Friday, December 30, 2011

Time for Reflection

Another year is coming to a close and it is a good time to look back and consider the past 12 months. What experiences left an impact, what have we learned from them, and how will they help us move forward to 2012.

2011 was a pretty good year for me. There were no crisis or tragedies, but some realizations of who I am at this stage of life. As a baby boomer, I grew up with this large group of people who, during our youth, ushered in new ideas and cutting edge technological advances that have radically changed the world. Now we find ourselves getting frustrated when we can’t program our DVR’s or figure out how to use our new smart phones. Time marches on even when we are to busy to realize it, and suddenly it is time to move over and let the next generation have their time. I do believe I am okay with that.

Hopefully the years of living have instilled enough wisdom to guide us into the next phase of our lives realizing what is important and what is not. I now happily accept that I would rather stay home on New Years Eve beside the fireplace with a good book or movie. Dressing up and going out has lost its appeal. Let the young people do that.

During the past year I came to the conclusion that instead of desperately trying to hold on to youth, I should embrace my age, and make good use of the wisdom gained from a lifetime of experience. I plan to find joy in what really matters to me. Spending time with family and friends, being free to travel with my husband, and the simple pleasures of everyday life.

I have also come to realize that it doesn’t matter if I have wrinkles on my face and age spots on my hands. It is normal for my age and nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t matter if there are designer labels on my clothes or if I have an expensive car. What matters is that I am healthy, happy, and hopefully helpful to the people in my life.

What a relief it is taking the pressure off of myself to try to be someone I’m not. Who I am is not so bad. I am a woman with a lot to give and a lot of living to do. I am looking forward to becoming a grandmother when the time comes and living a life appropriate to my age. In 2011, I learned to be okay with that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


With Christmas just a few days away, and 2012 fast approaching, I find myself reminiscing about my childhood and how magical Christmas was in our home. From choosing the perfect tree with my dad and siblings, to making fudge and divinity with my mom, it really was ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. My parents did all they could on their limited budget to make our Christmas dreams come true.

Once I had my own family, I tried to carry on most of the traditions I grew up with so my sons could experience the wonder that Christmas is to children. As it worked out, my husband’s family traditions were very similar to my own, so we carried on with the decorations, homemade cookies and candy, special dinners served on the ‘good’ dishes, and lots of presents. Just as when we were little, all our kid’s dreams came true on Christmas morning. Now that they are grown, I hope they have cherished memories of Christmas past and traditions they will pass down to their children when the time comes.

In the meantime, with no little kids in the family, and no grandparents coming to visit, how important is it to continue all the holiday festivities? My two grown sons and husband manage to be ‘busy’ when it is time to decorate and I have to do it all myself. With no daughters, I do all cooking too. Each year I wonder if it even matters to them if we have all the holiday trimmings. One busy year I threatened not do any decorating and they all assured me they would miss it and that they would help. I don’t remember getting much help, but all the decorations went up as usual. This year I am contemplating the need for my homemade Christmas fudge. None of us need all that fat and calories, but it is Christmas.

Whether it matters to them or not, I cannot be sure. But it does matter to me. I am not sure exactly why I do all the decorating, cooking, and shopping, but I do, all the while feeling the comfort and joy of my childhood Christmas slipping away. I will hold on to the traditions that are so special to me, and hope they will keep the spirit alive for future generations to enjoy.

Merry Christmas everyone, and best wishes for the New Year! I am off to make the Christmas fudge because…it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


How hard is it for us to really forgive someone who has hurt us? As much as I like to think I am a forgiving person, in reality I do hold onto resentment. It is hard to overlook a wrong someone has done to you when the pain is still raw. Sometimes time will heal the wound and you can forgive and forget. Other times it is not so easy. When it appears that someone has hurt you purposely, how do you justify forgiving that person?

Anger, resentment, and bitterness are burdensome emotions to carry around. Forgiveness will free you from the burden of this negative energy, but how do you get there?

First we must realize that all human beings are vulnerable and fragile. A harsh, rude person may not fit that description on the surface, but how did they become that way? What has life dealt them to cause them to put up a protective shield? Children that are unloved may lock their hearts in defense of more hurt. Some people (men) cannot show their emotions any other way then anger, consequently hurting others unintentionally. A person who has been repeatedly cheated may forget how to trust.

In my struggle to forgive, I try to understand the offender a little more and decide if the wrong was really intentional, or just a release of their own pain. I am trying to look past the hurt and find compassion for an individual who may be dealing with unmanageable problems of his or her own. In short, it may not be about me at all. By taking the focus away from my own hurt feelings, I may be able to get past them and find a reason to forgive and mend a relationship that might have otherwise been lost to me. And a relationship is a valuable thing to lose.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quote of the Week

“Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.”
                    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The first part of this quote is my philosophy for getting all the enjoyment I can out of life. I try never to pass up an opportunity to enjoy myself, because as we all know, there are many times in life that we will have to endure. Loss, illness, disappointment, and rejection, are all part of our journey, making it all the more important to enjoy when you can.

I wrote earlier about making the positive choice, which I do most of the time. It is worth repeating, as life is shorter than we realize and there are so many opportunities to live, laugh, and enjoy. So many people get caught up in career and family and put enjoyment off until later. Sadly for some, later never comes. I listen closely when an elder person, nearing the end of their life talks with regret of missed adventures and put-off experiences.

My mother-in-law died of cancer at a relatively young age. I had always admired her spotless and well-organized home, her perfectly tailored wardrobe, and her homemade meals. I aspired to be like her. However, after she realized her life was ending, she confided in me that she wished she had not spent so much of her time cleaning house and cooking. Too late she realized she had missed so much of the pleasure of living and would never get the time she spent dusting and scrubbing back.

If someone calls with an invitation on laundry or house-cleaning day, I remember my mother-in-law’s words and put my chores aside and take the opportunity to live. And when tragedy or disappointment happens, I endure with as much strength and grace as I can and allow myself the time to recover and heal.

When times are good we should get all of the enjoyment out of life that we can since we never know when a bad time may come. I will end here as my son has invited me out to lunch, and guess what? I’m going!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Italian Adventure 2011 - Part IV

      As our guided tour of Tuscany continued, our group of ten met each morning for breakfast after resting comfortably in our spacious castle suites. I slept soundly surrounded by the thick stone walls that blocked out all sound and light. The experience was medieval and luxurious at the same time. Magic. After breakfast we regrouped and headed out to destinations such as Cortona, Montepulciano, Montelcino, San Gimignano, and Greve. Each town had it’s own charm and beauty.  At the end of the day we went to a local restaurant or returned to the castle for a gourmet Italian dinner. Wow!  

       Mid week we decided to have a down day to relax at the castle, or visit the nearby spa, and meet back at the castle in the afternoon for a cooking class with Salvatore and Antonio. I must say under the guidance of these exceptional cooks we prepared an amazing meal that we paired with great wine and lots of wonderful companionship.

On our last day we visited Pienza where we sampled the delicious Pecorino cheese, and Montecino, home of the renowned Brunello wine. To end the day Antonio had arranged a tour, wine tasting and dinner, at the home/winery of his friends. The setting was beautiful, the wine luscious and our hosts were friendly and welcoming. Their stunning hillside winery in the heart of the Brunello wine region was aptly named La Fortuna after it was won by the current owners grandfather in a card game. While we toured the winery with the father and son winemakers, their wives were inside preparing what was to be a delectable dinner. The evening could not have been more perfect for our last dinner as a group. Wonderful memories were made that night.

After seven incredible days we returned to Florence, said goodbye to our new friends and began to prepare for our long journey home. From Florence we took the train to Milan where we spent one night and caught a morning flight to San Diego via Atlanta.

Vacations are exciting, but there is no place like home. I missed all my familiar surroundings; kitchen, family room and of course my bed, where I snuggle-in and dream about Italy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Italian Adventure 2011, Part III

On day 14 we arrived in Florence after another tense drive through Northern Tuscany in the pouring rain. At this point we were just here for one night and meeting up with three other couples and our tour guide in the morning. We planned to return to Florence for a couple of nights after our Tuscany tour as we had been there before and do love the city.

After several complications… dropping off our car, finding our room, not being able to get into our room, we finally arrived frazzled and tired. Mark wanted to get something to eat and retire for the night. I however, wanted to see the Duomo.

Mark was more agreeable after a nice dinner and a little wine, and we strolled down to Piazza Duomo. The streets of Florence are very narrow and the buildings are tall, blocking the sun and any views of the city’s sights. When we stepped into the square the enormity of the cathedral took our breath away. We had forgotten the majesty and shear size of this incredible structure. We circled the cathedral, baptistery, and bell tower awed and speechless until we realized it was cold and we had an early wake up call.

                                                                             We met our guide, the charming and entertaining Salvatore, and the other couples at the train station. To our great relief, it turned out to be a friendly and fun group of people from three different areas of the US and we immediately hit it off. Next stop, Castello Delle Serre, a centuries old castle in the heart of Tuscany. Salvatore had purchased the castle 14 years ago and has been restoring it ever since. We had stayed there three years ago and were excited to be returning for an entire week with Salvatore, a knowledgeable historian, and his son, Antonio, as our guides.

We settled into our elegant room, had a quick lunch, and headed into the Tuscan countryside. Mark and I have toured many areas of Italy, but as soon as we arrived, we agreed that Tuscany is our favorite. There is something unique about this part of the world. The way the sun illuminates the landscape, the vineyards covering the slopes, the historic hilltop towns with their winding narrow streets, all combine to take you away from the modern world into history itself. There is a feel to this place that is like nowhere else.

With local residence as our guides (from left, my husband Mark, Salvatore, and Antonio), we were able to enjoy local restaurants, private wineries, and even private homes. We ate some dinners at the castle prepared by Sal and his family, which were fabulous and memorable. On our first full day of touring we were welcomed at the Dei Family Winery and even into their home for lunch. The Dei family fortune derives from their travertine quarries, and more recently, their winery. I was delighted to find them welcoming and warm as we toured the gardens (pictured below) and interior of one of their country estates. The meal was amazing, the wine delicious, and the company unforgettable. Once again we were living among the locals, in this case, the wealthy locals. What an experience!

Next week, part 4.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Italian Adventure 2011, Part II

            I was feeling really sad about having to say good-bye to Giorgio and Patrizia and the 5 Chimneys B&B until I switched my focus to our next destination, Bellagio, at beautiful Lake Como. Giorgio drove us back to Milan where we picked up a rental car and headed north to the lake country. Once we navigated ourselves through the town of Como we found the narrow, windy road leading to Bellagio. After an hour of hugging the mountainside and dodging the aggressive Italian drivers we arrived at our B&B exhausted and grateful to have survived the drive.
            Bellagio is an elegant, timeless village, with old villas nestled in meticulously manicured gardens, with stunning views of Lake Como, and the Alps that surround the lake.  We walked and walked exploring the gardens and shops, climbing the many stairs that are the streets in this hillside town. After nightfall the lake glowed in the light of a full moon. Romantic Lake Como, I am glad I got to know you.
            After 2 nights it was time to get back in the car. Luckily we were leaving by a different route, which was much less traveled and less stressful. Next stop Verona, the city of love. Actually we were staying at another hilltop town above Verona, San Giorgio, which sits in the middle of the Valpolicella wine growing area. The view from our room of the endless vineyards, turning yellow and gold, and Lake Garda in the distance, was peaceful and inviting. Each of these areas grows different types of grapes and makes their own varieties of wine unique to the area. Valpolicella produces red, rosé, and white. The rosés are often sparkling, and oh so refreshing. I really enjoyed the wine here.
             Verona itself has many medieval structures very much intact including a massive coliseum older then the one in Rome. It is still in use today as a venue for concerts and plays. The main attraction though is Juliet’s home and the famous balcony that Romeo used to visit Juliet in secret. Love is definitely in the air in Verona.

            Day 12 of our trip finds us once again in the car, heading to Parma, the city of food. Parmesan cheese, prosciutto as well as other types of ham are produced, and consumed in Parma. The locals seem to live on these foods. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all start with ham and cheese. The quality and freshness of the cheeses I especially appreciated, being the cheese lover that I am. I was in cheese heaven the entire trip. We visited a family who produce Parmesan and watched the entire process and sampled the finished product. This cheese is like nothing I had ever tasted. Like I said, Italy is cheese heaven.
            Next stop Florence, where we will meet up with our tour group and head to Castello Delle Serre, a medieval castle in Tuscany, and the highlight of our trip. Check back for Part III.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Italian Adventure 2011, Part I

           As some of you know my laptop was stolen in the early days of my vacation to Italy. Consequently there have been no blog postings as I had planned. It was the trip of my life and looking back I realize there are no words to describe what we experienced in Italy, however, now that I am back at my computer I will try.
I had been planning this trip for nine months to celebrate my husband, Mark’s, 60th birthday. I like to get the most out of each of my vacation days, so I research travel websites, study maps, and plan every detail I possibly can in advance. When the day came to head to the airport, I was prepared and ready. There is no easy way for west coasters to get to Europe, so you grin and bare what ends up being a very long ordeal. We left home about 6 am, flew to Atlanta for a 2 hour layover, and arrived in Milan at midnight our time. There is a 9-hour time difference, so the local time was 9 am. That is the hard part. The good news is our host for the next 7 days was waiting to greet us with a warm smile and welcoming attitude.
I had gone out on a limb for this first week and booked us into the 5 Chimneys B&B in an off the beaten path area of Piedmont somewhere between Milan and Turin. The package included accommodations, breakfast and dinner prepared by Patrizia, our hostess, and private tours of the area by Giorgio, our host. With no car or any idea what was in store for us, we were totally in their hands. Giorgio was friendly and informative on the 50-minute drive to the villa and when we arrived Patrizia was at the gate to greet us.

 This charming, English speaking Italian couple welcomed us into their home, a 17th century villa that they have restored in its original style, in the tiny village of Pozzenga. The village is in the middle of the Monferrato wine growing area. Our room on the 2nd floor had views of the snow-capped Alps, vineyard covered hillsides, and the village below. Stunning! That afternoon Giorgio took us to the La Pavesa Winery, where he is part owner, and toured the vineyards with his partner, Franco, the winemaker. After the tour we tried all the amazing wines with local cheeses and meats, and we knew we had made a great choice in coming here. 

            We began each morning with Giorgio’s perfect cappuccinos and Patrizia’s delicious breakfast with something freshly baked each day. Then we headed off to explore Piedmont with Giorgio. We toured hilltop castles, the Barolo (wine of the kings) wine growing area, the historic city of Turin, and Lake Orta at the base of the Alps. The lack of tourists in this area is what made this such a memorable experience. We were able to live the actual lifestyle of the area, meet the locals and eat what they traditionally eat, everything fresh from the land. Wonderful!
            This area is known for black and the rare white truffles, so prized by chefs around the world. One morning we were picked up by a local truffle hunter and his highly trained dog and headed into the woods in search of the elusive truffle. I told you we were living the local lifestyle. The hunt was successful with 4 black truffles and 1 small white truffle. We turned them over to Patrizia who used them in sauces and on salads, which were out of this world. 

            On another afternoon our hosts invited us to join them at their church for the annual village concert. Of course we agreed and all walked up to the top of the hill. All the villagers were there and we met the local dignitaries including the priest and the mayor. We were not prepared when the sophisticated and accomplished musicians entered and took their seats. For such a small village we expected a more local experience. When the music began in this centuries old stone church with massive arched ceilings and amazing acoustics, we were hypnotized. We agreed later that we both felt like we had been transported back in time, or to another world. This was not a tourist attraction and we lost ourselves in the realness of it.

            The icing on the cake – the cake that was this week in Piedmont - was returning every evening to the B&B and being served a 5-star, gourmet, 4-course meal, prepared lovingly by Patrizia. She is an amazing cook using all fresh, local ingredients to make the traditional meals of the area. Giorgio chose the wine from his wine cellar, and we were wowed every night.
            As the week came to an end, we worried that the rest of our vacation would be a disappointment after the amazing week at 5 Chimneys. However nothing could be further from the truth. Check back in a few days for more about our Italian vacation.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Goodbye Summer

I greeted Autumn this morning on my walk through the neighborhood. Blue skies decorated with puffy white and gray clouds, a crispness in the air and even a sprinkle of rain awakened my senses. Our summer was abbreviated this year as the coolness of spring hung on through July, and I did not think I was ready for summer to be over when it had just begun, or so it seemed. I had not noticed the trees changing color before this morning but the yellow, red, and orange against the blue sky turned my thoughts to the coming season.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our annual Autumn vacation are fast approaching. Yes summer is over but there is much to look forward to. Each season has its beauty and fall always turns my thoughts to hearth and home. Baking, sitting by the fireplace with a good book, the crunch of crackly leaves underfoot and planning for the upcoming holidays will all be on my mind once I return from this years vacation.

Summer for this year is history, but with all the pleasures of Autumn to look forward to, I no longer care. My husband and I are off to Italy in celebration of his 60th birthday. We will be spending a few weeks casually exploring villages, wineries, castles and the countryside. I plan to post on this blog from different locations so if you want to follow along check back here once a week or so. Meanwhile enjoy the pleasures of Autumn in your area and summer will be back before we know it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

My book project 'Living Fit After Fifty' is nearing completion. It has been an interesting, and at times, frustrating process yet there has been a lot of opportunity for learning and growth. I feel blessed to have received so much help and support from friends and family.

After I sent the package off to the publisher I was left feeling a little vulnerable - like I had sent a part of myself out into the world for public examination - until I realized that those who end up reading my book will have chosen to read it. My hope is that a lot of people will make this choice, but that remains to be seen.

 If all goes as scheduled, the book should be available sometime in November and the next leg of this unexpected journey will begin.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Girlfriend Reunion 2011

The past weekend was our annual girlfriend weekend. This group of friends have known each other since high school and in some cases junior high. 45 years later we still get together whenever possible. I feel very lucky to be a part of a group with such a long history. We have grown up together, supporting and encouraging each other through marriages, raising children, illness, and loss. We have shared the best and worst life has to offer.

This year we met at my home with four friends flying in from three different cities. One of our group of six was unable to make it, so we were a comfortable group of five. Everyone arrived tired and stressed and the reunion was just what the doctor ordered.

I don't know what I would do without my girlfriends. We provide each other with advice, therapy, entertainment, companionship, laughter, laughter, and more laughter, which is the best therapy of all. Last year one friend was still in mourning for her recently deceased husband and two others were working out their differences, so it was a time for support and understanding. This year we were all in rare form and ready for some fun. We left our worries on the doorstep and focused on enjoying being together.

Today the house is quiet, the beach towels are washed and put away, but I smile as I relive the events of the past few days. What a joy these friends are, and how lucky I am to have them in my life after all these years. Friendships and relationships of all kinds require a little effort, but the rewards far outweigh the effort. Make your life richer by nourishing your relationships and keeping them strong. You never know when you may need them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Females and males have been described as being from Venus and Mars, which are 67.2 million miles apart. In my opinion men have specific, basic needs, while women are complex and may not receive all of the emotional support they require from the men in their lives. This is why God created girlfriends.

Last week I spent a few days in the mountains of Idaho with a group of friends, four couples who have known each other for years and always have fun together. On the last full day the women ventured out on their own, while the men stayed behind to work on the cabin. We wanted to revisit the hot springs we had discovered the day before, but did not have time to fully enjoy. Needless to say, this day was the highlight of the trip. We soaked in natural hot tubs, we sang at the top of our lungs, we laughed at each other until our sides hurt, and then we laughed some more.

Throughout history, women have always managed to spend time together. Quilting bees, sewing circles, and tea time allowed women to bond and share feelings their men may not have related to. Today we enjoy girl’s night out, spa days, and shopping excursions. When I am with my girlfriends I know I can count on having fun, being supported and understood.

Back at the cabin, the men were grouting a stone wall, and later taking a drive in an open jeep, on a dirt road, getting covered with dust and grim. I guess they enjoyed themselves, but hearing about their day makes me really happy to be from Venus.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


We have all been told to ‘follow your gut feeling’, or to ‘sleep on it’ and the situation will be clearer tomorrow. Some people have very strong instincts, while others don’t, or don’t think they do. I have very strong instincts (woman’s intuition), and have instinctively followed them all my life. My husband has powerful instincts, but does not trust them (to his own detriment). I can’t count the times I have heard him say, “I had a feeling”.

Throughout our 37 years of marriage we have had numerous disagreements in regard to listening to that ‘gut feeling’, or going with the sometimes more logical decision, with me pushing for my feelings. He, being a man, used to question what I based my recommendations on, not understanding that my instincts are sometimes so direct that I somehow know them to be right. He has learned, over the years, to listen closely when I have a ‘feeling’, because the feeling is almost always right. Now I encourage him to act accordingly when he ‘has a feeling’.

Instinct rules the animal world. It is what guides their migration patterns, their mating rituals, knowing their enemies, etc. They live in tune with the earth, following the seasons and using their senses for survival, which is their one purpose. Humans could learn from their example. Our minds are so cluttered with the details of our busy  lives, that we may lose sight of our true journey. Clearing the clutter through meditation, contemplation, or prayer may be all it takes to get in touch with our inner selves. That part of ourselves that can make clearer decision and keep us grounded. Finding and listening to your ‘gut feelings’ may put you back on your true path. When you have a ‘feeling’ about something, try letting that feeling guide you. You may end up right where you want to be.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fear – A Debilitating Emotion

I was a fearful child. Bad dreams and monsters in the closet kept me awake at night. Worrying about my big brother and parents troubled my days. I don’t know what caused these fears, but as I matured I conquered most of them. As a grown up I know there are no monsters in my closet, but fear still threatens to disrupt my life experience.

As adults, many of us fear failure, criticism, rejection, or just being wrong. This emotion gets in the way of adventure, personal growth in trying new things, and sometimes being ourselves. But how do we cope with our insecurities and self-doubt? One way may be to get over ourselves. Do we consider ourselves so important that others will care about our mistakes? Most people are busy worrying about their own issues and are not focused on anyone else. And what if someone does criticize or snub us? Ask yourself who are they to judge? In these cases, as with bullies on the playground, they are trying to feel better about their own insecurities.

None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. The key is to learn from them and move on. Usually what we are afraid of is not as destructive as the fear itself. Don’t let fear rob you of reaching your full potential. Take a deep breath and meet every challenge that comes your way. What have you got to lose?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."            ~ Mark Twain

None of us want to end our life with regrets. Follow Mark Twain's advice and go for the gusto! Reach for the stars and you might just catch one. Don't let fear and insecurity cheat you out of being all you can be. Every experience is a chance for learning and growing. Set goals and do the things you have always wanted to do. What is the worst that can happen? Even if an event goes wrong, it is an opportunity to gain experience and wisdom.

I hope to end my life with a cache of memories to savor, and no regrets.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Old Friends Are The Best Friends

For the last four days my home has been filled with family and life long friends. The last couples left yesterday leaving our home feeling empty, quiet, and lonely. We miss our loved ones with whom we share so much history and can be completely comfortable around. With travel plans, food preparation, sleeping arrangements and making sure everyone is entertained, a lot of work goes into planning these family reunions. I am worn out physically today, but at the same time I am strengthened from the laughter, togetherness, and knowledge that I am part of a caring extended family.

Maintaining family bonds and staying connected to our friends takes work, but if we don’t make the effort, a very important part of our life experience is lost. The benefits of maintaining relationships are far reaching. We human beings need each other. Knowing there will be someone there in times of trouble is comforting, and sharing memories and laughter is critical to mental well being. A good laugh is great medicine and with a steady dose of laughter, you will be a healthier person.

As I reminisce about the past weekend, I am looking forward to another reunion, an annual event with my high school girlfriends who are like sisters after all these years. I know there will be a lot of that good medicine, laughter, while they are here.

Stay connected and reap the rewards. Reach out to someone you have not contacted in years and have some laughs. It may seem like work to reestablish old relationships, but it is really a gift. Give yourself the gift of love and laughter and be happier and healthier for it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


The information super highway was supposed to make our lives easier. In fact, we can bank, shop, and connect with people around the world, without ever leaving our homes. On the other hand, we now have to find time to deal with computer technology, emails, text messages, cell and land phones ringing, I-pods, I-pads, Kendles, DVR’s, and on and on.  All of this in addition to our existing information sources consisting of television, radio, magazines, newspapers, snail mail, etc. These technical advances have definitely changed our lives, but for the better?

On the surface, our lives are enhanced in many ways, but if not managed responsibly, information overload can do very real harm. Our brains like to organize incoming information systematically. Some of us, including me, are not capable of handling the barrage most of us deal with on a daily basis. Our brains send us alerts that they are receiving too much data to organize efficiently by way of stress and anxiety attacks, which many of us are experiencing. The remedy is quite simple. Unplug for a while.

Turn it all off. Computer, cell phone, I-pod, television and radio. This is almost impossible for some to even consider, but giving your brain time to ‘catch up’ can make a world of difference to your state of mind. It may take a little time to adjust to being unplugged, but once you leave the electronic world, you will discover another world full of nature, weather, and peace and quiet. This other world is very nourishing and should be as important as the technical world. 

Try unplugging on a regular basis and see if you are a less stressed, happier person. I know I am.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quote of the Week

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." ~ Mae West

Mae's quote is brief, clear, and pointedly profound. We tend to rush through our days working, parenting, homemaking, fretting, and taking care of the business of life. But do we take the time to really live? Even when we are busy we can put more living in our daily activities.

Make a point to connect with the people you encounter each day. Really look at them and take an interest and you will be rewarded by the response you get. Challenge yourself when you have a difficult job to get done and then be proud when you succeed. Find opportunities for growth when times are tough. And don't forget to stop and smell the roses, figuratively and literally. Moments of pleasure throughout your day will help your feel good Endorphins stay elevated and you will be happier. And that is doing it right.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Positive Choice

Some time ago, while being faced with a difficult decision, a very wise friend gave me a piece of advice that has impacted my life ever since. This little gem of wisdom was simply to make the positive choice. Do I go to the party (the positive), or stay home (the negative)? Do I call my grieving friend (positive), or let her grieve in peace (negative)? Following this rule has opened my life to new experiences, people, places and events. What powerful advice.

Not only is decision making easier, I have attended some fabulous events, and made new friends that I may never have met. Even when I think I am too tired or may be out of place, I now choose the positive and almost always have a wonderful time, meet an extraordinary person, or make an impact on someone's life. In other words, I am living a richer, fuller life. The only drawback to this rule is that you can wear yourself out. Sometimes the best choice is to rest up and be prepared for more positive choices.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Am I Dokmezet?

I never thought I would be blogging. Until recently I did not know what a blog was. As the process of writing and publishing a book progresses for me, I am learning the business of writing, social marketing, and unexpectedly, about myself.

My assumption that submitting a project to publishers would be straightforward has proved to be anything but. Not only do they want to see your book, they want to see your website, blog, marketing plan and resume. Being a member of the baby boom generation and having only recently begun my writing career, I was overwhelmed. Luckily for me, my son, a marketing consultant, agreed to help me. Being unfamiliar with blogs in general, I was at a loss when he asked what I wanted to name mine.

As a writer I tend to look at each assignment or project individually and had not considered my work as a whole. When my consultant/son suggested I call my blog ‘Peace of Mind’, I was intrigued at his impression of my work.

“Mom, you write about acceptance and being yourself.” He told me. “Everything you write has a positive theme to it. You are the family counselor and advisor. Someone is always calling you for guidance or support.” His words were enlightening to me, as I did not realize he saw me in that light.

About this time we were embarking on a journey to Oklahoma to explore our Native American roots. Our tribe, Potawatomi (People of the Fire), was having a reunion and we decided to be part of it. Prior to the trip I learned there would be a naming ceremony at which time members could receive their native name from a tribal elder. This required questionnaires and interviews with your chosen elder. During this process, she and I were able to get to know each other and developed a fondness for each other.

All through the naming ceremony, which was steeped in all of the tribe’s tradition and beauty, with fire, smoke, herbs, prayer, and song, I wondered what my native name would be. In accordance with my son’s image, the Potawatomi name bestowed upon me is Dokmezet, which translates to She is Peaceful. Welcome to my Peace of Mind blog.

Follow along as I ponder life’s triumphs and challenges. Lets learn to be at peace together.