What do you hope someone knows? Tell them.


This beautiful moon presented itself to me from my driveway last week.

MacGyver lost his dad a week ago very suddenly.  He was only 66 years old.  We are still processing the shock of it all and our hearts are swollen with sorrow.

One of my best friends lost her dad the very same week.  And I heard two stories just yesterday of people who lost their young fathers suddenly.

I lost my sister when she was 36, my mentor when he was only 57 and one of my best friends when she was only 32.

I’m always saying that life is short but even I often  lose sight of just how fleeting and temporary it can be. We’re so lucky to be here right now and to have those in our lives right now.

One of the blogs I follow had a post recently that stressed the importance of focusing on the wonderful in those in our lives and not missing chances to tell people about the things in them that we appreciate.

I think MacGyver knows how much I appreciate, adore and respect him because I tell him constantly.  But I hope he knows I mean it with every ounce of my heart.

I hope my kids know the unmeasurable amount of love I have for them and how very proud I am of the young men that they are, even though we frustrate each other so often.  And how my heart breaks for them when they struggle,

I hope my Dad knows how wicked smart I think he is and how much his drive and determination inspire me. And I hope he knows how much I appreciate all he has done for me and taught me and that I wish I still lived down the street. I hope my Stepmom knows how much I appreciate that she is in my life and how much she has taught me through her grace and loving heart.

I hope my Stepdad knows how much I love and appreciate him and the way he has stood by my Mom.  And I hope that my Mom knows, or knew when she could, how much I appreciate all the sacrifices she made for me, all the love that she gave me and all the things that she taught me which helped make me who I am.

I hope my friends know how much I appreciate them and their thoughtfulness, support and patience with me despite my myriad of idiosyncrasies.  How much I love to hear their voices or read texts or notes from them, and to learn from them and laugh with them until my face hurts.

I hope my oldest niece knows how much I treasure our relationship and that she realizes how wonderful I think she is.  I hope my nephews know how impressed I am with the young men they have become and how proud of them that I am.  And that my young nieces know how much I love them and look forward to watching them become young women.

I hope my cousins know how much I appreciate their efforts to stay connected and how happy I am to be part of their family tree.

I hope my Mother-in-law knows how much I appreciate how she raised such a wonderful man.  And that I appreciate her and love her.  And that my sister-in-law knows how much I love and care about her and wish we lived closer.

I know that my sister knows how much I miss her and keep her in my heart every day because I can feel her with me.  For that I am truly grateful.

And I hope that my father-in-law, who I called Big D, knew how much I loved and admired him.  How much I learned from him … not only about how to hang sheet rock or tile a bathroom at record speeds, but more importantly about keeping a positive mental attitude and always being willing to roll up his sleeves and give a helping hand to anyone who needed it.  I wish I had told him all that and more.  And I hope that he knew it in his heart.  I think he did.

What do you hope someone knows?  Tell them.

Ode to Serendipity. Gratitude Experiment: Day 71

Today I received one of those unexpected clues that all is right in the universe and that I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Every have one of those?  They are great moments.  And the more aware you become of them, the more you notice these clues.

Backstory:  I’m jealous of other people’s friendly mailmen.  Or maybe they are just always friendly in the movies.  But I know my parents have a super friendly mailman who they have had for years and they actually know all about him and his family.

My regular mailman, on the other hand, is not so much  friendly.  He is not a ‘waver’, he doesn’t’ really ever say hello and he doesn’t smile.  I can’t figure out if he’s sad or just shy.

Or maybe it’s just me.  He does seem somewhat petrified of me for some reason.  Perhaps it’s because he’s terrified by my two maniac dogs who go crazy when the doorbell rings.  Or he just really doesn’t like people anywhere near his personal space bubble.

For example, when he comes to the door with a package and has to ring the bell (I picture him wincing as he reaches for my bell), I usually open the door and come out (so I can close the door behind me and leave the crazy dogs inside). This is when his eyes open wide and he takes several big steps back very quickly, like I am going to attack him or kiss him or something.  It is the oddest thing and he does it every time. I swear I am not abnormally large, fast or loud, or even that scary looking, and I don’t go to the door if I am, in fact, scary looking.  I just can’t figure it out.

So it’s always a treat when we have our substitute mailman who covers our route when our guy is not working.  Substitute mailman  is very friendly and actually speaks and smiles.  And he doesn’t  seem afraid of me, which is a plus, and much better for my ego.  But I don’t get to see him that often.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… Geez, this chick really doesn’t  get out enough —  the mailman seems to be the highlight of her day.  Explanation:  I work out of my house and mainly talk to my clients through email.  So, on many days, the mail delivery really is the highlight and the main opportunity for me to see daylight, hoping that I don’t melt like a vampire.  Anyway, bear with me.

Today, substitute mailman rings the doorbell.  I answer and as soon as I realize that it is friendly substitute mailman, he says “Hi, how is your Mom doing?”  I paused for a moment trying to figure out how he would even know that I have a Mom, much less that she is someone who people routinely ask me about.

I looked at him quizzically and said “fine … why do you ask?”  He explained to me that he read my letter to the editor about Alzheimer’s that was published in the newspaper over a month ago.  He recognized my name in the paper and that I was on his route that he covered for on some days.  He explained  how he remembered which house I was in and about my Mom, because his dad has Alzheimer’s too. (Note:  I do NOT  live in a small town.  This is not a regular occurrence)

We had a very nice conversation about Alzheimer’s and our parents. As I watched him walk away, I thought about how I’ve never said more than hello to him before, but he was sweet enough to a) notice the letter in the paper and actually read it, b) recognize my name, c) remember which house I was in and d)make an effort to come to the door and hand me my mail so that he could ask me about my Mom.  I sort of tear up just writing about it and the thought of it makes my heart swell a bit.

So this is why I am grateful today.  I am thankful to have received what I interpret as a sign that all is right in the universe and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, despite how often I sometimes question the universe and my role within it.

And because my substitute mailman made my day.

When was the last time you received a clue from the universe that all is right and exactly as it is meant to be – also known as God’s winks by one book that I’ve seen, and as moments of serendipity?

Gratitude – the Linchpin to our Reality? Gratitude Experiment Day 18

I can honestly say that after doing this gratitude experiment for 18 days straight, my attitude is definitely different than before I started. I thought about this in the shower today.  (Actually that’s where most of my blog entry ideas start.)  I’m by no means some kind of transformed person all of a sudden.  But I can tell you that being grateful is enabling me to more effortlessly start with a positive reaction to things instead of jumping to a negative.  As a result, my clients have been easier to deal with, my family and life in general.

Don’t worry, a) I’m not going to give you any more detail about my personal hygiene and b) I’m not going to get all metaphysical on you.  However,  I’m going to go out on a limb here and give you some background as to how this works – how gratitude can affect you and the universe around you, through the law of attraction. Feel free to log out now if the new-ageness of this all sounds too ‘out there.’  But I challenge you to bear with me.

This concept really isn’t new at all.  And trust me, Oprah and The Secret did not discover this idea.  The law of attraction dates back to the early 1900s and has been studied by hundreds of scientists since.  Many books have been written about it and it is at the core of many other self-help concepts though often disguised by different buzzwords.

It boils down to this:  the belief that “like attracts like” and by focusing on positive thoughts (such as gratitude), you attract positive in your life.  Transversely, if you focus on negative thoughts (what you don’t have, what you want to change, what bugs you), you attract negative.  There is much more to it, but that’s it in a nutshell.  You can look at this (as many do) and say that it is easily explained by the theory that positive thinking makes you more motivated, more aware and thus more open to opportunities that present themselves.  Either way you look at it, positive results are still the outcome, so why fight it.

The concept is based on the belief that you are the creator of your reality.  As such, you are also the creator of what you think your limitations are (even though most of the time these are driven by outside influences, and often from parents who didn’t realize they were doing it).

For example, my mom used to joke that I was not good at math (not as mean as it sounds; thank goodness I rocked at Language Arts – or English as it was called before the world of political correctness). I remember this all the way back to fourth grade and it stuck with me.  And guess what I joke about all the time with people when I get stumped without a calculator?  I usually say “Sorry, I’m a Journalism major, we don’t do math.”  That always gets a chuckle, but what if I hadn’t been somewhat programmed to believe that?  I probably would not be a mathematician, that’s for sure.  But I bet I would have put more effort toward learning math related concepts for the many school years that followed.

As another example, let’s say I’m in a grumpy mood and focusing on something that really annoys me as I am opening an email from a client.  Do you think there might be a chance that my mindset could more easily allow me read into the short wording of our back and forth emails on a project and take them the wrong way?  You bet.  But if I am in a positive place (which is automatic if you are staying aware of your thoughts and focusing on gratitude), positive results will most likely ensue.

The absolute best documented and most famous example of the law of attraction is the placebo effect, commonly used in medication trials. Even in expertly designed double-blinded studies, more positive results are almost always documented from patients who expect something positive to happen compared to the ones who didn’t.

Oh, and have you ever heard someone say that they have the worst luck ever?  I cringe when I hear it even though I used to say it.  Sometimes you’ll hear someone list all the bad things that have happened to them related to their car or their work, etc.  And it really does seem like one thing after another happens to them on the same day or in the same month.  That is the perfect example of focusing on the negative and producing more negative results.  Kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Trust me, I’ve done it.

So how does gratitude fit into all of this?  Simply put, being thankful for what you have gets you to the place of willingness to let new things come into your life (instead of Jedi-mind tricking yourself out of things with negative thoughts). Thus, gratitude helps you feel positive so you can attract more positive. (Translation: If you have a fender bender, you focus on not being hurt or worse, rather than the damage to your car or the stupidity or lack of insurance of the other driver.)

There is much more to it (visualization, asking the Universe for what you want vs what you don’t want, etc.).  Motivational speakers like Wayne Dyer swear by it (and have made millions discussing it).   One of my favorite books of all time is The Power of Intention which helped shift my thinking several years ago at a time when I really needed a shift in mindset.  (I contributed to Wayne’s millions and have bought this book for many people.  Tip:  all of his other books are just a different spin on this same concept).

So however you want to look at it, it’s certainly worth thinking about.  It works.

So, as cheesy and sentimental as it sounds, today I am grateful for gratitude, an open mind and the world of positive outcomes that are possible.