They Called Me Sunshine

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

-Maya Angelou

My prayer was: Lord, I don’t know what my future holds but show me where I’m needed and I’ll go.

It was an eight week assignment at the assisted living/memory care facility. I was stepping in for someone who was out for surgery. I wasn’t guaranteed a permanent spot there at the end but decided I’d take the chance and the opportunity to do something vs. nothing at the time. The pay was half the amount I was used to but I recalled my prayer and decided to be obedient to what was being presented to me.

At first it was pretty daunting. I had never had a role like this before. With little guidance it was a sink or swim situation. So at first, shyly, I began to swim. I figured I would just be myself and do it the way my heart lead me. After all, how hard can an Activities Assistant role be? I thought back to all the things in my past that helped prepare me for this. I’ve led bible studies at my church and home , taught women at the community center how to arrange flowers, gone to yoga classes, headed up charity parties in the travel industry, learned to paint, etc. Surely I can enrich the lives of seniors for eight weeks. We had chair exercises, great discussion groups and game times with lots of laughs. People from the outside would come in and perform for them as well. I felt like for the most part, they were happy and well taken care of.

However. there were many things that bothered me. Even though the facility was lovely, I wondered if it was normal to smell certain things in that environment. There were lots of smells, lack of circulating air, a basic dimness. I also wondered why there weren’t more opportunities for them to have truly fresh fruits and vegetables at their meal times. Perhaps there were medical reasons why they were served mushy greens. It broke my heart when they would ask me, “do you think I’ll ever get out of here?” Sometimes they would sit in their wheelchair and look out the window by the front door, knowing they could no longer come and go as they please. I could see the turmoil in family member’s eyes when they would come to visit their loved ones. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for them as well. Having a parent that once cared for them is now incapable of caring for themselves.

I noticed how time seemed to be in slow motion there. The residents were never in a hurry. How could they be? They were always in the moment. That world is all they know now. It made me slow down as well. All they want is for someone to talk to and to know who they are. They are not empty shells like we see them. They all have a life that they lived and experiences that led them to this point. I also observed the workers and the way they lovingly cared and spoke to the residents. It gave me hope in humanity again in this culture where everyone seems to hate one another lately.

Another funny thing happened a long the way. While I was trying to enrich their lives, they unknowingly began to enrich my life. I learned all of their names which is a big deal for me. (My children often remind me how bad I am about remembering people’s names.) I also began to learn their stories and personalities.

I am amazed at how their faces would light up when they would mentioned a lost loved one and I would sit down and say “tell me about her.” I began to look past the things that I saw with my eyes and smelled with my nose. I began to see with my heart instead and it was a humbling experience. I even made one of the “tough” residents come to the activities and stay a lot longer than he normally would have. So when he smiled and actually started talking to the others, something inside of me beamed. When he would roll away in his wheelchair, the other’s would say: “how in the world did you get him to come?!” Two of the residents pulled me aside before I left and told me what a difference I made while I was there and that they’d never forget me. My eyes filled and I thought to myself, I will never forget you either.

I had four or five of the residents tell me I was like sunshine. Even one of my co- workers called me that. It made my heart feel happy. I hope I really did spread a little sunshine in my short time there and made someone feel loved, and important, because they really are.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you. Thankyou so much for following and supporting me through my journey of becoming a publisher author. It is something I knew I had to do …a calling if you will. I hope the book blesses all those who read it.

2019 had a lot of ups and downs. My sweet husband and his family lost his dad in July. He always made me feel special in little ways and I will always cherish those moments especially since I grew up without a dad. I know and believe without a doubt that he is watching over his family and is with Jesus now.

My children yet again went to a funeral of someone’s life that was so abruptly taken in a senseless act of crime. In a world of such turmoil we must remember how precious our time here with eachother is.

We lost our sheltie after 14 & 1/2 years. I never really considered myself a “pet person” but I have to admit, I loved that sweet little mellow dog with the bark that sounded like a wounded seal. I can’t tell you how many times I would hug him when I was lonely or worried or hurt by others. Maybe God is like that too. His love is so unconditional.

I admit, I may no longer attend church like I did when the kids were younger but the church resides in me. Instinctually I think that’s how it should be because whatever we hold inside of us, eventually radiates out of us, onto those around us.

Merry Christmas and may you all find unconditional happiness and joy no matter what your circumstances are today. ♡

This entry was posted on December 24, 2019. 2 Comments

Burnout Mode

I think worry and anxiety often times comes from the fast-paced lives we live in now. Over the last ten years I’ve seen it get worse in the workplace. Companies rather overload their employee’s with unreasonable expectations, than hire an extra person so the business has better productivity done by employee’s that give their best vs. their last morsel of sanity. Since they are paying that ten or fifteen- year employee a lot of (well-earned) money, who cares if they leave? Then they can just hire someone younger and pay them a lot less money. Meanwhile the tenured employee who put their heart and soul into being loyal, suddenly feels, burnt out, inadequate and let down to know that the company really didn’t care about loyalty at all. Makes you wonder if it’s all worth it, doesn’t it?
As a society, we no longer know how to just rest and renew our bodies, our souls and our minds. We just keep going until the point of exhaustion.
I knew this was the life I was living for years. I didn’t feel like I had the luxury of relaxing and resting. There were too many bills to be paid and things to take care of. Nobody was going to swoop in and solve all my problems.
So much of our days are comprised of our internal thoughts which in turn flow out of us with our words and actions. Common sense tells me that if we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, then that is the energy that will keep coming back to us. But what if you are doing your best to stay positive? What if you are doing your best and it still isn’t good enough for those around you? In your job, your family life, your finances, etc? Sometimes we can do our best and it still doesn’t seem to move the marker. It’s a defeating thought and reality at times, but you still keep going through the motions thinking things will change.
Before you know it, you are in burnout mode. Nothing feels joyful anymore and if it does, it seems forced. You find yourself counting down the days to the weekend, hoping that maybe you will be able to actually enjoy something. Life seems to be an endless toil of all work and no play.
In looking back now, I realize that my body let me know that enough was enough. For some it is stomach pain, others experience migraines, or have anxiety issues. Trust me, your body will always let you know. For me, it was a cancer diagnosis that stopped me dead in my tracks. From that point on my perspective on everything changed.
It changed the way I ate, the way I interacted or chose to NOT interact with certain people in my life. It made me want to clean my house and get rid of all the stuff I didn’t need or value any longer. It made me realize that we never really do know when our time will come to say goodbye. It made me realize that I rather make more memories than have more stuff.
It also gave me more power to chose what really mattered to me and what didn’t. I no longer care if I please this person or that, but I do care if I show love, even in hard situations. I no longer feel the need to explain why or why not to anyone, but then again that could be a sign of my age as well.
It also made me feel weak in a way because we are only in control of so much. Everything else will happen whether we want it to or not. The key is how we react to our situation. That is where the real power is. Does it matter if you work at a local coffee shop or that you’re a doctor or a lawyer? Does it lessen the significance of your soul or the role you were put here on earth to fulfill? NO.
The real power is writing your own script in your own movie that is called your life. The people who judge you are judging out of some darkness they feel towards themselves.
If you want to be a waitress, or go for that degree, ask yourself why? Is it to make you happy, or everyone else happy? Because last I checked, everyone else does not have to live your life, you do. Burnout mode is not living the life we were put here for. If things are hectic, take time to schedule your downtime, just like you would a work meeting. Take a day trip, or walk around your neighborhood. Do anything that makes you feel alive and connected. Spend uninterrupted time with your children without your phones or tablets within reach. Be present in the moment. We have forgotten how to do that.
Burnout mode robs us of joy and steals our health if we let it. We only get one life to live so why not make the most of it even if it takes small changes over a period of time to give us some relief. We all deserve some level of happiness. Sometimes we just have to create it for ourselves.

This entry was posted on December 4, 2019. 2 Comments

On The Inside

Sometimes I’m not as strong as they think I am. On the inside ..i’m afraid. Afraid they don’t really know my heart.

On the inside I reflect back to all the years, days and moments that they were my world. They still are.

On the inside I’m afraid that they don’t realize that time may be short and we don’t know it.

On the inside I am human, sometimes hurt by seemingly innocent, yet harsh words. But I remain silent while my heart breaks off into a little piece of jagged edge.

On the inside I still love as strongly as I did when they were little.

They don’t realize that as my nest becomes empty, so does my heart. Empty of the life I built for them, empty of the patterns our daily lives became.

But it’s ok. On the inside I know that nothing stays the same and this was the goal all along. To raise them, and enable them to spread their wings and live their lives.

On the inside I hope they don’t forget about me. All those car pools, birthday parties and back scratching marathons at bed times. All the scraped knees, hugs, kisses, fights and whining. All the temper tantrums along with all of the thousands of proud moments I had when I watched them grow.

May they know on the inside just how much I love them.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Dori

Are you there God?  It’s me, Dori.  I haven’t talked to you in so long other than a passing thought here and there. Although I guess there were my many requests to release me from the constant turmoil that my days ruminated in.  I remember the days I would walk around those walls that held me captive, begging you to release me, and you did. You released me in a very unexpected way,  but I thank you.  I thank you for the unknown road in front of me, and the husband you put beside me.  What a blessing he has been in my life.

Never in a million years would I have guessed this would have been your way.  Never in a million years would I have guessed I’d be sitting here today with this life.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The failures, the mistakes, the loneliness, and even the cancer.

Are you there God?  My eyes have water in them at the very thought of your magnificent power.  It has been said you are the Living Water.  Perhaps that is why our eyes fill with tears when our hearts break or even when we feel joy.  You are all around us and in us but the world forgets about you.  But today, Lord, as water fills my eyes I remember you.

Are you there God?   I see you when my husband squeezes my hand and tells me:  “Don’t worry we’ve got this, we will figure it out.”  He provides that unconditional love that I never thought I would ever be lucky enough to have.  You are there God, in him, in myself, and everywhere I am.  We are all right where we are supposed to be at this very moment.  I want to tell the world that you are there for everyone should they reach out and search for you.  (If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13 NLT)

Are you there God?  Are you silently waiting for us to shut off the radio or the television?  Are you there when we step outside into nature  and are surrounded by everything you created?  Yes, I believe you are, you really are.

 

 

 

All Roads Lead Back to You

Who is God? Is He a he, or a she? Is He pure love, energy, our protector, our teacher? Is He the “Universe,” or all of the above? In grade school I learned that He is the Alpha, the Omega, no beginning no end. Infinity. Perhaps everything that happens to us in life comes full circle for a reason. The good times, the bad times. The victories, the failures, and oh the losses. Perhaps they all lead back to the One who wants only the best for us. Our experiences mold us into who we are and the roads we take.

How can we not see Him in everything around us? Even the sun, when someone takes fixed position photographs of it, taken at the same time of day over a year, results in the infinity symbol! A coincidence? I doubt it.

Sometimes life is scary. We are afraid of new roads so we cling tight to the old roads and the familiarity of them. We hold on with a death grip even when we know there isn’t an ounce of joy left walking that path any longer. We become like robots, listening to what we are told to do. Wear this, don’t wear that. Deadlines and unwanted commitments. More and more is piled on our plates and shoved down our throats. Yet, we grab our fork each day and shove another bite down. We stay in that “comfort” zone because it pays the bills, meanwhile our soul is snuffed out. Happiness eludes us while we stay on the rat wheel, then next thing you know your body will remind you of the torment you’ve put it through for so long. It shows up as illnesses, anxiety, depression, a lack of joy. We don’t have time for the things that really matter and the enemy laughs at us, saying “keep on walking this path, you sucker!”

Until. Until you’ve had enough. Until you say no to the constant demands and yes to you. Yes to your soul. Yes to those little things that have been put on hold for so long. You find a way. You find multiple ways to make it happen and not according to the way other’s think you should. It is not all in our own strength. Sometimes we have to look up and around us at all the signs and people in our lives that love us to know that we are not alone in anything we do. Hard to believe at times, I know. I have felt so overwhelmingly alone many times. But the road keeps bending me, molding me. Keep walking forward I tell myself. The rearview mirror is just that. I only look back to remind myself of the lessons life forced on me.

We have the power to create anything we want. Our definition of the good life might not match anyone else’s, but you will know when it starts to happen. You will embrace each day. Even if you worry about the details of the “how’s,” try to focus on right now, today as much as possible. We are all just walking on the road to infinity any ways….back into the arms that created that sunshine and created us.