Finding hope in the most unlikely places

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On a Monday morning I drove to work as is my habit, my mind preoccupied with a litany of tasks I hoped to accomplish. In addition to eight hours on the job, I needed to pick up a couple prescriptions for an infection I’m battling, get to yoga to create a little breathing space and decide what color my painter will be painting my kitchen cabinets. Plus make room to practice my Spanish. Under my breath, I whispered prayers for close family and friends struggling with illness and grief, those undergoing surgery and others wrestling with financial and spiritual drought. When I pulled into my parking spot, my mind still flitting from thought to thought, a flowering branch caught my attention. Its peachy blossoms, the only blooms noticeable in my row of stalls, encouraged me with its new growth. A simple reminder—in the midst of shadows, hardships and yes, my friends, Monday mornings—that infused my spirit with restored hope.

What is something that renews your hope?

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Listen up: bridge the communication gap

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Listen up

Several years ago, I wrote about how ‘When only up close and personal will do’ in cases where instant communication doesn’t do the trick. I find myself in that spot again, torn into a million tiny pieces because I cannot be with several loved ones going through their own challenges—health, relationships, financial, employment or otherwise. But I can, at least, carve time into my daily routine each morning to offer up prayers and petitions for these dear people in my life, grateful for every one of them. And I hope this affords them a semblance of peace amidst whatever chaos they struggle with. To be kind in word and deed to those in my little world is a blessing I cherish; yet, when I’m unable to offer a touch, a helping hand, words to make it right or a shoulder to cry on, I can listen—whether I’m in the same room, or halfway across the country. Sometimes that’s enough.

How do you bridge the communication gap?

Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Sweet and simple pleasures

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Keep-it-sweet-and-simple

Recently, while shopping at Dollar Tree, I picked up a little plaque—black background covered with white chalk-like printing in varied fonts. Although a ribbon adorns the top for hanging, it resides propped up on my desk at home. The words etched on the plaque are simple reminders: Love one another, always tell the truth, sweet dreams, say please and thank you, share, play nice, work hard, say your prayers, keep your promises, laugh often. My intention to simplify this year (see ‘keep it simple…‘) encompasses not only my words (let them be fewer), but my schedule (say yes less, rest more), righting wrongs as they occur (rather than harboring bitterness) and recognizing simple pleasures daily. Beginning on day six, I received a hand-written thank you card in the mail—a simple gesture, yet one that seems to be a lost art. I hope to chronicle these treasures throughout 2016, a way to recognize and better appreciate life’s simple sweetness.

What is a recent simple pleasure you’ve encountered?

Photo courtesy of people-equation.com.