Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrate Responsibly (my yearly reminder)

... do yourself a favor. Tonight is a night when so many will be out celebrating the end of  2013 and the beginning of 2014. Please, make a plan. If you drink, don't drive! If you drive, don't drink! Not complicated. But it does require some thinking ahead. It requires you to think about using an alternate form of transportation such as a taxi, or using a designated driver, or being a designated driver. It might mean that you provide a place for your guests to stay, or that you provide a driver. There are many ways to be responsible.

Now I have nothing against enjoying yourself. I have nothing against those who choose to enjoy alcohol. Personally, I will be celebrating 33 years of sobriety in a few weeks, but that is because I am an alcoholic. I do not begrudge you one sip. But I do want you to think ahead and plan accordingly.

If you drink, please do not drive. I don't care how much you drink, one drink or several. Drinking and driving do not mix.

Lives are changed, destroyed in the blink of an eye. When my husband was killed by a drunk driver not only was my family destroyed but the family of the young woman who killed him was changed forever.

I know, most people think this can't happen to me. The young woman who killed my husband did not think she was impaired when she got on the freeway going the wrong direction and hit him head on at 60 miles per hour.

So, celebrate.Enjoy the party! Have a great time, but have a plan in place. Please.

If you drink do not drive!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Wish For Us All

My wish for us all...

The quote for today is...
Garner up pleasant thoughts in your mind, for pleasant thoughts make pleasant lives.~~John Wilkins~~

Think good things! I can't tell you how many times I have to remind myself of this. Thinking good things will keep me rooted in the now, the present, living in the moment in a way that I can remember that this moment will never come again. Recognizing that our Higher Power is here, right now moving through our everyday activities, no matter how trivial they might seem. The floors need swept, there is a chance to speak to your Higher Power as you move the broom back and forth. I love using the rhythms of life to take a moment to slip into a quick meditation. The dishes need washed, right there is a moment to be thankful for the bounty that provides food in excess. Yes, in excess. One of my favorite spiritual practices is baking bread. I have prayers that fit perfectly the rhythm of kneading dough.
Yes garner up pleasant thoughts. Garner means to gather into storage, to earn, to accumulate, to acquire by effort. So grab onto any pleasant thought that passes, store it away in your memory where you can bring it out when you need something to remind that life is good. Something to remind you of all that you are, and all that you can be. There is in every one of us the ability to give beyond reason. To care beyond hope. To love without limit. To reach, stretch, and dream, in spite of your fears. There is in each of us the ability to give beyond reason, and we do so every day when we take time to encourage and uplift each other. The ability to care beyond hope, as we come together to pray and care about the concerns of each, we expect the best outcome beyond the hope of the seen into the hope of the unseen. We love without limit. All of my friends  from around the world who found each other , loving each other through the day no matter what obstacles and challenges come our way. Reach, stretching, dreaming, knowing that there is a place where we can share those dreams and be encouraged to make them come true.Yes, acquire those pleasant thoughts, store them up, use them liberally to remember, that life indeed is good, and so are you!!

Peace and Blessings,

Friday, December 20, 2013

Find a reason to smile..

It is very difficult to be old, and broke, and struggling at this time of year. It's cold, and dark, and it just seems like troubles are amplified in that darkness. Probably the reason that nearly every faith tradition has some sort of celebration around this time that centers on light.

So, as you go about your days, try to remember to breathe,and relax, because the darkness never lasts forever, and even on a cold dark day something will be worth smiling about.

For example, today was supposed to be high 28 and ZERO percent chance of precipitation. My son and I were going to the grocery store. Our budget is really tight, so some of the things he is used to getting would not be on our list today. It's hard to tell any child "No, we can't afford that" and especially hard to tell an autistic man/child his routine is going to have to give way to budgetary concerns.Add in the weather forecast being wrong, and it starting to snow/sleet/ice as we ran our errands, and I could have been stuck in a bad mood the rest of the week.

But then this happened...

 We came out of the grocery store and the 2 lovely bell ringers were trying to sing "O Holy Night' but they maybe knew the first 3 words, I prompted the next line and they said "Do you know all the words? "I do," I answered, "Start from the beginning and I'll help." So we did,and I sang in my contra-alto, standing in the snow with the lovely sopranos--a crowd gathered and there was applause when we finished. Could be the best day I've had in a while.

Reason to smile, I bet you can find one too if you will be open to allowing yourself to breath and be in the moment.

Peace and Blessings,


Monday, December 16, 2013

Recipe for less stress

We get so busy this time of year. Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, we get stressed out around the holidays. If you are having financial problems-like we do at our house, you worry, and stress out about how you will keep the electricity on, and still manage to provide a semblance of cheer. It's really hard to think you won't be able to buy a gift for your chid. Really hard. 
 If you are lucky enough to  have money, you still worry.
So much to do,so little time...
We all need to remember to breathe at this time of year--
The quote for the day is...
A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day. ~~Albert Schweitzer ~~

All we can do is all we can do. Maybe we are doing too much to begin with. Maybe we need to take a minute and look at the things that we consider urgent, are they? Are they necessary for our happiness, and wholeness, or are they just trappings that we think the world expects. The world does not cease to exist if we bake 2 kinds of cookies instead of 6. the world does not cease to turn on its axis if we take an hour out of the day and spend it paying attention to our health and our spiritual needs. If we cease to run around frenetically, the sun still comes up in the morning. If we choose to not spend money we don't have this year, no one will hate us because their present is smaller (well, if they do they don't count anyway!)Besides, the small ones play with the boxes longer than the presents! The older ones will understand if we are being honest, authentic in our lives.So yes, let's remember to slow down, to breathe. When we get all caught up in the frenzy we miss so much-moments of grace, opportunities for gratitude, evidence of our connections to others, signs of the presence of Spirit.

So if you are feeling bombarded by the things going on around you, scattered, stressed, that is the reminder you need to chill, breathe, take some time to pay attention. When we are bombarded we miss the important moments,we feel drained, we start operating on automatic pilot, and quite frankly that automatic pilot may not have been reprogrammed for a while and is taking us back to old habits, old ways of thinking that we are moving away from. One thing at a time, relax, unwind, spend time with just you, make room for inner tranquility to operate. You'll sleep well, and get up the next day to do all that you can do.

Peace and Blessings,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Food Is Not the Enemy

So, after I posted about my weight loss this year, I got several messages from people asking me how I am doing this. I make no secret of the fact that I use Weight Watchers. I use the program as a tool to help me be mindful of my eating.

I participate on the Weight Watchers message boards,and some groups on facebook to help me stay mindful. The thing I notice, on all of those social media is that there is just so much bad information and bad advice being handed out. Way too many people trying to sell some drink or nostrum 'guaranteed' to make it so you can eat whatever you want and lose weight. Way too many dangerous toxic 'all-natural' miracle pills and promises.

Honest, if these things were the answer, we'd all be normal weight. Unfortunately, they are at the very least ineffective, and often very dangerous.Americans spend $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products.Those of us with weight issues get lied to A LOT! Our health is all too often compromised because we want so very much to not be overweight. Eat this, drink this, don't eat that, take this miracle pill. I saw someone tell someone this morning to never eat more than 500 calories a day. Seriously.

I personally have been overweight all of my life.I was given my first 'diet pills' back in the 1950's when I was six years old and the diet pills were speed-we'll talk about my issues with drug abuse in my teens and twenties later, I think I know where they started though. According to the charts, even at the goal my doctor set for me, I will still be overweight--but since I weigh less now than I did when I was 9 years old, I'm OK with that. I have a great doctor, she uses some common sense instead of a generic chart. She also uses things like waist to hip ratio and my favorite waist to height ratio! That one is my favorite because I have an hour glass figure with a small waist for someone my weight. In fact, my doctor says the only woman with a better waist to height ratio than me is Barbie and we all know she is plastic.

So for those who asked, here are some things I have learned over the years...

>FOOD is not the enemy. Food has many places in our lives. Food is first and foremost fuel and nutrition. But it is also, sacred, communal, social, and my favorite-just downright sensual.

>It is never about NOT eating, it is about learning to eat well. For me that means eat real food. As much as possible stay away from artificial sweeteners, low fat, fat free,sugar free, processed,diet food. Just eat real food, prepared well. I tend to follow some guidelines, I like to eat seasonal when it comes to fruits and vegetables, try to buy local and organic. I like Babara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for reminding myself why I choose these options.

>Eat mindfully. I have tried to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is for me to pay attention to what I am eating. To stop simply grabbing something. I don't think I am the only one who has gone to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of something without thinking, only to realize later that I ate the whole bag of Nutter Butters, or quart of Ben and Jerry's, or half a loaf cinnamon toast. So, I have learned to pay attention to what I am eating. To give my full attention to that moment. Why am I eating? Am I eating because I am hungry, or am I just bored, lonely, stressed, depressed. Am I using food for what it is intended for, or an I using food for something it was never meant to be. This is where tracking or journaling comes in. If I am faithful to my tracking/journaling, then I am being mindful.

>I no longer diet. I gave that up several years ago. I had over the years starved myself, deprived myself, and dieted to close to 500 pounds. I had to step back and see that none of that worked. I had to stop using food for the wrong reasons, and embrace foods place in my life.Food is not my friend, my lover, my therapist, or my anti-depressant. Food is food. I will never again do anything to lose weight that i am not prepared to do every day for the rest of my life. If someone or some program tells you to starve yourself, deprive yourself, only eat certain foods, or take some magic pill or nostrum, stop listening to them.

There are no magic pills. There is only learning to come into a healthy relationship with food.

Here we are in the middle of a holiday season. Relax, enjoy in moderation, make choices. THAT is what skinny people do. If you overindulge, forgive yourself, eat lighter the next day and move forward. Skinny people all over the country will overindulge during the holidays.The difference between them and those of us who have weight issues? They don't see enjoying food as a character flaw. They don't beat themselves up because they had Grandma's famous pie, or my very famous peanut butter fudge. They know that there are times that food is to be shared, times that food is meant to delight the senses.

 Eat well. Eat real food that tastes good. Be mindful of every bite as it fuels your body, connects you with loved ones, brings good memories, and delights the senses. Food is many things, but food is NOT the Enemy.

Peace and Blessings,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Good ol' days

So I just finished reading a new book by one of my favorite authors. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I highly recommend it. It is set in small town Minnesota in the summer of 1961. Now, I was very much alive and aware of that time in history, and enjoyed visiting it in this book. The book is a coming of age story, the main character is a 13 year old boy, and in that summer he lives thurhg a lot in this small town, deaths-accidental, murder, suicide. He learns that adults often have lives filled with secrets, lies, betrayal-and that most things can be lived through.

Reading this book reminded me of something I often tell people. There just weren't any Good Ol' Days. A lot of folks think we have 'gone to hell in a handbasket' and talk about taking our society back to a time when supposedly families and values were different. I tend to shake my head and tell them that time didn't exist.

I wouldn't go back for anything. Personally I think people have this skewed vision of what life used to be-too many Norman Rockwell magazine covers. Norman Rockwell was an artist not an historian.

Honestly, people weren't all that much different 50, 60, 100 years ago. There were good people, there were not so good people. It wasn't a Norman Rockwell magazine cover or an episode of Leave it To Beaver. Just like now, so many things depend on your economic status. Poor women worked outside the home-often in the homes of women with more resources. Poor people spent there limited resources trying to keep a roof over their head and feed their families.

So, let go of the imaginary memories. You are probably equating a movie you saw with what actually occured in people's everday lives.

Make today important, live the best you can today, and stop longing for a different time that never existed. Throw yourself into life, find something that causes you to dream and go for it.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013


The quote for today...

"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will and the other comes from a strong won't."~~Henry Ward Beecher~~

I don't believe in willpower. I don't believe in being 'motivated' to stay OP. I think that willpower and motivation are fickle emotions that leave you just when you need them, it seems. However being of strong will doesn't necessarily involve having great willpower. In dealing with our weight related issues I think that we have to learn that we need to think differently about food. When I think of willpower, I think of someone trying to be strong, and denying themselves something. To me that falls under the definition of obstinacy rather than perseverance. Staying OP is never about not eating, it is about learning to eat well, and we do that by persevering. By learning new ways to think of food, by learning to accept that food has many places in our lives. Food is of course fuel for our bodies. But food also has sacred, communal, medicinal, even liturgical uses in our lives. I think that if we approach our weight loss issues from a place of obstinacy, we are using negative energy. When we switch to positive energy and persevere we are learning a new way of dealing with food, which is the key to success.

When I was attending meetings I could always tell which new ones would be around in a couple of months and which would drop out in a few weeks. The ones who looked at working the program as denying themselves certain foods for a certain length of time would drop out at the first sign of weakness. Those who wanted to learn to incorporate new ways of thinking abut food, they were the ones you will see succeed. Now they might take a while to get to goal, but they have the perseverance to learn the new lessons and hang in there when things get rough.

So, the choice is up to you. It's always about choosing and choices. Do you have the perseverance to learn new ways of relating to food, or are you going to try to conquer you weight with sheer willpower and dieting. Sheer willpower may get the weight off, but will it keep the weight off when the amount of negative energy fails to sustain you for the journey.It's your choice, it always is.

Peace and Blessings, (and make good choices)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Begin Right Here

The quote for today is...

The journey begins right here. In the middle of the road. Right beneath your feet. This is the place. There is no other place. There is no other time.~~David Whyte~~

We are who we are, where we are, and our journey can only begin right there. We can not put off living life until we attain whatever circumstances we think is ideal for the beginning of the journey. Every step we take is a step away from where we used to be, so as much as we may think that we can put off living life to the fullest until we are _______(fill in the blank, thin enough, rich enough,old enough, etc.)The only thing we manage to put off is the wonderful opportunities that await us as we head off on our journey. I have a friend who has lost 100 pounds, and still has a couple of hundred to lose. She said the other day that one of her goals is to be able to wear a dress. She thinks that she has to be a 'certain' size to wear a dress, so for the last 20 plus years she has made excuses to not go to events where she would have felt out of place in her jeans and oversized shirts. When I hear her say things like that, I weep. She has spent so much time missing out on wonderful events because she thinks she is not worthy of dressing a certain way.The journey begins right where we are, there is no other place we can be, so we can not let our fears, founded or unfounded keep us waiting until we get over there before we allow ourselves to live life to the fullest. Because the truth is we can not get over there unless we step out from where we are. So, whatever it is that you have been putting off until you lose weight, do it now. We are not the numbers on the scale, we are not the size on a tag in our clothing. We are wonderfully deserving beautiful women who deserve to experience the very best in life.In order to experience the very best in life we have to live.Now. In this place, in this time.

Peace and Blessings,

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Look at What's Going Right

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.~~Marianne Williamson~~

I think we have to be aware of how very blessed we are. When the going gets rough it is so easy to think that things have always been hard and they won't ever not be. But, the truth is no matter how hard life is, life is good, and we need to remember to find the joy. When I used to speak to groups I can always tell which ones are thinking "But you don't know how hard my life is" I tell them "Ah, but I do.If we list your problems on one side of the blackboard and mine on the other, I guarantee I win, my list will be longer." But, my list of blessings is longer still, and I am trying make it a point to not let the troubles keep me from remembering that.

So, what is going right in my life? Well, I have been losing weight this year. Now that may not sound like a really big deal to some, but for me it is part of a lifelong struggle with weight. I was thin one day, in my life. It was a day in June way too many decades ago. i weighed 5 pounds even the day I was born, and at 23 inches long that made me a very skinny baby. Trouble was by my 3 week checkup-according to my baby book- I weighed 15 pounds.By the time I was 11 I weighed 300 pounds. So, this struggle to maintain a reasonable weight started early for me.

Now, over the years I have lost weight many times, many, many times. I then of course gained it all back and more. So, much to my surprise when I finally decided to try Weight Watchers some years ago, I managed to stop gaining all the weigh back after I lost it.

Nw that is not to say my journey on Weight Watchers has been a straight line. It has indeed had it's ups and downs. I have managed however to maintain a large weight loss.

I have taken a couple of major detours--my husband was killed by a drunk driver and I went on the Double Stuff Oreo diet for months, regained about half the weight I had lost.  Got back on track and lost it again, then I broke my leg, my son got sick, I lost my job and my home, and I spent last fall struggling with depression and regained some weight.

So, in January I got back on track.

I am struggling mightily these days with money problems, and it would be so easy to comfort myself with food. BUT, in times when everything is going wrong and out of control I have finally learned that the only thing I can control is what, when, and how much I CHOOSE to eat. And that surprisingly has been very liberating for me in my struggles with my weight.

So, this morning when I weighed in I lost another pound, and I am trying hard to find something to be happy about so this is it. I am ONE pound away from my lowest weight ever in the last 30 years.

So, I am indulging myself by looking at pictures to see if I can see a difference. Wanna see?

When I got married i weighed about 450 pounds....

My highest weight was about 490 a year or so later. Then I had some health issues-not weight related-and needed to lose some weight so I joined Weight Watchers and over the next few years lost 200+ pounds.

This is what I looked like when my husband was killed, I weighed about 300 pounds...

Then I went on that Double Stuff Oreo diet and gained 60-70 pounds, back to about 368 pounds...

That lasted for a while, and I got myself back on track again and lost those pounds and a few more, I got down to about 260 pounds...

I maintained that for a while, and then went through the health issues with my son, breaking my leg,losing my job, losing my house and last falls severe depression. Of course I gained some weight back, not all of it, but I got back up to 348 pounds (the good thing is I have managed to not gain back to where I was during any of these detours...

So in January I got back on track, and this is where I am now...252 pounds, one pound away from my lowest ever weight of 251...

So, I have lots of blessings I can think on...

I have good friends (some of whom you can see in the pictures), I have an amazing kid, and I am in control of what, when, and how much I choose to eat. I hope, no I PLAN to lose about 25-30 more pounds and work on maintaining that through thick and thin (in a manner of speaking) and whatever troubles come our way.

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.~~Marianne Williamson

 And today I choose to recognize the things that are going right!!

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. I do have generous wonderful friends,and I am getting closer and closer to having the money to fix the car issues, if you feel led to share the paypal button is on the right.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Finish Each Day

I have a bad attitude today. That is really unlike me, life is hard, but even though I struggle with depression, that is different than just being in a bad mood. So,needing an attitude adjustment I went looking through the files of things I have written, ands this one from 6 years ago spoke to me today.

So, here it is, letting go of yesterday and concentrarting on today--in other words remembering to live in the moment!!

Today's quote....
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as
soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~~

Well, sure seems like that was written just for those of us with weight issues learning to stick with a program. Finish each day and be done with it. Do not let the choices you made yesterday keep you from making the best choices you can today. Having weight issues is not a character flaw. We are not bad people, second class citizens because we sometimes slip up and make wrong choices when it comes to eating. So, if yesterday you slipped into some old habits, it has nothing to do with today. What we are pushing towards is progress, not perfection. All too many of us are perfectionists, all or nothing types, who if we slip off the program for a bit, throw our hands in the air and compound the mistake. We conclude that if we can't be perfect we just might as well not try. One of the most important lessons we need to learn is that when it comes to losing weight, we don't HAVE to be perfect. In fact, if we manage to stay on program three fourths of the time we still end up having lost weight in the long run. So, no matter what yesterday brought, start today with an eager anticipation, not based on "old nonsense" but based on today being a new day!!! Begin it well!!

Peace and Blessings,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From Tragedy comes a friendship

So, a few weeks ago I got a message from a friend. She was thinking of us and wondered if I would like to go out for lunch on Saturday. Well, of course I would-I don't get out much these days and I am always ready to have lunch with a friend! Her invitation was eagerly accepted, and her thinking of us was gratefully acknowledged. She was thinking of us because it was the anniversary of my husbands death.

So the day after the anniversary I had a lovely lunch with my friend and her family. This week, she messaged me again, and I spent a beautiful morning with my friend and her 13 month old daughter. We went to the park, we stopped for lunch, and we enjoyed each others company. It is good to have friends.

I will most likely never have grandchildren, so I don't get to spend much time in the company of babies or toddlers. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love little ones, so I am doubly grateful to my friend that she gives me the opportunity to spend time with her baby.

All of this is a good thing, but the really amazing thing is how she and I became friends.

My husband was killed by a drunk driver. I've said before,in our case the words 'drunk driver' mean a 22 year old girl. A young woman with her entire life before her. Recently graduated from college, with honors. From all reports, she was a goal oriented, studious college student.She is very close to her family, she goes to church on Sunday. After her May graduation she went to work, as an accountant and moved into her own apartment.

My friend worked with the young woman who killed my husband. She and some of her co-workers were very angry with the young woman, and they decided they wanted to know more about the man she killed. So, somehow, they tracked me down to the thread I post daily on the Weight Watchers message boards. Don't ask me how, apparently young people are way more computer savvy than me. Anyway, my friend was the one who posted a message to me on that thread.

We entered into an email correspondence, and then we met for coffee, and then we had lunch, and we kept in touch and became friends. She is a  lovely young woman with a good husband and an adorable daughter. Truth is, if you saw us together you would probably assume we are related, she has the same redhead coloring and freckles that I do. Her daughter probably looks like I could be her grandmother to people who see us together. This makes me happy.

I firmly believe we can't have too many friends in our lives, and I also believe that sometimes people are  brought to our lives for a reason. Now, I don't know why my friend needs me, but I know that she gives me the opportunity to love a new friend, and to spend time with and adore that precious daughter of hers.

It is amazing isn't it, a tragic situation steals the love of my life from me, plunges me into financial ruin that is unending,  and yet brings me a new friend with a child I can love. When I think about that I can't be untouched. In the midst of tragedy, a gift. For that I am grateful beyond words.I am reminded that precious jewels-and what is more precious than friendship-come from great adversity.

I am an indestructible fortress,
I am an unassailable rock,
I am a precious jewel.
--Ancient Irish Prayer

 I am not saying to you that I don't have days where I am nothing but a quivering mass of jello, but what I do have is an innate belief that I am indestructible. In fact, I am fond of saying, you can't kill me it's been tried.OK, so I know that is a slight exaggeration but most humor is. What I am saying is that I am strong enough to withstand what the world has to throw at me. If we believe we have the strength to take what the world is handing out, then we journey forth into the world in a much different manner. Our very presence changes. Our posture is taller, our countenance brighter. We shine like the precious jewel we are. Now where do jewels come from, with the exception of pearls, most things that we consider precious jewels come from the earth, from dirt and rock, created by great pressure.Not the most glamorous of beginnings So it would seem to me that the more the world throws at us, the more we manage to crawl our way through as more than a survivor, as a victor, the more precious jewel we become. Even pearls start out in an unglamorous place. Now as much as I enjoy an appetizer of oysters on the half shell, it isn't a pleasant thing to look at.But look at how that oyster reacted to an irritant that it couldn't get rid of, it surrounded that irritating little grain of sand, piece of debris, with beauty.And a precious jewel was created from irritation and probably a bit of pain.

So, out of the ashes a precious jewel of friendship has been created.Is there something hard in your life that you can look at and find the jewels? It is my experience they are there. And for that I am truly thankful.

Peace and Blessings,

p.s.-if you are led to share to help us get the car fixed the paypal button is always there to the right. I hate asking, but asking for help is a lesson I am trying to learn.


Saturday, September 21, 2013


Here's a quote for today:

“Dum spiro, spero.”
–Latin Proverb, meaning, “While I breathe, I hope.”

Hope is a wonderful gift, it means to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence. It is one of those words that pretty much means the same thing as a noun or as a verb. Now we all remember what a verb is, it is a word requiring action. So, when we hope, we must also take action. In relation to our hopes for weight loss, if we are to desire with the expectation of obtainment, then we have to take the necessary steps to achieve that. We all know what those steps are, journaling, portion control(weighing and measuring if we have to), exercise, drink our water, eat our fruits and veggies, and our dairy. Now when me take those actions, we definitely have hope that we will be healthier. We CHOOSE to move towards that desired expectation of obtainment by CHOOSING to do what we know we have to do. So, while we breathe, we hope, and as we hope we make the best choices we can make. Then the desired expectation is in our reach. Pretty cool!!

Peace and Blessings,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Talk to Your Kids

I have friends with college age kids, and one of them is worried their kid is drinking and driving. So, I am sharing this again just as a reminder that our kids need to hear our stories.

My husband was killed by a drunk driver.

Quick, what picture did your mind flash when you read the words 'drunk driver'?

In our case the words 'drunk driver' mean a 22 year old girl. A lovely young woman with her entire life before her. Recently graduated from college, with honors. From all reports, she was a goal oriented, studious college student.She is very close to her family, she goes to church on Sunday. After her May graduation she went to work, as an accountant and moved into her own apartment.

After she got off work Friday night, she reportedly went out with some friends. Young people, enjoying themselves on a Friday night. Laughing, talking, drinking. Then she got into her car to drive home. Her blood alcohol level was around .118, well over the legal limit. In her intoxicated state she drove up a freeway off ramp, past the signs that said WRONG WAY and drove northbound in the southbound lanes for a couple of miles at freeway speeds until she hit my husband's car head on, killing him instantly I am told.

This is on my mind because my friends and I have children in this age group. Children that are stretching their wings. I remember reading somewhere about how a butterfly struggles to exit the cocoon. If we were to help the butterfly, the butterfly would not be able to fly and would die. It seems that the struggle to break free creates the strength necessary to fly. Those of us with growing children know the truth in this. We watch as our children struggle with the silken constraints, and we want so much to help them, but the most we can do is hope that we have taught them right from wrong, and that life is always about choice, and every choice has consequences. We watch our children stretch their wings, and hope they know that there is nothing they can do that will make us stop loving them. We hope they know that when we see them struggle, we will do our best to make sure they learn how to fly.

My husband and I were always very open with our son about our youthful struggles with drugs and alcohol. We felt that since genetics may play a role in addiction, we had a responsibility to tell him our stories. He knows about our 12 step programs, and why we attend. He knows that we celebrate 2 birthdays a year. In fact, he has been quite proud of our milestones over the years. He will tell you that we choose not to use alcohol at our house. He will tell you that we choose not to use illegal drugs at our house. He will tell you these things with pride in his voice, because he knows that in life there is always a choice, and every choice has consequences.

Being a parent is a hard job. We watch our children stretch their wings with such pride and fear. What if we see them struggling, when do we help, how do we help. Have we talked to them about the embarrassing stuff? Kids will groan when the subject turns to sex, drugs, alcohol. They will roll their eyes, but we must tell them anyway.

Do your children know your stories? Do they know that you were their age once, and that you made choices and lived with the consequences of those choices. Sometimes the consequences are benign. You are 22 years old and you choose to celebrate the end of the work week by going out with friends and laughing and talking and having a good time. Since you are choosing to have a drink, you have chosen whose turn it is to be the designated driver.

Sometimes the consequences are tragic, and you have too much too drink and you choose to drive drunk, and you drive up the off ramp past the WRONG WAY signs and you kill a man, and nothing is ever the same again.

Friday, August 23, 2013


How do you spell L-O-V-E?
Well, sometimes my son spells it C-O-O-K-I-E.

My son is a cookie baker. He learned how to bake cookies in middle school, and has traditionally baked cookies every holiday season since. He is a very good cookie baker.

 He is not as good at expressing feelings and emotions verbally. I may never hear the words "I love you" come from him, but that doesn't mean he doesn't express love or caring. He just expresses it in more tangible ways.

My husbands family had to make the difficult decision to take their mother off of life support, it was a long night at the hospital. We came home and there was a plate of fresh baked cookies sitting next to my husband's chair.  It was my son's way of telling his dad that he was sorry he was sad and that he cared. My husband never forgot those cookies.

This morning as I enjoyed my coffee my son brought me a cookie. He can't tell me he loves me with words, but he tells me. This morning a cinnamon roll cookie said "I know you are sad and I am sorry. I know it is a hard day for us, and we miss him. Oh, and I love you."

Don't forget to tell someone you love them today.

Peace and Blessings,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Of Course You Can

Today's quote...
We were all given the same amount of spirit. None more, none less. The difference between individuals is allowing the Spirit to have more of you.~~Bear Heart~~

Whenever you read a weight loss success story on the internet, or in a magazine, the person who has reached their goal will usually say something like "If I can do it, anyone can do it." I know that when some of us read that they sometimes think that doesn't include them, but the truth is that not one of those people sharing their success story has more spirit, or drive, or motivation, or discipline than the rest of us. So, if I can do it you can do it, is actually true.

BUT, first we have to give ourselves over to learning the truth about who we are, and discovering that we are a person of worth, and learning that we CAN do anything we set our minds to do. Yes, sometimes our challenges might be more than someone else, sometimes the obstacles in our way can be daunting. But inside each of us is that place where the truth has been replaced by untruths over the years, and we need to capture each one of those untruths and replace it with the truth.
Takes work on our part sometimes, but every time we think a negative thought that we aren't worthy of the best in life we need to stop, ask ourselves if that is true, tell ourselves that it isn't true and replace it with a true thought.

Every time we hear in our head that we aren't smart enough, or good enough, or pretty enough, we need to say stop, that is not true, the truth is I am smart enough, I am good enough, I am beautiful. I am a person of great worth, and I deserve to treat myself well. It is a choice we can make, and when we believe that we deserve to treat ourselves well, we will make the best choices we can to become healthier in our mind, body, and spirit. When we become used to making the choices that make us the best we can be, then it will become easier to work towards our healthy bodies, because we are worth it!! Treat yourself well today, no one deserves it more.

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. I am still a bit short on the money to fix my car, so if your spirit leads you there is a paypal button to the right. Forgive me for needing to mention it. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Take the weekend off!

The quote for today is...

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.~~Lao Tzu~~

We get so busy, so many things to be accomplished. When we have a day off, we run through the day, working much harder than if we had actually gone to our jobs. Running errands, doing chores, paying bills. Often quality time with our families is just one more item on the to do list, characterized by that frantic frenetic need to get everything done. So, sometime we need to ask ourselves, what would truly happen if I just chose to ignore the to do list and relax and spend time refreshing and renewing my spirit? Time laughing and playing with my family? I suggest you try it. Throw the list out the window. Take a day where you accomplish nothing other than being. Where your major goal is to laugh and play. Where the most strenuous thing you do is talk to your higher power.Take a walk with you family, make the long legged husband slow down so you can truly notice the world around you.Take a nice tall glass of sweet tea or lemonade out to the deck and watch the wildlife in your space. Because even the most urban of dwellings has abundant critters of nature living there. I guarantee sitting and watching a spider work on her web is one of the most amazing spiritual times. Contemplating the awesome majesty of creation takes time and effort. The rewards of effort spent thusly are vastly better for you than the rewards of efforts towards running around accomplishing a to do list.

So today, a day which is supposed to be a day of rest for many, do just that. Rest, relax, do something totally useless and unnecessary. Laugh, play, refresh your spirit. Give yourself permission to do nothing, and if you find that you can't quite give yourself permission, tell your mind that I gave you permission!!So there!!

Peace and Blessings,


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So Small So Big

My world has gotten smaller and smaller lately. I haven't been able to save enough money (and I have some dear friends who have helped) to get my car tagged and repaired, so we don't get out much. It seems as if our life is on hold, because getting out and about has always been a way for us to work on my sons social skills.

On the other hand, my world is very BIG. It is amazing to this child of the 1950's that I have 'friends' and acquaintances all over the world. I write a blog post and people in Russia, Finland, Indonesia, and China read it. Kind of mind boggling when I think of it.

How awesome is it that I have friends that I can keep in touch with every day, just at the touch of a keyboard and yet, I haven't seen a friend in person in a while. What an odd world we have created.

Not saying it is a bad thing, just thinking out loud. It is actually a very good thing that I am able to interact with people online. If it weren't for cyber connections I would be a hermit living in a cave, and that is not a good thing. Connection is the thing that keeps me going. I participate on a Weight Watchers message board, I spend time on facebook in groups and with friends. These things keep me supported, encouraged and feeling loved.

"When just being together is more important than what you do...you are with a friend."~~Anonymous~~

This is what my cyber friends are for me.We all know those times when we just spend time not doing anything with our friends. Those are times of mutual rest, relaxation, and contentment, and they are so nice. We all need to have those times when we are able to be quiet together. We are just here to share our days. Some days we deal with big important issues, some days we are just silly, some days, we just share the details of our day, and we know that no matter what we share, someone is glad to see that we posted. Just glad to share the same space with us. Doesn't matter that we are from all over the world, different faiths, different life experiences. Just matters that we came here and spent the time to post. Someone cares that I exist, it says to us when we get a word of encouragement, love, and support.

So, today,which is my wedding anniversary and I am nostalgic, I am loved and supported. That is a very BIG thing in a very Small world.

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. I hate asking, but if you feel led to help get that car fixed there is a paypal button over there on the right.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tools of thought

Today's quote...
"We have the tool of thought within us to create a thousand joys or
a thousand ills."~~James Allen~~

When we choose how we react to situations and things and people around us we are using that tool. We can use our thoughts to create positive ways of reacting to the circumstances we are surrounded with, or we can use that tool of thought to create negative response.

I was reading something on a message board, a very nice article on steps you can take to lower stress. Then along came the poster who said "None of this works when you have a life as stressful as mine" and then she laid out a tale of woe. Posters responded with really good thoughtful ways she could let go of some of the things that were stressing her out, and of course she couldn't hear any of it. It was apparent to everyone but her that her woes weren't as big and bad as she thought they were, and that she was actually creating some of them with her negative thoughts. She was using the tool of thought to create a thousand ills.

Sad really, someone gets really good loving advice and chooses to stay stuck in their misery. Living in the moment allows us to capture those thoughts, choose how to react, and use that tool of thought to create a thousand joys. Imagine what a great day this will be if you experience a thousand joys, or a hundred joys, or ten joys, or one joy created by using the tool available to you. Using your tool of thought today, choose to live in joy.

I know I am working on it.

Peace and Blessings,


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Today's quote...
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.~~John Lubbock~~

What a lovely quote, reminding us that rest is something to be sought after. Something to be cherished, and used as a part of our spiritual practices. As children we knew the value of resting in the summer grass, watching the clouds moving across the sky, allowing our minds to flow with changing shapes. Our imaginations taking us to places of adventure. Sailing away on the cloud that looked like a pirate ship, riding the horse shape cloud across the sky, mounting up with the birds as we watched them soar. And as our imaginations soared our dreams took shape. As we lay in the grass on a summers day we heard the sounds around us, savoring them, because the sounds of summer, the crickets chirping, the birds singing, the children screaming in laughter as they play their summer games, the sound of the ice cream truck playing its simple tune bringing refreshment to hot and thirsty children, the sounds of summer are just for that season, and we savor the fleeting joy that will sustain us through the winter.
The memories of a summer afternoon spent picnicking can get us through many a dreary day. The sense memory of the salt and butter dripping from your chin as you relish an ear of fresh corn roasted to perfection, the sweet cold delight of watermelon juice dripping down you elbows as you sit on the sand. All of these things are important as we go through our day to day existence. Rest creates sense memories that we can call on in an hour of stress and weariness. Remember, take a break today, rest a few minutes, refreshing your body, mind and spirit. Take a few minutes to walk barefoot, if not literally, then in your memories from youth, enjoy the sounds and scents that surround you, and save them up for the day you will need them later. Relax, Enjoy, and don't feel one twinge of what needs to be done in that time, because you are doing an important necessary job for your spirit.

Peace and Blessings,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Little Things

So, being stressed out to the max, I have noticed that every little thing that occurs seems to add to my stress levels. Every little thing. Things I would shrug off on a normal day now seem to add to my desperation.

I noticed this this morning. I don't walk well, haven't for a long time now. On the days I can walk I occasionally stumble and fall. Not often, but in normal circumstances it wouldn't bother me all that much. It happens. In fact it is such a normal occurrence that my son doesn't even look up anymore. So, why when I stumbled this morning did it just add to my feelings that nothing is ever going to be OK again? And more importantly why does something like that get to live in my head for more than the few moments it took to catch myself and move on?

So, while I was contemplating how hopeless my life feels that even a little thing can cause me to despair it dawned on me that little things should be important in the good times too ,and like many of us I tend to not see them then.

So, here's too the little things that I should be noticing instead...

My son watched The Muppet Movie (the original 1979) a couple of nights ago and not only did he laugh all the way through it, he has been singing the songs ever since. Now that is a beautiful thing.

I have good friends, friends who are generous in their encouragement and support. This is a big thing!I need to acknowledge big things too.

I saw my first fireflies this evening. Here we are on the eve of the summer solstice and sitting at my patio door I looked out and the greenspace behind the building was alive with sparkling lights. Considering we had snow in May, the first fireflies of the summer is something to rejoice!

Fireflies are one of the joys of childhood in the Midwest. For me they represent summers spent with relatives that lived in a different way than we did growing up in Los Angeles. A totally different rhythm of living. Summer vacations at my favorite auntie's house. A time when bad things didn't happen and life wasn't hard.

So, to night I am letting go of the stress for a few minutes and reveling in the beauty of fireflies and the treasure of childhood memories.

Here's to the little things!

Peace and Blessings,


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to Survive a Bad Day

So, I had a really bad day yesterday. Whined about it, fretted about it, stressed out about it to t he point that I had trouble sleeping and woke up with a headache. None of these things helped.

I am getting closer to having enough money to take care of the situation with the back taxes and expired car tags. Doing without, living frugally and the kindness of some friends has put about half the money in the bank. So I headed off to pay the rent yesterday feeling like I might get this resolved soon.

Got to the complex office and misjudged how close I was to that concrete thing they put at the front of parking spaces, caught my bumper and pulled it off on one side. So now, the car that I count on for any shred of liberty and independence is not only illegal to drive, the bumper is falling off.

Shouted on facebook asking local friends if they knew anyone who could help fix it, and no one. Worried all night, fix the car and there goes the money for the tag issue, Finally, came up with a temporary solution this morning. Duct tape the bumper and live with it! Ideal solution? Not really, but it is a solution. We don't drive many miles in a week, so it should hold for a bit.

Just waiting for the universe to send the money to take care of both issues!! Trying to distract myself I spent some time reading some things I have written in the past and wouldn't you know it, I have written about worrying a problem!!!

The quote for today is...

Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems.~~Bill Watterson~~

Sometimes when we get a problem in our life we worry that sucker to death. We look at it, and dissect it, and second guess it. Sometimes we make elaborate plans to deal with it. Sometimes we decide to ignore it, and we have to construct wieldy ways of pretending it just isn't there. Like the elephant in the living room, we have to find ways to live around it without acknowledging it. We spend tons and tons of energy without accomplishing anything. Sometimes we just try to hard. Perhaps we need to let our mind just relax, and play for a while. This is not denying a problem, we are aware that there is a problem, we are just allowing our self a time of relaxation, so that we can come back to the problem with renewed energy. Sometimes when we allow ourselves to relax a bit, and we all know this is true, the answer comes to us, seemingly out of the blue. Perhaps, out of the blue, is just us having let go long enough that our higher power could get the message through. Sometimes when we are in crisis worry mode, we make so many plans in our own power, that the answers we have been praying for can't get through. Our Higher Power is calling us, but the line is busy, our inbox is full.

So, no matter what is going on is your life, always, always remember that taking time to relax and take care of yourself is not a selfish act. It is a necessary act for your good and the good of those you love. If I didn't spend my hours meditating and praying, my life would be much more complicated. And we all know my life is way too complicated as it is! So here is to letting go for a few minutes today. Let your mind play, let your spirit relax so that you are able to make the best choices you can from a place of renewed energy. Choose to let go for awhile, it's a good choice.

Peace and Blessings,

p.s. the donate button is to the right, I hate saying that, but you never ever know.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Cried This Morning

So, I had a good cry this morning. Now I am not a person who cries easily, in fact I rarely cry.Really, the thing that caused me to weep would not normally affect that that way. In fact, it was an inspirational quote posted on one of the facebook pages I follow, and I should have smiled, nodded and agreed with the sentiment, because it is a sentiment I have always believed in.

At any given moment you have the power to say "this is not how the story is going to end."~author unknown~

Now, this should not have made me cry, because it is right in line with everything I believe. Everything I try to share with others. But weep I did. Because this morning, in the midst of troubles and problems, it felt as if my story is ending badly and there is just no way for me to change it, and I hate that I feel that way.

I don't give in to despair often. Even though I struggle with depression and a host of other health issues, I tend to be the cockeyed optimist most of the time. Sharing and teaching those around me that we have choices, and that our truth is that we author our own story. And I believe that, I really do. So, it was totally out of character for me to cry in frustration this morning. But I did.

Surprisingly, it helped. No, it didn't change anything, I still am desperately struggling. I still have no grocery money, no money to take care of the bad situation with the car, no money to pay the electric bill...but crying actually helped. It doesn't make sense that crying helped, but I feel calmer now. Sometimes, you have to let go of the need for things to make sense and just accept the that you feel better after you had a good cry.I think the unexpected tears helped me to change my focus.
We sometimes get so focused on what we don't have, what we haven't accomplished, that we don't realize how blessed we really are, if we never get more than we have right now. Yes, I would love to have some money in the bank, and all of the bills paid instead of living paycheck to paycheck and juggling and afraid all of the time.But this is where I am and I choose to believe it is not the end of the story.Like everyone I have my moments,when I am in the midst of a life situation that involves suffering, it seems as if the suffering is all there is, we often can't see how we can possibly overcome what is causing us pain.I know, when in the midst of troubles, we are often at a loss as to how this could possibly turn out good, but we have the choice to believe that it will.
But, no matter what the problem is, there is a solution. It often takes a while to find it, and often it takes stepping outside of what we think we know about ourselves to see the way out, but once we find that way out we are onto the overcoming part, and learning that we can overcome whatever life throws at us is the most wonderful feeling. What freedom there is in knowing that yes, we will experience suffering, but where there is suffering there is always a way to overcome.
So I cried this morning and the tears did what they are designed to do. After crying, our breathing, and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. In addition to physical detoxification, emotional tears heal the heart.

So, even though I don't see how to change the end of the story, even though it seems impossible today, I choose to believe that this is not how the story is going to end. I choose to remember that I have to power to believe that. My faith wavered, and I cried. Turns out crying is good for you. Now that I am calmer I can remember that at any given moment I have to power to choose how the story ends. I can remember that even when I am feeling most out of control,something as simple as releasing the fears by crying can help me change the end of the story.

Peace and Blessings
p.s. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there, just in case. I told a friend who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs. So, just as embarrassed, I am pointing out the button. Blessings.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No Limits

The quote for the day is...
You have powers you never dreamed of. You can do things you never thought you could do. There are no limitations in what you can do except the limitations in your own mind as to what you cannot do. Don't think you cannot. Think you can.~~Darwin P. Kingsley~~

Actually, when I read this I thought, well, I don't have to add anything, that pretty much sums it up. All too often, the limitations in our mind were placed there by other people. Those untruths that I often talk about us replacing. When we learn that other peoples opinions are not our truth, and erase those old tapes and replace those thoughts with the truth of who we are, there is no limit to what we can do. My doctor and I often talk about the limitations that people allow to be placed on themselves when they receive a diagnosis of a chronic illness. When we learn that there is no cure for what is ailing us, we often start behaving as if the disease defines what we can and can not do.

 We've met these people. Someone who feels that illness or the medication she was taking made it impossible to lose weight. My answer is always that it might make it more challenging, but nothing makes it impossible. If we start to believe that we have limitations, we stop attempting new things, and when we stop attempting new things we stop growing intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. And when we stop growing, then we start believing that there are things we can't do. So, for today, let your mind wander. Think of something you have always wanted to do but had let yourself believe that you couldn't do. Have you always wanted to learn another language? Find the local community college and sign up for a class. Have you always wanted to learn to rollerblade? Take yourself to the nearest skating rink and take a class. Knitting? Can do. Sing in the choir? Yes, you can. Take control of your thinking and start believing in yourself? No problem. There is nothing you can't do once you choose to. Ahh, you say, there she goes, that choice thing. Yes, of course, it is all in making the best choices you can. Do you want to stay OP today? CHOOSE to.Make the best choice available, choose to believe that 'can't never did anything', so never think you can not, because you know you can.

Peace and Blessings,

Friday, May 17, 2013

Keep Your Headlights clean

The quote for the day...

It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.~~E.L. Doctorow~~

This quote made me think of traveling with my son. Because of his
particular personality, when we travel he has to know exactly where we are going, and how we are getting there, and any change of itinerary has to be handled very carefully, since order and consistency is how he deals with living in a world the doesn't understand. One of the life lessons that we work on with him is to be more open to flexibility. He is learning that sometimes the best laid plans don't always run true to the way you planned them, and detours are inevitable. Fortunately this lesson is reinforced daily as we live in a place where it seems they finish working on a stretch of highway only to go back and tear it up again.

Sometimes we are like my son. Any little detour in our plans can sideline us. Did we overindulge over a holiday, or at a tailgate party? Well, that does it, we are failures, and we throw in the towel. It can take months to get back on track. When the truth is that overindulging happens. Skinny people eat too much on certain occasions. it is not a character flaw, doesn't make us some kind of failure. Makes us human, and just like skinny people who compensate for overindulging by eating lighter for a day or two, we can get right back on track with the very next meal, the very next bite. Those of us with weight issues tend to be perfectionist, we tend to operate in an all or nothing mode. SO we are totally OP or we are just not going to try. Well, the truth is, if we are OP 75 to 80 percent of the time, we will in the long run, weigh less than we started out. I know this for a fact. In my weight loss journey I have had a gain fully 25 percent of the weeks I have weighed in. But those gains haven't kept me from moving towards my goals. So when it comes to weight loss, I think we need to realize, even though we can only see as far as the headlights are shining, we will make the whole trip that way, it will be fine, those headlights will lead us even though we don't know what is lurking past their range, we'll see soon enough. Taking it One day, one meal, one bite at a time!!

Peace and Blessings,