Saturday, September 30, 2023



This is a really good visual of life for most of us in general. Let's face it. None of us have all highs, nor do we have all lows. I know there are times that it may feel that nothing is going our way and that it is a long climb up to get to the next high point. To me, it is a matter of getting my mind set on where it is that I want to go and push the pedal to the medal and just GO! 

Yes, there are times that it helps to close my eyes and have some faith that it will all turn out just fine. Just hang on and enjoy the ride where our lives take us. It may not always be what we thought it would be. That is where plan A and plan B come in to play. There are 26 letters in our alphabet, so the plans can be as flexible as we need them to be.

There will always be ups and downs in our lives. Those things that we have no control over. What we do have control over is how we choose to respond to enjoy the ride or to scream and whine all the way? In my mind, I would always try to choose going the positive road and just enjoy the ride. Make the best of it. 

It is not always so easy in certain situations. I have learned to wrap my mind around memories of my lost loved ones in order to ride the roller coaster of life. That is what our precious loved ones would want for us. Not to be trying to learn how to live without them but to live with the love they left behind. That is such an important lesson of life. 

Another way to have support can be from family and/or friends or perhaps even seeing a therapist to be able to talk out your own roller coaster rides. I have found that family and friends are the best ever. They listen to be, they feel for me, and sometimes they have to just help to point me in the direction that I need to be going. 

At this time in my life, I have decided to paint my life in a healthy way. Both in exercise, eating habits and mentally. Meditation works well for me. Sometimes it is a matter of closing my eyes and just clearing my mind. Other times it is all about journaling what is going on in my mind with words or with sketches. At one point, I was painting more and writing more in my novel so that I could get it off to an editor in hopes of publishing it. 

Finally, it has happened! I am now ready to move forward with both of those goals. There are events in our lives that can slow us down; the lesson for me here is to never give up. Keep on keepin' on!

Friday, September 22, 2023



How many times have heard and even used the expression myself that I am following my own path. That is not all together a negative thing. After reading what a motivational speaker, Nataly Kogan, had to say on the subject, I have revisited that expression. I know that when I am finding myself in trouble trying to decide what my next step should be I can get totally stuck. Or I feel regrets about choosing the wrong path and making the wrong decisions, then it becomes such an inner struggle for me.

It is when I flip it around inside my head and visually see a blank canvas which is representing my life.

When I think of my life as a painting, it frees me from worrying about decisions of going down the wrong path. I choose. I make the choices. Just as an artist makes the strokes on the canvas with the paint using his paintbrush. Each step is like a stroke that teaches me something, which in turn helps me make the next decision based on what is most meaningful to me. I get the right perspective because I am looking at the "decision" of what is the best way to move forward. 

By painting the canvas of my life I feel powerful and motivated to help me enrich and grow with each stroke that I make. I know that the strokes can always be changed or altered based on what my own needs are.

To give a personal specific example, I was using the term that I chose to go on a journey, down a path to become healthier. Because I am such a visual learner, it helped me imagine that all of the choices that I was making to help me get there were being painted on a canvas by ME. How I would accomplish my lifetime healthy goal will always remain in a picture that I have painted. Actually it is my own art gallery. 

At first, I did not know which way to go. Sometimes after the first stroke, the picture falls into place. Other times I never know how it is going to turn out and I must admit that is frustrating for me. It is easy to forget  that according to research, 99% of decisions in our lives aren't final or permanent. We always are able to adjust and choose a different stroke; just like painting a canvas.

The way that I look at this way of thinking is that it allows me to just let it go...everything that "should be" needs to be kicked out. This gives me the power to create and evolve in the way that I want my life to go. Not all things I am in control of. None of us are. What I am in control of would be the choices that I make with what is put in front of me. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023



No one ever said that becoming an adult was easy. Yet when we think about it, almost all of us could not wait to turn 21. Once we are out on our own and paying our own bills by working for the money all of a sudden things start to feel overwhelming. Life is challenging. Life is not always ok. We do have choices though. We have choices as to what to notice and pay attention to. 

Instead of wallowing in negativity, take a step over to the more positive side. Our brain focuses naturally on the more negative aspect, and we can decide to make a choice to wring our hands and say, "Oh, woe is me." OR we can take action and find some joy along the way. 

Believe it or not, we can feel both emotions together.

We should not let what we are going through define us. It does not and should not become YOU! Go back to that choice as to what there is to notice and pay attention. It is ok and not wrong to go through grief or sadness. It is natural and can be small or major. Even when it is a major event in our lives, there is a way to find some joy along the way. 

My experience of a major event that happened in my life is the loss of my soulmate. Steve was my everything, the love of my life. His passing was so sudden that I know my brain and body were in shock. I felt so blessed that I had family and friends to help me to get through my grief at that time. Am I still going through it? Of course I am. It does not just disappear. There are so many steps to take and there were ways even at that time to help me to start on my path. 

First of all, Steve and I both had discussed things that we wanted to happen when one of us passed. It helped me in knowing that I was following to the best of my ability to meet his requests. There were two major things for me to focus on for him, yet in the end, it was for me also. I had to make the decision that he signed not have him live the rest of his life hooked up to machines keeping him alive when there was no chance of him returning as himself. I had to honor his wishes when his organs were shutting down. I was so blessed to have family there with me.

The next step was that neither one of us wanted a 'funeral.' Not in the term that most people think of when someone passes. With the help of my daughter and one of my sons, plus my brother we were able to set up a "Celebration of Life" for Steve. lt was positively beautiful. There was sadness, of course - yet the majority of the day was celebrating all of the wonderful things that Steve did in his life. People that he worked with at FedEx, as well as those where I worked. He played a huge role in being the Adopt a School representative for many years and all spoke of how he always did so much for others. Some of the family and friends got up to say how Steve affected their lives. I did not need to know just how special of person that he was. I knew that and witnessed it daily. WOW! Did that bring joy to my soul to hear those words on that day? Yes, I had tears of sadness and joy, all at the same time. IT IS POSSIBLE.

Our brain likes to focus on the short-term rewards, which is why we can stay in a circle of negativity, even when positive things are happening all around us. I chose to focus on all of the inspiration that was all around me. Did I have break-downs here and there? Yes, I did. I am human! It is natural. Integrating my grief and sorrow with some inspirational joy just happened along the way. I am sure there are those who feel that it is wrong to feel joy when you should be grieving. It is a choice to experience BOTH!

There were two quotes that struck a chord in my heart. 

"A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever."

"When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them but to live with the love they left behind."

Feeling sorrow is an action. It is a verb. Just as feeling joy is. Choosing to step away from sorrow and have some joy is ok. It can be small. Such as taking a walk, reading, painting, writing. Do it for yourself and become a mirror for others. I can't change how others feel, however I can work on paying attention to my joyful senses even when I am feeling sorrow. We all deserve that. No matter how small the joy is.

A simple concept yet powerful to always find some joy by weaving sparks of happiness together with sadness because this is how healing begins.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023



There are some people who never, ever have to worry about taking a load off of their bodies. In other words, losing weight. How many of us do have the worry? LOTS! I am definitely not in the minority. Here is a picture of me with six bags of sugar - each bag weighs 10 pounds. At that stage I had been on my incredible journey for almost 5 months and lost 60 pounds. Being a very visual learner, all I had to do was look at all of those heavy bags and think to myself that I no longer am carrying that baggage along with me. No wonder I am walking better, have more energy, sleeping better. I am just all around healthier and it feels wonderful. 

Everyone must find their own path toward their goal. This is what worked for me. One thing that I know is that we must be careful in choosing the right plan that fits our own lifestyle. Plus, I know that I am in it for the long term weight management when I reach my goal. 

There are advertisements out there that tell the reader that their plan is powered by the psychology that will unlock the secret to weight loss! Or that you are able to eat whatever you want. Just forget the carb cutting and the point systems. Even saw one ad that stated, "Ditch the diets and still get results!" Let's get real.

There are millions of everyday people like me that have 'yo-yoed' through diet programs that just did not work. Then there are some famous people who have lost weight and so far are keeping it off. Think about Oprah Winfrey who was on her daily TV show and had to go through the ups and downs of losing and gaining weight on national television. She did not give up. Finally, she found what works for her.

Oprah joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and is now eating more healthy than ever before. As she has said, it really is not about the number on the scale. It is more about how you feel in yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. She does do advertisements for WW. Why not? She has some guidelines that she follows that work for her. She has shared her success and mental attitude with a fellow friend, James Corden.

James also joined in the WW mindset. Eating healthier and working through his former bad habits, he managed to lose 85 pounds. It is a matter of working on our brains to think more positive thoughts instead of negative. He says that he has never felt better. That is a good place to be.

Before I chose my journey I did some serious research. I came up with my own strategies for being successful in my journey.

  • Making sure that I was ready because it takes time and effort. Asking myself if I was really motivated enough to lose the weight and not be distracted with other pressures and stress going on around me. Most of all, I had to be sure that I was willing to change my eating habits and to spend a certain amount of time making these changes.

  • It is a matter of finding our own inner motivation. Everyone is different. It must be pleasing to you! Taking responsibility for our own behavior. Just because it is a major holiday or going on vacation is no reason to throw everything healthy out the window. It is a matter of using our own motivational factors during those moments of temptation. Always have people around you that support you in positive ways. You chose to be as private as you want about your own journey. That is unless you are a world renown person and in the spotlight. For me, I have a wonderful Coach that I can go to for questions and concerns and always for inspiration!

  • Be sure to set realistic goals. I actually believe that I did that and once I was getting close to my goal and saw that I could be happy and healthy on this journey, I reset my goal to a lower number on the scale. It still is achievable and I WILL get there. There are little tricks that I have learned to help me during weight plateaus. Everyone learns what works for their own body by observing, as well as listening to those who are on this journey.

  • Since the beginning, I have discovered that I truly enjoy healthier foods. My calories are lower, even though that is not what I am counting. It just comes up with my on-line eating journal. This is a plus in that I am able to have many choices of proteins and vegetables and there are times I want to try to stay at the lower end of my calorie count.

  • With the weight loss, I have more energy to be more active. I am able to ride my recumbent bike for my physical therapy and do my other exercises that help my knees. WIN-WIN!

  • This has become my way of life in a short 5 months. My whole perspective has changed. Changing my life style has not been an overnight 'thing.' It will take time and effort and keeping a positive attitude. The results are most definitely worth it.

 Eliminate the mindset of can’t — because you can do anything.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Learning From Our Furbabies


Sometimes, we as humans, just need to step back and be very observant of our furbabies. I totally believe that if people had hearts like dogs the world really would be a better place. 

Dogs do have super intuitive powers that most humans do not. Until it happened to us, I never even realized or thought about dogs grieving or going into a depression over losing another furbaby in their household. Possibly, because we never had more than one dog in our household. But, when Davis was only two, we decided to return to the same breeder where we found Davis to see if one of the puppies in the new litter she had bonded with Davis, as well as if Davis bonded with one there. We already had observed just how special Davis was and thought that he would love having another playmate just to share his joy for life.

At first, we thought that it was not going to happen...finding the perfect mate for him was at the top of our list...then Kim, the breeder, brought out the last puppy of the litter that she had and BOOM! That one was the keeper. Both of their tails were wagging. Davis seemed to pick up on the fact that this little furball was his special playmate.

And that was that. We now were a two doodle family. Davis and Maggie Mae.

They were truly hard to separate. Not that we ever tried. Davis watched over her and was a gentle giant with her, even though he was always a lot larger than she ever grew to be. He even gave her pillows to take a nap on. Now that is devotion to a baby sister. Before Maggie, he would steal a pillow and run with it to try to get one of us to chase him down. He enjoyed that game. Now, he used the pillows in a different way.

Side by Side Always

Davis was the older one by two years but he had a little puppy in him always. He chased reflections along the backyard fencing when the glass door was opened and the sun caused a reflection. He loved going after a ball and bringing it back to whoever threw the ball, all the time with Maggie watching as if to say, "Why are you going after that ball? They threw it!" It was way beneath her to do such a thing. She was way too prissy for that sort of game. 

However, one day, months after Davis passed away and she was coming out of her grieving for him, she went after a fish and would come back in the room carrying this fish by the tip of the tail. Sort of saying to us that she could do something like Davis did; but would do it in her own special way.

She was even prissy about holding that fish. She used the fish to just put beside her and love on it...her lovey toy. Davis had a blankie that he would pick up and carry around like a human toddler would.

Now Maggie just loves to lay on that blankie. I only vacuum it and never wash the scent of her brother away. The crates are still here but the doors are always open and the blankies are always inside. It is her safe place...her go to place when she just seems to want to take a little quiet spell. We all need those moments.

Dogs are amazing creatures. I came across a story that I can't find now but I did save the picture. A family adopted a puppy from a breeder. He seemed happy and they definitely were. But they noticed he seemed to need a cuddle toy all of the time. The breeder had another puppy that a different family adopted. This first family reached out to the breeder to find out if the brother puppy could be reunited to see if this was the cause of their puppy needing a cuddle toy all of the time. The other owner agreed to the meeting.

Once the two puppies came together, it was love at first sight. They just did not leave each other's side. The first family paid the other family for the mate and agreed to be the family for both puppies. On the ride home in the car this was the picture that they took of their puppies.

Talk about love for one another. They made a heart without even knowing. True LOVE!
So, I rest my case of how I opened this story: