Make somebody’s day…appreciate them…

December 4, 2017

From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time back comes this little gem –

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.”  (Sent by Paul McCullough)

I suspect that there are many things that McCullough could have put after the words “will always…” in his quote. Things like “feel better” come instantly to mind. There are also other words that come to mind to replace the word appreciated that also ring true…words like respected or even loved.

One of the things that the Special Olympics does at their version of the Olympics is to make sure that every Special Olympian  who participates gets a medal. They don’t focus upon only rewarding the “winners” in each event; but, rather recognize all of those who made the effort… they appreciate the effort and all of the athletes who compete are the better for it and feel better about themselves.

hugging-bearsIn our daily lives there are probably lots of people who do things for us that normally go unnoticed and unappreciated. There’s the bus driver who helps get us to work or maybe the guard at the guard shack who there to help insure our safety. Maybe it’s the day-care worker who takes care of our children while we work or the lunch room worker or the waitress who is there to server our noon-time meal. It may be the paper delivery person who has to get up at 4 AM in the morning each day to go get the papers and deliver their routes. Perhaps it one of the many retail people that we may encounter during the day.

These are all people who in some small way make your day better and you have the opportunity to make their day better by appreciating what they do for you. Many of great-jobthese people blend into the background and become just a part of the environment to us. We only recognize them when something doesn’t go as we wish and we complain about it and them. We may call their managers in anger over some perceived slight in the service; but, how many call just to tell that manager what great service they gave us?

We have the power to change that. A simple thank you may put a smile of their faces. Sure, we may leave a tip on the table for the waitress; but, how often do we take the time to thank them for their service and tell them that we appreciate that they are there?  I have a friend who is a life coach who never misses the opportunity to tell others how much he appreciates what they do for others in their volunteer work in the community or for their ideas and contributions in meetings. It’s a small thing, but one that he takes the time to do whenever he can. I’m sure that it makes those whom he compliments feel better for having their efforts and contributions  be recognized.

old cooupleSometimes this tendency to ignore and not appreciate them extends to our life partners, especially to the career-oriented men in the relationship. Call it complacency or just laziness, we sometimes become so self-centered that take for granted all that a spouse does for us to make our life better. The cooking and cleaning and housekeeping and laundry and child care all seem to fade into the background and become unappreciated expectations, rather than something that could be and should be acknowledged and appreciated. It takes only a moment of your time to give your partner a hug and tell them how much you appreciate the meal that they just served, even though you may have no real appreciation of how much time and effort went into the making that meal.

So, start out this week with appreciation of others in mind and be alert to those that you handshakeencounter to whom you can show appreciation. It should start at home, but there are countless other opportunities throughout the day to show appreciation to others and make their day better because of it. You may be thinking, “what difference can it make?”; however remember that the great majority of people just don’t make the effort. You can be the one bright moment in that person’s life today and that’s a great opportunity that will make you feel better, too.

Let me start by saying that I appreciate that you took the time to read this post and I hope it helps make your day better for having read it. Thank you, I appreciate you. Now, go out and find someone else to appreciate.

 

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Remember; but, you can’t live in the past…

March 31, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Some days I wish I could go back in life, not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice.”  (Unknown).  Jack went on to say – “Thank God today for a mind that allows us to feel some things…twice.”  😉  Jack

In an earlier post, Jack had quoted Charlie Brown from a Peanuts cartoon that he remembered – “There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.” 

 Often when someone is gone you hear people say (and I have said this to others myself) that, “They will live forever in your memories of them”.

 Quite often I’ll stumble upon a picture that I’ve used in a post here of someone who is now gone. Often those may have been people that I had no relationship with, but just remember seeing on television sometime in my past. Many are people who were long forgotten TV or boredmovie stars whose brief term of fame and glory happened well before most people living today were even born. Every day I’m reminded by pictures in my house of the key people who were in my life and who have passed away – parents and relatives. It is easy to pause and let a fond memory flood into my mind and that’s a good thing, but not something that I dwell on for too long. I take to heart a quote by Ken Kesey – “Loved. You can’t use it in the past tense. Death does not stop that love at all.” That is certainly true of those we have loved and continue to love who were a part of our lives.

Some have more trouble that others letting go of the past and that can negatively impact their lives in the present.  Jan Glidewell put it this way – “‎You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” Many people who lose their life partner end up in that state, still clinging so tightly to their memories of a life together with that loved-one that they now cannot live a full life in the present. Others cherish the memories of their departed partner and go on to fulfilling lives, sometimes with new partners.

I like the very descriptive way that Jason Versey describes the state that one can get into when dog chasing tailthey cannot let go of the past – “Chasing your tale? Sometimes we relive past accomplishments, failures and or past relationships to the point of exhaustion. When we do this, I liken it to a dog chasing its tail, just spinning round and round and going nowhere fast. Constantly chasing our own tales has the same effect on us. It leaves us in a state of dizzying immobility. When we wrap our arms so firmly around our past we leave little room to embrace our present future and that, my friends, is a sad tale to tell.”

 So, we must let go of the past and get on with life. We may fondly (or maybe regretfully) revisit the past from time to time, but we cannot let it push aside the present or dictate the future.  In the words of Michelle Cruz-Rosado – “Letting yesterday affect today will only destroy the excitement of tomorrow.”

Sad or angry or regretful memories of events of our past can be especially debilitating, if you let them consume you. It is better to head the advice of Mandy Hale – “To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.” It’s not the past that crying-4hurts you, it’s the constant reliving of things that you cannot change and the tendency that we have as humans to beat ourselves up over those events or the decisions that we made at the time. It’s over! Learn from those mistakes and then let them go.

So, maybe the best way to deal with the past is to separate your memories into those that are fond and involve people or events that you love or that cause you to be happy when recalled; and, keep those that cause sadness or conjure up memories that are painful in a separate place, one that you seldom, if ever, have reason to visit.  You often hear the phrase “I’m going to my happy place”; well, maybe that is the place where you store all of those happy placehappy memories of people that you still love and who loved you and those events that brought you joy.

You can’t change the past, but you can control how and what you choose to remember about it. Choose to go to your happy place when you are revisiting your past. Have a great weekend and, if you must revisit the past, at least go to that happy place that is full of happy memories.


I wish I had…

November 5, 2016

From a post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog so time ago…

“We are always optimists when it comes to time; we think there will be time to do things with other people.  And time to say things to them.”  (Fredrik Backman)

I wish I had…” That is one of the most often heard lines at funerals. I wish I had said I sad looking manlove you. I wish I had said good bye. I wish I had spent more time with him/her. At those moments; when it’s too late, you realize that you let other; less important things in your life get in the way of what is the most important thing in life – interpersonal relationships.

Most of the things that we spend our time on in life have to do with objects, earning to buy them, procuring them or using them; however those inanimate objects are not capable of giving or returning love. They do not have feelings that need to be understood, nor can they return a hug. They consume our time without giving back. They demand our attention, without feelings or caring. They dictate our schedule without considering the consequences. They steal our time, if you let them. I wish I had…

mother and childrenSomewhere in the deepest recesses of our minds most of us have warm, fond memories of being in our mothers arms as a child. Many of us have strong memories of the passion and love that we shared with a significant other. Some have vivid memories of the birth of children and watching them grow up. Yet those memories got somehow pushed back in our minds due to the seeming urgency of or day to day lives. We always thought that there would be more time with mom or dad; one more Thanksgiving or Christmas; one more birthday party; one more opportunity to say I love you. I wish I had…

When our children were growing up and we had to work to pay for more objects or to prove
more for their futures. We told ourselves that we were sacrificing our time with them so that we could provide for them. We always thought that there would be father-daughter danceone more ball game, one more dance recital, and one more graduation to go to; but, then they were grown and gone. I wish I had…

And when that significant other than you took as your partner for life was young and vibrant along with you; you always thought that there was nothing that the two of you couldn’t do together and nowhere that you wouldn’t get to go together. Yet you found yourself spending less time together, as the demands of a career took over. Somewhere along the way both of you have slowed a bit, aged a bit and things have changed a bit in your relationship. Passion slowly gave way to old coouplecompanionship and fervor to comfort. Time seemed to speed up, but you always thought there would be more; more time to say I love you and more time to prove it.  I wish I had…

Don’t let life’s distractions steal all of your time. Tell the people in your life that you love them and show them that love by spending more of your precious time with them. Seeing your son’s ball game or your daughter’s dance recital is more important than staying late at the office to work on that report. Finding time to visit mom and dad is more rewarding than washing and waxing that new car you worked so hard to get. Taking time for a hug and a kiss with your significant other and telling him/her than you love them, is more hugimportant than getting into work early. By the end of the day, those opportunities may be gone forever. Of all of the thoughts that you could have today; don’t let one of them be – I wish I had…

Do the important things today…things with the people that you love and who love you. In the final analysis, those things that you do will mean more to you than the things that you own. In the end, it is better to say, I’m glad I did; than it is to say I wish I had…


RESPECT…is that the secret to a good relationship/ marriage?

August 4, 2016

I deal with a good number of home sales that are precipitated by divorces; so, I get to hear about the issues that caused those failed marriages. One such conversation brought up the topic of respect for each other as a key (in that particular case probably THE key) to the success or failure of a relationship or marriage.

Leading up to that conclusion from my discussion partner, I had shared my observations Respect1that marriages, in order to be successful over time, had to be based upon things more substantial than the initial physical attraction that may have led to the marriage in the first place. I hadn’t really put a word to those things before, but respect seems to be an appropriate choice.

Couples who don’t respect each other end up in unbalanced relationships. One partner may come to think of their partner as somehow a junior partner intellectually or in terms of contribution to the marriage, because they don’t respect the thoughts, opinions or feelings of their mate or don’t put much value on the things that they are contributing to the marriage on a daily basis. This type of marriage usually results in one partner dominating the other in ways that eventually become so onerous that the marriage dissolves. It is not that hard to tell Respect3when one partner had no respect for the other; but it is hard to take over time. Marriages involving a so-called “throphy-wife” come to mind. There is often little respect involved in those unions.

So, instead of just tossing off a casual “I love you” from time to time; try saying “I respect you” and then stop to think about what saying that entails. You are saying, I value and respect your opinion on things and want to hear it before we make decisions about things that are important in our lives. You are admitting that the things that you do to make out home what it is and to raise our children are as important, maybe even more so, that the things that I may do at work each day to earn our income. In two-income families you’re really saying that I respect the job you have and the contributions that you make to our livelihood. You are also saying that I recognize and admire the things that you do every day for me and I hope I can do some things for you, too. Self-esteem is how you keep yourself together; respect is how you keep your relationship together. Both are essential to a happy married life.

Respect in the marriage also means that you must understand and appreciate that your partner needs to have their own time, their own interests and their own privacy, when they want it; that they have not given those things up entirely to enter into this relationship with you. You need to respect them as their own person just as you expect that respect for you. It’s not all aboutRespect2 me or even all about us as a couple; it’s really all about mutually respecting the two individuals who have chosen to go through life together. You both have feelings and thoughts and opinions that the other needs to respect, even if they can’t quite understand them. Accept them, respect them and move on together. Also remember that respect in a relationship is a 2-way street – you don’t earn it unless you give it.

So maybe Aretha Franklin had it right in her rendition of the song RESPECT – all you need is a little bit of RESPECT to make things work. Give some thought to the level of respect that you currently have for your life partner and make the effort to examine your own expectations, behavior and efforts in making things in your relationship work. If you can’t say that you respect your partner, perhaps you are in a union that will not work over the long run. If you can honestly say that you respect your partner, then you have a great chance of making the relationship work.

Have a great and respectful relationship!


Celebrating with my soulmate…

August 2, 2016

“True love is finding your soulmate in your best friend.”  (Faye Hall) 

“‘Soulmate’ is an overused term, but a true soul connection is very rare, and very real.” (Hilary Duff)

“A soulmate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the communicating and communing that take place between us were not the product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace.”

—Thomas Moore

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”  (Emily Bronte)

I open with a bunch of quotes that help explain the depth of my personal joysoulmate3 of celebrating 50 years of marriage to my soulmate this month. Like most our relationship was born in the passionate heat of youthful physical attraction. For some that is all that there is in the relationship and when that cools a bit there is no substance left to hold things together. Others may also know the joy of finding the person that you had such physical passion for also turned out to be a soulmate, in the sense that Thomas Moore was describing.

My wife Carolyn is my best friend and my soulmate. We have been through too much together in 50 years of marriage to relate here; but, whatever we faced, soulmate1we faced together and I always knew that she had my back, just as I tried to have hers. As our relationship deepened and evolved it took on that somewhat weird characteristic in which we could somehow be having the same thoughts at about the same time, whether it was about where to go to eat on a weekend night or maybe what to do in certain life situations. Now, a case could be made that we just came to know each other’s tastes and tendencies so well that we are anticipating each other, but I’d submit that this is a part of being true soulmates – you just somehow know what the other person is thinking.

After 50 years of marriage, we are obviously entering the twilight of our lives and I can think of no one that I would rather watch life’s sunset with that her. Have we made each other mad on occasion? Have we disappointed each other from time to time? Have we ever been annoyed with each other? Sure to all of those; however, we always say “I love old cooupleyou” before we go to bed for the night. We get through life’s trials and tribulations. We go on and we find ways to be happy with what God has given us; instead of being envious or bitter about what we do not have. We have two wonderful children with great soulmates of their own and five fabulous grandchildren. We have a home we love in a super little Village and two great little furry companions to keep us smiling. We have a strong faith and a great church family and a circle of supportive friends. Life is good; but, best of all, we both have our soulmate and nothing could be better than that.

solmate2I sincerely hope that all of you who may read this have the great good fortune that I’ve had in my life and find (or have found) your soulmate. To steal a line from a popular commercial, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” May you find, or continue to be happy with, your soulmate. Like Emily Bronte I can truthfully say – Whatever our souls are made of, hers and mine are the same. I love you Carolyn. You are my best friend and my soulmate.


Love each other as you loved me…

June 6, 2016

“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me.  It would be a better world.”  (Muhammad Ali) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Ways blog.

AliLike, Jack, I first knew Muhammad Ali as Cassius Clay. I remember listing to that fight on the radio with my dad. No one thought that the brash young fighter stood a chance against the hulking Sonny Liston. Clay soon converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali and began the strange journey of a fighter who preached love and peace to all who would listen.

Ali’s quote is almost a take-off on John 13:34 – Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Muhammad Ali was a beloved figure around the world. He was famous as a fighter, but beloved as a person. He used his bully pulpit as a famous fighter to promote peace instead of war and understanding instead of bigotry and hate.

Our society has become one where many people are presumed guilty (and thus unworthy to be loved) until they prove themselves to be innocent, just because of the color of their skin or their mannerisms or lifestyle. We can change our society one person at a timmen hugginge by
starting with our own prejudices and pre-conceived notions. If we start each encounter with the attitude of “I love you”, rather than “I’m afraid of you”; perhaps the outcome of each meeting will be different. Over time, enough of those meetings will occur, resulting in positive outcomes; that society will begin to shift away from suspicion and cynicism. At least that is the hope; and where there is hope there is possibility.

So, do your part this week to make the world a better place. Show love, rather than trustsuspicion, to those that you meet. Be open and attentive to their needs, not withdrawn and concerned about your own safety. You will be pleasantly surprised how much better life can feel when you show love to others and get their love in return.

Have a blessed and loving week ahead.


Keep the candle burning…

April 23, 2016

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  (Desmond Tutu) – as originally seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I’ve written here before about the story of the four candles – Peace, Love Faith and Hope – and how they went out one by one until only Hope was left. It was through that remaining children victimsHope that the other three candles were re-lit. We all go through periods of turmoil in our lives, although the crises in most of our lives are usually relatively minor when compared to what others face. One has only to watch the nightly new to witness what real crises look like. Scenes of earthquake survivors picking through garbage dumps to find something to eat can quickly put our personal emergencies into some perspective. Coverage of those wailing at the loss of a loved one in a suicide terrorist attack can deliver a dose of reality into our sheltered lives.

Yet accompanying all of the stories of woe and despair there are usually also stories of hope. Hope for a better life or a better world. Hope that tomorrow will bring relief and an end to the pain. Hope that the danger ends just around the next bend and that life can return to some form of “normal.” It is that hope that keeps the darkness that may be all around us from closing in and consuming us. I wrote some time ago also about hope being stronger than fear. In fact in that post it was hope more than anything else that the fictional ruler in the movie Hunger Games feared the most. It is through continued Hope that people overcome oppression.

As a people, we must keep the candle of Hope burning; for without it we will not be able tohand reaching for heaven find our Faith and Love and Peace again. They are a connected series of things in our lives. It is hope that supports our faith that there is a better life; if not here, then in the next life. With hope and faith it is possible to love ourselves and others. Once we have achieved the ability to love through our hope and faith we will quickly discover that we are at peace – a peace that passes all understanding.

So, keep the candle of Hope burning in your life. Let it keep the darkness at bay and allow you to see your Faith again so that you may find Love and once again be at Peace.