Who Inspires You to be Good?

Flipping through Oprah’s March 2018 magazine, I saw the question, who inspires you to be good? I’m always striving to live like Jesus would, with kindness, compassion and empathy for my fellow-man. As I age, so does my heart expand with these traits and I work on these because I want to be good, to do amazing things in this world and affect others in a positive light. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect by any means and sometimes I waiver and I  need God’s little  reminders to keep me on track.

 

 

My mom is one of the people who inspires me to be good. She visits people in nursing homes and prays for them and volunteers at a local senior center.

 

 

When I ponder over Oprah’s question, several inspirations come to my mind. First, God inspires me to be good in this life. I may not attend a church in this time of my life but I hope that I live a godly life. I pray throughout the day as a connection to Him and he carries me through every time. I realize that I need to take time to read the scripture and learn as much as I can. It’s a void that I’m going to fill soon.

 

Secondly, like many of Oprah’s readers, I am inspired by my family starting with my mom and dad. Even if I’m nearing 50, it still matters to me what my parents  think of me. I want to make them proud and that desire will never wane!

 

I wish for my husband to be proud that he married me. He doesn’t tell me all the time but I know I inspire him to be his best. We both compliment each other in that way. His calm and loving nature is good for me and the way he treats his clients is heartwarming ( he never charges more year to year because he knows people have a hard time making ends meet).

 

I also care what my sons think and want them to be happy by my example and live that way too.

Here is my dad, a hard-working man who creates wood projects with love and who I’m very proud of.

So I’m inspired everyday by God, my mom and dad, my husband and my sons. These people are who I look up to, who I wish to shine the brightest for and that keeps me going, striving to be the best person I can be. I’ve learned many principles in this life and one of them is to stay inspired and inspire others by trying to be an impeccable person. There are days I fall short of that desire but instead of crying in a puddle of tears, I pick myself up and try again.

As you go about your life, ask yourself  who inspires you to be good? You probably have multiple people as I do. Ask yourself are you being as good as you could? Are you focusing on others or yourself and your needs?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

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Church Bells 🔔

 

My mom’s hometown church, Union Village Vermont.

 

As a young child I remember hearing the church bells ringing as entering church. It was peaceful and magnificent, something that evoked sentimental feelings within me. Back then I knew that it was a signal for worshippers that church was about to commence and that it was a bold celebration of God.

 

 

 

Do you know the history of church bell chimes and what the ringing meant?  Upon reading Eric Sloane’s American Yesterday, I learned that long ago church bells communicated community events such as births and deaths. Every time a male died the bells chimed three times three and for women, three times two. Shortly after moments of silence the bells would ring the number of years the person lived. I wish I lived back then to witness this…a true ceremony and tribute that would send goosebumps up my spine.

 

This church holds much of my family history. My mom grew up in this town and married both my father and stepfather at this church. My maternal great grandparents and grandparents are buried here as well as my Great Uncle Connie.

 

 

 

All church bells were rung three times a day, in the morning, at noon and at 9 o’ clock for a curfew. In later times the bells were ringing every hour and that tradition continues today.

 

 

When I took my boys to a local Congregational church in a nearby town, I learned that the bell ringing was the children’s responsibility. Besides being that, it was a special treat for them to take turns pulling on the thick hemp rope up and down. Each child had to pull with all his might and sometimes a younger one would need an adult’s strength to help. It would pull their little bodies up towards the low ceiling, like an exciting carnival ride, as they chimed the ringer after church services. My boys did it a few times, and as they performed the special Sunday ritual, their faces lit up with a joy that I wish I could’ve bottled up. The beautiful jingle filled the church yard with heavenly music, bringing a thrill to many who heard it.

 

 

 

 

 

This is my former neighbor, Esther Heath and her son Doug. She used to bake pies for the local firemen’s auction and it would be raffled off for as much as $ 1,000!

 

 

 

I’ve had a special experience with church bells during a neighbor’s funeral. This woman, Esther Heath, was very involved in the town and played the organ at the local Methodist church at one time. She was a farmer’s wife who raised two children and stayed active in our small town. I remember a few of our visits when she would crack a funny joke and we both would laugh uncontrollably. She had quite a sense of humor.

 

 

 

After the little funeral ceremony, all the people who paid their respects, either walked up the country road or drove to the nearby church. As we talked quietly, the air felt still. I solemnly  started pondering over my life and how precious time is . While I thought of how blessed I am, the church bells called to the whole town. Amazing! I choked back tears as I walked and listened to the chimes, one after another. I didn’t count how many times it wailed and it didn’t matter to me, just that it rang in honor of this woman. I’ll never forget it or probably experience that again.

 

A photo of our small town hall and the church on the right. Photo from UnionLeader.com

 

 

Long ago church bells jangled for fire warnings and if war had begun. It was a widespread communicator, tolling to spread the town message. Today the bells still toll in celebration of marriages and in honor of the deceased. They announce a church service in honor of God. Church bells, in all their long history, represent community, God and bring people together in ceremony. Thank goodness for them and all that they represent!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

A New Year Ceremony

 

Another year has come and gone and here I am reflecting upon its passing. I find the older I become, the more sentimental I feel of a passing year. It’s a great time to reminisce of special happy moments and to accept not so happy times. No life story is perfect and an acceptance of your situation can accelerate well needed healing. Learning from your past mistakes of the year can help you grow and reflecting upon them can bring peace and resolution. After all, don’t you want to begin a new year without carrying around negative baggage?

A good way to put the past year to rest is jot down your triumphs as well as disappointments. Elizabeth Gilbert suggests creating your own New Year ceremony. My sister-in-law Bev has mentioned this idea before as well.  Take your lists of hurtful situations, resentments and disappointments and burn them. With this sacred act you are sending the negative away and welcoming healing and positive things.

My family, me, my son Bran, oldest son Dylan and his fiancé Lexy.

I’ve decided that I will do this ceremony tomorrow night and welcome my husband and son to do so if they wish. My list includes getting rid of jealousy, ( really an indicator of lack of confidence) fear and a lack of confidence. With sending these negatives into smoke and ashes, I intend to stay in prayer for help overcoming them. Life  is so much more pleasant when you let go of your battles.

This isn’t the best of pictures because of the shadows. It was taken of my family on Christmas Eve. I love them so.

Another New Year tradition our family practiced in the past is the grateful jar. I took a glittery vase I had and encouraged my family members to jot down what they were grateful for and place in the jar. Then we shared them after and I kept them to look back upon. Some of the penned thoughts touched my heart, ” I’m grateful for my family.” ” For my family who pretty much supports me most of the time.” ” I’m thankful for food and our house.” This practice can be a Thanksgiving activity as well.

What New Year traditions do you practice? Do you notice the older you get the more special the gift of a new year is? I do…and I thank God for my health, my family and my job.

Happy New Year!🎉🎉🎉🎉

Wishing you all peace and prosperity in the new year, 2018!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🎉

 

I took a quiz last January and received these words for 2017,

Harmony, Freedom and Happiness

I think we had harmony in our marriage, I wished for freedom of jealousy that’s always haunted me and happiness with myself as well as in my life. 

If I chose three words to focus on in 2018 they would be,

Confidence, Love and Peace

Confidence in my abilities, Love in my son’s upcoming wedding and marriage and Peace in my heart and my corner of the world.

Finding My Way

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.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

The Voice Inside You

This poem was penned by famous children’s poet, Shel Silverstein. Taken from Pinterest.

 

This little poem shouts to my heart like a boisterous yell over the highest mountain. It may be a children’s poem but it applies to us all! Its message is this…seek a confident air to trust yourself and your gut. No one can really tell you what is right or wrong and you must do what is right for you and no one else. I suggest praying for confidence while asking for strength,  faith in yourself and the ability to be decisive. You are your own advocate…with God’s guidance, of course!

I hope you all are having a blessed week! 😉💗

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

Year Two Drop Off

An installment of Empty Nest Notes

 

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I’m so proud of this guy! He’s a happy guy back at college!

 

About three weeks ago my husband, son and I ventured south to our son’s college. It’s Branden’s sophomore year, an easier move than last.  This year we all knew what to expect and thankfully there were no tears as we moved and dropped off.

 

 

 

Imagine a squished family wedged in a jam packed car. Heaping clothes were piled high in baskets and a microwave, mini fridge and crates of supplies were stacked upon each other. My husband is an expert car packer from years of caretaking and chaffeuring, so he was up for the task. By the time all was loaded, a small seat in the back remained where Branden had to squeeze in for the ride. Thankfully Tom could still see in the side mirrors for a safe drive.

 

 

 

Upon arriving, we saw cars with families like ours everywhere. People scurried around with crates, small pieces of furniture and all the college essentials. It was comforting to greet some student helpers with huge laundry wagons to transport Branden’s belongings. It was as simple as signing up and while we waited and ate a quick snack, Branden went to sign in and receive his room key.

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This photo is a vivid memory of last year, Branden’s first year at college.

 

 

 

This year our son lives on the second floor, a floor down from last year. The room is much smaller facing the back side of the building with two windows letting in the lovely light. He shares his room with a friend of his, one person less from last year. Last year’s room was big but needed to fit three grown men.

 

 

 

 

Tom helped Bran haul the mini fridge in and placed it under his bed. It’s cool that the bed is on risers so we raised it, with enough room to fit a few crates and the fridge. His bed was placed on the right side of the wall parallel to his buddy’s bed on the left. He has a desk and chair and a bureau which we placed at the foot of his bed to save space. His closet is good sized, enough to house all his clothes and essentials.

 

 

 

 

We stayed about an hour and then was on our way but not without hugs and spoken well wishes for a great school year. Riding home we talked about Bran’s happy disposition and how this college really is the perfect fit for him. He set his mind on it early in the college search and just knew in his heart that it was home. I can only wish this for any college freshmen, to know what place speaks to them as a second home. As proud parents, Tom and I are blessed that he made the right choice for him without pressures from outside sources.

 

 

 

In a few weeks I plan to bake one of Bran’s favorite cookies, peanut butter chocolate chips to send in a care package. I figure it’s a package of home for him to enjoy and relish in. I talked to my mother in law and she plans to bake when it cools down in Florida. We are setting up a system that we let each other know when we send our packages so that it doesn’t arrive the same week.

 

 

I want to wrap up this post with a small prayer for college students and their families.

Dear God,

Please allow these students to adjust to college life, especially freshman. Give them strength to harbor the change and courage to withstand any obstacle. Help them study hard and make good friends, friends that last a lifetime. Bless them as they live the college life and ease their parents’ minds that all will be well.

In the Lord’s name,

Amen

God Bless you all as you go about your day. I’m spending some time writing today and hope to tackle a few more posts for the coming days.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

 

 

A few months ago I read somewhere that “comparison is the thief of joy.” Ever since I keep revisiting that thought. It stuck with me because truthfully I’ve compared my life to others, when I was younger. Haven’t we all compared our life to another at one time or another? Maybe you’ve had fleeting thoughts of that how unfair it is that a person gets all the good breaks. How come that person seems anointed with luck and you continue to receive the short end of the straw? 

 

 

It all stemmed from insecurities and what seemed to be competition from others. I think I, like many people, have developed a strong sense of self and with that competition and comparison has thankfully fizzled! As that maturity ages like a fine wine, my realization has been that engaging in this is a negative act.

 

 

I know some people who compete with others in everything they do and fortunately I’m not made of  the same cloth. I’m just me and live the way I want, free of that whirlwind race. It shows how unhappy some people are and how comparisons can be toxic and damaging to their lives. 

 

 

 

I try to think of it this way, EVERYONE LEADS A DIFFERENT LIFE! You have been led on a unique path, a collage  of all your experiences that have happened to you. Have faith in your path and remember that your journey is entirely unique.

 

 

 

 

Stop comparing! Be happy with what’s dealt to you and refrain from toxic comparing. Sometimes it seems like others have a free ride, but you don’t know the whole story and they may not be happy. What matters is your joy and truly loving your moments, without longing for someone else’s life. Feel the joy in your life and cherish those special moments without comparing. Once you LIVE and LOVE YOUR life, there’s a freedom and a let go of comparisons.

 

 

 

Relish the joyful times and stay strong during the rough bumps. Maybe you’ve had a hard period and times have tested you but it WILL end. Stay positive, pray for guidance and be happy for people. You will join them in your own blessings soon enough but for now it’s a test. Do you have the strength to pass? I think so!

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️