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February 2017

Hearts and Words

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“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”
                                                                            — Helen Keller

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“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
                                                            — Leo Buscaglia

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“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
                                                            — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fill the world with love.
Happy Valentine's Day!


Around the World

Last year, at the end of the Month of Letters, I did something I'd been thinking of doing for a couple of years . . .

I signed up for Postcrossing.

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In the past year, I've sent 37 postcards (40 - after 3 more go out today!) out to random Postcrossers around the world -- and I've received 39 postcards from other random Postcrossers in return.

It's really fun . . . to open your mailbox and discover exotic stamps and friendly messages and lovely cards from strangers  all around the world.

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It makes the world seem a whole lot smaller, y'now?

And it gives me a chance to be an ambassador of the United States -- to show strangers around the world that the people of the U.S. are friendly, conversant, and care about reaching out beyond our own borders.   With every postcard I write, I have a tiny little space to send a message of personal kindness and goodwill.

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And . . . the stamps are just awesome!

 

 

 


From Your Biggest Fan

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Dear Elizabeth Warren,

You are my hero.

Really.  It's that simple.

You are brave!  You are smart!  You are savvy!

You are not afraid to speak out, ask tough questions, demand answers, and insist on being heard.

You are awesome!

You keep right on persisting, Senator Warren.

With love,

Your Biggest Fan

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And . . . you might be interested in reading this excellent article with handy tips and wisdom about getting out of the cycle of outrage in a Trump world.  It's really worth the read -- and provides great insight for all of us right now.

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Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To read more love letters today, click here.  And to sign up to receive the weekly prompts, click here.

 


More or Less

Each year, at the beginning of Ali Edwards' One Little Word project, we explore our "word" . . . kind of inside-out.  I always appreciate this exercise.  It helps me connect with my word in multiples ways -- and it helps me think through my intentions for the year.

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One of my favorite thought-exercises is coming up with a list of what we want to do . . . More or Less . . . during the coming year.  Here's my list:

More -- Reflection/Less -- Reaction

More -- Kindness/Less -- Indifference

More -- Saying NO/Less -- Obligation

More -- Risk-taking/Less -- Perfection

More -- Connection/Less -- Complaining

More -- Engagement/Less -- Apologizing

More -- Self-care/Less -- Sacrifice

More -- Simple/Less -- Fussy

More -- Going For It/Less -- Excuses

More -- Strength/Less -- Taking the Easy Way Out

More -- Mindfulness/Less -- Worry

More -- Action/Less -- Sitting on the Sidelines

More -- Doing/Less -- Scrambling

More -- Learning/Less -- Assuming

More -- Water/Less -- Sugar

Give it a try!  This kind of list is fun to put together . . . AND . . . it really sets the stage for how you want to live the rest of the year.

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(By the way, that drawing is one of my own.  Colored pencil.  Rocks on my meditation table.)

 


Action Tuesday: Surviving the Crush

Oh, my.  It is so hard these days - mentally and emotionally - to keep up with all the Really Bad News out there.  (Just scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed is enough to do me in most days.)  (And it has.  Many days.)

So.  As we buckle up for the long haul, it's important to figure out ways to . . . BALANCE . . . (there's my word again) our need-to-know with our need-for-rest.  So we can keep up our strength.  So we can move forward.  

So we don't burn out.  

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We need to figure out how to survive the crush of Really Bad News . . . while maintaining the strength and passion we need to continue taking action.

Here's what I'm doing:

  • I'm recognizing that Being Informed is not the same as Being Immersed.  I'm trying to limit my news-reading to just a few good articles each day (I begin my day with the New York Times daily briefing that shows up in my email inbox), and listen to the latest stories on NPR.  If I start reading all the other . . . stuff . . . well, I might as well just dig a hole for myself in the backyard and crawl in.  I am also limiting my time on social media (especially Facebook).
  • I'm trying to stick to my usual routines.  While it is easy to feel overwhelmed right now, it is best to just keep plugging along with familiar activities that keep us healthy and well-balanced.  So I keep heading to the gym and getting to bed at a reasonable time.
  • I'm looking for opportunties to take action.  I find that if I can do . . . something . . . I feel much better.  I'm glad that there are so many options out there to help me figure out what to DO -- but even that can be overwhelming.  The things I like best: Daily Action (because very focused and concrete), Wall of Us (because good, do-able options each week), my local League of Women Voters chapter (because local).
  • I'm sticking with my daily meditation practice -- because it helps me feel all the feelings.  I think it's really important to allow myself to feel the range of emotions that are surfacing these days, rather than ignoring them or dwelling on them.  Meditation helps me do this; for others it might be prayer or contemplation.  Feelings come and feelings go -- and this is good.  I am not my feelings.
  • I'm working hard to maintain my sense of optimism.  Positive emotions leave the door open -- while negative emotions slam the door shut.  I'm trying to keep things on the positive side by looking for the good and filling my life with people and things that bring me hope and joy.
  • I'm taking care of myself.  Yeah, I know that self-care-is-the-new-black ... but I think it's important to engage in some personal pampering right now, whether it's an afternoon nap, scented hand-cream, or an art class.  It's all about finding some bright spots!
  • I'm finding my people.  It helps me to connect with others who share my concern about what's happening in our country and our world.  Good venting sessions are balm for the soul right now.  Talking with like-minded friends helps process our feelings -- and, we can also talk each other down from the ledge when our feelings overwhelm.
  • I'm working hard at being kind -- to everyone all the time.  We really are in this together, y'know?  So I have decided to be intentionally kind and patient with everyone I encounter -- friends and strangers alike.  It makes me feel better, and I'm hoping it makes the people I interact with feel better, too.

Bottom line?  Take action --- but take care of yourself, too.

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”      --- Noam Chomsky 


Slipped My Mind

Tom was away over the weekend - to curl in a bonspiel up in Canada.  Before he left, he reminded me, "Don't forget about the wine sale on Saturday."  (Because Tom manages our beverage inventory - and would usually hit the sale himself.)

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I had every intention of stocking up at the wine sale.  But I got busy with other things.  And, well.  I missed the wine sale.  It just slipped my mind.

It wasn't until yesterday that I realized . . .
the wine sale wasn't the only thing that had slipped my mind!

Saturday - February 4 - was also the 8th anniversary of my final chemo treatment.  A Big Day.  A Red Letter Day.  A Day I usually set aside for some serious reflection and celebration.

But it slipped my mind, too.  Completely.  I never even gave it a thought.

I think that's really significant. 

Y'know?


Another Friday . . . Another Amaryllis

It's Friday.  The end of a hectic week.  

In fact, things were so hectic around here that I nearly missed this amaryllis bloom.

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Meet Rosy Star.  

Lovely -- but . . . a very, very short bloom-time.  Which was pretty disappointing, actually.  All the buds on both stems opened up at nearly the same time -- and then only lasted a couple of days.  I've never had an amaryllis "go" that quickly!

Oh, well.

A bright spot while it lasted!

 


Hello, February: A Mash-Up

Today is Thursday.  Which means . . . Think Write Thursday.  

But today is also February 2.  Which means . . . Silent Poetry Day.  (Actually, I don't know that Silent Poetry Day is actually A Thing in blog-land anymore; but it is for me.)   

(It also means Groundhog Day.  But I don't care about that so much.  Because winter is winter until it is spring -- whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not.)

So . . . let's see if I can manage a Think Write Thursday/Silent Poetry Day Mash-Up.

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Hello, February.

Welcome!  I'm a big fan.

Why? 

Well, for starters, you're Not January.  January is just so . . . long.  And bleak.  So dark.  

I celebrate your shortness.  
I celebrate the broken resolutions of the January People. (I know this isn't nice.  But it's true.)  
I celebrate the daylight, creeping in, ever-so-slowly, on your watch.  
I celebrate your color - red.  (One of my favorites.)
I celebrate your hearts.  And chocolate.  And a special day of love, right in your middle.

Speaking of love . . . 

Let's have a poem.  Because you, February (a month so focused on all things LOVE), appreciate poetry more than any other month.  N'est-ce pas, Février?

I Take Master Card
(Charge Your Love to Me)

by Nikki Giovanni

I've heard all the stories
'bout how you don't deserve me
'cause I'm so strong and beautiful and wonderful and you could
never live up to what I know I should have but I just want to let you know:

I take Master Card

You can love me as much as your heart can stand
then put the rest on
account and pay the interest
each month until we get this settled

You see we modern women do comprehend
that we deserve a whole lot more
than what is normally being offered but we are trying
to get aligned with the modern world

So baby you can love me all
you like 'cause you're pre-approved
and you don't have to sign on
the bottom line

Charge it up
'til we just can't take no more
it's the modern way

I take Master Card
to see your Visa
and I deal with a Discovery but I don't want any American Express
'cause like the Pointer Sisters say:  I need a slow hand

 

So.  Hello, February!  Let's have a good time.

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Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To see what other bloggers have to say about February, click here.  And to receive the weekly Think Write Thursday prompts, sign up here.

 


Glide on the Peace Train

Click here for today's soundtrack.

Back in December - eager for peace - I climbed on board the Peace Train (aka Project Peace).  I got a bit waylaid for a while. . . busy with this, that, and another thing.  But, eventually, I got caught up.

Last weekend, I finally finished my peace cowl.

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I'd say . . . just in time.

For out on the edge of darkness
There runs the peace train
Peace train take this country
Come take me home again

Glide on the peace train!

(Ravelry details here.)

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PS -- Don't forget -- the Month of Letters begins today!  Let me know if you'd like a letter this month and I'll be happy to write to you.