Last Week Was National Kindness Day ♥️ It Was Also Red Cardigan Day…If Ever There Was A Time…

If ever there was a time…it is now to…say a kind word, give a helping hand, show gratitude to another for the impact they have had on you, build community one act at a time. There are so many ways to show kindness to each other. I believe that every day needs to be World Kindness Day.

There are so many people out there that are spokespersons for kindness and Mister Rogers was one of them. He was/is famous not only for his ‘signature’ cardigans but for his words of wisdom about kindness. But is wasn’t just kindness that Mister Rogers exemplified. He taught children how to ‘do life’.

My hubby grew up in Pittsburgh and there, Mister Rogers was an icon. He even had a part of Idyllwild park, an amusement park nearby, dedicated to his show. We visited the park when we were visiting relatives near Pittsburgh. It was a ‘come alive’ life size experience visiting all the parts of Mister Rogers’ neighborhood. He was a member of the community in Pittsburgh and was well known, in real life, for his goodness. It is hearts like his that we need most in this world.

Have you ever had that experience when someone does something nice for you and it gives you that ‘pick me up’ sort of feeling. Many children got that feeling by watching his show. They walked away from his show feeling loved, empowered, and understood. On his show, he talked about how we are all neighbors and we may disagree sometimes but we can still be kind and nice to each other and try to understand each other.

Personally, there are some days I feel so drained by the messages from our world…the negative things that occur regularly…the anger, the fear, the meanness towards each other…but, then, someone counters that by showing a kindness or shows they care and it gives me energy and hope and a much lighter feeling to continue my day. For me, it doesn’t even have to be a kindness shown to me, I only need to see it or hear about it and it’s a ‘pick me upper.’ Surely, most everyone else receives a similar feeling when someone is kind toward them. I think that is what Mister Rogers was about. He was all about providing the comfort, the healing, the caring, the love, the hope, and the understanding. He wanted everyone to feel valued and loved. He was bold enough to talk about feelings and life. He didn’t want people, especially children to feel sad, hurt, or scared but, if they did, he wanted them to know that they were not alone and that this world is packed full of good…we just need to look for it and provide it when it was missing.

“Look for the helpers”, his mother would say. This quote resonates with me. They are the ones that make this world what it is. They tend to us when we are in trauma, in struggles, when we are hurting, when we are scared, when we are lost…and need someone to throw us a lifeline. I wonder if he knew that he was one of those ‘helpers’?

We all struggle at some point in our lives. We either walk through valleys and steadily climb the mountains of life or we are somewhere in between or we get ‘stuck’ in one of those journeys and need a helping hand to pull ourselves out. Receiving help from another can make all the difference to someone. And, the touch or a kind act from someone can do wonders for our hearts and souls too and isn’t that the end goal anyway…to help someone feel better, make their life a little easier, and to show we care? You know…to be a “mister rogers.” 🙂

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Having been on both the giving and the receiving ends of kindness, I know that I am blessed both ways. It’s obvious that others doing an act of kindness for us blesses us and that is wonderful but, when we do an act of kindness for others, it does something for us too. It makes us feel good and changes our frame of mind and that too is a blessing.

Years ago, we had an elderly neighbor named Vera who lived next door. Everyday there was a knock on the door with her asking for help to open a jar or some other task that proved too much for her.

In the end though, I realized that she showed much more kindness to me then I ever could have given her and I am forever grateful for her presence in my life, the times she ‘needed’ me, the ‘tons’ of advice she gave me, being a ‘local grandma’ to my daughter, making my daughter a beautiful crocheted purple and white blanket that she still has, and sharing with me stories of her life. She truly brightened my life during a very difficult time. She was a wonderful neighbor. What started as one act of kindness that she requested from me turned into being a gift for both of us. Just imagine what we can do if we each show kindness to others everyday.

Lesson learned…the power of kindness, the power of caring…can change one person’s world and can change the whole world for us all if we all participate not just in World Kindness Day and Red Cardigan Day when they roll around but in showing KINDNESS everyday🌎

My hope for you is that someone has brightened your life by reaching out to show you a kindness today💚🌎💚

I am so thankful for the life of Mister Rogers…be sure to catch his story in “It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” in theaters November 22.

Never Too Late and It Was Worth The Wait!

I recognize that many of you are heading into winter weather but, for us, the Fall colors are just now finally arriving. It’s beautiful and fills our souls with peace and calmness. A much needed expression of hope, beauty, and peace to settle us down during this hectic time.

Have a wonderful week celebrating all the beauty our world has to offer…

Lesson learned this week: Don’t forget to take a day off. Today, I spoke to someone who literally never takes a day off. He works seven days a week and then in January takes a vacation. We ALL need days off throughout the year to re energize and slow down just a bit from the daily routines and work.

The Triangle In The Sky

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The photo above is of “the spooky tree” given it’s name by one of our trick or treaters…It’s a decades old oak tree that sits at the beginning of our driveway

On Saturday night in our little town in one of the little neighborhoods on the Peninsula, we celebrated Halloween. It’s a really big event for our little town of 3,800 people. We start celebrating on the Saturday before Halloween with a festival in the afternoon and at dusk on that evening, the roads light up with decorated golf carts and hayrides, many originating at the festival and making their way from house to house. Then, on Halloween, our ladies group in our town host a trunk or treat event at city hall with our one elementary school hosting it’s trunk or treat in between these two happenings. Everyone has a wonderful time and its a great time to meet any newcomers that have moved in during the year.

Each year, we sit out and hand out candy, visit with neighbors we haven’t seen in a while and ooh and aah over the cute costumes and the decorated carts and trailers. This year was no different. We had over 150 kids of all ages and many parents walk up our driveway to trick or treat.

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We live in a designated low light area and with that we can look up at the night sky and see meteors, shooting stars, and a magnitude of stars gracing the clear night sky. The darkness as well, provides a wonderful place for the night creatures to live and serenade us with their beautiful sounds. Saturday night was no different, once all the festivities were done, we sat out around the firepit and looked up at the night sky.

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It was beautiful and clear and filled with stars. There were three stars in the shape of a triangle that caught my attention that night and I am not sure why I never noticed them before.

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Photo credit: Earthsky.com

I love ‘all things sky’ and we raised our children to have an appreciation of the stars, the moon, the constellations and planets, and the meteors. We tend to be a bit fanatical about it sometimes and it’s not uncommon for us wake up really early or go out really, really late at night to experience a night sky phenomena. Saturday night did not disappoint. It was a very dark night, so dark that earlier we had worried about the ‘trick or treaters’ making their way up our driveway safely. As we sat surrounded by the darkness with only the fire lighting our night, we had an amazing view of many stars and a few planets and so that triangle grabbed my attention on that cool, crisp night.

We discovered that even though it is the end of October, we were still seeing what is known as the summer triangle. There are three stars that make up the summer triangle and each star is from a different constellation. Each of these three stars(Vega, Deneb, and Altair) has the distinction of being the brightest star in their respective constellation.

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My lesson learned on Saturday night…I now look to the sky with a new perspective. I remember to look for shapes just as I do when it is daytime and I am spending a little time doing some cloud watching…one of my favorite past-times. The sky is one of my ‘happy places’ during the day and also at night. Do you enjoy the night sky?

Have a wonderful and blessed Tuesday and if you happen to have a clear sky tonight, go check out the stars and if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, see if you can spot the triangle 🙂 and when you do, you might get an added bonus and find the milky way. What do you look for when you look up into the night sky?

Take My Hand

The healing value of hands…

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photo: pexels.com

When my children were little, I would tell them to hold my hand. I did that primarily when we were crossing a street, in a busy place and I wanted to keep them nearby, and when I wanted to make sure we were connected. I did it so that I was completely sure they were protected. And, yet, even though I thought I was doing it for me, it also helped them to feel safe and secure.

From the time we are all very young, we learn to grasp things with our hands. We learn to value the many things we can do with our hands. We use them to help each other. We use them to feel safe by grabbing the hand of another, we use them to feel connected, to write, to build, and to create beautiful things. We use them to show love, care, a sense of connection, and value to another person or living thing. And, we use our hands to heal each other.

When my hubby and I were first dating, we held hands as we walked and anytime we wanted to feel close. Now we hold hands while watching a movie or shows, when we pray before meals, and when we just yearn for that connection.

It’s about saying your presence helps me feel better without actually speaking the words. What we can do with our hands has always been something that I hold dear to my heart and so the other day when I was watching the show The Good Doctor, my attention was drawn toward the lesson Shaun was experiencing. Shaun’s character portrays a person with autism who is also a doctor.

I enjoy this show very much from the standpoint of a special education teacher who worked with, taught and learned valuable insight from many individuals with autism. I saw the daily struggles they dealt with when it came to understanding and not understanding social and life cues.

In the show, Shaun is uncomfortable with the sense of touch. He is slowly learning that it feels good to hold someone’s hand…that it gives him and the other person a way to connect and to feel support and even though he feels strange about it, he is also discovering it’s benefits.

Holding hands can also be therapeutic simply by taking the hand of someone who is dealing with fear, facing danger, or someone who is grieving…it’s a way for them to know that someone ‘has their back’, is right there with them and they are not alone.

We were never meant to go through life alone. When I think of the many times that someone has helped me feel better simply by using their hands, I feel valued, blessed, and loved and that is a beautiful feeling…one that I want to not only receive but also to give.

Lessons learned: I am so thankful for all the caring and loving people in my life that express themselves and their care of others by using their hands. It reminds me to watch out for others and to show care to those in need of love, healing, a connection to another, or to feel safe. There is a famous song by the Beatles called…I Want To Hold Your Hand. It’s a gentle reminder that we have it in us to let others know how much we care simply by taking their hand. We were never meant to go through this life alone. We were meant to give each other a helping and loving hand.

For A Reason, For A Season

They say…that friends come into our lives for a season and for a reason. I know this sounds cliche’ but this is one of life’s true and universal statements. It’s also true that many people come into our lives for a purpose. Maybe it’s just to drop a little message to us that we need to hear or to give us an example of how to be or how not to be…but the intention is to make an impact on us in some way.

Friends I thought I would stay best friends with for my entire life are either no longer a part of my life or scarce…and friends I never expected to be friends with have become mainstays. Life is like that…always changing and many times…it’s not what we expect. But I am thankful for each of them and for what we have brought to each other’s lives.

In all of these cases, each friend has enriched and blessed my life in some way. Many have taught me, many have helped me become a better person, many have brought joy to my life and have helped me through some battered times. And, only a few have brought hardship, hurt, and sadness yet they too were here for a reason, I accept that, and THANKFULLY only for the season 🙂 I, in turn hope that I have done some good in their lives. Although, I have to admit that friendship is one of the things I feel like I don’t ‘do’ well. 🙂

But, there is a story I would like to tell you, about a woman who did have the whole friendship thing down although I believe, she too, would have said she didn’t feel like she was good at it. She was pretty humble. Her name was Anne and she was the epitome of friendship. She was kind, helpful and caring and she was genuine. When she was thinking about me, she would pick up the phone and call me. She enouraged me and I hope I did the same for her. When she would visit me, we would sit at the kitchen table talking about anything and everything sometimes into the night and into the early hours of the morning. She encouraged me to be me, to go on adventures, and to love and care for others. She had ‘my back’ and I had hers in the good times and in the not so good times. And, here’s the thing…I wasn’t Anne’s best friend but I felt loved by her, included and valued by her and to me, that is what friendship is all about.

I remember one such time in my life where my little family and I were ‘hit hard’. I couldn’t talk to anyone, I was immobilized by the tragedy at hand, heartbroken, and stuck in grief but she wouldn’t give up. She kept calling until I picked up the phone and she got me talking, crying, and even laughing, and working through the loss of our unborn baby. She is no longer in my life although the impact she made on it is visible every single day of it.

My HOPE for all of you is that you have many friendships where you feel loved and valued by another simply because you are YOU ❤ Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Lessons learned… Cherish the people, the friends, in your life in each moment and cherish those who stay in your life in all circumstances.

The Stories In Our Town

There is this woman who works the farm and ranch right across from our city hall. I have seen this woman out multiple times over the few years that we have lived here working her land and I have often wondered about the life she lives when I see her on the huge hay thrasher that tends to dwarf her five foot petite frame. What brought this 50 something woman with a long blond ponytail and a hat to shade her eyes to live this life. As I drive in to town, I see her harvesting her hay or using some other piece of farming equipment and sometimes see her near the corral where her gray stallion and the other beautiful horses gallop around and, I wonder, what’s the story here. Is she there working the land and managing her horses alone or is there an entire family in that big house on the hill?

I mentioned my curiosity about her at a party on Sunday night and many of the long time residents of our little town filled in the blanks for me. She has lived there for many, many years and has grown and harvested the hay for as long as they remember. It is her farm and ranch. She also enters competitions for her hay and raises it for that purpose and to sell it.

Now, with my new knowledge, my thoughts of her interesting life are of me wondering if she knows the pleasure and the joy she gives others simply by doing what she is most passionate about. When the land is a bright green color, it is breathtaking to see. I think the reason she intrigues me so much is because she chose a path not often taken, a path that brought her out in nature and a path that brings joy to herself and to others.

I have also learned many a lesson from her over the couple of years we have been here. Here are a few snippets…do what you love, keep a strong work ethic as the rewards are great, think out of the box…who knew there was a competition for hay? :-), and the big one…you can do anything you set your mind to doing.

Have a wonderful rest of the week! And, may you find the things you want to do in life and have the courage to do them!

I Accept

Photo credit: pexels.com

I have finally reached the point of ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance of the way things are that I have no control over. Acceptance of health I have or don’t have, acceptance that, if I don’t accept things and start preserving my health, I really can’t move on to where I want and need to be. I must accept the physical limitations to reach where I have always wanted to be. This stage…I call, my journey home. Home to the life I have always dreamed of and where I feel free to be me. It will accompany the 3rd Act we are now living here in the country. My life has been a very blessed one so far but I tend to try to do more physically than is healthy for me. I had always pushed hard because anything less than that would be, to me, failure.

Years ago, I remember reading a story about a man who was well along into living his life. He had just been accepted to medical school and on the evening of the second day of classes, he was at the pool with friends and did a high dive off the diving board. His life changed in an instant. Little did he know as he was experiencing that feeling of exhilaration in a free fall dive in to the water that he would not come back up on his own. The dive broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the waist down with only limited use of his hands and arms. His story could have ended there but it didn’t as Charles Krauthammer persevered and would go on to graduate with his original Harvard Medical School class and become chief resident in his final year of residency. He graduated as a psychiatrist and went on to discover a mental illness related to bipolar disorder, but a secondary disorder that could eventually signal dementia in older adults. His discovery in this area led him the following year to delve into the epidemiology of bipolar disorder and this published research actually launched his career into psychiatric research and landed him in Washington, D.C. to work with the Carter administration. At that time, he began to pen essays that got him the attention that would later build his career as a political columnist. His famous words as a person and as a psychiatrist are what resonate with me each and every time I start to feel down about the things I can’t do right now.

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, columnist
Photo credit: google images

His words regarding his accident…”my one bad break.” Overall, I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand.” “I have given what happened 100% ACCEPTANCE”…”All it means is whatever I do is a little bit harder and a little bit slower,: and that’s basically it…everybody has their cross to bear…everybody.” He also said “I made a vow when I was injured that it would never be what would characterize my life.”

His words speak to my heart and remind me to remember the lessons learned. Always be grateful for what you have, find solutions for a great life within your circumstances, create a focus that makes a positive impact on the world, let your voice be heard, and always strive for the dreams you are wanting to achieve.

So, if I seem to be a bit more scarce these days it is that I am picking, choosing, and being selective in the activities I choose to be a part of. I know that I cannot keep physically pushing hard like I have been doing and so I am now choosing to “do the things I can and forget about the things that I can’t” do or would be too much for me. So, please do not feel neglected and feel free to reach out to me if I haven’t reached out to you in a while. Hugs to all <3, have a wonderful and love filled day ❤

Lil’ Blue and The Hummingbirds

Lil’ Blue has been frequenting our patio hummingbird feeder for two summers now. Last summer he would follow along with his friend Greenie. We haven’t seen Greenie much this year but Lil’ Blue comes around at least two or three times a day.

Lately, he stops, midair, and just looks at me sitting below.

Each day he gets closer and closer to where I sit and we have short conversations…he is always the listener in the convo though while he flutters. When he comes solely to drink he arrives with a friend, they dive to the feeder, Blue drinks first, darts to the big oak tree and his friend sips from the feeder then chases after Lil’ Blue.

I recently saw some information about the characteristics and behaviors of hummingbirds and our hummingbirds just don’t fit the mold as they do like to spend time together. It almost appears as if they are best buddies or maybe family.

Fun facts, behaviors, and characteristics of the hummingbird...

Hummingbirds are not found in Europe, Asia, Australia, or Antarctica.

Hummingbirds are called hummingbirds because of the sound they create by their rapidly beating wings. I just love that sound.

A flock of hummingbirds is called a charm, a glittering, or a bouquet. Well of course! They are very ‘charming’ even by themselves😊.

A female hummingbird will many times make more than one nest using the extra one as a decoy to keep herself and her eggs safe from predators. They are fierce protectors of their young ones. Just like most human mammas.

Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop. Ha!, maybe that is why we relate so well with each other😊

Hummingbirds have strong recall capabilities. They are very smart and are able to remember people and places from year to year. I feel like I have a real connection with these little ‘guys’.

They are able to see things into the ultraviolet range and are attracted to the color red. Yet another reason I love them❤️.

Many of them sport beautiful colors such as Greenie💚. She has the most beautiful green I have seen in a long time all along her back and chest. And, we gave Lil Blue his name because of his blue body.

I found the above picture on Pinterest and it comes the closest to what Greenie amd Lil Blue look like.

They are the only bird that can fly backwards. Another reason we get along so well. They like to do things differently. They are the smallest migrating bird and they are known to travel alone for up to 500 miles at a time. I, too, love traveling many miles at a time😄.

Hummingbirds can travel as fast as 30 mph and when in a dive, up to 60 mph.

Despite their smallness, they are a very aggressive bird and have been known to attack much larger birds like crows, jay, and even hawks. The other day while Lil’ Blue was visiting me, a wasp came up. At that point, Lil’ Blue went to the feeder, the wasp followed and Lil’ Blue attacked him. The wasp flew on quickly. You just don’t mess with Lil’ Blue or any of the hummingbirds. I also saw him and another bird fluttering about in the tree. That bird was much bigger but Lil’ Blue didn’t hesitate to ‘push’ him out of the way.

I’ve learned many a lesson by watching and interacting with these beautiful, smart, and courageous birds.

I’ve learned to have courage and to stand up for what I need and place boundaries in ‘my territory’ (my space, my time, my life so that others don’t trample). I’ve learned to be strong and stand up for what is right especially if someone is doing wrong to another. I’ve learned to slow down and interact with nature.

Another lesson learned: ‘do what you can and not be concerned about the things that you can’t’ do. These amazing birds use what they have and do quite well.

And, one of the biggest lessons learned from these tiny little creatures is to use all our senses, talents, gifts and attributes we are given to experience life to its fullest each and every day.

Have a wonderful rest of the week☀️💚☀️, take some time to look around and enjoy the beauty and lessons.

Thankful Thursday… thankful for the Lake

I was counting blessings today. It’s good for me to do that often 🙂 and one of the things that I am most thankful for is being so close to the lake and I was grateful that I walked all the way to the waters edge and sat for a bit.

As I sat there, these were some of the things that caught my eyes.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the tranquility I got to experience today. 💚☀️💚

The Kitchen

‘The Kitchen is The Heart of every Bakery, every Diner, every Restaurant and every HOME’

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The kitchen…

In every home we have lived in, the kitchen has meant a great deal to me. It’s where I can create wonderful dishes for my guests and my family to enjoy. Traditions were and are created in all of our kitchens. The pictures you see are of my last kitchen where most of our traditions originated and a large majority of our celebrations came to life.

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It will always be one of my favorite places as I spent 23 years in this one creating so many recipes. This kitchen is where the kids helped me create special dishes like the Christmas Eve lasagna that soon became a favorite… and where we created and baked treats. It’s where my mom and dad made jelly and homemade bread with mine and my sister’s kids. This kitchen hosted many a holiday and many early weekend mornings baking. This kitchen is where the first Mickey Cake originated thanks to Maurice Sendak’s book called “In The Night Kitchen”. He was one of our favorite authors when our children were little. It’s where we perfected our chocolate fudge recipe together…first with my daughter, then with my son. It’s where they both learned to cook.

A new tradition begins tomorrow. In my kitchen I have now, I will be making peach jam for the first time and I will be making Tabouli (Tabbouleh). It is one of my son’s favorites and it brings back memories of the Mediterranean market that he and I would frequent on Saturday mornings and we’d go to their kitchen and order our Tabouli, hummus, and sometimes the meats that the chef would make to take home or to friends’ places to share. The chef there always made us feel welcome as if we were walking into his own kitchen in his home. He would sit us down and have us try different things he prepared that day. It was a wonderful experience. And, so, I will make this Tabouli to take for my son to enjoy when we visit him soon.

Now you see why I know that the kitchen is the heart of every home, every bakery, every restaurant, and every diner. There are so many stories that revolve around ‘the kitchen.’ It is what brings people back asking for more of, not just the food, but also the atmosphere, the fun, the feelings, and the celebrations. The kitchen feeds the family, the friend, the guests and teaches our children lifelong skills, as it also feeds our souls by building relationships, traditions, and memories.

Wishing all of you many happy experiences in the kitchens that have become a part of your lives.

Happy Tuesday!