Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Understanding Friendship



“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
Aristotle

A good friend fits like a glove. Think of it more like a pair of hands folded together, fingers entwined. The hands are in a harmonic union because the mind is content. They are not separate like two fists. They are cooperative when building a model. They are creative when being crafty. They are friendly when they are caring. They are supportive when reaching out to another pair of hands. When clasped to another, they are non-judgmental. They are nurturing when making a meal. They are in communion when folded in prayer.

How does a soul inhabit two bodies? Easy.  When we are one with God.

Cathy


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finding Common Ground



The term ‘common ground’ indicates that two sides agree to disagree. The commonality of that statement is that both sides are already agreeing that something is wrong. The fact that they are speaking at all represents the mindset for a need to correct a difficult situation. Common ground is already at hand.

Very often the greatest time spent is that of getting to know and understand the needs of the two sides. It is time well spent. Each side may have a ‘checklist’ of needs, but do they know the ‘why’ and ‘how’ the checklist came to be? The ‘getting to know you time’ will bring together the human interest dimension to the equation of negotiation.

We can also bring to the table a list of ‘how-to-negotiate’ skills. This list may include cooperation, understanding, forgiveness, kindness, hope, gratitude and caring. Knowing the skills is not enough. Applying them is a must. Knowing shows the skills, talking states intent, but negotiating, the give and take, is the action to seal the deal.

Recognition through the art of negotiating states that your values are as important as mine. It also represents that two heads can be, and usually are, better than one. Two bright ideas when brought together can shine and reflect even greater light like sunlight through a crystal prism.



Common ground can light the world.

Cathy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Roads & Paths


As you journey through life


there may be some steep hills to climb,


some times when the road seems treacherous and you aren't sure which turn to take...


times when you feel like you are on the brink of falling,


and there may be many curves in the road.


As you make your way through the ups and downs of 2012,


May you know God's presence with you through each tunnel,


every steep climb,


every curve,


in the beautiful mountaintop experiences with Him,


and through the slippery storms of life;


May He walk with you down through the valleys and up the mountains,


take your hand and guide you through to the light,


put a hedge around you to keep you safe,


help you to find joy and excitement in the roller coaster ride,


and fill you with amazement at the beauty He provides along the way.


Take time to smell the flowers,


To admire His handiwork


along life's railway;


And may His love flood over you, fill you, and overflow in praise to Him for all He's done!

Amazing.....
ISN'T   HE!!

*

Thank you to Rosemary for this lovely photo essay.

Cathy

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Haiku: Harbor Lights




Difficult travel,
Success in survival with
Help from the natives

Pilgrims, patriots
New beginnings with freedom
And militiamen

New shores, new ideals
Starting new community
Immigrants welcome

Built for the future
A city of champions
Boston, the Bay State

Photos: Google search




Cathy

Friday, February 24, 2012

Regrets




Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda 
BY 
Shel Silverstein

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas 
Layin' in the sun, 
Talkin' 'bout the things 
They woulda coulda shoulda done... 
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas 
All ran away and hid 
From one little ‘Did’.

Did you do this? Did you do that? Did you ask yourselves these questions today? Ever?

Regrets can weigh you down. The attachments to ‘whatever’ can hold you back from going forward. Rethinking the past doesn’t guarantee you 20/20 hindsight. You can bias your own life and history by editing the ‘instant replays on demand’ in your head. Memories aren’t always accurate.

Do we only review regrets because we are getting older? Isn’t it best to review daily to dump the garbage and promise ourselves to make tomorrow better? Edit the bad, forgive, aspire for better, then forget and move on. That’s the best way. Don’t look back unless it is to remember a lesson for the sake of not making the same mistake.

Erma Bombeck made a list of “Regrets” in her life. She did this upon learning she was dying from cancer. It reads more like ‘stop and smell the roses’, to find more happiness in her life, taking time for not just others, but for herself as well. It’s priceless. It’s still going around on the internet and our minds. This wonderful humorist gave us a vision of happiness with this wonderful legacy.

What can you do now that will NOT be a regret for tomorrow? What can you do now that’s been stumbling about in your head as “woulda, coulda, shoulda”? What can you finalize your day with as “DID”?

Thanks to Linda for the inspiration of “Top 5 Regrets”.

Cathy

***



Daily Good, Top 5 Regrets: http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=188

Everybody Loves Raymond ‘Editing’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVPcklJ8M0w


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Values And Virtues


We all have a certain perspective of life and the way in which we fit in. We do gravitate to some ideals more than others as well as varying causes that agree with our demeanor. There are as many causes as there are needs on Earth. From rain forests to whales, global warming to global hunger, these causes catch our attention and tug at our hearts. They hopefully get our minds headed in the same direction…what’s better for the world.

As we value the cause, the virtues needed to amend the imbalance should surface. We can dig in and get our hands dirty with community gardens, lend a kind ear for help and support to those in need or spread awareness for the support of our environment through public education.

Values and virtues go hand in hand when it’s for the greater good. Once you make it a habit, it will come easier. Caring habits weave inspiration through the community. Caring is sharing.



Cathy



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alma Mater


This being Ash Wednesday, thoughts of Lent may be your first thoughts for this blog. With our parochial background, we surely were prepared to follow Christ through the Lenten season in preparation for Easter. The understanding of service to others through sacrifice and giving of one’s self was, and is still, paramount in our thoughts and lives.

In hindsight, I prefer to think of our school and what it represented, Mother Mary. It was our nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph, in service to teaching youth for a better future that comes to the forefront. They in service at our school, St. Mary School and through our parish, Immaculate Conception Church, followed in Mary’s footsteps. Mary had to understand her guidance through Archangel Gabriel, in order to help Jesus find his footing in this world. She nourished him for his entire life. She witnessed his teachings and supported him until his passing.

She led the way for her son. In following her life, we honor her and her son. During Lent, we are reminded of suffering and overcoming the difficulties presented to us in our life on Earth. I prefer to think and remember the triumphs over the difficulties. The dignity of humanity reigns triumphant through unconditional love. The relationship of love exemplified by Mary and Jesus holds fast today. It is also held fast by those who choose to mirror them.



Alma Mater means ‘nourishing mother’. It would appear that our friendship as SMFs has been nourished in us by our schooling. This nourishment was also introduced to us by our families for choosing this education for us. This choice was made an option by our parish, dedicated to Mary. In turn, our teachers, The Sisters of St. Joseph also chose to follow in her footsteps as teachers of a Christ-like life. Last, but not least, we have chosen to continue our lives in service to Mary and Jesus by our continued friendship, motherhood and in service as mothers and extended family mentors to others. It would seem that the meaning of ‘Alma Mater’ is so aptly associated with both our parish and school…dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church.

Cathy


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

" Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler "


Yes, it’s Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! " Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler. " Mme. Slack * would be so proud! “Let the good times roll!”



Growing up with a parochial school background, there was no talk of Mardi Gras. As SMFs, we were being prepared for Lent, Ash Wednesday, repentance and the upcoming Easter season.

Mardi Gras and New Orleans is a great place to celebrate the diversity of a multi-cultural and historic city. On this day, everyone gets to sing, dance and eat foods that represent their mixed culture. Creativity abounds with the Krewes, costumes and floats. About six months of preparation is needed to prepare for the parade. Since a little razzle-dazzle doesn’t hurt, a ‘LOT of RAZZLE-DAZZLE’ must be better! It’s at least a lot of fun! Even the food and costumes are the same colors! How fun is that!

The birthplace to Jazz and Zydeco must be doing something right! Let the music and gumbo flow…jambalaya too! Watch out for that hot sauce! Let the carnival begin!

Have fun with the websites below: live parade web cams, info and food.

Enjoy!

Cathy




Mardi Gras Info: http://mardigrasday.com/



Satchmo, What a Wonderful World: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2VCwBzGdPM

Satchmo, When The Saints Go Marching In: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTuHJfGAMnM&ob=av3n


Monday, February 20, 2012

The Importance of Having Fun


We’ve all heard the adage “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” Well, we SMFs have done our best to make the opposite true. As windows of opportunity allowed, we did get together as often as possible to make the most of life and friendship.

This story takes three post-grad Fairies, by more years than I care to mention, on vacation together. It places us during February vacation week at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire for an impromptu winter escape for just moms and kids.

It’s about friends and families having fun together. It’s about making the most of snowy weather rather than just shoveling it! It’s about adventure with people that have not been together before and finding the best common denominator for the occasion…both moms and teenagers!

Pack the bags, stuff the gear, clamp the skis, grab the groceries and hit the road. DRIVE three hours. Get the condo key and let the excitement begin! Tickets, schedules and lessons at hand and the first day has begun. A loving kiss on each frozen cheek and we had three teenagers at three separate slopes with the moms heading for Dunkin’ Donuts making for a great start. With coffee in hand, the moms head back to the condo to straighten up, prepare the meals and enjoy as much quiet and relaxation as we can.

As we pull into the driveway…”who has the key?” The plan was to give one key to the kids and keep the other two for us; but, who to whom was the question. Three moms sat in the car knowing all three had given the keys to each child! Laugh we did. Make the most of it we did. Near frozen by dusk, the three teens arrived home to find us sitting in the car…no dinner, hot coffees gone and all six of us ready to make a mad dash for the bathroom!

With a tiny kitchen, it was necessary for us to perform a ballet for all to chip in and get supper prepared. Strewn about were thawing mittens, wet socks frost bitten noses and the most welcomed warm meal ever eaten. “Who wants to go for the night run on the slopes?” We laughed, exhausted. Drag out the board games instead. We hoped there were enough pieces for six players. Then again, there’s always Madlibs! Sleep came early and better plans were made for the next day.  What a great way to start a vacation!

The time together was perfect as it was all impromptu, spontaneous and without stress even with the long lines for the lifts. Fun was had by one and all, in spite of me wiping out on the bunny slope! The weather was great and we did finally hit the night slopes in minus thirty degree temps for tubing in the dark. The night lifts were amazing to see above the tree tops. It was like being a shooting star!

All these years later and we can still laugh like it was yesterday. The proof is in the pictures! Laugh well, laugh often and enjoy each and every day!

Cathy









Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kindness


“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” John Ruskin



What price can be placed on acts of kindness? When a kindness is done for another, very often a simple act is priceless. What price is paid in return…a smile, handshake, a hug, a thank-you note? Again, some things you can’t put a price on.

Kindness is not a state of mind. It is a state of being. You can ‘think’ a kindness, but it only becomes a ‘state of being’ when you act upon it. It reflects your thought, behavior, demeanor and charitable act towards another. It’s complex. It’s not just a single act but a series of steps and actions until the kindness is completed towards another.  It does not demand reciprocity.

Kindness is the complete giving of one’s self. It is also universal as it is a virtue recognized around the world. Given this, you would think there would be more of it. If you agree, try ‘being’ in a state of kindness more often. The world will welcome it.

Cathy

Quote:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reflections


As we finish out a week of love inspired once again by Valentine’s Day, we should reflect what we reflect regarding love. Does the love we receive reflect the love we give? Do we mirror our expectations?

With so much emphasis placed on Valentine’s Day, we sometimes forget that there are three hundred sixty four days to go till the next year. That’s a lot of time of reflection. As you evaluate your own love you will notice the love returned.

When you light up another’s life, your life in turn becomes brighter.



“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton

Cathy


Friday, February 17, 2012

Love’s Embrace


“Diplomacy is the art of the possible.” Star Trek TNG

Yes, I’ve said it before, I’m a Trekkie. You can still pick up ‘pearls of wisdom’ from the reruns. Gene Roddenberry was full of sound advice.

If diplomacy is the art of possibilities, how do you achieve success? Patience, understanding, empathy, tolerance and time to meld them together are a good place to start. In order to solve a problem, we must first study the situation. We must strip the surface patiently. We must remove false visions by removing rose colored glasses. Perceptions through prisms can distort reality. With loving efforts applied over time, diplomacy can be achieved for the joint happiness of all parties.

Diplomacy put into action is a contract implying successful change. It is not always swift. The Grand Canyon wasn’t created in a day; but over time we can now behold its beauty and wonder. The end result is worth it…BUT…is it done? Perhaps it’s work in progress, like us, and we haven’t realized it yet.



I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo

As Michelangelo, we must look within, see our own beauty, and set ourselves free. When we look around and see the beauty within all, we will realize that we can set all free, thus creating a beautiful world.


Cathy



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Residual Love


While basking in the residual effects of Valentine’s Day, I came across this quote online:

“A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.” Thomas Carlyle

The love we receive on Valentine’s Day, as well as all other days of the year, prepare for each and every consecutive day to come. Focusing on the affairs of the heart with each person you meet will in turn affect your heart. As we interact, we learn. As we learn, we act. As we act, we teach. As we teach, we extend a continuity of ourselves to others. This becomes heart to heart…the knowledge of love full circle.

Cathy


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Past Love

With candy and flowers aside and Valentine’s Day over, end of day reflections often come to mind. As the day and mind quiets down of any holiday, very often past memories come to the surface.

One in particular comes to mind for me from quite a number of years ago. The week before Valentine’s Day brought about some hustle and bustle with my teenage son. He was in stealth mode with me right behind him asking lots of questions.

·        “I need a ride”, he said
·        “Where to?”
·        “Down the street.”
·        “Why?”

And this line of questioning went on as so often it will do with a teenager.

·        “I wanted to order some flowers for Valentine’s Day.”
·        “Who is she?”
·        “Who’s who?”
·        “I’ve saved my own money.”
·        “That’s not what I asked.”

And this line of questioning went on as so often it will do with a teenager.

By mid-week I caved. If the flowers weren’t ordered in time, they definitely wouldn’t arrive in time and that could be the worst outcome of all. I drove him to the florist shop, waited in the car, trying not to crane my neck to see him through the window and biting my tongue on his return to not ask any more questions.

I waited for Valentine’s Day to pass, hoping that information would filter my way as so often it will do with a teenager. Mid-afternoon on the ‘big day’ I got a knock on the door. With bated breath I answered. I opened the door to find the florist with the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers I’d ever seen. Surprised to see them, wondering if the address was reversed by mistake, I took the liberty to open the envelope.

I cautiously looked in both directions first, in stealth mode, in case he was looking. I was also holding my breath to see who the lucky lady would be. Well, here goes.

It turned out that the lucky lady was me! You could have knocked me over with a feather! The card simply stated “To Mom, Happy Valentine’s Day, with love. I had to first catch my breath, then sit down. With a wipe of a tear I reread the card…barely believing my eyes.

I later took pictures for proof! I’ve since lost them, but the memories and emotions of that single moment are forever marked in time.

This time the line of questioning was reversed as so often it will do with a teenager.

·        “Well, do you like them?” he asked.
·        “Yes, they’re beautiful.” I mumbled.
·        “Good, I’m glad.” he said.

I remember hugs… and I’ll always remember this day like it happened yesterday. We’re still in love today! J

Cathy