Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Just A Little Humour

I saw this on Pinterest and couldn't stop laughing.  Sometimes, when the world seems just too hard to handle you just have to find something to laugh at.  Enjoy.

Monday, 23 January 2017


The following has often been attributed to Mother Teresa.  But it was actually Dr. Kent M. Keith who wrote it and Mother Teresa borrowed it for the wall in her convent.  No matter who it was or where it was, the sentiments are important and relevant every day.  Here they are - The 10 Paradoxical Commandments.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Try Something New. You Might Like It.

I think I might be a good example of this.  After working in the real estate industry for decades I did a complete about face and, at the tender young age of 65, I became a minister.  Yes, a minister.

I have always wanted to be of service in one form or another.  That is why I stayed in real estate for so long.  I wanted to help people realize their dreams of home ownership; to guide them in their important decisions and to make achieving their dreams an easy, joyful experience.  I loved every minute of it and made some very good, enduring friendships along the way.

But I felt it was time to move on.  So, with the support of my family I embarked on this ministerial path.  I felt being a minister was more in tune with what I felt in my heart.  I'm a very spiritual person to begin with.  So, now I can focus on helping more people - not just homeowners or home seekers.

Part of this new path is training my dog, Lola, to be a therapy dog.  It is my hope that I can take her to senior's residences, hospitals, schools and wherever a loving dog is needed.  It has been my biggest challenge so far.  While Lola is a sweet, loving personality, she is also a stubborn and very smart little canine.  The key is consistency, and I guess that is what I have to learn.  But like all learning opportunities, I welcome this challenge as my "doing something for the first time".

I will keep you posted along this learning path with Lola so you can see the progress.  It will also be a good reminder for me how far we've come.  So, stay tuned.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Press Reset

J.K. Rowling once said "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life".  And rebuild it, she did.  Ms. Rowling was once a single mom living on welfare.  Everything changed for her after she wrote the Harry Potter books.  But that change didn't come without persistence and dedication to a goal.

We need to be reminded sometimes that we have the ability to change our destiny.  All it takes is the courage to take the first step.  We need to take stock of where we are, where we want to be and what needs to be done to get there.  It may take a leap of faith to take that first step, but once we do and we can see we're on the right track, everything else will fall into place.  Trust in the universe and trust in yourself.  Get it together.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Never Settle For Ordinary

Lovely words, but what do they really mean?  I think Steve jobs may have touched on it in his 2005 commencement speech to graduates at Stanford.  Here is an excerpt.

You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

Basically, what he was saying was don't settle for anything if it's not something that you absolutely love or are enthusiastic or passionate about.  Get out.  Life is too short to settle.  Don't be ordinary. Be extraordinary.  Aim high.  Dream big. 

But in that dream, don't step on people.  Treat everyone with dignity and respect.  Sparkle, but don't blind.  We can be anything we choose and be with anyone we want. We just have to remember to love.  Love is the way.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Power of Forgiveness

While researching the power of forgiveness I came across an article by Judith Orloff  MD.  Dr. Orloff is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011) and has given us a brief description of what can be found in her book.  In this piece, Dr. Orloff has also provided some tools to help to reach forgiveness, as well as letting us know how we benefit from it.

"In my new book I emphasize the importance of forgiveness and why revenge doesn’t work. Forgiveness is the act of compassionately releasing the desire to punish someone or yourself for an offense. It’s a state of grace, nothing you can force or pretend. There are no short cuts. Mistakenly, some of my patients, wanting to be “spiritual,” have prematurely tried to forgive after someone emotionally knifes them in the gut. First, you must feel anger before you can begin to forgive. I gradually guide patients to the large-heartedness of forgiving injuries either caused by others or self-inflicted.
Revenge is the desire to get even when someone does you wrong. It’s natural to feel angry, to say “I’m not going to let that **** get away with this,” whatever “this” is. However, revenge reduces you to your worst self, puts you on the same level with those spiteful people we claim to abhor. Additionally, studies have shown that revenge increases stress and impairs health and immunity. Sure, if someone hits you with a stick, you have the impulse to hit them back--the basis for wars. To thrive personally and as a species, we must resist this predictable lust for revenge, and seek to right wrongs more positively. This doesn’t make you a pushover; you’re just refusing to act in a tediously destructive way antithetical to ever finding peace. As Confucius says, "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."
What I’m suggesting is a version of “turn the other cheek” yet still doing everything to preserve what’s important to you. The hard part, though, is watching someone “get away with something” when there’s nothing you can do about it. Yes, your wife left you for the yoga instructor. Yes, your colleague sold you out. With situations like this in my life, I take solace in the notion of karma, that sooner or later, what goes around comes around. Also know that the best revenge is your success, happiness, and the triumph of not giving vindictive people any dominion over your peace of mind.
Forgiveness refers to the actor not the act. Not to the offense but the woundedness of the offender. This doesn’t mean you’ll run back to your battering spouse because of compassion for the damaged person he or she is. Of course you want to spare yourself mistreatment. However, from a distance, you can try to forgive the conscious or unconscious suffering that motivates people. Our desire to transform anger is a summoning of peace, well worth the necessary soul stretching.
To experience forgiveness, try this exercise from “EMOTIONAL FREEDOM’
Emotional Action Step. Be Bigger Than Anger--Practice Forgiveness Now
1.    Identify one person you’re angry with. Start with someone low on your list, not your rage-aholic father. Then you can get a taste of forgiveness quickly. After that you can proceed to tackle more challenging targets.
2.    Honestly address your feelings. Talk to friends, your therapist, or other supportive people, but get the anger out. I also recommend writing your feelings down in a journal to purge negativity. Then, decide whether you want to raise the issue with someone.
3.    Begin to forgive. Hold the person you’re angry with clearly in your mind. Then ask yourself, “What emotional shortcomings caused him or her to treat me poorly?” This is what you want to have compassion for, the area to forgive. Definitely, don’t subject yourself to shabby treatment, but reach for compassion for the person’s emotional blindness or cold heart.
Here’s how forgiveness can work in a range of situations where you’d have every right to be angry. It establishes a kinder mindset whether or not you decide to confront someone.
·         A good friend acts inconsiderately when she’s having a bad day. Remember, nobody’s perfect. You may want to let the incident slide. If you do mention it, don’t make this one-time slight into a big deal. Give your friend a break--forgive the lapse.
·         A co-worker takes credit for your ideas. Do damage control, whether it means mentioning this situation to the co-worker, your boss, or Human Resources, and don’t trust her with ideas in the future. However, try to forgive the co-worker for being such a greedy, insecure, mean-spirited person that she has to stoop so low as to steal from you.
·         Your mother-in-law is needy or demanding. Keep setting kind but firm boundaries so over time you can reach palatable compromises. But also have mercy on the insecurities beneath her neediness and demands--perhaps fear of being alone, of aging, of being excluded from the family, of not being heard. This will soften your response to her.
·         You suffered childhood abuse. The healing process of recovering from abuse requires enormous compassion for yourself and is facilitated by support from other abuse survivors, family, friends, or a therapist. Still, if you feel ready to work towards forgiveness of an abuser, it necessitates seeing the brokenness and suffering that would make the person want to commit such grievous harm. You’re not excusing the behavior or returning to it, but grasping how emotionally crippled he or she is, a huge stretch of compassion, but the path to freedom.
Forgiveness is a paradigm-shifting solution for transforming anger. It liberates you from the trap of endless revenge so that you can experience more joy and connection. Forgiveness does more for you than anyone else because it liberates you from negativity and lets you move forward. Forgiving might not make anger totally dissolve but it will give you the freedom of knowing you are so much more."

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Love Your Dog

We got Lola as a rescue when she was four months old.  She is now a year old and still has the same exuberance, the same goofy innocence and the same all in kind of love that she had when we adopted her.  The only difference is that she is now 50 lbs. larger.

But the thing with Lola is that she loves with all her heart and soul.  When I lie down for a nap in the afternoon she must accompany me and wrap her long long front legs around my neck and nuzzle into my face.  When I leave the room and come back, she greets me as if I've been gone for years.  When I watch TV, she must sit on the couch beside me and offer commentary should a dog happen to be on the program.  Her commentary is very loud.  If I have visitors she must greet them, preferably face to face to give them many many kisses.  I have to tell you that not everyone likes being slobbered on by a 60 lb. maniac.  But she is easily distracted.

But Lola is also very patient with me.  We are still in the training phase and I don't always get it right.  Yes, it is I who is being trained.  Her sits and downs are excellent, but her stays and comes leave a lot to be desired. I am supposed to get her to stay in a down position for about 10 seconds, tell her she's a good girl and then give her a treat.  If I forget the treat Lola will get up and sit over by the treat jar very patiently till I get the message.  It's the same with the come command.  When she comes I'm supposed to praise her a lot and then give her a treat.  It is not unusual for her to come, notice that there is no treat and, yes, wander over to the treat jar and wait patiently for her treat.  So, yes, she is very patient.

So we will continue our training and both Lola and I will get better at it.  While we're training I'll talk to her like a person does and she'll keep it all to herself.  I can tell her anything and it never goes any further.  I like that in a friend.  And Lola is a true friend.  One I will treasure all the days of her life and after.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions

I don’t normally make resolutions at the beginning of each year, but this year, as I start this new journey, I thought it might be appropriate to make a list of truly important goals and stick to them.  So, what follows is my list, in no particular order.
  1. Be kinder.  To be truthful, I am a very kind person.  However, there are instances where I could be just a little kinder.  For instance, when my husband asks me to repeat myself for the umpteenth time.  Instead of getting snarky, I should simply repeat myself.  He isn’t asking just to be mean.  He truly can’t hear me.  It’s not his fault.  So, it shouldn’t be met with impatience.  Understanding would go a long way.
  2. Be more patient.  See #1. 
  3. Make more time for fun things.  Instead of being bogged down in what needs to be done, find some time to do what I want to do. Like spend more time doing crafty things.  I love all kinds of crafts.  I just don’t put a priority on doing them.  I plan to change that.
  4. Spend more time with my dog, Lola.  As a one year old pup, Lola needs a lot of stimulation and guidance.  She is in training to be a therapy dog for when I visit senior residences.  Although she is the sweetest thing on four legs, she is still full of exuberance and boundless energy.  It’s okay if she comes running at me when she sees me after being away for a short time, but it’s not okay to go running at a frail 90 year old granny.  We need to work on that.
  5. Eat better.  I am notorious for not eating all day.  Not a good thing.  I find it difficult to even try to eat breakfast, but we all are told that it’s the most important meal of the day.  So, I will give it a shot.  As a matter of fact I had two poached eggs on toast this morning.  Yay me!  Now if I can just cut my coffee intake down to maybe four cups a day I’m ahead of the game.
  6. Exercise more.  Yes, I know that is everyone’s goal.  Why should I be any different?  I have had a membership at a fitness club for about a year now and I’ve gone maybe a few dozen times.  This year I plan to really make use of the membership and set a goal for myself.  My goal is private, but it has something to do with belly fat.  That’s all I’ll say.
  7. Engage more with people face to face.  I am awful when it comes to staying in touch.  Sure, I’ll text or email from time to time.  But it has been ages since I’ve actually seen some of my friends face to face.  Technology makes it too easy to lose sight of that fact that you haven’t actually had a human conversation in weeks/months/years.  I think it’s time for me to disconnect from my smartphone and actually talk to another human.
  8. Forgive.  By that I mean forgive someone who has cause me any pain.  Life is too short to carry grudges.  Move on.  And while I’m at it I think I’ll forgive myself too.  For not being kinder or more patient, or for not taking time to do fun things, or for not spending more time with my dog, or not eating better or exercising more or not talking to my friends face to face.  It’s a new year.  Let’s start fresh.

I’m sure as the year rolls on I’ll think of more resolutions to add to the list.  But this is a start.  And it’s ambitious.  But I can do it.

Animal Welfare Is Important Too

A cause that is very near and dear to my heart is animal welfare.  So, I will be posting articles from time to time to bring the issues to light.  However, I WILL NOT be posting photos of animal abuse or neglect.  We are bombarded by these images wherever we turn, and although they are disturbing and heartbreaking, I feel they do nothing to help the cause.  We are all too familiar with the inhumanity of some of our fellow humans and do not need a constant reminder of the atrocities they have committed against helpless animals.  Instead I intend to highlight success stories, miracles and good news in general.  The stories will probably have desperate beginnings, but through the goodness of some good samaritans, they will have happy, hopeful endings.

So, to being with, here is the first article from thegoodnewsnetwork.org

Photo by Douglas M.Weston

According to a recent survey of Canadian animal shelters in 2015, adoption rates have risen while euthanasia has dropped.

The survey, conducted by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, surveyed 89 different shelters across the country. A ‘shelter' in this survey is described as "humane society and SPCA operating facilities for transitional housing of homeless animals."

The study showed that cat adoption rates have almost doubled from about 38% in 2007 to 61% in 2015. Canine adoption, on the other hand has maintained a fairly consistent trend at 50%.

Euthanasia showed an exciting drop from 4,358 dogs and 22,908 cats in 2014, to 2,820 dogs and 15,341 cats. Shelter intake of cats and dogs has dropped slightly. Shelter intake numbers spiked dramatically in 2011 from about 90,000 to over 120,000. Over the course of the last five years, the rate has returned to a new low of about 80,000. Since 90% of SPCA shelters require animals to be spayed and neutered before adoption, the decline could be due to more diligent population control.

Article by McKinley Corbley