A day late and a dollar short

Donna and I at the finish-lineWell, actually it is a week later and I’m still about $400 dollar short. I’m talking about the Avon Walk for the Cure and I do indeed need your help in the final push to meet my fund raising goals. BUT FIRST let me tell you about the walk…

The Walk for the Cure through the many neighborhoods of Boston is a lot of things …

Inspiring – there was young woman who pushed her Mom in a wheelchair for the entire 39 miles. And my friend Donna – despite injuries to her heel, calf and toes – made the entire pilgrimage – 39 miles! And I must mention her boyfriend, Tom who willingly became a part of our team – taking care of medical supplies, wardrobe changes, and transportation including the Dunkin Donuts first-stop each morning!

Motivating – When I thought I could not move my chunky legs forward one more time I’d see someone older, balder, less agile or fit making their way along the sidewalk or street and would suddenly find enough energy to pound the pavement once more. AND I beat my all time best walking (or running) stats and went 20 miles one day and 13 the next! Not bad for a proverbial couch potato!

Renewing – If you ever doubt the generosity of people and need to renew your faith in the goodness of others – take an Avon WALK. In every neighborhood, upscale to street folks cheered and waved us on, clapped for us, thanked us for walking and of course served us candy and Double Bubble, made us lemonade and ice water and fueled us with their enthusiasm and energy!

Gratifying – I thought of the many women I walked for… the mother of my best friend when I growing up Mrs. F., Maureen, Eileen, Bernice, Mary, Frances, Gina and so many others. I am grateful for all of YOU who are helping me raise my $1,800 committed to the CURE. I am grateful for my health, the time to walk, the willingness to be one of many, and to above all I am grateful I can do something to let this cancer know it will not rule now or ever.

Please click her to make that donation. $400 to go! Thank you!
http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk2008/Boston?px=1373883&pg=personal&fr_id=1440

 

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Get Out of the House…

Growing up, the perk and puffing of the old Faberware electric coffee pot meant only one thing – my grandmother had returned home from her travels!  Souvenirs in hand, she would mesmerize us with her memories of the shops of NYC, the streets of San Francisco, the deserts of Arizona, or the beaches of Hawaii.

Once home, she kicked off her heels, hung up her Chanel suit, peeled off her heavy gold jewelry and slipped into a housedress and a full-coverage apron suitable for cooking, cleaning and caring for her grandchildren.

As a child, I wondered why anyone would stay home if they could travel the seven seas. Now I realize my grandmother loved being home because she left home from time to time to explore the world outside it. Home is never sweeter, more inviting, more welcoming than when returning from a vacation, a business trip or an extended stay with relatives.

If we are NEVER home, we might think wishfully, how wonderful it would be to stay there forever! Think about this for a second; how many of us would honestly enjoy staying home all of the time if we didn’t leave it once in awhile. Not many of us. We would likely switch gears and complain about being bored.

So now that the kinder and gentler spring season is here, we can heed the advice of my worldly Nana who said (when she was home, that is) GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Once on the other side of your front door, here are some suggestions, inspired by my Nana:

Play Dress Up. Put on your grown up clothes, your big life pants and take yourself to lunch. Try a new restaurant. Spend time with yourself out in the world – alone. Pretend. Be whoever you want to be. Don’t worry. The old YOU will be waiting for you when you get home.

Take a Walk. Think simple stroll. Not cardio workout. Dilly dally, lolly gag, stop-and-go, look up, look down, pick up that penny, smell that rose, stare at that thingamajig in the street. Just don’t wipe germy your hands on face.

Go to the Movies. Out of all the Academy Award winners this year, you’ve only seen one – and it starred talking rats and penguins. Go to the movies in the middle of the day! You are Ferris Bueller… a cinematic rebel with armed with box of popcorn and juicy fruits.

Help an Old Person Across the Street. Do some good in the world. Stop being so self-centered. Stop complaining about the world and do something about it. It’ll be good for your soul.

Weed the Garden. Pick up the yard. Paint the fence. Or talk someone else into doing it. How about “ask someone to join you’ instead; last sentence defeats the purpose of getting out if someone does it for you.

Play Ball. Go get one of those balls out of the shed you just HAD to have – the football, volleyball, tennis ball, basketball, whatever and bounce it, hit it, or throw it. Bang on your neighbor’s door. Get your friends out of the house for game or two. Make up your own rules if you don’t know any.

Ride your Bike. Go to the store. Buy some junk food, a couple of comic books and a sugary soda. Then find the nicest lawn in the neighborhood to plop down on and enjoy – until they come home for work. Then beat a speedy retreat on your bike.

Walk the dog. The fact that you don’t have a dog would not have stopped my Nan. Borrow a dog, she’d say, find a stray, use your brother or sister, cut out a picture of a dog and glue to a stick or string…

Get Some Fresh Air. Broaden those horizons. Learn for yourself – as that runaway from the Midwest found out only after a day with the charming and challenging inhabitants of OZ – there is no place like home.

THE MAYONNAISE JAR AND COFFEE

from Bob Grand…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours
in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar… and the
coffee…

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in
front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very
large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf
balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it
was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar.

He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas
between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was
full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if
the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and
poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty
space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things. Your family, your children,
your faith, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions.
Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your
life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter.
Your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else. The
small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no
room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you
spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have
room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play
with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your
partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to
clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls
first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is
just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee
represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you
that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a
couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Life is the Coffee!

This was sent to my sister MaryLee…

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.  Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an
assortment of cups -porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup coffee in hand, the professor said:  “If you noticed, all the nice
looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.  What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups.  They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.  Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that has been provided us.”  God brews the coffee, not the cups.

Baby Steps are for babies! Take Giant Steps in 2008!

This year start a new year’s revolution! You’ve heard all the common sense. Start small, take baby steps, think about the long-term blah blah blah. Has this really worked for you? How many of those New Year’s resolution have been, well, resolved?

In a newly released survey of 1,012 Americans, only 45% of Americans now say they write up New Years Resolutions – that’s down from 88% of Americans who did so in the past.

According to the study, only 8% of Americans say they always achieve their New Year’s resolutions. The way it seems to work now, setting a New Year’s Resolution is a recipe for defeat!

So let’s challenge the way we always think… maybe the answers for success are there!

1. Bite off more than you can chew. That’s right. Take more than a mouthful. Let the abundance overwhelm you! Baby steps are boring and rarely get your adrenaline going! Most people think too small. Think big. Challenge yourself. Throw your hat over the fence and THEN figure out how you are going to get it.

And those who warn us NOT to take big bites just perpetuate the fear of failing. There are worse things than failing.

2. Sweat the small stuff. Details are important! For your revolution to work, your goals need to be well thought out and have real meaning. What are you committing to and why? Getting your blood pressure down or living long enough to take your grandchildren to Disney world? One is clearly more powerful than the other.

3. Go off the deep end. Get out of the shallow end of the pool – that’s for babies!
Most people don’t know how to truly set goals or don’t understand the value of a vision. A powerful vision must be beyond reach and within sight AND BIG.  Think about what you really and take it a giant step further. The bigger the vision the less likely you will be to quit when you hit an obstacle. A big vision lends itself to plenty of alternative strategies to get you where you want to be.

4. Get out of the wrong side of bed.
Who said it’s the wrong side of the bed (or sleep system as they are called today) anyway? Maybe its time to get out of the right-side-rut? Do something different. Shake it up! Stop thinking right and wrong, good or bad – start thinking cost and benefit. If what you are doing is not paying off do something else! Anything else. Dare to get out of the ‘wrong’ side of the bed!

Happy Birthday Jeffrey. Happy New Year everyone else.

My friend Jeffrey’s birthday coincides with the new year and we have rung it in together over the last few years. This January 1st I am allowing myself the sweet sadness of missing Jeffrey who now lives in Florida. He is one of those enigmatic people that never ceases to surprise. There are no presets, pigeonholes or personality types for my Jeffrey. He is just Jeffrey… a light in shining armor.

I met Jeffrey at the Freihofer’s Run For Women. No I wasn’t running yet. I was still quite overweight and a long way from considering my first 5k. I was merely there shopping with my friend Donna, visiting the vendors for gear. As we stood listening to the miraculous properties of this flexible ice pack a very tall man with a very sweet face started chatting with us first about the foundation he was there representing and then about everything else. I swear there were beams of light that pierce my soul and bounced back at him and we were now connected. Forever.

Ok so maybe that’s an exaggeration but not by much. We spoke of life. How it was short but wide. We talked of doing something you love trusting that the money would come. We wondered if somehow, someday we would overcome our core fear of not being able to care for ourselves.

We share common backgrounds although he is from the west coast and had spent 20 plus years in the Navy. I am an east coast girl having spent 20 years in politics. I am a life coach and he wanted to break free from the ‘job’ and work for himself training others physically and spiritually. We exchanged contact information and let go.

It would be months before we connected again. As coach and client we worked on manifesting his dream life. We explored what stood in the way… what fears needed to be re-examined, what action steps had to be taken. Success came swift and in an interesting way. Jeffrey came to the session several months into the coaching and said he had good news and bad. The good news? He was let go from his job. I congratulated him! The bad news? He could no longer afford the coaching. I hugged him…assuring him he was ready to go it alone at least for now.

And he was. Several months later he approached me with the concept of bartering for coaching and as it happen I was looking to run a marathon and Jeffrey has trained dozens of neophytes like myself. We had a deal. We had a mission. We had each other.

Jeffrey and his partner have become a part of my family – sharing holidays, beach trips, summer BBQs, Cranium and Monopoly marathons and of course birthdays. This year I have muddled through each of these events without Jeffrey. I still feel that soul piercing connection despite the distance.

So on the eve of his birthday I celebrate him. Thankful that his birth and mine put us on the earth plain at the same time… grateful to know him, blessed by his attention and love and looking forward to see him soon.

In Coffee and In Life…Less is More.

I just broke down and paid the 12 bucks.I know. I know. I could have gotten it for a fraction of the cost at some supermarket or, God -forbid, dollar store. But I couldn’t face another day with a scarcity-laden cup of Joe.

Yes. We’re talking coffee – you know the black-brown, bittersweet holy beverage of choice for the plant? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a coffee junkie. It is one of the very few things in life I do in moderation. No methadone-inspired coffee rehab for me – I’d rather drink a good cup of tea than a bogus cup of decaf. I mean, what’s the point of decaf? Without the buzz there’s just no kick, no jazz, no ha cha cha! Got to have the ha cha cha.

So what provoked this sudden outburst – this devil-may-care burst of abundance? What matter of insanity gripped me so tight that I set out credit card in hand to find a parking spot on Lark Street, to put on layers of wool, acrylic and nylon (does anyone else feel like we’re living inside a refrigerator only the light’s on most of the time?), and to march my short, agile legs up the stairs of the Daily Grind, slap the counter and say, “I want the blend of coffee served at Justin’s. You know, that medium bodied brew with a hint of cinnamon?”

And 12 bucks later and lighter, I descend the stairs to my car and drive straight home, head to the kitchen, run the cold water, scoop the earthy grind, and cook up a pot of this delicious stuff. In the quiet moments before granules turn to nectar, with only the ocean-like gurgles of the pot for music, I anticipate sitting, warm mug in hand, and enjoying the mixture of peace and punch that only coffee gives me.

And as I sit here with my green garage sale mug in hand, I realize that coffee and life share one truth – less is indeed more. I chose less of a fine coffee rather than lots of ordinary brews with little or no imagination. I can drink a lot of cheap coffee or two mugs of liquefied beans that provoke a fleeting and ancient memory of Columbia, Central America, Africa, or Hawaii.

As it is in life…with coffee as my everyday reminder, I chose less money (for now!) and more free time, less work and more play, less profit and more purpose. With coffee to sharpen my vision and focus I choose more fun, laughter, and chances to share such magical moments with my family and friends, my community and my God.

No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee’s frothy goodness.