Awareness, Believe, Compassion, Easter, Faith, Giving, God, Goodness, Grace, Hope, Inspiration, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mindful, Moments, Real, Spiritual, Thoughts, Truth

Moments, Truths and Promises

Another year, another forty day journey and after these forty days, yet again, life has taught me even more about myself, people and the world. As I came off this journey, I found myself reflecting on what my initial intentions were, what had I learned and the realization that the journey never ends. This year, I wanted to understand more about moments. Holy Moments, that is. So here goes my story on how I got to my moment that was filled with truths and promises.

There are some things that I read or hear that just hit home and Day 8 of my journey began with listening to Matthew Kelly talk about the state of our current world and how it’s filled with many blurred lines. He says that for most, it is much easier to live in the gray than it is to admit there is a black and a white. He went on to say, there isn’t anyone who likes being lied to and yet in today’s culture, many have an increasingly casual relationship with the truth. But here was my moment, there’s a connection between truth and happiness and as our relationship with the truth becomes more casual, more slippery, as we continue to cross that line, for whatever reasons and whatever excuses we make for ourselves or justifications, not only are we erasing the line between the truth and lies, we’re actually erasing the line between happiness and misery. Let that sink in for a bit, along with an honest and real look at the current state of the world. There certainly is a direct connection between truth and lies and happiness and misery but it were the questions he asked that really made me think. What role are we willing to give truth in our lives? Do we want to put truth on a throne in our lives when it’s convenient and throw truth in the closet when it’s inconvenient? It reminds us of the importance of living in truth, especially when it comes to our happiness.

For me, it took a life changing moment where my personal relationship with the truth became something that eventually would define me. It became something I am consciously aware of and sometimes consumed by it. Some say, at times, I can be brutally honest and other times, mute and maybe there’s some truth in both. Sometimes I will call you out on the lie and then there are times I won’t give the lie any life and I just walk away, silently. A casual relationship with the truth doesn’t have a place in my life. Maybe it did once but not anymore. For me, when it comes to the truth, there is no gray, it’s simply just black and white. To some, it may seem harsh but I just like keeping it real. I like living life in that space and fake or being untruthful just doesn’t work for me. But here’s the thing, it was the thin line between happiness and misery that made me think even more…if you’re living a life of misery, does that mean you’re living a life of lies? Hmmm…

Then in the middle of my journey, something unexpected happened to someone that not only matters to me but to a lot of other people. There were moments of some chaos, a lot of concern, a little panic and a bit of confusion. There were moments where I felt challenged and I thought I was being called upon to show my strength, courage, leadership and capabilities. There were moments where the people that surrounded me showed the true colors of their character. There were moments where some showed that they cared and were supportive. There were moments where some showed how selfless they were and just rolled up their sleeves and stepped up and stepped in.

Unfortunately, there were many who fell into the category of the selfish and the self centered. You know, the group we call, “it’s all about me”. There were moments where I felt they were waiting for me to fail. There were moments where they tested my patience. However, it were in those moments of pure silence, where I knew this wasn’t about me, it was about taking care of business for someone else. Each day I would sit quietly with my thoughts and I would ask Him to please give me the strength and guidance towards what was right. I felt he was telling me I had to rise above it all. I had to stay focused. I had to push myself to get through it all. I had to dig in and take control. I just knew I couldn’t fail someone, who never failed me but I found myself wondering…am I being tested? Would this be considered a Holy Moment?

It was during Holy Week where I found myself reflecting, quite often, about people and still not fully understanding what was a true Holy Moment. And there it was, in just the right moment and in black and white, a story about how Holy Moments have an incredible power. It said the definition of a Holy Moment is where you set aside your self interest, where you set aside what you feel like doing and you have a conversation with God and you say, “Alright, God, what do you want me to do in this moment?” And then you do exactly what you feel God is calling you to do in that moment. That’s a Holy moment. And they tend to be filled with kindness and love and generosity and patience and thoughtfulness and courage. Holy Moments are filled with all of these things and they are so incredibly attractive. It’s when you keep doing this over and over again that people realize…”Wow, this is a part of who this person really is.”

When I read those words, I recognized that not only did I have a few Holy Moments over those days and weeks, I also had many over my lifetime but still I felt this moment wasn’t about me. Here’s the thing, those words described and reminded me of a few people who have touched my life in many ways. From where I sit, those few, touch everyone’s life with nothing but good and greatness and most certainly, they do it unconditionally. I am forever grateful for their kindness, generosity, patience and more importantly, their presence in my life. I can only hope that from where they sit, they see me and my life in the same light.

Needless to say, I survived those days and weeks and in the end when you receive a simple card of thanks that says, “For some people comfort is just a word, for you, it’s a way of life. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. You make life warmer and more meaningful in so many ways. There will always be a warm spot in my heart for what you did for me and my family in our hour of need.” It’s in that moment that you realize this is a moment…a Holy Moment.

Today, this I know for sure, even during life’s most challenging moments, we can all find the strength to rise above the blurred lines, to move past our casual relationship with the truth and strive towards being more kind, loving, caring, generous, patient and courageous towards all of humanity. It is in that place that you will find that Holy Moments happen more often and trust this, when you surround yourself with the people who truly care about you and they grace your life with nothing but kindness, love and unconditional support, be grateful for each and every one of them. They are a gift of promise to bring good to your life and it’s when you just silently stand still…grace with find you. Promise.

Awareness, Believe, Faith, God, Grace, Hope, Inspiration, Life, Love, Mindful, Moments, Peace, Relationships, Self Care, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Holding Patterns

“I am choosing to show up and nurture every part of me that needs love, healing and support.” ~ Alex Elle

I have always been a firm believer in the poem Reason, Season or A Lifetime and it was the Daily Encourager email about Holding Patterns, which ironically, I received on my birthday, that only reaffirmed my belief that things, circumstances or people often come into our lives for a reason, maybe for a season and sometimes for a lifetime. I now begin each day by reading the passage and saying the prayer at the end. I share it with you and may we all journey wisely and never lose our faith when we encounter a holding pattern season.

Namasté.

Holding Patterns

Many times, God will allow a painful situation or a painful circumstance in our life to “swallow us up.” This season in our spiritual growth is a “holding pattern”. We can’t move to the left or the right. All we can do is sit, like Jonah sat in the belly of that great fish, so God can have our undivided attention and speak to us.

God put Jonah in a “holding pattern” because He needed to speak to his heart. Jonah was all alone. There were no friends to call, no colleagues to drop by, no books to read, no food to eat, no interferences, and no interruptions. He had plenty of time to sit, think, meditate, and pray.

When we’re deep down in the midst of a difficult situation, God can talk to us. When He has our undivided attention, He can show us things about ourselves that we might not otherwise have seen.

A few of God’s holding patterns:

• When you are sick in your physical body and you have prayed but you are not yet healed, you are in a holding pattern.

• When you are having problems with your children and you have put them on the altar, but God has not delivered them yet, you are in a holding pattern.

• When you have been praying for a loved one to return to God, and they have not come back yet, you are in a holding pattern.

• When you are in a broken relationship and you have given it over to God, but it has not been restored yet, you are in a holding pattern.

• When the doors slam shut before you can even knock on them, you are in a holding pattern.

When we are deep in the belly of a difficult situation, there are no interruptions. God has our undivided attention. All we can do is sit, think, meditate, and pray. Like Jonah, we cannot run from God, because there are no mountains that are high enough, valleys that are low enough, rivers that are wide enough, rooms that are dark enough, or places that are hidden from Him.

We must remember to praise Him while we’re waiting, remember three things:

• The pattern has a purpose.

• The pattern has a plan.

• The pattern has a process.

So stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting. He’ll keep you right where you are until you can clearly hear Him say, “I love you.”

Suggested Prayer: Father, forgive my unbelief. I know you love me and I will come to see the benefit of everything in my life, even this holding pattern, and the manifestation of my Good is assured through You. You have planned nothing for me but victories and I am ready to receive them regardless of how difficult the path.

“When you follow your heart, you follow God, and you’ll find your own path to your own deepest peace and happiness.” – R Hauser

Awareness, Believe, Easter, Faith, Family, Giving, God, Hope, Life, Love, Thoughts, Truth, Uncategorized

A Forty Day Journey

“Time directs, heals, teaches and leads hearts to love. Be patient with yourself and with others.” ~ Matthew Kelly

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For the last few years, I have participated in Matthew Kelly’s, The Best Lent Ever. Forty days of absolute awareness, being present and working towards becoming the best version of yourself and learning how to be perfectly yourself. To be honest, some days were more challenging than others and there were days where I failed miserably at becoming a better version of myself and I haven’t quite found my perfect self. It’s not perfection that I am looking to attain, it is being perfectly happy with being who I am and not how anyone else wants or expects or wishes me to be. The last week was probably the most challenging and yet eye opening and extremely telling. It was Holy Week and it started off with the passing of my 94-year-old aunt (my mother’s sister), who went home peacefully to the Lord and her husband on Palm Sunday and the week ended with her burial and a celebration of her life on Holy Friday. It was a week of reflection, along with constantly reminding myself of the importance of being in the present moment, shutting out the chatter and being fully aware of my surroundings. I believe the readings at her mass, at the luncheon and in a booklet her children put together truly summed up who Aunt Josie was as a person, a sister, a wife, a mother, a aunt, a grandmother and great-grandmother and as a friend but more importantly, a devoted child of God and the church. The piece that struck me the most was talking about how non-judgmental she was. She lived a life without any judgment of anyone and she would extend her hand of kindness, love and support to anyone and everyone who crossed her path.

I sat at her funeral luncheon thinking about all of the opportunities where we never take advantage of telling the people we love, while they are alive, how thankful we are for all the guidance, love and support they have added to our lives. Aunt Josie is one person, I am not sure I ever properly thanked for all of her love, support and non-judgment of me. She was there for me many times, guiding me with her kindness and her unconditional love. My heart tells me she just knew how I felt but I did take the opportunity that day, to sit with my Aunt Jean to talk about our family and some questions I had about the past. We also talked about how over time, the dynamics of our family has changed and the realistic reasons as to why change is just a natural progression of life. The conversation at one point became emotional but I knew I couldn’t walk away from her without taking a moment to thank her for her role in my life. She was yet another person who never let judgment be a part of her words, feelings and thoughts, especially about those she loved. She is from the generation of those that understood family loyalty, respect, trust and unconditional love. They believed being there for those that you love was just a given and something that was never questioned. I call them “the just do” generation. They understood boundaries and truths. More importantly, they understood the meaning of being a true confidant and if it wasn’t their story to tell, it was never to be repeated. I walked away from our conversation maybe not getting all the answers to my questions but with a new-found respect and admiration for my aunt and the code that she continues to honor…it’s called family loyalty. Maybe some things in life should never be questioned and maybe there are no real answers and maybe you just need to respect, honor and accept what was in the past and hearing anything different, really wouldn’t change a thing.

Then this morning, while reading my favorite Sunday Paper blog by Maria Shriver, there it was, yet another reminder talking about how we should honor people while they are alive and letting the people we love know they are enough. The article asked questions that made me think…why do people in life rarely see themselves as others see them? Why are they rarely recognized for their powerful legacies while they are still alive? Why are they rarely told how much they are truly loved? Then there was Matthew Kelly’s final video, from The Best Lent Ever, he spoke about resurrection and some of his thought provoking questions and thoughts…what part of your life needs resurrection? What part of your life needs to be resurrected? Because we all have one, every year. You might have the same one three years in a row. You might have the same one ten years in a row. You might have the same one twenty years in a row. He goes on to say, some of our biggest challenges, some of our biggest problems, some of our biggest crises, some of our biggest obstacles – they take more than a year to solve, to change, to heal. The real question is: Do you believe? Do you believe that it’s possible? Do you believe that whatever mess you’ve got yourself into or however bad the situation is in your life or whatever tragedy or challenge it is that needs to be resurrected in your life…do you believe that God is willing and able to resurrect it? Whew, a lot more to think about beyond these forty-days.

My original plan for this forty-day journey was to make time each day to be still, silent and in solitude. I wanted to use the time to reflect on my life…one moment at a time. Each day, I walked away from those moments with a word or a thought. Something that had personal meaning or reflected something about myself or life in general. I knew I wanted to take those words and thoughts and do something with them. Something simplistic and not complicated and out of that came the video below…My Forty Day Journey.

Today and everyday, I hope you take a moment to reflect on the real meaning of life. I hope you get the opportunity to thank someone who has had a significant impact on your life and to tell them how grateful you are that they have graced your life with their presence, their love and their understanding. I also hope you come to believe and know that you are enough and celebrate life every day…your own life and the life of those that you love and who truly matter the most to you.

Happy Easter and as Matthew says, if you are to find lasting happiness in this ever-changing world, it will be as your own wonderful self…the best version of perfectly you.

Believe, Faith, Hope, Life, Love, Relationships, Thoughts, Truth

The Gifts From The Love I Lost

Who knew nearly a decade later the love you lost could possibly be your last sweet love and yet today, it’s still one that is so difficult to talk about without getting emotional, without your voice cracking and without stumbling over your words. Who knew the person, who some questioned as you possibly selling yourself short, would turn into that love you find yourself, regrettably, thinking you should of worked harder at mending and one you should have never walked away from. It’s in those quiet moments that the memories of that kind of love show up unannounced and there are times those memories come back with a haunting vengeance. There is no clear history button and there’s no shutting the emotion out. You start to pointlessly replay events in your head, ceaselessly analyzing, obsessively scrutinizing your actions and wallowing in some regret.

While I truly understand, I only have the power to change the present moment, I often think incessantly about the past and start wondering if I only had the awareness of being in the present moment back then, would it have turned out differently? It took me years to learn and I’m still learning the importance of being present to receive love, and to feel appreciation and gratitude. In those moments of reflection, I now realize so many opportunities were lost because I wasn’t living in the moment. I have learned that being present is about getting real and continually digging out the buried wounds that are hidden under layers of a very protective shell. With every life encounter, I am learning how to become still long enough to take a pause, to breathe and to ask myself an important question, “What is this life experience here to show me or to teach me?”

While I still have a lot to learn and a fair amount of life left to experience, today, this is what I know for sure…maybe it’s after a good cry and when you stop feeling sad that you’re able to see clearly as to what that relationship revealed to you and what it taught you. You’re able to see the relationship for want is was and as you walk away, you choose to remember the gifts the love you lost gave you. It’s the gifts of their good qualities, their good character and their vulnerable side that no one else knows or has had the privilege to witness or experience. It’s the gift of knowing you will love them always. It’s the gift of the positive influence and memory that they have left behind with those that you love. It’s those gifts that you choose to hold near and dear to your heart. It’s those gifts that you will always cherish with gratitude. It’s those gifts that keep you in that place of hope with believing that one day you will get to feel that love, again and it’s those gifts that you have learned from. But the true gift is knowing that “once love” gave you the ultimate gift of words…”you deserved better.”

So you see, it’s not about the love you lost, it’s about the love you shared and always be grateful for that love. And it’s that gift that I choose to always remember and cherish…we loved each other. ❤️

I wish you joy, peace, health, love and hope in 2018. Happy New Year!

Simply Deborah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhtFzdpudOk&feature=share

Believe, Christmas, Compassion, Faith, Family, Giving, God, Hope, Life, Life Experiences, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Thoughts, Truth

We All Forget

Outside there is a fresh blanket of the first snow of the season and inside, I’m embraced by the warmth of my pajamas, a hot cup of coffee and my Sunday morning reading. I’m reading stories about what you need to do to prepare the way to what is really coming during this season by Matthew Kelly to getting your priorities in check by Maria Shriver but it was the one minute video by Tony Robbins regarding “what really living is” that caused me to pause and remain still as I absorbed his words and thoughts. While all of their words weren’t anything that I hadn’t thought about before, it was when I pulled all three of their thoughts together that really made me pause and reflect on the where, the what, the was, the is and what’s coming with my own life and I share with you some of their telling words.

Matthew talks about the season and the preparing and somewhere in the midst of all of this, the true meaning of what is really coming has gotten lost or maybe even forgotten. There are weeks of preparing, along with the menu planning, getting the house ready, straightening everything up and making sure everything is right for everyone who is coming. The questions I read are the ones that were so thought provoking…what do you need to do to prepare for the coming season? What in your life needs to be made straight? Are there habits you need to begin or maybe end? Are there some relationships that need a little cleaning up? Do you need to look at how you use your time or how you use your money? Maybe, just maybe, now is the time to take a step back and reflect on what is really meaningful during this season and focus more on spending time with those that are really important to your life.

While reading my next piece, Maria reminded me of all of the people who lost everything during this year’s hurricanes and wildfires. She wrote about the many people who lost everything they own. Everything they worked their whole lives for. In a moment, they lost it all. In a moment, everything can be gone and everything can change. A moment can make all the difference. She wrote about prioritizing in those moments and it made me think about what would be my priorities. What would I grab first and who would I call? Do I know what I would say if I only had a moment? For me, this was probably the biggest question…do I have someone who will check on me and be there for me? I would like to think and hope that I know who they are and that they would be there for me in a moments notice. I know what I value and I know what I would grab first. For me too, it would be the things that have the most meaning to my heart. It would be the things that remind me of my family, love and hope. Her words just reinforced in me that life is a series of moments and we should never wait for those devastating moments to remind us of who and what is important to our lives. Don’t wait for those moments to say the things you need to say. Don’t spend a lot of moments accumulating a lot of stuff because in those moments, they really aren’t going to matter.

And lastly there were Tony’s words, “When do people really start to live? The answer…when they face death.” He goes on to say it’s only then that all of a sudden everything in your life gets reprioritized. You start thinking about who you would call. What would you say? What truth would you tell? What would you share with someone that you never shared before? What kind of gratitude would you have for one more day? How would you treat people? What would you cherish the most if it were the last week of your life? The most eye opening and yet simplistic statement he made, “We all forget that there is something coming for all of us…it’s called death. And rather than thinking of it as gruesome, maybe it can be a counselor.” Wow!

Their words hit something deep within me and reminded me of one of my favorite Oprah lines…”I have less time left here on this earth than I have lived.” Those profound words have taught me I have no time left to waste on people nonsense or chatter that is none of my business. I have lost a lot over the years and at the same time, I have gained a tremendous amount too. I have gotten to a place in my life where I know and believe that God has something more in store for me and I am curious and excited to find out what that is. When I think about how much of my life has been spent on the not so important stuff, it’s time lost that I will never recover. I can’t change any of the mistakes I have made and this I know for sure, even with the many mistakes, I know who I was yesterday and I am good with who I am today. In the last few years, I have spent quite a bit of time in the classroom of silence with myself and God. At first it was uncomfortable because it forced me to confront both myself and the pain head on. But it’s been through that solitude that I have been able to find hope in the little moments and I am able to see hope in the bigger pieces of my life.

I find myself asking quite often, why would anyone what to live life any other way than with a heart filled with gratitude, peace, love, grace and hope. Maybe, just maybe, more than ever before, we all need to make that call of gratitude, hope and love. Because life is too short and we never know when it’s going to end. That’s what I’m thinking about on this beautiful, snowy Sunday morning. And before we all forget…it is the season of giving, of love and of hope.

Peace,

Simply Deborah

Believe, Christmas, Dreams, Forgiveness, Giving, God, Hope, Life, Life Experiences, Love, Relationships, Thoughts, Truth

Hope, Dreams and Love

This past week, I found myself surrounded by some disagreements, the spitting of hurtful words that included disgust, annoyance and hate, along with many stories about violence, sexual harassment, death and a lot of lying. The thing that really throws me off balance are the avoidable hurtful words and actions that come from the people you love and care about the most. You find yourself struggling to find answers and peace within yourself. I’m not sure about you but for me, when I’m off my game it effects every part of my being and it’s hard to hide and move past the hurt.

It’s only in the quietness and the stillness that I able to find the answers and forgiveness that work for me and this Sunday morning is no different than any other Sunday morning. It’s about reflection. It’s about stillness. It’s about being present. It’s about hope. It’s about dreams. It’s about love. It’s about the season. Sometimes life happens and sometimes it’s tricky to navigate the unexpected and sometimes we forget everything we do have in our life to be grateful for.

This I know for sure, in a world that sometimes feels like it’s filled with such hopelessness and in the midst of life’s many ups and downs…be kind to one another. Be aware of the importance to pause, breathe and understand boundaries. Be respectful of one another. Be loving to each another. Be mindful that it’s in those trickier life moments when the unexpected can take away those precious moments to be all that we can be to each other. We were all given the gift and ability to hope, dream and love…maybe, just maybe we need to plant them deeper in our hearts, in our thoughts and in our words.

That’s what I’m reading and thinking about this Sunday morning. Hope, dreams and love…the greatest gifts God gave each of us. Spread and give of them, freely and generously. After all, it is the season of hope, dreams and love.

Aging, Believe, Faith, Lessons Learned, Life, Sixty, Uncategorized

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

For the last few months, I have been mentally preparing myself for my quickly approaching 60th birthday, which is now only days away and I just keep asking myself, “How the hell did that happen?” For whatever reason, as I approach this milestone birthday, it just seems like it should be a big deal and yet, I just can’t seem to completely wrap my arms around it and embrace it. But there is a part of me with a small plan to celebrate me, along with my life and to make it last for the next ten years.

For quite some time now, I have been on a personal journey of self-awareness and self-discovery and while it has always been hard for me to celebrate myself, this birthday, I am trying very hard to push myself outside of my safe zone and celebrate the last sixty years with complete awareness, truths, applause, failures, successes, along with a lot of dancing, a lot of cake, a lot of wine and a lot of candles. After all, I do believe living sixty years of my life is a celebration in of itself. My journey has been guided with the help of friends, family and other friends, who are not personally known to me. Every day, I listen or read something from the likes of Brené, Elizabeth, Deepak, Wayne, Maria, Maya and of course, God. I have found each of them to be helpful with guiding me along this journey to be a better person with myself and with the people who surround me.

I have been trying to focus on all of the gifts in my life and to be in the moment with all the knowledge from the life lessons I have learned. I’m trying very hard to embrace this next chapter of my life and while I don’t have a master plan, it’s really okay because I have learned that even with the best plans, life can be interrupted. I’m trying to be accepting of every fine-line wrinkle on my face with knowing that I earned each and every one of them and they each come with their own story. I am trying to accept the fact that with every passing year, body gravity is inevitable and everything eventually goes south. Not unless of course you have help from a little nip and tuck or a little beep, bop and boop to plump things up or a large wallet to purchase some $500 creams. At this stage of my life, I am going in fully knowing that the six-pack ab days may be long gone and my focus needs to turn to eating healthy, endurance, strength, balance and stretching.

I don’t think of myself as an expert in any one area of life but one thing I know for sure life is most certainly a mystery. People will come and go throughout your life. Some will enhance your being. Some you will be able to count on. Some you will love. Some will suddenly leave you for no reason or sadly because of the inevitable. You can end up disappointing yourself and others. People you counted on may not come through but at any given moment, a total stranger can show up unexpectedly and take you to places you never dreamed possible. You can have wealth or enough to live a comfortable life and then with a snap of a finger you can be left with nothing and on the brink of poverty or practically homeless. For me, this is for certain, I have learned time and time again, when you fall, you peel yourself up off the floor, you dust yourself off, you learn, you move on and just know you will survive. Life is indeed a mystery filled with many moments of truths and realities and somewhere in the midst of those truths and realities life can be so magical.

I thought I would share with you some of the lessons I have learned along my six-decade life journey. Some are borrowed, some are new and some are old but they are all lessons learned. I share them with the hope that they may help some of you on your own journey to live more genuinely, to live more consciously, with more gratitude and with less judgment of yourself and others. They are some of the best lessons I have learned and my hope is that we take every one of our life lessons learned as an opportunity to be better than we already are and to always celebrate the life we have. I am certain there could and should be more than sixty but in honor of this milestone birthday, I will leave it at sixty and I know that somewhere over the rainbow in the next decade of my life there will surely be more life lessons learned.

  1. Nothing in life is for certain and the sooner you embrace the concept, the less disappointed in life you will be.
  2. Find every excuse and opportunity to celebrate your life.
  3. Love the age you are.
  4. Stop worrying about what others are saying. At the end of the day, it’s a waste of time and who cares.
  5. Have faith that God’s love never fails and that He is always there listening. Find hope in your faith.
  6. Be grateful for everyone who has loved you. Don’t regret a love that once felt right.
  7. Know there will be times when life will break you and when you think you won’t be able to handle it, know that you will.
  8. Always be kind to your body. You only have one. Learn to love it, take care of it and know that the body keeps score and it always wins.
  9. Know and understand that diets are a lifestyle and not a temporary restriction on what you can eat.
  10. Know that you are the only one responsible for the life you live.
  11. Know that laughter and a good night sleep are sometimes the best cures.
  12. When it comes to parenting, always trust your gut and heart.
  13. Make friends with your children’s friends. They’ll make you laugh and they will always give you valuable information. Pay attention.
  14. Know that physical and verbal abuse are equally wrong. Know that we teach people how to treat us.
  15. Hug your mother, father, children and grandchildren. Tell them you love them with every chance you get. Never take a moment of time with them for granted.
  16. Get smart about money early in life. Be diligent and consistent with saving some.
  17. Know that marriage and parenting are the toughest relationships to master.
  18. Be curious about your emotions and others.
  19. Know that every day is a gift. Be thankful for each day you get to witness another one.
  20. Stay out of other people’s business.
  21. Always choose kindness instead of being right.
  22. Don’t engage in gossiping. Know that it hurts the people you are talking about and will eventually come back to haunt you. When someone shares something very personal with you, always choose to be a trusted confidant and know it’s not your story to tell or share with others.
  23. Know that life is impossible without believing in something.
  24. Choose self-acceptance. Believing you are enough gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.
  25. Spend time alone. Don’t be afraid of it. Know that you will be okay with being alone and some days you will prefer it.
  26. Always say please and thank you. Look for opportunities to be a better person.
  27. Look people in the eye when you are talking to them. Trust that you will learn something every time you do.
  28. Sit down to dinner every night with your family. Put the cell phones away. Turn the television off. Talk to each other. Listen to each other.
  29. Play with your kids. Read to them every night. Make great lasting memories with them. Always make them feel safe and secure.
  30. Celebrate and praise your children. Teach them to feel valued. Teach them to treat others respectfully and with kindness.
  31. Always have an open table and an open mind.
  32. Be available to those in need.
  33. Pay attention to your partner, the one you love. If you don’t, know that someone else will.
  34. Don’t ever believe someone is better than you or you are better than anyone else.
  35. Know that disciplining a child teaches them the difference between right and wrong and taking accountability for themselves. Know that when you don’t follow through on the punishment, your word loses all credibility.
  36. Learn how to turn off your critical and judgmental voice.
  37. Learn the difference between compromise and selling yourself short or settling for less.
  38. Listen to your gut. It knows more than anyone else you are asking for advice.
  39. Practice prayer and meditation. It will keep you in check with yourself.
  40. Never make your work more important than your family.
  41. After years of putting everyone else first, know it’s okay to pamper yourself.
  42. Don’t allow anyone to shame you or diminish you as a person. Set boundaries upfront.
  43. Get good at forgiveness. Don’t wait for someone to die to forgive. Know that you will need to practice forgiveness throughout your life.
  44. Know that control does not equal happiness.
  45. With every chance you get…dance.
  46. Get good at letting go. It’s good for your soul and your overall well-being.
  47. Relax your expectations of others. Don’t expect people to be perfect. No one is.
  48. Learn how to communicate in your own home. Don’t let hostility become the only way you know how to communicate.
  49. Know that therapy is not a waste of time nor a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
  50. Know that it is okay to distance yourself from toxic people, even if they are family.
  51. If your marriage comes to an end, don’t let anyone tell you, you have failed. Be grateful for the love you shared, the memories you made and the lessons you learned.
  52. If you have a pity party, make it short, turn the page and then move on. Don’t see yourself as a victim. See yourself as someone brave.
  53. Don’t let fear stop you from living your passion. Know you can rebuild yourself and your life at any age.
  54. Be brave enough to write your own story and always know it’s never too late to rewrite it.
  55. Be brave enough to try love after your heart has been broken.
  56. Spend time outdoors. Breathe, take it all in and let it calm your mind.
  57. Spend time around people who see you, who celebrate you and who want the best for you.
  58. Know that trust and loyalty are the most important things in a family relationship. Stay connected to that family trust and loyalty and never let anyone or anything come between it.
  59. Take care of your parents when they age. There isn’t anyone more loving and caring to do the job. Remember the sacrifices they made for you.
  60. Always believe and have faith that the best is yet to come. Always believe and know that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XulvnXo6BJk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Believe, Compassion, Faith, Giving, Life, Life Experiences, Life Lessons, Relationships, Spiritual, Truth

Someone Like You

“Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love…and the greatest of these is love.” Corinthians 13:13

With my morning coffee, I read this short, yet meaningful, article about finding the Path to a Life of Love. The article challenges the scientific theory of love (the brain) versus the spiritual side of love (the soul). Of course, in reality…the brain is responsible for giving love its physical expression, and ultimately, love comes from the deepest part of our souls. It also references the old pop song, “Love the One You’re With” and while many of us follow a path outside ourselves to find love, the person we should give our love to and who, in return, we should return that love, clearly, is the person we are with every minute of the day, ourselves. Ahhhaa!

While the article guides you on a simplistic version of a suggested five step path…my thought, more than likely this would be difficult for most to do as we are not of a culture who is openly at ease with discussing matters of the deepest part of our heart and soul, especially when it comes to matters of love and life experiences. The steps lead you down a path from believing in love to not limiting love to a few and denying it to others to making the search for love an inward search to seeking people who value love as much as you do to believing that love is a powerful force.

My moment was in step four…seeking people who value love as much as you do. There is this old saying, “if you want to be wise, seek the company of wise people.” The writer states, maybe we should do the same when it comes to love and life…if we want to know about real human experiences, we should seek out those who have walked the path of real life and love experiences and who are willing to share them. He also states that in our society, most are embarrassed to talk personally about truth, compassion, faith and love and this inhibition is part of our own insecurities. Perhaps it’s time to allow our spirit to begin a journey that follows a path which leads us to finding that one person who is wise in ways of love, human experiences and who knows how to live life at a deeper level.

Maybe there is this repressed and deeper person inside many of us, who is just waiting to bust out and just maybe we haven’t allowed or believed in the deepest love of ourselves to be completely present, available and in the moment. Maybe when we do, we will be ready for that someone who is emotionally and spiritually available and someone who knows how to live life with a deeper understanding, with the ability to express themselves fully and someone who values all that life and love has to offer…someone like you…a deeper, loving person.

So on this beautiful Spring morning, while listening to one of my old favorites by Van Morrison…I open the windows to allow the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze cleanse the inside air and my soul, along with my spirit and as always…I remain hopeful and maybe the best is yet to come.

Namasté

Believe, Daughter, Dreams, Family, Father, Father's Day, Lessons Learned, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized

Dance With My Father Again

“It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.” ~ Margaret Truman

dad1

It’s has been many years since my Dad left us, and with each passing year, whether it is the anniversary of his death, his birthday, or Father’s Day, the pain of losing him may have somewhat lessened but as the years pass, and as I get older, I find I miss his presence more, and more. I miss his voice, his gentle hand, and kisses, his huge hugs, his smile, and his special laugh but what I miss the most is talking with him.

I didn’t always feel this way about my Dad. Growing up, there were many times I didn’t like him but I knew I always loved him. He was a man of few words but his presence was always known. He was a very strict father, who disciplined, and ruled with an iron hand, and I was the “rebel with a cause”, who was going to break his strict discipline beliefs, and during my teenage years, it was my mission in life. He most certainly knew I was going to be his challenge, and I most certainly gave him a run for his money.

I often think of the man he was, and I have come to terms with many things in my life, and I now have a much better understanding of his way of thinking, and disciplining. I wish I would have understood him sooner, as I believe we could have had a much closer relationship during the important years of our lives. If we did, we could have talked through many of our disagreements rather than battling it out.

Today, I understand that he didn’t know how to be any other way because it was what he had learned, and what we learn is what we pass on from generation to generation, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Until one day, someone steps up to the plate, and changes the cycle, and I think that was my mission. While his discipline tactics were not always the best, in his mind, he was protecting his daughters in the only way he knew how, and saw fit. He didn’t want his daughters to make the same mistakes he did but by sheltering us, he didn’t realize he wasn’t allowing his daughters to grow, and learn from their mistakes.

I can sit here, and dwell on all of the bad, the harsh discipline but what would any of that change. Really, nothing. Today, I remember the great things about a man I called Dad until he became a grandfather, and from then on he was only referred to as Poppy. The key thing to remember is how much he loved his daughters, his wife, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and the things he taught all of us, and more importantly, me.

He was a thin, good looking young man, with a dream, when he left San German, Puerto Rico, to come to New York. I am not sure what he did between the years that he arrived in New York, and when he met my mother at the age of 27 but my good guess, he more than likely was a ladies man, an impeccable dresser, and he probably had an air about himself that appeared intimidating, and somewhat standoffish. That’s my take, and when he met, and married my mother, he took charge to provide for her, and even more so when their daughters came along.

He was a spray painter for many years, and worked for a marketing exhibit company, painting promotional exhibits for name brand products, and services, which were displayed at conventions but his dream was bigger. It was always to own a restaurant, and my mother, who was one of the most conservative people I knew when it came to money, along with being a realist, and nowhere near a risk taker stood by her husband, and supported his dream.

They opened a small luncheonette in Mount Vernon, right on the borderline to the Bronx, and he was in his glory, and stood proud the day the sign went up, and there it was, Dave’s Luncheonette. This happened so much later in their life together but to him it was the beginning of what was yet to come. Remember, he was a dreamer. They both worked very hard, and long hours. They were up at 5am, and at the luncheonette by 5:30am, and ready for their first customer strolling in for coffee, and breakfast at 6am. There were many times during my father’s bouts with his heart issues, and when he was hospitalized that my sister’s, and I had to step in, and open the store with our mother. Oh, those 5am mornings were killers for me. Opening those gates, bringing in the fresh bread, and newspapers that were waiting at the door. Putting on the pots of coffee, heating up the grills, and greeting customers with a smile at 6am. Really, it’s much too early for smiles. The days seemed endless, along with the end of day routine of cleaning the place, and preparing it for the next day. My parents did this for close to 20 years in Mount Vernon, and again, remember my father was the dreamer, and bigger was still his goal.

Over the years, the neighborhood started changing, and after the luncheonette was broken into several times, they moved onto my Dad’s next dream, Dobbs Ferry, and opened Dave’s Charcoal Corner. A bigger place with more counter seats, and probably five times more tables than the Mt Vernon place. Bigger but still only breakfast, and lunch. By now, I had a career in banking, children, and I stood back, at a distance, and watched how hard they worked in the later years of their life, and I only helped out when absolutely necessary. My Dad was the cook, and my mother was the brains behind the pricing, and how to make a profit. No one handled the cash register nor the checkbook but her. She served the food at the counter seats, while a waitress handled the tables, which more often than not were my sisters on the weekends, along with my daughter during her college years. Me, oh, I was known as the black sheep of their daughters. Very rarely to be seen at the restaurant but when I did not have a choice, I groaned, and moaned all the way through it, and went home smelling like a greasy hamburger.

My Dad became known for making the best home fries, omelets, burgers, pancakes, soups, and more. This was the happiest time of his life, and his personality could easily get him side tracked from the grill to have a conversation with any regular customer, which is when my mother would take over the grill with a huff. It was kind of comical, at times but as the years went by, the aging process, and my Dad’s health were catching up. He was slowing down, and while it was hard for him to accept, after a small grease fire, we knew it was time for them to sell the business, and retire. I truly believe he wished he had pursued his dream much earlier in life but he had a good run for nearly 30 years.

How ironic it is that history repeated itself. Who knew my passion in life would turn to cooking, and also, begin so much later in my life. During a visit with our family accountant, he said to me, “You should have taken over your parents restaurant.” I didn’t have a vision back then of cooking, I was working towards a career in banking, which turned out to be a successful one. I fought my father tooth, and nail to not have any part of the business. I had such a dislike for it, and maybe part of it was how hard they worked, the long hours, and while it was his dream, it wasn’t mine, and it certainly wasn’t my mother’s but she was committed to him, and doing whatever made him happy. I have no right to judge that kind of sacrifice, and my point to this story is about all of the valuable lessons I learned from a man, who I battled with for many years.

My regret is that he is not here today for me to tell him, face to face, how grateful I am for all of the life lessons, values, the unconditional love, and the importance of believing, and following your dreams that I learned from him. He taught me hard work is a given. He taught me how to love my children unconditional, and the importance of being there for them through the good, and the bad. He taught me that you never give up on your children. He taught me the importance of family. He taught me to be courteous. He taught me respect. He taught me the importance of being a lady. He taught me the importance of presenting, and representing yourself well, and with class. He taught me that sometimes silence is golden.

It took me many years to realize, and learn the most valuable lesson of all from my father, to grasp every moment because you never know when it can be taken away from you, in a minute, and without any notice. I am grateful that I got to dance my last dance with my Dad on my 45th birthday. It was in his hospital room, just a few weeks before he passed, and I still wish every day that I could dance with my father again, and to hear him whisper in my ear, “I love you, Debbie Ann.”

daddance

While the day of his passing will always be a blurry memory, it is the priceless memory of our life together that will be a vivid one for eternity. It’s an example of a great love, commitment, sacrifice, and no matter how many years that have passed, it doesn’t change the fact that even though my Poppy is not in front of my eyes any longer, his picture is in my heart, and my mind, and will remain unspoiled forever.

“It doesn’t matter who my father was, it matters who I remember he was.” ~ Anne Sexton

 

 
http://www.vevo.com/watch/luther-vandross/dance-with-my-father/USJRV0300079

Believe, Dreams, Food, Foodporn, Italian Traditions, Life, Uncategorized

What Am I Really Suppose To Be Doing With My Life?

I don’t believe there isn’t a one of us that hasn’t dreamt of life being anything less than a smooth ride, and I am no exception. For the past year, I have found myself pondering more, and more about finding my true life purpose, how it would be possible for me to fulfill, and live my life passion, and share it with the world, along with making a difference. There were many days over the last year or more, where my life appeared completely uncertain, confusing, in a disarray, and I just couldn’t sort through the chatter in my head to make any sense of it all. The chatter consumed me, and more often than not it made me completely immobilized. I was scared, alone, and I couldn’t see through the darkness.

To add to my angst, six months ago, I lost my job, and today, I am amongst the millions of other Americans, who are unemployed. During these past months, I have applied to nearly 300 jobs in corporate America, with the hopes of being gainfully employed by year end. I posted my resume, and joined every job seeker website out there. After about a month or so, I was approach by a reputable site, who convinced me to have my resume revamped by a professional resume writer, who would gear it towards my dream job. Every day I spent hours at my desk, searching every employment site imaginable looking for a job. It’s a good thing that over the years, I have developed very strong shoulders because with the continuous flow of rejection letters…they just don’t seem to sting as much as they use too.

Knowing my reputation proceeded me in my former industry, I reached out to every resource available, including former colleagues with pleas for help with any type of introduction, guidance, support, and recommendations. Their quick responses, along with their call to action, and their encouragement were all overwhelming. I felt fortunate, and blessed to have crossed paths with such an amazing group of individuals, who continue to check in on me, and offer additional advise, and suggestions. Unfortunately, to date, any referrals have not panned out but I remained hopeful.

As the days passed, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and as humans when this happens a lot of thinking transpires. Some not so healthy, and other times some turned into inspirational thinking. All I wanted was to see clearly, and being such a structured person with very little patience…I needed direction, and answers, today, not tomorrow or next week or next month, but today. I found myself reading more, and more, learning things about myself, and really digging deep with trying to figure out if my life passion could anyway possible come to fusion.

Some of the most disconcerting times, and utter disappointment was the lack of support from a good portion of those close to me. I found myself getting more encouragement from friends, and colleagues on how to make things happen, and how important it was for me to believe in myself, and my abilities. I’m sure most of you are aware of Kid President and his mission to make the world a better place. While reading an article, today, they listed just a few of his thoughts that people should be saying every day. I thought how simplistic, and why is it that I wasn’t hearing these things from those that I dearly wanted to support my dreams, and vision.

  • “Everything is going to be okay.”
  • “You are awesome.”
  • “You can do it.”
  • “Hello…here’s a high-five.”
  • “I forgive you.”
  • “Thank you.”

Then I realized it wasn’t about anybody else, it was about me, and me believing in my passion, and my dream. I thought about what I learned, “What you think, and what you believe is what will come true in your life.” Our thoughts create our life…it’s purely that simple, and when we overcome the self-doubt, release the enormous barriers in our life, and make conscious choices that we understand, and accept them, things start to evolve. You begin to create your very own road map of your vision, step by step, and your instincts come into play. Either it feels right or it doesn’t, and when it feels right, you begin to understand this is your life, you start to take full responsibility, and start to believe you deserve the best life, and you begin to express the gratitude for all the good in your life.

I have been following Deepak Chopra for some time now, and when I listen to him there is such a sense of calmness that overcomes me, and he has helped me develop this sense of awareness about myself that seems freeing. Some might laugh but I truly don’t care…remember, it’s about me, and if it feels good, and stirs enthusiasm in my life…how could it ever be wrong. One thing I know for sure, I want to be excited about what I do every day, and I want to share my gifts, along with my passion with the world because I truly believe that’s how we achieve joy, and abundance in our lives.

Chopra teaches that we all have a calling in life that is as unique as our fingerprint, and it’s that calling that will lead us to our passion. When we find something that we are truly passionate about it feels like our breathing is so natural, and effortless. I discovered, a long time ago, what ignites my passion, and lights me up, and I found a way to share it with others. Cooking has always been a love, and passion of mine. I throw my heart, and soul into it, and it all comes through in the taste, and presentation of all my food.

After a long year of contemplating a business venture, I am finally listening to my intuitive inner voice, and I am pursuing my life passion, and dream. I believe my vast business knowledge, wisdom, along with my level of confidence, and comfort in the kitchen, and my creative ideas are all possessions I am eagerly willing to share. I am a firm believer that taste, along with presentation are the fundamentals with awakening an eclectic palate. I hosted this past Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, and the responses to my food, and presentation just solidified for me…this is what I am suppose to be doing with my life.

christmas20133Christmas Eve Table for 12

christmas20134Christmas Eve Table Setting

christmas20131Christmas Day Table for 12

christmas2013Christmas Day Table Setting

As I enter, 2014, I believe that honoring my life’s true purpose, and passion will lead me on a path of pure happiness, and success. I look forward to sharing my passion with many of you.

Happy New Year and may 2014 be filled with good health, hope, love, abundance, gratitude and promise.