Tag Archives: gratitude

Gratitude’s the attitude baby!

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Someone I care about is in the hospital, and has been through pure hell the past year.   I broke down in tears today thinking about her, and what’s she’s going through.  A reminder of when I went to Mass General thinking (after a surgery the week before) that they’ve give me a shot in the butt and some major antibiotics to take when I get home, only to have been admitted with serious infection.     I remember crying, calling my mom from the admission desk “They are admitting me to Bigelow 9”.  “Gigolo what?   Can laugh at it all now.

When you have serious illness, it sometimes provides you with acceptance of things from past that earlier that day, week, month, year, you could not.    And I think the same type of bargaining goes on when you lose someone.  “If you let me survive this….”

It was right around this time of the year, and I was in there for a lot longer than I wanted to be.  I remember thinking “I must be really sick because they don’t keep people in the hospital anymore!”.     When I finally turned the corner, my veins were blown out, and feeling like a pin cushion would’ve been a luxury at that point, they weren’t going to release me because I couldn’t drive home.  Well, I finally lied, found my way out of there.   I drove half way home to Leominster and then pulled into a Friendly’s.  I was so weak.  The only thing I had eaten was popsicles that week, when they would stay down.   So I ordered a fribble, and sat outside, feeling the cool fall breeze run through my disaster zone hair, and feeling so very grateful that I was finally out of the woods and heading home.   I sat for about 40 minutes until I finished the shake, which gave me the strength to get back in my car and drive the rest of the way home.

We can spend a lifetime planning, arranging, collecting, preparing, and one blip can and will take the comfort, the wind out of our sails.   We find ourselves at the mercy of life.   I hope this person who is so sick tonight catches a break, and I hope that she, too, will be heading home soon.   Her husband, her family needs her.     Until she does I will be praying, regularly, frequently, for her health.    In the end, we know God is in control, those of us who believe in God, and while there is some comfort there, the waiting, the meantime, the present can be so overwhelming.  If you’d like to offer a prayer for her, I know it would be greatly appreciated, or send her good vibes.

So I’m tired, heading to bed shortly, will be on my knees tonight praying for her and her husband.   They are so tired, so worn.    She just hasn’t been able to catch a break and my heart hurts for them.

Me?  I’m feeling pretty grateful at the moment.   The painful memories have faded some for me, and gratitude has built a wall around that awful time for me.    I know, I was very fortunate.  And it’s probably time that I do the things I “bargained” to do, if he’d get me through it.   And I’m recalling the trip home where I no longer had concern for the petty things that once plagued my peace.     Acceptance.     Perspective.     Life has a way of knocking you beside the head when you least expect it!

Wishing peace, love, and joy to each of you reading this.  I hope today you have found acceptance to the things that blocked your peace, and if you’re in the middle of muck, I pray that you’ll be given what you need to get you through, and beyond it.   Peace.  xox

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Blessings

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This afternoon I had a video call with a childhood friend.  A friend whose life changed drastically after a tragic accident.    As I watched him talk, process, thinking diligently about answers or response, my heart sang with joy that this very kindhearted, intelligent friend of my bro’s is still the same person he was probably 40 years ago now.

I can’t tell you how nice it felt to talk to him, he had me laughing hysterically over things that I “forgot” he knew.  You know, when time divides you from your childhood and life happens, sometimes the hardest part of life, and you hear old stories, or see reactions that you haven’t seen in years, it’s sweet.   It’s nice to know that SOME things, some people do not change.

After we spoke I was smiling, thinking about the kid, the teenager he used to be, and my mom and I started sharing stories, and we laughed to our hearts delight.    I always encouraged my brother to hang onto this guy as a friend.    He was such a decent being way back when.

Most of us are aware of the crudeness, the blatant evil that exists now, how beautiful it is to me that while life dished him out some major hard balls, that he’s still the kind, caring, compassionate and wonderful person he was before life put it’s ugly talon’s into our flesh.

In a world where you only know what someone wants you to know, how refreshing, how sweet it feels to revisit youth, and share a laugh or two regarding things long since forgotten, or buried.

I haven’t had it nearly as hard, nor do I care to compare heartbreak with anyone, but I know for myself, I have tried to always remain kind, to remain uninjured, still “soft”, so as not to harden like leather that many people have had happen.    It happens.  Life is not a picnic for all, and sometimes it’s just damn hard to walk through a day with all the knowledge or what is happening in this world.

But today, tonight, I am smiling that this kind soul, who knew me long before the many depressions or hardships that has occurred in my life, and that he, too, is still “soft”.  What a delightful conversation, and as I watched his eyes move as he was talking, I was reminded, pleasantly of how philosophical he has always been.  Even as a youngster, he really listened, and he answered questions after processing, and in spite of all the hardships we both have encountered, we were still able to conjure up things from our long ago past, and laugh hardy.

What a gift the past week has been for me.   Spending time with good, kind, “real” people, kindred spirits.   I’ve been truly blessed with these experiences.

 

It’s Friday!

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Happy Friday to you!    Hope you had a week filled with peace, clarity, joy, and faith!   You define what your faith is!   But it seems in this world right now, it’s becoming harder and harder to believe that things are “going to get better”.     Maybe they will, but yesterday I met someone who really lifted my battered disbelief.

First, this person offered to me, free of charge, her painting stash.  She and her husband are moving, and she just didn’t want to pack it.   The minute I walked into her house I knew I was privileged to meet this sweet woman.    As we sat on the floor in her once dining room, with piles of “things” being packed, given away, I felt like I had known her forever.

She shared with me how she had a special needs child, who lived to be 24, many years past what doctors had predicted.   Love exuded from her as she spoke of him, it was an incredibly beautiful, and tragic story.

My curiosity arose long before I showed up at her door.     How many people do you meet who are openly giving, and offering of their treasures, and stories?   Have had dealings lately with a greedy person, so this was extra special to me.

With incredible grace and fortitude she shared her stories and excitement about a new chapter in her life, and I knew right then, I have received much more from her than the bundles of paint, surfaces and books she so graciously gave me.

I needed this experience.  I really did.    I left her house with my car full, but my heart fuller.    I had just been privy on a special soul, a giving soul, a healthy, beautiful, kind and loving soul.    I thought how her husband obviously knew what he was doing when he married her!   She’s a golden nugget, so to speak in terms of treasures.   Such wisdom, such beauty, such kindness.   I walked away hoping I will never forget this beautiful experience.

Such beauty does exist, and I was fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of her generosity, both with many material items, but more importantly, her happy, peaceful, beautiful soul.

I hope you get to experience this, too.   It renewed my faith in mankind.  Yes, I said it, I’ve been feeling fairly discouraged of late.    She gave of herself with little effort and absolutely no airs about her.     I am very grateful for all!!!

Walking through grief

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The past couple days have been rough, with migraines and frustrating bitchiness.   This morning I was allowing myself to get really bent out of shape over nothing, when I sat down and jumped on facebook.      I hope the migraine(s) are behind me, I think it’s related to barometric pressure, my head feels like it isn’t attached to my body.  Strange, and adding to the Bitch of the Year award!

As I surveyed my facebook feed, I read a post from a friend who is really a very lovely woman, a woman of faith, ridiculously talented, and kind to the core.     She posted about two children who touched her deeply today, and made her smile while she was gassing up her car.    It lightened up my mood, until close to the end where she spoke about telling the kids mother how much their kindness and friendliness meant to her, and today or all days, as her sister died early this morning of cancer.   Tears flowed down my face then.

I immediately sent her a message, offering condolences, and thanking her for her share.   My mind swept back to the very days my sisters succumbed to cancer.    I was broken, and I was angry at God for allowing this to happen.  And so began a war between he and me, for months on end.   I defied my morning praises, and no longer prayed at all.   How could he allow this to happen?

In time, I learned and accepted that death is a part of our life, and that fairness doesn’t really play a role here.  But my friend, who had just said goodbye to her sister, was talking about how good God is, and how much this experience helped her, and made her smile.   I cried as I reread her beautiful, lovely, words.    How amazing that she was at peace, or I should say, more peace than I had when my sisters took their last breaths.

I sat in silence, trying to compose myself, get my emotions into check, and while I would like to say the bitchiness melted away, it did not, but I was so moved by her share, and her eloquence, awestruck with her compassion and faith.     When she replied to my message she spoke words I understand too well, about not knowing how she will do this without her sister, her first best friend.    Her words lent clarity to me of how I felt, too.

I remember thinking how cruel it was that the birds still chirped, that life still went on, even though my sisters lives were over.   I remember people telling me “time will heal”.  I also remember being firmly (and probably belligerently) adamant that NO ONE would tell me how to grief, how to walk through this atrocity which had been handed down to my family.   Grief is a journey, a necessary journey that is so individualized.   There is no right or wrong way to grieve, though I hope I handled it with even a small portion of the grace that my friend did this morning.

At this time another friend texts me that she knew and was related to the pedestrian who was hit in Brattleboro yesterday and who died later from her injuries.    Many eyewitnesses have shared that she walked right out in front of the car, the driver was not at fault.  But that driver?  Is devastated.    I saw pics of him with his head in his hands, crying.  Of course he was.  What person wouldn’t be?    And then she shared that this person had also just lost two siblings to cancer.    I was relaying all this to my mom, and we shared how grief is an alternate existence, if you will.   You’re not in your right mind, your preoccupied, sad, emotional, and that may be a part of why she aimlessly walked into traffic.  How incredibly sad.

So, tonight, as I write this, I’m thinking about all that transpired this morning and how it changed and altered my piss poor thinking.   I am still working through some crap, but for the most part, I’ll be crawling into bed very grateful that my day may be frustrating, and my head may ache, but I had a fairly uneventful day given two other peoples lives that changed drastically in a moments time.

I wish you a restful nights sleep, and an uneventful (almost boring) day tomorrow.  Life can change on a dime, and it does.  We find ourselves walking through life without those we love most in the world, and I have since learned that the birds still chirping as we walk through grief is really a gift, because life does go on for some.    How easily, how naturally we take things for granted, at least I do.   And I think I’m a pretty grateful person, but obviously imperfect and still learning about life.   Aren’t we all?

 

Mental slag

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Today has proven to be a challenging day for me.  The first thing I did besides feed the lippy cat that was ready to eat two hours prior, was go out and shovel out my car.  I must say, someone was looking out for me when it drove right out of it’s spot, unlike the last time where I was stuck.  But stubborn brunettes don’t give up!   We had a shitload of snow fall yesterday.

What was challenging for me today was my head, where it goes.   I once heard from a psychiatrist that the more intelligent you are, the more remote places you can find to hide in.   Not saying I’m the smartest person in the world, not even close, but I have at times thought, if I wasn’t so smart, I would be happier.   Sit on that one for a moment!

I cannot share my thoughts here, I cannot share them with anyone.    I’m doing what I know to do, and that is to get moving, get busy, keep trucking.  It took me hours of stuck to get there.  I guess I should celebrate in getting there.

I’m heading to bed early tonight, taking a friend to a much needed doctor’s appointment up North.  I’m hoping the roads and snow removal are in good shape.  I get to drive the cutest car in the world because mine doesn’t have heat.   (Kia little boxy car, I just love it!) Ya just can’t expect an 81 year old to ride that far without heat!

I walked around my house today foreign to myself.   Not exactly foreign, but certainly not where I wanted to be.   I know depression and anxiety intimately.  But where it takes me, those are places that it’s hard to find comfort in.  I remember hearing at a recovery group a couple decades ago “Find comfort in the uncomfortable”.   One of life’s tricks to success, or certainly to get beyond, or overcome.

I did some sketches today on a piece I want to start soon.   But as I walked into my studio this evening, sat down to work on ears of the pet portrait I’m doing, I see many 85%-90% paintings started, but not completed.  That isn’t a sin, but it’s something I have to be vigilant of.  Signs?  Silliness?

Well, have things I have to do before bed.  I’m hoping I sleep.  Last night I did not.  Not well, anyway.

Hoping your having a great day, full of insight and direction!   It’s what I’m seeking at the moment.

 

 

Adios 16!

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This has been a good year for me.   I’m hoping 17 will be even better.

Bailey’s on the rocks, feeling the buzz, and feeling very grateful for my life, my family, friends, home, abilities, hope and dreams.

Next year I have new things planned, a new biz for one.   Haven’t yet decided on it, and no doubt will include the last 20 years of decorative painting, but it’s changing, and I’m excited about this.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful, happy, healthy New Year.  Let’s make 2017 a year of smiles, dreams come true, and may all of us achieve peace.  In faith….

 

Love to you!!!!!!!

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Sometimes

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Sometimes something happens, or you witness something that gets you in touch with how normal, or abnormal your life is.  I think life can be very difficult.  That is not to take away from all the beauty, and triumphs, but there are times when I find it hard to face my days.  I think we all experience this to one extent or another.  I’m not saying that I’m any different than anyone else when it comes to challenges, lessons, and choices.  But I do believe I do not handle it as well as many others when life throws me curve balls.   Or am I being unrealistically hard on myself, yet again?

My sister texted something to me the other day that really made me realize how crazy the life of a family with two gene mutations, and an extinguished list of cancers can experience.   Multiple diagnosis’s, treatment, appointments.   I find it overwhelming, and have now for a few years.

Currently two members of my family are considered in cancer treatment.   What remains (minus two who lost their lives to it), are survivors themselves, trying to make the most of their days cancer free, while supporting those going through yet, another battle.

I was burned out with this four years ago.  I.mean.burned.out.  But still, I forged through, being primary caregiver to my elderly mother with her third diagnosis. I think it has become acceptable and expected that I am the one to do this.  And that angers me.   My health isn’t optimum, nor is the life of a single woman trying to make it in New England easy.  It’s hard for everyone now!    If you know not financial frustrations or inadequacies, then I applaud you, but I also wonder if you can fully understand what it’s like to live through this.

I’ve had contractors in and out of my house since November, the whole process actually starting in September.  It is old.    My house is filled with piles of things that have been misplaced, shifted for work.   I’m actually surprised I haven’t ripped someone’s head off with this stress, alone.  But I choose to focus on the good of it.  The work that has been needing to be done for years is getting done.   So when I start to feel the stress of the situation, I’ll purposely sit and look out one of the new windows, or look at the changes that are happening, and it’s nothing but positive.

I’ve come to learn that it’s the conglomeration of, the accumulation, the consistent and longevity of struggles that takes it toll on me most.    I dive into whatever it is I need to, or I deem necessary, but it’s very hard to maintain it after so many years OF IT.       I’m resentful that once again, my life is twisted and turned upside down, without true acknowledgement from those who offer moderate support.   That is not to say that there are not excuses, or reasons, I’ve also learned with resentments that it really doesn’t matter about that… the bottom line is, here I am, again, responsible for a loved ones care.   But I will always do what I can for my parents.  This is who I am, and I while sometimes I wish I could blow off this responsibility, I know deep down, I could never do that.  This is what life has handed us, this is what we have to get to, and through.  I’m in.

Tomorrow I will leave my house at a time I usually am going to bed, and will drive the long distance to Boston, hitting both rush hour traffic hours.  I will sit alone, and wait to hear how my mother’s surgery went, and the status of her cancer(s) and what care will be required.     I will play, once again, the familiar cat and mouse game with her doctors eyes, her surgeon, trying to determine from the look on her face, before I am approached, the verdict of all.  And the past 14 years of family diagnosis’s and struggles will all come back to me.

Then, late afternoon, thankfully I was able to rearrange my appointments (for the minimum of 8th time), to see MY oncologist, for the first time in almost two years.    There are issues that will be addressed, and I’ve no doubt I myself will be heading back to surgery, but I will make that this summer.  It isn’t anything pressing, hopefully.   I will arrive home probably 13 hours or more from the time I left, and I will not be able to sleep.  My head will be filled with possibilities, both good and bad, and while my body will crave sleep, it just won’t happen.    It will be two days before I am “normal” (if I can ever be called normal) again, just in time for the clock to roll in the 13th anniversary of my kid sisters passing.    Anyone who has loss knows that the body knows long before the head of upcoming anniversaries.  Am I right?

My own diagnosis was 7 years ago on the 1st of April, and it was two long grueling years for me.  Boston no longer scares me, nor does driving in it.   But that doesn’t mean it isn’t exhausting.   And it’s not like these trips can be doubled with museums, or fun things.   There is no time.

As a cancer survivor, I do not dwell on what I have been through.  Like the work that is being done on my house, I try to collectively gather all good, and sit my ass in front of those facts.   I am alive.   It is hard not to “remember” or think about it, each day when I undress or dress, the scars are always there as a reminder.    And while I am now (hopefully) still in remission, there isn’t one appointment of any of my family members (all survivors, too) that we don’t have in the back of our minds…. What is this?   Will this turn out to be another diagnosis?   Another life altering experience?  More fighting?   But I’m here to tell you, every day in life is a fight for me.  A fight to hold onto the good, the positive, and continue with and through that which I need to do.

I will do this, get through this, in spite of my own struggles with major depression (which I’ve learned to not really share on) and fibromyalgia.     I will do this in spite of my own need to work, and to get some composure back into my home.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  None of us do.  I do hope for the best, and after being in a potentially very bad accident yesterday, walking out of it unscathed, I am hopeful that tomorrow may and will offer good things.

“Oh Donna, you’re strong!” I’ve been told on numerous occasions in my life.  Yeah, I am strong.  I have walked through some very difficult terrain and made it out the other side.  I am strong because I have to be.  I have high expectations of myself and others, when it comes to family.  But with every new diagnosis or responsibility I start out on the path strong, and knowing,  I am one step closer to falling.   It’s just the way it is.

I have also learned in my life that acceptance?  Acceptance is key.   In order to be at peace, even among st all the challenges, I need to find acceptance.  And sometimes?  Most times?  That journey begins, first with willingness.    It also comes much easier when I know I have done and am doing my very best.   I can’t nor should I ask anymore of myself.   When I lay my body down at night to rest, knowing many times sleep will not come, I can feel good about myself and my involvement, my commitment to help my parents in the twilight of their years.   For me, it’s not only the right thing, it’s the only thing to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude is the Attitude

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With the hustle and bustle of Christmas Open House(s) and customs behind me, I sat quietly on my couch tonight watching Frasier, making myself a pair of mittens.

I am grateful for the success I have had the past month, priority being happy customers.   I delivered my last painting tonight, 2′ x 3′ daisies.  She was overtly blissful with her purchase, and the custom quote she wanted put on it.   I am smiling.   It’s really nice when others truly appreciate my art.

Yesterday my mom and I packed up what was left of mittens, and threw in a few other things, which will be given to underprivileged.    It’s my part of trying to make someone’s Christmas a bit better.

This has been a difficult year for me, but the holiday season has been delightful.   I seem to have risen up and beyond the ugly depression that sticks it’s talons into me, with the weight of the world.   It is nice to feel good.   It is nice to be peaceful, serene.  I am truly grateful.

As Christmas approaches (and my birthday just past), I always start reflecting on the year, and defining what it is I hope to achieve in the upcoming year.   This year has taught me much.   I don’t wish to repeat the difficult times, but what I do want to withhold, to keep, is the peace that I am feeling.

The older I get, the less I care about what someone thinks of me.   I have learned to only put forward what I feel I can, and I am choosing to spend my time wiser.    I haven’t the energy for another’s drama, that is, “luxury” drama.   Life dishes out enough hardship.  I will be there for those I love, and I will continue to pray for those in need.

I am particularly fortunate to have, still with me, both parents, and the two siblings remaining.  I am particularly fortunate to be writing this cancer free.   I know what it is like to make the best of difficult holidays, and I’m largely grateful that this one, for me, is quiet, without hardship.   I know that is not true for everyone.  So grateful to be spared thus far, of heartache.

I was told that Pope Francis declared “This is NOT a Merry Christmas”, speaking of course to the ills and state of the world.  But I’ve learned that in spite of all the deplorable things that are happening, it is up to me to find peace, happiness in my little corner of the world.   And this year, my little corner of the world comes with new sheets and pillows.   Sounds simple?   Indeed, it is.   And as I work to simplify my life, ridding myself of excess “things” I don’t need, letting go of pain of yesterday, I am finding myself in a much happier place.  It really is about the little things.

My life today is filled with little things.   I am grateful.

 

“All my life’s a circle” -Tom Chapin

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I love the ebb and flow of life, friendships.   Tonight I had an absolutely joyful conversation with my best friend from high school.   Filled with laughter, and being the sap I am, a few tears, I feel so good right now.     “Old friends, they mean much more to me than the new friends, because they know where you are, and they know where you’ve been!”.    If you’ve never heard this song I suggest you get your butt to Spotify!   Tom Chapin, the late Harry Chapin’s brother wrote it.   Great song.

There is a major, positive shift happening with me.   It’s exciting.   I’ve had to take double takes and rub my eyes to see if I were dreaming.   I’m very grateful for this new upswing.  Grateful and ready!

It’s been ridiculously humid here in VT.    I remind myself what Winter looks like, what it looked like this past winter, and I stay in the air conditioning and shut my lips!   As I drove to Town today there were neighbors out chopping, splitting wood, getting ready for Old Man Winter. image   I thought to myself, wow, the irony.  The hottest day of the year and they’re preparing for the coldest.  Such is life in New England.  Such is life.

I’m painting and designing well.  Very pleased with that.  Purchased a couple new brushes today (which I just don’t do) but mine were REALLY ratty.   It’s funny how a $25 purchase can make me feel like a queen!   It really is the little things in life.

My house is not dirty but an absolute clutter hole.    I laugh at how organized I feel, and am getting, amidst it all.   To someone coming in?  What the heck happened here?  But to me, I see organization, progress.    More gratitude!

I am very pleased with the direction my life is going.    Thank you, God.

And now I’m off to watch some tv before Lilly and I retire.    I have been up for 30 hrs.   This is not good, but what is good is that I SHOULD sleep really well tonight.

Hope you are having a great day!   🙂

As we celebrate the 4th….

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I painted until 5am this morning.  It felt SO good!   I have several pieces that I flip back and forth to.   I’m working on a patriotic piece that is stirring emotions.   I am pretty much a sap though, when it comes to our flag.   I love driving by those big car dealerships and they have the big old red, white and blue flying.    I have been known to shed a tear or two, thinking about all that goes behind our beautiful flag. I also came up with a sweet ornament you can paint for your favorite veteran. Sign up for my blog and I will email the instructions to you, free, next week.4thofjulyfree

Today is fourth of July.   Many of us will be going to friends or families for picnics, and for many a three day weekend has been awarded.  Enjoy!

But let us not forget those who gave of their time, limbs, life, sanity to fight for the very freedom we are celebrating today.  This holiday will not be a happy holiday for some.   I was surfing the net and saw a picture of a woman with her baby, on a blanket, in front of her husbands gravestone.  My God, my heart hurt.   God bless her and all of you who are out there feeling like you sacrificed all for our country.  The truth is, many did.   I cannot speak for the whole nation, but I would personally like to thank each and every veteran, and family of, for their service.   I know not what it is like to sacrifice so much for others.  You did this, not even knowing us.  You are my true heroes.  I mean this from the bottom of my heart.

In grade school I had a friend who was the youngest child of 11 children.  There was only one boy, and he fought and lost his life in Vietnam.   I remember my parents, the anguish when they heard this.   A poor family, monetary wise, but a very close loving family.   I was thinking about them today.

A couple months ago I started something new.   You know how you’re waiting for the 1 minute timer to be up on your microwave?  Well, instead of sitting there watching the timer I decided to use that minute or two to give thanks for all that I have.  The minute flies by, as I reel off those things that I am grateful for.

I’ve shared this in a blog or two before.   Two of my nephews spent many weekends and school vacations at my house.   I cherish these memories.  Every night at bedtime we did a “gratitude alphabet”.  We started we A and went through the entire alphabet listing something starting with that letter that we were grateful for.     I’m smiling as I think about some of the things they shared, and how one would pick on the other if they got the letter wrong.   It was tradition with us.    I hope they will remember this and smile.

So whatever you are doing tomorrow, this weekend, have a safe, fun weekend.  And offer a short prayer or thought to those who gave us the very freedom we celebrate.

I live in the best Nation in the world.  It certainly isn’t the country I grew up in, but I remind myself that many countries had fences to keep their citizens in, we have fences to keep others out.    I am a proud Americana, and a very big fan of the red, white and blue!

PS   Today’s music reference    –   Tom Petty “American Girl”