Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year 2014

Wow... can you believe another year is over?!!  2014 is beginning with all the anticipation, hopes and dreams that a new year brings.

My 2013 was an amazing year.  I started on my weight loss journey.  I'm not breaking any records, but I've lost 34 lbs so far and hoping to see another 30 lbs leave me - in a healthy way - by this coming summer.  My husband and I joined my oldest son and his family for a special vacation to Honduras where my daughter-in-law is from.  We had the opportunity to visit with and meet her entire family.  We also saw many of the special places this beautiful country has to offer.  It was a magical trip.  We spent a week in LA visiting my youngest son and seeing many new attractions out there.  I also spent much time on motorcycle rides, boating, and doing many other events with family and friends.  It truly was a fantastic year.

Understand that everything was not always perfect.  My mother-in-law passed away in February.  My brother passed away in June.  There were many other "ups and downs".  When there are "down" times, I experience whatever it is, feel my feelings, work my way through them, and then let it go.  But when there are "up" moments, I SAVOR them.

In my "Happy New Year" post of 12/31/12, I said that instead of making a new year's resolution, I was going to make a new year's jar.  Whenever something good, special, amazing, or heartwarming happened, I wrote it down on a piece of paper and put it in that jar.  The idea is to open the jar on New Year's Eve and read about all the wonderful events that happened during the year that's ending, and ride that fabulous energy into the new year.  I AM so looking forward to enjoying this experience on New Year's Eve.

However you decide to end 2013 and enter 2014, I wish you love, peace, joy and magic.  Happy New Year.

Love,  Paula

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Love Where I Live!

I love where I live!

The weather here is so inconsistent.  People always say, "If you don't like our weather, wait a minute, it'll change.  Sometimes in spring or fall you can experience sunshine, rain, sleet and snow in a matter of a couple of hours.

I'm a "go with the flow" kind of person most of the time with most things.  If it's sunny, cloudy, rainy, windy or snowy, it just doesn't matter to me.  It is what it is.  I simply work around it.  I LOVE the little surprises the weather gives to us.  Many people I know need the sun.  The get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) if they don't see the sunshine for a few days.  I feel bad for them living here because we can go days and even weeks sometimes without sun.

The other day was an odd kind of day.  The sky was a sheet of gray.  It wasn't individual clouds, it was a solid sheet of gray.  It was snowing, so when I left work I had to brush the snow off of my car.  While I was doing that - and while it was still snowing - the sun appeared.  It wasn't "shining", it was covered with a film from that solid gray sky.  But it was there.  It was like a reminder that even when we can't see it, it's always there.

That made me think of other things that are always there even if we can't see them.  You can't see love. You can't see support.  You can't see gratitude.  You can't see caring.  And you can't see God (or whatever you call your Source).  BUT you can find strength knowing that they're ALWAYS there for you.
 That reminder from the sun put a smile on my face.

I love where I live!

Love,  Paula

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving



It's that time of year again... a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for.

Sometimes as we're going from day to day just living our lives, we forget to be grateful for,
or even notice all the wonderful things around us.  It's nice that we have a holiday to cause us to stop and REALLY think about our abundance.

A few of the things I am thankful for are my family, my friends, my health, my home, my job, where I live, the sun, the moon, the stars, clouds, chocolate, and all of you reading this blog.

My wish is that this Thanksgiving is just the beginning of a wonderful holiday season for us all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,  Paula

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Autumn Sunsets

Last week I wrote about the beauty of autumn.  It continues...

During this last week we experienced some of the most incredible sunsets ever!  The colors were rich and bold.  In the summer we have gorgeous sunsets, but the colors are lighter, more passive.  This week the colors were vibrant!

Where I live, we use daylight savings time.  In the autumn, we turn the clocks back one hour.  So if it was 6:00 for example, now it would be 5:00.  Consequently it now gets dusky at around 5:00 PM.

In the summer, people go out of their way to go watch the sunsets.  They'll go out to the peninsula just to sit and enjoy the "show".  But this time of year the sunsets happen when people are getting out of work at 5:00.  As they're rushing to get home - or where ever else - I have to wonder if they even see this fantastic free show.

It's so sad.  Again, there is so much beauty all around us.  And it's there for everyone.  It doesn't matter if you only have a dime in your pocket or if you're a millionaire.  Please, please, please open your eyes and hearts.  Look and see the absolute beauty that surrounds us all.  We are so fortunate.  We've been given so much.  My wish is for everyone to open up to see, appreciate and be grateful for all of it.

Love,  Paula

Monday, November 11, 2013

Autumn Gratitude

Fall - Autumn - is my absolute FAVORITE time of year.  In my perfect world, it would be autumn for at least 6 months of the year.  The other 3 seasons would have to split the remaining 6 months.  I LOVE the colors of autumn.  I LOVE the crisp air.  I LOVE the fresh local apples - especially Cortland.  I LOVE the fresh local concord grapes.  I LOVE cider, soups, stews and pumpkin EVERYTHING.  I LOVE Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Most of all, I LOVE the beauty of the changing colors of the leaves.

I strive to always learn from my past experiences.  I'm constantly working on trying to be a better person... trying to remember the lessons I've learned in my life.  In my post "Aware" dated 5/7/13, I talk about how we often go through life in a robotic state.  At that time I almost missed the beautiful flowers of spring.

Well guess what almost happened again?  That's right, I was doing my robotic thing and almost missed AUTUMN!!!  I was driving around not paying any attention to the beauty surrounding me.  Thank goodness something kicked in and woke me up.  All of a sudden, my eyes and heart opened up.  Beauty and gratitude washed over me.  It pierced my heart and touched my soul.  I was instantly so filled with love and gratitude, it made me cry.  I AM so grateful for whatever it was that "woke" me up.  It made me refocus.  I'm not letting this lesson go.  I'm seeing with new eyes and totally enjoying with a grateful heart this, my favorite time of the year.

I hope that this serves as a reminder to all of you to look around and see the beauty right where you are.  You may not live where you can enjoy the beauty of autumn, but there is beauty of all kinds no matter where you live.  See it.  Appreciate it.  Be grateful for the beauty, wonder and magic that is your life.

Love,  Paula




Monday, November 4, 2013

The Power of Love

I often write about love.  The name of my blog site is about love.  Love is, in my opinion, the answer to  everything.  It is everything.  It's the big IT!  It's the most important, most powerful, most creative emotion imaginable.  But, as with anything, there are good ways and things to love; and not so good ways and things to love.

The old B. J. Thomas song says:  "Using things and loving people
                                                        That's the way it's got to be
                                                         Using things and loving people
                                                        Look around and you will see
                                                        That loving things and using people
                                                        Only leads to misery
                                                        Using things and loving people
                                                         That's the way it's got to be."
There's something to be said for that philosophy, but I believe that you should be able to love people AND things.  There's nothing wrong with that as long as you don't use people.  For example, I love all kinds of people... probably every person I come in contact with.  But I also love my home, my car, my furnishings, some of my clothes, trees, butterflies, sunsets... you know, things.  I love things, but I don't use people to get things.  If you truly LOVE people, you would never even be able to use them.  It really just wouldn't be an option.

Jimi Hendrix said, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace".  I guess that's my "litmus test".  We all need to strive for the Power Of Love, not the Love Of Power.   I work on that every minute of every day.  Please join me.  Let's see how we can change our world.

Love,  Paula

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Humbling Experience

Last month my husband and I were in LA visiting our son and his girlfriend.  They're wonderful hosts and we always have a great time.  There are certain things we always do when we're out there and wouldn't  feel like we've been to LA if we didn't do them.  We have a favorite italian restaurant we always go to.  And we HAVE to go to Venice Beach.  You never know what you're going to see there and it's so much fun to people watch.

We also usually do one or two new things.  This year one of the new things was to go to the California ScienCenter.  There was so much to see; it was fascinating.  But the big prize was that this is the new home of the space shuttle Endeavour.  The first glimpse of it just took my breath away.
It's size is impressive.  But looking at it and knowing where it had been and what it and the people in it had seen, was surreal.

I could envision this enormous craft traveling through the expanse of space, looking like a spec of dust in the vastness.  Most humans think everything revolves around them and that our world is the most important thing there is.  But this craft and the people in it saw our Earth from a whole different perspective.  They could look at it like we look at the moon.  It looked beautiful, but small.  In the vastness of the Universe, Earth is nothing but a spec.  Imagine what each individual person is.

It must make you realize how unimportant all your trials and tribulations really are.  Looking at the big picture - as they were able to from space - HAS to make you change your priorities.  It HAS to make you realize that the things we think are a big deal, really aren't.  If ALL people could have an amazing experience like this, maybe there wouldn't be wars, budget problems, in-fighting in congress, fighting of any kind.  People might realize that in the big picture, these "problems" are just silly.  I would love to be able to talk to these space travelers and see how their lives and personal perspectives have changed.

Just seeing this incredible space ship made my head spin.  Imagine actually traveling in it.  It just boggles my mind.  What a humbling experience.

Love,  Paula



Monday, October 21, 2013

The Tradition Lives On

When my kids were in grade school they would always get a day off in October.  My mother had an aunt and uncle that lived in Hermitage, Pa.  On that day off in October we would go down to visit mom's aunt and uncle, have lunch, then go to this department store called Kraynak's.  Kraynak's is an interesting place.  They sell toys, gift items, snacks, candy, plants, Penn State, OSU, Browns and Steelers team paraphernalia and ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS.  Besides that, there's this wonderful "Christmas trail" that you can walk through.  There are several different themed scenes.  It's magical and fun... even in October.  This became our October tradition.

My oldest child is 39 years old now with children of his own.  Last Monday was his son's October day off.  Guess what he did?  He, his son, his wife, my husband and I
went to Kraynak's.  We saw Santa's Workshop, Disney Christmas, Woodland Christmas, M & M Character's Christmas, Christmas Vacation and The Nativity, just to name a few.  As a parent you always hope that you're making wonderful memories for you children.  By taking his son (my grandson) to Kraynak's, the tradition lives on.

Love, Paula

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Eye Opener

I had the most incredible experience the other night.  I was asked by a friend if I was able to volunteer for a fundraiser for The Sight Center of Northwest Pennsylvania.  I had nothing scheduled for that evening so I said yes.  They do an interesting event called Dining In The Dark.  The idea is that all participants are blindfolded so they can experience what dinner might be like for a blind person.

I was a table coach.  It was my job to lead my blindfolded table-mates to their table.  I helped them find their seats.  I also helped orient them to where things were located on the table:  forks, spoons, napkins, water glass, wine glass, etc.  I let them know when something was served.  I watched to see if they needed assistance with anything and then assisted them.

While I was acting as a coach, it was interesting to me to hear the comments of the blindfolded participants.  When something was served, they would try to discern exactly what it was or what was in it.  For example, when the salad was served they tried to identify each and every ingredient in it.  The soup was easy, pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.  The main meal was pork shank, risotto and turnip cubes.  As coach, I wasn't allowed to tell them what anything was.  It was interesting to listen to the discussion about whether the meat was  veal shank or pork shank and whether it was turnips or potatoes.  They immediately identified the risotto.  Although I enjoyed coaching, I envied them their experience.

After dinner, when everyone was allowed to take their blindfolds off, they were telling me about their experience.  One woman in particular said how difficult it was for her to not see the color, texture, or presentation of the food.

It's amazing the things we take for granted.  Those people  had this experience for 2-1/2 hours and had a difficult time with it.  But they did it knowing that shortly they would have their total eyesight back.  Think about the people who have to live this way all the time.  They are courageous.  I have such a new found respect for them.  I guess that was the whole point of this event.  I have to say, it was a real eye opener.

Love,  Paula

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Special Evening

Where I live, I'm so fortunate.  I live on Lake Erie.  We have beautiful, natural beaches, the lake, the bay, and some of the most fantastic sunsets in the world.  My son and daughter-in-law have a boat and  asked my husband and I to help them take it out of the water to get it ready to store for the winter.  We met around 6 PM and took the final ride of the season.

It was a perfect boating evening.  It was sunny and 80 degrees in October in Erie, Pa.  As we were leaving the marina, we saw the Niagara coming through the channel.  For those of you that don't know, the Niagara is a replica of a tall ship that was involved in the Battle of Lake Erie during The War of 1812.  It calls Erie home although it travels all over for Tall Ships Festivals and PR for Erie.  It's so impressive to see.  What an unexpected gift!

I frequently talk about the blessings and magic that are all around us if we only open our eyes to see them.  I experience it daily, but some days seem extra special.  This was one of those days.

Love,  Paula

Monday, September 30, 2013

Treasure

When I think of my dad, I remember him always looking down.  Every time he walked anywhere, he looked down.  Once I asked him why he did that.  He said that you never find treasure (money) by looking up.  It's always on the ground.

I've always loved the night sky.  I like sunshine and blue skies.  I like rainy skies.  I enjoy snowy skies.  But I L-O-V-E being out at night, looking up at the moon and stars.

The other night was a beautiful early autumn evening.  After a walk with my husband, we sat out on the patio enjoying a fire in the chiminea.  We talked and immersed ourselves in the beauty, peace and quiet of the evening.  I put my head back to look up at the stars.  Unexpectedly there was a shooting star with quite a long tail.  About five minutes later there was a second one.  It was magical.  What a gift!!!

I guess there are as many definitions of "treasure" as there are people defining it.  Dad found his treasure by looking down.  I found mine by looking up.

Love,  Paula

Monday, September 23, 2013

Spiritual Personal Power



Last week I wrote about power, darkness and light. It occurred to me that this is true on a spiritual level also.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, we find ourselves in darkness. It could be because of a sudden death, a loss of a job, a catastrophic loss of a limb, a loss of our home. It could be a chemical imbalance. It could be something a little less drastic than that, but which still feels devastating to us.

At these times we need to go within and access our personal power. We are strong, powerful individuals. We have to remember that and hold onto that power.

Just as my husband went to the basement to get flashlights, we need to go within to find our inner light. We need to remember all the wonderful things that we have and be grateful for them. And we need to hold onto the knowledge that the "power" WILL come back on... eventually.

Love, Paula

Monday, September 16, 2013

Power

The other night our power went out.  When there's an electrical storm,  I kind of expect it.  I'll light one candle, get out flashlights, gather other candles and make sure there are matches and /or lighters handy... just in case.  But this time was different.  There was no storm, no high winds.  It was a hot, muggy night with a sliver moon and beautiful stars out.  Totally unexpectedly, everything went dark.  I'm talking D-A-R-K!!!  Since I was not prepared, it was difficult getting around.  My husband found his way into the basement to retrieve flashlights so we could at least function.

We went outside to see if it was just our problem.  It was not.  EVERYWHERE  was completely dark. No lights, no tv, no computer, and NO AIR CONDITIONING!!!  As I mentioned before, it was a hot, muggy night.  Even though it was long after dark, it was in the 90s and was probably at least 90 percent humidity.

Since there was nothing we could really do, we decided to just go to bed early.  While I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep, I started thinking about how people must have lived before all our technology.  Early pioneers had no electric lights, tv, radio, computer, air conditioning, or even fans.  And they had to wear so many clothes... especially the women.  Women had to cook over open fires no mater what the outside temperature was because that was all they had.  The men worked hard in the fields. There was no relief except sitting in the shade or going inside a stuffy house.  In winter, the only heat radiated from a fireplace.  The further away you were, the colder you got.

It made me feel so very grateful for all the conveniences I have.  So I went to sleep, not complaining about the power being out and not having my air conditioning on such a hot, muggy night; but rather being grateful for all the conveniences I DO have and knowing the power would come back on...  eventually.

Love,  Paula

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mourning

In the last seven months I've lost my mother-in-law, my brother, a cousin and most recently a brother-in-law.  It's obviously given me reason to think about death, dying and about life.

Years ago my dad told me that when people mourn it's a selfish act.  He said that if we truly believed what our religions teach us, we'd be happy for that person because they'd be in heaven.  We mourn because WE'RE going to miss them.  He was right.  Mourning is a selfish act.

I believe there are a couple different reasons for mourning.  First because we're going to miss the person.  Second because we have regrets.

There's not much we can do about missing the person.  We're human and we WILL miss our loved ones.  We can find peace because we know "they're in a better place", or maybe because we know they have no more pain.  But we'll miss seeing them, touching them, talking with them.

As far as having regrets goes, we CAN do something about that.  We can start right now treating our loved ones... and all people for that matter... with love, respect, kindness and compassion.  If we start doing that RIGHT NOW, maybe we can avoid that second reason for mourning.

Love,  Paula

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Good" vs "Bad"

It's interesting to me how sometimes when something we consider "bad" happens, something "good" can come out of it.  Of course nothing is REALLY good or bad.  They're just experiences.  It's the judgement we make about them that makes them "good" or "bad".

When my brother passed away, of course I considered that bad.  But a cousin who lives in North Carolina sent flowers.  I haven't seen, talked to, or even heard about him in 40 plus years.  I sent him a thank you note and we've now reconnected.  Some unexpected  old friends and neighbors came to my brother's service and we've now also reconnected.  Reliable, wonderful family and friends came forward with help, love and support.

My mother was steadily declining for years before she left us.  People around her were wonderful.  They would visit, call, bring her food, offer to take her places and sent cards.

When a catastrophe such as an earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, flood, fire,  or any other disaster happens, it's heartwarming to see people come forward with money, goods and help of all kinds.  If you can look for and recognize the good that happens because of a bad event, it helps to make it more tolerable.  It helps you to get through it and come out of it stronger and better than before.

Love, Paula

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Lesson Learned

I learned another lesson during my Honduran trip.  I learned to get over myself.  In my adult life, I've been kind of self conscious about being seen in public in a bathing suit.  Because of this, I've missed many opportunities to have fun.

The first three days in Honduras were spent on the mainland.  The third day was the day that we went to the natural hot springs that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago in my blog "Magic Moments".  As I mentioned, I was in the middle of a jungle, BUT I was with seventeen of my daughter-in-law's family members.  Because of what we were doing, we were all in bathing suits for the couple of hours that we were there.

The next day we went to Roatan which is a resort island off the coast of Honduras.  For four days our "uniform" was bathing suits, no makeup, and glasses.  You couldn't wear contacts because salt water tends to fuse them to your eyes.  Now I HAD to be seen in a bathing suit or stay at the house that we rented.  There was no way I wasn't going to participate in the planned activities.

You know what I discovered?  The only  person that cared about what I looked like or what I was wearing was ME.  I was the one holding myself back from having fun all these years.  How liberating!!!  I'm just sorry this lesson took me so long to learn.  Now I'm embracing life and looking forward to opportunities to do different, fun
things.

Love,  Paula

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's Official... I'm Old

On our birthdays this year, my husband and I turned 62.  As I mentioned in my previous blog "Aging" dated 10/1/12, age has never bothered me.  It just is what it is.  I don't feel any different.  It's just another day.

Since our birthdays, I have semi-retired and my husband has retired.  It's been wonderful so far.  There's so much to do in the summer and now we have more time to do it.  We've taken motorcycle rides, hiked, played golf, played miniature golf, gone to the beach, spent time with family, gone to picnics.  We're having lots of fun.

My husband is a pretty active guy.  He's also not a fan of winter.  He's starting to get concerned about what he's going to do with himself when the bad weather hits.  He started checking things out and decided to join a senior center.  That's right, I said a senior center. It was a discounted price for a couple, so he talked me into joining.  I don't know how much I'll use it since I'm still working part time and most events are earlier in the day, but we joined together anyway.

So now I'm a member of a SENIOR CENTER.  It's official... I'm old.

Love,  Paula

Monday, August 5, 2013

Win-Win

The other evening I felt so sick.  I also had insomnia.  I'm normally the person that can sleep through anything... and I have.  But that night I went to sleep at 10 PM, woke up at 11:00 PM and was awake until 4:30 AM when I FINALLY was able to fall back to sleep.  When I woke up at 9:30, I still felt ill.

My reason for telling you all that is because I know a way to make you feel better when you're not feeling great.  My normal MO is to feel sorry for myself for at least a day.  But THIS day I did something different.  I went out and helped other people.  It's amazing how when you're helping others and concentrating on them, you forget about all your aches, pains, and problems.  Focussing your energy and attention on others automatically makes YOU feel better.

This theory was confirmed a couple of days later.  I was still not completely well... intermittent headaches, stomach pain, and heartburn.  A friend called needing some help.  She came over to the house and my symptoms disappeared while I focussed my attention on her.

So the next time you're feeling a little off, go out and find someone to help.  It will make them feel better AND make you feel better too.  It's a win-win.

Love, Paula
 .


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Magic Moments

Have you ever experienced one of those magical moments?  You know the ones, they help you remember the awe and wonder in life.  They can be big or small.

In Honduras I spent an incredible day at a natural hot springs.  It was magical.  I was in the middle of a jungle, getting a massage, bathing in hot springs and feeling like I was in another world.  It was something I never dreamed I'd be doing.  I was filled with awe, wonder and gratitude for being able to have this unbelievable experience.

But you don't have to go that far and spend all kinds of money to experience the magic.  It's right in front of you each and every day if you just open your eyes and heart to see it.  Butterflies, bees, humming birds, flowers, grass, rainbows, sun, lightening, rain, snow, colored leaves in autumn, children, puppies, kittens, clouds, sunsets... you get the idea, magic is everywhere.  It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, it's available to everyone.  We've all been given so much.  We need to open ourselves up, see it, appreciate it, and give thanks for the magic and wonder that is our lives.

Love,  Paula

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Lesson In Trust

When I was in Honduras, I saw many amazing things.  One thing that really struck me was the level of trust.  I saw this mostly in the country.  As you're driving along country roads, it's not unusual to see cows, horses and chickens just roaming around freely.  Now these aren't wild animals.  They belong to someone.  But most of them aren't fenced in.  They're allowed to roam freely to find food.  Talk about "free range".  It was interesting and amazing to me.  You had to drive cautiously because in the blink of an eye a hen, chick, cow or horse could decide that "the grass was greener on the other side" and just amble across the road.

It struck me how trusting the people must be.  They didn't seem to be at all concerned that someone might steel their animals.  They also didn't seem to be worried that the animals would wander off too far and they wouldn't find them.  It was so different than what I'm used to seeing here in the states.  Here we seem to live in such fear.  We sit behind locked doors and worry that someone might want to harm us or take what is ours.  Unfortunately, our fear is probably justified.

Honduras is considered to be a third world country.  They're striving to be more like us.  In some ways that's probably a good thing, but in many ways I think we should be striving to be more like them.  We should be trying to be more trusting and more trust worthy.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to unlock our doors and welcome people in?  Or to unlock our doors and go out to meet the world?  I think that we, as Americans, have a lot to learn from other cultures.  In Honduras I learned a lesson in trust.

Love,  Paula

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Better Way

As I mentioned in last week's blog, my brother passed away unexpectedly while I was away on vacation.  I'm pretty much okay with death.  I realize it's just another part of life.  I believe that although the body dies, the spirit, soul, essence of the person never dies.  It lives on forever.  I've experienced the passing of my parents, my mother and father-in-law, all of my aunts and uncles except one, cousins, friends and acquaintances.  But so far, nothing has been as difficult for me as this... the passing of a sibling.

Besides having to deal with a loss emotionally and spiritually, there's the "business" of death.  When you should be allowing yourself time to grieve and feel your loss and pain, you have to deal with business.  It's different for everyone.  In my brother's case, he lived in an apartment.  We had 14 days from the date of death to get the apartment cleaned out.  He died on a Thursday.  We didn't find out until Saturday evening.  We couldn't start the process until Monday because we didn't have keys and the office wasn't open until then.  We were already five days into it.

I understand that for them it's a business.  They need to clean, paint, shampoo carpets and get a new tenant in so they can continue to make money.  But for us it was a very difficult time.  We had to set that aside and take care of business.  I really don't know how things could be done differently, but it seems like there should be a better way.

Love,  Paula

Monday, July 8, 2013

Life Doesn't Wait... Neither Does Death



You never know when life is going to throw you a curve.  As I posted last week,  I just got back from a
FABULOUS vacation.  It was so special.  There were spiritual moments, magical moments, and wonderful beach resort moments.  I'm sure I'll be writing more about the trip in future blogs.

When I got back from vacation, I learned that my brother had passed away while I was gone.  Before I left, my brother and I made a lunch date.  He had to cancel because of a previous appointment he had forgotten about.  We talked on the phone.  I told him we'd be sure to get together when I got back.  He told me to take lots of pictures.  But he didn't wait.  We never had that lunch.  He never saw the pictures.

This was a reminder to me that we should all savor the time we have with our loved ones.  You never know when it's going to be the last time you see or talk to them.  Like the old James Taylor song says, "Shower the people you love with love.  Show them the way that you feel.  Things are gonna be much better if you only will."

We're only human, but let's try to keep the words of that song in our hearts and on our minds always.  Let the people you care about know that you care because life doesn't wait... neither does death.

Love,  Paula




Monday, June 24, 2013

Yes I Can

Have you ever noticed how people sometimes seem to be their own worst enemies?  I have.  We tend to put limits on ourselves.  Often when we're presented with a new opportunity, our first response is. "No." or, "I can't."  Without even trying, we say we can't.  It might be something that's a little out of our comfort zone so we're afraid or apprehensive.  Most people have convinced themselves it is not possible so they don't have to put forth the effort to even try.

So what's our problem?  Are we lazy?  Afraid?  Shy?  No self confidence?  What?

Do you know anyone who's not afraid to at least TRY to do new things?  I do..  They're my heros.  They embrace life.  They live more fully.  They have interesting experiences.  They're fun to be around.  They're fearless.

As the old saying goes, "If you say you can or if you say you can't, you're right."  Let's start living our lives more fully with a new "can do" attitude.  The next time an interesting, different, or fun opportunity comes our way, let's fearlessly answer, "Yes I can".

Love,  Paula

Monday, June 17, 2013

Encouraging Success

I joined Weight Watchers at the end of February.  After being inactive because of my bunion surgery, I "blossomed".  I finally got to the point where I knew I had to do something.  My something is Weight Watchers and it's working out well for me.

As part of the Weight Watchers meeting we're asked, "Who's celebrating this week?"  Basically that means who has lost any weight?  And no matter if it's 5 pounds, 2 pounds or .2 pounds, everyone celebrates with you.  They applaud and are genuinely happy for and supportive of each other's accomplishments big AND small.  Then we're asked what we did to accomplish our success.  In this way maybe we can help others be successful too.

When I was at last week's meeting being applauded for a .6 pound weight loss, it hit me.  Shouldn't ALL life be like that?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could ALL be supported, encouraged and applauded for the big and small accomplishments in our lives?  Wouldn't it be fantastic if people were genuinely happy for each other's successes and not jealous or envious?  Wouldn't it be great to then try to help others be successful too?

I feel like Weight Watchers meetings are a good example that the world could benefit from.  Let's all support, encourage and applaud everyone's successes and then try to help others be successful too.  If we all did that, we could change our world.

Love,  Paula

Monday, June 10, 2013

People of Age



The other day I was messaging with my oldest grandson.  He sent me a picture and article about the cremation tree.  Although that really interests me and I think it's a great idea, my husband and I have already made our arrangements and I told him that.  We were back and forth on the subject.  He thought it was nice that we could talk about such things.  I told him that death is just another part of life.  He agreed but said that sometimes "people of age" don't want to talk about it.

PEOPLE OF AGE!!!  What? Is that what I am?  When did THAT happen?  I certainly don't feel like a person of age.  What does that even mean?

I talk about my father's "wisdoms" a lot, but my mother also imparted much wisdom to me.  When I was in high school she told me to really enjoy that time.  She said, "Once you graduate, time goes fast.  All of a sudden, you're old."  I tried to remember that and live accordingly.  Now, all of a sudden I'm a "person of age".  When mom was nearing her death I remember her commenting, "How did this 18 year old girl get into this 88 year old body?"  That's kind of how I feel.  In spite of what is going on chronologically, I still feel young.  I don't feel like I'm winding down.  I feel like I'm just starting to wind up.  Even though I'm a "person of age", I've decided to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.

Love,  Paula

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gardens

It's the beginning of June.  My garden is planted.  I actually planted it a couple of weeks ago because we were having such unusually warm weather.  Since I planted it, I've only had to water it once.  I know it's early in the season, but so far "Mother Nature" is taking care of everything.  It rains, it's sunny, it rains, it's sunny... this is all in one day.  Everything is growing nicely and I fully expect a fruitful, productive garden this year.

As we watch nature, we can translate this into  every area of our lives.  If we pay attention we realize that we're every bit as taken care of.  We have food, shelter, clothing, sunshine, rain, the beauty of flowers in the summer, snow in the winter, colored leaves in autumn, and blossoms in the spring.  There's SO MUCH to be grateful for.

Our life is like a garden.  As we look forward with expectation, anticipation and excitement about what is growing and when it's going to "pop up" in our gardens, we should also expect, anticipate and be excited about what's growing and what's going to "pop up" in our lives each and every moment of each and every day.  We should fully expect fruitful and productive lives.

Love,  Paula

Monday, May 27, 2013

Perry 200

This year where I live, we're celebrating the 200th anniversary of Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry's success in The Battle of Lake Erie.  Although it was a pivotal point in The War of 1812, it happened in 1813.  The actual battle took place at Put-In Bay in Ohio, but ships were built and repaired AND troops were assembled on Presque Isle - which we simply call the peninsula - here in Erie, Pa.

Oliver Hazard Perry is somewhat of a local hero.  There is a school named after him, a street named after him and a highway named after him.  We have a statue of him in our town square which is also named after him - Perry Square.  There's a memorial for him on the tip of Presque Isle.

Last Saturday was the kick off for many activities scheduled for this summer commemorating the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Lake Erie.  It's called Perry 200.  We had the most incedible Memorial Day Parade.  There were 200 units and over 3000 participants.  We had the big balloons like they have at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The parade lasted over 2-1/2 hours.  This is just the first of many events going on during the summer.  It will culminate with
The Tall Ships Festival in early September.

If anyone is looking for something fun and different to do this summer, check out what's going on in Erie, Pa at www.Perry200.com.  The celebrations are going to be worth it.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day.

Love,  Paula

Monday, May 20, 2013

Technology

Last week's blog "Eight Days Without the Internet" made me stop and think about technology in general...ALL technology.  We have come such a long way technologically speaking, in such a short time.  I don't know if that's a good thing or not.  It just is what it is.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it.

My youngest son and his girlfriend live in California.  My husband and I live in Pennsylvania.  Technology - the Internet specifically - has made it possible to "see" and "visit" with them weekly, sometimes more often.  Also, the technology of the airlines makes it possible for us to go west to visit them once a year and for them to come east to visit us once a year.  If we had to drive (technology) or go by train (technology) we'd probably only do that a few times in a lifetime.  If we had to go by horse and buggy, we'd probably never see them again.

I can call family and friends at any time and find out how they're doing.  Both of my sisters live in other states.  Two of my best friends also live in other states.  But via phone and Internet we can communicate and keep up with what is going on in each other's lives and our family's lives.

My other two children and their families live in our area but on opposite ends of the city.  Again, we can call at any time to see how they're doing and what is going on.

These are things I LOVE about technology.  But there's also a down side.

I absolutely can't stand it when I'm visiting with or having lunch with someone and they're distracted by phone calls or texts.  An emergency is one thing, but most often it's just frivolous chit-chat.  I either don't answer and let who ever is calling leave a message.  Or I answer, tell them I'm visiting with someone and I'll call them later.  I want the person or people I'm with to know that they're important to me.  I'd like the same consideration in return.

As I was driving home from my daughter's house the other night, I saw two friends walking together.  They both had a phone up to their ears talking to other people.  Really?!!

A year and a half ago our computer system at work crashed.  The back-up reports said we were backing up successfully, but when we went to retrieve the information there was nothing there.  The good news was we GOT to start from scratch.  The bad news was we HAD to start from scratch.  It took six month, a typewriter, lots of technical support, and lots of overtime to get us up, running and back to some kind of normalcy.  Obviously it's easier and much more efficient to be computerized - LOVE.  But when something like this happens - HATE.

I remember my dad telling a story about how when he was young there weren't many cars around.  He and some friends were playing and one of his friends got hit by a car.  Cars didn't go very fast then and his friend wasn't hurt badly.  But the kids' reactions were, "Did you see that car?"  In dad's lifetime, he went from barely any cars to a man on the moon.  Amazing!

When I think about how far we've come just in my lifetime, it's mind boggling.  I remember the first cruise my husband and I took.  We bought phone cards so we could call and check up on the kids.  Phone cards were "high tech" at that time... better than a roll of quarters.  Now everyone has cell phones.  When I was in school, it was paper and pens.  We were thrilled to send my two oldest children off to college with electric typewriters.  My youngest son went to college with a desktop computer.  NOW my eldest grandson has a laptop, an ipad, and a smart phone.  I can't even begin to imagine what it will be like for my younger grandchildren.

Like I said, I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with technology.  I guess that if you can keep it in perspective and not become obsessed with it, it can be a great tool for keeping in touch.  I'm saying this as I'm typing on my laptop and have been on the computer for the last hour...

Love,  Paula

Monday, May 13, 2013

8 Days Without The Internet

In my blog "The Day Without a Computer" dated 11/26/12, I talked about a day without my computer. Well, let me tell you about my EIGHT days without the internet.  That's right, I said EIGHT DAYS WITHOUT THE INTERNET!!!!!  Our provider apparently had a huge problem that affected the whole city.  We called them several times throughout the eight days.  Three of the four times I called, the man on the other end of the line simply told us that they were experiencing a problem, the technical team was aware of it, and we would receive a recorded call when the problem was resolved.  After three days, we did receive a recorded call that the problem was corrected and if we still had a problem we should call the number they gave us.  We still had a problem.  I called the number.  The man at the other end said they were experiencing a problem, the tech team was aware of it, and we would receive a recorded call when the problem was corrected.  I told him that we did in fact receive a call.  He told us to reboot the system.  I assured him that we already did that.  He told us to keep trying.  That was all the help we got.

On the eighth day I called again.  This time I was less than pleasant.  This time I was not exactly understanding.  I was connected with a woman from the Philippines instead of a man from India.  She was so helpful and patient.  She stayed with us for 50 minutes and walked us through every task.  She got us up and running.  I have to wonder, if we talked to her originally could this all have been resolved a week earlier than it was?

Well, now that I've vented, I'm wondering what the lessons in all of this are... I believe there are always lessons.  Sarcastically I'd say, "If you want to get the job done, make sure you talk to a woman."  Or, be unpleasant at the start.  Or maybe the citizens of the Philippines have a better work ethic than those of India.

Seriously though, the real lessons are probably patience, persistence and the realization that the world goes on whether you have Internet or not.  You can still work.  You can still play.  You can still eat and sleep.  You can still connect with people.  Amazing as it sounds, life still goes on and is still worth living.  I'm glad to know that, but I've got to say... I prefer life with the Internet.

Love,  Paula

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Aware

We often go through life on "auto-pilot".  You know what I mean.  We're like a bunch of little robots running around doing things.  Always DOING.  We often don't remember to live or to just be.  It's always do, do, do.  Sometimes we're not even aware of what we're doing or why we're doing it.  It's sad.  We miss so much.

I am on a personal quest to be more aware and live more consciously.  I'm striving to live in the "now" moment.  And I'm here to tell you that it's not always easy.  It's so much easier to go back to the old habit of being the robot.  BUT...it's so much more rewarding to live in the "now" moment.

The other day I had a lunch date with some old friends.  I left work and was driving to meet them in my robotic state.  All of a sudden my awareness kicked in.  It was like someone flipped a switch.  Instantly I was seeing the beauty that was all around me.  Trees were blossoming in many different shades of pinks and whites.  Gardens were filled with color;  red and pink tulips, yellow daffodils, purple, pink and white hyacinths, white lily-of-the-valley, yellow forsythia, pink, purple, red and white azalea.  It was everywhere and it was wonderful!  Such beauty and I almost missed it.  Robot Paula would have missed the whole thing.  Aware Paula got to see, absorb and appreciate the beauty. 

So...which are you?  Are you robot or aware?  Strive for aware.  It makes life so much fuller.

Love,  Paula

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's ALL a Gift

I often talk about the gifts in life.  Big and small, they're everywhere.  We just have to train ourselves to look for them... to SEE them.

The other night there was a full moon.  We had a clear night sky so it was shining brilliantly.  My husband was at a meeting.  When he was on his way home he called me to make sure I got out to see it.  That was two gifts for me:  1.  The beautiful full moon; and  2.  My husband appreciating it enough to call me so I could see it too.  Obviously the moon is there for everyone.  But I wonder how many people took the time to go outside, stand there for awhile and appreciate that beautiful gift.

My neighbors have an above ground pool.  Every year before they open the pool, a couple of ducks use the water on the cover to mate and eventually train their ducklings to swim.  When they're big enough, the mother takes the babies to a pond at a nearby college campus.  What a gift to be able to watch this process every year.

Garth Brooks said, "You aren't wealthy until you have something money can't buy."  If you can look at life from a different perspective you'll realize that we ALL have something money can't buy.  We're All abundant... we're ALL wealthy.

I read, "Most people wake up expecting the same thing as the day before.  Wake up expecting something different, incredible, wonderful."  Maybe that's what people are doing wrong.  I think we need to train ourselves to look at things differently... to EXPECT the different, incredible, and wonderful.  We need to appreciate our world and everything in it.  It's ALL a gift.

Love,  Paula

Monday, April 22, 2013

Still Loving Life

In last week's blog I wrote about how great life is, how everything was going so well, how I was loving life.  Then on Monday - the day I posted the blog - the bombs in Boston happened.  Then the poisoned letters were detected.  Then the explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer facility.  Then the M.I.T. shooting.  Then back to Boston/Watertown with the shoot out and killing of one of the suspects in the bombing, and the search for and apprehension of the other suspect.  THEN the earthquake in China.  So much misery, so much suffering, so much loss of life.  NOW WHAT?!  Did this change my outlook?  Did this change my happiness?  I have to say, this certainly challenged my belief system... briefly.

I believe that happiness is a choice.  It's something you decide to be, to feel.  It has nothing to do with what is going on around you or outside of you.  It has to do with what's going on inside of you.  It's about how you choose to process information.  I still choose happiness.  I choose to believe in the goodness of humanity.

I am so sorry for all the people who were injured in any of the above mentioned events and for their families.  My heart, compassion and prayers go out to all of them for as long as they need it.  But did you see how wonderful people have been?  Ordinary people stepped up and did extraordinary things when it was needed.  It's a situation I hope none of us ever have to face.  But when these ordinary people were faced with it, they became heroes.  They performed heroic acts without ever giving it a thought.  A lot of the stories haven't even been told yet.  Some may never be told.

These were big events... national news.  But I see things like this happening all the time.  I live in the North Eastern United States.  We get snow... LOTS of snow.  All winter when cars get stuck in the snow, complete strangers will stop and help push or dig them out.  That's just one example.  People are basically good.  Sure there are a few strays that can make you think otherwise.  But think about this: the Boston bombings were apparently accomplished by TWO people.  But hundreds if not thousands of people have responded with love, compassion and help of all kinds.

Fred Rogers said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would tell me to look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping."  I've seen that and I believe that.  The goodness of humanity is amazing and I'm STILL loving life.

Love,  Paula

Monday, April 15, 2013

Loving Life

I am so enjoying my life.  I can't even explain why exactly.  I'm just happy.  Of course I have a wonderful family.  I have a beautiful home.  I have great friends.  Life is going well.  My life has always been good, but lately I've just been so excited.  Every day I wake up with a feeling of anticipation.  I can't wait to see how the day is going to unfold.  I can't wait to see what surprises and gifts are coming my way.  And I'm never disappointed.

The thing is, I don't think the things around me have changed that much.  I believe it's me that has changed.  I'm trying to consciously choose to see the good, positive, uplifting things in life.  I'm choosing to see, acknowledge, and be grateful for the miracles that are happening all around me - big and small.

Oscar Wilde said, "To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all."  Maybe that's what has been going on.  Maybe - after 62 years of life - I've FINALLY discovered how to live instead of just exist.  Whatever the difference is, I'm loving life!

Love,  Paula

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Spring!

We are having the most beautiful day.  It's March 30th - Holy Saturday.  As I'm writing this, the thermometer outside my kitchen window is reading 78 degrees.  Now I know that is not the official temperature.  Right now that thermometer is in the sun.  But regardless of the official temp, IT'S ONE GORGEOUS DAY!




 
 It's one of those days where you really feel like doing some spring cleaning... and I did.  I cleaned and rearranged the grand kid's playroom.  That's something I've been thinking about for awhile, but I just couldn't get motivated.  This weather motivated me.  All the windows in the house are open.
My daffodils are blooming.  My husband washed my car and his truck.  I washed the door jams.  My husband took his first motorcycle ride of the season.

It just feels so good to be outside again.  It's finally feeling like spring.  It's that wonderful time of the year when we all start moving from indoors to out.  We're like butterflies emerging from the cocoon of winter to the freedom of spring and summer.  The sun is shining, birds are chirping and all is right with the world.

Happy Spring!

Love, Paula

Monday, March 25, 2013

We're the Waves

During my reading this week, I was reminded of a visual that was given to me many years ago.  It helped me so much then that I wanted to share it with you now.

The concepts of "We are all one" and "We are all connected" were hard for me to grasp.  What we see and how we're taught is that we're separate individuals that are responsible for our own thoughts, words and actions.  I felt, and still do feel, individual... unique.  So if I'm a unique individual, how can I be connected to everything and everyone else?  How can we all be ONE?  I just didn't get it.

Yet we're taught, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."  "What goes around, comes around."  Karma.  If we're all connected, what you do to someone or something else you're actually doing to yourself.  If we're all connected, those sayings really make sense. Could it be that we ARE somehow all connected?  How can that be?

Then someone gave me a visual that I'd like to share with you now.  Picture the ocean.  It's a massive body of water.  It's ONE thing... an ocean.  Yet there are often many waves on that ocean.  The waves are individual, separate, and unique entities that are still always connected to and part of the ocean.

We're the waves.

Love,  Paula

Monday, March 18, 2013

More About Attitudes

I talk about attitudes a lot.  Developing a good attitude is so important.  Basically, it's how you experience life.  Choosing to have a positive attitude makes your life good, happy, and peaceful.  You see the miracles in life.  You live in gratitude and appreciation.

If you choose to be negative, you live your life in fear, anger and discord.  You  look for something negative so you can verbally tear it apart.  You think that makes you happy.

Have you ever been around when people are talking about others?  When they're ripping them apart?  How does it make you feel?  I mostly feel sad.  It sucks the energy out of me.  It hurts my spirit.  I usually try to insert some positive ideas into the conversation, but that's not always welcome.  If possible, I will physically leave.  If that's not possible, sometimes I mentally leave.  The energy is really just too heavy for me.

Sometimes it's easy to get sucked into some one's drama.  I always feel bad about myself when I allow that to happen.  I read, "Don't allow other's to pull you into their drama.  Instead pull them into your peace."  That's what I strive for.  Unfortunately sometimes I fall short.  But I'll keep trying.  I'll also keep trying to have a good, positive attitude.

Love,  Paula

Remember - attitudes are contagious so make yours worth catching.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Big "IT"

I just read, "What you need is always there for you.  Sometimes you just can't see it."  How true!  I've been a Reiki Master Teacher since 2000.  I love Reiki.  It's done many wonderful things for me and for people I've worked on.  The great thing about Reiki is, all you need are your hands.   Of course it's lovely when you can have a private space with music, candles, and incense, but that's not necessary.  I've administered Reiki at picnics, parties, offices and events.  And it works.  It's a wonderful healing modality.  Yet I've been spending years wondering what my big "IT" was.  I do Reiki, but A LOT of people do Reiki.  And most of them also offer other things; massage, aroma therapy, Cranio Sacral, reflexology.  So I always thought, "Okay, it's nice to do Reiki, but I need something else."  Like I said, I've been searching for years.  Nothing "spoke" to me.

While searching, my close friends have been encouraging me to DO REIKI.  They would tell me that that's where my talents are.  But would I listen?  Oh no, I just kept searching... and searching... and searching.  I always had the feeling that what I was searching for was right in front of me, but somehow I couldn't see it - I couldn't reach it.

Remember my post of 1/28/13 - "I'm Ready"?  When my whole house was covered in construction dust, I decided that I needed to clean my healing space when I had no clients or classes scheduled.  I had to BE ready.

Well, I don't know when, where, or how the light bulb lit, but I finally figured out my big "IT" is Reiki. Duh!  So what I was searching for all these years WAS right in front of my face.  It was there all along.  I just didn't "see" it.  Once I made that discovery, I got a student and six new clients.  And I was ready.

My point in writing this is to remind you that whatever you're looking for may just be right in front of you.  It doesn't necessarily have to be big or flashy.  Most often it's the little things that are with you all the time.

Love,  Paula

Monday, March 4, 2013

Miracles

It is the most beautiful day!  It is a day where sometimes it's overcast and sometimes the sun is out.  It has been snowing all day, but it's one of those snows where it is in the air, but it never seems to land.  It just dances beautifully, lightly in the air.  It's magical.

I know, I know, a lot of you think I'm crazy for saying that.  You're tired of the snow, the cold, the darkness.  But if you can step away from your attitude about snow and winter, and just look at it, it's incredible!

There are so many things like that in life.  There is beauty and magic all around if you look for it.  It's in any situation; in all the things we take for granted every day.  If you can look through new eyes, open your heart and change the way you look at things, you'll start to see miracles all around you.  It takes practice, but it can be done.  Step into appreciation and gratitude.  Live your life from a place of love, joy, awe, and wonder.

Albert Einstein said, "There are two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle. "  I choose the second.

Love,  Paula

Monday, February 25, 2013

More Antidote

In my post "The Antidote" dated 2/20/12, I talk about my vision for a news program that focuses on positive, empowering news, not the fear-based, negative news that seems to be all you can see on TV these days.  My vision has recently been reaffirmed.

I'm sure you've ALL heard about the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case.  No matter where you live in the world, I'm sure you've heard about it.  It was not only about Jerry Sandusky, but it dragged Penn State University through the mud too.  It tarnished Joe Paterno's illustrious career, and he was fired after all the hard working years and wonderful things he did for Penn State.  I'm not saying that Jerry Sandusky doesn't deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law.  If he did what he's accused of, he deserves to never see the light of day again.  But the university?  The WHOLE university?  Really?  Oh how the news media LOVES to tear down.  But they don't like to build up.

I'm from a city in Pennsylvania.  We have one of Penn State's branches here.  Because of that, OUR newspaper ran a story of how a Penn State Dance Marathon raised 12.37 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.  The event commonly known as THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.  Including this year's amount, students have raised over 100 million dollars for  Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital since 1977.  Isn't that amazing?  Doesn't that just give you hope for the future?

I bet a lot of you - maybe most of you - never heard this story.  Why doesn't the media want to promote the good in the world?  They'd have you believe that the world is going to hell.  There's no hope for the future.  We should all be living in fear.  Well, I'm here to tell you that they're wrong.  There is so much good in the world.  There are so many wonderful things going on.  I think it's a shame that the media doesn't cover THOSE things and cover them completely.

I'm not just talking about Penn State.  I'm talking about EVERYTHING.  Look for the positive.  Even when the media is preaching fear and doom, try to look beyond that and search for good.  It's there somewhere.  I firmly believe if more people look for the good and positive, we'll start finding more of it.  I can't do it alone.  Help me out... please.

Love,  Paula 
Click here for The Antidote

Monday, February 18, 2013

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Have you ever had the opportunity to spend time with a child?  Have you had the opportunity to observe them?  Do you just wonder how their minds work?  There is such an innocence - such truth.  They're so precious and honest.

I'm fortunate to have such sweet, innocent, honest little ones in my life right now.  If you're not as lucky, I suggest trying to find friends with children, nieces or nephews, or volunteer in some kind of work with children.  They are wonderful teachers.  They give hope for the future.  They help us remember the joy and magic of childhood.

On Valentine's Day, my six year old grandson's kindergarten teacher was explaining the upcoming school schedule.  She told her class that originally they were scheduled to be off school on Friday and Monday.  She reminded them that they had a snow day so now they were only going to be off school on Friday.  They would have to go to school on Monday as a MAKE UP DAY.  My grandson walked up to the teacher with a concerned look on his face.  The teacher asked him what was the matter.  He asked, "What are the boys going to do?"  It took me a minute to "get" it.  Once I did, I couldn't stop laughing.

Oh the joy, magic, wonder, truth and innocence of a child!  There's nothing like it to brighten up your life.

Love,  Paula

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Perfect Ending

My mother-in-law passed away.  After several days in CCU (that's the Cardiac Care Unit, which is intensive care for heart patients), it was apparent that the end was imminent.  Mom was transferred to a step-down unit so that she and the family could have more privacy.  We're a large family and there were people in and out constantly.  In this room there could be as many people as wanted to be there and no one would bother us.

My mother-in-law was pretty coherent until her final day of life, which was such a gift.  She had the opportunity to tell everyone that she loved them and we had the opportunity to do the same.  She was cracking jokes and making everyone laugh.  The day before she died, she was listening to Italian music and singing along with it.

The afternoon of her final day, it was becoming clear that this would be her final day.  Her six children gathered around her bed and kept vigil.  They only left her side if they absolutely had to.  The extended family - daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, their spouses, great-grandchildren - respected that sacred space and only went in occasionally and briefly to let them know that we were still there supporting them.  We didn't say a word, we were just there.

Around 8 PM we were all called into mom's room.  We stood in perfect silence, keeping vigil as mom was crossing over.  At one point she stopped breathing and we were sure she was gone.  Everyone started crying.  Then she took another breath.  One of her sons said, "Okay mom, you're in charge.  You're going on your terms."  Through our tears, everyone started to laugh.  It was while we were laughing that she took her final breath.

During her dying process, she was trying to keep things light.  She made us send her out on the wings of laughter, not a river of tears.  It was exactly as SHE wanted it.  What a perfect ending.

Love,  Paula

Monday, February 4, 2013

Attitude Adjustment

Have you ever had a "to do" list?  You know the one - it's those things you HAVE to do.  I would be shocked if you didn't have a list.  We all have them at some time or another.  For me, it seems to never end.  When I check one thing off, three more things appear.

Did you ever notice how it makes you feel?  When you say, "I HAVE to_________" - you fill in the blanks - it's draining.  It feels heavy.  It feels like a burden.

I don't know where I read this so I can't give credit, but I read, "Change the things you HAVE to do to things you GET to do."  It doesn't seem like a big deal, but you won't believe what a difference it makes.  It doesn't change your list, but it changes your attitude.  When you say you GET to do something, it's a lighter feeling.  It almost makes you excited to do whatever it is.

I don't always remember to say I "get" to do things, but when I catch myself saying I "have" to do something, I quickly change it and my whole attitude changes.  At work filing and calling for receivables are my least favorite things to do.  Sometimes I'll sarcastically say, "Oh good.  I GET to file today."  Even though it started out as sarcasm, it changes how I feel about it.

It's so simple and can make such a big difference.  Try it.  See if you get the same results I do.  It costs nothing and the reward is priceless.

Love, Paula

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm Ready

My husband had a project to do in our basement.  It involved cutting into some concrete to make an opening larger and more convenient for us.  Consequently, there was a fine "construction" type dust all through the house despite efforts to contain it.  It wasn't horrible, but it was there.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an obsessive type.  I pretty much go with the flow.  I can have plans but can change them in the blink of an eye if I need to.  Overall I'm pretty easy going.  I wasn't worried about cleaning the house until he was totally finished with the project.  Why do the deep cleaning more than once?

Well, he finished the project and I decided that I needed to clean my healing space.  It's located on the finished side of the basement.  Understand, I don't have any clients or classes scheduled, but it felt really important for me to get that space cleaned up... and I mean REALLY cleaned up.  I washed walls, all the furniture, curtains, blankets, sheets; rearranged furniture, moved wall hangings (after I washed them)...  EVERYTHING!!!

There were several things going on.  I was being obsessive about cleaning the space, which is totally out of character for me.  While I was cleaning, the words, "You have to get ready.  You have to BE ready." kept going through my head.  And while I was cleaning, there was this feeling like I was cleaning a "sacred space".  It was odd and VERY interesting.  I don't know what it all means, but I can't wait to see what comes up.  I'm sure something will.  That's just how my life goes.  It's exciting and full of surprises.  Whatever comes up, at least I know... I'M READY.

Love,  Paula

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Did It!

On August 13, 2012 in my blog "Goals", I decided I should volunteer at a hospice so I could learn more about how they work.  Well, I FINALLY decided which hospice to volunteer for.  I won't mention the name here because the purpose of this blog is to inform and discuss, not advertise.

As previously mentioned, I am a Reiki Master Teacher.  I was looking for a hospice that would allow me to use my Reiki skills in my volunteer work.  Admittedly I didn't contact all the area hospices, but I did speak to people from four of them.  Three of the four didn't appear to know anything about Reiki.  Their response was, "I'm sure we'll be able to let you use that."  But the fourth hospice I spoke with not only knew what Reiki was, they were very excited at the prospect of having a Reiki person on board.  Apparently they had a Reiki person before who moved out of town.  They said that the patients and staff LOVED it.  So, my decision was made.

I'm so excited!  I've had two training sessions so far.  Another is scheduled for tomorrow.  I believe 20 hours of training are required before I can work with any clients.

So far it's been an enjoyable experience.  I've met many interesting people.  They have stressful and sometimes emotionally draining careers, yet they seem happy and upbeat.  I'm honored to be able to work along side such selfless individuals.

Love,  Paula

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Christmas That Never Was

Sometimes, no matter how well planned, things don't work out.  Well, our Christmas this year was a great example of that.

Here was the plan:

12/22 - My grandson's birthday.  We go to my daughter and son-in-law's house in the afternoon to celebrate.  That evening after the party, my daughter-in-law will go to Pittsburgh to pick up six of her family members who were coming from Honduras for a Christmas visit.

12/23 - My mother-in-law's 81st birthday and my husband's family's Christmas get together.

12/24 - My kids and their families - and my daughter-in-law's family - over for dinner and Christmas gift exchange.

12/25 - Over to my daughter's at 7:30 AM to watch the kids open their gifts from Santa and then have breakfast.  Over to my son's at noon for dinner, to see their gifts, play games and enjoy the company.

Here is what happened:

12/22 - My grandson's birthday party went exactly as planned.  The little guy turned six and had a great time.  When my daughter-in-law left the party, she travelled to Pittsburgh to pick up her mother, two sisters, two nieces and a nephew.  Only one sister and her nephew made it.  The others missed their plane in Houston going through customs.  They got boarding passes for the next evening, but they were  also on standby for the earlier flight.

12/23 - The only problem was that they didn't have international phones, so they couldn't call my daughter-in-law to let her know either way.  Because of security, the airlines wouldn't let her know if they made it on the earlier flight or not, so she had to make the trip to Pittsburgh.  They weren't on the flight.  So my daughter-in-law was late for the Christmas gathering, but she made it.  My sister-in-law who did most of the planning couldn't make it because she had the flu.  Another sister-in-law didn't come because she threw her back out.  My mother-in-law almost didn't come - to her own birthday party - because she was in a lot of pain.  She mustared up the strength though and made it.  After the event, my daughter-in-law went back to Pittsburgh to pick up the rest of her family.  Three round trips in 24 hours, but they FINALLY all made it.

12/24 - My husband and I were up early to get dinner ready for our 17 dinner guests.  My daughter called to say that her son had a temp and they weren't sure if they'd make it.  Then my husband got a call that his mother had fallen.  He had to go to her home to see what he could do.  I kept working on dinner.  My husband's mom ended up in the hospital.  His brother went so he could be home for company.  My grandson rallied, so my daughter's family ended up coming.  We had a lovely afternoon of food, gifts, conversation and playing.  Around 3:00 my husband left to relieve his brother at the hospital so he could be with his wife - the one that threw out her back.  Everyone left around 6.  My husband got back at 6:30.

12/25 - My daughter called.  The kids were up early and we could go over as soon as possible.  She would try to hold them off.  We got there to watch the kids open their gifts and had a good breakfast cooked by my son-in-law.  My grandson wasn't feeling good, but he tried to have fun.  He ended up having the flu.  We went to my son's later for dinner and a fun family gathering.  We had a lovely afternoon.

12/26 - Our furnace quit working.  We were without heat.  Fortunately we were able to get someone there fairly quickly.

When people ask, "How was your holiday?", I usually say, "The things that were wonderful, were wonderful.  And the things that weren't, weren't."

I think the lesson in all this is that it's okay to plan things, but you need to stay flexible.  Sometimes life will throw you a curve.  Sometimes the plan changes in mid stream.  If you're flexible, your holiday (or whatever "day" it is you're planning) won't be ruined, it'll just be a little different.  And as the Grinch said,  "Christmas came.  Somehow or other, it came just the same."

Love,  Paula

Monday, January 7, 2013

15 Minute Meditation

In my blog "Guided Meditation" dated May 21, 2012, I wrote about a Meditation I got while preparing to meet with my grandson Luis to meditate.  While meditating on 12/12/12, I received an expansion of that meditation.

The first step is to accept the love of the Universe.  On the "in" breath, visualize that love entering through your crown chakra.  Feel it travel through your body.  On the "out" breath, feel the love exiting through your feet releasing love to Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.  In breath - receive love from the Universe.  Out breath - send love to Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.  In, love.  Out, love.  In, love.  Out, love.  Continue doing this for five minutes.

The second step is to reverse the process.  On the "in" breath, receive love from the Earth.  Feel it enter through your feet.  Feel it travel through your body and exit through your crown chakra, sending love to the Universe.  In breath - receive love from Mother Earth.  Out breath - send love to the Universe.  In, love.  Out, love.  In, love.  Out, love.  Continue doing this for five minutes.

The third step is to simultaneously take in love from the Universe AND from Mother Earth on the "in" breath.  Feel the energies mix together in your body.  Feel the love of both.  On the "out" breath, send Mother Earth's love to the Universe AND the Universe's love to Mother Earth.  This step is a little tricky and may require some practice.  But when done correctly, it feels wonderful.  Continue this step for five minutes also.

That's it, a fifteen minute meditation.  I hope you enjoy it.

Love,  Paula