball parks.  Knowing what I know now, I would have booked a hotel very differently than I did.

The tournament ended up being in Henderson and I would have much preferred to stay there!  But alas…. we took the advice of the softball tournament people and stayed in one of the hotels they recommended.   Big mistake…. but it was very cheap.  Much cheaper than we could have got on our Choice Hotels card.  But then again….  we kind of got what we paid for.

Actually, the rooms themselves weren’t terrible.  The bed was too firm for me but that’s not that uncommon in a hotel room.  The rooms seems fairly clean, but we were suppose to be in non-smoking room and you could tell the room had had smokers in it.  So…. it wasn’t really the room itself that made me, shall we say….. nervous?  It was what I perceived to be going on around me in the hotel area.

When we first arrived at Arizona Charlies on Boulder Hwy…. we went to find a parking place without having to park in the parking garage for the Casino.  Since the hotel rooms are separate from the Casino, we drove around that end of the building and ended up in the back of the hotel room area.  Now, I realize…. I wasn’t in Utah anymore….. but before we got to the back of the building, we saw a few young ladies in the vicinity that I may have wrongly tagged as hookers….  but what we saw next made me feel very uneasy and think that perhaps my ‘tagging’ may not have been wrong.

As we approached the end of the driveway in the back of the hotel…. (which meant there was no other way out other than turning around and going back) ….  we passed a group of men…. (or should I say boys?)…. standing outside a hotel room area.  OK… here comes my third point of judging right off the bat….  I just kind of felt like they were there passing the ‘girls’ around…. if you know what I mean.  I haven’t got proof… nor did I want proof….. it’s just what I perceived.  Now a lot of that perception came from me judging what they were wearing and the color of their skin…. which is not fair….  but it’s just what it felt and I didn’t like the idea that that sort of thing may be going on in the hotel we were about to check into.   And…. of course…. when we check into the hotel, where does our room end up?  Yep…. pretty much about 2 doors down from where they were.  What are the chances of that, considering it was a fairly large hotel with lots of rooms?  No…. I was not a happy camper!  Luckily, they had all gone not too long after we had checked in.

Again…… I know I was passing undo judgment without knowing all the facts.  I guess I didn’t expect to see that kind of thing happening outside of the Las Vegas strip.  Probably a pretty naive assumption on my part……  I know that those things go on in Vegas all the time….. but I’ve never had to deal with it right under my nose before.

As we were coming back from finding the ballpark so we’d know where to go the next morning…. we were stopped at a light when a group of people crossed the street.  Again…. my judgement falls in!  Based on what they were wearing and how they carried themselves…. I was passing judgement on the kinds of life they lead.  One man in particular that was covered in tattoos and pushing a stroller made me concerned for the child in the stroller.  All I could think of is, “What kind of life is that child going to lead?”  Most of us are a product of our environment, and I became concerned about the environment that child was in.  Before you going bashing on me….. I realize that tattoos do not make a bad person!  Again….. it was just my first impression, which probably came because of a conversation I had had with my niece several days earlier.  She fears for her little grandson because of the environment he is being raised in.  I think that was fresh on my mind when I saw this man with the tattoos.

The next day, at the ballpark, as I was comparing stories with some of the wives of the ball players, I was told that one of them had gone to McDonald’s for breakfast that morning and were ‘hit up’ by beggars.  Hence, when we ended up at McDonald’s a day or so later because that was one of the few places I could get free wi-fi, I was very aware of what was going on around me.

The first thing I looked for when we walked in McDonalds was if anyone else was using their wii-fi.  One older man in the corner seemed to be very consumed with what ever he was doing on his computer and seemed oblivious to what was going on around him. However, another young man sitting a few tables away from him made me nervous.  If you’ve ever used wi-fi in public places like that, you know that you aren’t always protected from someone else stealing your information.  This young man, while using his computer, seemed to be scoping out the place and was using his cell phone a lot while on his computer.  I became a  little suspicious and therefore closed a few of my pages I had open before I connected to the wi-fi.  I felt he had his eye on me.  Again…. I was passing judgement, but I wanted to take precaution.  Then… as we were leaving McDonalds and had just gotten into our car, we were approached by a young girl trying to give us some story about how she was just trying to get her sisters some food and she only had $3 to her name.  Now…..she wasn’t dressed shabbily, which was my first suspicion…. but it was her poorly delivered ‘canned’ speech that made me pretty much know she was lying to us.  However, we gave her a couple of dollars anyway and then drove away.

So far, I’ve told you some examples of things I passed judgement on that probably many other people may have felt the same way about.  It doesn’t make it right….. but it’s a fact of what happened to me!  However…. because of those things I had mentioned…. I think I was allowing myself to be a little coldhearted about other real possibilities going on around me that deserved some understanding.  The second morning of the tournament, we decided to try and find some breakfast a little closer to the ballpark area.  Since the ballpark was in Henderson and the surrounding area seemed very nice and clean, we figured we wouldn’t see the beggars around that we were seeing down on Boulder Hwy.  We finally stopped at a Subway close to the park to have one of their breakfast sandwiches.  When we walked in the store, there was a very shabbily dressed man with a long beard, sitting in the corner with only a cup of water in his hand.  My first thought was…. “Oh, great!  Here we go again!”

I ordered my sandwich and then my husband went to order something different from me and the girl behind the counter said, “Are you sure?  It’s two for one on the sandwiches before 9am.”  So my husband decided to just order the same thing as I did.  Now….. if I had been on my toes and realized that the man sitting in the corner was not coming up to us an asking for anything…. he was just sitting there with some water and trying to keep warm (it’s a little brisk in the desert in the mornings…)  I would have totally changed my attitude and taken that ‘free’ sandwich we got, ordered my husband something else and given the man the other sandwich.  But no….. I was still in the mode of this man being a beggar and being tired of what I had been seeing.

I realized that morning that I’m not as Christ like as I hope to think I am.  I felt very guilty after we drove away.  We did get our order to go, so it’s not like we sat there and felt guilty eating in front to him….. but I sure felt guilty after we left and I realized that I could have taken the opportunity to feed someone in need.  I told my husband I don’t think I passed Christ’s test very well that morning.  “As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”  Matthew 25:40

I still feel guilty about that even now.  How could I give $2 to a girl that I was pretty sure was lying to me and yet ignore this man who was most likely legitimately in need?   It did help to bring an awareness to me about how judgmental I really had been during this trip.  It’s not something I’m very proud of.

I’m grateful for the awakening the trip to Vegas gave me., but I realized when I got home, that I wasn’t doing much better with the things around me here.  I’ve been very judgmental of the guy my daughter is dating.  They’ve been through some really rough times this last year or so and it hasn’t left me with a very good impression of him.  At least his record hasn’t been improving much and because of that….  I haven’t been his biggest fan.  Only because I’m worried about my daughters happiness.  I realized that I was passing undo judgement on him as well.  Everyone deserves a chance to improve their life and become a better person.  Don’t get me wrong…. he’s a good guy in a lot of ways…. he was just raised very differently than my daughter was and therefore his value system is very different.  It’s only what he knows.

This whole thing has made me very aware of the fact that I’m very guilty of passing judgement on many things and many people.  It’s something I’d like to not do any more.  I don’t think it will necessarily be an easy thing to do…. but at least by being aware that it’s something I need to improve on, I can hopefully catch myself doing it and make myself STOP!  In fact, it was re-listening to a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf at LDS General Conference this last April Conference titled, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy” that actually brought me to tears and made me realize how bad I’d been.

In his talk he said:

“This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?”

Wow….. pretty powerful words!  And they did humble me as I listened that second time.  In fact, how easy would it be to change out some of those words on the bumper sticker?  “Don’t judge me because I have tattoos”  or  “Don’t judge me because I appear to be poor”.  There are many things we could put in that phrase.

I know I have a long way to go, but I am so grateful for the experiences that I have had lately that have made me realize how much I need to work on this area of my life!  Don’t you find yourself judging someone for something as simple as they way their outfit looks…. or we may pass judgement on someone for their behavior.  Perhaps it’s not the way they always act…. but how are we to know that with one meeting?  I know I’ve behaved badly in a store before when I’ve been upset by something the clerk has or has not done…..  I’m sure when I walked away from that situation, the person I was dealing with thought, “What a witch!”  It’s not something that happens all the time, in fact, I think it’s been on rare occasions that I have allowed myself to ‘react’ that way to a situation in public.  And yet…. for people who don’t know me….. what do you expect them to think of me?  That is how we are with others…..

It’s not an easy thing to do….. not being judgmental…  but it’s something I do want to work on it.  After all….. isn’t that what we are really in this life for?  To learn to become more like Christ?  It’s a life long task….. but who better than to try and emulate our lives after?  No one that I can think of.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Here is President Uchtdorf’s talk in full.

If you’d rather READ it…. click here.

 

Here is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing one of my very favorite Primary (Children’s) songs, “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus”.  What a beautiful message!

Here are the lyrics:

I’m trying to be like Jesus;
I’m following in his ways.
I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”

I’m trying to love my neighbor;
I’m learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”

Am I Enough?

The past few weeks I have been reminded by several articles and shows about the importance of what we think and feel about ourselves.  One of the most profound thoughts that was brought to me through these media methods was that we are literal children of God, a part of Him, and that by putting ourselves down, we are not showing respect to Him.

I caught PBS a few weeks ago as they were doing their fundraising.  They were showing clips from Wayne Dyer’s new video based on his book “Wishes Fullfilled”.  He made some pretty powerful statements in that show.  Between that show and a blog post from Denise Webster’s blog “All About Becoming” titled, “I AM”… it brought together many of the things I’d been reading and hearing.  Here is part of Denise’s post that brings those thoughts together so beautifully:

First, Dallin H. Oaks was speaking on what it means as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to testify of His NAME.   He talked about Moses at the burning bush.  Moses asked the Lord, “who should I tell them sent me?”  A Jewish Rabbi gave Elder Oaks some insight into this particular scripture (the Name of Christ – I AM.)  He told Elder Oaks that anciently, the name  of a person was the essence or nature of a person, not the “label” like it is today.  Moses was saying, “what are you made up of?”  What is your nature?  It was simply “The nature of God” that he was trying to find out about.  The word essence comes from the French (or Greek ?)  derivative of “essen” which means essential.  The Lord answered him by saying, “I AM.”  This Rabbi explained that anciently when they changed their “essence,” they changed their name—Abram/Abraham, Sariah/Sarah, Jacob/Israel.  If you are a witness of the name of Christ, in that sense, you are a witness of the NATURE of Christ.  When you see me, you will know me because you will become like I am.  His atonement sets us toward Him and exaltation.

I thought this interesting because I always thought Moses was wondering if it really was the Lord, but with this definition, I learned that is was quite more than that.  I also learned that when one changes their nature or disposition (the essence of who they are), then their name was changed, too.  Had me thinking about new names for those whose lives become more pure and why they changed them.  Saul became Paul after a mighty change.  Is that so good things would be associated with his new name?  When a woman marries, she takes on her husband’s last name (at least in America) and that con-notates  a change.  Interesting to think about what you have done with your current name.

As I came home that night, my good husband said he had recorded a show on PBS for me.  (Video below)  It was Wayne Dyer.  And at some point in the show, he started talking about Moses being at the burning bush and asking the Lord, “who shall I say sent me?”  The Lord answered, “My name is I AM that I AM.”

“Now every single time that you use the words, ‘I AM,’ you are citing the name of God right from the holiest books.   And every time you say the words, ‘I am weak.  I am poor.  I am  unlucky.  I am unhappy.  I am sick.  I am unable to attract into my life what you want; you are desecrating the name of God.  God did not say, ‘I will be.  My name is ‘I hope things will work out well.’  My name is ‘maybe things will show up as I wanted, but possibly not. ‘  He said, ‘I AM that I AM.’  You must be conscious of how you use these words, ‘I am.’   I am strong.  I am well.   I am content.  Even if your senses tell you something different.  I AM……You’ll see that putting the words ‘I Am’ in front of something into your mind and imagination is a very powerful way to attract into your life recognizing your own divinity.   I am God  is not blaspheme.  It is your identity.”

This brought me to tears.  Here I had first heard an Apostle of the Lord testifying of the name of Jesus Christ– The Great I AM.  Then I heard this and understood for the first time, that my own thoughts and words of self-deprecation were not just tearing down me, but were tearing down My Lord, My Savior, My Brother that I love so dearly.  How could I have done this?  How could I continually tear myself down and Him, too?  I was heart broken.  I would not hurt My Lord, but I would hurt myself.  I had never made the connection that if I was hurt, He was, too.  I vowed to watch my thoughts and language from here on out.  I found some renewed hope.

That was worded so well by Denise I had to share it with you!  What profound ideas!  What ‘names’ do we call ourselves because we think we aren’t good enough?  It’s so important to maintain an attitude of love for ourselves.  Have you ever wondered about the scripture where the Lord admonishes us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’?  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel I have no problem loving other people, but when it comes to loving myself……. well…. that can be a different story!  I often allow myself to put the negative things behind those “I am” statements…. don’t you?

I found it interesting that during this time of getting all this knowledge coming at me there was an article in the Meridian Magazine by Vicki Pahnke Taylor titled “A Few Things I Like About Me”.  She started off the article talking about how hard it was for her to come up with these few things she liked about herself.  It’s interesting how we have such a hard time taking note of our good qualities.  I wrote post about that sort of thing a while back.  We aren’t very good about ‘tooting our own horn’.  You can read that post here.  I think the big problem lies in the fact that we are of the mindset that it’s not proper to ‘brag’ about ourselves and that we appear to be conceited when we do.  I think there’s a fine line between conceit and confidence and far too many of us are not even close to the confidence part!

If we can remember and even start to believe that we are literal children of God and that by so being we are a part of Him….. perhaps we can begin to realize our divine potential.  In the Wayne Dyer program, he talks about how we are not our body….. our body is ever changing…. but we are what’s inside of us.  Our spirits.  Echart Tolle and many others also speak of this same thing.  It’s learning to connect with that inner person that we really are that makes us become more aware of our Godly potential.

I am so grateful for these many people that remind me of who I really am and of how profound and powerful words are!  I AM enough!  Part of making this all work in your life is becoming aware!   Well, now…. that’s another topic for another post for another day!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

As a side note….. here’s an article from Meditations for Women that goes so well with all of the above!

Where Do You Get Your Validation

“Completion comes from within.”

Most women have the bad habit of looking to relationships outside themselves for validation. We believe that the love others give us is more important than the love we give to ourselves.

This puts a tremendous burden on those around us. If you really think about it, we cannot honestly expect someone to fulfill this demand. When we do, we are doomed to disappointment.

Instead, recognize that eternal happiness and a true sense of value can only come from within. The bottom line is that there is nothing anybody can say or do to assure you of your value if you aren’t sure of it yourself.

Start taking time to appreciate yourself, what you have achieved and how far you can go. Rely on the power that shines from within. It will never let you down!

Here is Wayne Dyers video…… long but full of profound information.

And of course….. one of my very favorites!  Jessica’s Affirmations!

Facing the Facts

This is not going to be easy.  Not at all.

As a family, we don’t really think she is ready for this move…. but try as hard as we could to talk the Director of the Assisted Living center into letting her stay if we promised more family visits, etc, to see if that would perk up her attitude…. she pretty much said “No… I’m sorry.  I just can’t have her treating my Aids that way.”  So…. now we have reached a cross roads that brings us to a very difficult decision.

My Mom has been living in an Assisted Living Center since she had her stoke 5 years ago.  She made the adjustment fine in the beginning.  Though she was very reluctant to do it…. she knew that none of us were in a position to give her the 24/7 care she needed…. particularly that first little while after her stroke.  But she adjusted well.  Like my sister said last night as we were talking…. it’s because she had someone else to take care of.  Meaning…. that she felt a big concern for many of the friends she made in her first Assisted Living center.  She wanted to make sure they got down to dinner and such and would go ‘pick them up’ on her way.  She was like a little Mother Hen to many of them.  Most of those people have passed on now.

Then we had to move her about 3 years ago.  She was needing more care and the facility she was in was forcing her out of her beautiful 2 room apartment.  She would need to move to another section of the building that was ‘licensed’ to give her the level of care she was needing.  Unfortunately, those rooms were very small!  She would have had to get rid of most of her furniture (which was one of the reasons she adapted to Assisted living in the first place, because her own stuff was around her).

Consequently, we checked out other facilities and found one that had a lovely room … not quite as big as the one she was in…. but much bigger than the cracker box we would have had to move her in at the first place.  Plus, they gave the level of care she needed.  We felt very blessed to find another place we were able to make a ‘home’ for her.

Now…. she is starting to show signs of getting dementia and seems to be treating the girls that work at her facility unkindly, so they say.  If only it was as easy as telling her to quit being mean….  then perhaps we could keep her there.  She is very demanding and wants things done her way.  She insists the girls stay with her longer than they should be, which cuts into time they need to be spending with other residents.  It’s a hard situation to be facing.

I hate to see my Mom like this.  When we were faced with the first decision to put her into Assisted Living….. she not only adapted well but had a great attitude about it.  She knew she could either be miserable or choose to make the best of it.  She chose to make the best of it and was a pretty pleasant resident to deal with.  This ornery attitude she seems to be getting, is very hard for everyone to handle.  If only she could ‘choose’ to be happy again…  Then again…. the recent fall she experienced would be enough to make anyone ornery!

I can see it’s time for me to do a little studying up on how to deal with dementia.  It’s so hard to see someone turn into someone they are not!  Her older sister had major problems with dementia before she passed.  We are just praying that she doesn’t get that bad.  Hopefully it’s just being a little forgetful.

My sister has been a Saint through all of this.  She’s been through more than any of us siblings have any idea about since she’s been in charge of Mom’s care!

Though I’m very saddened at the thought of having to move Mom again….. I’m so grateful for the time she’s had at both facilities!  They have been so good to her.  It’s just hard to face the facts that this is happening.  I’m a believer that everything is put in our path for a reason….. I just need to learn the lesson I’m suppose to from this…… but that doesn’t make it any easier!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Little Old People Make Me Happy!

Oh boy….. what fun it is to talk to the little old men at my Mom’s Assisted Living place!  I was cracking up.

I took my Mom down to eat her lunch in the dining room this afternoon.  I got her all settled and was just watching some of the other residents as they came in.  It was interesting to see their faces and how they were feeling.  Some of them seemed cheerful…. others not so much.  The one cute lady at the table next to my Mom was helping to scoot the chairs in of the ladies that sit with her.  It was great.  I asked her if she needed my help to push her own chair in and she said… “No!  Oh…. not with my butt!”  I couldn’t help but giggle!  Just as a side note…. I’m pretty sure this was the same  little lady I ran into in the laundry last week that was confused about her own laundry and was trying to do my Mom’s laundry.  She’s as healthy as a horse…. but not so cognizant any more!  Cute and funny though!

Then I was standing there by my Mom helping her decide what to order for lunch and one of the little old men at the table next to hers pointed at me and motioned for me to come over there.  He said…. “I just got through shaving my face and I want you to feel what a good job I did!”  Again…. another giggle!  What a cutie.  He sits at a table with all men so a conversation began about shaving…. or not.  Another little man told me how he went to get his hair cut the other day (mind you… there isn’t much there to cut!) and the girl charged him $12 just to buzz his head!  Then he proceeded to tell me how he used to work for ZCMI in the clothing department and he had to be dressed up all the time.  He used to go get his hair cut in ZCMI for a lot less than that!  The first man told him that he was going to open up a barbershop of his own since he could shave himself so well, he would do it for the others.  “No way am I letting you shave me!” the other man said.  Of course, another man at the table with a full beard was just shaking his head.  It was pretty entertaining to watch.  Made my day.

It amazes me how much these people can be affected by their attitudes.  My Mom’s attitude is usually fairly cheerful…. but since she took a fall the other day…. she’s had on her ‘ornery pants’!  Being in pain can’t be fun, that’s for sure.  Perhaps that’s why I took such a delight in watching some of the other patrons being cheerful.

It’s a shame that more people can’t see the joy and fun that these people can be and give.  I don’t know how much each of these residents see their families… but I hope it is often.  They all have so much to teach us if we will only just watch and learn and listen.

I’m grateful that I have been available the last couple of days to come help my Mom.  Ornery pants and all….  I’m grateful to be able to visit with some of the other residents too.  I’m glad Mom is in such a wonderful place that gives her good care and is full of other cheerful residents.

I’ve always loved ‘old people’.  When my husband and I got married we lived in an area we considered to be the “Newlyweds or the Nearly Deads”.  There wasn’t much between our age group and the ‘older’ people in the neighborhood, so I became endeared to those older folks.  I truly loved them and was a little sad when we moved away.  (Ironically…. those ‘old’ folks were about the age of my husband and I right now!!  It’s all Perception!!)  Now those same people that I loved so much are dying off and in Assisted Living centers like my Mom.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… I’ve always loved older people and consider it a blessing to learn at their feet.  Maybe part of that comes from not having Grandparents as I grew up.  My Grandparents all passed by the time I was 9 years old, so I didn’t have anyone to turn to for wisdom and counsel as a young adult.  Regardless of what makes me feel that way…..  I know there is much to be learned from Little Old People!  So ‘turn up your Bell Tones’ and listen in!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

My 1 Year Challenge Met!

Wow…. what an emotional day!  Today is the official last day of my daily posting challenge for my Gratitude blog.  Though I technically started my blog on Dec 27, 2010, I wanted to take it to the end of the year because it just felt right to do that.

This started as a quest for me to attract more good things into my life by being grateful for what I had.  Having become a student of the Law of Attraction, I’ve been trying to implement it’s philosophies into my life.  One of the big things that is taught is to be grateful for what you have.  Hence my pursuit to begin this blog.  It started as a fleeting thought that it might be a good idea and was confirmed to me that I should do it as I sat in church a few days after the thought had come.   The brother that was speaking in church that day used the term “I am grateful!  How are you?” as part of his talk.  He said that was how he decided to answer people when they asked him how he was doing.  The phrase jumped out at me so profoundly.  I turned to my husband and said… “I think I just found the name for my gratitude blog!”  Hence…. the blog was born with a fabulous title… if I say so myself!

There have been so many things I have learned over this year.  Many of them are things I have learned about myself.   It’s interesting to me to go back to the first few weeks and months of my blog and see how my writing style has changed.  My posts in the beginning we very what you might call ‘matter of fact’.  They were usually very short and didn’t contain much commentary.  It seems that as I grew as a blogger…. I had a tendency to add more commentary or opinions and thoughts to the things I was blogging about.  You might even consider it rambling!

One deadline met! Now to the next challenge!

Honestly…. I have gone back and read a few of my posts and been amazed at the things I said!  I read it and think, “Where did that come from?”  Oh…. not all of my posts are profound and wonderful….  some of them are still matter of fact…. but there are some that have been very good.  I have much to learn about how to use WordPress to be as effective as I know it can be…. but I hope to take some time to go back through all my posts and get them all categorized and tagged.  That’s one thing that I didn’t know how to do for the first several months.  In the process of doing that, I hope I can figure out a way to mark my personal favorites so that they are easier to find.  When you have over 370 posts, it’s harder for your visitors to sift through!

I have many people to thank for helping to make my blog more public and noticed.  Oh… I have a long way to go to be considered one of the top blogs on my topic…. but I’ve been amazed at the traffic that has picked up on it.  Once a couple of friends ‘promoted’ my blog to a group of their friends back in July, my daily visitor number increased a bunch.  Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to tell others about my blog.

I guess the most important thing that has come out of me doing this is how I have grown as a person.  Taking the time to be aware of the things around me…. thinking back on each day and what I had experienced that day has had a profound effect on me.  I truly am so very blessed.  Though my long term goals would take me out of the particular circumstances that I am currently in….. I am perfectly happy where I am!  I have everything I need and am well taken care of and loved.  I couldn’t ask for a better husband or family.  I have intentions for this next year to focus even more on how good my current circumstance are even more than I have!

So…. you may be wondering.  Am I done?  Is this the last post for I Am Grateful!  How are You?  The answer is a emphatic NO!!  I have many plans for expanding some new pages on my blog.  One of which will be titled W.I.L.T..  As I mentioned, I have a lot to learn about how I can best use this WordPress blog of mine to my best advantage and I haven’t discovered yet how a new ‘page’ on my blog can be a daily post like the main page is…..  I’ll figure out how to do it, but those of you that follow my blog may not get daily emails to let you know I’ve posted something in the W.I.L.T. area…. you’ll just have to come back and check it out!

Oh….so you are wondering what does W.I.L.T. stand for?  I guess I should tell you!  It stands for What I Learned Today!  It hit me the other day that if we are observant…. we can learn something everyday!  Now these posts will not be long drawn out philosophies from Wanda…. at least that’s not my intent…..  These post will be short little blurbs about something I learned that day.  They could be funny or profound!  It will be what it is!  That is the section of my blog that I want to commit to posting in everyday.  They can be quick and short.

As far as my regular posts go….. while I’m not abandoning posting…. I won’t be posting daily as I have been for the last year.  My commitment to you as my followers is that I will post at a minimum of once a week!  There may be weeks when I post more… but I promise to post at least once a week.  I’m planning on putting a reminder in my cell phone every Thursday to ask me if I have blogged yet this week….

One other area that I hope to expand on is a 30 day challenge area.  There are a few things I would like to accomplish this year that I’m hoping that by focusing on it for 30 days will make a difference for me.  These will change often…. we’ll obviously the challenge  will be for 30 days!  I’m not promising 12 – 30 day challenges this year…. but I hope to get several in.  Again…. this blog will grow with me and what is going on in my life.

I’m so grateful to all of you for visiting and supporting me on this blog.  It’s the fact that I have visitors actually reading my posts that keeps me motivated to keep going!  I’m amazed that I’ve had people from far across the globe pay me a visit and sometimes make comments….  how grateful I am to all of you!

I believe that so much in our lives will change for the better if we just take time to be grateful for what we have!  There is so much value in how are attitudes can look at things!  I made a comment on Facebook the other day that I think explains this pretty well and I’d like to share it with you.  It’s a quote from Louise Hay, who is the author of You Can Heal Your Life and many many other books…. here’s what she said:

Whenever there is a problem, repeat over and over: “All is Well. Everything is working our for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come.
I am safe!” 
~ Louise Hay

We really can find gratitude in all things!  Sometimes it may not be easy!  Somedays I had to search hard to find something to blog about….. but I did it.  I forged through.  I’m so grateful I did!  I have grown so much as a person this year I wouldn’t trade it for anything!  One of the best things I learned about myself is that I can make a commitment that is hard to do and keep it!  No one forced me to do it…. no one even suggested I do it.  It was my idea and one that I felt was important to keep.  Now I know there are many other things that I can do if I want it bad enough!  I can’t tell you how many times this year my husband mentioned he was proud of me!  I think I’ve even amazed him!

Thanks again to all of you who faithfully read my blog and thanks to those of you who are just discovering it!  I hope you’ll find some words for thought here!

I wish you the best in this upcoming year!  May you have a blessed and prosperous year!   Just keep in mind that prosperity is all in how you look at it!  Even the meekest of circumstances can be a life of wealth if you look for it!

I hope you’ll continue to join me here and even follow me on Facebook….  (See the “Like” button over on the right hand side?  Go ahead!  Join me on Facebook!)   One of my new goals is to get set up with Twitter.  I may use that to post my W.I.L.T. posts so stay tuned!

Thank you again and have a wonderful New Year!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Christmas Cheer

The other day I made a post about Cheerful Shoppers.  A while back I made one regarding Kind Clerks.  Well…. I guess that’s not always the case…. but it can be!

Yesterday my husband and I ran a quick errand at Walmart.   Now…. you are suppose to be greeted ‘cheerfully’ when arriving at Walmart.  After all…. there are Walmart Greeters at the door.  I actually believe we were greeted cheerfully… but it was after that that seemed to go downhill.

I stopped in the fabric area at Walmart to check on something and asked the employee there a question.  She answered me, but not very cheerfully.  Now…. I’ll give this girl the benefit of the doubt.  She did not look well.  In fact, within a few seconds she asked a co-worker if she could cover for her because she needed to take a break.  OK…..  her I will forgive.  Illness can make anyone grumpy.

We then proceeded to the photo area to print off some photographs.  Since we hadn’t used the self service photo area at Walmart before…. we went into the area in the back of the store where the workers do the photos for you.  I couldn’t see the self serve machine, so I asked the clerk where it was.  She answered me……. not cheerfully at all.

After we printed our photos, we took them back to the photo counter to pay for them.  It was a different clerk that waited on us this time.  She, uncheerfully, took our photos, put them in a package and rang up our total.  We paid and said thank you to which she didn’t reply…. didn’t smile…… just didn’t…. anything.  Just like the other gal working there.  They just didn’t.  They were just ‘existing’…. waiting for the day to be over.  Sadly, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

Now, when we reached the check out stand at the front of the store, the clerk there was a little better.  Still not as cheerful as I would have hoped…. but at least not dreary like the girls in the photo area.

Now…. I know how it is hard to be working retail at Christmas time.  I did that plenty when I was youth.  I know it can get tiring and you can deal with some really awful people.  But, I think I have learned over the years, that our own attitudes make a huge difference.  Not only for the people we are in contact with… but for ourselves.

Doesn’t it make sense that the day would seem much more pleasant and pass by much more quickly if we could keep a cheerful attitude?  Especially at Christmas time!   I don’t know…. call me crazy…. but that seems to make sense to me!

I have to say….. the fact that our family made a decision to draw names and I only need to buy one gift and give to rest to charity has made my Christmas infinitely easier!  To which I am extremely grateful!  It’s making it much easier to concentrate on the things I should be concentrating on!

I’m hoping that I don’t need to go to the store at all the next couple of days….. If I do, it should just be the grocery store.  I will do my best to be as cheerful as I can with every person I come in contact with.  If I run into someone that appears grumpy…. I will take on the challenge to try and get them to smile!   After all….. a little Christmas cheer can be contagious!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Delivery Jobs

This morning, we mailed out our last packages that need to arrive in time for Christmas.  Last week I mailed a couple of really small packages and we just did them through USPS.  I was pleased to get a notice from my friend that her package had arrived yesterday.  I thought that was pretty timely delivery considering the time of the year.

The packages we mailed today we larger.  In fact, one of them was an old AVON box.  When I sold AVON I loved to save the boxes my orders came in.  They are great for storage boxes.  I happened to have an empty one laying around and the gifts I needed to ship fit in it perfectly.  However….. for some reason, I was a little nervous about whether or not USPS would get them delivered on time.  Smaller packages didn’t’ worry me…. but larger ones did.  You know….. it just seems like most of what they deliver is …. well…. mail!  So I sent my husband to UPS today to mail them instead.

Well…. it cost us more than what USPS would have cost…. but we got a guarantee that they would be delivered by this Thursday. That was reassuring news to me since I was worried about them getting there on time.

Can I just give a shout out to those who work in this business as delivery people?  It’s an unsung and unthanked job for sure.  My bother in law worked for UPS for many years.  I’m not sure everyone knows or understands the kind of pressure they are under this time of year.  

Our family used to have the tradition of everyone getting together on Christmas Eve for a big dinner and a program followed by a short visit  from Santa Claus.  Well….. my bother in law would always be late getting there because he was out delivering last minute packages for UPS.  Invariably, he wouldn’t make it to the party till at least 7pm…. sometimes later.

In my mind…. that’s a big sacrifice.  Christmas Eve is a pretty sacred time as far as I’m concerned.  It’s a time to be with family and to enjoy the real reason for the season.  The fact that these guys/gals from USPS, UPS, FedEx and other deliveries are out there till late just to make sure we all receive our gifts is something that deserves a big THANK YOU from all of us!

So… I say thank you to whoever will be delivering my packages to Arizona in the next few days.  And I say thank you to whoever will be delivering packages from Arizona to our house in the next few days…. and I say a BIG Thank you to those who will be doing that very late on Christmas Eve night!  It’s a tough job this time of year and they deserve some thanks.

Next time you see a delivery man…. just give him a big thank you!  He’s the only one you can thank at the moment even though there were many other people involved in getting that package to you too.  So be nice and thank the delivery guy!  In fact…. thank everyone you see!  This world couldn’t function the way it does without the whole delivery process!  Thanks to you all…. and Merry Christmas!

I am Grateful!  How are You?