Almost three weeks ago my path crossed with something I just cannot stop thinking about nor can I make a concrete decision about. My hands have been tied during this time, thankfully. I may have made a fast and foolish decision otherwise. Yet, I may have also been left to make the wisest decision, that of following my heart. But which is which and what is what? Heart over head, or head over heart? Indecisiveness drives me crazy!
Are you wondering what crossed my path? Let me show you:
Meet Mandy. She has pulled my heart strings and plays them daily.
Let me backtrack, because you must know the whole story. Why? Because I want some help from you all in helping me with my decision.
Almost three weeks ago I packed a picnic lunch for my husband and I, we headed north with our #1 dog, Buddy, for an afternoon walk/hike and picnic. We had the greatest time, the weather was perfect and our dog loves to go everywhere with us. We were walking across a footbridge when another couple also walking a small dog were walking towards us. Mandy and Buddy met, nose to nose, and it reminded me of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.” Buddy is a gentle, sweet, smart, affectionate Chihuahua mix. His mother was Maltese, thus giving him such a sweet temperament. Mandy is also a gentle, sweet, smart, affectionate Chihuahua mix. They share the same coloring too, except her legs are longer, she is taller than Buddy. The woman walking Mandy, Ana, told us she was available for adoption. Oh great! We talked for some time, I held Mandy, and gave Ana my phone number. Ana is a volunteer for the shelter Mandy is at and has Saturday visitations where she takes Mandy for walks and keeps her over night.
Now, meet Buddy. We have had Buddy since he was a couple months old:
See? They both are adorable! Buddy just turned 5 years old, Mandy is also 5 years old. Buddy lives with and loves cats, Mandy also likes cats. They both are babies and love to sleep under the covers all night long. Buddy is exceptionally smart and loves to play ball on the beach and go for walks. Buddy is like our other child.
I just do not believe in accidents. Why has Mandy stayed in my heart and thoughts for so long? To randomly meet on a foot bridge is almost story-worth.
Now, I noticed there was a puffy/reddish area above Mandy’s right eye, her eyebrow area, and mentioned that to Ana, who informed me she would have the vet look at her on Monday. This is the reason my hands have been tied: sure enough, Mandy had an upper respiratory infection or kennel cough, and was placed on antibiotics and is still in isolation recovering. We have had all this time to weigh all our options. And to think, obsess, think, obsess.
I have created positive/negative lists, researched having more than one dog, on and on. Mandy may be well enough this week. I may have to make the decision. We already have our adoption papers in on her and have been approved. I have done a Facebook poll and more friends and family say yes over no. I have discovered male/female go best and the Chihuahua dog breed loves having a companion. However, Buddy is our #1 and we are his parents, I am his constant companion because I work from home. We also have 5 indoor cats (yes, 5). We have plenty of room and a large yard. I love animals and fell in love with Mandy. I purposely stay away from shelters for this very reason: I could take them all home and I could also have a farm!
My indecisiveness has led me to obsess about all the possibilities of adopting Mandy or not adopting Mandy, and then I build on all those possibilities. No matter the steps I am taking to come to a decision, I do not have peace with either choice. I worry about making the wrong decision no matter the decision!
I even looked up tips to help with indecisiveness:
- Research. Do some research so you know as many of the facts of the situation as possible.
- Ask for opinions. If appropriate, ask your friends and/or family for their opinion – but remember to trust your own judgment first and foremost. Never ask for someone’s opinion after you have decided on your course of action as this will confuse you.
- List the pros and cons of each decision. To get yourself out of your head, write them down so you have it in black and white.
- Identify your options. Note how they make you feel and cross out ones that make you feel bad.
- Choose the option that feels right. From your short-list of options, choose the one that makes you feel best.
- Form a backup plan. Once you have settled on your decision, think of the worst possible outcome of making that decision. Make a contingency plan that you can use if the worst case scenario comes about.
- Leave it alone. Once you have made your decision, don’t waste time questioning whether you made the right one. You weighed all the options and did your best to make the right decision.
So, with all this being said, what would you do? Do you have any further tips you could give to help with this very difficult decision? It is mostly falling on me more than my husband, as I am the one who cares most for all our pets and like I said, I work from home. The last thing I want is for adopting Mandy to take away from what we have with Buddy. Also, Mandy deserves to be loved as much as Buddy has been loved all these years. I believe I have enough love to do this, yet will Buddy be okay?
Part of me thinks, let someone else adopt her and give her a forever home. But what about this almost magical foot bridge meeting three weeks ago? What about the heart strings? The time we have been given during her illness and recovery? Is this a yes or no direction?
I’m interested in your thoughts and welcome them,
A little while ago I saw this license plate on a car sitting in front of me at a stop light:
Wow! Doesn’t this make you think? What a wonderful message to the driving world, a declaration of one particular person’s gratitude. I love it!
Drama and stress do not just walk into your life out of nowhere. If they do, they are for a season and not supposed to be for a lifetime. We either create drama and stress, invite it OR associate with people that bring it. I certainly see this past pattern in my life and know it to be true.
I believe the older we get, the wiser we become, and the less stress and drama we allow in our lives. No matter the things we are facing today or the stress we have already gone through, we can choose to do things differently and begin to count our blessings one-by-one, day-by-day, and amazingly things begin to happen when we do. Reduction of stress is just one of them!
So, I am sharing these powerful five words with you today. Go and be too blessed to be stressed!
Happy New Year! We are eight days into 2014 and I keep re-checking my Weather Bug Application hoping for rain, instead we suffer with gorgeous days (mid 70’s) and it feels more like springtime stepping into summertime than winter. Indeed, “it never rains in California“…
Have you thought about your goals or set priorities for 2014? Did you create a list? How did you do for 2013?
I have my 2014 goals typed out and posted right at my desk. We opened our 2013 memory box on New Year’s Eve and thoroughly loved all the memories and thankful scraps of paper notes. This is such a wonderful activity to do!
Take a box with a lid or an empty jar, decorate it any way you wish, place it in a frequented place in your home along with a pad of paper and a pen…then all year long make a note (include the date) of a happy moment, a blessing, celebration, a joy, an answered prayer, special occasion, etc., fold your papers and fill your memory box/jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve (or even New Year’s morning) read each one and be amazed! My husband and I love looking back on our year this way.
Anyway, I came across a fabulous blog site today. I loved “10 Tips for an Amazing 2014” and encourage you to take some time to savor and taste each part of this recipe. I cannot pick my favorite ingredient, I loved them all, but one that especially spoke to me I will give you a sneak peek:
5 cups of Focus: find what you’re passionate about. Live it. Breathe it. Own it. Focus on it. Do it. Be all about it. Not sure what you’re passionate about? Make it your goal to focus on finding that out this year.
Go check it out, I promise you will not be disappointed. Thank you, Lauren, for this fantastic recipe!
It seems to me, at least this morning, that worry equates to “what if’s.” I have been fortunate in my life in that I have never lost someone intimately close to me before. Everyone I love is living, including my 94 year-old grandmother.
Things are changing, because I am getting older. So is everyone else.
My step father was recently placed on hospice. The inevitable is coming, and it could be any time. I will be flying to Oregon in two weeks to spend time with my mother and my step father, also helping out any way I possibly can during these four days.
I have been filled with worry for my mother. All the what if’s. Like, what if my step father passes while I am there? What if my mother completely falls apart? I am very concerned about her living alone so far away in their little house in the country. You know, all the important what if’s. Of course, they are all important, right?
But…God. I was reminded this morning by His heart nudging mine that He is God regardless of what is going on. He is faithful. He provides. He does not change. He is good and He knows the future. He is God and He changes not. My job (our job) is to remind ourselves, nourish our own souls by these truths (His truths) and to rest in His care, His promises.
I am leaving my “what if’s” in His hands this morning. This is a continual, daily process. A choice I must make. He changes not. He has never failed me before (nor anyone else I know) and He never will. We can go through our lives worrying and fretting, praying and picking up the burdens again, but regardless, God is God and He is faithful. Our jobs are to remind ourselves, “work out our salvation,” feed our spirits with His truths and trust that He has everything under control that concerns us and those we love.
I live in a relatively small coastal town. It is not unusual to bump into people you know where ever you may be. It is also very easy to recognize the homeless: new panhandlers and regulars. Over the years I have learned how to recognize the differences between true homelessness and its desperation, as well as those sign holders who make their living for their addiction or even the
liars, cheats, lazy scammers.
completely pisses me off infuriates me when I see how many scammers and addicts have taken over our parking lot exit ways and streets. I used to feel so sorry for them all until my encounter with the deaf-mute man at Jack in the Box many, many years ago. I will get to that in a minute. But, what really irritates me is our city police who do nothing about this growing epidemic. We have an ordinance against such panhandling, yet these lowlifes people are everywhere…so are the cops, who choose to ignore.
Let me share some photos that pull at my heart strings (possibly yours as well):
Those who do not hold a sign, but rather bring their pets (my heart turns to mush over animals) and a bucket/container. I always imagine their story.
^How about the ones WITH a sign, bundled up in blankets WITH their pet(s)? This always makes me sad…for the dog.
Now, we move forward into the audacity of some. Some
idiots people will actually give money to these types because they think their nerve is funny or others even applaud their honest acknowledgement that the money they receive will be for booze or drugs. These type of sign holders truly anger me, and I feel disgust over the many who support their lifestyle.
^Ever seen one of these? I have seen a few in our town. It greatly bothers me when I see such sign holders because our children can see them, the children who are at the age of reading well for themselves. Not cool.
Moving on, I appreciate the people who hold signs like this:
or even this:
…yet, I will NOT give them a penny. They are willing to trade a service for food. Really? Sometimes I have given them a
Happy meal. Or offer them a job. Most of them have turned down any job offered because “they can make more money holding a sign for a few hours.” Seriously? THAT infuriates me. And we cater to this epidemic.
How about this one:
These type of sign holders like to make you feel guilty or recount a scriptural truth concerning blessings. Many
religious people who love God will give to these types. Panhandlers truly have learned the art in how to manipulate us all in some way or another.
Anyway, on to the Jack in the Box deaf-mute man, who I was pleasured to meet many years ago when I drove through Jack in the Box with my kids for milkshakes. He greeted me at the order window holding a sign made out of cardboard which read:
“PLEASE HELP. CAR BROKE DOWN ON WAY TO AIRPORT. HELP MY FAMILY HAVE A HOTEL FOR TONIGHT. I CANNOT SPEAK OR HEAR.”
As I was reading the sign he held in front of him, he was using hand gestures and facial expressions to pull my heart strings. I gave him all the cash in my wallet (I think it was about $16) and used my debit card to pay for our milkshakes. I also bought the deaf-mute man milkshakes for his entire family (family of six). My kids and I felt so good and were just glowing during the drive home, feeling like we had helped this family.
Well…it was about two weeks later my kids wanted another milkshake and as we entered that same Jack in the Box driveway I saw the deaf-mute man once again. Except this time, he did not see me. He was hanging out with a group of sign-holders under a tree towards the back of the parking lot with their camper. He was quite vocal. He could also hear quite well. He was even listening to tunes with ear buds, rocking out. I spied on him for a few moments and my kids were dumbfounded
as pissed as I was. He was laughing and seemed to be having a great time conversing with the others. I saw red! I did all the math and felt so dumb. I had been completely fooled by a “scammer.”
Since then, I have a somewhat guarded heart and attitude towards sign holders. I have seen documentaries about their addictions. I have learned all about their “ways.” There are so many resources in our county (as well as all over the United States) for the homeless including shelters, food pantries and meals provided through various churches and centers, our public schools serve lunches during the summer to ANYONE, the ACE program provides medical care, and we have donation sites everywhere. Truly, if you are homeless in my town you CAN find a bed, clothing, food, shelter and opportunities for rehabilitation and jobs. We have a few transitional housing centers to help families get back on their feet. There is even a “river community” of people who are provided services for their needs- they live in our local river bottoms. Usually when we give money to a sign holder or panhandler, we are only enabling them and feeding a bad habit/addiction.
But…what about our heart strings? My own has come to recognize the truly needy, the ones who do not hold signs, the ones who strive everyday to find hope. We can be that hope sometimes. Not in an enabling way, but rather much like a guardian angel whose paths cross with such at a particular moment in time. I have crossed paths with one particular man over the years and just the other night. He has a shopping cart filled with what little belongings he owns, covered with a blue tarp. He slumps terribly. He is very dirty and always sunburned. He never holds a sign, he never asks for anything. He just walks. Sometimes he rests. He travels miles in one day. I wonder where his destinations are? His clothing and shoes reflect he cares about his appearance even if he cannot locate a shower. His hair is trimmed neatly. A few years ago I passed to him a Von’s gift card I had received worth $25. His eyes danced. They even sparkled. I KNEW hope came to him that day. I saw him again the other night when I was getting gas. Once again I felt that urgency and pull in my heart to give him what cash I had in my wallet. I found a $10 dollar bill. It was as if he recognized me when I handed it to him and said, “God bless you.” His eyes danced and sparkled again. He was so thankful. I KNEW he was so thankful.
Only we can decipher between true homelessness desperation, addiction, enabling or the scammers. Follow your heart, but try not to let it be manipulated. Let go of guilt, because there are resources available. I know I am thankful every single day for what I have. I take nothing for granted, honestly.
So, when your heart strings are pulled, let the song play. Otherwise, grab a milkshake once in awhile for you and your own family.
First of all, I must apologize. It has been forever since I have written. I promise, I will be getting back to it. Life has been very, very busy for me lately-I am writing plenty for work and school, and this blog has not taken priority. I have missed being here. Plus, I realized many months ago I no longer wish to save the world. Nope. Not a job for me nor one I want. That is a job only God can handle. Of course, I still love Shakeology and drink it every day (I encourage everyone to use it too!), but I’m done preaching about it. Everyone is free to make their own healthy choices for their lives, however I am still going to share all about mine with you here.
Anyway, I’m back. Yesterday I realized that wine goes with everything. Really, it does. I am kind of wine grieving this week. If you love wine like I
consume it all the time do, then you KNOW it goes PERFECTLY with EVERY single meal, a good book or movie, fireplaces, homework, holidays, family & friend gatherings, chocolate and cheese, every possible food combination, etc. It is beautiful in a glass, smells and swirls divinely, and tastes better than anything grapes. I was also realizing (once again) how much wine has become an idol in my life. I am not an alcoholic, but I believe I have been a wine-o-holic for the past several years. I can stop. At any time. I do stop. But I sure miss it when I do. It’s just that once I pour one glass, I continue pouring. That is my problem. Remember my previous blog about my love for wine? You can read it here to catch up: http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT
Well, per doctor’s order I am off wine for the next two months. Sucks to be me, right? Especially when wine goes with everything in my life. After these two months are up, may be I will continue going without? I can’t say right now. However, I do know that if I go back, it will only be occasionally, because my little body is not happy right now.
I am feeling good, day three without wine. I have more energy, am sleeping sound and have lost 2.5 pounds. Just in three days, 2.5 pounds! That speaks volumes and I feel safe to share about that here. I am choosing to listen to my doctor and to stay consistent for my tummy’s sake and health. But, trust me, I am missing
crying about wine right now. I have prayed that every place in my life that wine has filled would be replaced by the touch and presence of God.
Do you struggle with something such as this? I’m interested…
Have a lovely weekend,
Over the past couple weeks I have had “writers block.” Part of the reason for this is because I do so much writing and editing for work and also school. Currently my class is British literature, the era long before our 21st century hype regarding nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, and lately my writing has been geared towards middle English rather than modern English.
Anyway, recently I have been thinking about my coach.
This is not her, but truly she is my Jedi Master, I am her apprentice.
I want to dedicate this blog especially to her this morning. Laura, thank you! You have inspired me to do what I never could have done alone, and was literally failing to accomplish traveling solo.
I do not believe my path crossed accidentally with Laura’s. I was at a place in my life where I felt one last glimmer of hope and one last strength to reach out. I honestly cannot even remember how I found Laura, but I am thankful every day for that moment. I knew I needed some type of additional support and accountability to change my lifestyle, and she was that link.
Do you have a fitness/nutrition/life coach? Just that extra hand to hold or shadow to follow can make all the difference, trust me.
The most important thing I believe I have learned from Laura is that I am not alone in my struggles or my desires to leave an unhealthy lifestyle. I have also had to let go of some of my stubbornness and independence. She has shown me the importance of “rinse and repeat.” Consistency is the pot of gold.
Have you been involved in an accountability/challenge group? The strength of others, similar mindsets and inspiration found in such a group has changed my life. We are all so very human and there truly is strength in numbers. Out of these groups I have learned correct ways to eat and count calories (not approximate!), how to make exercise and fitness part of my everyday life (not a chore!), the importance of water, I have been introduced to Shakeology (the healthiest meal of my day and responsible for the disappearance of most ALL of my RA/fibromyalgia pain), and I have lost almost 20 pounds the healthy way!
So, I want to say thank you again, Laura. You have been such a blessing in my life. You are the product of the product, and because of your realness, gentleness and also firm reminders, you have so inspired me and been one of the most important reasons for my success today. I love you, dear Jedi Master!
Will you consider being an apprentice? Think about “rinse and repeat.” Also, choose to make a healthy step today if you have been full of doubt or hopelessness. Join a Challenge Group. Give Shakeology a try. I stand behind the Beach Body fitness programs because my life has been changed as a result of being the product of the product. Now I am here in hopes of inspiring and serving you, just like Laura has done for me.
May the Force be with you.
This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.
For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.
Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.
Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.
Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.
Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.
I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?
The Monkey and The Juggler
In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.
One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.
Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.
One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”
When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.
The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.
But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.
The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.
Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for ALL ages. It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function. On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.
The three R’s for maintaining a healthy lifestyle have nothing to do with natural resources and waste management, although those are GREAT things to practice for the environment (reduce, reuse and recycle). Rather, most importantly, the three R’s that need to be a part of our lives consistently are rest, rejuvenate and renewal.
* * * * *
1. Make time for down time. Consider a leisurely walk or a 5-minute mini meditation. Just close your eyes and focus only on your breathing for 5 minutes.
2. Follow a routine. Consider waking up 10 minutes early each day for some simple stretches to start your day rather than jumping into high-speed mode. Stretch and wind down before bed each night.
3. Give your mind a break. Consider participating in an activity that directs your mind to full attention on that task. Fully “be in the moment,” which will give your mind a mental break from a nagging “to do” list.
1. Schedule your “me” time. If we don’t take the time to step back from the chaos, even a few minutes each day, and rejuvenate that emotional energy, we soon run out. We crash. Carve out a few minutes EACH DAY to catch up with friends, paint your nails, read, go for a jog, or even just meditate. That small moment can refill your emotional bucket and ready you for the evenings’ madness.
2. Journal. Take 15 minutes to think of the positives in your day or something you look forward too. Write. Practice gratitude. Being thankful truly is a natural stress-buster and antidepressant.
3. Splurge and get a massage. Not only will this ease sore muscles and release stress toxins from your body, but you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for life!
1. Get creative. Creative renewal is such an important part of the creative process. Every mind goes stale after a while. You need to empty your cup. Do you paint? Start an outline or watercolor.
2. Enjoy the outdoors! Turn on the Discovery channel or tune into David Attenborough or repeats of the late Steve Irwin to get enthused about this wonderful world you inhabit. Better yet, get out into your garden or the local park. Go hiking. Get down on the grass and watch the ants. Follow a butterfly or gaze closely at a pretty flower.
3. Embrace your hobbies! Pleasures can bring a lift to your mood. Because hobbies generally incorporate pleasures into your life, maintaining hobbies can be good for your overall sense of joy in life. As well, gratifications can lead to a reduction in stress and a sense of well-being, and hobbies are usually experienced as gratifications. If you want more happiness and less stress experiences in your life, hobbies provide a direct route to gratifications that can lead to this.
* * * * *
The three R’s are just as important as maintaining a good diet and exercise for our overall well-being, and quite necessary for our joy and health.
Wishing you all a rejuvenating weekend,