Thursday, March 31, 2011

95 Years in a Dumpster

"In the end what will have meant the most to you? It is a short journey, yet if lived right, there will be no regrets - only fond memories." ~Mama Hen

My friend George was very dear to me. He was my neighbor when I lived in my first house back in 1997. I immediately befriended him and included him in every gathering I had at my house. His wife had passed away just a couple of years before we had met and he became such a wonderful console when I lost my grandfather and father within a few months time. He became a part of my family. I made sure that he was at every family holiday and my sister and parents also saw him as part of our family. I remember that he mentioned that he had never had a surprise party before. I was all about surprises! I made sure he had the best 85th birthday surprise party at my house. He was so happy and excited when he entered my house to see all of my friends and family yelling "Surprise!" As the years passed and I moved around George always stayed a part of my life. There was not a holiday that he missed at our house. He was at my sister's wedding and was a huge part of her family, as well as at my wedding, which only family and one of my best friends attended. For his 90th birthday we had an amazing party at my sister's house and I made cool T-shirts that everyone wore with George wearing a party hat on it. We all loved George dearly. Then George started to feel unwell. He owned two houses-a beach house and his regular home both within ten minutes of driving. He still drove himself everywhere with the exception of night driving. Living in a University town there are many fast driving kids and one day one of them hit George's car. This was devastating for him and all of a sudden a very distant relation came and got involved in his life. We told him to sell one of his houses and hire someone to take care of him in the luxury of his own home. He could also hire a driver to take him around to all the places he loved to go. However, outside influences took over and he ended up in a convalescent home. He never left his room for any meals because he was so sad. This upset my entire family. There was nothing wrong with our dear friend and he did not have to have his entire life taken over. Within just a couple of weeks the person who had taken over had a dumpster placed outside of his home and had begun to throw his entire life in the garbage. He had asked my mom to pick him up one day to go visit his house. When he arrived and saw pictures of his wife in the dumpster, as well as things that meant so much to him he sunk down and began to cry. All of the things that he had wanted to give to people he cared about had already been taken or thrown out. I had already told George a long time ago that I wanted nothing from him but his friendship and one oil painting he had done of his beloved dog. I knew how much it meant to him and I wanted that sentiment to be passed on on my home. He gave it to me for my birthday a few years back. George died shortly after being placed in the home of a broken heart. He had lived a wonderful life full of love and dear friends. It hurts me to know that he was taken advantage of in the end. His houses sold and over a million dollars was made from those sales. When I think that he did not receive the same love and care that my own grandparents did in the end I cry. Thanksgiving Thursday: 1.) Little Chick and my family. 2.) For my parents having been able to hire someone to take care of both my grandparents within their own home until they passed on. That was their greatest wish. 3.)For having known such a special friend as my friend George. 4.) The incredible love my family has for one another. 5.) For having learned early enough what is truly important in my life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What is Happiness?

"Happiness is a gift. We can obtain a happy spirit once we realize what is truly important." ~Mama Hen

What is happiness? Is it something we create or simply something that comes to us if we are lucky? We spend our days seeking true happiness. However, how many of us really feel content? Does a new car, piece of jewelry, house, vacation, accomplishment, new job, etc. fulfill our souls? Or is it love? Being loved by someone who truly cares and being able to give love back that keeps that smile upon our face and within our hearts. Our lives fly by in a flash! Will we be able to say that we were completely filled up in the end? Or will we have an emptiness- a void - that missed something so imperative while on this journey? Little Chick was my greatest dream and I feel full of joy and abundant love having had this dream come true. However, with my daughter comes endless worry and prayers that she may have the happiest life. This at times can take away from my feeling complete happiness, because I become so consumed with worry and wanting the best, as well as protecting her. I try my hardest to create a childhood for her that she will look back on with the fondest of memories. Filling each moment with love, giggles, and plenty of fun adventures. I believe that it takes a concerted effort to make sure that our lives stay filled to the brim with happiness. We often can lose sight of what truly will give us that feeling. Material pleasures may for a short while, but it is our positive and loving relationships that will create a lasting sensation of happiness that will stay with us for all of time.

Little Chick and I had fun today at the beach where I went with my mom when I was a little girl.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smile Sunday

"A smile costs nothing, but next to love it is one of the most valuable treasures we can be given and possess." ~Mama Hen
This was Little Chick's first smiley face she created for me last year. I love this picture! It reminds me of how proud I was when she made it and how happy she was to see my enormous smile as she gave it to me. Life presents plenty of opportunities for us to be glum, but there are even more opportunities to send a smile someones way and to brighten their day! Today try to make it a point to send some extra smiles to the people you see along the way. You never know just how much they may need it. Have a great Smile Sunday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love and Thanksgiving Thursday

"Love is the beginning, the middle and the end. It is everything!" ~Mama Hen
To love and to be loved is everything! Without it what would there be? Who would we be? It is the one thing we all crave and strive for in our lives. However, we often can take it for granted. Life has a way of throwing stress and responsibilities in our way and we can become sidetracked from what is most important. Loss has a way of reminding us that we need to tell the people we love just how much they mean to us as often as possible. On this Thanksgiving Thursday I want to make sure that the people who are so special to me know it! Have a wonderful day and make it a point to call a loved one and simply say "I love you!"
Thanksgiving Thursday
1.) Little Chick and my family.
2.) Love. Thank God that I have always known what it feels like to be loved and to be able to love.
3.) For being able to use technology to stay in touch with the people that are so dear to me. It allows us all to spread love.
4.) Unconditional love. To know what it is and to know what it feels like to have it. Priceless!
5.) True love. To understand what it is and to not take it for granted.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To Be A Child

"As we get older we long for the innocence, purity, freedom and carefree days of our youth. However, the life of a child these days is filled with schedules, academic pressures, unbelievable expectations and simply keeping up with their peers. Where has the simplicity of mud pies, lazy days and just being a child gone?"
~Mama Hen
As much as I try my hardest not to get wrapped up in the high expectations being placed on our children today, I have to admit that a parent almost has to stay abreast to what is going on within their community regarding children so that their own child may feel that they fit in amongst their peers. I loved my youth and the carefree days that went with it. I remember playing outside with dirt, sticks and my bike for hours. I try to share this with Little Chick by spending as much time outdoors exploring as possible. My fondest memories included family, laughter, and simply time spent together. Last night while looking for some fun preschool art activities to do with my daughter I came across the "What should my four year old know" section. So I clicked on it and found an absolutely wonderful site by Alicia Bayer that summed up exactly how I feel. Here is an excerpt from the article that I hope you will click on and read when you have a moment (Magical Childhood):

Alicia Bayer's list of what a four year old should know:
"She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn't feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he'll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she's wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it's just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that-- way more worthy."

The article goes on to give a list about what parents of a four year old should know. It is so worth reading as a reminder of what is truly important. I think we all can get so wrapped up in the "expectations" that are placed on us all in today's world. If we can just get back to making mud pies in the dirt and collecting pretty rocks and leaves we would all find a little more peace in this fast paced society we are living in. I would love to "slow down" a bit and smell the roses. Time has a way of flying by and the time for being a child is getting shorter and shorter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Accepting the Heart

"Sometimes the heart does not come in the package we may have imagined. It takes acceptance of a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. The greatest love may be right before our eyes. By opening our minds and hearts we open the door to a tidal flow of love." Mama Hen
I have found that everyone has a heart. Sometimes we may need to dig deeper to find it. Expectations of what we think we should find and what is actually there can hinder our ability to see the tremendous love that everyone carries within their hearts. We do not know the journey others have traveled and how it may have effected their outright warmth and willingness to give of themselves. However, I truly believe that by opening our eyes to all the shapes, colors and sizes of the many hearts walking among us we will enrich our own lives, hearts and souls.
Some hearts are right beside us.
Some show its beauty in the different seasons of our lives.
We all have different shaped hearts.
Different sizes. Different journeys.
Different colors and styles.
Different hues.
Some are weathered.
Some are hidden.
Some are scarred.
Some are warm and cozy.
And some are just as sweet and loving as can be.
We just have to be open to picking them up and letting them into our own hearts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spreading Kindness

"When you open your heart to spread kindness you are creating a profound ripple effect of joy." ~Mama Hen
This morning while I was getting my coffee at our local bakery, there was a little elderly gentleman behind me in line holding onto his bagels so sweetly. When it came time for me to pay I said with a huge smile on my face "I would like to pay for the nice gentleman as well please." In a second the girl at the register put on a big smile and the man also had a smile and twinkle in his eyes. He said, "You do not have to pay for my bagels. Why are you?" I replied without hesitation, "Because it is a nice thing to do. Enjoy them and later on you can pass on some kindness to someone else." He smiled and gave me a big thank you. Spreading a kind gesture is so easy and can have such a lasting effect on all who is involved. I was happy as I left and the little old man was smiling as he entered his car. Spread the love! You never know who you will effect in a positive way and just how important it may be at that moment for them to receive an act of kindness.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sharing the Love - Thanksgiving Thursday

"To carry on the tremendous love of a lost one is to share the love they so warmly instilled in us with another."
~Mama Hen
Little Chick has asked me every day to take her to the Humane Society so she can see the baby animals (all animals are baby animals to her). As hard as it has been she has asked if we could go into the room where they keep the dogs. So on the first day we went in and saw a beautiful Siberian Husky named Jake. Little Chick is in love with this dog. On Tuesday when we visited him again she said "Mommy I am shaking!" I asked her why she was shaking and she replied "I am shaking because I LOVE this doggie." Yesterday we bought a couple boxes of treats for all the animals and Little Chick was so excited to share some delicious snacks with her furry friends. It was not easy spending time with this sweet dog, because it sure brings up some emotions about our own dog, as well as concern for all the animals there. Jake is twelve and is not so friendly with cats. As much as I did think about it, I simply can not take this doggie home. If we could, Little Chick and I would take ALL of the animals home with us. However, on the way in we saw four new kittens sitting in the front just meowing at us to hold them. Of course we had to give them hugs and kisses. One particular cat had my nieces beautiful eyes and I called my sister and said she had to come right away and get this kitten. Little Chick fell in love with an orange kitty which she asked the lady if she could hold him in the little room where people meet their new animals. The next thing I knew, my sister arrives with her daughter and they fall in love with the cat I called them about and during this whole time Little Chick is not letting go of the orange kitten. She said, "Mommy, when do we get the collar?" So, yet another kitty has joined our family. Little Chick named him Ginger. It was a wonderful exciting day with the incredible joy of rescuing more baby animals.
Treats for all our furry friends.
We love Jake.
Little Chick plays with the kittens.
While we were there this little kitty found a home.
Little Chick's kitten hugging her cousins kitten. So adorable!
Little Chick shows her cousin her birthday gift for her.
Two super loving mamas with their baby kitties.
I love you Ginger.
Getting ready to take our kitties home.
Little Chick introduces Ginger to Belle and Cookie.
Grandma Hen visits her new grandkitty.
Thanksgiving Thursday
1.) Little Chick and my family.
2.) Little Chick's overflowing love for all animals and for the ability to provide a home to another baby animal.
3.) My wonderful mom who was so sweet to help me with our kitties when we went on our trip.
4.) Playgrounds and better weather!
5.) Blogging friends who always give words of encouragement and warmth.


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