Sunday, November 28, 2021



The one thing that I think we all as humans believe is that there are only certain kinds of people who are extraordinary. They may be movie stars, rock stars,  authors who have New York Times #1 books, etc. I think you get the picture. What I want to put out there on a shelf for others to mull over in their heads is that the word ordinary is actually in the word

There are times in all of our lives that we face struggles and challenges when we must overcome our own self-doubts. The person who will be the one to help us out of self-doubts is actually our own selves. We don't do it alone. It will be someone who came along at the right time and place to actually listen to our story which in turn helped us to see the light. 

It helps when others share their own personal stories because we see where they were and how far they have come. Therefore the inspiration is out there for us to see. Simply because they were willing to listen and did not judge us helped to wipe away self-doubt. We all need to share the journey of our own struggles to get to where we want to go. It works every day. All it takes is to pay attention to others, as well as ourselves.

Small steps make the little things grow into big events. It is a part of being kind to one another. There is a way to help stay connected to others. Some people along the way you may know and others you may never have met before. The only major rule is to say hello and ask how someone is doing, then really listen. No judging. Just listening. If you find yourself at a get together where most people seem to already know each other then have the courtesy to go up to someone to introduce yourself. Use the words please and thank you. You may be surprised at how this simple act of etiquette opens doors.

The important thing is to remember that you are not doing this for the impact you may have. It is based on the humanity for others. We are all unique and we all have our own stories. These stories can change someone's life at that time or in years to come.

Sharing our stories with one another can help to inspire each other. We may not even know how much hope we may have given to someone, just by listening and sharing.

Just remember the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little "extra."

Sunday, November 21, 2021



There are so many times that I just want to go to the rooftops and scream out, "Can't we all just be kind to one another?" Apparently, it is not that easy for some people probably because of the misbelief that being kind means never getting angry. This is so wrong. It does not make anyone a pushover, simply the fact that it is treating others with the same respect and dignity that we deserve to be treated. Yes, even when we disagree. Everyone is allowed their own beliefs. Kindness actually takes some serious courage. In order to get along, we have to learn to let it go.

Kindness is good for our brains and body. Having empathy for others by taking a moment to realize where another person is coming from instead of jumping to judgments helps us all to be a kinder human being. Kindness is actually not a personality trait. It is a skill that needs continual practice. I have to ask myself if I reacted to others' views too quickly or if I raised my voice? Usually, this is a no for me. It is a little harder when I need to try to wrap my head around another person's point of view when it is so different from my own. By taking a moment to think about it instead of rushing in with my point of view usually works for me. And yes, sometimes it may mean, TIME OUT!  Sometimes it is best to not get into a debate about a subject. Make being kind a habit. It is a way of building your kindness superpower. This blog was based on some research done by Dr. Jamil Zaki, an associate professor at Stanford University. 

There is a link between kindness and empathy. They are two separate entities, just closely related. Kindness is doing something to help someone else without expecting anything in return whereas empathy is feeling what someone else is feeling. They don't always go together. Dr. Zaki's research revealed that people tend to feel happier and less stressed after doing something kind for someone.

Is there such a thing as being too kind? It is if you show kindness without some self-care. We must be kind to ourselves too. Two examples:
  • Yesterday I did something really, really dumb. I was not thinking and had too much on my mind. When I discovered my mistake I started calling myself out on what a stupid thing to do. Never would I have treated a friend this way so why did I do it to myself. Instead, I had to go and sit myself down, take deep breaths, go through my thoughts of how it happened and what I can do to correct the problem. It is a matter of being kind to myself. 
  • Another example are our front line workers. They must take time for themselves, just like we do. Take breaks, even if it is a moment's walk outside or go outside for a picnic lunch on a bench or a jog around the building. 
Each daily choice we make, no matter how big or how small will either nurture our well being or aggravate stress. We all face huge challenges and kinder communities - ones that allow for all to have equal opportunities work best for all. We do have far to go on this note. We must continue to do better. During the pandemic we were able to witness that disadvantaged communities have faced much higher forces in fighting the pandemic. Our bodies are made for working better when our lives are filled with more empathy and kindness. Dr. Kelli Harding stated that "kindness helps us with whatever illness or other adversity shows up." 

When we are kind to others, it not only benefits that person but we all benefit from it as well. Studies have shown that being kind can and does actually lower blood pressure and anxiety. It can lesson depression. Feel good hormones get released. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021



The other day a good friend of mine shared an article called "Six Little Stories." After reading it, I really felt the need to find out if I could source where it came from. It was quite easy to do this research. A sign came up immediately:  



It seems that they accept blogs from writers on various subjects that help others. A blog writer named Ben Peters shared the Six Little Stories that he found circulating on social media. He tried to find the author and when he came up for now, empty handed he declared that he was chalking it up to the "Wisdom of the Internet." I agree with him. Definitely something that I needed (and I believe most of us can) to move forward with the simple truths that are all ready accessible to us. Right in front of our faces!

  • Once all villagers decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer, all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That is FAITH!

When you throw babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them. That is TRUST!

Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but we still set the alarms to wake up. That is HOPE!

We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future. That is CONFIDENCE!

We see the world suffering, but still, we get married and have children. That is LOVE!

On an old man's shirt was written a sentence, "I am not 80 years old; I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience." That is ATTITUDE!

If nothing else can show me how precious good friends are and how difficult they are to find and impossible to replace, then I shall read over and over these six little stories.

Sunday, November 7, 2021



Please let me be the first in line to say that I already know that I need to consistently work on keeping my life decluttered. Things pile up. I know. There is a way to help me work on this issue. It is really a never ending job. I have to be able to do things my own way. Looking at it as a type of housework chore and taking it one step at a time is what helps me attack the clutter. 

Some things are just a no brainer for me. There are a few things that really help if my husband and I take care of daily. It is, at least for us, our secret to a neat home.  One thing is making the bed when we get up. The last one up takes care of that. When it is time to go to bed, it sets the tone for a wonderful night's sleep. That goes with the nightstands beside us. He has a valet that keeps his things organized and I have a basket. No cluttered mess. Really you must admit that one is inviting and the other is a disaster. (At least in our minds!)

The next daily 'to do' is making sure that dishes are not piled up in the sink. The dishwasher goes on at night unless there is space for morning breakfast dishes. 

The last thing that either one of us want to see is this picture. The least we could do is hand wash them if there is no more space in the dishwasher. 

Sort of on the same thinking is leaving clothes on the floor. When we are showering, throw the dirty clothes in a pile and take them to the laundry room once dressed. That is what the laundry hamper is for. Actually, I was truly wishing that we had a larger laundry room plus or added in the laundry room would be a mud room. Our home did not have these amenities. So the deal is to make every space count. We have a space for jackets, hats, gloves, laundry hamper and dog supplies. Plus closed off cabinets to store laundry essentials and items like batteries, insect spray, sunscreen - all those items that need a home without cluttering.

This would be the best of both worlds. Unless we had walls knocked out and added a mud room on then we will make our laundry room work for us. It is a matter of optimizing available space.

There is something to say about a cluttered entry hall to our home. That is an area that we can keep decluttered, mainly because we do not have a lot of entry hall space. The important thing is knowing that this is the first impression of those coming to our home. Our staircase is not at the front door. In a previous home we were lucky enough to have a winding staircase and a place for a large pillowed bench to sit (and it opened for great storage). Every home has what we have to make do with. A friend noticed that the next lead in from our current entry hall was a living room. We never use a formal living room so his suggestion was to make it a formal banquet room and it turns the entry hall into a glamorous entry into our home. All that was required was to move the chandelier from the dining room into the banquet room. Having an open mind and being creative... a fun thing to do and helped tremendously in decluttering.

Next in my mind was to create a home command center. This has the calendar that we live by, files (yes, I do still keep paper files in a wooden file cabinet, as well as on the computer).

And the command center is my study that I do my writing from. My husband has his study upstairs that is for his writing, as well as exercise equipment. One command center is what works best for us. 

The next three items are always "work in progress" for me. First, I do try to take care of getting rid of things in the kitchen cabinets that we do not use and have found storage space in a rather large pantry for kitchen equipment in order to keep countertops clear. The coffee maker and tea kettle must stay. There is no way that the air fryer, crock pot and large mixing bowl (as lovely as it is) need to take up space in our kitchen. Only things that are used on a regular basis should be out. Even then, there are times I put things away. I am working on a few items in my mind already. 

The last two items continue to be a source of monthly clean outs. I would love to say that our closets look like these.

There are times that the upstairs and the downstairs linen closets come close. I have been working on having space for extra meds, band-aids, as well as towels and sheets. (including large folded beach towels for our pool weather)

However, once upon a time, my precious daughter, who is a definite Queen of organization, worked on my closet. She made me look and touch each item of clothing to decide if it made me happy or not. My closet was totally organized when she finished. I must say that the basics that she did are still there. Skirts, dresses, pants, longer tops, and then folded tanks, etc. She put all of my shoes out across the bathroom suite which is very large. When she finished she had my granddaughter come out to get me and her words were, "Lola, you have your own shoe store!" She was correct. It was absolutely crazy how many shoes were in that closet. Any shoe that no longer made me happy (and yes, there were some) or if they hurt when I wore them - they were tossed to go to a charity. Actually, I probably need to do that again. Soon. As far as clothes go...I also am weeding through them, step by step. 

Once, maybe twice, I managed to get Steve to go through some of his clothing to put in a bag to take over to a charity center that accepts clothing. Yes, we need to do that again soon also. I did clean out my drawers of clothing not worn. Soon, my mission is to go in to Steve's, with his permission. He knows there are things that he no longer is in need of and they are taking up precious space. 

It is a matter of demanding that our space work for us and not against us. We have been talking of downsizing and this is just the start. We are making a list of what we want and what we do not need as far as space and rooms.