My mother and I met for breakfast yesterday. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, she said, “These are not all that comfortable (pointing to her shoes) I’m going to look for another pair today.” I looked down at her feet. She was wearing sandals. No socks. Even though it was April 2nd, there was still a dusting of snow on the ground from a little storm we had the night before.
I said, “Mom, aren’t your feet cold?” She laughed and said, “I am just so sick of wearing shoes and winter. I am trying to encourage the spring!” I love this about my mother.
I would not have noticed this, or more correctly, appreciated this, a few years ago…when I was not looking for something to love about her. This funny, quirky little thing would have either been annoying or ignored. Yesterday, as I looked at her feet, I felt delighted…she is going to be 84 this year and she is wearing sandals in 30 degree weather…you’ve got to love that!
There is always something to love about everyone. Sometimes it is hard work to see it, but it makes life a lot more enjoyable when I do!
***Susan L. of Canton Ohio won the first skin balm and she chose Sally B. (also of Canton) to receive the second!*****
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New ladybug note paper!
One of the little things that I have always enjoyed is picking out the perfect card to send someone. I could spend an hour at a store, that has great cards, just looking for the right one. About 11 years ago, I gave this up….gave up buying nice note paper too. I felt like it was too extravagant in terms of both money and time….after all, can’t you say just as much on a plain sheet of paper? And think of all the time I would “save” if I didn’t have to shop for cards.
It was a real challenge….. I thought it would get easier and I wouldn’t care after a while but this didn’t happen. What did happen though was I stopped sending letters and cards….unless I found them on sale and rarely were they the “perfect” cards…they were generally the ones that no one else wanted either. I bought them anyway and sent them…tried to justify this to myself saying, “Probably nobody even looks at them” but I always felt cheap when I sent these cards…. a little less somehow. The “magic” feeling was gone and I didn’t save that money…I don’t know where it went, but I don’t have a pile of card money that I can now use to buy something “important”….
We are the only ones who can tell what things bring the feeling of “more life” to us. I felt like I gave up some of the color and sparkle of life by stopping my card “indulgences”. I actually started to feel like I couldn’t afford to buy them. Theoretically, I could have saved a few dollars, but I sacrificed delight. Was something more than words being exchanged when I sent cards…the energy of my love for images (beautiful, funny, powerful), my time in thinking about the person as I shopped ?
Life has a way of losing luster when I cut out the things that bring me delight….can I afford that? Do I want to?
I started again, buying cards and note paper that I loved. This decision was like a shot of happiness into my soul. Last week, I ran out of notepaper and had to send plain sheets of white paper out with some orders…. it was not “fun”. Jack and I took a trip to Northshire Bookstore two days ago, and the first thing I did was go for the notepaper …cute ladybug notepaper..I can’t afford not to buy it!
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a simpler time?!...the Muncil family 52 years ago
Of all the subjects that seem to cause pain for us, family relationships are right at the top. So many of us have been raised with the notion that our support, love and encouragement will (and must) come from this group of humans (all too human humans!) and if it doesn’t, which by my experience, and that of most of the people that I talk with, is much more common, there is something wrong with us….or them.
I know this in my head, but am always surprised when I feel the little sting from lack of support or interest from them. This blog has been a teacher … no one in my family (siblings or parents) reads it…in one way it is a great freedom (I can share this with you!), in another, it is a definite hit to the ego. One of my sibs said, when I told her I was writing this,”Oh, that’s nice. I hate the word blog. Where did that come from?” I didn’t know where the word came from…didn’t care…that wasn’t the point! At that moment, I felt like I was about 10 years old saying to her, “Don’t you like my new dress?” and her saying “It’s ok…makes you look sort of fat.”
I used to lament that I wanted to live in a Norman Rockwell family (in simpler times with happier families)…until someone said that his family was also “messed up”. Jack Canfield was talking about families, and letting go of the belief that we cannot fully move into our lives until we get their approval, and he said, “Researchers say that 85% of families are dysfunctional so this becomes ‘so what’.”
It shouldn’t, but it does, come as a surprise that family members can be the last ones that want to see us change, move, grow….and maybe we don’t want to see them change either…one thing I do know is that I cannot hold onto to petty hurt feelings or resentments and expect my life to expand. I have lived long enough to realize that I cannot change anyone else so this is a lesson for me. I am committed to loving my family and to letting them go with as much support as I can muster, and when I cannot feel that support for them, I hope that they will go (grow, change, move) anyway and not hold it against me…after all, I too am one of those “all too human humans” at times.
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perfectly imperfect sunflower...
If you have read any of my previous blogs you may have discovered that I am not a good speller…even with “spell check” those words do slip through; like loose and lose….. yesterday’s blog. When I was in graduate school, I lived part-time with a wonderful woman in her 80′s who used to run a very exclusive private school in Boston. One night she asked me if I wanted to play Scrabble and then said, “But I must warn you that I am not a good speller.” I was surprised. I had always looked at being a bad speller as a defect in my intelligence (one to be hidden at all costs) and yet here was this very bright, well-educated woman who also had trouble spelling but was doing the opposite of hiding it…she almost embraced it.
Yet, to this day, when I realize that I have misspelled a word and it has gone out …cannot be taken back…I feel a surge of emotion and energy (not good), go through my body like I had just been attacked. I have to remind myself that I am not “under attack” …my body does not need to go into fight or flight mode. I made a mistake. A spelling mistake….it sounds so silly, but in the moment it doesn’t feel that way. Irrational fears never do. They feel monumental and important.
To be afraid of saying the wrong thing, or writing the wrong thing or even doing the wrong thing keeps life gray, dull, and heavy. I was saying to a friend the other day, I am not afraid of dying (which is true) but I am afraid of not living a full life….of just slogging along and then slowly fizzing out. When I can let go of even one of these tiny, life eroding fears (like spelling) then I am lightening this load of the need to be “perfect” …just the thought of it makes me feel happier.
p.s. I loved this photo of the sunflower with holes in it…it has a sort of symetry…it would not have been more beautiful without the holes.
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definitely not a museum piece!
I met my husband Jack 10 years ago. He is an antique dealer, sculptor and photographer and a really good guy. One big issue (not by any means the only one!) we had (still have at times) when we first started making a home together was our taste in furnishings. I love antiques, but I also love comfort (and I have never found a 19th century sofa that I can snuggle up on for more than 10 minutes). Every time we would look for furnishings together, if it wasn’t an antique, Jack would say that it didn’t fit.
I found this little flower at the thrift store yesterday and it made me happy to look at, so I bought “her” and brought her home and wrapped her around the base of our 19th century wrought iron hand forged lamp. She does not fit…. and that is one of the reasons that I like her so much.
I like surprises in life…maybe one out of every 50 people who have come into our home have commented on the lamp. Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful. But does it make me (or others) happy to look at? Does it make me smile? Did I risk looking (God forbid) silly having it in my home? No.
So happy day to you all from me and my fuzzy, silly friend!
p.s. When Jack got home last night and saw her he said, “Well that is kind of cute!”…miracles do happen if we believe!!!!
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged happiness, love, sleep, smile on February 14, 2011 |
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just about 50 years ago
When I get up in the morning (or in the middle of the night) I always look in the mirror and smile at myself. Sometimes I say, “Hello Mary, good to see you!”…but I always make myself smile. I say, “make myself” because many times I do not feel like it…sometimes it is 2 a.m. and I feel like sleeping though the night…but I have looked at my face in the middle of the night when I did not want to be up, and I was not smiling, and it is scary!
So I make myself smile and I feel happier. They (the experts on this stuff) say that smiling, even if it is forced, does really make us happier..it somehow changes our biochemistry. It is free, you can do it any time of the day or night and it takes no time…how can you not love that!
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