Different, yet the same.

The other day, I was walking around an area that had garden rocks and I started picking some up, with different colors, shapes, and textures. It then immediately occurred to me that all these rocks were in the same garden, co-existing, for one purpose, adding an aesthetic to the landscape. I started to examine the differences more carefully and even though some had jagged edges or some were smooth, they all had one thing in common…they were garden rocks.

Isn’t that how we are as well? We are all human, but all individuals, from different backgrounds, ethnicity and cultures living on the same planet. It’s really beautiful if you think about it. We are one of the few animal species in the world that has such diversity. From various languages and dialects to our physical traits, we are so different! Yet, we are also much the same in one way or another.

Since the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic, humanity seems to have come closer together. Some of you may be tilting your head and say, “what?” “Really?” Yes! Look at what Italy experienced and how they came together as an entire country! The rest of the world watched as the country united to support and help one another. As the virus spread, so did our need to connect more with our friends and families from afar. Our world was experiencing a terrifying situation that affected everyone; something we haven’t seen since the early 1900’s with the Spanish Flu. We all wanted to help, connect, pray, and just be one with each other.

Then a terrible tragedy occurred in the United States when some police officers murdered a man named George Floyd. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. However, my belief is due to our heightened sense of community in a quarantined environment and coming together during the health crisis, this situation really hit home for so many of us.

The entire black community, and others that supported them came together to fight against this wrongful death. Unfortunately, the community that was trying to spread awareness of respect turned ugly. Peaceful protests became angry mobs. It wasn’t like that everywhere, but unfortunately, the actions of some tainted what was to be considered a continued discussion on civil rights and justice. I am sad to say, we have yet to come together as a united community, BUT I AM NOT LOSING HOPE!

We are all human. We may be different in our upbringing, our race, our language, our looks, our sexuality, etc., but the one common denominator we share is we are a human species who, for the majority of us living on this fine earth, are seeking goodness, justice, love and compassion. We want to live in a world where we are respected not because of our stature, but because of our nature…our essence…our souls.

perfectly imperfect

We are not perfect. We all have flaws and jagged edges, just like the rocks I described. But together, we can make a wonderful community of diversity and challenge one another to be better to one another, lift each other up and stand by our fellow human being in times of turmoil and despair.

If a bunch of different rocks can be placed in a garden and co-exist without falling apart, why can’t we do the same?

Different rocks making one beautiful structure, co-existing as one

Patience certainly is a virtue

The definition of patient means bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint or steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity, as per the Merriam Webster Dictionary website.

The topic of patience has been on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it stems from what we have all been experiencing throughout 2020, or is it because of my own personal situations? All I know is that patience is a challenging attribute to achieve. It can be as simple as being patient while waiting for that perfect brew of coffee in the morning to start off my day. It can be waiting in line at the grocery store while there are 5 people ahead of me. How about sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office?

Those are just a few examples, but probably the most trying part of patience is dealing with people. I am at the point in my life where I am done with negativity and craziness around me. I have only recently learned to set boundaries to keep me away from the negatives in my life so that I learn to be more patient. I also give myself permission to “just be”. I am ok with taking my time to ease into my day and be gentle with myself when I don’t accomplish everything on my to do list. If it isn’t urgent, then it just gets added to tomorrow’s list.

It has been shown that having patience has health benefits! From reducing your stress levels to feeling more calm, having patience is one of the keys to living a good life.

What are our biggest stressors in life? Certainly our jobs, financial worries, family obligations and our health most likely top the list.

My job can be challenging. I am a caretaker. I need to be extremely patient with my client. They have special needs and demanding criteria to be met and even though I know I do a good job, I make mistakes and I can get on their nerves at times. They will lose their patience or get annoyed and I have to just listen and keep quiet and just continue doing my job. It can take a toll on me sometimes. There have been days I have left feeling upset or exhausted not just physically, but emotionally. It takes a very patient person to do what I do. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the right person.

Despite my doubts, I love what I do because I am helping another person. However, my patience has been put through the wringer and what happens is that I keep it all bottled inside and later lose my temper or become irritable later after leaving the job for the day. It’s not healthy because my family gets the short end of the stick. I am working on improving and be more intentional on to not take my emotions home with me. I have incorporated tools to help me start my day off on the right foot. Some of that is having certain rituals, like making a good cup of coffee, sitting on my deck and doing some yoga stretching. I also try to just sit and listen to the sounds around me and breathe. These little things have helped ground me and I do find that I’m not as irritable.

My afternoon routine is a bit different. Because of Covid, everyone is home…my husband, my kids. I don’t have a quiet space to just relax and unwind anymore since the self-quarantine began in March. After work, I tend to take a drive, grab something to eat, run errands if needed, but more importantly, find a place for me to just sit and decompress. Part of that does involve checking my social media, but sometimes it’s walking at a local trail, garden or just sitting in my car and listening to some tunes.

My family is sort of polar opposite of me and that can drive me a bit nuts. I am a talker, dreamer, and gal who thrives on interaction with others. They, on the other hand are quiet, reserved and keep to themselves most of the time. This environment tests my patience in a different way. Therefore, I find outlets to keep me going and try not to get upset if no one feels like talking to me. I rediscovered new hobbies and have made new friends. I don’t ever give up and continue to do what makes me happy. If I find myself losing my patience, I try some of the tips below. The key is to be mindful and intentional. As with anything, practice makes it better.

Here are tips to practicing patience:

  1. Write down your “to-do’s” in order to have your tasks in front of you and you can mark them off as you complete them. Many get satisfaction checking off their tasks as “DONE”. Visuals help!
  2. Reduce your expectations and be gentle with yourself. Once we let go of expectations, we don’t have anything to be disappointed about if things don’t work out how we hoped. And without that disappointment, we can then feel calmer, therefore, be more patient when life throws us those curveballs.
  3. Start your day off by doing something good for yourself. Exercise like walking or yoga, having a coffee date with a friend, writing in a gratitude journal or just listening to your favorite music are just a few ideas that can help. They can make you feel grounded and ready to conquer the day!
  4. Smile more. No, I’m not quoting from “Hamilton”, but smiling and laughing helps release endorphins, which in turn, reduce our stress. And if we don’t feel stress, we have the ability to have a clear mind and in turn, be more patient.
  5. ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS! This is my mantra for life. Enjoy the little things or moments. Love nature? Go out in your yard or visit a park and stroll around, observing the colors, scents and sounds. Tuning into our senses does wonders for our soul.

So, what are some ways YOU are striving to be more patient? Please leave a comment and share! I’d love to hear from you!

Sense of Humor

image taken from web

I have always considered myself someone with a good sense of humor. Not only do I make jokes, hoping for a reaction, I also can take jokes from others who may poke fun at situations or even me. However, there are times when making a joke can go too far and be hurtful. I call it the Will Ferrell syndrome. I love Will Ferrell, don’t get me wrong, but there are times in some of his movies that his characters go a bit too far and the funny becomes idiotic or too crass.

I have been the butt of many jokes with my friends and family and I typically have a thick skin and can laugh at myself. Heck, if you can’t laugh at yourself, then someone else will laugh at you anyway, so might as well have 1st crack at it, right? Yet, being the punch line of every joke can cause a person to be self conscientious or dig up memories that are painful. As a young kid and then middle school teen, I experienced a lot of bullying. It caused a lot of hurt for me for a long time, but I kept on trucking and eventually got away from the bullies once I began high school. It was like a clean slate and I was able to be myself again.

This post isn’t about bullying…I will save that for another time. I want to focus on our sense of humor.

This year is probably the perfect year for us to have a good sense of humor and laugh at all the situations we’ve experienced. I am not minimizing the tragedy of the pandemic, but trying to highlight how we have been able to handle the situation without going insane. I saw a quote saying “if we cannot laugh at ourselves, then we will all go insane.” I truly believe if we cannot laugh at ourselves or our situations, then we are lost. 2020 has been a test for us…how resilient we are and how kind we can be to others. Most of all, we can laugh at just about anything now because we have no other choice but to find a light side to this dark time.

I follow a few comedians who really get me laughing out. I love when you laugh so hard that your belly hurts. I find myself having just experienced the same exact situation and can nod my head in agreement and then just laugh! Boy, does it feel good! What is the old adage…laughter is the best medicine? It is certainly an endorphin booster!

Laughing out loud can help you relieve stress, lift your mood, help you forget your troubles and maybe even help you see a different perspective in what would not necessarily be considered a funny situation. For as long as comedians have existed, one thing has remained…making light of a serious situation to help us get through the day. Sure, we can wallow in our self pity and be angry at the world for throwing us another curveball to deal with and crawl back into bed. OR, think about this…we can take the circumstance, look it straight in the eye and LAUGH at it until we don’t even know why we were so angry!

There are serious things that we cannot laugh our way through and there are people out there truly suffering that need our help. I am merely pointing out that without a sense of humor, we can be pretty boring and sad souls. If we weren’t given the gift of laughter, then why do we smile or giggle? We have the ability to feel all kinds of emotions, including humor. And if you are easily offended, try looking at things differently before lashing out to the world. There’s enough negativity out there already. Instead of pointing out what are the downsides of something, let’s showcase the beauty of what brings happiness. Today, start with smiling and laughing. You will feel better that you did!

 #laughter #enjoythelittlemoments #somethingtothinkabout

After the Storm

Photo by Andrew Beatson on Pexels.com

We were recently hit by the latest hurricane Isaias, which impacted 100’s of thousands, especially in the Northeast. Five (5) days without power, internet and cell service has been a trial within the bigger trial of the worldwide pandemic. It was one thing having to stay home and adhere to social distancing and not seeing friends, etc. But in this day and age of our dependence of technology, not having power has caused a different kind of anxiety. Not having the ability to connect with the online community or make a simple phone call to a family member had certainly made me feel really disconnected. I also have found a new way of connecting with others on TIk Tok, following people who spread lots of positivity and good messages to help me start my day! My attitude on how I approach my day changed after listening to real people telling their stories or just sharing happy thoughts. I was missing my online community!!!

But, life is more than social media and I need to keep all of this in perspective. Life is about appreciating the little things in life. Before losing power, I would spend my morning making coffee, watching the birds from my kitchen window and then when I got myself going, would spend about 10 mins or more stretching out on my deck, doing modified yoga sun salutations. It really started my day. Then, I would go online, share my own positive thoughts on FB and share away. It’s been a good routine for me…starts my day and helps me be grounded and thankful.

Without power or the ability to connect online had set me off. My crabby feelings started creeping up again. I noticed I was getting more impatient. So this makes me really think about what makes things tick for me. Is it hearing from my “Hip Pocket Friends” on Tik Tok (moniker by @liquidshano) or my friend who always shares an inspirational message on Facebook with a picture that makes me think.

As much as I relish my days as a young 70’s/80’s kid, and all the simplicities we had, I have come to realize how much we really do rely on technology. Many are addicted to it and can’t live one day without texting, checking their statuses on FB, IG, etc. I must admit I do that. But I also realize that there must be balance. The reality is we cannot rely on social media to get us through the day. It may be a tool we can use to help us get started, but it shouldn’t be the reason why we conquer our day.

Perhaps this pandemic has heightened our dependence on social media because we are forced to stay home more. In the begininning we started new hobbies, spent time cooking and eating meals with our families more. But here we are, 5 months into this in the US and not a whole lot has changed in our habits. Some have continued their new found hobbies, while others have gotten over them and just want to go back to the previous “normal.”

My daily goal is to give thanks for what I do have. I have a roof over my head. My family is safe and healthy. And we do not need anything…we have plenty of food and supplies. There is nothing to complain about in the whole scheme of things. Life is GOOD! Oh, and I will find little things that bring me joy because that’s what can make me smile.

#attitudematters, #beintentional, #enjoythelittlethings

Welcome to My World

I love the sky. It brings me peace.

It seems I may be late to the blogging world. Most people have moved onto different platforms like YouTube or creating their own podcasts. I decided to start with a blog because I like to share my thoughts with basically everyone I encounter. I like spreading positivity, quotes, inspirational thoughts and anything in between. The world has become so toxic and I need some outlet aside from Tik Tok videos to get me through the day! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Tik Tok. I believe it is because of this app, I have rekindled the need to write again. The people I follow are truly inspirational folks and if it weren’t for their short daily video clips, I’m not sure if I would have the courage to start writing in a public forum.

Social media is the way of connecting in all kinds of levels. I didn’t think I would be THAT person to be part of it. It took me forever to join Instagram and Twitter, but I finally did because it was just necessary to be able to keep up to date and stay in touch with the world. I’ve been on Facebook (FB) for about 14 years since the birth of my 2nd child. I continue to be on FB, but in the past year, I am finding it to be a negative area of complaints and politics. Many of the public groups that were once a means of resource have become a forum for people to bash the government every moment they can or participate in cyber bullying.

Enter Covid-19 and the world shut down. Everyone watched as Italy closed down their country and suffered tremendous loss, while our country started thinking we needed to do something to “flatten the curve” so that we wouldn’t be as impacted like other countries. Unfortunately, the pandemic affected us worse than we thought and everyone just stayed home and self-quarantined. Eventually, the government stepped in to offer guidance, but at the cost of several lives lost.

So, what do middle-aged people do when they are forced to stay home, work from home and still need to deal with their families in closed quarters? Many turned to Tik Tok for the entertainment. I joined in mid to late May of 2020 and immediately was drawn to what this app had to offer. It became a daily ritual and because of the type of content I was seeking, I found people that shared the same ideas and thoughts as I did! We have become this little community (albeit, world wide) of folks seeking positivity and change. In a mere 15 or 60 second video clip, people started spreading good messages to the world with various hashtags so that others would be able to find them.

My kids say Tik Tok is not a positive environment and is just as bad as other social media platforms, but I really haven’t encountered that aspect of it personally. As with anything on social media, you can block, unfollow just scroll on by and move on. One of my favorite aspects of this app is that I have personally chatted or spoken to some of the bigger “tik tokkers” when they go Live and just answer questions, cook with you or just chill out. It’s a new way of socializing in these times of isolation.

One can certainly get caught up and spend hours on this app…maybe more so than Facebook or YouTube. There are many people that are creative, funny, inspirational, entertaining, you name it. And there is this sub-genre of tik tok…the gay/lesbian, the “regular” and the “creatives”. I’m still learning this aspect, but it is is intriguing because you’re able to find your community within the larger community of shared interests or values.

After getting to know some people on Tik Tok, about 3 or 4 people I interact with regularly have made an impact on me. I have found a voice and started changing my way of thinking. I have always tried to be happy and have fun and enjoy life, but I also allowed life’s stressors to disable or paralyze me, keeping me from being positive. I found Robert E Blackmon (@roberteblackmon), a Lifestyle coach with many other titles (fashion, entertainer, etc) and he has this short video segment called “Positive Vibes”. I love it because he summarizes one thing into a simple thought that is always positive and makes me think and starts my day. Then there is @Liquidshano1973 (Shane Leketa) who has a podcast called Coffee Talk. He’s in Maine and he has this wonderful voice just made for listening. He also shares his positivity daily along with his notorious cup of coffee to say, Cheers, and have a great day! It’s so nice to start the day off like that.

There are other Tik Tokkers that are doing great things…Richard a.k.a. “@mementovevir” and @supdaily as well as @scottdhenry. All these guys have one thing in common…spreading good, happy thoughts…telling their audience to be positive and smile…be happy and more importantly, to be kind.

You may think that this is all “kumbayaish”…heck, it probably is, but I think our world is DESPERATE to hear these messages more than ever. Main stream media and news outlets are full of negativity or bias stances. People are tired of the same thing with nothing ever changing. Enter Tik Tok…a place to unwind, smile, laugh, be silly, chat and hear something positive. Who wouldn’t be drawn to this platform? 

In the beginning, this app was geared towards young people…tweens and teens primarily. But soon afterwards, when Covid hit, the 30/40/50 plus somethings started taking over! It was great to see people like me on this app and I started creating my own content as well. I still consider myself a novice. I have a little over 300 followers, which sometimes makes me a bit discouraged because I notice others have 1,000s of followers and barely any content. But, it’s just a number, right?

The goal to reach 1K followers is kind of a big deal, though. It allows that person to go “live” and be able to chat with their people exclusively. This is where you invite your followers into your world…your home…on a more intimate level. I’d love to get to that point, but I have a way to go. And what is more important to me is the quality and content of those I follow or who follow me than just growing for the sake of growing a big following.

I am not in this to be famous. I am here to share my thoughts and spread the good news of loving life and being appreciative of what is given to us because life is too darn short to spend feeling sorry for ourselves or never finding joy in the little things in life. If I can make an impact on just one or two people here online, then I have succeeded. If I am able to help someone see how valuable they are, I will be so happy. I love people and it hurts me to see others suffering, especially my friends.

If I can’t hug you now because of Covid, then I am sending you my virtual hugs like (((this))) using my words and my smile. 🙂

#positivity, #attitudematters, #enjoythelittlethings, #beintentional