Friday, January 30, 2009

An open heart in a sad world

Stay For A While ~ Amy Grant

Dealing with the death of a close friend has been a difficult endeavor this week. Grief is an emotion that is the most difficult that I have ever encountered in my life and no matter how many times I have had to cope and go through these feelings, it seems to become more difficult.

Since JR died six years ago, four people that I was close to in my life have passed away. Every time I have tried to play the mind game of the “celebration of their life”. Sure, I celebrate the life of everyone who has touched my life . . . but the ones who are gone . . . they have vanished from this earth in the blink of an eye. One of my biggest problems on this earth is coming to terms with death . . . it freaks me out when those close to me disappear from my life.

As a Christian with strong faith, death should not be a problem that I have to deal with so emotionally. It is a fact of life that we all have to face . . . and it happens every day. Death never stops, just as birth doesn’t stop . . . life evolves. My death does not scare me at all . . . the problem is the death of those close to me.

The world as we know it becomes sadder by the day . . . I am slowly getting away from listening to the news. My heart is always open and I have been blessed with way too much compassion for human suffering. Death is one thing, the end of suffering for the person who died, but suffering in its many forms . . . there is a burden in my heart for the problems unfolding before our very eyes.

Although I needed to verbalize what was going through my head tonight, I also have faith in mankind. The problems our society is experiencing is the tip of an iceberg, the suffering has just begun . . . but I believe it will make us less selfish, more giving, more compassionate as a society . . . perhaps ultimately happier individuals for making a difference in the lives of others as we help each other get through bad times.

An open heart in a sad world is not a bad thing . . . an open heart is one that feels, reacts and makes a difference. In my exploration of peace, love and happiness, compassion for your fellow man is a beautiful part of “peace” . . .

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The balance of control

Love Is In Control ~ Donna Summer

We can dream, wish, pray as much as we want, work on a project to exhaustion giving it the best we can give, but in the end we relinquish those things out of our control to faith and hope. What can you do other than your best? The answer is nothing . . .

However, much of what happens to us in our lives is within our control. The secret is to learn the delicate balance of control, maintaining and emotionally coping with those things out of our control while attending to those things we have control over to the best of our ability.

Sometimes I catch myself expending unnecessary energy worrying about something that I can’t do a thing about when I could be using that time and energy towards a meaningful project that will make a difference.

Out of control balance leads to emotional spiraling out of control . . . where nothing is accomplished, attitude becomes one in dire need of adjustment and depression starts to creep its way in.

The balance of control helps to maintain peace and harmony in the quality of life.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tragic society

Tragic Kingdom ~ No Doubt

The news of more and more foreclosures, rising unemployment and general financial disasters has made me wonder when things would start getting really crazy as society becomes so distraught, feeling like they are pushed against the wall with nowhere to go.

It occurred to me tonight that the tragedies have begun and we need to be aware of those close to us . . . you never know what a person or a family is going through.

In recent news I read of a man who froze to death in his home . . . his electricity had been turned off. Didn’t anyone know he was in that situation? An act of kindness as simple as a ride to a local shelter so he could sleep in a warm room and the man would be alive today. It reminded me of a news story I heard a year or two ago where a man was dead in his house for months, maybe even a year . . . and no one knew . . .

Another story hit me as so tragic today . . . a man and his wife both lost their jobs . . . they were found shot to death in their home, along with their children . . . murder/suicide. The story of why was faxed to the local television station before the deaths occurred.

It is tragic desperation . . . I don’t believe in the government bailing out society when money does not grow on trees and “society” is becoming financially devastated and unemployed . . . where does it end? We, as a society, must start helping each other in little ways that will make a difference.

There is always coping with life and a way out of a situation . . . time and faith for starters. Death is not the way, although sometimes I think the ones not having to go through the type of struggles our society is embarking upon are the peaceful souls as we are entering into a time in our world that is a form of hell on earth. We will soon hear these stories with daily frequency and become more desensitized than we already are.

While I can understand the mentality of being distraught, I also know that if we take a moment at a time, think about the situation, reach out to each other, draw closer together . . . there is nothing we can’t do as a society . . . we have no choice but to help each other survive.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Unconditional love

Tu Amor ~ RBD

Unconditional love is a concept that means showing love towards someone regardless of his or her actions or beliefs. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. It has also been used in a religious context to describe God’s love for mankind.

When my husband died, I was left with an overwhelming feeling of unconditional love that will never fade away, it will never die and no one will ever be able to take it away from me. It is the most beautiful gift anyone has ever given me and I will cherish it and take care of those memories for as long as I live, no matter what happens or who I spend the rest of my life with. His love for me is part of who I am and one reason I am such a hopeless romantic . . . I felt it and lived it.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

The experience of survival

Love Hurts ~ Nazareth

In the midst of a time of turmoil, stress, uncertainty all you want to do is be able to make it through . . . survive it . . . although it usually feels like the bad vibes will never go away and nothing will ever feel “normal” again.

I am still not feeling “normal” every day and it could also be that my heart keeps getting broken and disappointed on top of a heart that still grieves for JR, even after six years that he passed away.

Logic and reason has nothing to do with what the heart experiences, feels so deeply and it goes from day to day in the survival mode. Seems like looking at the past years in retrospect, my heart has been surviving one thing after another when the greatest promise for my life to finally come together presented itself last year after going through my first online heartbreak. Maybe the lesson that should be learned is to not jump from the frying pan to the fire.

Although my heart longs to be loved again with the intensity of my happy marriage to JR that was the real thing in my life that continues to give me hope . . . the real and true love that we had for each other, the respect and honesty we shared that is so necessary for a long term relationship . . . I’ve put love on the back burner. It scares me now, but not forever, just now.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another beautiful ending

Sometimes when I am feeling strong positive vibes with abounding faith, it seems like the powers that be want to test me.

One of my best friends died in an accident today . . . sudden death. At least it happened fast and he didn’t feel the trauma of death upon him, although he had an accident a couple of months ago that had him in rehabilitation for months. He was just starting to feel “normal” again.

When someone close to me dies suddenly, I go through the shock and asking God why. This guy was always the first one to help out his neighbors in a crisis. Just a week or so ago, he bought one of his friends a used car because “he needed it and didn’t have the means to buy it himself”. He was everyone’s angel who came to the rescue of anyone who needed assistance.

My husband now has one of his best friends to keep him company in heaven . . . two of the good guys while there are murderers, thieves, terrorists and bad people in general running around this earth.

Another beautiful ending in my life. While I know that God has his own plan, I am left to continue living this life with lots of faith that everything is going to be ok. 

Just the other night, we discussed the state of the world and he told me we would all be ok if we stuck together.  We all need angels too . . .

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Peace and the irritation of challenges

Walk Away ~ Kelly Clarkson

There is an opportunity in every challenge to find something positive rather than expend energy being irritated and annoyed. It is said that a pearl is an irritation of the oyster. There is a treasure hidden in all things, good and bad.

Emotional reactions and moods can heighten and fluctuate. Since I have an exceptionally short fuse that has been typically easy to set off, I have to be especially careful to learn how to control my temper in times of frustration and life challenges. It is much easier to take a deep breath and calm down rather than have to fix hurt feelings and situations because of emotionally reacting way too quickly.

Since inserting foot in mouth way too often, the practice of calming down and thinking before reacting has quickly become my best friend as I approach my life through peace and harmony.  It isn't easy!

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Love yourself first

Desire Walks On ~ Heart

My romantic experiences of the past couple of years have taught me the valuable lesson of loving yourself first.  Desire alone can make you crazy and a shell of a person.

Even in my wonderful married relationship . . . I was lost in my status as part of a couple, not an individual whose life was being enhanced by a wonderful partner. The result was devastation and the feeling of being lost and alone in a cold world when he died.

For the first time since JR died, I am feeling empowered and content being alone with no prospect of a future partner to share my life with. Finally, my future is not to be feared, rather eagerly anticipated . . . a new adventure.

All because I love myself now . . . I have accepted myself, even with my many flaws. It has taken me six years to get to this place in life. No longer do I beat myself up because I am alone and have not found the one God chose for me. (I still have my bad moments though.) The chosen one will accept me and love me as I am at any moment when the time is right . . . if there is another one chosen for me.

A loving relationship should not be an exhaustive effort to conform, rather it should be a breathless excitement that feels awesome from both sides just because you are both yourselves and the butterflies in your stomach are for that reason, not because of who either of you will be in the future. If you have to change to make the other person happy, you end up letting yourself down for allowing yourself to do so . . . even if you wanted to make those changes to begin with.

Do it for yourself . . . dump the ones who will never make you happy since you never know when that bar is gonna get raised again. A no-win romantic situation is not healthy. Love yourself enough to recognize the “right one”.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Express love

If I Fell ~ The Beatles

When I finally found that man who loved me unconditionally and realized that we could share a lifetime together in peace, love and happiness, I had no problem telling him how much I loved him.

My heart had been broken waiting and waiting for the one who never came back from the military and I always blamed myself for having too much pride and not letting him know how I really felt about him . . . how madly in love I was. When I fell in love with my husband, I was not about to lose him for the lack of him knowing how I felt because of so many regrets I was feeling about the other guy.

There are differing degrees of love . . . and they are all important . . . all of them must be expressed often and appreciated for the jewels that they are. 

Love is the one thing the human spirit and money can’t control, but it can be nurtured for the beauty that it is.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Keep love alive

Consider these words from the song “Love Alive” by Heart . . . “You need a whole lot more than money, You need more than to survive, You need to keep your love, Keep your love alive”.

Love Alive ~ Heart

I’m not talking about keeping tainted love alive . . . good riddance to a love that is not meant to be . . . that is sometimes what the word toxic is made of.

Real love . . . true love is what I am talking about. Even real love needs to be nourished and kept alive in order to thrive and ensure continued happiness. It works two ways . . . one partner giving 100% usually does not work.

Two simple words explain what is primarily necessary . . . mutual respect.

If you have true love, cherish it, nourish it, keep it alive . . . contrary to what the lyrics of the song says, you can survive without love, but surviving this life with love sure does enhance the quality of life. Doesn’t it?

Sometimes you don’t realize it until you don’t have it . . .

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What is love?

Love is patient, Love is kind,
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

L o v e N e v e r E n d s

L o v e N e v e r F a i l s

Corinthians 13 : 4 - 8

Love Doesn't Ask Why ~ Celine Dion

It is my favorite interpretation of perfect love and my favorite passage from the Bible . . . in my opinion, the most beautiful words ever written.

Love is a many splendored thing with a range of meanings as deep as the ocean . . . all beautiful since love is the most important emotion there is.

There is romantic love which transforms an otherwise normal woman into feeling like the queen of the world. Romantic love manifests itself into passionate ”forever love” . . . being a part of another person, facing life together as partners, experiencing good times and bad supporting each other . . . the end of loneliness, the end of fear of being alone, security, the sense of belonging and the awesome feeling of the caring and nurturing of another person. Finding true, forever love with another human being is the most beautiful thing that can happen in anyone’s life. That just touches on the romantic side of love.

Then there is the nurturing part of love as in the love of a child or the love . . . the love of a favorite thing, as in the love of music.

All types of love change with intensity and the passing of time takes love through differing stages. The exploration of love is my favorite journey through peace, love and happiness . . . to be continued.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The gift of today

Yesterday ~ The Beatles

There is a saying I’ve heard that yesterday is in the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.

Having to deal with the sudden death of my spouse has resulted in my belief that although we must be responsible in this life, we also must live for the moment. It isn’t the quantity of years that we live, but the quality of those years we live that truly matter.

Quality of life issues became so important to me when I left the corporate world. When I experienced the difference, all of a sudden money did not matter. What mattered was the joy that freedom brought me. I didn’t realize how crazy chasing more money was making me.

The peace of simple abundance is what mattered, raising the quality of our lives. It was one of the first things that I thought of when JR died, how much it made him happy to have me be a housewife and spoil him. I would never trade those years for all the money in the world . . . those last years of his life were truly quality years for both of us.

Celebrate the gift of today and live for the moment.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

The road to happiness

Amy Grant ~ Simple Things

Happiness is a state of mind. When I wake up every morning I have a choice to either think positively or negatively. Life circumstances don’t matter if I have decided to think positively about my situation.

Long ago I realized that we are very spoiled as a society. I was tired of wanting more and more like a bottomless pit when my life philosophy started to change. It has been my experience that when you live simply, give more and expect less, the result is a happier and more fulfilling life.

When you free your mind, heart and soul from worry and hatred, there is more room for happiness and love. It isn’t easy, it is something to be aware of and figure out how to change the behaviors. 

Ultimately, we are the ones in control of the way we think and feel about anything and everything that affects our life.

The lyrics of the featured song, Simple Things by Amy Grant reflects my road to happiness . . . the lyrics follow . . . it is the simple things in life that matter.

Simple Things | Amy Grant

Wake up baby look around 

Birds sing, ooooh that sound 
Reminds me of a line 
From Unchained Melody 

Feel like I'm a little girl 
Best thing in the whole wide world 
Is I can see the makings of a memory 
I remember how it used to be 
Well I'm still dreaming... 

Cuz I dream of simple things 
I can believe in 
Like the feeling this day brings 
True love and the miracle of forgiving 
I believe in simple things 

Ain't nothing like a sunny day 
Chit-chat at a street cafe 
Just paint the picture, baby 
Where you wanna be 

Take a walk, take a ride 
So far, you and I 
Don't need a plan 
But we can share 
This revelry 

I remember how I used to want it all 
Funny now the big things seem so small 

I dream of simple things 
I can believe in 
Like the feeling this day brings 
True love and the miracle of forgiving 
I believe in simple things 

Through all the days 
The blues, the greys 
A ray of light keeps shining...
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No regrets

Amy Grant ~ Lead Me On

Regrets should not be present in our lives if we have paid close attention to our wants and needs and have been true to ourselves. One of the most freeing experiences in life is to not have regrets, even if we didn’t experience the desired outcome.

Realizing that everything in life happens for a reason has helped me trust my intuition which guides my path.

Life experience has also taught me that the little voice in my head somehow “knows” and as time goes on, I find myself instinctively letting it take over. Having said that, there are times where a fine line exists between my intuition and what my heart desires, in which case I usually follow my heart with great caution, ready to quickly switch gears.

My life philosophy of finding true peace within my soul means having no regrets.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peaceful contentment

Sunrise ~ Simply Red

My favorite time of the day is dawn, as the sun rises . . . and my favorite place at dawn is my back yard in Florida. It is the magical time nature awakens as night turns into day, the birds sing, the squirrels come out of their nests to greet the day and the dew on the colorful flowers happily sparkle and glisten like glitter in the sun.

My paradise is the place where I can connect with nature, God and myself, bringing me peace to start my day. Peace, as in a contented soul that shines from within.

My approach to life is much different than my working days of long ago. Like so many other people, I tried to do everything I thought I should do, but never got around to doing what I really wanted to do. My life changed when JR and I decided to be a one-income family and I dropped out of the corporate world.

My country boy taught his city girl, previously married to her job, how to enjoy the important things in life. With my paycheck gone, money was tight, but those days were the happiest of my life.

Those were the days I discovered the freedom and contentment that peace of the morning brings. Since he passed away, I still make time to be outdoors and enjoy nature in all its beauty.

Peaceful contentment is a beautiful aspect of peace, love and happiness.

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