A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life

My life is probably, to the casual observer, a predictable and boring one.

And it is a life that I cherish exactly for that reason.

No matter how routine and boring you think your life may be, what makes it wonderful is that it is unique to you.

No one else will live the same life you have lived. Just as it is impossible for you to live life for others.

I love hearing about or reading about other people’s lives simply because their experiences are different from mine. Oftentimes it gives me a different perspective from which to see or understand situations and events.

But it will never change my life and my journey nor will it change yours because our journeys belong strictly to us.

A day in my life is–in my view–is typical. I wake up, drink tea, get ready for work, work, come home, do some household chores and go to sleep to rest so I can get up again the next day and start again.

Sound boring right? It’s really not. Over tea (and coffee) -for my husband- is when we spend quality time together before the start of our day.

We talk about the weather or world events or about how to get rid of ants in the backyard–it doesn’t matter because we are talking and enjoying each other’s company.

Getting ready for work can include a multitude of things I do around the house including exercising or playing with my dogs before the shower-hair-makeup routine.

Work, of course, is the bulk of the day but I never underestimate the number of lives I touch every day and the lives that touch mine. And the contribution I am making to my family by earning a paycheck.

When I come home in the evening I always enjoy that first step into my home where the dogs are happy to see me and my husband too-if he’s the first one home.

My evening routines change depending on my mood and what needs to get done but it is satisfying to have so many things to do.

A day in my life may seem mundane to you but it is filled with all that is important to me.

And your life holds all the important things to you. Let’s not forget to count our blessings and enjoy a day in the life.

The Good Neighbor Policy

The Good Neighbor Policy

Some would say our communities are becoming more dangerous and our safety less secure.  And that for the most part we are letting it happen.  Many people who find themselves thinking, feeling and believing this are reaping what they have sown.

More and more, I see people, in my neighborhood who do not even acknowledge the people living around them.  They ignore the person across the street, the kids playing in the yards or the lost dog.

The world is changing–people have forgotten or never learned the importance of community.  They don’t care about anything that doesn’t directly affect them–what they don’t realize is that their attitude towards their neighbors is hurting themselves.

How? They have stopped caring, stopped being involved in our communities, and have stopped thinking about the well being of themselves and those around them.  And then lamenting when something goes wrong.  We absolutely need to do something about it.

I am not talking about being the nosy neighbor that pulls out the by laws of the Home owner’s Association and berates their neighbors for not hiding their trash cans on the right side of their homes.

I am talking about being a good neighbor.

Now I have been very blessed in my life to always have good neighbors.  I hope in the bottom of my heart that my neighbors have thought of me as a good neighbor as well.

I don’t believe the complainers, the people who don’t care about others, the ones who scare others with talk of crime and mischief.

These are the traits of good neighbors:

Good neighbors watch out for each other–they know who lives in each house, the cars they drive and who their kids are.  Many good neighbors will know which dog or cat belongs to which human.

Good neighbors will pick up a newspaper, or trash if they see it in a neighbor’s yard and they know that person is out of town.

Good neighbors keep an eye out when there are strangers about.

Good neighbors are always willing to lend a hand mowing lawns, mending a fence, fixing a car or preparing for a hurricane and evacuation.

Good neighbors will give time, lend tools and provide advice especially from older neighbors to younger, less experienced homeowners.

Good neighbors are not afraid to call in the authorities when they see something that is not right, that is not normal for their community.

Good neighbors worry about others, not just themselves.

With the world changing all around us–be a good neighbor–the benefits of this are directly felt by yourself.

 

For the Love of Peace

For the Love of Peace

If I have learned anything in these first 50 years of my life is that you cannot have peace when you are at war–war with ourselves or war with others.

My dad’s favorite thing on his Christmas list each year when I was growing up–and well into my adulthood–was Peace.

We’d say: “What do you want for Christmas dad?”

And he would always say “Peace”.

It took me a long time to understand what he meant–but I did get it about 10 years ago. And from the moment I finally figured out what my dad meant, I wanted the same thing.

Our world today is filled with strife, anger and hatred.

There is no peace globally or politically or even among religious groups that you would think would be all about peace.

Yet there are people, families and community units that are peaceful. And peace is achievable.

Let me tell you how to achieve some peace in your life but first, let me define what I see as peace.

Peace means that you separate yourself (and your family) from negativity, chaos, worry, and deception.

That doesn’t mean these things are not all around us–but that you do not allow them to effect you.

Here’s how:

  1. Wake up each day and embrace the opportunities the day has for you. Be positive. If today is a difficult day, know that your contribution to the world is felt through the ripple effects you leave in your wake. Smile at someone today, thank someone today, go out of your way for someone else–it does have an impact.
    Remove toxic people from your life. I’ve written about this before because I believe it is so important. You do not have to associate with people who are toxic to you. Wish them well, block their phone number, remove them from your Social Media and stop, when possible, from spending unnecessary time with them.
  1. Mind your own business. Take care of yourself and those closest to you. Avoid getting involved in petty arguments or hard feelings with people that don’t matter in your life. Those people are “peace busters”. Don’t stir the pot, as my dad would say, it only brings the stink out of what is in the pot.
  1. Live with integrity and honesty. Do your job, pay your bills on time, be truthful and honest in your dealings with others, take care of your responsibilities. These things will keep a positive and protective aura around you.

Peace is achievable. Peace lets you sleep well at night, keeps you safe from harm in an uncertain world and can spread to those you love.

The choice is ours to make, peace is always there but each person must want it badly enough to turn away from the chaos.

For the love of peace–give yourself and those you love this gift. Thanks dad!

El Dia de los Muertos

El Dia de los Muertos

This week we will celebrate not only Halloween but a very significant and cultural holiday for Hispanics-the day of the dead.

It is culturally not a celebration of ghosts and goblins but a celebration of the lives of our loved ones that are no longer with us.

There has been some comments I’ve heard lately that Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos are un-Christian and further inspired by the devil himself!

It never ceases to surprise me how people who know nothing about a subject will have the strongest opinions about it. So let me tell you a little about how I understand El Dia de los Muertos.

Although this is not part of my cultural heritage it is part of my husband’s and many friends’ culture–and over the years, one that I have come to respect and enjoy.

The idea behind it is that we are provided a day in which we can remember and celebrate those that came before us–our parents, grandparents, children–that were once our family and have passed away.

Altars are created with their pictures, their favorite foods, and candles to light their way as they visit us here on earth.

Sugar skulls representing the souls of our dearly departed are also placed on the alters-which are called ofrendas- and hand decorated.

Believing that those that have gone before us visit us on this particular day feels to me to be extremely Christian.

It means–and as closely as we can almost, prove–that there is a heaven. That our loved ones are at peace and watching over us and that they have the ability to visit us here on earth.

It feels good to me to know that I can still communicate with my abuela, and my grandfather and my aunt and uncle who impacted me so much in life–and that they can communicate with me.

El Dia de los Muertos is a day each year when we have the opportunity to connect–with the past, with the future and with ourselves.

Enjoy the journey.

Change of Weather

Change of Weather

In the last 48 hours, in Texas, we have gone from the high 80’s in our “autumn” to a cold and rainy 54 degrees.  This is a major change of weather from one day to the next and it is very refreshing.   It reminds me that nothing ever stays constant.  There is always change in the air.

We can learn a great deal from mother nature if we understand that there is a season for everything–but when it is time for the season to change–we should embrace the cold front.

What am I talking about, you might think?  Well I am talking about a change in our thinking.  Sometimes we are just locked into one way of thinking and events in our lives seem to be spiraling out of control and causing harm or pain to ourselves or others.

Why does this happen? Because we are unwilling to change.  We are unwilling to see a different outcome or a different path.  We are unable to see the good side of bad situations, negative people and events that did not unfold the way we expected it to unfold.

There are many movements that have become popular now to learn how to change, to learn to think and act positively, to believe in a higher power that can lead us to the answers we are seeking.

What do all these things have in common?  Positive thinking.  It is a change of weather for many people.

I am a true believer of positive thinking, of finding the silver living in every storm, of learning from our mistakes and of putting our faith in a higher power that can help us find the miracle.

Being a believer does not make it easier–but it opens the doors to what is possible. And once we accept what is possible, opportunities will open up for us where we once thought that no path was available.

It is an amazing shift–if you allow the winds of change to bring the fresh air in!

I have seen it work powerfully in my life time and time again.  We find ourselves in a situation that we are unsure how we are going to handle and we start to panic, or we think we will just never make it through this hurdle.

But if you just stop–look at the situation honestly–and accept that there is an opportunity to change, good things can happen. Think about the outcome you would like to occur,  visualize what the situation can look like, how you intend to get over the hurdle, and the steps that will help you fix or turn around the challenge.

Then keep a positive attitude, accept the lesson the situation is teaching you and give it to God or a higher power.

Everytime, without fail, there will be a change of weather, and a way will be found where you thought there was no way.  The things and people you need will appear just when you need them and a new season will begin.

Enjoy the cooler weather–and see it as the positive change that it is–a time for renewal and an opportunity for a new way forward.

Lessons from Horner Park

Lessons from Horner Park

When I was a young girl, I would go to day camp every summer at Horner Park.  It was amazing.

Each day was filled with outdoor activities, crafts, sun and ice cream.

It never rained.  At least I don’t remember every having a rainy day those summers.

I climbed crab apple trees and ate the sour crab apples right off the branches.

I swam and I played on a T-ball team and I rolled down a grass hill.

Here are the lessons I learned at Horner Park that are still important to remember today:

  1. Physical exercise is important for health and happiness.
  2. Being outdoors in the sun is good for the soul.
  3. Never skip the ice cream.
  4. Don’t forget to climb the trees in your life and eat the crab apples.
  5. Play as part of a team–teamwork is important.
  6. Never give up a chance to roll down the grass hill.

Time passes too quickly to forget the lessons we learned at the park.  Life does not have to be complicated. Find the lessons and enjoy life.

 

 

 

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

The fall weather brings with it rainy days and cooler temperatures. We start to transition our wardrobes to longer sleeves, sweaters, longer socks and warmer pants.

With these changes also come changes in our diets–or at least our cravings–for the season. Comfort foods that will keep us warm (and are delicious!) are a staple of this time of year.

But how do we reconcile our cravings and our desire for familiar and comforting foods when also trying to live a healthier lifestyle?

Most of us think about comfort foods as thick starchy, cheesy, or stuffed meals–like loaded mashed potatoes, ooey, gooey macaroni and cheese, foods with warm gravies, or sweet treats like apple pie and chocolate cake.

Wow! Makes me hungry just thinking about these wonderful dishes.  However, I am not completely ready to give us all my eating well all year long for the indulgences of the season.

So what should we do when our favorite comfort foods do not fit in our current dietary calorie count or our protein, carb or sugar goals? Should we ignore our cravings for the stuffed, creamy, cheesy or chocolaty treat?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Enjoy your favorite comfort cravings in moderation.

You don’t have to deny yourself the foods you love or that have traditionally brought you good memories of other times in your life. If you are watching your calorie count or eliminating your carb intake–the best way to enjoy them is by having a small portion of them. You can give into the cravings without spoiling your nutritional plan.

2. Look for healthier alternatives to your favorite recipes.

The internet is full of wonderful recipes and healthy alternatives that are delicious and can replace some of our old comfort food favorites.  Alternatives to your comfort favorites will provide you the joy and yes–the comfort–of eating what you want while keeping your nutritional goals in mind.

3. Create brand new comfort food recipes of your own.

It is so much fun to experiment in the kitchen and combine your favorite flavors to create a meal that is comforting, delicious and truly your own. This is the best of all worlds combined, you can enjoy the foods and flavors you love and maintain your health goals at the same time.

This is the season, when the weather gets cooler that the lure of comfort foods calls to us.  Find the right balance and enjoy!