Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coming Soon - Life Tunes 6!

This final installment of my little mini series known as "Life Tunes" is late, but still hopefully very timely for you all!

My suggested topic for our last installment is your favorite Christmas/Holiday song. Your own favorite may be anywhere in the range from Christmas hymns like "Silent Night" or "Away in a Manger" to secular pop titles like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" or "Frosty The Snowman".  There are so many choices!

So pick a song that speaks to you, has a special meaning in your family, or just gives you the warm fuzzies during this season. Then create a layout or a blog post to document your choice. Come back on Friday, December 5th, when I'll be here posting my layout about this song:

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Weeks 46 and 47

For those of you who are my facebook friends, this is yesterday's news... but if you don't happen to be on facebook, let me catch you up with my life....

November has gone by in a blur of pain, starting with back pain, for which I began chiropractic treatment, but was finding absolutely no relief.  Then, on Saturday November 14, I was admitted to the hospital, via the Emergency Room, with some of the worst back and belly pain ever. Morphine became my new best friend. It was a kidney stone. With no improvement in pain levels (absent the meds) by Monday, a decision was made to proceed with surgery. Really it is a procedure, no cutting involved, called a ureteroscopy and the use of a laser to break up the stone (which was too large and too high up to pass on its own) into tiny fragments which can then pass on their own. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. Surgery was 2 p.m. on Monday and I was back in my room by 5:30 or so. And discharged home on Tuesday morning. I spent the remainder of last week going through the basic motions of living while still in a lot of pain.  Friday I had the stent (the worst part of the entire ordeal) removed.

Today is the first day I have felt almost human again. And I am so incredibly grateful. For the excellent medical facilities, for all the nurses who took such good care of me, for a relatively quick diagnosis and resolution, for the fact that I am home and able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family - and all my girls are home too!

So I came to my blog feed to catch up on things and with over 200 unread posts, I had to declare amnesty. I have read or skimmed most of your news, but commented on very few things. Please forgive me. I hope to do better as I feel better!  It is also time to catch up with my Kindness Challenge blog posts. Having missed last Monday, I have two today. So I opened my calendar in which I had laid out suggested topics for the year... and what do I have written down for Week 46, for the very Monday I was in surgery?


Surely you have to see the humor in that? I laughed out loud when I read it. I had never considered the possibility that I would be one myself!  But having been there, let me just suggest this... if you hear of a friend or relative who is feeling poorly or in the hospital, reach out! Phone, text, visit, whatever. Plan to keep your outreach short - people in pain tend to tire very easily. But the contact I had while in the hospital, in the form of flowers, phone calls, text messages, Facebook comments, really did help me to feel better. To know that I wasn't alone. To know that people were thinking of me, praying for me, and wishing me well. I am SO GRATEFUL!

Which brings me to today. To Week 47 of the Kindness Challenge. And this week, being Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., my challenge to you is to EXPRESS GRATITUDE.  Think about all the things you have to be grateful for and express it! Say it in a blog post, say it in a scrapbook layout, tell the people you love how grateful you are to have them in your lives... however you wish to go about it is fine, but make this week the time to acknowledge all that is right and good and beautiful in your world!

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Year Of Kindness - Challenge Week 45

Thanksgiving is a mere two and a half weeks away here in the United States. It is at this time of year (well, not JUST at this time of year, but at this time particularly) that we pause to think of all we have to be grateful for... a roof over our heads, food on our table, clean water, clothing, warmth, companionship... all of our basic needs met, and we stop to consider those less fortunate than ourselves.

With that in mind, the challenge for Week 45, as you plan your Thanksgiving feast, buy a few extras to DONATE TO A FOOD PANTRY so that others may also enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I urge you to consider making a donation for those who are otherwise going hungry in your part of the world. Just google "food bank" along with your general region - appears they are all over the world!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Weeks 43 & 44

Did you notice that Challenge Week 43 came and went without a peep from me? Well, here's the thing. I was busy being kind to ME. Seems I have hurt my back again and was unable to sit at the computer for any length of time and unable to concentrate... so I gave myself... and all of you... a pass week. A week to be kind to yourselves and concentrate on things that were more immediate to your own lives. Hope you enjoyed it!

This week I'm back. Not 100%, but I'm trying for the sake of living out my promise to keep this going for a year.

And here's the challenge for this week:  GIVE MEANINGFUL GIFTS. 

I have no doubt that I am once again preaching to the choir, but I'm going to say it anyway. Christmas is coming. And as you start thinking about what gifts you are going to give this year, practice kindness by thinking honestly about the recipient. What type of gift will truly bring them joy?

For example, you have on your list the person who has everything they really want... or who is actively trying to remove "clutter" from their lives. Buying this person another tie, scarf, or ornamental figurine might allow you to check them off your list... but is that being kind to them? Instead, think about experiences as a gift - how about tickets to the movies, a play, a sporting event? How about a class for a skill they have been wanting to learn?   Or let's suppose you have an avid collector on your list... who collects [fill in the blank]. I'm going to say owls. So instead of another dust-catching but otherwise useless owl figurine, how about making this person something useful with an owl motif? Maybe decorate the cover of an inexpensive journal with owls? Or knit/crochet a scarf with an owl motif in the pattern?  You get the idea.  Give the gift of experiences, of useful items, of hand-made with love, of yourself.

And obviously I'm not expecting this one to be fulfilled within the week. It is just something to keep in mind as you begin your holiday shopping.