Saturday, August 29, 2009

Good morning, S/S friends!

Here I go again, borrowing from my daily meditations "sidekick." This one struck a chord for me; perhaps it will for someone else? It’s my “today” wish that each of you experience brand-new reasons to smile and give thanks.

The difficult spells in our lives come to an end. And no matter the depth of our disturbance, we will survive.

We forget that the depths teach us how to better appreciate the heights.
Sorrow heights joy. Depression heightens laughter.

We wouldn’t know the joys and laughter, were it not for the sorrows.

In them we learn to be patient, waiting for the wisdom, which will light our way. In them we learn to listen for the Guidance that beckons us forth.

We must reflect on the troubling experiences we’ve passed through of late.
They made us wiser, they gave us strength.

They changed us, moving us ever closer to the men and women, whole and happy, we desire to be.
Difficulties often precede enlightenment.

They pull us inward; perhaps push us to search for our connectedness to God, and connectedness that is at home in our hearts.

The paradox is, that these painful periods strengthen our oneness with Spirit.

If the day looks bleak, I will accept it as a hand reaching toward me, to pull me forward, to secure my place in the Spiritual family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Crazy Little Thing

I’m not especially eager to talk about our own medical bumps-in-the-road .... to give an “organ" recital, so to speak. Still, I wanted to take a chance that someone might see this and think, “What if?”

Bit-o background: Shortly after DH and I wed in '04, we made appointments for routine physicals. At that time, quite by accident and sans any symptoms, they discovered hubby had bladder cancer. Fast-forward and thank God, his last two (annual) scans have come back clean!

But, a while back he began occasionally experiencing double vision. Then in March of this year, abnormal heart rhythms mandated his having to wear a monitor. Next came the tremors and referral to a neurologist.

The specialists were cordial enough; they appeared passionate -- but given the results, or lack thereof, they were clueless. Meanwhile, DH has dropped 30+ lbs. despite eating calorie-laden goodies round the clock. Worrisome, yeah!

Finally, our PCP asked to do another series of blood tests, and discovered DH was suffering from nothing more significant than Graves disease, or over-active thyroid! Every one of his symptoms, including increased irritability (that I’d chalked up to stress) is a symptom of thyroid disease.

So, last week’s confirmation by another “ologist” was/is an enormous relief. They’ll control (not correct) with medication. Better living through chemistry!

What’s odd, and why I felt compelled to post … I always thought thyroid disease was a “ladies-only” malady. My SIL’s doctor says it’s so common among women, that he expects to see Synthroid put in the water system some day. Yet, it remains one of the most often UNdiagnosed bug-a-boo’s around!

I like to think that these experiences have made us more empathetic to those suffering from far more serious issues. Color us … grateful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Foreign-Exchange Student

There's a new kid in town!
Meet Tuffy, a gangly, four-legged goofball (aka, Wheaton Terrier), down from the mountain in Paradise Valley.

I really think DH believed it a “win-win” situation for everyone when he offered to puppy-sit last month. His recently widowed mistress (the dog’s, that is!) is a long-time customer/friend who desperately needed to get away for a few weeks. By the same token, we’ve missed crazy Brewster’s presence; and presumed Caraleigh would be ecstatic at the idea of having a playmate.
….Not! Let’s just say, she was under-whelmed.

At first sniff, Tuffy made a cursory inspection of his new premises, retreated to a corner in the bedroom ….and stayed. Obviously homesick, he seemed totally uninterested in public relations; in taking nourishment. His own doggie gruel was summarily rejected, as if it contained cyanide! Finally, I felt compelled to sit cross-legged before him, my palm filled with doggie meal, coated with cottage cheese.

Without being terribly graphic, Tuffy’s done almost everything a canine’s NOT supposed to do while indoors -- including beheading several of Caraleigh’s stuffed babies. Before placing a distress call to The Dog Whisperer, we stepped up our efforts to comfort and cajole. Hubby and I each thinking but leery to admit, this may have been a Mistake. How many days are there in August again?

I’m tickled to report that little by little, Tuffy has come out of his shell. He’s become a happy, bouncy … and yes, hungry 2-year-old, with a penchant for pizza crust and steak.

His “mama” is due to return from Europe next week. In turn, our days and nights will be calmer; certainly cleaner! Still, I feel a bit like Henry Higgins lamenting, “I've grown accustomed to her face! (S)he almost makes the day begin!”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Please, Open your Present

I received the following piece early this morning from a dear, long-ago friend. Don't know its origin; or, if I'm the only one who's not seen it before. Still, I hope you'll agree that like a favorite song, this message bears repeating.

Nothing happens by accident.

If, one day when you wake up and find on your bed a beautifully wrapped present with delicate bows, you would open it -- even before washing your face -- curious about what is inside.

Maybe what you find inside is something you do not like very much. Then you put the box away, wondering what to do with the present.

But, if the next day you find another present you would open it also. This time you may find something inside that you like very much – a memory from someone who is far away … beautiful clothing ... the keys to a new car ..
or just a beautiful flower from somebody who remembered you.

This happens every day, but we do not realize it. Every day when we wake up there is before us a present send to us by God ..
a whole new day to use in the best possible way.

Sometimes it comes with problems, issues that we do not seem to be able to solve; Sometimes it comes with sadness, deception, even tears.
But other times it comes full of surprises, happiness, success and achievements.

What is important is that every day we receive a present, wrapped especially for us while we slept … the next day. We are presented this box with colored bows, no matter what the day brings.

Every new morning is a PRESENT.
It is not always what we wish or hope for, but is the best for us, what we need most, what we have to learn, what we need to grow.

Open your present every day, giving thanks first to the Creator who gave it to you, without thinking what is inside the box. If today you did not receive the present you wanted, wait for the next one… and appreciate what you received today.

May you have a day full of blessings in which you feel the loving presence of your Creator, and may the present of every day bring you peace, spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spiritual Sundays

God has given us so many gifts! Because He loves us, he wants us to “be all that you can be.” (Yes, just like that old Army jingle!)

Borrowing a line from Kris Kristofferson’s ballad, “Why me, Lord”, there’s been many a time I’ve whispered, “Lord help me Jesus … I've wasted it.”

Perhaps that’s why God created so many spiritual messengers in our midst … ministers, counselors, coaches, teachers and even our friends who gently (and sometimes not so gently!) motivate us, encourage us -- to be all that we can be. I think Anthony Robbins is one of those messengers. While I’ve had the opportunity to attend one of his seminars, purchased the tapes, read the books, I never followed through …. I wasted it.

So! I’ve taped the following piece to the inside of my medicine cabinet ~ to reflect upon first thing each morning, in concert with prayer. It sure beats the CNN News!

Robbins states, “Our life experience is based on what we focus on. Remember, quality questions create a quality life!"

What am I happy about in my life right now?
What am I excited about in my life right now?
What am I proud about in my life right now?
What am I grateful for in my life right now?
What am I enjoying most about in my life right now?
What am I committed to in my life right now?
Who do I love? Who loves me?

Have a safe and happy new week everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

OK, show of hands! How many of you know what I’m talking about when I say, “We woke yesterday morning to a real 'toad-frog strangler'!”

While Floridian’s often refer to rain as “liquid sunshine”, some old-timers in West Texas use that phrase to describe a sudden, steady downpour.

One of Arizona’s biggest charms ~ at least for me ~ is its relative lack of rainfall. I mean, it just gets in the way, sometimes flooding the river-bottom, forcing one (or more) detours on my way to work. (Even in bone-dry conditions, I'll avoid I-10 like the plague!)

Due to the weather conditions, at first I had trouble seeing clearly. Accordingly, I adjusted my speed and moved to the right, allowing 3-4 NASCAR wannabe’s a wide berth. They’re racing in the rain! Maybe I’m not such a crotchety old broad … but rather, a bit envious? It’s an art, after all.

(You know where this is going, don’t you?!)

I recently finished reading Garth’s Stein’s delightful book, “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” What can I say but, “Step aside, Marley. There’s a new dog in town!”

Had it not been recommended by someone I really admire, it’s doubtful I’d have given this book a second glance. While I’m crazy for canines, auto-racing isn’t exactly my cup of tea.

Understandably, one reviewer penned: “Don't be scared away from this book by the title. The ‘racing in the rain’ is a metaphor for life. Enzo, the narrator, is a dog who wants nothing more than to be a man. His master races cars for a living and Enzo refers to everything in his life by way of racing metaphors.... but this book is so much more.”

In the space of a day, I laughed, I cheered and of course, I sobbed like a little girl. (Maybe it’s best not to read this book in public?)

Some readers have observed, “Viewing the world through a dog’s eyes makes for a greater appreciation of being human.” I don’t know about that, but have to agree with the man who wrote, “I’ve caught myself staring at my own dog, thinking, Hmmm…..”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where the Grass is Greener Still

Do you enjoy living where you do?
In a recent survey detailed by Charles Osgood, almost half of us are living some place that we’d rather not! I think that's rather sad. Osgood states, “We’re a pretty restless bunch, we Americans. Regardless of where we are living, between 40-50% of us think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

Obviously, the ideal place to live differs with different people … different ages … different genders.

Twenty-some odd years ago I was feeling restless; thoroughly prepared (so I thought) to relocate to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even went so far as to meet with a real-estate agent and tour a few properties in St. Thomas during our ship’s lay-over. Now THAT was a reality-check. Happy not to have sold the farm!

Today, much older (not to be confused with wiser), I’ve been guilty of only occasionally falling into a “What might be?” reverie. 99.9% of the time I'm tickled pink to be where I'm at.

Several weeks ago, DH and I elected to use the gift certificate his son had given us, for a ride aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad, some 100 miles north in Clarkdale. (Unfortunately, I’d misunderstood driving directions as, “Clarksville” and poor hubby was forced to endure my rendition of the Monkees’ “Take the Last Train” throughout the drive.) Anyway…..

Soon off the I-17, I was sitting up a little straighter, looking this way and that. Not halfway through Cottonwood, I was already smitten with its old-fashioned, old-west atmosphere.

Never mind the train! I was inclined to pull up a chair outside the Little Daisy Motel; to mosey down the street for a DQ Dilly Bar. I wanted to load a trailer with all our earthly belongings and move … to where the grass seems greener.

Of course, reason prevailed. The train was great fun. Still, we hope to return for a jaunt one of these days, and I’ll get to “mosey” to my heart’s content….or, at least ‘til Monday morning rolls back around.

I thought this line from one of Sue Kroupa’s songs was spot-on:

Have you ever really noticed, that no matter where you go, and despite the things you try to leave behind, that when you finally get there and you pause to analyze…., well the only thing worth changing is your mind!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

You Can Make It!

It’s so good to be here on Sundays! There are positive stories that are fabulous to share; we get to interact with people who are using principals in an atmosphere where we know that we are loved. It’s true, “Love is the answer, to the difficulty.”

So, were to grade this last week, I’d give it a C. (What a shame, eh?) Nothing wrong, but nothing really right.... bleah. Then, within 24 hours I received two e-mails from friends in different parts of the country, each whose own week was capital D-ifficult. One wrote, “I don’t know if I can make it.”

I think everyone has “those” Moments. Sometimes they come up at 4:00 on any given Tuesday when we least expect them, when we wonder, “Am I going to make it?” Not just make it through a health challenge .. and that is immense. Not just through a troubling incident in a relationship …and that is heartache. Not just through a financial challenge .. and that can feel desperate .. But make it as a spiritual being, and come through, into our own. That sense of being OK with God and OK with ourselves.

I don’t know how we get through the things we get through. When I look back at my own life experience there were times I got through things that right now I don’t know how I did it.

Mary Kay Ash, who founded a tremendous empire, said, “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.” It is a matter of personal decision, believing that. Don’t be discouraged if some people ~ even people who say they love you ~ say that you’re not going to make it, because they don’t know.

For some crazy reason, you begin to realize that you’re going to make it; you must make it. Maybe, the tension of getting through difficulties helped bring you to the point of realizing there’s got to be more. It is a decision point. It means that we have got to step out on faith when it may not look like we have anything to stand on.

I love the story of Peter, who steps out on the water, and for a few steps he’s going all right – then he looks down. He sees the storm and the waves and starts to sink. He cries out, “Help me, I’m sinking!”
Do you know what that’s like? I do.
We know that immediately, Jesus reached for his hand and pulled him up. Well, this is what I love. When I think I’m out of faith and out of ideas, out of time, out of possibilities and out of dreams that moment arrives when a hand reaches out for me. I hear, “You’re going to make it. In fact, you have made it. Let me guide you.”

How does it come to us? I don’t know. We have to remember that we’re not alone. I think that’s a big part of it.Like that senior spirit who says to the seaman climbing to crow’s nest for the very first time, “Don’t look down. You can make it.”
The whole Universe is pulling for us we when let it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Well, certain media investigators are at it again. A recent news story focused on a conference that took place at several hotels/resorts in Tucson. Filled with mis-information and sensationalistic verbiage, I suppose it was intended to incite outrage and boost viewership.

There is a “gotcha” mentality sweeping the media, and every time a company is ridiculed for holding a meeting or providing employee incentives, resorts nationwide see mass cancellations.

3 out of 4 meetings held up to national scrutiny were held at Phoenix-Scottsdale properties. As a result, planners charged with staging legitimate, privately-funded meetings are fearful to do so in Arizona.

Did you know, most conference attendees routinely pay their own travel expenses. No beverages were included in the food/beverage costs covered by the Federal Grant. In fact, the hotel in question honored the $89 federal per-diem ~ which the group would have paid almost anywhere regardless of the hotel’s star rating. Meeting space was provided for free.

One of Arizona’s largest revenue generators, Tourism contributes $2.6 billion in local, state and federal revenues each year. Meetings account for more than 70% of most resort revenues. When those revenues are jeopardized, all taxpayers suffer.

A recently-circulated government document advises agencies to avoid “locations or destinations that give the appearance of being lavish or resort destinations.” And while Phoenix didn’t make the initial blacklist of cities to avoid, meeting planners are confirming they’re hard-pressed to “sell” Phoenix up the chain of command since there is a perception that the Valley is a hotbed (no pun intended!) of negative media activity.

To help educate residents, several agencies are stepping up their efforts to stress the importance of tourism, and will continue to promote Arizona as a value-conscious destination.

OK, I'm climbing off my soapbox now. Won’t ya’all come see us now and then?!

(Source data: AZ Hotel & Lodging Assn.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spiritual Sundays

This week I’d like to share a favorite page from my “dog-eared” copy of Daily Meditations for Women. Not clear why the publishers found it necessary to write “for Women”, since I regard most of its content as universal.

For years now, I’ve had occasion to read these words, but return again ~ and again for a “booster shot." Like the great Zig Ziglar once said, “People say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.
- Florence Scovel Shinn

Should we make this move? Should we change jobs? Should we talk to others about our feelings? We are seldom short on prayers when we’re filled with fear and indecision. We are, however, short on answers. Our worries block them out.

No prayer ever goes unanswered. Of this we can be certain. On the other hand, the answer may not be what we hoped for. In fact, we may not recognize it as the answer because we are expecting something quite different. It takes a willingness on our part to be free of our preconceptions – free to accept whatever answers are offered.

Our answer come unexpectedly – a chance meeting on the street, a passage in a book or newspaper, a nagging feeling within. God speaks to each of us throughout the day.
Our prayers are answered, our problems find solutions, our worries are erased, if we but attune ourselves to the messages. They are all around.

I will be attentive to all the signs from God today. Whatever answer I seek is finding its way to me.