Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

The Benefit of Compliments August 18, 2015

Filed under: Communication,Life Balance,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 12:58 pm
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Have you ever been at the store and someone, totally out of the blue, pays you a compliment?  I’m sure we’ve all been in this situation… and doesn’t it just put a lovely positive spin on the rest of your day?  I was on the receiving end of a compliment this weekend and it’s been playing on “repeat” in my head ever since… which means to me it’s something worth discussing.

There are so many benefits to offering someone a compliment.  Every day, we have the opportunity to have a positive impact on the people with whom we come in contact.  It doesn’t have to be something astounding, like “Wow, you look like you’ve lost a lot of weight since I saw you last!” or “You look 10 years younger with that new haircut!”, to have a huge impact on another person’s day.  Complimenting someone, especially someone you don’t know, on the color of their shirt or even their choice in a specific purchase can boost another’s confidence in such a unique way.  

While it’s not necessarily fair, comments (positive or negative) from random people can sometimes carry a little more weight simply because we see them as being more unbiased than those coming from people who are familiar with us.  Our friends see us on a regular basis… they get used to what we typically wear or how we tend to look.   Our loved ones want to see the best in us… just as we always want to present our best selves to them. Seeing ourselves through “fresh eyes” can provide a new prospective which can really lift a person’s mood. 

The other benefit of a compliment, especially for a woman, is when that compliment comes from another woman.  Instead of trying to tear each other down, what would happen if we tried to build one another up when we have the opportunity?  While this may seem totally out of whack, I stand by the idea that a positive compliment, no matter how insignificant or random it may seem, will have a positive outcome for the other person.  

Does it really take much out of our day to look for the good in another person and pay them a compliment?    It may be the only kind thing that person hears all day… it may be the only positive thing that person experiences all day… and it didn’t cost you a single cent.  Paying someone a compliment is simply sharing “The Golden Rule” with another human being.  Treat others as you, yourself, would like to be treated.  A kind word, a helpful gesture, a simple compliment… they can each go a long way toward making this world a much more loving place in which to live.

I think a positive compliment trumps a negative comment in any situation… don’t you?


Thoughts on Letting Go… December 4, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Friends,Moving,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 3:04 pm
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I’ve never been very good at “letting go”… of things or of people.  Letting go always seemed to be a version of giving up or giving in, and *that* never sat well with me.  I never thought of myself as a quitter, so why should I willingly let go of something or someone in my life?  I don’t think my thought process changed much until this particular move from RVA to Maryland.  letting-go1

I’m starting to accept that there are times when letting go is actually the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.   Spending countless hours trying to figure out what I can do to maintain friendships with people who don’t seem as concerned seems akin to pounding ones’ head against the wall and then wondering why I have a headache.  I believe that friendship isn’t a one-way street.  It is a living and breathing organism that needs to be fed, on a regular basis, in order to maintain any sort of viability.  The most interesting thing that I am learning about friendship is that some are actually able to withstand less “feeding” than others. It seems that some friendships, especially those with whom you have experienced tremendous growth, seem to continue to thrive even with little to no contact… but only if that growth was experienced by both/all parties involved.

That being said, I’m coming to realize that those people who truly want to be a part of my life will always remain a part of my life.  It’s not a question of letting them go or not caring any longer… those people who remain in my life, in any sort of capacity, are those who actually desire to be a part of my life.  These are the friendships that are meant to be nurtured and fed, in whatever degree most comfortable to both.  Some people find it more comfortable to remain on the fringes, playing games on Facebook and occasionally posting a message or offering a prayer regarding the sale of our home.  Others seem to have made the choice to use the “opportunity” of my move to allow a friendship to pass away, whether by choice or because of distance. While I don’t know that I’ll ever be good at “letting go” of a friendship, I have to learn how to be okay with someone’s choice to do so.  After all, isn’t that what friendship is all about…  wanting the best for the other person, as well as for yourself?

As the posted quote says, “Letting go does not mean you stop caring.  It means you stop trying to force others to…”  I really want to learn not to force others to care about a friendship.  While I will give myself permission to mourn that particular loss, but I will not allow that permission to stop me from moving on and letting go.

So, to those of you who have remained a part of my life through our move these past few months, I say a very heartfelt “Thank you”.  Each message, prayer, or gesture, no matter the size, has been appreciated more than I can ever put into words.  There’s nothing like a friend who actually refuses to leave your side, especially when the parameters of the original friendship are tested.  On the flip side, I plan to work harder to be okay allowing other friends to move on with their own lives.  Letting go works both ways and recognizing that can be painfully bittersweet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to nurture the friendships that are important, but let go of those that aren’t lifting up our souls.   Letting go doesn’t have to be a bad thing… ultimately, I believe that we’ll all be healthier and happier if we surround ourselves with friends who truly care about us.

Wishing each of you the friendships that brighten your day and lighten your soul…especially during this Holiday season.


Moving is hard October 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 12:03 pm
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This might be one of the more un-original titles I’ve ever used, but I thought it should be said… moving is hard.  It’s hard on the people leaving and it’s hard on those left behind.  We’ve done this a few times in our married life, but this time seemed especially poignant in that we had lived in RVA for 13 years – almost four times longer than we’d lived anywhere else.  It’s getting easier (although it will seem far more permanent once the house sells in VA) but there are definitely challenges at each turn of the calendar.

We first moved into temporary housing.  This was an interesting transition because of it’s very nature… it was temporary.  We knew we weren’t going to purchase a home near that residence, so learning the area was helpful but a bit of an effort in futility. Why spend the time getting to know people when our lives most likely wouldn’t intersect in any reasonable or foreseeable fashion after we found the home we wanted to purchase?  The apartment we were assigned was in a nice area, but not as easy to navigate (see my previous post entitled My Little Red Wagon) but we made the best of the entire situation. My 50th birthday came and went… Easter wasn’t celebrated the same… my summer didn’t focus on getting kids to and from activities.  Life was changing and I needed to change with it… and so I did.

free-moving-announcement-front-chocOnce we found the home we wanted to purchase, my focus became a little simpler. My goal now was to find businesses in the new area where I might find things like doctors, hair stylists, shopping, and other amenities that would make our transition successful.  I found a nail salon where I felt comfortable… M helped me find someone to cut my hair (which was getting unruly after 17 weeks)… I had my first eye doctor appointment… and I found a part-time job at a local winery.  All these things helped make our move flow a bit smoother, but the most challenging part is finding friends.

After living in one place for much of my boys’ childhood, I had collected an amazing assortment of people in my life.  There were some who could meet me for lunch, some who could be counted on to help with car pool or share frustrations with kids’ activities, some who knew me from my job at the local winery, some who knew me from church, and still others who simply knew me as someone they saw around town.  No matter where I had found these people, each one held a special place in my heart and in my life.  Thinking about it now, I realize that one of the most important things about these people is that I never, ever, felt alone.  I knew, with confidence, that I had people who lived nearby who would be present for me if I needed something.  That something could be as easy as a smile from the check-out clerk at the local grocery store or as involved as a shoulder to help work through a difficult situation…either way, I had created my very own village within the world around me.  I believe that has been the hardest part of moving… I had to leave my village behind.

Don’t get me wrong… I am very happy with our move.  We have found a place in a small town that is becoming more and more wonderfully familiar as I go about my daily life.  I adore my job at the winery and thoroughly enjoy getting to know our neighbors.  I am starting to create my new village, but it’s going to take some time.  I don’t have any history with people here, so it will be a process of letting people in and learning who to trust.  Making friends will be more of a challenge without the immediate connection of children and their activities, but I have faith that we will come to love this new life of ours.

In the meantime, you can find us at our new address in Forest Hill, Maryland.  You can reach me on most any Social Media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest – most under AliSportShots) or you can follow my wine recipe blog on Facebook (From the Bottom of a Wine Bottle).  I may have moved, but I’ve not gone away.

Moving may be hard, but it would be harder if I wasn’t able to keep in touch with friends.  Thank you to all of you who have made an effort to keep in touch with me throughout this move.  We kept our VA home and (my) cell numbers for that very reason… so people could find us.

Thanks so much for reminding me that friendship doesn’t revolve solely around who lives closest to us… it revolves around who lives in our hearts.  Moving is hard, but true friends make everything better…


A quick “frustration” post August 27, 2014

Filed under: Moving,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 7:00 pm

We have been dealing with real estate agents over the past five months and if I find that there has been one glaring frustration that absolutely makes me burn… it’s the lack of feedback regarding showings by the agents. Has anyone else experienced this problem?  It’s so frustrating not to know “why/why not” when there’s a showing.  Is it *that* difficult to reply and give owners some sort of answer if it’s just not the right home for someone?

Our house went on the market in April. Our agent has held many Open House events and texts me anytime an agent sets up a showing. We get feedback from her, which is extremely helpful since we now live three hours away and are unable to get back to do anything to assist with the sale of our home, but there are times when things still fall through the cracks.  We do our best to keep in contact with people in the area with regards to the look of the house, but without physically being there, it’s just another point of contention if something needs to be vacuumed or cleaned or “freshened up” and we don’t know.

As of today, we’ve had 50+ official showings of our home in VA.  The only bits of feedback we get comes in the form of things that cannot be changed, mainly that our backyard is “too small” or “not private enough”.  We’ve painted, we’ve repaired, and we’ve gone so far as to find a friend who would bury the figurine of a saint in “the appropriate spot” so the house will sell.  Unfortunately, that has not happened yet and I find myself stuck.  I’m stuck trying to move on in our new life while still having a root left in the old one.  While I believe that this move has been destined for us, I’m not sure how to manage the part over which I have no control… so I cook, or bake, or clean (laughably, but yet I attempt).

I am grateful for all the prayers that are being said for the sale of our home.  It’s an amazing house and will be a fabulous home for someone… first floor master suite, three large bedrooms upstairs, lots of windows and extras, huge two+-car garage, wonderful kitchen and great “open concept” flow to the house. Want to see it? Here’s the link on Trulia.  How could someone *not* want to buy it?

As my friend Joyce said, “I wish I could twitch my nose, like in Bewitched, and have it happen now”.  From her lips to God’s ears… may the right buyer come along and recognize this place for what it is… the right place for them.




Sharing Our Family’s History June 6, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Life Balance,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 3:59 pm
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My beloved Aunt & Godmother recently moved out of her family home and has bestowed an amazing gift upon me and my cousins… she asked us to go through her home, before they clear it out to sell, and select things that we wanted to keep.  We were told to choose things that we could use… that might remind us of her or of our childhood… and take them with us.  I expected it to be really sad to walk into her home, especially after many of the larger pieces were gone before I ever got there.  Due to a FamilyHistoryscheduling conflict, I was unable to be there when my cousins were there, so my husband and I went up the following weekend.

It was a really emotional experience.  Everywhere we looked, there were family photos or pieces of artwork that my aunt had painted.  We chose the mantel clock that had once belonged to my grandmother and knew it would fit our new home’s mantel perfectly. We found a barn painting in the attic that my aunt painted long ago that will look wonderful in our dining room.  The living room mantel painting is one that my son wants for his new apartment, along with a vacuum cleaner that will last him a lifetime.  The beautiful chair we selected will have a new home in our living room as the completion of my writing desk.  Even the fish… my aunt caught it on a fishing trip to the keys and no one wanted to keep it, so I think I’ll use it as a decoration in a guest room.  Makes the idea of redecorating even more exciting when it means incorporating pieces of family history into the mix.

The short journey into my childhood was bittersweet.  When my parents divorced, I was only 10, so my view of “the truth” was severely skewed.  As much as I would love to think that one person or the other was at fault, it’s not for me to say with any degree of knowledge or certainty.  There’s enough blame to pass around for decades but  I can commiserate with both “sides” of the situation and cannot imagine the pain that was shared throughout the entire family. Nevertheless, I will always be grateful for every part of my childhood… I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.Family Tree poem

My Godmother’s home was always special to me.  I have sweet memories of playing on the swing-set in her backyard… of family Christmas celebrations throughout the years… of meals shared around all the tables in her house… and of always finding comfort and safety within the walls of her home.   While I will miss the bricks and mortar of the building from which these items came, I will now always have pieces from various rooms throughout that special place that will evoke positive memories of days gone by. I have been blessed with a loving, caring, gregarious, and generous family… I couldn’t have asked for any better way to grow up.

Our family tree may be changing, as all trees must, but I cannot imagine my own without being grateful for every branch… every leaf… every root.  Our personal history is what makes each of us special and unique.  We learn and we acclimate, we aim and we adjust. We must, as we become the adult generation, remember to tell the stories and share the memories so that the family history isn’t lost.  That the children of my children will always know just who caught that odd looking fish in my home… they’ll know that the mantel clock once belonged to their great-great grandmother… and hopefully, some day, they’ll appreciate the care and love that has been lavished upon a family to which they belong.

It’s in their blood…. they’ll understand…


Developing an Attitude of Gratitude May 27, 2014

Simple things… they are the things that make everything in life so much sweeter.   Recognizing these morsels of sweetness can be both difficult and rewarding, but being grateful for each one is even more important.  It’s the idea of developing an Attitude of Gratitude that can be your individual key to happiness.

Think about a time when you were given some bad news.  Maybe it had to do with a medical diagnosis you didn’t expect to hear.  Did you face it head-on or did you bury your head in the sand?  Did you work to think about all the positive things that are possible or did you dwell on what you may eventually lose?  Did you turn to God for His divine support or did you close yourself off and try to handle everything on your own?  Your reaction, and ultimately your attitude, is a choice… it’s one that you’ll make daily in both large and small ways, but understand that it is a choice.  You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be miserable.  This is where I believe that an attitude of gratitude comes into play.grateful1

It’s not easy to be grateful for everything in your life, but your life will be infinitely better if you are grateful… for everything.  I love this blog post in Psychology Today that talks about how developing a habit of gratitude can lead to happiness.  I had never read this blog posting before, but I have uses their suggested technique many times over the years.  Each time, there’s been a large event (medical diagnosis, move, etc) that has precipitated my need to focus on the positive aspects of my life… and each time, this plan has helped me turn my mental focus into something more productive.

The idea is simple… which is why it works so incredibly well.  Each night, before you lay head to pillow, take a piece of paper and write down three things for which you are grateful.  I’m not suggesting that you write a paragraph about your day and how things went… that’s not the reason for this exercise.  Your list can be as short and concise as the following:

  1. Got dressed before 10AM
  2. Ate lunch
  3. Talked/texted with my sister

Nothing exciting or overly thrilling, but these three small things help you recognize that there were some positive aspects to your day.  If I were to write a list from yesterday, it would look like this:

  1. Spent time with my cousins
  2. Spent time with my entire family (both boys included)
  3. Made a really cool dessert that M suggested and everyone loved

Nothing earth-shattering, but it reminds me that I now live in MD, so we’re close enough to be able to do this more often than we have in the past.   It’s the simple aspect of spending time with family that sweetens my day and allows me to appreciate those moments even more than I might have otherwise.

I also want to add this short vine of a llama jumping across the field. Each time I see it, it makes me laugh and that can easily be one of those things for your journal. This animal is simply hopping across the pen, but listening to the music that’s been added can make just about anyone laugh hysterically.  It’s something totally unexpected and incongruent with your expectations of this animal… and it makes you grateful for the person who thought of putting these two things together.  See?  Two of your “three things” for the day done in less than one minute…. Bam!

Don’t wait until you have “the perfect notebook” or “the perfect pen” before you start a journal of gratitude.  Your attitude and your outlook is more important than the paper upon which you will write. It’s the physical act of putting pen to paper, coupled with the mental exercise of focusing on the positive, that’s most important.  Promise yourself that you’ll commit to writing in your journal every night for a month before you reevaluate this project. Developing an attitude of gratitude is not something that happens overnight… it happens over time.

I wish you a more positive tomorrow and a brighter outlook for your future.


Carry The Load – #whoareyoucarrying May 17, 2014

It’s almost Memorial Day…. a day that was created to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This day was originally intended to be celebrated with accolades for those who made it home safely while remembering those who will only make it home in our memories.  Sadly, its history can be as confusing and confounded as the way it is celebrated each year, especially if you try finding out any basic, decisive information via Wikipedia by clicking this link.

I feel that there is a big question we should be asking ourselves these days.  “Is this how our children willCTL-LOGO-W-TAG remember Memorial Day?”  Is this how we *should* remember Memorial Day today?  If your answer isn’t something even remotely patriotic, what are we doing to change that fact?

I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. I remember celebrating Memorial Day by marching in our local parade; first with my elementary classes, then the Girl Scouts and later with our middle school marching band. For what seemed like “hours in the hot sun”, we would follow the parade route down the center of town before ending at the local cemetery where we would lay flowers on the graves of local fallen soldiers. It was a solemn day… but one that would end with baseball and fireworks at the local rec park.

It wasn’t as if we didn’t know *why* we were marching on this day. We discussed Memorial Day in school for weeks beforehand to learn just how important this day was to the history of our country. What I can’t remember now is, “when did we stop”? When did we, as a town, decide not to continue to celebrate Memorial Day in a way that would honor our veterans? When did we, as a country, turn Memorial Day into a day of “burgers and beer” instead of one in which we visibly appreciate the sacrifice of the fallen? When did we, as a people, stop being grateful for the service of every man and woman in uniform?

I have to say that I am a huge “America” geek. I get teary when we sing the National Anthem before a sporting event. I get choked up anytime I see a video of service member being welcomed home. I love holidays that celebrate our great country and all that it represents. I may be a huge wimp when it comes to fireworks, but the pomp and circumstance of it all? Thanking our military for standing in harms way? Honoring every single man and woman who has ever willingly chosen to defend our freedom? I’m ALL for it… believe we don’t do enough of it… and am praying that we start recognizing the need to do *something* before it’s too late.

Carry The Load is a non-profit organization focused on restoring the true meaning of Memorial Day by remembering and honoring America’s heroes. They conduct events which raise money to support existing non-profit organizations which benefit police officers, fire fighters, veterans, and active-duty military and their families. They are walking… picking up their packs and literally walking… speaking along the way to anyone who will listen… as they make their slow, deliberate journey from West Point, NY to Dallas, TX, just in time to hold a 20-hour Memorial March which will culminate in what is sure to be an incredible closing ceremony on Monday, May 26, at 12:30PM. If there is a chance for you, dear reader, to be in Dallas for Memorial Day, I would most heartily suggest you do anything you can to attend this event.

I stumbled upon it too late this year to really *do* much to help. Flipping through my FB newsfeed, the back story of Clint Bruce and how he came to create such a worthy organization spoke volumes to me. This organization was created in such an organic way that I couldn’t ignore that small voice inside that pushed me to reach out to Clint and find out if/how I could help.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to learn about Carry The Load, please consider doing something over the coming year to help change the face of Memorial Day… if not for this year, then for next year and the next and the next, until Memorial Day once again means something more than a day off work.

We should never forget all that others have given to protect and defend our way of life.  We should appreciate all the blessings of our life and look for ways to give back to our neighborhoods, our communities, and our world.  We should remember… and in remembering… we should be thankful.

May we all find ways to be genuinely thankful this Memorial Day.  For if we are free, then we have been blessed by the blood of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

To all who serve, we thank you.  To those who gave all, we honor you.  #whoareyoucarrying



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