Beatitudes of my life

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

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.

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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…

 

Random Acts of Kindness – a Challenge for all February 2, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Holidays,Parenting — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:03 am
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One of my favorite things in the world is seeing the look on someone’s face when something kind is done for them… with no expectation of anything in return.  It’s the way a harried mom looks when you return her grocery cart for her… it’s the smile that lights up someone’s eyes when you compliment them… it’s the happiness that registers, after the shock wears off, that someone has just done something purely for kindness’ sake.  It’s just so soul-uplifting.

I know there are many who actually make money suggesting ways for people to participate in Random Acts of Kindness.  There’s an official website (www.randomactsofkindness.org) and a group (RAOK.group) as well as countless links to help everyone be more kind to our fellow man.  I’d like to suggest a way for everyone to get in on the act this year.

It doesn’t take a lot of money… it doesn’t take a great deal of time… and it doesn’t take much imagination or skill… it just takes the desire to step out of your comfort zone for a few seconds and be brave enough to approach another person to hand them a Valentine and wish them a happy day.  Yes, I’m suggesting that everyone take a moment on Valentine’s Day to give a Valentine to someone you don’t know. A Random Act of Valentine-ing, if you will.

A manager from Starbucks did this for me about 8 years ago and it inspired me to continue his wonderful idea ever since.  It really IS simple.  Each year, after Valentine’s Day, I purchase a few boxes of goofy, childish, silly Valentines and put them away for the following year.  A few days prior, I choose the box I’ll use that year and label every single card, “To YOU, From Me” and fold them up.  On February 14th, I really don’t plan anything special.  I go about my normal day traveling to the grocery, the drug store, the bank… anywhere I’d typically go on that day.  The only difference is that I look for people to whom I can hand a Valentine.  It might be that older person who seems a little sad… it might be the greeter at WalMart… it might be the cashiers I meet or the people stocking shelves… it might just be someone who doesn’t seem to be having a good day.   Look each person in the eye and simply say, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” as you hand them a card.  You may never know how this simple act will affect the other person, but you’ll be astounded at just how wonderful it makes you feel.

Everyone deserves to have a Valentine’s Card to make them feel special.  Who knows if your moment with them will be their only bright spot on an otherwise dreary and lonely day.  The ripple effect of this small, simple, yet incredibly kind gesture might never be known to you, but I was blessed last year to find that my younger son had been watching me and used this idea as the basis for one of his admissions essays.  Please indulge a proud mama by reading his essay below:

Mankind is not perfect. We constantly instigate warfare, hatred, and discrimination against our own people. However, despite the evils that plague our planet, fundamental kindness still conquers evil. Humans are capable of showing an immense amount of kindness for their brethren. This kindness is defined as an act of compassion without expecting personal benefit. Every day, people commit to making others just a little happier through small favors, held open doors, and a handful of pocket change in an empty cup. The purest of all the random acts of kindness, however, is an anonymous one. Therefore, to represent the human race I would choose an anonymous valentine.

Every year on Valentine’s Day, my mother buys a box of cheap valentines and writes “To: You, From: Me” on them. She then hands them out to anyone she sees simply to brighten his or her day. She realizes that her flimsy piece of cardboard may be the only loving gesture that many people get on a day meant to celebrate one another, so she never misses a year. She just wants to make sure everyone has a chance to feel loved. To me, this represents mankind’s incredible power to care for others without personal gain.

Humans have endured century upon century of torment. Natural disasters have ravaged our lands and disease has killed our families. Guns have found their way into our hands and our minds have been poisoned with intentions of murder. However, in spite of these increasingly difficult times, we continue to function together as a family and be kind to our fellow man. We hold our heads high, looking past all of the negatives, and we still strive for a better future. We hoard our valentines from the people dearest to us, and from the people that we don’t even know, to remind us that we all deserve to be loved.

It is hard to overlook the hardships that we humans go through when finding something to embody mankind. However, I have seen the effects of an anonymous valentine firsthand. The smiles on strangers’ faces, the friends my mother makes, and the hope she gives to people all restore my faith that at its core, mankind is compassionate and kind.  – EBA 2/11

That “Ripple Effect”?  It can be pretty awesome when it comes back to you.

As we approach Valentine’s Day this year, let’s not just try and shower our loved ones with chocolates and presents.  These are wonderful, but let’s all try and share a little bit of happiness with the world around us.  Buy a box of Valentines, like you got in grade school… sign each one “To YOU, From Me”… and hand them out on Valentine’s Day to everyone in whom you come in contact.  It just may make this special day one of the best you’ve ever had.

Random Acts of Kindness in the form of an anonymous Valentine… how easy, yet how monumental…

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

 

Where is “The Golden Rule” today? January 19, 2012

Filed under: Life Balance,Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:35 am
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I remember being taught The Golden Rule when I was a child.  You know… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  The rule that parents brought out any time you did something mean or rotten to someone else?  The rule that teachers hung on the bulletin boards that decorated the classroom?  The one rule that we were all supposed to live by?  Where is The Golden Rule in today’s society?

I know that it seems as if there is a new Golden Rule that has superimposed the old one… the idea that you must “do unto others before they can do it unto you”… but that’s just something I find totally abhorrent.   If we could all live as simply as following the Golden Rule, don’t you think the world would be a nicer place?

Think about it… you see a woman struggling to put her groceries in the car while keeping her infant from trying to escape the cart seat.  Would it be so difficult to take a moment and offer to help put the items in her car so she can concentrate on her child?  What about the man in the line at Starbucks who seems so impatient and frustrated with the two-person wait for his coffee order.  Would it really ruin your day to ask if he wants to go ahead of you?  Is it too hard to wait a moment and hold the door open for another person… pick up a dropped item… ask if they need help… smile at another human being?

I know there will always be those who refuse offers of help… who have been kicked around by the other Golden Rule.  My theory, though not scientific in the least, is that those are the people who will eventually come around to looking for the good in people instead of expecting the bad.  If you kick a dog enough times, he’s going to flinch if you start to make the motion toward him.  People aren’t so different… if they’re treated badly by society, they look for the bad before being able to see the good.  Maybe if we all start trying to show one another the good instead of the bad, we can create a world where The Golden Rule is the norm again and not  the exception.

“What Would Jesus Do” was really popular a few years ago and was viewed (for lack of a better term) as the “new hotness”.  Bumper stickers, wrist bands, signs, slogans, all asking us to stop and think about what Jesus might do in any given situation… but isn’t that really just the Golden Rule?  Jesus had two main commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. We’re commanded to love God, but we’re also commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.  That second part?  Isn’t that another way of following The Golden Rule?   As Christians, we can talk WWJD all we want, but doesn’t it all come down to “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

I ask, dear reader, that you think about this over the coming weeks.  Before you just let that door slam in someone’s face… before you laugh at the unfortunate person who just dropped their purchases on the floor… before you ignore that plea of help in someone’s eyes as they’re trying their best to make it through the day.  Not just “What Would Jesus Do”, but what would you want someone to do for you?

You might find that it feels pretty amazing to treat others with the respect and appreciation that you’d want in the same situation.   To compliment someone can brighten their day in ways you’ll never know.  To simply smile at a person can lift their spirits and make their day.

In my humble opinion, The Golden Rule shouldn’t be questioned.  It should be the way we all conduct the business of our lives.   Wouldn’t that just make your day?

 

 
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