Thursday, June 11, 2015

How Can I be a Better Person?

In the 1997 movie As Good as it Gets, Jack Nicholson’s character tells his ladylove, “You make me want to be a better person”. While this might seem corny 18 years later, there is much to think about here.

We all have people in our lives that elevate our behavior. These people take the high road; they show patience and compassion, which we view with awe. Being around them just ups our game. Their kind of energy and behavior is a very positive influence on our lives.

Mighty Mouse


And then there are the people in our circle that we can truly say, “I don’t like me when I am with you”. In a recent conversation with good friends this very topic came up. I actually broached the subject when I found myself reacting to someone else’s rage by disregarding my ‘good judgment’ and saying things I later regretted. Not that these things didn’t need to be said, but it was the manner in which I expressed myself that I regret.

I take full responsibility for what comes out of my mouth and what flies off the pages. However, it is not lost on me that we all have those people in our lives who can ‘push our buttons’ like no others can.


Frog with Large Mouth

There are many articles written (mine included) that give sage advice on how to avoid going down the verbal lane that leaves behind many wounded, including ourselves. Some of the most common bits of wisdom are:

  • Take a time out

  • Don’t use the argument as an excuse to dump years of anger

  • Give the other person the chance to talk

  • Address only the issues

  • Don’t yell or talk in anger

  • Agree to disagree

The truth of the matter is that sometimes these rules just don’t work. Sometimes we have to make difficult choices. Some relationships are simply toxic. And although there can be much sadness in the loss of a friendship, there often is a defining moment when it is VERY clear that changes need to be made. Not every friendship is meant to last a lifetime. When we stop being nice to one another or when we take that person for granted or when we feel there is more anxiety than happiness, perhaps it is time to close this chapter. This is never easy to do, for we often spend endless hours thinking about the good times. We often drag out pictures of silliness and laughter we had once enjoyed. We do this at the same time we question whether we truly want to permanently end all contact.  But in the end, it is in our best interest to use sound judgment and if need be, give ourselves permission to move on.

During our lifetime we teach others how to treat us by what we expect and what we ultimately accept. My personal gauge: I am close to people when I feel ‘good about me’ being in their company. These people don’t demand, they ask. They appreciate, they do NOT keep score.

Each one of us should have our own personal list of what is a deal breaker in our relationships. Spending time with positive people can make us want to be a better person by being around them.

Don’t you agree?

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How Can I be a Better Person?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

How Do I Believe in Myself?

I grew up in an era where we believed what teachers told us, we were taught to never question a police officer and if a man of the cloth preached a sermon it was indeed the truth.


We are decades away from my upbringing. Young and old have joined together to become a generation of people who question authority. To take it one step further, we have become a cynical society when it comes to those who are in charge.

So, why is it that when it comes to our own friends, partners and neighbors, we take what they have to say about us to heart? Why are we not rejecting or at the very least questioning their truth over our own?

I suppose one reason can be that we all want to be accepted and liked. Most of us come into relationships with own insecurities and fears.   Because of this, people who seem stronger, wiser and more confident can cause us to question our own good judgment.

I have learned over the past several years that my instincts are good. I have learned also that am capable of identifying red flags and knowing what is right and wrong for me. I have also learned that I am adept at trashing my logic and what I believe is in my own best interest, to go ahead anyway and make wrong decisions.

Why, you ask? I would have to say it is because I am human. I believe that most of us want to believe what we are told. Most of us want to believe that people have good intentions. And, like me, so many of us gather all the facts, think through the situation and then with eyes wide open, we often make incorrect decisions.

I am pretty sure that the universe intends for us to have these experiences and then learn from them. Whether it is a kid on a bicycle who falls, a business that fails or a marriage that ends in divorce, life presents many opportunities. Are you someone who is capable of learning what life has to teach us?

I saw a sign the other day that said, “The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.” This is now my new motto.

So, my advice to you is; don’t be afraid to dust yourself off, believe in yourself and start over. Give it some thought!


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How Do I Believe in Myself?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Riding The Rails of Life

I am at an age where my friends and I are talking about our aches and pains, retirement and the ‘third-act’. Yes, some of us are in the 7th and 8th inning.

While most of my friends are dealing with non-life threatening issues at this point, one isn’t. She has recently been told that she has a couple of health related illnesses that are in fact, life threatening.

About three months ago I had hand surgery that has caused me much pain and limitations (my dominant hand). Not only have I had to depend on my loved ones for simple tasks, and call on my patience (one of my biggest challenges), I have also questioned whether I even wanted to continue to write and publish my book.

After reading a very personal and very self-reflective letter from my friend this morning, I am writing for the first time in three months. Her very wise words cannot be ignored.

Many of us spend time reminiscing about the past, living in the present and dreaming and fantasizing about the future. She is very much only in the present.

Her analogy is about a train we are born on. People get on and off throughout our lives. The ride brings us joy, sorrow, expectations, hellos, goodbyes and farewells. She goes on to say that because we don’t know when it will be our turn to get off this train and leave our seat empty, the best we can do is make beautiful memories, reap success and love, and let yourself be loved.


riding a train

She went on to end with most importantly thanking God for the journey. And her final words were to thank me for being a passenger on her train.

I have always wondered what I would say and do when I face the 9th inning of my life. I would like to think that I will face it with grace and dignity. My friend has now set my bar even higher. While taking care of herself, she is also taking care of the important people in her life. A very loving and unselfish thing to do. I am in awe and very inspired by her to make my time meaningful, elevate those around me and make the most of my journey.  This is a wake-up call to me.


Be good to others, be good to yourself.

Riding The Rails of Life

Monday, December 15, 2014

Slow Down

“Slow down and appreciate what’s good in your life.” These are the final words that Brittany Maynard said to the reporter from People Magazine. The article was about her decision to end her life due to her having incurable cancer.

Wise words from a 29 year old. This didn’t become her philosophy when she found out she was sick. This was her lifestyle her entire life. She lived each and every day to the fullest. She probably did more in her short years on this earth then many do who live a much longer time.

When you think about your own life, how are you doing in this area? The area that addresses getting the most out of all you do.

Someone told me when I was very young that unless you are really ‘present’, the experiences you have aren’t fully experienced.  Being young, this was lost on me. NOT ANY MORE!

I really try to pay attention to my surroundings. I try to be aware and observant of the sounds, the smells and the joys around me. I tend to see positive, not negative things. I tend to find as many blessings that can be found.

I have been called a Pollyanna, or someone whose head is in the sand. However, that doesn’t bother me. I know the world can be a scary place. I understand that bad things happen to good people.

I am NOT unaware of evil, nor am I so naive that I think everyone has good intentions. What I am, though, is someone who chooses NOT to have that interfere with or ruin my life. And, since I am a relatively happy person who is relatively well-adjusted and living a satisfying life, I honestly am good with my views.

When you look at your own life. When you think about your ‘happy and appreciation factor’,  how are you doing?

Perhaps you might benefit from Brittany’s wisdom: “Slow down and appreciate what’s good in your life.” That is, while you can.

Slow Down - pox

Rest in peace Brittany. You left this world a little bit better. Thank you.

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Slow Down

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thank You

A very good friend and I spent a little time this week texting our appreciation of each other. Nothing too long or too involved. We simply wrote how lucky we both felt to have each other as a friend. We made mention of the fact that we have been there for each other during challenges as well as celebrations.

It felt good at the time, but what surprises me is that it stayed with me for many days. I see all the time, various FB acknowledgements of appreciations and blessings regarding family and friends. Most of them are generic. More often than not, the person posting will say, “And you know who you are.”

So, this got me thinking. How are you doing in the personal compliment department? A phone call, a text, an email, or better yet, an in-person chat. When was the last time you thanked an individual for supporting you, or giving you a shoulder to cry on?


I believe most of us don’t take enough time to let the people in our lives really know how much we value them. And, if I am wrong and you are someone who does share your gratitude with your loved ones, pat yourself on the back.

A mass email or FB post is nice, however a message sent directly to an individual who has made a positive difference in your life has much more meaning and value to that person.

Try it. What you will most likely find out is that it will make that person’s day as well as your own. I know it made my day.

What are your thoughts?

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Thank You

Monday, November 24, 2014

Being Authentic

This is a subject that I am almost obsessed with. What exactly does it mean? For me, it means acting on the outside how I feel on the inside. Or, one could say, being true to myself.

When I was just 14 and getting ready to go on my first ‘real’ date, a family friend gave me advice that stays with me decades later.

We were sitting in my backyard and I looked troubled. He asked me what was bothering me. I told him I was going on my first date with a boy I liked and I wasn’t sure how to act and how to be.


He simply said, “Be yourself. If you stay true to who you are, you will not have to worry about who you tried to be or who you tried to act like.” I took his advice. Then and since.

It was never my goal to have everyone like me. I never changed my behavior to please someone else. I understood that some people would want to be my friend because of my humor, personality and values, and some would not, for the very same reasons.

I think too many people worry about being liked. I think too many people tell others not what they feel, but what they think they should say.

I believe we are all special in many ways. We have different talents, different opinions and different ways of doing things.

Perhaps if we could learn to celebrate our differences instead of trying to be like everyone else, we would be more comfortable. After all, it is our differences that makes the world a more interesting place.  Being authentic means being real.


My dad’s friend Bernie died many decades ago, yet to this day his advice to my teenage self gave me a lifetime lesson that has served me well.

Hopefully his advice will be something that has value to you, also.

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Being Authentic

Sunday, November 16, 2014


This is a very interesting subject to me. We all hear about studies that are done regarding witnesses to an accident. If there were five eyewitnesses, there would be five different accounts of what happened.

I believe the reason for this is because we tend to bring so much to a situation. Pre-conceived ideas, past experiences, our own view of what is short or tall, slender or heavy. And, to top all that off, many of us make conclusions before hearing or seeing all of the facts.

It is no wonder that relationships become strained from communication issues. Many of us tend to hear what we want, that is of course, other than our own tone and judgment, and many times we are forming our defense and rebuttal long before the other person has explained themselves.

Why is this? Are we so anxious to “set the record straight”? Are we so impatient to be heard because we think we won’t remember the point we wanted to make?


I suppose there are many reasons. However, I believe most of us can do a much better job of being a better listener. Just because someone has an opinion and states it, doesn’t make it a fact. And, we really aren’t obligated to answer or defend anything we don’t want to.

My feeling is there would be less arguing and bad feelings if we spent more time working on ourselves and less time pointing out other people’s faults.


My feeling also is we might just get some insight into how we are seen by others if we tend to get the same kinds of feedback from many different sources.

So, what does this have to do with the eyewitnesses to an accident? Just that we are human, and our memories are convenient. Even so, we might learn and grow if we open ourselves up to the possibility that there is actually another viewpoint other than our own.

Do you agree?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Your Younger You!

I found an interesting article in People Magazine this week where various movie stars and other famous people were asked what advice they would give their ‘younger’ self.

I found this interesting because most all of the people interviewed said, “Enjoy wherever you are in life, learn from your mistakes and don’t take yourself or what others say so seriously.”

I cannot stress enough about this journey called life. And it doesn’t really matter what age you are or where you are in your life. It will provide you with highs and lows. It will offer you chances and then take them away, and it will give you reason to laugh and to cry. You will, if you are lucky, feel and love so deeply that the loss and hurt will be painful.

Life should NOT be walked through; it should be approached with gusto, loud laughter and big old crocodile tears. Whatever age you are, take chances, open your heart, open your mind.

Look at your life as a gift. Treasure that gift. Always learn, always be kind, and always elevate those around you. Be the positive force in someone else’s life, but more importantly, be the positive force in your own life.


Don’t wait until you are in a nursing home or not mobile, to think of all the things you wanted to do and didn’t. Get up everyday and, as they say, “Take it on”!

Your younger you!

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Your Younger You!

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Plate

If I were to compare my ‘stress plate’ with a ‘turkey plate’, I can only describe it as over-stuffed.



As I write this, my 12-year-old Beagle is having leg surgery. I myself will be having hand surgery in 3 weeks. Next weekend is our family reunion, which is out-of-town (yes, along with joy and fun there is ALWAYS stress when everyone gets together), plus the normal challenges that life presents us with.

While driving Roxie to the vet this morning, I was VERY aware of my heart beating a bit faster and my anxiety level starting to become uncomfortable. Just before I ‘allowed’ myself to become fully overwhelmed (still working on this challenge), I noticed the car in front of me with the license plate that said ‘Kope Grl’. Before I could fully appreciate the irony, it dawned on me that the song on my play list was from Frozen – “Let it Go”.

It amazed me how quickly I began to calm down as my thoughts changed to the following: “In a few days Roxie will be better.” By the beginning of the year, my hand will be much better, and lastly, along with the stress of all of us getting together (which restaurant do we go to, or will it be a movie or walk downtown), will come laughter, fun and the love that only families can provide.

The truth is that life is a mixture of calm and stress. It provides us with ups and downs, and as the saying goes, “You can’t get a rainbow without getting rain.”



So, the next time you find yourself letting your ‘stress plate’ get overloaded, try to use your internal tools, i.e., deep breathing, counting to 10, and acknowledge that time has a way of will healing what ails us. These things will help to stop you from becoming immobilized and help you to cope with the stress that comes with living.


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My Plate

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bucket List

This has become a common phrase. A person makes a list of all the things they want to do ‘before they kick the bucket’. Problem is, we NEVER know when our time will come. There is a 29 year old young lady who is terminally ill, and has made a decision to end her life in the near future.


She doesn’t really talk about dying; she spends her time talking about living. AND, along with her family, she is spending her remaining time doing the things she loves and making memories with the people she loves.


Most of us get up, have our routine, go about our day and eventually climb into bed at night without really giving much thought to our surroundings, whether it is the smells, the sounds and/or the feel of the air. We are living a life, BUT are we really LIVING our lives?


Perhaps because of my age, I am more aware of time and how precious it is. I am about to hit yet another milestone. AND, as a good friend likes to say, “It beats the alternative.” And I absolutely agree.


How about we make a pact? How about the next time you take a walk, or are in the car, or you hear a baby laugh or see a dog wag its tail, you stop in your tracks (ok, not in the car), and you take in ALL the senses and you really become aware of the moment? It is what I plan to do.


Today is NOT like any other, and you will never have it again. If you choose to be a couch potato for the day, do it guilt-free. If you play a sport, give it all you have. If you are reading a good book or sharing coffee with a friend, be in the moment. NOT ON YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICE!


Don’t be someone who near the end of their life has more on their bucket list than days they have left. A bucket list doesn’t have to have activities like climbing the Himalayas, ski diving, or swimming with the dolphins, although it can.


It can include spending a quality day with your grandchildren. Helping a neighbor with a garage sale, or taking an art class that you always wanted to. Whether your ‘bucket list’ is comprised of bigger than life activities, or smaller ones that have meaning for you, remember what is really important is that you are doing things that fill your heart, give you joy and make your journey one worth taking.


day with your grandchildren


Please share your thoughts.


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Bucket List

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Are we there yet?

Anyone who has taken a road trip, as a youngster is familiar with this common cry, “Are we there yet?” It doesn’t seem to matter if you are on the road for 10 minutes or 10 hours.


My observation is that most of us live our lives waiting for the workday to end, the week to become a weekend, or months to go by so we can take a week or two and go on vacation.

We plan the next holiday before we are finished with the one we are enjoying. Then the common cry becomes, “Where has the time gone?”

We realize that our lives are also lived in-between special events and time off. In fact, there are many more hours spent during these normal, uneventful times. So why aren’t we maximizing and appreciating them more?

I believe it is because we don’t take the time to really find the good in them. I am willing to bet that most days, most of us experience something fun, funny or interesting. However, instead of stopping and taking them in, we just cruise on by and not give them much thought.

Each and every day is special. Each and every day is not like any other. Take the time to stop and soak in the moment. Don’t just walk through your life, feel your life. Don’t take what you have for granted, appreciate what you have.

Happiness is truly a state of mind. I remember a particular day spent with my grandson when he was just three. We were at a park running on the grass, falling down and laughing. He stopped, looked straight at me and said, “Grandma, this is a wonderful day.”


From the mouths of babes. Try and make as many days as you can wonderful ones. You really don’t need to be on a cruise or vacation to laugh, be happy or feel fulfilled.

The question shouldn’t be, “Are we there yet?” Because wherever we are, and no matter what we are doing, in reality we are already there.

Life is a journey. It starts when you are born and it should end when you die, and not one day before.


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Are we there yet?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lighten Up

These words stay in my mind. I wrote a blog last week and one of the comments I received was, ‘lighten up’. Of all the comments I have heard over the past two years, this one made me really smile.

Perhaps many of us are guilty of taking life too seriously. Perhaps we spend more time making mountains out of molehills. Now, I get that many deal with real challenges. Life and death situations.

However, more often than not, too many of us manage to take the smallest of things and stress and over obsess about them.

Here are some personal examples. When running late to work I would go over in my mind all the excuses I would give. I would then play the part of my boss and think of what I would say when he confronted me at the door. I believe in a career that spanned 30 years, I NEVER had to use any of my lame excuses, and I WAS NEVER confronted at the door by a boss with arms folded and a stern look. I did however, start out the day stressed and worried.

I have worried about African Bees, Lyme disease, drive-by shootings, various epidemics (yes, Ebola comes to mind), and many other small and large catastrophes that are out there.

It seems so human to spend time worrying. And for most of us, we will live to a ripe old age having managed to miss most of the things that are our worst fears.

So, why do we do this? Why do we make ourselves sick with worry over getting hit by lightening? I don’t have the answer because there isn’t just one answer.

Lighting Up the Sky

So I have decided for now, this very day, I shall take the sage advice given to me last week and I will let my mantra be to just ‘lighten up’. I will save my energy for when I am actually faced with a challenge, so that I am able to deal with it and NOT be drained from worrying about something that has not happened and probably won’t.

Sage Advice

What do you think?

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Lighten Up

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Garage Sales

Sometimes while I am driving the neighborhood or walking my dogs, I see various homes where the people are having garage sales. We all see them. The homeowners put on their lawn old kitchen gadgets, out-grown toys, clothes that no longer fit and a variety of things that seemed like a good idea when they bought them (does an exercise item come to mind)?

The day (hopefully) is filled with customers who grab up discarded books, gardening sheers and old cookie jars, all the while looking for a bargain. Now, I image all these customers have their own worn-out, out-of-date items that they would like to display on their front lawn also.


Garage Sale

Why is it that someone else’s ‘junk’ tends to look more appealing than our own? Why is it that the very things we would toss out are the very things we envy when someone else has them?

Does your neighbor’s life seem better than yours? Do their kids seem nicer? Does their grass look greener? Did it seem like they got a better deal on their car than you did?

Instead of peeking over the fence with envy and wanting what someone else has, how about feeling grateful and blessed for what you have?



Life shouldn’t be a race or a competition. Life should be about being happy, enjoying your journey and hopefully appreciating what you do have.

There’s always someone with more, and there’s always someone with less. So next time you look at someone else’s fortune, stop and think that there is someone out there looking at yours.

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Garage Sales