Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am most happiest when I am doing my best.

"Striving for perfection is the greatest stopper there is.… It's your excuse to yourself for not doing anything. Instead, strive for excellence, doing your best."
– Sir Laurence Olivier

When I was younger I had a bad habit of perfectionism. Now I welcome imperfections. Not that I don't want to do things right. It's just that I have found I do not have the time to be perfect. I can't begin to tell you how happy that makes me feel to realize that this is true for me.

I don't know how I got on this mailing list, but every day I receive a daily inspiration when I open my email. Upon reading Sir Laurence, I had an "aha" moment realizing I am most happiest when I am doing my best.
The funny thing is I may not even like what I am doing. It could be the most mundane chore. It also doesn't seem to matter if I am succeeding or not. It just feels like there is a special energy that seems to make everything brighter when I am engaged in what I am doing, when I am spiritually, consciously, mindfully living. It could be walking my dog Priscilla or trying to finish a quick run before Ian's bus gets home, it could be cooking dinner, or taking photographs.

Monday, February 25, 2008

10 Steps to success

Oh how I did not want to go to my weight watchers meeting this last Saturday morning! I was dreading it feeling like I had gained back weight & I was afraid to find out exactly how much. What was the alternative I pondered as I reluctantly drove to my meeting ? If I stayed home & tried to lose whatever I gained (& maybe a pound more) I wouldn't get this weeks journal to keep my food diary in plus I wouldn't get to hear some inspiring words from my inspiring leader to help carry me through my week. Thinking this would not be good for me as well as only perpetuate my spiral down into failure- I thought I best go. So I did. Besides those fantasy days of quick weight loss are so over for me. I never lost weight quickly & thinking I ever would is just completely unrealistic & it's not even healthy anyway. So why go there?

Of course I am glad I did go to my meeting. It wasn't the best feeling in the world when I got off of the scale & the WW woman didn't say a word as she affixed my weight onto my small booklet that shows my progress- or in my case my lack of progress. I actually regressed. I gained back 1.4 pounds.

If you remember I was away last weekend living the high life in upstate NY. So I also missed my WW meeting last weekend too. I should also mention that the week before that, I gained back .6 pounds & the week before that I gained back .8 pounds bringing my grand total of weight gain to a whopping 2.8 pounds! In fact the last time I actually lost any weight was on January 12 when I lost 1.8 pounds.

The topper of the morning meeting was that as soon as I sat down my leader said "If you do something for 21 days it is no longer a habit-it becomes an instinct so if you do not continue to do it you don't feel right."

I found myself thinking, "Hmm...wasn't my last post all about committing to a goal for 21 days ?" I find that when I keep hearing the same thing over & over in a short span of time I am being sent a special message designed for me so that I will actually hear it & perhaps act on it. Especially if it's something unusual like breaking bad habits in 21 days. I always thought it would take at least 90.

So what have I learned? I have learned to:

  • Acknowledge & appreciate the positive past

  • Use positive self talk

  • Acknowledge & build on my strengths

  • Clarify my vision & my purpose

  • Set measurable goals & objectives

These are the first five of 10 steps to success my WW leader shared with us last Saturday. The first step has special meaning for me because I have found if I do not acknowledge my successes I tend to spiral down into negative thinking which doesn't help me at all. So this week my goal is to carry these first five steps around with me as I go about my business of being a success. I am also keeping an accurate food journal. I am exercising everyday & I am drinking the proper amount of water I need too. I am also taking all of my vitamins & making sure I get enough sleep. The weeks when I have followed these guidelines are the weeks when I have felt great even if I only lost .2 pounds.

A dream is a goal with a deadline- author unknown

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Complaint Free World


Has anyone ever heard of this movement? In the summer of 2006 Rev. Will Bowen spoke about the negative effects of complaining & suggested that his congregation wear a purple bracelet for 21 days. The idea is to challenge yourself to make a true change of attitude. Bowen explains on his website that scientists say it takes 21 days to break a habit & he believes if you commit to this, you will see a marked change in your attitude while achieving greater serenity. The bracelet serves as a reminder so that if you find yourself about to complain you can stop yourself before you do so while at the same time switching the bracelet to your other wrist.
When I first heard about this I thought about how I am not much of a complainer then I realized something that in retrospect is so obvious-I complain about myself too myself. Although I have grown tremendously in this area of my life, when I thought about this idea I found that for me it would be a great act of self love if I tried to break this habit for 21 days. Besides I am sure I will find that I complain in other ways I am not even aware of simply out of habit.
You can order bracelets on Bowen's website. They are free, you only have to pay a nominal shipping fee.
So if you would like to do your part in spreading world peace, feel more serene, & begin to examine all that is good in your life I encourage you to check this out for yourself. I found the Lives Changed testimonials on Will Bowen's homepage inspiring. You may click here if you'd like to check out Bowen's site.

"If you don't like something change it.
If you can't change it change your attitude; Don't complain."
-Maya Angelou

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thanks for always remembering us Paul...

Yesterday was my brother in laws birthday. I was waiting for the right moment to tell my son Ian as we were traveling to Manhattan for the day. If you are a reader of this blog you know my brother-in-law passed away a little over a year ago.
The train was crowded & we couldn't get a seat. As we moved towards the back of the train a rather large young man noticed us & with his sweet baby face told us to take his seat because he was getting up anyway. I said, "Oh, you're getting off?" & he replied, (& I could tell this was a lie) "yeah, I have to make a phone call." I declined saying that it was OK & we walked back to where we could stand more comfortably. He was obviously sitting there working & on his way to work-I was thinking it really was less of a bother for us to stand. We like to have our own seat, but we really were fine. Then, not a minute later he was standing before us saying," you better go get that seat before someone else takes it. " I just shook my head & laughed thinking to myself how often are any of us the recipients of such persistent kindness? I told my son that it was his Uncle Paul- I told him that anything good that happens to us today will be credited to his uncle because I believe he is watching over all of his family & since today is his birthday he is probably especially busy. Paul loved life & especially enjoyed making others happy. If Paul didn't actually whisper something in the kind mans ear that prompted him to give up his seat so that he could stand for the next 40 minutes, he most likely would have done the same thing.
When we got to an appointment early, our friend Nigel saw us immediately, leaving us with more time than anticipated to enjoy the city. Then we were off to look for some music posters for Ian's room. On a lark we went to check out over on Thompsom Street & found two Who posters, a Beatles poster & a Pink Floyd Poster, all for the phenomenal price of just $32!
When we got to Joe's Pizza there wasn't room to stand at a counter much less sit. The frigid cold made eating outside not an option so we simply stood squeezed between everyone balancing our flimsy paper plates when a young mother with two children less than 4 years old offered to share her table with us.
We had a great day together in the city.

have IPOD will travel...

necessary supplies for city trip...

cool window design on Greene Street...

I wish I could sleep like this in Generation records...

Joe's Pizza is still is one of the best places to get Pizza in the city. It's on Carmine Street right off of Bleecker Street in the Village. It also hapens to be the pizza place Spiderman held a job at delivering pizza in NYC!

Skull Candy -compliments of Uncle Jimmy. These are amazing for blocking out sounds like train & school bus noise without having to blast music in your ear. Thankfully kids consider them "cool".

We will never forget you Paul...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."

Only Thoreau can think of something like that quote above!

Late last Sunday morning I decided (after all of my imbibing the night before) I better get myself outside for a walk. Mia & Bo just came in from the cold & decided it was best to take a nap. Besides, they were up since 5AM.

My husband decided to join me for part of the way. Check out these trees against the snow & sky.

What is it about a red barn inside a winter landscape that looks so perfect?

Or a frozen pond that makes you want to learn how to ice skate?

Walking through nature is like meditating without having to try & relax. I just naturally relax & I notice a feeling of peace inside as I observe all the beauty surrounding me.

I love the textures & contrasting colors.

Look at this...

& this...

Pretty cool huh?

Please click on this photo above if you would like to see the sheep up close.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Sound of Silence

When we were upstate this past weekend it was so silent at night when I laid down to sleep it was almost deafening. I know this sounds dramatic but I really couldn't get over it. Sleeping in silence like that has to be good for one's nervous system. In fact I woke up so totally refreshed Sunday morning I was actually still wide awake by 10PM that night. This was after a full day of antiquing & eating massive quantities of very good food. Wait a second though, that very well could have been the Stewart's orange soda I drank earlier with my dinner. I'm not used to drinking "regular soda". I usually drink diet caffeine free & only with dinner-FYI. But we met my bro-in-law at the Stewart's so he could take us back to his home, (lest we get lost in the wilderness ) & we had to buy some Stewart's products if only for the sheer novelty of it. They have Stewart's around there the way we have 7-11's. They also sell Stewart's ice-cream & have all kinds of toppings on the counter you can add on if you get some to go. I'll have to sample that during a summertime visit.

My handsome rugged brother-in-law & his beautiful partner live on 12 acres nestled in a mountainside. I can't believe I have a relative that lives in such a pristine, quiet, natural environment. They actually have a room with a view & it is far far away from the suburbs. It actually takes my breath away.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is all you need

please click on painting for better detail

I was married just a little over a year when I did this pastel painting for a college assignment. & after 25 years of being married to this man who is my soulmate- I want to say that if you are in love with someone, love them. If someone tells you that you are too young or that you should do this or you should do that, don't listen to them. Just love whoever you love-because in the end Love is really, truly all you ever need.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Feeling like Einstein

Have you ever found something that was right in front of you but you had absolutely no idea it was even there until right after you discovered it? I just had this wondrous experience. I was looking out my window thinking I'd take some pictures of the snow at night-just to see how they'd come out. When I looked at them I was amazed to see the flash had illuminated the sleet as it was falling. What you see in these photographs were not seen by the naked eye. If I had not thought of doing this I would have missed out on everything you see here. The extra funny thing is I actually had a thought that something mystical would happen. You can't see Padre Pia from this photo below, but the little golden arch that you can see is actually a small shrine my neighbor has of the Saint Padre Pia. It is a statue of the saint standing inside of a glass house that is lit up with a string of Christmas lights. When I realized Padre would be in the photo I thought maybe he would send me a sign. If you click on this photo it will get larger & you can see what my son thinks are faces inside the sleet, quite possibly snow fairies sent by Padre himself.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Gift of Fear


When my mom gave me the book , The Gift of Fear, I really didn't want to read it. Not percieving fear as a gift but as a hinderance to living life fully, I thought, why would I want to read a book entitled as such?

As I began to read, I soon realized this book is so not about what my initial perception was. This book is one of the most enlightening & empowering books a woman can read-or a man for that matter. I urge each & every person to RUN to your nearest book provider & get a copy of this book & begin to read it immediately.

The authors name is Gavin De Becker who was recently featured on Oprah. Mr De Becker has done pioneering work in violence prevention. Much of his work is centered around intuition- which to me makes it all the more interesting. Since I do believe we all posess the power of intuition I find myself wondering why most of us rarely use it. After starting this book I think the simple answer is we just don't know how. I for one never considered myself a good people "reader". In fact I can recall saying many a time that I am not good at "reading" people. I am not even halfway through this book & I can tell you, I will never doubt my feelings of fear or my perceptions of other people again. Gavin De Becker sites numerous examples of how people know so much more than they give themselves credit for when it comes to other peoples behaviour only to convince themselves otherwise thereby putting themselves in harms way. Gavin teaches us through true stories, techniques we can use to empower & protect ourselves & our families.
I am finding it a gripping read, & it's out in paperback, so get your copy today!

"People should learn to see and so avoid all danger. Just as a wise man keeps away from mad dogs, so one should not make friends with evil men."-Buddha

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

& then there was light...

So after 8 years I believe I now can see my way around our bathroom! Which let's face it, this has its pluses & minuses.
The mini "renovation" is going slowly. After finally removing all of the stalactites from the cieling I had to do copious amounts of sanding. This was pretty gross. The floor, my uncovered skin & parts of my scalp had an inch thick layer of fine powdered spackle. We are trying to make the cieling look smooth enough without actually replacing it.

In between this process of sanding spackling & sanding yet again, the lights were installed, (by my multi-talented hubby-who I am convinced can figure out pretty much anything in this old house of ours) -the beautiful lights, lights like I have never seen before, dare I say, lights like no other...lights that when lit, brighten everything, casting a warm glow in what used to be a cold dark bathroom. A wonderful side effect of this newfound light is that the yellow color they give off makes you feel like we have real heat in the room!

Enclosed I have included some photographs so that you can get a bit of an impression of what our little bathroom used to look like before it is finished.

The sink in the photo below below looks darker here because the light over the sink hasn't yet arrived.

We plan on painting the bottom of the tub a much deliberated (is this a word?) choice of color.

"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars."-Og Mandino

Monday, February 4, 2008

Animal House

This weekend we had the pleasure of a lovely house guest. She's a pretty gal that goes by the name of Nipper. She has the sweetest face & a very friendly disposition.

Not that Sylvia appreciated Nippers good nature-No, not in the slightest...

When Nipper wasn't sitting on her perch by the warm radiator,

we could often find her hanging out under the kitchen table.

Or perhaps doing a nice sun salutation...

Or mostly just looking around trying to find out what everybody else was doing.

Priscilla spent the first day climbing up the length of my body trying to get to a safe spot on top of my head. I think at one point for like a split second, she did.
By the second day all of this made her very sleepy.

In fact, she was so sleepy she seemed to get to a point where she was like, "OK, whatever... I'm going to just go & lay down over here by my masters elbow where I should be safe & catch me a little shut- eye."

Nipper looked forlorn, like she was wondering why the grey cat was hissing at her & the little dog was running in the opposite direction. She noticed the humans were nice enough, but what was with these animals in this house?

Meanwhile, what could Sylvia possibly be thinking?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow."-The Talmud quotes

I don't know if you remember in my past posts how I've written about angels whispering in my ears at times. This usually happens when I am in the midst of trying to figure out something important. I'll think I am doing everything I possibly can to do the right thing. It's not like I really think I can figure it all out anyway. Let's just say, I'll be doing the best that I can. Then suddenly I get a thought in my head & I think of whatever I am working on in a different light. Out of nowhere an idea comes to me in a way I haven't thought of. I feel compelled to listen & many new ideas follow. This I believe is when the angels start to whisper. I had to share this with you because I believe in God & I think he gave us free will so we can grow in this life. I believe he wants the best for us & when he sees us struggling, he sends his angels with messages he wants us to hear. Most of the time it's hard to listen because I'm just a human, but that doesn't mean I don't try to remember too. When I do listen, I always try to remember to thank God & my angels.
When Ian was trying to figure out what high school to go to, it was very dificult. In fact he still may get other opportunities before the end of this school year. For now though, he has to meet certain deadlines. St. Anthony's & Chaminade are excellent schools. Two major factors were their size & their music program. Also Ian has an older cousin who graduated from Chaminade (& is doing amazingly well in college I must add) who took the time to answer some of his important concerns. What also helped finalize Ian's decision were two very special teachers that have been working with him since he was five, who gently pointed out some things he might consider. Just after leaving his music lesson Friday night, we sat in the car for quite some-time in the pouring rain outside of Chaminade High School still deliberating the pros & cons of each school. After calling his Dad one last time & trying to decide, Ian handed the phone to me. As I spoke with his Dad, 2 minutes later Ian simply got out of the car and stood in the park looking around.
"Anthony, he just got out of the car, I think he's had it."
"What's he doing?" my husband inquired.
"I don't know, maybe he thinks we are going inside." I said.
"Oh, you poor guys." my husband replied.
 By this time at least it was just drizzling. Then in an instant Ian calmly and confidently opened the car door, poked his head inside and said, "You know, I'm going to go to Chaminade." and with that, he shut the door.
It must have been the angels.

Friday, February 1, 2008

As we were walking through a high school open house last week, my son & I came upon this inspiring poster I wanted to share with you. I copied down the web address: this actually turned out to be a school supply website. After I read this again online, I thought it seemed like it was filled with good thoughts anyone could apply to themselves whether they write or not.

the only 12 1/2 writing rules you'll ever need
1. If you write every day, you get better at writing every day. 2. If it's boring to you, it's boring to your reader 3. Get a writing routine, and stick with it. 4.Poetry does NOT have to rhyme. Poetry does NOT have to rhyme. 5. Resist stereotypes, in real life and in your writing. 6. Writers read, writers read a lot, writers read all the time. 7.Make lists of your favorite words and books and places and things. 8.There doesn't always have to be a moral to the story. 9.Always bring your notebook, always bring a spare pen. 10. Go for walks. Dance. Pull weeds. Do the dishes. Write about it. 11. Don't settle on just one style. Try something new! 12. Learn to tell both sides of the story. 12 1/2. Stop looking at this poster. Write something!