Share the Love

In our neighborhood, there is a person who lives at the corner who hangs dog treats on the bushes next to the sidewalk. A small sign tells dog walkers to “Please take one.”

She is putting a little love out into the world.

The other day, I saw a woman in the grocery checkout line who was wearing a dress identical to one that I own. I thought that it looked nice on her. A few minutes later, as I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw the same woman.  She was walking to her car with her shopping cart. I rolled down my window and hollered “Hey, I just wanted to tell you how great you look in that dress. I have the same one at home and I love it.” She replied, “Thanks, I got it on sale at Kohls.” I answered back, “Yeah, I even wear it just like you do, with leggings and a jacket”.

Just putting a little love out into the world.

“I love humanity but I hate people.” poet Edna St. Vincent once famously wrote. In the same way, I often really need to make an effort to connect and engage with people. It is so much easier to talk with my family or work on my own shit rather than engage with the people I meet every day.

With that being said, it brings me happiness, even joy when others go out of their way to interact, engage, or reach out to me.

Writing thank-you notes was not taught or encouraged when I was a child (or perhaps I just don’t remember). As a teenager, I hated the little triangular-folded notes that friends passed at school to one another. As a young adult, I knew I wouldn’t keep in touch with friends after I moved.

But I’ve saved and charished EVERY note, letter, and spontaneous correspondence that I’ve ever recieved.I have a collection dating back over 40 years! I store sweet notes from friends  in a nightstand drawer. When I was dating my husband-to-be,  I printed and saved every email from that first year. I still have every love note from my high school boyfriend. Every letter my ex-husband penned are tied together with a string…in a box…in my closet. 

Happy Mail

It is time to reconcile this dichotomy in my life.  I want to be appreciative, thankful, and supportive.  (I should have probably begun this project at the beginning of the Covid shutdown.) But anyway, my sister Michelle suggested that what I was talking about was “happy mail”.

So I conducted a Google search.

I found blogs and You-Tube videos dedicated to sharing appreciation to small business customers. There are also scrapbookers and “junk journalers” who share stuff with each other unexpectedly through the mail. These were BEAUTIFUL and inspiring works of art that people were sharing with each other in an effort to “share the love”.

I found it totally overwhelming!!! Some of these creations must have taken days or weeks to collect and construct.

I don’t consider myself a fluent writer. So I write a sloppy copy before I transfer the words into a notecard. It relieves my writer’s block and prevents me from stressing about making a mistake.

What I am proposing is buying and using store-bought blank notes and writing something thoughtful and direct like this blogger.

I also don’t believe that these notes need to be sent in the mail. They can be surreptitiously stuck under a windshield wiper, taped to a house door, or placed anonymously on a co-worker’s desk.

Iris Letters

My mom calls these “Iris letters”. They are the less familiar cousin and the opposite of “onion letters”. (Glinda versus the Wicked Witch of the West.)  An Onion letter is what you might send to a business to complain about the mess the plumber left after fixing your toilet or the rude comment the customer service rep made when you returned an item at Wal-Mart. Onion letters help a business correct wrongs. Iris letters acknowledge and appreciate service workers or businesses that go above and beyond.

I should have sent an Iris letter a few years ago to my local Aldi.

After checking out all of my groceries, I realized that I had neither cash nor credit cards in my purse. Upon realizing this, the cashier volunteered to pay my $80+ bill until I returned.  She said that she knew I was a regular customer and that I’d be back.

Profusely thanking her, I instead asked her to just put my cart of groceries to the side. I zipped home. Returning a half-hour later, I had cash in hand.  Thanking her again, she smiled at my appreciation, and I vowed to myself to write a note to the manager. I intended to appreciate, honor, and celebrate her good deed.

My goal was to share a little love and bring recognition to this kind woman.

I never did.

Her name was Leah.

I’m still amazed at her kindness.

Who is Lisa

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To Meditate or NOT to Meditate

Meditation is supposed to be a wonderful way to relax, come to terms with your inner self, help relax your body, help your mind focus,  blah, blah, blah.

Well, you know what?  I have found meditation to be a huge waste of time.  I have tried, really, I have tried! 

Comer on inner peace...I don't have all day!

Come on inner peace…I don’t have all day!

(I know people around me would sa I HAVEN’T really tried,(see here) but that is just not true.)

My introduction–and conclusion–to meditation was a couple of years ago.  I went to a meditation workshop with my sister.  Inside a church, on a Saturday was the destination for the day (ALL day mind you)..  We were to sit in a pew, a hard pew at that.  To begin our day, there was a speaker for a short time. Then we were to sit. and. meditate.  This consisted of clearing our minds, relaxing, centering (this means controlling and balancing yourself), not talking, sitting quietly, and, well, MEDITATING!!!!

So…I have a hard time meditating.   It was a BEAUTIFUL, mild, sunny day in January for that workshop. The fresh snow was pearly white, and it was just a  gorgeous winter day.  

We were supposed to sit and be quiet for a whole morning, afternoon, AND into the night!  I just couldn’t do it.  Sometime in the early afternoon I told my sister I had to get outside or I might crack up, or at least have a nervous breakdown.  My energy level was at a high, I needed to move and do something, anything, and I felt like I would run a marathon.  

Unfortunately, when I try to meditate my brain just won’t shut off. I understand that  the goal was to develop my psychological well-being. Its a calming thing to do. Unfortunately, to me, it felt rstless, like I was wasting time. I would rather do just about anything other than just sitting,immobile, trying to clear my mind. 

Give me a book, that would work.  

Paint a wall, that would work.  

Weed a garden, yes, that would work.  

I guess I will have to call one of these activities my type of mediation.

0MMMMMM

Who Is Sandy
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How to be a (Worst) Friend

I am well well-suited to write this post for I fulfill the top three qualifications to be the worst friend…

I’ve always loved being with friends, laughing and hanging with great women, drinking and sharing memories with others who appreciate a self-deprecating story.

family friends

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Love or Hate Cell Phones

smashed cellWho has a love/hate relationship with their cell phones?

Well, first of all, I hate the cost of these stupid things. My gosh my rent used to be $65.00 per month.  I know, that was in the dark ages! Now to get an updated phone that does lots of things, costs ten times that per month. You’ve got to be kidding!!!!

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Cell Phone Etiquette

Orange case phone and glasses cell etiquetteI resisted having a cell phone for years. The thought of having a phone “on me” all the time gave me the creeps.   Then I took a job out of town that took me away from home at all different hours and in all different seasons, rain and snow and I gave in.   

Before I knew it, I had just the “right” cell phone. My blackberry even had to match my glasses. In no time at all I was hooked. I couldn’t leave home without it.

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Time – Lisa

Where does the time go?

Some of us are working hard, head down, getting stuff done..others, not so much.

So often when I look back at days, weeks, months…or years, it feels like I just put my head down and plowed through my life. Accomplishing tasks. Meeting needs. Moving kids from point A to point B. Cooking. Cleaning.

I recently took a yoga teacher training where I learned about svadhyaya. In Sanskrit, it means studying yourself. I love to use journaling to do that. As I look back, I can break my life into several “times”.

Way back, when I was married to my ex, I lived rather thoughtlessly. There were just the two of us, both working, no kids. We watched froreign films with subtitles and used a French press to make our coffee. We explored book stores and listened to jazz music. He played his guitar and I worked in my flower gardens.

Now I have a family…husband. three kids. My time for the past twelve years has revolved around teaching, books, kids, survival.

But I feel like this time is changing, wrapping up, and I am preparing for the next chapter. I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years. Now my kids are older. I’m not moving toward retirement…exactly, but another chapter in my life. One where I’m finding more joy and purpose in writing and creating.

Transitions take energy, focus, and dedication. That’s what I’m doing. But, on a daily level, I too often act like I have all the time in the world to accomplish my dreams. At the end of the day, I realize that there wasn’t enough time to even accomplish the mundane, everyday tasks that were on my plate.

So. Here’s what is helping me…

Being a teacher, I love that my time is organized into blocks everyday and those blocks have a solid beginning and end. Accomplishment is inevitable because all the goals for my class are given a little time EVERY day.

That works in my personal life too. Call it the First Grade system of time management. Everything in a block of time and a block of time for everything.

I’ve been planning the week. Food and shopping. Don’t you find that the energy that shopping and cooking meals consumes a huge amount of energy in the week?

What are my work/life goals?–lay it out. Put it down on paper, sticky notes or journal. Make time for work, sleep, writing, reading, and play.

‘Chelle and I during our weekly coffee meeting when we plan, support and encourage each other.

I schedule walking, yoga, meditation…my “self-care”. It’s not that there is no time for these things, rather, if I don’t value myself enough to honor and protect myself…well…no. one. else. will.

Where does time go?

There are large chunks of time in my day that are spoken for, parts that are committed. Then there are, of course, parts that I get to choose.

When I mindfully and thoughtfully choose, I make a commitment to myself and can create the life I want in the long run. But if I don’t plan for this ahead of time, it disappears…and MY time is a terrible thing to waste.

Be Careful Of What You Say Out Loud – Do Your Actions Match Your Words?

Do my actions match my words?

They DO. But…I’m very careful about what I say out loud. There’s a certain power that dreams–shared and spoken aloud–have in my life. A few of my biggies have been completing my master’s degree, adopting my kids, running a marathon. I committed and then took small, methodical steps to work toward the goal. I am slow and steady. I believe in planning your work and working your plan.

actions

I love it when I am working toward a goal. Big goals public goals are easiest. It’s much harder for me to walk the walk in the little, more private, things. I believe in making my bed and walking Stella every morning, shining my kitchen sink reading to my kids every night. Many years ago I read an inspirational book called Living a Beautiful Life. I was inspired to do the little things that add up to the kind of life I want for myself.

Right now I’m struggling to incorporate…re-incorporate DAILY meditation into my life. I believe in the power and positive benefits of meditation. I love the calm I gain…the focus and the clarity that just IS when I am in a regular practice of meditation. I preach this to my kids. I read practical books to give me insights like Just Sit: A Meditation Guidebook for People Who Know They Should But Don’t. I have gone through months when I have regularly sat and gotten my zen on every day.

But then something happened. My routine changed…probably the school year stated and I fell into a new rhythm–one WITHOUT daily meditation. Starting a new school year doesn’t stop my other routines, I brush my teeth every day and make myself a protein shake for breakfast. I do lots of activities religiously and I don’t cycle on and off. What is different about mediation? Are the effects not as annoying as hunger, not as pathetic as Stella’s patient waiting, not as disgusting as rotten teeth? I love accomplishment and routine, maybe I haven’t linked my ability or inability to accomplish to my ability or inability to meditate. Maybe that is what is holding me back from the next series of goals that loom unfulfilled in my future?

I have this slow cycle of regular mediation practice followed by 0 practice. Whatever the excuse, its time to get back and practice what I preach. There. I think I’ve just said it out loud.

 

Biggest Pet Peeve – ‘Chelle

heres_your_signI have lots of pet peeves, but I’d have to say my biggest one is stupid people.  You know those ones that ask the dumbest questions?  Or the ones that ask things that really don’t need to be asked?

I can resonate so much with the comedian Bill Engvall when he does his skit stating “Here’s your sign!”  With the implication that you need to hold a sign saying “I’M STUPID”

 

 

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Biggest Pet Peeve – Lisa

IMG_5678

I used to be so proud of myself. When others would tell about vegging in front of the tv or watching a movie marathon all weekend, I would feel the smug self-satisfaction of accomplishment. I prided myself on creating artsy stuff, crafts, and steadily remodeling my home.

 

That. Was. Then.

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My Scariest Moment – Lisa

Does everyone have a story where they “threatened” a parent with running away and they parent in response helped her pack for the trip?  I’ve heard many.  The retelling sounds so cute and makes the listeners nod with appreciation, connection, and approval of the parent’s wise response and predictable outcome—that of a short journey around the block or across the street to a friend’s house.  Continue reading