Posts Tagged With: sharing

Learning to Share Again and Again

Friday Letter to my Kids – Nov 28, 2014

Dear J, J, L and L,

Your Dad and I just spent the quietest Thanksgiving Day ever. Just the two of us, here at home, no big dinner, no outings, no football. I don’t say that with any negativity whatsoever! No, I actually really enjoyed it. We slept in. I wrote some, made homemade caramels, listened to an audio book, went on an evening walk, put up the outside Christmas lights with your Dad and generally enjoyed a slow day sitting in my porch swing every chance I got.

By Rennett Stowe from USA (Walking in Yosemite  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rennett Stowe from USA (Walking in Yosemite Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

All that was okay because we had our Thanksgiving Dinner/Day last Friday with little J and family in town for a visit. The day felt every single bit like all of our other Thanksgiving days. I spent the day before baking more pies than we can eat. I planned out a schedule for getting all the food cooked and hot at the same time. Littles ran around and fussed and napped. We hung out and talked and reminisced and laughed and snacked until the food finally, finally, finally was ready for the table.

With all that perfection six days early, we didn’t need some imitation version with just the two of us, or some random group of people. I felt such immense gratitude that day that it’s carried me through an entire week.

My only regret found purchase on the niggling fact of little L’s absence. We should have Skyped with you. But I worried it might make you feel a little sad to not be part of things. I should have done it anyway.

It’s part of the sharing thing I seem to have to keep learning, I suppose.

You all used to feel like mine, all mine. I didn’t have to share you with anyone. Which I really liked. But then each of you fell in love, got whisked away by it and began your own families. Which I always dreamed you’d do.

I find it ironic that what we really want for someone often carries with it a kind of backwash of sorrow.

I love that you’re each so loved and so in love. That some of you have started sharing that love with little ones of your own makes my life exponentially grander, brighter and so joyous I can hardly contain it. Nothing makes a parent happier than to see their children truly happy.

Part of that happiness means I have to share you with that person you fell in love with. And, even more so, I get to share you with your beloved’s family. In fact, you became part of their family as much as you’re part of ours.

That all means sharing you for holidays, without being insistent or demanding or childish about where you choose to spend that time. I accept whatever arrangements your life requires because of love. But my acceptance doesn’t make me miss you less, or make all our shared times from the past any less valued.

Apparently, that’s the way it’s all supposed to happen.

This photo is part of National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

This photo is part of National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

We start out learning to share our toys, our dolls or dump trucks, moving on to sharing a bedroom and clothes and parental love with siblings. As we grow we learn the hard lessons of sharing among friends and that girl boy messiness. We learn to share our time, our means, our dreams. We share what gifts we came with and those gifts we’ve learned so we can see joy on others faces. Hopefully the learning curve of sharing lets us give within a marriage sufficient to meld two souls into something stunning. And then, after raising a family with all its requisite sharing, you think you’re done, you’ve shared enough. But the sharing goes on as you give away those precious ones to a life separate from your own.

I never would have guessed at the abundance that comes from sharing. Even coming from what often seems like almost nothing, sharing happens and leaves in its place an exquisite gift.

Yes. I miss you when you aren’t here for holidays, or family dinners, or any of the other whatevers. But knowing that you’re happy makes all the difference. Know that I’m happy even in the missing of you.

I hope you find the holiday season extra bright this year.

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

 “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” ~Charlotte Bronte

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Categories: Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Get By with a Little Help from our Friends

My sister-in-law, Cheri Mitchell, a super-star woman with incredible energy and optimism who’s also a nurse, took off for Nairobi, Kenya a month ago to see what she could do to help lighten the load and smooth the path for a few people there.

The photos she’s sent and the status updates she’s posted have added perspective and angst to my life. I feel so decadent here in America when I see and read about life in the orphanage where she’s volunteering.

Today, I’m sharing a tiny part of what she’s experienced so far, gleaned with her permission, from her Facebook page.

 

 

“Some of the very happy sweet kids at the KCC Slum project. Also a pic of their water supply. Volunteers built a filtration system to clean it. Some previous volunteers started a school there and are doing amazing work. Living conditions are below poverty level yet they are all smiling. I don’t think I have a thing to complain about…Feeling grateful.” 
tents“Same day Thursday, we also visited an IDP camp (internally displaced persons), they live in “tents” made of what ever they can find, old rice bags, plastic sacks, sticks, cardboard, tin, etc. It was truly heartbreaking for me. Overwhelmed with the cycle of poverty, yet again, smiling. The children were so happy to see volunteers and have new people to play with. We played soccer, and some of them taught us some songs.”

“We brought flour with us for the families, bagged it and distributed it to them. They were very grateful and appreciative, some of them did little dances of joy.  Wish we could have brought more… Very humbling day.”
“A clean pit latrine…”
pit latrine

“First day at Wakimai children home.. with Jorge. They need lots of love and play time…there was also puppies and kittens, and baby chickens.”

mortuary sign“Today was the funeral service and burial for a baby boy from the orphanage we are at, he died on Tuesday at the hospital. Somber experience, and very close to home. Heaven has another Angel — feeling sad.”

 

“Today we did some good.  Yesterday we bought cleaning supplies, blankets, diapers and baby goods and we went back to the house today to clean and organize. We swept and mopped and got rid of all the broken and destroyed shoes that didn’t have mates and reorganize their shoe shelves. Folded laundry, hung laundry, fed and played with the kids. Then we went to market… what an awesome experience. Purchased huge bags of corn, beans and an enormous bag of potatoes for the orphanage. It is pictured in the back of the truck.”

“Water tank project..gutters on, tank plot cleared, now waiting on tank..hmmm. african standard time.”

 

doctors and clinic workers“Another help for the wonderful people who selflessly serve at the Uthiru dispensary. They were in need of a foetal heart Doppler. Thanks to donations, the doctor, nurses as well as the expectant mothers can now hear their babies heartbeats in utero. This will help them feel closer to their newborns and encourage them to seek proper prenatal care. God bless contributors. And THANK YOU!!!”

 

Dr. Ester and the wonderful staff at Uthiru dispensary free clinic, with the fetal heart doppler that donations paid for, and medications received from NVS. Thank you so much contributors. God Bless you.”

“They could really benefit from some more donations, quickly. There are some incredible stories here, some miraculous, mostly sad tho. The kids range from 2 months to 14 yrs. There’s 62 kids and one sweet woman with a helper to run the place. It isn’t funded by government and relies on volunteer help and donations.”

Cheri and Stephi

Cheri and Stefi

“We have done some things here to greatly increase the quality of life for these children.”

“So much more can be done. Winter is here and not all children have blankets. Our donations even helped get a little boy, who was hit by an angry neighbor, a CT Scan. He has been ill since the incident.”
“Thank you again for all who have donated and if you still want to, and can, here is the site again. God bless you, we only have a couple more weeks here and I really want to make a difference for these sweet children.”
I hope you can help her to help these sweet children. 
Maybe we could skip one morning’s latte’ this week, or go without an afternoon smoothie, forego tomorrow’s burger and fries and brown bag it, or rent a movie instead of going out and send the difference. Just that much can go so far. Every bit helps Cheri to help them immediately and directly.

 

 

Categories: Love, People, The World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Going Crazy…Be Back Soon

Going crazy…be back soon. That’s my favorite joke I tell myself every day lately. If I could find a bumper sticker that said that, I’d buy it. I’m sure there’s one out there, I just haven’t looked.

I know, it’s politically incorrect to make fun of or joke about, well, just about everything nowadays. But I’m simply laughing at myself when I say that.

The way I see it, I can laugh or I can cry. I choose to laugh. You see, I’ve battled depression off and on throughout my adult life. At times the battle nearly did me in. Luckily, blessedly, I’ve had people on my side, even if I haven’t always recognized it or allowed them to help.

I’ve also had family members, close and distant with their own mental health demons, and all the daily battles and years long wars that entails. Some lost that war, and what a horrific loss.

My best advice from the front lines? Don’t be silent about it. Don’t be ashamed by it. Talk to someone about it.

A close friend, a clergy member, a family member, a health care professional, a counselor anyone. There are help lines you can call, there are more people out there who have been exactly where you are.

And if you’ve been there, don’t be silent about it either. It’s not something we should be hiding. Our experience could be the saving grace or the hand that deflects the last straw.

Imagine realizing the person you’ve looked up to as a role model, the with it, always together, mellow person lets you know they’ve battled one of those mental health demons. Wouldn’t you want to know how they did it? Would you feel safe talking to them about your own worries, or the concerns you have about a spouse, a child, a parent? Imagine then, being the person who could help, and then open up and be that person.

Back in the Paleozoic era, when depression grabbed ahold of me and pulled me into a dark and bottomless pit, there was one medication available to treat it. Now, the list is longer than my arm.

You say you don’t want to go the medication route? Fine, there is still help and caring people with information you could use to win this war.

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Reach out for help. Or reach out to offer help. Either way, don’t be silent about it. Please.

Click here, or here, or here, or here, or here to learn more, to get help, to start opening up, to begin to change the world.

And then, enjoy these lovely jokes about being crazy. Because we all need to laugh.

mh28The aspiring psychiatrists were attending their first class on emotional extremes. “Just to establish some parameters,” said the professor to the student from Arkansas, “What is the opposite of joy?”

“Sadness,” said the student.

And the opposite of depression?” he asked of the young lady from Oklahoma.

“Elation,” said she.

“And you sir,” he said to the young man from Texas, “how about the opposite of woe?”

The Texan replied, “Sir, I believe that would be giddy-up.”

frank-cotham-if-you-have-any-mental-health-issues-you-d-like-to-discuss-now-would-be-new-yorker-cartoonQ: How does a crazy person travel through the woods?

A: They take the psycho path.

20906102_low

And these t-shirts are pretty funny, too!

Seriously, laughter might help, but it’s not a cure, not usually.

Ask for help. Offer help. Open up. You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Ziggy’s Wisdom, Mom’s Hands

Ziggy always shared some bit of wisdom. This wall hanging I have at home, a gift of cross stitch from my Mom, has some of the wisest words that little roundish guy ever spoke.

photo-11 copy

Give a little, get a little.

Seems like a good philosophy.

What will you do today, or tomorrow, to start your day with a little love?

To check out Ziggy cartoons and other bits of wisdom click on one of the links below.

Ziggy Comic Strip

More Ziggy Comics

Categories: Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Popping the Thought Bubbles and Inflating the Speech Balloons

Reading the comics, I’ve wondered what it would be like if we had actual thought bubbles and speech balloons hovering over us in real life. Imagine, all those unspoken thoughts we harbor, hide and simmer inside of us, out in the open for all to see! Wowser. Pink slips galore! Friendships ended! Marriages broken!  Or would it really be that way?

Talk

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder if we allowed at least some of our thoughts to become speech balloons instead, thoughts made into words spoken, if it wouldn’t cure more ills than it creates. Instead of resentment, maybe there would be resolution. In place of anger, perhaps understanding. Hurt could be changed into healing, and maybe even loneliness could morph into community.

It could happen…

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed.  But when we are silent, we are still afraid.  So it is better to speak “– Audre Lorde

Fear seems to dictate so many of our decisions, so much of what we do, where we go, how we are, who we choose to be.

Why?

Why do we let fear be the ruling emotion in our lives?

Can’t we choose to let joy, or love, or compassion or excitement be the main feeling we experience, the main emotion we focus on, the decisive straw that wins the vote?

I for one, feel life more fully when I allow my voice to be heard.  Even if I am the only one who hears what I have to say, at least I have said it, out loud, into the universe.

That, I think, is part of where the power of prayer comes from. As we give voice to the darkness and fear that’s within us, we diminish the potency of those things. Speaking the difficult things aloud opens up space inside and makes room for fresh air, hope, revelation, inspiration and joy. Vocalizing our concerns awakens possibilities within us.

A flower among cactus thorns.

A flower among cactus thorns.

The same is true when we address the positives in our life. Expressing gratitude, telling someone that we love or appreciate them, sharing a joke, even simply saying ‘hello’ broadens our possibilities and makes way for more good stuff.

I don’t have any research to back up what I’m saying. Only one life’s experience and observation tell me these things. I made the choice years ago to open my mouth, which then opened my heart and opened my world.

I decided to bloom, right where I was, cactus and thorns be damned. The hurt will happen anyway, silent or speaking, quiet or singing, forlorn or joyful. Bloom! That is the best choice. It has been the best choice for me.

Categories: Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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