A Lesson In Gratitude

My 88-year-old mother has been a positive, loving, stable, supportive, and giving influence throughout my life.

Money was scarce, but I never felt poor. We lived in a small home in a little steel mill town. Although we struggled, I never heard my parents discuss money concerns.   Nor did I know  they searched the couch for dimes that may have fallen out of dad’s pocket to pay for his bus rides to work.  Never missed having a car.  Always felt loved, and secure.

But I never really realized how important that security was, until a few days ago. The backstory is three years ago, when my mother’s dementia became apparent, I moved her to Florida to be near me.  My father, who was her prince, and our hero, passed two years prior.

This week something happened. Mom told me she was scared.  She asked to  go “home.” When I inquired who she wanted to see at home, she said her mother.  More of the backstory, both parents were deceased by the time she was three  years old, and her sister, age 14, successfully raised my mom and her four siblings.

Have you ever watched your mother cry and say she was scared?  This was my first experience seeing mom genuinely afraid.  It devastated me.  It made me cry.

But, this blog is not about my mother’s experience or how well (or at times not) I deal with her pain. My message is I am a very lucky person. The question is why, and I hope this simple little story is a life lesson.

Lucky, you might think?  Dealing with a mother who has dementia?The answer is yes I am a lucky girl. While reflecting on what mom is going through, I realized my parents provided immense security. I never knew about the financial pressure of making ends meet. There was never a time I felt I could not go to my parents. They were always there for me. Although I have always been grateful, I know I have truly been blessed. 

 

Even after my dad passed, as hard as that was, I felt comforted by the very thought of him. Maybe that sounds a bit crazy but you see, he took great care of mom.  They watched over each other.  Daily I pray he looks down on me, and guides me to make the right decisions for mom.

Today I read a beautiful post written by a young friend of mine, Aimee Tarte, Owner of Lady And The Mug, in Coral Springs, Florida. She wrote:

No matter what happens in my life, I am at peace because I understand how blessed I am and for that, I’m eternally grateful. Let’s not just be thankful today, but change our mindsets to appreciate the smallest of things we overlook. I’ll always be an optimist and believe in everyone, especially those who have done wrong against me. Serve others, give with a pure heart, and remember how short life is”

 

That says it all, now doesn’t it?

Take a few moments to STOP and think about your life. What lessons of gratitude can you find that never occurred to you? Think of one small of thing you previously overlooked and post below. I would love your feedback.  It could inspire all of us!

A note from Sunny. This blog was written by my dear forever friend, Irma Parone of Parone Group.

She can be reached at irma@paronegroup.com  www.paronegroup.com

Also please free to also leave comments on this post.

 

50 Shades Darker, 10 Things to Keep in Mind for Valentine’s Day

I am honored to publish a guest post written by Karen Amster-Young, co-author of  The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery  (Skyhorse Publishing). The book is available at amazon.com and in stores everywhere.

Karen Amster-Young

I love this book and have mentioned it in past blogs!

I know you will enjoy Karen’s take on activities for celebrating this day set aside for fun and romance. (As for me, I’m going with When Harry Met Sally!)

50 Shades Darker, 10 Things to Keep in Mind for Valentine’s Day

By Karen Amster-Young

I didn’t run to see Fifty Shades Darker, the 2nd movie made from the best-selling 50 Shades trilogy by E.L. James. It wasn’t because the early reviews weren’t great; it was more about lack of time and making choices and, let’s face it, there are better date night options if you are looking to strengthen your relationship with a significant other. Besides, the books are better. For 50 Shades of Grey, I actually went with a group of girlfriends. We laughed out loud together at the dialogue and cheesy sex scenes like a group of teenagers.

Which reinforces the point of this Valentine’s post: there are many relationships in our lives – from siblings to friends to our kids. When we’re young, we may spend time giving out love notes or something to our classmates and crushes. Now we have many relationships and they are often in need of a shot of attention. Unfortunately we don’t spend enough time on making them stronger – maybe we just never think we have enough time or, more complicated reasons leave us overthinking the matters of the heart.

When you get right down to it, relationships are everything. They fuel all aspects of our life — and without that fuel, the days can feel pretty empty. But no need to go there. Here are 10 low-impact ways you can build bonds and re-think Valentine’s Day. And, let’s face it: with the constant stream of non-stop daily news, we can all use a few days thinking about something else. In fact, on second thought, maybe going to an entertaining, trashy movie with someone isn’t such a bad idea after all!

  1. Plan a group date. More people around takes the focus away from you and your relationship, which can be a good thing sometimes.
  2. Stay in bed and finally treat yourself to a day of doing nothing. Love this quote: “You call it being alone. I call it enjoying my own company!”
  3. Make annoying heart cookies with your kids for their classmates. It’s really about the time together. Remember, they grow up and one day you will miss it!
  4. Smile more often. It actually tricks the brain. It is impossible to feel stressed if you smile.
  5. Married for 100 years? Recreate your first date with your spouse.
  6. Clean house: toxic relationships are not relationships.
  7. Write a real letter to your favorite aunt (or uncle, or cousin or whoever you have been, let’s face it, neglecting).
  8. Plan a girl’s weekend.
  9. Give love to a stranger: volunteer to keep someone company, read to an elderly person or make a home-cooked meal for someone in need.
  10. Show love to your country in whatever way is right for you.

And of course, there is always 50 Shades Darker playing in the theaters. It’s probably the perfect antidote to CNN.  If you’re worried about your brain cell count, try LA LA Land instead for some romance; better yet watch old movies at home – When Harry Met Sally anyone? The best!

 

Classic Life Lessons

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I learned recently the late beloved college basketball coach, John Wooden carried around a treasured gift from his father. On a tattered and aged piece of paper was the creed on which he based his life. I was so in awe of it I had to find out more about this Midwestern man who is touted as being “College basketball’s most successful coach” and named by ESPN “Coach of the Century.”

This amazing legend grew up on an Indiana farm. His childhood home had no electricity or indoor plumbing. As a high school basketball hero he led the home team to three consecutive finals. He married a lovely lady who played coronet in the school band. They were married for 53 years. Only death could separate them.

Okay, maybe you knew all that, but I didn’t. His “life list,” the creed his father bestowed upon him consists of seven simple sentences: “Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books especially the Bible.

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Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter for a rainy day. Pray for guidance, count and give thanks for your blessings every day.”

I now understand how this legendary coach could bring out of best in his players. He was authentic in a world where truly genuine human beings are rare. He role modeled wisdom, kindness, integrity and love. I also understand he had a very wise father who created a treasure map for his son. Somehow I think that trumps assets in a will. The life lessons teach if you follow the credo, your life will be rich and filled something more satisfying than wealth.

Wooden co-authored a book, “My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey. I want him to coach me so I’m going to read it. But in the meantime, I’ve decided to create my own life list. I’ll borrow some belonging to the coach and add things I need to work on like: Give love completely without keeping score and practice patience daily.

Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.

How about you? Would now be a good time to create a life list? I think no matter what your chronological stage of life, it’s never too late to chart a course for the rest of your time on this planet. Invest some time in it this week. As Coach Wooden would remind us, “Never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.”