Ten Questions for You to Answer or Ponder this Mother's Day about Your Mom or Mother Figure
My own mom recently passed away, but I'll answer too ...
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My own mom recently passed away, but I'll answer too ...
I'm having a moment.
We're in the process of giving our kitchen a facelift, and our dining room table, which has sometimes doubled as our kitchen table for thirty-six years, may need to be sold.
Thirty years ago or so, I read an eloquently and emotionally written article in Reader's Digest about a family's kitchen table; it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it today. I tried to find it for you, so I could link to it here, but so far, no luck.
The author talked about her family's life around her table; gatherings, birthdays, celebrations, games, and tears. I've never forgotten about that article. Having such a big family, I easily relate to the memories created around the family table.
She spoke about how she didn't want to sell her memory-filled table to just anyone. She wanted it to go to a family that would grow with it and fill it with their memories.
Why Thinking About Selling this Table Has Me in Tears
I'm a wuss. It's official.
My husband and I purchased this table in 1986. We needed a large table for our large family. I have three step-kids (all grown up now) and, at that time, one son of our own. Today we have four sons of our own, and we've since added six grandchildren.
We have had almost every birthday for all the kids around this table. We've celebrated baptisms, Christmas, Thanksgiving, weddings, and every other major event families celebrate.
|A memory from 1987 at this very table |
with my Dad, our oldest boy as a baby, making us laugh,
and my youngest brother
Our kids have gone from little to big; we've added spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends to the family mix. There have been in-depth conversations, teasing, and great food shared for decades.
I recently sat with my oldest boy, sharing tears at this table about mom's (his grandmother's) passing. Mom and dad shared many dinners with all of us at this table. Dad passed in 2013; missing him is now a part of my soul.
This Table Has Lived
It's not just a table; it represents our life.
I'm not sure I'll sell it.
In fact, after typing this, I think if we can't incorporate it into the new design, I'll keep it just in case there's a move to a new home in our future.
It's solid oak. In my book, it's priceless.
It's not priceless because it's solid oak, but rather because the characteristics of an oak tree represent our family traits: longevity, strength, stability, and endurance.
Hey, our family isn't perfect, we've had our share of struggles, but as the mom, I see many faces passing through time whenever I glance at the empty seats gathered around.
Here's our table, our life:
|A Kitchen Table Filled with Memories|
Do you have a table where your family has gathered for generations?
|Is this really the secret to happiness? A Happiness Review|
This quote from the Netflix movie "Full Count" has been on my mind since viewing it five days ago:
"The secret to happiness is to be content, no matter your situation"
The Netflix description, and preview, seemed to indicate that Full Count is your typical baseball hard life story. However, I was shocked by the direction the film takes.
The movie takes a spiritual turn.
If you like films where it seems a happy ending is impossible, but with divine intervention, there it is, you'll enjoy this movie.
Could the Above Quote About the Secret to Happiness be Offensive to Some People?
After hearing the above quote narrated in the movie, my first thought was about those who rarely feel happy through no fault of their own or for medical reasons.
Don't get me wrong; the quote personally fits the core of my beliefs; however, my happy state of mind has been tested this past year.
Medical issues aside, I feel happiness will always be a personal choice. No matter the circumstances in this crazy life, I maintain that much-needed center and inner calm. I treat mental and spiritual training as a daily exercise with practice, practice, practice.
Some days are a success at maintaining calm, and others not-so-much ... I just keep plugging away. I won't go through the laundry list of things recently faced, as I'm sure you've had your own life issues to conquer.
Do You Personally Agree With the Above Quote?
Can you relate to this quote? Have you been able to be the captain of your life's ship?
For me, yes, after a great deal of thought, I do agree with the above quote.
During the pits of hell, I've been able to keep a hold of the light, sometimes barely. It's never easy. Here's an example of a personal nightmare I faced over a decade ago. I wouldn't wish this on anyone!
Even through this less-than-perfect life, I've been able to maintain inner calm and thus some happiness.
"Sometimes God calms the storm, and other times God calms the child who is in the storm"
I live by that quote about the storm.
Here's another quote from the movie Full Count. What do you think about it?
"Life isn't going to make you happy, but happiness is going to make your life"
Yes, I believe.
After multiple decades, the biggest life lesson I've so far learned is that our inner self, our soul, cannot be owned by anyone. It's the one thing that is truly ours.
No matter what happens in this physical existence, in the end, our thoughts are something we can work to control; and for those who believe, guided by a higher power. For me, Free Will means protecting my soul, so I do.
Here's a video about love and light that I created one afternoon while visiting my amazing mother. She passed away three months ago. Knowing she was in her chair while I wrote this brings me unexpected added peace. I hope you enjoy viewing it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
If you need a little more inspiration, I've authored a personal book of poetry based on fifty years of life experiences. You can find the book "We Will Have Morning Smiles" on Amazon.
May you know happiness, in some form, daily. Blessings.
How do you manage this crazy life?
I know! Sometimes we can't!
When life gets too otherworldly, we can implement techniques to bring ourselves back to earth. But sometimes, spiritually leaving earth is the break we need!
(1) Go For a Walk
If you're able to handle walking, in my opinion, that's the best way to try and clear your head. Health permitting, physical movement is free and something we can do almost anytime, anywhere.
Choose a scent that relaxes you. I love anything lemon or eucalyptus. How about you? What is your favorite candle scent?
(3) Meditation, Mindfulness, and/or Prayer
Whatever your belief system, focus on the combined power of body, mind, and spirit. I pray all the time and everywhere. You can also try repeating short, positive reinforcing phrases whenever negative thoughts creep over you. On really tough days, I've often been in a constant state of prayer repetition. For me, I find peace when I pray for others.
Are you overtired? Have you been restless and unable to get a good night's sleep? Admittedly it's hard to sleep on demand; otherwise, you would have slept, right? Try to take a nap or two (if you can), listen to relaxing music, or use the app "Calm."
(5) A Hot Drink - Perhaps a Flavored Tea or Other Treat
A soothing hot beverage (as Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory often said, lol). It sounds too simple, doesn't it? A warm drink is comforting - he was right.
(6) A Day on the Couch, or in Bed, Doing Nothing, Watching Movies
Sometimes we just need to stop. Even when we feel we've been unproductive and don't deserve to stop, that's when we should stop. Watch your favorite movie with a warm blanket and a nice hot beverage!
(7) Drink More Water
For some people, drinking water is difficult. My mother-in-law wasn't a water drinker, so I get it. However, if you can handle drinking water, get a good six cups a day. To achieve the six-cup threshold, try to drink two cups in the morning, two in the afternoon, and two at night.
(8) Turn Off the Negative News
We are bombarded with so much negativity these days. Be proactive with what you allow in your head. It's ok and necessary to be up-to-date and informed, but there's no need to have that news be on repeat and consume our lives. I'll venture a guess that most people in your life, directly or indirectly, are good people. The news does not reflect the life most of us are living. In the early 2000s, I was so consumed by the news that I wrote these song lyrics about the state of the planet. I proactively moved forward, and years later, followed up with this poem about Good People.
(9) Laugh! Watch or Read Something Funny
Skip movies and tv shows about crime, death, stealing, hate, and war. Don't turn those shows on when you're in a funk. Basically, turn off the ugly side of humanity. Go straight for humor.
(10) Be Grateful - Practice Inner Truth
When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I give myself a shake and remind myself how lucky I am. I'm actively grateful for things like running water, electricity, and plumbing! Truth is a self-searching technique I use. I force myself to examine my truths, be honest with my feelings and acknowledge my imperfections and how I can be better to those around me and myself.
Reviewing heart-shaped gifts for Valentine's Day
This is a gift review of handmade gifts that are definitely 'made with love'; thus, are perfect for Valentine's Day or any occasion where you wish to express your love for the recipient.
There have long been certain gifts associated with Valentine's Day. Flowers are the most popular, especially roses. Chocolates and jewelry run a close second.
Today we are going to talk about handmade gifts made with love.
|Couple in Love Giraffe Wood Puzzle|
Handmade from hardwood birch, sanded and coated with linseed oil, this 3-piece puzzle of two giraffes hugging, with a heart in the middle, is a lovely depiction of a 'couple in love'. Created by Ecopuzzle on Etsy.
|Crochet Pig with Heart|
|Bib with Heart Designs|
These bibs are handmade in cotton with red hearts on a striped background. The back of the bibs is soft, absorbent terry cloth. Bib closes with a snap and comes in infant and toddler sizes.
Handmade by a Kentucky crafter for the Etsy Shop Nana's Notions Crafts.
|Grogu with Heart (Baby Yoda)|
A fun Valentine's gift for any Star Wars fan is this Grogu with Heart. Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda, has become very popular. Finding him with a heart fits right in with this made with love from the heart themed gift guide.
Grogu with Heart and many other Baby Yodas can be found in the Etsy shop of Mad Mac Crochet created by Michelle of Calgory, Canada.
|Valentine Beverage Coasters|
So, if you are looking for a gift that is perfect for Valentine's Day, or for any occasion where you want to give a gift that is 'from the heart', check out the Made with Love items here or anywhere on Etsy.
This Made with Love article was written by Wednesday Elf
When I think back to 2020, for us, it was an easier year than 2021 ... and that's hard to believe.
There is one connection in life that truly matters; it's love. We take it with us.
My brothers and I shared the day and evening with my mother as she left this world in late November. It was the most beautiful and terrifying experience of my life. I compare it to birth for those very emotions.
As a little girl, I remember feeling so scared that my mother would die. I would ask to sleep with her when my dad traveled for work. When I was eight years old, I finally told her why - "I'm scared you're going to die, mom."
As a grown woman with kids and grandkids, I somehow graduated out of that fear of losing mom. I'm confused about how that happened - how did I lose that fear? I'm grateful for losing it but am genuinely baffled how I grew out of it. Since mom passed, I have had this strange feeling that she's with me (inside me), and I think that's the reason? It's weird.
On the night she passed, I broke down like an infant. They were the sobs I needed, and my brothers and my sister-in-law were there to hold me through it. We each had our moments, and the beautiful side is that my parents raised a family that gets along and stands by each other. We're fortunate.
My Wish for Humanity - That 2022 Goes Easy on Us
We've all been challenged in unforeseen ways, some more than others. Despite the difficulties we've faced, including the loss of my mom, I'm the first to admit how fortunate my family is to have a roof over our heads, running water, plumbing, and electricity! There's so much unfairness and financial inequity in the world that those of us who live in a functioning society need to remember how blessed we are.
My hopes and dreams for all of us are inner peace, love, prosperity, and good health. May 2022 bring you balance in body, mind, and spirit.
Here's a song that beautifully honors all moms; this lyric resonates with me, "there's no safer place I've found than the shoulder on her white nightgown."
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year xxoo
It's literally just days away and many people are feeling the stress building! Oh don't get me wrong, I'm sure everyone loves this holiday, but when the stress becomes so all encompassing, it's hard to enjoy it!
What can you do to make this time of year the joyful and wonderful time it's supposed to be? Well in my experience, I know I had put a lot of the pressure on myself and got caught up in all the things that could go wrong. I needed help to see that my focus was in the wrong place! Instead of focusing on the negative, I needed to focus on something positive and different.
So here are some of the things I do to help relieve that pressure:
Learn to laugh and smile, what you share out in the world will come right back to you!
My hope for you is that you truly enjoy this Holiday Season to it's fullest! May you have a lovely Christmas with your family and friends and may your New Year be Blessed with lots of Joy!
|A Personal Diary Entry - Do You Ever Feel Indifferent?|
Why am I reluctant to write about it? Apparently, I've heard and read that indifference is one of the least attractive and least productive emotions.
The Dictionary Definition of Indifference: "Lack of interest, concern, or sympathy"
In no-way do I feel a lack of sympathy for others when I'm feeling indifferent! (just wanted to put that out there)
Indifference About A Day, A Direction, Feeling a Lack of Control - That's The Indifference I'm Speaking About
Some days, not often, but a little more often lately, I feel a complete lack of control.
I know, I know, I know .... you're about to tell me that's a good thing.
Well, I agree; at times, that can undoubtedly be a good thing.
However, this lack of control brings out that dreaded word and feeling, "whatever."
The Not-Knowing is Suppose to Be a Good Thing, Right?
Do you think, lack of control and not knowing what's ahead is a good thing? Do you accept those moments in your life for what they are ... hopefully a temporary blip?
For me, it seems when things are somewhat overwhelming and a bit out of control, I get a little bit "indifferent." I get a sort of "so what" "whatever" feeling. I honestly despise that feeling. In my opinion, a lack of concern about a situation is unproductive.
Could it be a survival mechanism? Nah, I just think it's a newer feeling for me, and I have to learn to process it because I've rarely felt this way about life.
Since I'm solution-oriented, feeling "blah-what-ever" about a life issue annoys me further! I prefer to move forward and resolve matters ... not wallow in "whatevers."
The good thing about not knowing the answers and the resulting indifference is being forced to practice patience and accept that I can't control everything. Things have to resolve themselves in their own good time.
Two Things We Cannot Change: Natural Law and Other People
Most of us who have lived long enough already know and understand that we cannot change others. Goodness knows it took me into my thirties (a long time ago) to figure that one out.
However, I must ensure I don't get too indifferent about situations I cannot change or control lately. I'm not a heartless person and never want that unkind trait to infect my persona. It won't, but holy-hannah feeling indifferent really does suck!
What Do You Do to Cope With and Manage Your Feelings?
My entire life, I've written poetry. I recently published 50 years of poems on Amazon. I've been writing poems since I was 8 years old and decided it was time to assemble a book.
To cope, do you write? Read? Exercise? Sleep? Sing? Dance? Travel?
So today, I'm feeling indifferent (blah); this too shall pass.
Oh, by the way, what I've been doing to combat this unproductive feeling? Binge-watching Prime and Netflix series. Yah, I know, everything in moderation :)
Additional Personal Diary Entries:
|Do You Have Any Regrets in Life? A Personal Diary Entry|
Here on ReviewThisReviews, I've made several personal diary entries. My latest entry was "Everything Will Be OK." Today I'm wondering whether you have regrets in life?
Yes. I have regrets. Inside, I'm a happy person; no matter the obstacles I've faced, I have been able to maintain a peaceful soul. I've had to deal with being let down multiple times by someone close to me. It hasn't been easy. I'm not one to whine, so I hope this doesn't come across as whining - I don't mean to sound like a whiner. I accept full responsibility for where I am in life. Every decision has led me here, so I'm equally responsible for the good and the bad.
There have been good days and bad days in my life - just like everyone else on earth - however, I've tolerated a lot in my life. I've been disappointed and treated without regard at times. I've gotten through it, and I've held onto myself through the drama and disrespect.
The way I've gotten through my hurt is to not become that which I rail against. Fortunately, I'm not a vengeful person or one who seeks revenge. Thank goodness for that! I know a few vindictive people, and I honestly believe that's an unhealthy way to live. However, who am I to judge. For me, I need to get as far away in behavior from the behavior that hurt me. I don't want to become that person who intentionally hurts others out of revenge.
A friend of mine once relayed this quote to me, "hurt people, hurt people." That's not who I want to be. That's not who I am.
|Everything Will Be OK|
One of my favorite personal affirmations to pass along to friends and family in their hour of need is, "everything will be OK."
Let's Review the Phrase "Everything Will Be OK" or Just "OK"
The word "OK" can be magnificently soothing. If you haven't tested out that theory with text messages, give it a try.
Not long ago, I discovered that receiving the "OK" response to a text I've sent to family or friends, especially a lengthier text, is absolutely calming and instantly soothing. How about you?
Why the Words OK are Soothing
Here's my conclusion about this: We live in a world of constant information, turmoil, debates, disagreements, and multiple stresses - and when someone responds back to us with the simple words "OK," we're lifted away from the edge for that moment.
When my kids respond to my texts or verbal requests with "OK," I'm immediately disarmed and relieved. I am keenly aware of being "yessed," so I'm not speaking about that baloney. A sincere "OK," acknowledging that you've been heard, and there's actual consensus, is what I'm referencing - wow! Isn't that nice?
I Like to Hand Out OKs
Whenever possible, I respond with "OK" or the more detailed version, "everything will be OK." Since discovering what these responses do for me, I seek out as many honest moments as possible to say "OK" to others. It's such a gift.
I'll respond with OK to the most mundane things whenever I get the chance. Try it. Here's an example, "mom, I'll be late for dinner" - my response 'OK.' Just a simple 'OK' is what I'll use whenever possible. Here's another boring example, "hun, I'll be home shortly, can you be in the driveway to help me unload the groceries?" my hubby's response, "OK." I can't express how much I appreciate that short, agreeable text!
Our lives are filled with so much emotion that often, telephone conversations go off into unrelated tangents. A simple response and truthful acknowledgment of "OK" via text is the next best thing to therapy, in my personal opinion! Just kidding about the therapy part, but it does help! That's how much I appreciate it and love to hand out an OK as much as receive one.
Currently, my friend is going through a traumatic life event, and I've said "everything will be ok" to her multiple times. She needed to hear the sheer possibility of it all - I could honestly say this phrase because it is legitimately what I believe.
Is the Self-Fulfiling Prophecy at Work?
There's no doubt; what we believe is our truth. As that quote goes, whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
Since my truth is that everything will be OK, I'm sure I'm subconsciously taking steps to ensure it happens. Whether the issue is something involving life and death, or personal strife, I absolutely believe that in the end, "everything will be OK."
At the moment, I have mountains going on in my life. My mom is dangerously unwell, another friend's husband almost died in a vehicle accident, and I have other personal issues I'm sorting through. However, I still believe everything will be OK.
Will I cry? Is it stressful? Am I overwhelmed at times? Yes, to all.
BUT in my soul, there's an untouchable place, a place that only belongs to me and my higher power. For respite, I retreat there. I know to my core that everything will be OK. This truth shapes my life.
I'm not sure where all this hope inside of me comes from, but it lives - it's a real thing.
Here's a poem I penned decades ago about holding onto inner peace, that place that belongs only to you and your higher power, no matter the storms.
|50 Years of Poems By Barbara Tremblay Cipak Available on Amazon
Additional Diary Entries:
September is a month that is generally full of all kinds of changes. Notably, children are going back to school and the days are quickly getting shorter and cooler.
Autumn is definitely in the air and I know I have already been witness to the geese starting to gather and fly in their typical V-formation.
Birds that have spent the better part of the summer in the north are preparing themselves for the long trek back to their southern winter spots. But, and here's the important part, it is a long way for them to go and they need our help.
Typically we are all familiar with the Geese that make their way to the south, but there are a host of other birds that also migrate. According to Cornell Labs there are about 650 species of birds in North American and about half of those are migratory.
Why do they migrate? Most of these birds leave their resting places to move north to their breeding grounds. This is hard work for the birds, but instincts make them do this perilous journey at least twice a year.
Many of us wait eagerly for those pretty little hummingbirds that make their way to the north and we do fill our feeders with sugar water to satisfy their hunger. But in September, you might just notice that those feeders are being visited more often. Even though there are plenty of flowers for them to feed on, they know they will be making a long trek soon. They are filling up their reserves for that journey. So please don't stop filling your hummingbird feeders just yet.
Most North American songbirds are migratory. Yet there are other bigger birds that also move from the north to the south in the cooler autumn months.
Let's concern ourselves with the smaller birds for now. How can you help them?
Learning about these migratory birds and what their needs are will make them happy to stop at your yard for some refreshment and food.
Bird migration happens twice a year, yet we never seem to get tired of seeing our favorite birds making their way to us in spring time and then leaving us again come autumn. Let's help them as much as we can by being a safe and bird friendly place for them to stop and refuel. It doesn't take much effort, and you will enjoy the beauty of those little creatures as they make their way south!
|A Personal Review - How to Accept Change In Your Life|
Life has been challenging for many of us for at least a few years now.
What's happening around us, directly or indirectly, can seem overwhelming, especially when the issues touch our lives.
1. Resist the Natural Urge to Resist the Change
Whether it's moving, a breakup, or a job change, embrace it.
I know, that sounds impossible and a bit crazy, right? However, trying to embrace the change helps create a mindset that puts us into task-oriented activity to do the things needed to move forward. Despite it being difficult to go through that change, we are progressing through change instead of bathing in dread.
2. Be Solution Oriented
I'm not one to sit inside a problem for too long. It's just not who I am. Over the past four decades, being a solution-oriented person has carried me through a mountain of problems.
If you're wondering what solution-oriented means, it means to spend your energy solving the problem instead of digging yourself into a pit of despair.
Be productive with your mind; write down your options, talk to people who can help with the issue, research, and plan your way out. Take action, whatever that may be, and tackle the change with tasks and fortitude.
3. Don't Suppress Your Emotions - But Don't Dwell on the Negative Either
This doesn't mean you get to yell and scream at people willy-nilly! And it certainly doesn't mean you get a free ticket to the irrationality show.
Talk out your changes with others who can help. If you need to cry, find a safe shoulder or a private place where you can go ahead and bawl your eyes out. We know most men won't do this, but men need it most to all. I've raised four sons and personally know the emotional suppression that can take place. Break free from your emotional jail.
Once you've allowed your feelings to escape, focus on moving forward. To get through it, you have to go through it.
4. Accept Responsibility For Where You Are in Your Life
For adults, where we are in our life is a result of every choice we've made. That may seem a bit harsh, especially when we've had outside circumstances shape our lives. The operative word there is "shape."
Once we enter adulthood, every choice we make forms who we are; friends, where we live, how we live, schooling, work, relationships. Every one of these areas involves a choice.
I've long ago come to terms with the fact that I am where I am, problems and all, because of every choice I've made. As much as I like to share my successes, I've accepted that my choices created my world, both good and bad; and yes, there have been some not-so-good times.
I remember sitting at the dinner table with my sons and throwing out this point about accepting responsibility for where you are in life; you should have seen their eyes widen!
Most of us are rarely ready to accept responsibility for everything in our life until we really think about it and what that means. I'm here today because of series of decisions, or lack of decisions that I made and didn't make. Period.
This can be a freeing mental experience as well. Accepting responsibility has helped to point me in better directions and helped me to cope with adversity with grit.
5. Choose Your Words Carefully While Going Through Change
The self-fulfilling prophecy is a real thing. The words we speak affect us. While you're going through life's changes, avoid words like hate, hurts, no way, can't, won't, ahole, and any other words that don't serve the solution or move you forward. The only exception to this is when you're having that all-important emotional release moment(s) described in point number three.
When having a tough time, try 'opposite day.' I use this technique quite often. If inside I'm feeling apprehensive about an upcoming change or problem and all that is real is telling me I should wallow in the depths of despair, I project the polar opposite.
I do opposite-day until good feelings become a natural feeling. Since I've practiced this so much, the change in my emotions will happen within an hour or less. It may take you longer to go through the faking it process, but you'll eventually master this.
Remember this one thing if nothing else at all;
"Don't let people rent space in your head" - Be your own inner voice, fight for your true self, lead with love and compassion, even when you're not getting any in return. Do it for the greater good. You're part of that greater good as well.
Additional Personal Guidance For Life:
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be medical advice and is not meant to be professional mental advice. I'm not a doctor. I'm just a mom sharing my decades of personal life experience.
|What? You Can Choose Happiness?|
Can you force yourself to be happy? Is that even possible?
We've seen it written all over the internet, "happiness is a choice."
Is Happiness a Choice?
I think it is a choice. Stress, problems, situations, difficulties ... let's face it; we will ALWAYS have those to deal with.
So, where does the choice come in?
For me, it's deciding that no matter what living nightmare is going in my world, I'll find a way and moments to speak positively or to simply remember to speak with a smile on my face.
Just because I'm writing an article on "Ways to be Happy" does not mean my life is perfect. Far, far from it! I have issues coming at me daily, but I refuse to be sucked into the pits of dark energy, or as some see it, "hell."
Ten Personal Ways to Be Happy:
1. Wear Happiness and Hope
I'm speaking literally right now, wear a piece of clothing or jewelry that says "Happy" or "Hope" on it. You don't have to wear it every day, but on the days you feel you need a pick-me-up, dress up with happiness and hope. Check out what I'm wearing today. My Hope necklace was a gift from a friend. The word hope is my personal word. What's a personal word? It's your go-to repetitive word you call upon to clear your mind. To yourself, repeat your word over and over until you've forgotten what you wanted to forget!
|Wearing "Happy" and "Hope"|
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Review This is Dedicated to the
Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten