Archive for the ‘Giving’ Category

I haven’t posted in months…a long time has passed and life has been full of interesting moments and lovely healing. I don’t know where to begin…

I’ve discovered that healing can take many forms, even though at first we don’t see it coming. You know, one of those moments that doesn’t look like it could be healing what-so-ever and we didn’t see coming. I recently discovered a side of my mother I never knew existed, a side of her that I had dreamed of meeting. I met the soft, cute, sweet side of my mom…perhaps the person she was as a young girl. I had always wondered what she might have been like.

My mom had a stroke a few months ago and I spent time helping her and my dad through the first couple months of her recovery. I spent a lot of time in the rehab center/nursing home, giving my father someone to lean on and help out, and my mom an active advocate. Every time my father and I had to make a choice regarding her care, I would ask, “if I were the one in that bed, what would my mom do?” The answer was always there.

I got to meet some amazing people in the nursing home, both patients and staff. I watched the nurses and CNA’s work crazy, long hours doing their best to help each and every patient with dignity and very little thanks from anyone.  I saw nurses who showed great love and caring, who felt the patients were theirs alone to care for. And I fell in love with the patients…a hug and a smile go a long way here. I’ll be visiting this winter when I go home for Christmas, for sure.

Part of me wants to send my Mom a thank you note thanking her for a delightful summer of growth. If it hadn’t been for my mom’s stroke, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend most of the summer with she and my dad. I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to reconnect with friends who are dear to my heart and spend precious time with my sisters as we gave each other much needed emotional support. And I definitely wouldn’t have had an opportunity to laugh until I cried with my mom, read her funny stories and help her relearn the things we all take for granted.

I never knew a stroke could offer such healing and blessings. Thanks Mom!

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Okay, I know that sounds weird but hear me out…Happy to Eat

I got a great compliment the other day from Antonette, the founder of So Others May Eat. She told me the Grandmas like having me shoot pictures of them. They have finally accepted me.

You see, some cultures believe that if a photo is taken of them, their soul has been stolen. Millions of people around the world believe this, and some of the Grandmas and grandpas believe it. To you and I, that sounds like crazy talk. But to some of the older Grandmas it’s very real. There have been times when people have taken pictures and some of them have died shortly thereafter.

I’ve been taking pictures of them for the last 4 years and have fallen in love. We joke around, laugh and just generally have fun. If they notice I’m pointing my camera and don’t want their pictured taken, they either cover their face or turn around. I respect their wishes and move away.

Some of my friends like having their picture taken and will even ask me to shoot them. I do like that. I never know who will ask and sometimes I’m surprised. They are so beautiful in their innocence and joy, their love and reverence.

I’ve been lucky…no one died. Which means, I’m not a soul stealer.

To learn more about this worthwhile program or to add your support for the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s of San Miguel de Allende go to http://www.soothersmayeatmexico.org/

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Last week, a friend of mine gave me a wooden heart. Someone had asked her to embellish it for an auction that’s taking place for our local Hospice. Doing things like this aren’t really up her alley so, she asked me if I would do it instead. I was thrilled as I’ve never been asked to do anything for an auction and I thought it would be great.

From the very beginning, I was clear that it had to have a goddess in it. Something about that felt so right. This is one of the few times in my life where I let my creativity flow, not stopping to second guess. Well…maybe not too much at least.

I found an old heart-shaped candy box someone had given me years ago and painted both the inside of the box and my heart gold. Then I found a goddess I really liked, created a pattern and made her out of polymer clay. I was really enjoying the process.

As I was putting the final touches on my heart last night, I had a sudden realization…I have 3 very dear women friends with cancer, 2 female cousins with cancer and another cousin who passed away last year from the same disease. I was floored by that number! It brought home to me how precious life is and that everyday is a gift.

As a result, I wanted to share this with you and ask that if you have the opportunity, do something to give back. And if you find it within your heart, do something for Hospice. They do such good work and I’m grateful they exist to assist families in times of crisis.

For information about Hospice, go to http://www.hospicefoundation.org/

 

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New Year’s resolutions are always fraught with peril. We say we want to change something in our life… perhaps exercise more, eat less, or spend less… and we slowly lose interest. A few weeks later we’re back to the same old patterns. And with that comes defeat… we don’t accomplish what we set out to do. No thanks, I’m not interested!

So this year, I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to come up with something that I could actually stick to, something that would help me be more aware of what I needed and wanted for myself. I’ve decided that my resolution is going to be to practice self-care in all it’s forms. To be aware of creating self-care for myself. Okay, I know it sounds hokey but, if I can’t figure out what I need in the care and maintenance of me, then act on it, who will?

So, I’m contemplating what self-care actually means. And I’m noticing, it gives me lots of room to maneuver, lots of areas where I can make things better for myself. Let’s just say, it’s making me more aware of what I haven’t been doing to support myself and how I can do it better. This ultimately shows me I care about who I am and what I want to be in the world.

So what does self-care look like? Well, how about taking a soak in a hot tub of water with a good book, maybe feeding myself something truly delicious that nurtures my body, taking a walk in the park, or even picking up my camera or paint brush and letting creativity flow? Those all, while being very different, fit the bill perfectly. See how easy that is? It isn’t so bad.

I don’t have to worry too much about not fulfilling my resolution. I just have to be conscious that I’m actually doing it and not forgetting myself in the care and maintenance of others. To be aware of all the ways I see what I need and fulfill that for myself. Self-care… that’s the ticket!

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I gotta say, for those who have never tried it… it feels good to give. It feels good to give something to someone else who has less.

What feels so good about it? The smiles, the heartfelt gratitude and the love that comes through the eyes of the receiver. I’ve heard it said many times that if you’re feeling depressed and your thoughts are running away with themselves in your head, get out and help somebody who’s troubles are bigger than your own. Let their problems take precedence over yours.

Okay, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this… we’ve been collecting sweaters for more than a month now from people around town. Everybody has them… sweaters you don’t wear anymore that are just taking up space in your closet. Some friends of mine and I gave those used sweaters to the elderly and poor grandma’s and grandpa’s in our town. They were so beautiful and sweet, grateful and full of joy. I loved the smiles on their faces… absolutely precious!

My friends and I do this to help an organization called So Others May Eat (SOME). They are dedicated to helping the elderly and poor beggar grandma and grandpa’s in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Antonette who runs SOME, feeds them a hot meal once a week, cares for them when they are sick and helps bury them when they pass. She has volunteers come and work as waitresses and waiters… some of us give her cases of refried beans to give them (a grandma can eat for 2 or 3 days if she has a can of refrieds and 5 pesos for tortillas). Here’s the link if you want to know more about SOME (http://www.soothersmayeatmexico.org/).

So here’s my suggestion and challenge to you dear reader. Look through your closet, drawers and cabinets… find those things that are only taking up space that someone else could use and gift it to them. If you don’t know anyone, take the items to your local Salvation Army or charity. Someone out there can use that stuff and it will help you feel lighter, happier. Then, volunteer for a day or two and see for yourself how wonderful it feels to give. You will be surprised to find the love and joy that can put a spring in your step.

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