Sunday, December 29, 2013

Keeping In Touch

When I was a child, I remember the excitement in my mother's eyes when she saw "The Round Robin" had arrived in the mail.  Now keep in mind, when I was a child, there was no email, no cell phones, no text messaging, and heaven forbid, no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  And in those days, people saved long distance phone calls for only special occasions or emergencies.

The Round Robin was a series of letters written by the cousins.  You wrote your letter, put it in the packet and sent it on to the next person on the list.  My mother had a lot of cousins.  I think there were upwards of 30+.  Each letter included what was going on in the immediate family, perhaps a recipe or two (from the female cousins anyway), a good Norske joke, and pictures.  It was a bit like a long distance family reunion.

Fast forward from the early 1960s to present day.  My mother, and I would guess most of her cousins, have made their transitions.  I'm lucky if I know the names of any of my second cousins on that side of the family, much less anything about them or their families.  They all lived back in Wisconsin, and we lived in Washington.  Hell, I hardly keep in touch with my first cousins, and they live in California.

The other day, I was posting on my Facebook page, and pondering if Christmas Cards had gone the way of The Round Robin (well not in those words, but you get my drift).  I used to love looking through the cards my parents had received.  They had a wide circle of friends, not only in our local area, but they kept in touch with classmates from elementary school, college friends, medical school classmates, and people they served with during World War II.  When I got married, I continued on the tradition.  I didn't have the scope of friends that my folks did, but I had a fair number of people that I kept in touch with.  I had aunts and uncles, cousins (first, second and all those ones considered "removed" - hopefully you have an bit of an understanding of genealogy so you know about which I speak), friends, work friends (past and present).  Eventually my list got pared down.  I had kids.  I had full time jobs.  I was busy.  When long distance calls got bundled into the monthly phone bill, when cell phones became popular, and when soon most everyone had email, we all kept in touch more frequently that just through Christmas Cards.  Next came smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Now you could keep in touch with so many people with just one post.  Who needed a Christmas Card, or heaven forbid, the "Family Christmas Letter"?

Hey - well - I do!  I miss them.  I miss the personalization you can put in a note to someone.  And of course, as it goes, while I was bitching about all this, I got sick (nothing serious, just annoying) before Christmas, and I didn't get many cards sent.  And frankly, I was tired of always sending out cards, and not getting any back.  This thought has been niggling away at me for the last few weeks.

This morning, I was laying in bed and came to the conclusion I just wasn't going to send out cards anymore.  I wasn't going to get my panties in a wad because I sent out cards and didn't get anything back.  Done.  Decided.  Finished.

Or so I thought.  That wee small voice in my head chose that moment to say "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."

Well, crap.  I guess I can't expect others to write to me if I haven't written to them, can I?  And is it really about who writes first, or most often?  Okay, okay, okay…..my ego says yes, but deep down I know better.  Maybe it is an issue of expense, when people don't respond.  Cards and postage are cheap.  Maybe it is a time thing.  Lordy, I know what it is to be busy and just not have the time to pee, much less write Christmas cards.  I get it.  What if my card gave its recipient an excuse to take a break, and have a little laugh at the exploits of my grandsons (who, by the way, are hilarious!).  What if I focused on the joy I could possibly bring to someone's day, just by writing a card.  Hmmmm.  Something to think about.

Perhaps for 2014, I'll get my cards now, and start sending them in July.  That way people, most of whom are very busy around the holidays, may have time to respond.  Maybe a Christmas Card in July will make them smile.  That, after all, is my goal.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving - Another Viewpoint

This year, I have noticed a number of posts on Facebook, denouncing stores that are open on Thanksgiving, and boycotting them for the rest of the year or beyond. While I doubt I will be shopping on Thanksgiving Day (or Black Friday for that matter), I do want to share a different viewpoint.

My dad was a doctor.  For most of the 1950s, he was the only internist in our area that provided services at our small local hospital.  He was always on call.  As other doctors moved into our area in the 1960s, they were able to share call schedules.  Maybe once every three years, we were able to celebrate a holiday without having to be concerned that he would be called away for a hospital emergency.  So growing up, we rarely celebrated Thanksgiving on the traditional fourth Thursday in November.  We didn't always get to celebrate Christmas on the 24th or 25th.  It's just the way it was.

When my sister and I grew up, got married and had families of our own, my mom chose to always celebrate the holidays on the day (or weekend) after the traditional date.  She did that so we didn't have to chose which family to be with.  She told us it was not the specific day on the calendar that mattered, but it was the intention of celebrating with family and friends at some point.  Even more to the point, it was important to be thankful every day of the year, not just on that fourth Thursday in November.

And of course, there are services that have to stay open, regardless of what day it is.  Hospitals, Fire Departments, Police Departments, PUD services.  We don't boycott those offices/services. Often their employees have to celebrate on another day, or perhaps at inconvenient times.

And what about restaurant employees?  Airline pilots and flight attendants?  Bus drivers? Gas station employees?  The baristas at your favorite coffee stand?  I am grateful some of them are working on holidays.  I'm sure at some point over the years, I've used their services/businesses on a holiday. I won't boycott those businesses.

And then there are the stores that choose to open for the day.  Some grocery stores are open at 7 am and close early so their employees can get home to celebrate.  As prepared as I try to be for company and dinner on any holiday, I am often jumping in the car and running to pick up that quart of milk, package of rolls, pound of butter, or something else I forgot to get or ran out of unexpectedly.  I am so grateful those grocery stores are open.  I am grateful to the employees for working.  And I hope the employees are rewarded with time and a half or double time pay.

I've spoken with people who work for big companies who volunteer to work on holidays.  Their holiday pay means they can more easily afford gifts at Christmas or whatever is needed that their budget does not allow.

On a personal note, my step-son works for a casino.  He often volunteers to work on the holidays so that people with families can have the day off.  I know his customers appreciate his working….his tips on holidays definitely are plentiful!

In most of these cases, people don't forego a Thanksgiving celebration if they have to or chose to work.  The celebrate on a different day.

Also keep in mind that the great deals that are offered by those big stores that choose to open at 7pm, 9pm, or even midnight are very much appreciated by shoppers trying to make their dollars stretch.

Whether or not you chose to shop on Thanksgiving (in person or on-line or over the phone - remember there are people working to take those orders too) is up to you.  I hope I won't be shopping because I'd rather spend the time with my grandkids…and shopping is not on their list of a fun way to spend the day, unless of course you are talking ToysRUs and buying whatever suits their fancies at the moment.  But I will NOT be boycotting the companies that choose to stay open.  If I've learned anything over the years, it is not to judge anyone's actions other than my own.  What I will do is say a prayer for everyone who has to work on Thanksgiving.  I pray their employer's appreciate them and reward them for their service.  I pray the customers that the employees deal with are pleasant, complimentary and polite.  I pray for everyone's happiness.

Wishing you all a very blessed Thanksgiving, whether you are shopping, eating, watching football, enjoying family and friends, playing a competitive game of pinochle, or whatever it may be!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Florence Scovel Shinn Quotes - A Few Gems

From Florence Scovel Shinn's The Power Of The Spoken Word - a few gems from the Chapter entitled Your Big Opportunity:

(In regard to the power of affirmations) "Let us now be careful in directing this dynamic force within us. Let us direct it to heal, bless, and prosper, and direct it in waves of good to the whole world."

"My good will is a strong tower round about me. I now transmute all enemies into friends, all inharmony into harmony, all injustice into justice."

"The walls of lack and delay now crumble away, and I have entered the promise land, under grace."

Florence Scovel Shinn is one of my favorite "old-school" metaphysical authors. This book, plus another called The Game Of Life and How To Play It, are two of my favorites!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Blahs...Not The Yada, Yada, Yada Kind

I've been in a slump recently. Not sure why - just feeling blah about most things. So I pulled out books by some of my favorite inspirational authors. I found this gem from Florence Scovel Shinn this morning:

 "I am now immune to all hurt and resentment. My poise is built upon a rock, the Christ Within."

While hurt and resentment are not always at the forefront of my consciousness every day, I know I have things to work on - to let loose and let go of. I closed my eyes and just repeated that affirmation a few times. When I opened my eyes, I was rewarded with a few of multiple birds at my feeders, and the morning sun shining on the greenery of the trees and the bushes - all different depths and shapes of beautiful color against a gorgeous blue sky. Thank you Universe for this lovely gift. I feel much better now.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What It Is Like To Win The Lottery

How the hell would I know!  But I'd like to.  At least, I think I would.  It used to be when I purchased a lottery ticket, whether it was Power Ball, Mega Millions, Washington State Lottery, or even a scratch ticket, I routine asked the cashier for winning tickets.  The positive thought was there, but apparently there are still issues I need to work out as I have yet to demonstrate any results.  When Washington State changed to automated machines for purchasing lottery tickets, I became the crazy lady at the machine mumbling to herself phrases like "I am incredibly lucky" or "I am prosperous" or even "Winner, winner, chicken dinner" (and what the heck does that mean anyway?).  Still, no big major wins for those huge jackpots.  I occasionally get a $100 winning scratch ticket, for which I am grateful, but like most other people, I do dream of those big jackpots.

I checked the lottery website a few moments ago, and the Power Ball jackpot is up to $600 million.  The Washington State Lottery is up to $4 million.  There was no winner in last nights Mega Million drawing, so next week the jackpot will be about $12 million.  I am open and receptive to winning any or all of those lotteries!  Are you listening Universe....it's me, Betsy, with a simple request.

I've done enough spiritual study to know that winning a lottery jackpot is not going to be the answer to any problems.  And I've watched enough programs like "Winning The Lottery Ruined My Life" that I'm not extremely disappointed when I don't win.  Still, I routinely buy a ticket because, first of all, you have to buy a ticket to win.  Secondly, I am open and receptive to winning any or all of those lotteries!

When you get to be almost 60, you too will have probably experienced many of the different levels of wealth, from poverty to filthy rich (I wonder why they call it "filthy"?).  I've never experienced the extremes of homelessness or extreme wealth, but I have lived from paycheck to paycheck, wondering if I was going to be able to pay my bills on time.  I've gone through bankruptcy and had those horrible calls from bill collectors.  I've also had times where the income was flowing, and my husband and I were being paid incredible wages and receiving many benefits.  I must admit, I did prefer the latter.  However, I survived the former, and I know I could do it again.  Ultimately, the Universe did provide for all my needs.  I think the key was that I never gave up.  I was willing to work. I put in my prayer and affirmation time.  I kept a positive attitude.  And I finally realized that everything happens for a reason (which primarily has to do with spiritual growth, IMHO) and it occurs at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

Okay, so back to the lottery situation.  If winning the lottery does not solve all the problems, why do I want to win?  Maybe it is not the "winning" (but what an adrenaline rush that would be!) but the security that comes with not having to worry about finances.  Winning the lottery won't fix relationships.  It won't cure any health issues.  Well, I guess one out of three major issues in life is worth the $1 or $2 price for a chance at winning.

Before I retired, I had many counseling clients that were seeking guidance on how to achieve their goals.  Many times their goals were to get married to "John" or "Mary", or to have a specific job, or be published by a certain publisher, or to win the lottery, etc.  I have many tools and tips to offer to achieve goals but the best tool to start the process is to determine exactly what the goal is.

And guess what....that goal is almost always the same for everyone.  The goal is to be happy.  Everyone wants a relationship in which they are happy.  Everyone wants a job/career in which they are happy.  Everyone wants be to physically fit, healthy AND happy.  So figure out what your definition is of happiness in each of those situations and work toward that.  A little hint:  happiness does not always come with marrying "John" or "Mary".  Happiness in relationships comes from being with someone who loves you just the way you are, respects you and your opinions, supports you in all that you do, and makes you laugh.  That person may not be "John" or "Mary".....it may be "Harry" or "Sally" or someone you have not even met.  Happiness in a job or career may not be the promotion you think you want....it may be an entirely different path.  When what you are doing for income ceases being "work" and you look forward to each day that you get to do that thing....that's happiness.  Happiness in regards to health status begins when you find that you are loving yourself exactly how you are.  You can look in the mirror and say, "I am perfect just as I am."   This is when you take the back power from any fears you may have about how you look or what is happening inside your body.  Prayer and positive attitudes are powerful tools.  With faith, you can know in your heart and your soul that out of all situations ONLY good can come.....regardless of your relationship status, your career or your health.

Oh my gosh..I can get off on a tangent.  Back to the lottery.  Yes, I do still want to win.  I don't want to win just to be rich.  I am very content in my current lifestyle.  Okay...given my druthers, I would like a gardner and a cook, but I'm okay doing that work myself (or even better, talking my husband into doing it).  So why is winning the lottery still so appealing?  I'd love for my children and grandchildren, my sister and my in-laws, my nieces and nephews, good friends, to never have to be concerned about their finances again.  I'd love to be able to support my favorite charities.  I'm pretty sure most everyone else who wants to win the lottery feels the same way.

However, all that said, I do believe that God (or the Universe, or Infinite Wisdom, or The Force, or whatever term you choose to use) has more ways that just the lottery to provide for those goals.  I could become a best selling author.  I could have a huge winning streak at the craps table.  I could find out that I am a distant relative of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, and am included generously in one of their wills.  I could be extremely lucky in the stock market.  Or any other incredible scenario.  But still....

I am open and receptive to winning any or all of the lotteries.

Best of luck to all who buy tickets!  May whoever wins be blessed with good advisors and good intentions!

A New Batch Of Affirmations

....for those of you that collect them and like to change it up from time to time.

These affirmations come from a 2013 Daily Calendar from Louise Hay - possibly titled the I Can Do It Calendar.  They are daily tear off sheets, and of course, I tore off the top title sheet on January 1st.  I tried to search the Hay House website, www.hayhouse.com ,  for the exact title, but apparently the calendars are no longer available.

The following are some of the affirmations that I like and that I have added to my repertoire.  I hope you enjoy them and use them as is or edit them to make them more personal for your situation.

Life always reveals to me what I need to know at the appropriate time.

Today I shoulder my responsibilities with ease.

I take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I am filled with gratitude for all the blessings of my life.

I release all old hurts and forgive everyone, including myself.

I radiate success, and I prosper wherever I turn.

There is no need for me to struggle.  I trust the Universe to take care of me.

All is well, and even better things are coming my way.

I have perfect faith in the Universe and its ability to support my every need.

I choose to let go of old painful thoughts.  I only think thoughts that make me happy.

I choose carefully the people I share my life with.  Only positive, loving, joyous people are in my world.

I pay my bills with joy and gratitude, and Life takes good care of me.

I trust my intuition.

I attract prosperity of all kinds and share it generously.

I trust in Life's infinite wisdom.

I am Divinely protected and guided.

I easily let go of everything I no longer need.

Opportunities are everywhere.  I have unlimited choices.

Today I choose to send loving, healing energy to the whole planet.

Everything I need to know is always revealed to me at the perfect time.

Today I choose to look for the good wherever I am.

I am deeply fulfilled by all that I do.

The past is over and done, and only good lies before me now.

I am extremely flexible.  It is easy for me to go with the flow.

All my friends and family members are Divinely protected at all times.

I live in a loving, abundant, harmonious universe, and I am grateful.

Today I focus only blessings and watch them multiply.

I let go of all resistance and expectation in my career.

Today I take the time to help make the planet a better place to live.

Today I only speak words that are loving, positive, and constructive.

When it is time for a new job, the opportunity presents itself easily.

I am forgiving, loving, gentle and kind.

When I make a mistake, I realize that it is only part of the learning process.

I truly believe that we are here to bless and prosper each other.  I reflect this belief in my daily interactions.

Perfect health is my Divine right, and I claim it now.

I now choose to release every negative, destructive, fearful idea and thought from my mind and my life.

I get the help I need, when I need it, from various sources.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fruits Or Vegetables: A "Smooth" Solution

My husband prefers fruit.  I prefer vegetables.  In this daily battle, I generally win as I do the cooking the majority of the time.  However, in the interest of good health, and in an effort to get more veggies into him, and more fruit into me, we've been experimenting with morning smoothies.  Fruit in a smoothie is no new thing, and adding greens to smoothies has become more popular.  Finding the right combinations to satisfy us both was the challenge.

Here are our two favorites (so far):

Peanut Butter Latte Smoothie

1 cup of ice
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 container Oikos Cafe Latte Greek Yogurt
2 TBSP Peanut Butter
2-3 large handfuls of spinach
1 tsp instant coffee
1 packet Truvia (optional)
1 tsp Hershey Dark cocoa powder (optional)
1 banana (optional, but best to use if you like your smoothie thicker)

Blend and enjoy.  Makes 2 servings.

Note:  I tried this using almond butter.  It was okay but not as tasty as the peanut butter.  I use whatever flavor of instant coffee I have on hand (currently that is International Foods Vanilla Latte) but I would think you could use 1/2 cup regular perked coffee that had cooled as long as you were using a banana too, so it wasn't too runny.

My husband swears this tasted like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

A Taste Of Hawaii Smoothie

1- 2 cups frozen tropical fruit (I get the big bags as Costco)
1- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 container Oikos Toasted Coconut Greek Yogurt
4-6 fresh strawberries
1/2 - 1 banana, if desired
1 scant tsp coconut extract or 1 tbsp coconut creme
1 packet of Truvia (optional)

Blend and enjoy.  Makes 2 servings.

Note:  Sometimes this comes out too thick, more like sorbet, so I will use some coconut water to thin.  I heard a suggest to try thinning with a cup of green tea that has been cooled.