Get a grip

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Get a grip

The other day I read an article about how to create a paradise and daily balance within our homes (for free!). The steps listed in the piece revolve around applying a vacation mindset to our everyday lives (instead of waiting until we’re actually on holiday). This includes removing clutter from our surroundings, retaining only those things that bring us happiness, establishing rituals in our home that invoke peace and tuning in to whatever makes us excited to jump out of bed each day. I feel like I already live in a paradise of sorts, but there are so many areas I want to transform both internally and externally that I don’t know where to begin. Instead, I do nothing and then wonder why I’m in a funk… again. I know all about the take the first step, make one change today mentality. But I feel like I’m wearing waders and I need to get a grip before I sink.

What one thing makes your home a daily paradise?

[Image courtesy of Feelart at]

The meaning of Christmas

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Christmas 2012


[Image credit: Beachinaball]

Christmas, for some, is just another day marking time on the calendar.  For others, the main focus is steeped in a religious celebration with its myriad traditions.  The word Christmas may denote hope, second chances, thankfulness, time with loved ones.  Or it may mean shopping malls, long lines, Santa Claus and all the other holiday trappings.  For me, Christmastime signifies several things.  It takes me to the end of another year of dreams dreamed — some fulfilled, more still hanging in the balance.  It reminds me of a halcyon time in my childhood that my mother was so much a part of yet absent the past four Christmases.  And there’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled with family and friends who reside further than I can drive in a day.  But I also look forward with expectation to what the New Year will bring.  And I’m grateful every day for the good news and the continued promise of Someday.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Thank a vet today


[Image credit: Tim Beach]

Today is a National Holiday to remember those who’ve served our country in maintaining its freedom.  My dad enlisted in the Navy when he was still a teenager and traveled overseas on an aircraft carrier in World War II.  Many of the stories he regaled me with while I was growing up are still etched in my memory.  When I played taps on my trumpet as a girl, his eyes would glaze over and I’d lose him momentarily; the sound of low-flying planes overhead turned his thoughts inward.  To this day, each time I perform the side stroke in my pool, I imagine my dad doing this same thing almost 70 years ago, a cigarette balanced between his lips.  And I’m fascinated by ships.  I toured the Queen Mary in Long Beach (where my dad and mom once lived) and absorbed the history of the Titanic Exhibit in Vegas.  I think it’s because I’m my father’s daughter.

Is there a vet in your life who you remember today?

Happy Independence Day

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[Image credit: nixxphotography]

Fireworks commonly commemorate the holiday, along with barbecues, parades, street dances and picnics.  As a nation, we’re celebrating freedom.  Individually, we can also observe our personal independence.  Perhaps you’ve recently flown the proverbial nest and are finally on your own, or you appreciate the ability to cast your vote, speak your mind or possess enough financial resources to live a comfortable life, or maybe all of the above.  Personally, I’m thankful I can freely pursue my hopes and dreams, looking forward to the day when my hard work and perseverance pays off.  That is when I believe I’ll truly be free … free of living with one foot rooted in the present and the other planted in what was once an unknown future.  Until then, the fireworks that light the night sky with their dazzling display of colors will be my own celebration for surviving — and thriving — another year and taking one more step toward Someday, whatever it may bring.

How do you plan to celebrate this 4th of July?

A belated celebration

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[Image credit: nuttakit]

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~ Gloria Naylor

For the past three years since my mom passed away, I’ve made a concerted effort to get back home to spend the holiday with my dad.  This year, however, my work scheduled prevented long distance travel over the weekend.  Although, he’ll no doubt have my three sisters with him, it is still hard for me to forego his special day.  I still plan to call him to hear his voice, and in just a few days we’ll have our own face-to-face belated celebration.  But belated or not, as long as I make the most of the time we do share when we’re together, it’s like one big party.  Thankfully, this was one of those instances I made a decision and stuck to it, because it turns out life has gotten a bit crazier.  I think had I not booked my travel arrangements well in advance, there might never have been a good time to “get out of Dodge.”  With that said, Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies out there.  Enjoy.

Do you avoid making plans simply because there isn’t a good time?

Word-of-the-month in honor of Memorial Day: fealty

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

My contribution for May’s word-of-the-month comes by way of a friend of mine who ran across it in a book he was reading.  This Memorial Day seems to me the perfect day to feature the word fealty — a noun meaning faithfulness; allegiance (according to  Synonyms include loyalty, submission, devotion, fidelity and homage.  Used in a sentence, it may read: Today’s holiday encourages us to remember the men and women who pledged fealty to our country and sacrificed their lives in order that we may all sleep better at night.  It’s so easy to take our freedoms for granted.  But on days like today, we’re reminded that behind the Pledge of Allegiance and each American flag that proudly flies, are those who have served and been buried … brave and selfless souls who stood in my both my place and yours.  God Bless America.

Is there something you display a strong fealty for?

Discovering Easter in every day

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[Image credit: Jeroen van Oostrom]

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.
~ S.D. Gordon

For some, Easter is a religious holiday, dressing up in new finery.  For others, it means family gatherings and egg hunts, baskets brimming with chocolates and jelly beans, or an all-you-can-eat brunch after church.  In my home, it’s a little bit of everything.  For me, personally, it’s mostly about what S.D. Gordon talks about in the above quote: new life.  Every day we have the opportunity to celebrate this concept, because each morning that we’re afforded the rare opportunity to open our eyes to the risen sun, we have a chance to go after our chocolate-covered or caramel-coated dreams and be the person we were meant to be.  Yes, sometimes there’s a bad egg in the bunch.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate something as simple as the beauty of another new day to love and be loved — to make a difference in someone else’s life.  Let’s start by having a Happy Easter and go from there.

What is your most memorable Easter tradition?

A day set aside for fools

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[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono]

As a country, we observe Christmas, Thanksgiving, the New Year, Easter, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and all sorts of days.  But honestly, fools get their own day, too?  According to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source, but one that provides fodder for consideration), the informal holiday is commonly accepted and celebrated as a day of  foolishness.  Further, it is a day “marked by the commission of good-humored or otherwise funny jokes, hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication” on anyone and everyone.  Personally, I think every day deserves a bit of foolishness.  Otherwise, it’s easy to take ourselves too seriously and possibly miss out on a satisfying belly laugh along the way.  After all, laughter is the closest distance between two people (Victor Borge).  Fool or not.

What is the best April Fools’ Day joke you’ve ever played on someone?