A New Year…

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Snow

“Wow, it really snowed last night! Isn’t it wonderful? Everything familiar has disappeared! The world looks brand new!
A new year … a fresh, clean start! It’s like having a big white sheet of paper to draw on! A day full of possibilities! It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy … let’s go exploring!”

― Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: It’s a Magical World

…Hoping your 2013 is off to a fabulous start!

Movie Monday…

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Joe Fox: Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.

~You’ve Got Mail (1998)

{Images (Clockwise): Above 1,2,3,4 Below 5}

Wholeness…

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“I actually attack the concept of happiness. I don’t mind people being happy – but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying ‘write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep’, and ‘cheer up’ and ‘happiness is our birthright’ and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position – it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say ‘Quick! Move on! Cheer up!’ I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word ‘happiness’ and to replace it with the word ‘wholeness’. Ask yourself ‘is this contributing to my wholeness?’ and if you’re having a bad day, it is.” 

~Hugh Mackay, psychologist and social researcher

…hope you feel whole today (and all the days hereafter)!

{Image via here}

Show of Support…

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Do you ever struggle with the right words– or actions– for a friend who is in the midst of tough situation?  I know I do…

This year I’ve had three close friends lose their father’s to cancer…and I found myself striving to be the very best friend possible to them as they faced (and continue to face) their grief head on.  But all too often I’m at a loss as to what exactly I should do to show my support & sympathy.

Here are some ideas from Hallmark:

In the weeks following a loss, sights, sounds and special days may trigger feelings of grief. You can acknowledge that grief in meaningful ways that show you remember…and you care.

1. Make a donation in honor of the loved one.
Sometimes, the family designates a special charity for donations that pay tribute to the special interests of their loved one. Other times, you can simply choose a cause you feel the deceased would have loved. The notice for this gift usually comes to the family after the flowers have wilted and the sympathy cards have stopped arriving. It’s deeply meaningful to know that the life of a loved one inspires charitable giving and continues to help others.

Depending on the situation, you might also make a contribution in honor of the person or people left behind.

2. Offer support with communications.
There are so many little things you can do to make a difference in a grieving person’s world. Just think of all the chores and tasks you need to do to get through a day and look for places you can be of help. Here’s a beginning list – you’ll probably think of more as you go.

  • Mail stamps, notepaper and note cards – they’ll be writing many thank-you notes, and having the supplies right there will really help. Having a friend right there can help even more. Something as simple as addressing and stuffing the envelopes can be a tremendous help. Also offer to mail them as they’re completed.
  • Help with phone calls. They may have friends and out-of-town family members wanting to know how they’re doing. Offer to reach out and share information.

3. Offer organizational support.
Offer to consolidate important papers and phone numbers. Monthly bills keep coming no matter how life changes – offer to help organize, write checks, go to the post office, etc. It’s difficult to think clearly during a time of grief. Volunteer to make calls to support them on legal and insurance issues related to the death of their loved one.

4. Offer household support.
What is an easy household chore for you can be an insurmountable obstacle for your grieving friend. Here are some ways you can make molehills out of those mountains.

  • Feed them. Volunteer to drop a meal by their house. Or mail them coupons for fast food or restaurants that deliver.
  • Pick up and deliver. Pick up dry cleaning or groceries. See what kinds of errands they need to run – and run with them (or for them). Take their car and get it washed or serviced.
  • Help around the house. Do they need the kitchen floor mopped, the trash collected and carried out, the beds stripped and remade? Take a friend or two and see how you can help make their home more comfortable and clean.
  • Pamper the pets. How can you help? Does a dog need to be taken for grooming? Or walked or played with? Clean out the hamster cage, or buy a new catnip toy.

5. Check in weekly.
Imagine taking ten minutes out of your week to give another person a sense of connection and caring. They’re coming into the “pure lonely” stretch – after the funeral, a lot of the initial support can tend to taper off. This is a great time to offer someone extra love and support on a weekly basis. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Greeting cards, notes and letters give them something to actually hold – and to reread when they need comfort. The act of taking time to put your thoughts into writing can be a powerful and meaningful gift to the grieving.
  • Phone calls or voice messages let them hear the comforting voice of someone who cares.
  • E-mail and e-cards are quick ways to stay in touch and let them know your thoughts are with them.
  • If you live close by, you can drop by an occasional surprise or treat—just leaving a little something in the mailbox or at their front door.

6. Invite her out for coffee.
This is a time to treat your friend like royalty. Pick her up at her home. Select a quiet place where you’re not likely to run into other people you know. Once you get there, you place the order and talk to any necessary wait staff. Then it’s time to just listen. Let her really tell you what it’s like for her right now. Don’t talk about yourself, unless your friend specifically asks. Before you leave, find out if she wants to take anything home, either for herself for later, or for other family members. Buy any to-go goodies and take her back home. It may be just a simple cup of coffee for you, but it’s an event for her.

Offering support in the weeks that follow loss will be remembered as a meaningful, caring way to show them that their loved one will not be forgotten.

…Do you have any other ideas/tips to offer up?

Have you ever been the recipient of support that has meant a lot to you?

{Click images for their source}

Literature Snippet…

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“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”

—Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

{Click images for their source}

Tuesday Inspiration…

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As I navigate my own grief…I find inspiration & comfort in the words of those who have done the same.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”
― Colette

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
― William Shakespeare

“Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

{Click images for their source}

Movie Monday…

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M’Lynn: I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby’s hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.

~Steel Magnolias (1989)

{Images (Clockwise): Above 1,2,3,4 Below 5}

Friday Five…

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“But I believe good things happen everyday. I believe good things happen even when bad things happen. And I believe on a happy day like today, we can still feel a little sad. And that’s life, isn’t it?”
―Gabrielle Zevin

A few of my happy (& sad) moments from this week…

{Back at the Guthrie with my mom…}

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{…to see a re-imagined classic!}

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{Said goodbye to a dear friend’s father}

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{Reading & daydreaming about France}

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{An unexpected gift of my very first fine china}

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…What made you happy (or sad) this week?

Have a lovely weekend!!

{Images by Me}

Meet & Eat…

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How’s this for a fun idea…

“Meet & Eat”

Get a bowl,

Fill with names of restaurants you’ve wanted to try out,

Draw one out and meet a group of friends there for a meal out…

Repeat every month! 

Have you ever done a dinner club before?  Since I adore food & good company this seems like an ingenius idea!!

{Click images for their source}