The Happiness “Fickle” Dilemma

Dear Reader:

Isn’t it frustrating that happiness is so elusive…sometimes it arrives in bulk and spills over into our whole day, then other times it appears for only minutes and then dissipates when we let negative news chase it away.

We, then have a tendency to go backwards to a happier time and compare it to now. We don’t always “get it.” Happiness isn’t a point in time that we leave behind; it’s what lies ahead of us…every single day.”

Case-in-point: My back yard neighbor, Donna Clark, called and was heading to the store and wanted to know if she could pick anything up for me…I was hard at it in the garden when the phone rang…and immediately I said “eggs.”

I told her…”I know you won’t be able to find any…I have tried numerous times so I am not really expecting any…but if by sheer luck…Peter Cottontail left some eggs on the bunny trail or aisle in some store…I have craved a scrambled egg toast sandwich since the quarantine started.”

An hour later…as I was bringing debris from the back yard to the front to throw away…Donna was heading up my porch steps…she had eggs!!!!!!! Not only did she have eggs and an amazing surcie…but a great story.

She told me that a crowd of people started moving towards one section of the store where she happened to be and she was able to grab some toilet paper…and brought me one bag of TP back. We were both giddy…jumping up and down. (These two grocery treasures are just as “good as gold” to us!) My Lucky Charm…. The very lucky Irish lineage shopper of the day… Donna Clark!

Yes…unknown to us…“Happiness lies ahead …the potential in every single day.”

My happiness will continue day after day because I planted flowers for the deck, yesterday, that will bloom every single day.

As long as there is a beautiful rose blooming…life is good and happiness is beauty in all forms.

***I came across the cutest story on-line yesterday…and must share it with you…titled “Man’s Best Friend.” 

In these difficult days, when all the medics and other health officials are begging people to play their part in stopping the novel coronavirus from spreading so rapidly and practice social distancing and even stay home if you can despite not having traveled anywhere in the recent weeks, people are trying to be creative in finding ways to continue with their daily lives as normally as possible.

That being said, it seems that people are pretty capable of finding ways to stick to their familiar routines and meet their families and neighbors as safely as possible…to fulfill the need for connection but it’s a little bit more difficult when it comes to a craving as simple as the pleasure of a single bag of “Cheetos” since going to a store would expose you to people outside your social circle and therefore would put you at a higher risk of infection. However, this Mexican man found an ingenious solution on how to avoid that.(Author: Judita Kusaityte)

*In a quick summary….Antonio Munoz was in day three of the quarantine in his small town in Mexico and he was craving some cheetos…the regular orange kind…not the new red hot ones. But he didn’t want to leave his home and then put a family member at risk who might be stopping by to check on him.

The grocery store was in the same block…almost across from his home… so he called his chihuahua over to him…wrote a note explaining to the storekeeper he was a neighbor and was putting a twenty dollar bill attached on the collar…please be fair and return the right amount of change…one bag of the orange cheetos please…no red hot ones.

“Hello Mr. Shopkeeper. Please sell my dog some Cheetos, the orange kind, not the red ones, they’re too hot. She has $20 attached to her collar. WARNING: She will bite if not treated right (and returned with the right amount of money.) Your front neighbor.”

 

The article ended with an addendum stating that the precious chihuahua has returned twice more (successfully) since this original article came out a couple of days ago.

So until tomorrow…”If we aren’t creative…we can’t create possibilities to the problems of today.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

With more of us at home and reading more in the process…this “funny” caught my giggle box.

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Trust in Abundance

Dear Reader:

Whenever I glance at my Kelly rae Roberts clock…I have to smile. I have been a fan of her whimsical art for years and by now have accumulated storytelling wall hanging figurines and engagement planners over the years…just to name a few.

Like many Americans Kelly and her husband were caught in the middle of two new business start-up dreams, as well as, acclimating to a recent family move across states…when the coronavirus hit…slamming the brakes on many of their well thought-out proposals.

Kelly soon realized that what one has to fall back on when something, so big and uncontrollable happens in life, is trust“boatloads” of trust…so she painted the title picture with “daring” and “trust” leading the way…or as she put it…”Learning to cultivate trust.”

Hi Friends,

“We’re settling into quarantine life over here. What strange days, no? Like so many of you, we are figuring out how to homeschool while navigating boatloads of hope.

I am concentrating on doing deep work around Trust. Trust of timing. Trust in collective healing. Trust that joy and gratitude are fierce warriors against fear.

So until tomorrow….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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“Wake to the Choices You Make…as how to Live Now”

Dear Reader:

As mind-boggling as the scary news continues to be in this country over this rapidly growing coronavirus pandemic… I have, also, begun to realize that if we can  readjust our mindset to living each moment of each day in love, compassion, and kindness… we can replace fear with hope.

The two title photos deal with the groceries and later supper I made from them last evening…given to me by Luke and Chelsey. This young couple has its act together…going around helping others while they are out of work instead of spending their free time worrying about their own financial future. They represent the hope of tomorrow…both are filled with compassion, kindness, and love. They spread their arms open to help instead of wasting time and energy finger-pointing.

They have developed a new mindset….seeing the potential in quotes like Jack Konfield’s on how to start looking at life differently:

The virus isn’t happening to us; it’s happening for us.” It’s amazing how one little preposition can change our entire outlooks.

We have been given a chance to start over with a brand new world…a world that puts humans lives over greed and monetary gains, prayers over fears, acceptance of diversity over accusations of blame and guilt.

I witnessed other acts of  personal kindness yesterday…a Fed-Ex package arrived filled with my oral chemo medicine…sent by my oncology center (and my pharmacist friends who work there) so I wouldn’t have to risk coming in to get it with a friendly support note from them.

Vickie brought me the most delicious supper Tuesday night and then yesterday she caught me playing with the fairies in the garden and this time she had lemon squares for me. ***I am scared to get on the scales. 🙂

Now you see why I am so blessed!

 

 

***Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan living in Ireland, has penned a touching poem about coronavirus. He wrote it on March 13 and it has gone viral ever since. The resonance of this poem mirrors humanity’s boundless capacity to love.

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

– Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020

So until tomorrow...Breathe!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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“We’re In This Together”

Dear Reader:

You have noticed, no doubt, that I love Natural Life’s “chirps” or little motivational messages you can sign up for and have pop up everyday…which I did and do.  I decided to take time yesterday and find out the story behind the “chirps.

What is a Natural Life “Chirp”?

Spreading positivity with the messages that speak to us is the heart and soul of Natural Life. We hear from so many people all around the world that they love our inspirational messages on the treasures we make and daily posts we share.

We wanted to start spreading them in even more ways… like sending them in a daily email and printing them on stickers to give away!

We didn’t want to just call them “posts” so we put our heads together to come up with a fun new name for them! Since they make people feel cheerful, we looked up other words for “happy”, and “chirpy” came up. We instantly knew that Natural Life Chirp was the perfect name… and we even made a little chirping bird to go along with it!

Did you know that your most-loved Chirps become the art & words on Natural Life treasures and clothes like graphic tees and sweatshirts…even stickers to send friends!

That makes us all so connected- the Natural life Family and the people who love us. They are all an important part of creating this happy & hopeful brand! I just love that! We hope you do too. The world needs more “happy“!

 

 

 

 

 

“The “chirp” in the title artwork today is new…made just for these uncertain times …..reassuring everyone that all of us, the world’s people…“We’re in this together.”

(I love the message below)

“When this is over, we may never again take for granted a handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theater, a Friday night out, the taste of communion, a routine checkup, a school rush each morning, coffee with a friend, the stadium roaring, each deep breath, a boring Tuesday, life itself. ⁠

When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be. And may we stay that way – better for each other because of the worst.” -Laura Kelly Fanucci

How powerful is that? I love it. And a God Wink ensued. Our beloved loyal blog reader, Jo Dufford, said she had been having trouble trying to leave a comment…but yesterday she said it worked…so she wrote this…which echoes what Laura Kelly Fanucci above wrote. It just proves that we are all truly in this together.

So until tomorrow…Jo’s comment:

“… Time is something we can never regain. This is a time for families to sit down at meals together, talk together, work together and play together. It has brought back memories to me of when life was so much slower, and there was time for families to be together.

The nice thing about now is that we have technology to keep us in touch with our friends and the outside world. I am enjoying your blog every day. Thanks for this.”

(Thanks Jo for persevering with the comment problem and leaving us this message!)

“Today is our favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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Give Yourself a ‘Five-Minute Miracle’ Every Day

Dear Reader:

With more people home than ever before…families have more time together than ever before too. Before the pandemic…experts put American family time together (on a daily basis) as averaging only 37 minutes. 37 minutes!!!!

You might have seen the latest Pillsbury Doughboy commercials that have used this rather shocking time revelation to promote their product as the impetus to get the family together and eat popping hot crescents, Grands, and cinnamon rolls.

For many families this time factor has changed… due to the quarantine regulations accompanying the coronavirus pandemic. A parent or both are home now with the children. The problem is too much of this time is probably spent worrying about how to pay the bills if one (and especially both) working parents are laid off.

And then for the working parent there is fear that he or she will contract the virus at work being around people and bring it home to his/her families…a thought to keep one up at night. No doubt…these are difficult times.

Wayne Dryer once knew how hectic life was with his busy speaking schedule so he came up with “five minute miracles.

“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to face your life in awe!”

I loved this idea so I did it yesterday and the miracle I found was sitting right on a white bench on my front porch…“Little Big Red” the cloned geranium. I counted 15 buds popping into blooms…by next week when I take this photo again…it will be filled with huge red blooms from top to bottom and left to right.

It is a miracle because when the original “Big Red” geranium passed away after ten years of amazing blooms throughout each season of its life…my neighbor Chelsey tried nine cuttings to clone a part of this miraculous geranium …only one took and now look at “Little Big Red”- It is the very first year the buds have formed and the blooms outdone themselves…just as the original geranium would have.

On the bright side of the family being home together (even with all the stresses that it can create) we forget about one family member who must be deliriously happy!

“The real winners of the pandemic are the nation’s dogs, who are experiencing unprecedented levels of People Being Home.” Hanna Brooks Olson

The Dingle, Turner, Dingle Dogs!

So until tomorrow….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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A World of Hope…

Dear Reader:

I don’t know how many of you watched the CBS Sunday Morning Show yesterday morning but if you did…you know it ended with Sunday’s guest host, Lee Cowan, reading an essay that put chills down my back, tears down my eyes, while clapping all alone in my recliner.

Immediately, after turning off the show,  I searched the internet for a written copy of the essay.  (*A  permanent copy will be kept in my personal journal book on The Way Life Was during the coronavirus pandemic.)

Just in case you missed it…here it is . I have re-listened to it several times and re-read it even more times.

No, the world is not ending

No, the world is not ending.  But our big blue marble sure feels more fragile than ever.

As we sit here, continents, countries, time zones and zip codes have all blurred into single global community.  What used to worry us now feels almost embarrassingly trivial. We cared more about likes on social media than our social responsibilities.

We were concerned streaming our movies, not about the lines of homeless streaming out of shelters.

We tended to look at our phones more than one another.  In fact, we were social distancing without even knowing what that really was not so long ago.

Isn’t it strange that we’re all craving human connection now that we can’t have that connection for a while?

The joy of breaking bread with friends, or raising a glass at the bar, or kneeling together in worship has been replaced with empty chairs and empty pews.

Those in their golden years – the ones who’s thought that they’d seen everything – never thought they’d see the day where they couldn’t visit with their kids or their grandkids, all because a reassuring hug may put them at risk.

Even the loved ones of those who have died can’t come together in any great numbers to mourn.  How do we quarantine tears?

But in all this separation, we are still connected by what our better angels are whispering.

We’d truly have to go out of our way to be uncaring in these uncertain times.   For once, the road to kindness and compassion is actually the easier one.

We can now see the plights of our neighbors, of the bus driver, or the cab driver, anyone who had been forgotten – all views that perhaps used to be obscured from the hustle and bustle of our lives before.

For anyone wanting a re-set to get back to what matters most – the heart of the human condition – this may be that moment … a test to see if love really does conquer all.

No, the world is not ending. Instead, we just might be getting a new start.

      (Story produced by Aria Shavelson. Editor: Carol Ross.)

Simply put…Wow!

My visualization of the essay Lee Cowan ended the CBS Sunday Morning Show with…was a picture of the world with the word HOPE circling it. I googled this but no pictures matched my request.

Then suddenly it hit me…that the Italian children now have a mantra – Andrà tutto bene” which  means “everything will be fine” in Italian. This is the message children of Italy have adopted as they use art to cope with the quarantine and spread messages of hope. (*A reversal …instead of mothers reassuring their children that everything will be all right…it is now the children reassuring the world it will.)

Suddenly I knew who my artist should be…I called Eva Cate and asked her if she could help me out…all I told her I needed was a picture of the world with the word HOPE around it or by it. I also reassured her that if she wanted to add anything else …feel free.

What did she add?…. a black circle representing the bad coronavirus temporarily circling the globe but outdone by a large rainbow...and in almost every Italian child’s artwork displayed on Italian  balconies (in quarantine)…they have added a rainbow. The rainbow must be the universal sign of children depicting hope. Goose bumps. Thank you Eva Cate…I love the drawing and I love you!

So until tomorrow…“Once you choose hope, everything is possible” (Christopher Reeves)

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

I see hope in these last two blooms on one of my azalea bushes…Though the only ones left…the two are going out ‘beautifully’ together.

When New York City completely quarantines…it completely quarantines…

 

 

 

 

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Be Someone Who Makes Some Else Look Forward to Tomorrow

Dear Reader:

Yesterday was a special day…in lots of ways. Since I love creative challenges Mandy and I thought through a way to have a small get-together for Lachlan’s birthday…just him and his cousin, Mandy’s son…Jake. (The original plan yesterday had included a “Dino” movie that was just showing at certain theaters around the country (one special showing) and Azalea Theater (Summerville) was chosen to show it. *This surprise obviously had been cancelled.

Instead we kept the activities  pretty much outside … and it was over in less than two hours with the boys having a ball! They are both into dinosaurs so we had a “Dino Hunt” for clues which when found and turned into Coach Boo or Coach Mandy allowed you to search for the next clue. There were five clues and the sixth was to find the bag with Lachlan’s birthday present in it. Here are some samples.

Lachlan’s Dino bag had a dinosaur board game for five-year-olds and up….the idea being each competing team had to try to save the baby dinosaurs before the volcano erupted. He also got another Magic Tree House book for his collection…he loves them. In the party bags both Lachlan and Jake discovered a stuffed dinosaur and some treats.

When the boys arrived Mandy had instructed them well..to give me  imaginary high five’s and I showed them the foot wave which had them giggling. We let them play on the other apartment side when inside so they could spread out…the rest of the time they stayed outside in the yard playing.

 

 

 

Lachlan got to wear the famous birthday cake hat…which I first wore for Eva Cate’s first birthday…since she is turning 10 this year…it has been around a decade now! Still fun and the honorary celebration hat.

I told Mandy that birthday parties have gotten so expensive with so many parents inviting all the classmates and renting different forms of entertainment rooms that are also catered…that a simple back yard birthday party, a dinosaur clue hunt, some soccer ball kicking, and green cupcakes spread over everything (:) was just as much fun…in fact better…because we could actually have a dialogue with the kids during the celebration.

Yesterday we talked about the importance of communicating with seniors (sending cards) in assisted living facilities or nursing centers where oral transmissions have broken down in some facilities. Even writing someone you might not know well but who you know would appreciate a card talking about a relative connected to both of you… helps the isolated loneliness in some of these centers now.

Another great idea popped up today. Anne was telling me how (like my renewed interest in cooking) she and her neighbor Shirley had started biking again (10 miles daily) being careful to put a little distance between the bikes but still being able to continue friendly banter…missed by both.

Then Shirley started a new idea for Anne. She asked Anne if she would play the fiddle while she and her husband sat on the front porch sometimes (at her convenience) in the evenings. Anne loved the idea and it grew as they thought about a couple of other musicians in the neighborhood who all together could put on a “Walk by Jam” on certain evenings as neighbors biked and strolled down the street. Isn’t that another terrific idea? A lot of positives  can certainly come out of these uncertain times…it comes under the heading of “Simplify.”

* Found out Anne (on fiddle and a neighbor (Charlie Davis) on guitar and harmonica) started playing last evening in Anne’s front yard.  What fun it was in the neighborhood…soon strollers returned with glasses of wine to leisurely walk by the music again and listen…or grab a folding chair.

 

Mandy texted me when she got home to tell me Eva Cate was all excited because some neighbors had gotten together and decided to suggest that families chalk paint their driveways with pictures and sayings for families walking to look at during the day and evening strolls.

*Here is the picture John took of the family and the art work on their driveway…they drew decorative sayings about “Choosing Happy”…ironically, however…look at Jake in the photo…he obviously chose not to be happy! ” 🙂  🙂  🙂

So until tomorrow…Let us wake up each morning saying “This is the day that the Lord has made…let us rejoice in it!”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

What happens when people only half listen to the medical coronavirus cautions. 🙂

*Is it just me or have any of you also become more conscious of the number of times you touch your face? I find myself jumping sometimes while reading or watching television when I catch myself…because I have my hand supporting my chin or I am rubbing my eyes or blowing my nose or pulling on my ear…ridiculous…I think I have dog scratching beat by a mile??????

 

 

 

 

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