Posted in Blogging, Celebration, Kindness

Sharing the love & a whole lot of gratitude

Last week amongst a challenging week of loss, doctor’s office visits, and other difficult responsibilities, something super cool and positive happened for me also. I was chosen, worthy, picked, tagged and selected, at least it’s how it felt when a random act of kindness found me and took me by surprise. Someone linked to my blog and for a writer (although the link wasn’t to original content that was shared) there is no greater gift and accomplishment than being heard. To have your words being read, perhaps commented on and to top it off, have it shared.

Last week the little blog, now grown to nearly 3500 followers, received a lot of traffic and was up a whopping 423% for the week. At first I couldn’t figure out what was going on and where all the added interest came from, but then I saw that one of my referrers, directing traffic to my site was no other than Upworthy. Have you heard of Upworthy.com, how amazing is that. Please take a look if you are not familiar with their site.

Upworthy is a website dedicated to positive storytelling. It started in March 2012 by Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn, and Peter Koechley, the former managing editor of The Onion. One of Facebook’s co-founders, Chris Hughes was an early investor. In 2017, the company was acquired by Good Worldwide.

What a neat concept and mission. Thank you for making my day and my week. For picking my site, bringing interest and traffic to what I share. To making me feel that my voice matters. My mission on here is similar to yours as I share positivity and inspiration, that includes my journey of overcoming a chronic dis-ease, finding positivity in the challenges of our lives, as well as the daily pondering to the deeper meanings of our existence and reactions/feelings. Thank you for choosing ME with this random act of kindness that made a big difference and made my week. I hope you get to see this because you too should know how your actions have made a difference. Thank you 🙏🏼💙

Posted in Kindness, Mindfulness, Mother nature

The power of mindfulness

I thought this was pretty neat as I stumbled across it. It reminded me of mindfulness and how everybody can win when we work together. We will always be stronger in numbers vs if we are alone. We will always accomplish more as a team, with many hands and a diverse background.

This picture shows a drop of water on a tree leaf. 12 ants have gathered to drink…what’s amazing is that the ants have divided themselves into four groups. This is to maintain the balance of the water drop from tilting and then falling to the ground. It is a science of ants to cooperate and divide the share of water equally among them and give everyone his right.

Posted in Kindness, Life, Mindfulness

Only for a short while

Thanksgiving has passed and the pondering’s in my mind have been working overtime. I have work to do and haven’t been able to answer comments, nor attended to the blog too much. I can feel the words waiting to be written and a few posts about it will soon emerge. Words that need to hit the keyboard to make room in my head for more.

I feel peaceful today and for the first time in what feels like forever, I have some time to myself. Yeah there is a chore here and there, but the silence has returned and it has become obvious how much I need it these days. Too much noise, chatter and turmoil is draining me like nothing else, leaving me behind feeling exhausted and with a lack of energy. But today the sun is shining and the temps are mild. I can plan my day mostly for myself and perhaps a nap later will restore what is yet missing. But before that, I will take my little Cinnamon Girl for a walk to embrace every step while breathing in serenity with all the awareness I can muster. Hopefully it will be peaceful and we don’t have any bad encounters. The memories of being shot at recently still linger here and there, but I am ok.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how precious and how short our experience is on this planet, in this realm and in this way of being. We think of all the years we might have here in this lifetime, but in reality it is only for a short while. Shorter for some than for others and Dad has been on my mind recently having left us at such a young age. My thought have wandered to Mom as well, who had a much fuller life, but one that was filled with adversity and pain. And then I can’t help it but to think of my own and what is yet to be accomplished.

“Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us to each other, because we take form in your act of drawing us, and we take life in your painting us, and we breathe in your singing us.

But only for so short a while have you loaned us to each other. Because even drawing cut in obsidian faded, and the green feathers, the crown feathers, of the Quetzal bird lose their color, and even the sound of the waterfall die out in the dry season.

So we too, because only for a short while have you loaned us to each other.

~Aztec Indian Prayer

*take care of each other, for we are here only for a short while. 💙🙏🏼

Posted in Kindness, Life, Mindfulness

A moment in time and the impact of decades lived through

Photo credit: Google

Something raw was touched a few evenings ago. Something that needed releasing without me being aware of. It’s amazing how we carry on so often, if not always, powering through the moments and our days, doing our best to be in the moment, full of awareness, yet our shields are up and our swords are drawn in self defense. It happens automatically in the form of self defense that we have learned and grown accustomed to over the years. Whether it is from the driver encountered on the roadway that cuts us off and endangers our life, whether we are misunderstood and judged, leaving us feeling defeated in an unjust situation, used or abused, taken for granted or abandoned, or whether it is in some freak incident and someone decides to shoot at us, we often don’t realize how strong we are and have to be each day. It somehow becomes a way of life. After all haven’t we been conditioned to be this way from early on?

It took a long time for me to come to the conclusion that there comes a time when you have to put yourself first. When you have to look after yourself as to not run yourself into the ground. Coming to terms and changing the mindset of guilt and feeling selfish is often the most challenging piece of the journey. And yet when we encounter someone that lacks all compassion and is fully self absorbed, that’s a turnoff as well and we might view them as cold and heartless. So how do we find the balance, the in between, while taking care of ourselves without coming across as selfish. More and more each day I am learning that everything we experience and how we view the world can be tied back to a delicate balance. A balance we must find to feel comfortable in our being so we can eliminate longing, wishing and discontent.

I think balance is a key word. It’s a place where we learn to give and care for others but not at the cost of giving selflessly and not keeping an eye out for yourself. And as I write this, I feel that this is yet much deeper than that. There are numerous branches leading from the main path, numerous experiences, lessons, emotions and feelings that are unique to each one of us. It’s not a matter of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. Or I only care because of the benefits, of what I can get and reap from you. It’s never been about that, but tonight I was reminded that life beats us down sometimes. For quite a while perhaps, and we don’t even realize it. Day in and day out we do our best, wanting to believe and trick ourselves into thinking that we got it handled. Do we really? Is that the honest truth or did we skidded by, cheating ourself and everybody around us once more? Did we satisfy our conscience, or did we sent it packing? Sometimes these things lie under the surface and we don’t see them until something happens that is out of the ordinary and moves us.

A few days ago a man reached out to me who saw a post I made on a hiking website. He was drawn in by my story and my words and wants to know more while feeling a need to share his own story with me. Why and why he feels called to do so with me…he is unsure. This is not the first time that something like this had happened and people have sought me out many times before. Why, I don’t know and I used to joke about having missed my career goal of becoming a psychiatrist. Others have said it’s because I am rare, that I sincerely care, and that I haven’t grown up with the American culture. I am not sure what that is, but yes I have grown up under a different culture. But why is it that it always takes me by such surprise when somebody reaches out? Like it’s something so unusual, why would someone want to reach out to ME! It’s almost as if at those times I have lost my confidence, my self worth. Perhaps I think there is nothing special, nothing worthwhile to be gained, while other times I feel there is everything to be gained by reaching out to me because I am rare and different. Life has surely beaten me down a few times, gave me false beliefs and understandings, a wrong perception and self worth that struggled at times. Here and there remains a small reminder of a wound that was created and initiated a long, long time ago. But I don’t live in that reality anymore and when it surfaces, I cry or do whatever I need to to heal and reinforce myself with unconditional love and understanding.

To add to that evening, a dear friend contacted me. One that shares a strong bond despite of how little we talk and that we have never met. She stumbled across some seat-covers that would be perfect for my jeep and out of the blue asked what color the jeep was. She said that she wanted me to have them because I am special and that I am the best dog mom ever. It was a combination of the two that send me over the edge and made me cry that evening. It wasn’t because I was sought out, because I was to gain something of material worth, but because my own worth was acknowledged. Somebody thought of me, found me worthy, wanted to do something, a random act of kindness, directed at me. It made me think of how seldom these things happen. How strong we have to be the rest of the time, powering through our days with our shields drawn. It made me feel as if kindness has become something out of the ordinary. That we are so used to defend ourselves, why we withdraw so often and become isolated and sheltered. The risks are simply too high and yet I choose this road off the beaten path.

Here I sat, overcome, experiencing a seldom moment of kindness, being thought of and valued, realizing that my shields have been up, although I fight so hard to lower them. It might become a conquest for the rest of my life, and no matter how many times I get hurt throughout it, I will take that risk because a life with shields drawn is not freedom, nor the life I want to live. Maybe you find this naive, but I am not oblivious to what’s going on. I know things will happen, that some circumstances will be taken advantage off, friendships will be taken for granted or else. In fact you will get hurt many times over, but the only thing that is on me, is the opportunity to heal that hurt. Within myself first and within others. For they don’t know what they are doing.

Posted in Health, Kindness, Life

A cozy day

Lake Tahoe last winter

Rain and snow has arrived and by all means we need it. What surprises me is the amount that we have seen. Days of almost non stop precipitation with a 100% chance every hour. Tonight the rain will switch over to snow for at least a 12 hour period and my little Cinnamon Girl is getting anxious inside. While it’s cozy to me and the kind of weather you cuddle up with a blanket and watch the world outside, read a good book or else entertain yourself, she is missing her time outside, running, exploring and sniffing the wilderness. Hopefully by tomorrow we can spend some time in the snow and perhaps even build a snow man. I bought snow boots just in time and we will see what the hours ahead hold.

I did a lot of running around this weekend, getting Cinnamon vaccinated for rabies and distemper, getting two cars smog checked, registered, renewing Cinnamon’s Dog License, celebrating my girlfriends birthday, donating to a Fur-Babies emergency surgery, cleaning with lots of moral support for a loved one, researching auto insurance quotes, baking a Cheesecake with mixed berry topping – yum, and much more. Quite frankly a few slower days are just what I am looking forward to. A few days of writing, crafting, more research and the random pondering’s that come to mind every day. Perhaps I should say slower in the sense of emotional demand. It’s horrible to watch a sick person suffer in extremes. To feel helpless, unable to make a physical difference, although the emotional and moral support is just as important. It’s draining however and this has been a bad weekend as far as that goes. I feel worried, but I also have to keep the delicate balance for myself in check so I don’t inadvertently take a step backwards.

Life is a constant give and take. An upholding of a delicate balance. Enjoy each moment, even the tough ones, everything can change in the blink of an eye.

Posted in Christmas, Holidays, Kindness

The Christmas towel

It’s Christmas Eve and more than ever we need to believe in the magic of this season. This year it is a season that has been stripped of festivities and gatherings to spread warmth’s and joy. Where there are usually bustling Christmas markets, family gatherings and a time that is spent together, we are facing loneliness and isolation. More than ever we need to believe in the magic of life and the world itself, no matter how difficult it might get.

I remember back to a holiday when a neighbor gifted me a Christmas towel. It came attached with a poem called “The Christmas towel.” Something so simply, yet so profound and meaningful. In all honesty, I don’t think I ever truly captured it’s meaning and value until recently. All of a sudden it strikes a different chord and stirs something that sinks deeply within the heart to be cherished and held onto for all eternity.

Years later, I hope to pick a beautiful towel, perhaps the next time while shopping, wrap it up beautifully and write the poem on festive paper. Years later I feel the need to pay it forward to someone in the hopes of spreading a little Christmas spirit. Have you heard of the poem and this tradition before? If you have I’d love to hear your experiences with it, and if not…well I’d like to hear your thoughts anyways. Here is the poem.

The Christmas towel

At first glance, it is easy to look at a towel as a most ordinary object. Have you ever stopped to think that for thousands of years, the towel has been used for many wonderful purposes? For example, the mother who wipes the tears of a child, the physician who binds the wounds of a patient, or the woman in her home wiping her hands as she moves from task to task.

Perhaps the most significant use of the towel happened nearly two thousand years ago when our Savior, only hours before He hung on the cross, took an ordinary towel in His loving hands and dried the feet of His disciples. This simple, loving act personifies the selflessness and loving service we seek to give during our lives. It illustrates that an ordinary thing like a towel, in the right hands, and with a giving heart, can lighten another’s load. As with every action performed by the Savior on this earth, His act of service reminds us that simple day to day kindnesses are the Savior’s way to bless and comfort.

This towel is given with love and with the hope you will do works of goodness with it as the Savior did so many years ago. May the absorbing spirit of the season blot out our problems, soak up our sorrows, wipe away difficulties, and may your Christmas be shining and bright!

Posted in Chronic illness, Kindness, Life

And just like that…Life was good again 💙

Thursday night was worse then any other night prior. I hardly slept and didn’t know how to make it through. It was taking it’s toll and wearing me down at rapid speeds. The regular dose of 400 mg ibuprofen wasn’t working for days, and yet I hoped it could lessen the blow and take the edge of enough to get closer to a more tolerable level. It didn’t, and I winced, screamed and cried all night. I was waiting for my soul sister to send me some healing and I was so ready to perceive it wholeheartedly and gratefully. I knew that there were a few people that worried a great deal about me, and I began to worry myself.

Dawn was finally breaking and the first streaks of light were greeting the day. I got up, knowing damned well that it would take me hours to get going before I could be on my way to see the doctor.

Somehow I managed to make coffee with my swollen and shaky hands. The skin was smooth and tight, with a sheen from every little wrinkle that was now gone and disappeared. It was easy to see how stretched my skin was, and the shaking was a clear sign of inflammation and distress. I was in pain and I was beyond miserable. The hours ticked by and I had until noon to make it to the doctor. I wanted to be there by 10 AM, and really it came down to a matter of the sooner, the better. Everything was so much effort. Pulling my pants up, brushing my hair, Life had truly become a challenge, and I couldn’t perform the simplest of things. Finally I was sitting in the waiting room, with no insurance and in dire straits. I waited for two hours until all appointments and other walk ins were helped. During that time, I had too much time on my hands to think, feeling like a social case, or on welfare, not that anything is wrong with that, and I’m sure most of us have fallen on hard times a time or two, it was just my first and I felt helpless and vulnerable. It was another lesson to be learned and to be appreciated. Just the day before visiting Mom, her doctor came to readjust her glucose medicine. A nurse saw my swollen hands and asked me how I injured myself. I told her that I have rheumatoid arthritis and that I am in a lot of pain. She understandingly nodded towards me and then turned to Moms doctor. I could hear the unspoken question from her hoping that he, the doctor would have some advice for me. But he wasn’t interested at all, he quickly glanced over at my hands and turned to precede what he was doing as if nothing happened. The subject died right then, and I knew I would be on my own. Did I really expect anything from him? I’m not sure and all I know is that I was starting to get scared. I knew this flare up wouldn’t go away by itself, I knew that I needed help and I just had hit my first strike out.

One day later at noon I was called into the examining room at the doctor Angie arranged for me to see. I initially talked to the doctors wife who also works in the Praxis. I’ve known her from when I was sixteen, and we used to live in the same house at one point but lost contact over the years. Crazy how much time had passed since then. She reached out to shake my hand and I begged her not to squeeze too hard. Her attention fell onto my swollen limb, and her frightened and concerned look said it all. It was an emergency and a much different reaction as the one from Moms doctor the day before. Shortly afterwards blood was taken and several tests were ordered to see what’s going on in the body. I got a shot for my rheumatoid Arthritis that seemed to work immediately. The tightness in my hands eased or at least the throbbing became more tolerable and didn’t get worse. I received instructions on how to change my diet and how to cut out foods that cause inflammation. We talked about Mom and what it’s been like for the past six month. The question came up on how I was coping with everything and what my support system was. At the end it was suggested to get another shot for my psyche to help me get a little distance to all of it. Basically to give me a break. I was indeed in need of a break. Perhaps it was due to fighting back the tears throughout the consultation that made me appear as vulnerable and worn. I was so overcome from the kindness that was bestowed onto me, to be told not to worry about a thing, to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and to get better, without anything in return that was taking me off guard. For someone to help and look beyond the dollar signs, with a desire of wanting to help because they once took an oath to help anyone in need, brought me to my knees. I had no idea this still existed and it felt dreamlike. A beautiful dream about how mankind used to be before greed took over. Was this really happening? I left with tears in my eyes, walking down the hallway, unable to turn around to show my ugly crying face. I would be back on Tuesday to go over the blood work and I knew that I wasn’t out of the woods by any means. Yet I felt so much better. My symptoms improved throughout the day and by the evening I was fully functioning. I was even looking forward going to bed that night, and catching up on the sleep I didn’t find in recent nights. I was laying on my bed, looking at the fairies dancing in the solar lights on my windowsill. It was silent and I felt good. For the first time I wasn’t flinching in pain, my heart was rhythmic and slow and the blood pressure of 150-100 from earlier that day seemed to have found a much calmer pace. I cried so many times throughout that day, overcome by emotion, part relief, and partly because of the kindness and help that I’d received. The care and sincerity, the genuine desire to help was truly godsend and came at a time when I had nothing left. Not a minute to soon, but almost a minute too late.

And just like that…life was good again and a miracle happened. I felt motivated and I had gained a new outlook on life. Another chance to get it right, to make healthier choices, to shape up again, to be the best version possible and I hope this would last for a very long time. It’s always easy to stay positive and motivated when the pain is at bay. It’s another when you are in pain.