I stumbled upon my latest find by accident but maybe it was a divine intervention. My sister and I attended a Keith Urban concert and stayed over in a hotel that night. She had this book in her bag, I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life by Maria Shriver. I noticed it and thumbed through it and later purchased it after my sister ranted and raved over it.
My sister and I at the concert. What a great night we had, dancing, celebrating life and talking most of the night. I love my younger sister so much!
I love Maria Shriver and what she stands for. She is a strong woman, a person who knows what she wants to do( find a cure and an answer for Alzheimer’s, her true mission),who writes poetically with her heart and soul and has featured a Facebook video in the past with Christina Ferrare. These were about a year and a half ago, focusing on healthy foods for a healthy brain and body. What I loved about the videos was that these two are obvious friends and had a charisma and humor that kept you glued to it. I miss them but I’m getting my fill of Maria by reading her book.
Each chapter has various reflections that affect women and can strengthen them. She features joy in the home,gratitude, forgiveness, the power of positive thinking and letting go. Maria describes her battle with empty nest and where it has left her. I can relate to this as I’m experiencing the same thing.
I loved the chapter that focused on mental illness and how everyone has some form of it. It resonated with me because sometimes I feel like my thoughts are out of control and steamrolling the real me. Shriver says that everyone has mental problems and that it’s okay. She further says that “we all need to think about preserving its (the brain) health”.
Lastly I encourage you to buy this book and rest it on your night stand. Read a bit at a time and reflect. Journal your thoughts and reflections after you read. If you enjoy short reflective chapters that make you think, then this is your book.
One last quote from Maria’s book that I love is,
” I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
Just when I think I have my life together something happens that brings me down. Although my heart hurts, I choose not to wallow in self-pity and discouragement from someone’s behavior ( that I took personally). I’m going to get up and move on. I desire to stand tall through it all and pray for peace. I’m choosing to reflect on two of the Four Agreements, don’t take things personally or don’t make assumptions.
Life is full of challenges especially with the many personalities we deal with. Occurrences will definitely happen to you, like me, and they might affect you in some way. What we need to remember is that standing strong in faith and prayer will guide us through the dark tunnel.
I already feel better by writing this down, like a heavy weight has been lifted. Maybe I don’t know the whole story or took something too personally. I forgive and forget and pray that you can too.
Thank you all for being here and investing in my blog! It means the world to me to be part of this community, one that I feel right at home with. Come back again for a more positive post…this one I needed to write, though.
Blessings to you all as you travel through challenges.
This book spoke to me so much that I reread it after finishing it. My neighbor and friend Anita suggested it and lent me the book. After I told her how I loved it, she gifted it to me. It’s a special gift because it has made me think of my learned behaviors and how toxic they are. I’m trying my best to apply these Four Agreements to my life.
The Four Agreements are as followed;
1. Be impeccable with your word. Stay true to your word and say positive words and not negative. This not only applies to talking to others but to yourself! Don’t talk down to yourself but choose uplifting words. If you speak negatives it becomes your reality. Positive words will pave your way to freedom of sorts…away from a living hell.
2. Don’t take anything personally. What someone thinks of you is not your business, did you know that? I have always wanted and demanded that others would like me without judgments and in turn I take situations personally, thinking that maybe their opinions are my fault. No, this isn’t true! What matters is what you think. Not everyone in this life is going to accept or like you and the sooner you face this the better your life will be.
Another side note is that when you take everything personally you are thinking that the world revolves around you! That’s not true. Everyone has a reason for what they do and most of the time it’s not about you but them.
3. Don’t make assumptions. Most of our lives we have made assumptions and made them truths to ourselves. When we don’t really know the truth, our thoughts become reality but that’s not good. Our brain has a mind of its own ( haha, good pun) and is constantly thinking and producing unwanted garbage.
4. Always try your best. This applies to the other three agreements. Living with holding these strong principles orchestrating the way will not always be easy. If you have a tendency to gossip then it may be a hard habit to break. If you fail, get up and try again with a determination that you want to live free of that toxin.
I highly recommend this book to you. It’s a quick read but one to be savored, thought about and reread again. It’s changed the way I’m approaching situations and I love the enlightenment I feel at this point in my life.
I would love to share with you a gift that my Nanny Gould gave me in 1976. It’s Joan Walsh Anglund’s Love is a Special Way of Feeling. On the first page she penned a precious note and her signature, which is written in cursive beautifully. It’s this little inscribed note that stays with me and influenced the importance of signing a book. I’ve mostly signed all my book gifts with the person’s name , the year and my name. I feel that it’s a memory to cherish and will live long after you’ve forgotten the act of giving. All the books we bought for the boys are inscribed.
A few years back I looked up Joan Walsh Anglund on Amazon and ordered the Christmas is a Time of Giving. The adorable illustrations remind me of Holly Hobbie pictures. I keep my little books on my bookcase and look at them now and then. It gives me a warm feeling inside and reminds me of my Nanny Gould. When decorating for the Christmas holiday, I put the little Christmas book out on the coffee table.
When Dylan was a little boy he liked cowboys and possessed the hat, cap guns and holsters. One Christmas we gave him The Brave Cowboy from Anglund. I kept the book along with the other many books the boys had. They’re all hardcover and were kept in excellent condition. I’ve packed them away in the spare room and my future intention is to share them with our grandchildren. Something wonderful to look forward, sharing my love of books with my sons and their children someday!
I firmly believe that special books are like photos and must be treasured. With handwritten messages they are a piece of the past and can be read over and over again!
Do you sign your gifted books for posterity? Do you have gifted favorite books that you hold dear?
This post is dedicated to my brother, David Doyle, who fostered my love of books. Thank you, brother for caring enough to inspire and teach me!
I’ve always been a lover of words, spoken and read. That love was born as early as I can remember and grew even deeper when I realized the precious freedom of speaking with my own voice. As a young girl I gabbed incessantly driving everyone crazy! Then one day this profound devotion evolved when I picked up a book. My older brother, David, influenced me greatly by buying me classics like Little Women and Black Beauty. By becoming an avid reader and indulging in books, I learned how the world worked in so many exciting and diverse ways. The written word served me with many hours of leisure in my bedroom or outside in the yard and still does.
Now that you’ve learned of my adoration of language, you can surely understand why writing is so precious to me! It’s been yet another medium to freely share my thoughts. The babbling overflow spills onto the pages as I type, a freedom of expression that has developed into an appendage like possession. This encompassing passion is fueled by my deep seated NEED to affect readers in some way. I can only wish that others, especially the children I work with at school can feel this empowering emotion and release in writing!
It’s apparent that I’m a lover of words, for they dominate my kitchen in every way! Everywhere you turn a sign, plaque or picture almost shouts words at you and you can’t help but “read the room’ as you go. I never realized this before until I wrote this post. Unconsciously I’ve surrounded myself with little pieces of languages, pieces that heal and spread joy.
While eating a breakfast of toast and honey or a scrumptious bowl of granola and fruit, I can see Live, Laugh, Love staring at me and I feel so blessed to be able to do all those things and I can thank my family for that.
A little quaint postcard bearing an adorable black cat stares at me while I wash the dishes and it says, Someone Loves you. Thanks, Mom for your love and your artwork!
My newest words I acquired recently is my Just Roll With it sign. If I’m having a bad day and ready to cry tears of frustration, perhaps that advice will help me to let it roll. I want to mention that I bought this from a fellow blogger, Jodi at Creativelifeinbetween. I love her blog and her little Etsy store, Mckinney x2 designs. She creates amazing artwork prints and notecards and her daughter-in-law paints the whimsical signs, of which I own two! Check out their store and read Jodi’s beautiful and creative blog at Creativelifeinbetween.com
Do you notice how there is a message or word trend in products? If not, when you shop next, notice the products donned with inspirational words. It appears that consumers, like me , crave these bits of language. These are words that drive success and serve as a motivation for a fulfilled life of happiness.
My little collection of words envelope me in joy, for their inspirational message and little reminders of kindness fill my cup to an overflow. It helps me to go about my day and enhances my life in small yet significant ways! I really love words and how they can grasp at the emotions within you and squeeze tight.
Notice how you can read words everywhere you go! Some suggest hate or division. Others support happiness and instill a foundation of peace. You can choose which messages to live by and to read. Others simply ignore and stay positive.
With this, I hope you have a joyful day filled with meaningful words… whether they are spoken, read or written. Enjoy the message and pause to reflect.
These are just a few things you can do this summer ( in no specific order, just try them all)
1.Have your morning coffee on your deck or outside table! Here in New Hampshire the evenings and mornings are mostly cool. The refreshing air wakes you up and of course that delicious cup of Joe tastes delicious outside! Listen to all the summer birds sing their morning song and be grateful for it. I’ve indulged in this tranquil time twice and intend to do it more this summer.
2. Go for walks before or after work. I find lately I really enjoy walking in the morning while there are less cars and more wildlife. I bring my camera for that sudden photo opportunity and have a little bell to ring to scare off bears. Truth be told I think most bears are more scared of us but the thought of a protective mama bear and her cubs crosses my mind now and then.
3. Add fruit to your lemonade or iced tea pitcher. I was planning on doing this anyway but I was surprised one day when I caught my son Branden making it. His first pitcher was an experiment and the lemonade tasted primarily of watermelon. Since then he’s abandoned the watermelon idea and instead added a small amount of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. It’s super easy…wash them good, cut the ends off the strawberries and pick the little stems from the blueberries. Blend well in your blender and then add to iced tea or lemonade! If you don’t have fresh fruit but you have a lemon or lime, slices of that make the drink special too! Don’t forget to add lots of ice to the pitcher!
4. Fire up the grill and smoker! Marinate beef, chicken, pork, shrimp…you get the idea and grill while you sip a glass of wine. Sit out at your outside table while grilling and enjoy it. Grill corn on the cob or veggies. Sometimes I use foil for potatoes or veggies to grill or I have a grilling pan meant for the high heat to cook sides dishes. It works great and cleans up well.
5.Visit your local ice cream stand! I am lactose intolerant but found that a soft serve cone doesn’t bother me. Yummy! Enjoy that juicy watermelon, sweet strawberries and blueberries, crisp corn on the cob and fresh garden veggies picked from the soil. I know what you’re thinking, that some of my favorite summer things are definitely foods but how can you truly enjoy summer without relishing in it’s cuisine?
6. Go to the lake. Go fishing (only if you have a license), take a boat ride and snap photos and swim in the fresh water. Watch the trout jump and the ducks dive for bugs and relish in the goodness of it all. Bask in the sun and be thankful for the quiet moments away from work and the stresses of everyday life.
7. Visit new places, especially ones that are just open this season. I’ve lived in the north country all my life and I’m just minutes from Mount Washington but I’ve never been up it. This summer Tom and I may ride the Cog Railroad up the Mountain. A hot July day can be cool or even snowy so bring a jacket and take in the amazing views! I’ll keep you posted if we go on this adventure!
8. Read books! Compile a wishlist…I do this on Pinterest and record the books I read every summer. So far I’ve read Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman. I just picked up The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and look forward to it. She is such a great writer and when I read her books, it flows. A great book sucks you in and you don’t want to put it down. If you’re making yourself read a book just to finish it but you don’t ENJOY it, discard it! Reading is for enjoyment so choose something that excites and fascinates you.
9. Do you have a green thumb? Then start a Garden! In our neck of the woods it’s a short growing season but a beautiful way to become one with nature and feel peace in your heart. Perhaps you want to grow a small garden…if so, plant seeds that grow fast like lettuce, spinach, and radishes. You could always garden in containers, with already grown plants, flowers or herbs. I make it a point to browse through my gardens everyday but if you work then try to tend to it a few times a week. If these ideas aren’t possibilities, definitely seek local farmer’s markets. They sell all home grown vegetables and fruits, honey, have cut flowers, hand made crafts, and many other goods.
10.Last but not least spend valuable time with the people you love. Recently a dear co-worker and friend of mine passed away from cancer at the young age of 54. This wake up call further instills the importance of making memories and time count. So far this summer I’ve seen my three siblings at my nephew’s high school graduation, saw my dad and will visit him and Corinne next Friday, my mom, and my friends Laurie and Michelle. My mother-in-law Theo will be visiting in a few weeks and we’ll see Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. I’ll also get to spend some time with Tom’s sister Bev, who I always look forward to seeing. Although I have summers off, I have much to do and garden around home. Even so, I make it a point to see my family and friends who I love because time is precious and I know that making time for loved ones builds relationships.
My favorite photo of my sister and I taken a few years back and Alexis (my son Dylan’s girlfriend who is part of our family now) and Tom and I in Maine.
Have fun this summer and make sure that you try new things..taste different foods, visit new places and learn more about the world around you. Share with me experiences you’ve pursued this summer. I would love to hear from you.
Lately I’m trying to instill more peace and self improvement in my life. About a year and a half ago I bought The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, a suggestion from my dear sister. Barb is a wellness and health coach, but also an advocate for my well being and suggested this read to change certain aspects of my life. See Barb’s brand new inspiring website at Thriveveryday.com. She intends to teach and inspire others to live a great life by physically being fit and healthy.
I’m finally immersed in this book. One statement from The Untethered Soul that is sitting deep within me is this, keep your heart open. Singer says that many people have a process of opening and closing their heart, picking what and who they like and don’t like and act accordingly. When you constantly open and close, it creates a blockage of energy. There’s no release of the negative energy and it causes you problems. Blocking energy is a choice you make to close your heart to the rewards of happiness and love.
Once you live in each moment with a positive energy and open heart, you will grow as a person. Whatever situation arises, keep your heart open to people and new experiences. Don’t label everything between things you like and what you don’t like. Live in the moment and see the good in it. When this habit of closing your heart and building a brick wall happens, stop it. Say no to it and block your heart closing.
As I continue this inner journey I will share truths that I learn about myself. I think it’s valuable to constantly strive to know oneself and find a possible path to peace within. As I read this great inspirational book, I’m unlocking answers about behavior and the heart and it’s capacity to let situations in. I’m also learning that as I read this book many examples apply to me.
I highly recommend this book to you while you embark on your personal journey. My version is on the Kindle, where I can highlight words that speak to me. You may prefer the solid book version with the cover.