Showing posts with label From the Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label From the Heart. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Reviewing My Own Fear Factor

Admitting You Have Fear Is A Beginning

I've been struggling with some personal fear in the last several months. Maybe a review of my journey might help others begin to face their own fears. I know I'm not alone; most of us have fears that overtake us from time to time. With the recent events that have gripped the world, many have found new things to be afraid of. Fear is normal but sometimes we aren't ready to admit that we are afraid. I am a firm believer that admitting something is the first step in beginning to overcome and move forward.

fear factor
We all have fear, overcoming it is the trick
image courtesy of pixabay.com

What I have realized in the last few days is that I've been almost frozen with fears just below the surface of my consciousness. I haven't been walking around thinking about being afraid or thinking that I was scared but the emotion had been there for quite a while just waiting for me to do something. I've decided to start working on what I'm fearful of; kick those debilitating thoughts to the proverbial curb, so to speak.

There were hints that went unnoticed


As I have worked through some of my feelings in the last few days, I realized that there were some subtle little hints back in December. A tiny little flag was waving in the distance, I just didn't notice it for what it was trying to warn me about. I think it started when I had the idea for a new book that would be about a rabbit. More specifically, an Easter Bunny that did something bad. It was the rabbit that should have alerted me that fear was dwelling deep down in my psyche. 

Now, before you shake your head and think that I've gone off the deep end, let me explain. The message of the spirit animal rabbit is about fear. Real rabbits are fearful little creatures and often become frozen, unable to move, when their fears take hold of them. We humans can experience this phenomenon, too. I missed the significance of a rabbit being so active in my mind. 

About the same time that the idea for the book was consuming my thoughts, my Dad fell and broke his elbow pretty badly. Fear did swell up to the forefront of my thoughts for his well being. There were life threatening complications that obviously caused a great deal of stress and fear for him. Taking care of my Dad sort of pushed the writing completely off of the burner. 

As Dad began to slowly get better, we (the world) find out about the virus and learn words like social distancing and stay in place orders. I will admit the idea of Dad being exposed scared the daylight right out of me. I wasn't fearful for me but for him. Rabbits come into play again. I discovered the book Watership Down, it is all about rabbits. Another hint? I think it might have been. 

I'll fast forward a bit, an idea started niggling in my mind about a totally different story that felt like it needed to be written before I finished the other one. It is a young girl who is called to become the next healer in her village. She is faced with prejudices, an unwillingness to be a healer and some adventures along the way. It is customary in her world for a healer or shaman to be assigned a spirit animal. She doesn't get to choose, the gods decide what she will need. She is appalled when she meets the hare (big rabbit) that will travel with her in her journey of becoming what she was destined to be. Of all the creatures for the gods to give her they give her a rabbit. What the heck good is that going to be? She is supposed to gain wisdom from an animal that is afraid of it's own shadow? Hmmm!

There it is again, a rabbit consuming my mind! Finally the light bulb comes on in my addled brain. Rabbits in my thoughts, looking up rabbit behavior, real rabbits hopping around in my yard. I can't get away from the freaking rabbits! Fear is the message of the rabbit. Do I have some fears to overcome? Well, apparently, I do.

What are my fears?


Turns out, I have several that I have ignored for a while. I guess that is why the rabbit has come as a messenger. I can't move forward until I face some of them head-on and let them go. I won't go into what they are exactly, that is a little too personal. Suffice it to say, I have identified some big ones and have begun to work on hopping around them. As I work on my journey, I have found a new motto. It is summed up best on this coffee mug:



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Sunday, April 19, 2020

55 Different Ways You Can Show Someone You Love Them

55 Ways to Show Someone You Love Them
If anything 2020 has taught us, it's that life is precious. During these crazy pandemic-times, today's review features big and small ways we can show our love to each other.

In the end, it's only love that matters. Our family lost someone yesterday (not from the pandemic), and we've been reflecting and remembering that love is the most valuable asset we take with us.

Let's not wait until it's too late to show those we love how we feel; let's start today. Here's a quick list of ways we can demonstrate we care:
  1.  Call or video your I love you message and say it
  2.  Physically mail a letter or a card
  3.  Make them dinner and clean up the mess
  4.  Clean the house for them
  5.  Give them me-time; watch the kids
  6.  Bring them a coffee, or two
  7.  Play board games and laugh
  8.  Email articles and photos to let them know you're thinking of them
  9.  Write them a poem
  10.  Dedicate a song to them via the radio
  11.  Sing them a song; if you can't sing, even better!
  12.  Create a video that lists all the reasons you love them
  13.  Thank them for all they've done for you
  14.  Accept or give forgiveness
  15.  Say "I love you" as often as you can
  16.  Bring them breakfast in bed
  17.  Send flowers or a plant
  18.  Drop off treats, gifts, personal drawings or groceries when social distancing
  19.  Have cozy gifts delivered; throw blankets, pillows
  20.  Snail mail a card every day, with a beautiful quote, for a month or a year
  21.  Let them talk; be a listener
  22.  Don't offer your opinions, just be there
  23.  Don't try to solve unsolvable problems, just be there
  24.  Accept each other's differences and just love each other for who you are
  25.  Use please and thank you with your family members
  26.  Speak with a kind voice to your loved ones
  27.  Give sarcasm a break from time to time
  28.  Remember they were once a little child, see them that way
  29.  Keep dark thoughts at bay, and send people love and light often
  30.  Remember none of us are perfect
  31.  Go 24 hours judgment-free - judge nothing, forgive everything
  32.  Read together, sing together, dance together
  33.  Set a goal to laugh with them at least 20 times in one day
  34.  Live for the moment, the specific moment you're sharing
  35.  When possible, if possible, hug each other
  36.  Start a story by email where everyone adds their portion and emails it to the next person
  37.  Pray together in person or virtually
  38.  Use your thoughtful inside voice when you have to ask for something
  39.  Give them something personal that holds special meaning to you
  40.  Ask them their opinion, so they feel they matter
  41.  When they've made a mistake, remember your own mistakes before reacting
  42.  Be a safe place for someone to land
  43.  When they speak to you in confidence, keep it confident
  44.  Don't gossip about people you love to other people you love
  45.  Serve your community in some fashion; do it together
  46.  Give each other space
  47.  Be on their team in life
  48.  When discussing testy issues, do it with grace and respect
  49.  Smile at your loved ones - this one seems silly, but try it, you'll be surprised
  50.  Laugh at their jokes
  51.  It's ok to be happy; show joy in front of your friends and family
  52.  Don't be afraid to apologize if you've made a mistake
  53.  Forgive them if they can't apologize when they've made a mistake
  54.  Be the change you want to see in a relationship
  55.  When you need love, give love
When summed up, we should consider the lessons taught in the Paradoxical Commandments, also known as The Anyway Poem. Listen to the gorgeous song interpretation by Martina McBride here in her famous song, Anyway.

The above suggestions are fairly obvious to most of us; however, sometimes we forget it's how we make each other feel that's remembered. 

I'll end with a video poem I created a few months ago called Living in Light - Stay safe and blessings to you.






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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

Honoring Friendship

My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

love of a freind
There is nothing like the love of a friend
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

friendship
Friends hold your hand through life
image courtesy of pixabay.com

It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Life's Changing Perspectives - A Twenty Year Review Through Poems


How have you changed in twenty years?

I've declared 2020 the year of Body, Mind, and Spirit, with the main focus being on feeding my spirit to bring all aspects of my life into balance.

Remember Who I Am - Life Reflections Then and Now

Nearly twenty years ago, I wrote a poem called, "Remember Who I Am." The poem isn't about begging to be remembered, but rather about acknowledging the mistakes I made in life, and how ultimately I learned from those mistakes.

Looking back twenty years ago, when the video poem featured below was written, I clearly see my personal growth since that point in time.

I'm a different person at 59 years old than I was in my 30s. I suspect that's quite normal. God willing, if I get to 80 years old, I imagine my outlook will further change.

The most significant change inside of me is a grander understanding of inner peace, and what inner peace truly is.

There's so much I want to type about inner peace right now, but honestly, I don't think I can explain it? Let me say it this way, with these powerful words:


 "In the end, everything WILL be O.K."  - I get this now.


We're still dealing with some of the same life struggles we faced when I was in my thirties. Even though those struggles are still quite significant, I now see how mundane they are, and rarely pray on those. In the grand scheme of life, they don't rate.

When I was in church last week, I started thinking about my prayers from those times, and how I've grown to understand that the secret to solutions is within us - and that prayers for souls, the human condition, our community, those we love, and visualizing the good, is where ultimate peace rests.

I feel I'm awake now. 

As though I've been handed a book with some of life's secrets in them. I'm looking forward to the next book in twenty more years if I'm so blessed.

I've mastered forgiveness.

Without giving away anything overtly personal, I can unequivocally state, I've got this one down. What I understand most about forgiveness is that it's not up to me to 'forgive' others. It's lessons learned, from all sides.

I approach the mistakes others make that hurt me, family, friends, or strangers, as people who are either lost, dark, or learning at their pace. Life is school, and some of us are in pre-school while others have PhDs. No judging. Letting go.

Also, I don't agree with the saying, "I forgive, but I'll never forget."  For me, if I have to hold any grudge, including 'never forgetting,' it's not forgiveness. You can read a bit more about this in an article I wrote, many years ago called, "The Secret to Life."

Despite life's changes over the past twenty years, the words to this poem I wrote so long ago, still stand.



Angels on Duty - Starting Our Day with a Helping Hand

Again, I wrote this one about twenty years ago. Of all the poems I've written over the past fifty years, this is one of my favorites.

The poem was written to create a visual of how Angels begin their daily work, helping us, as soon as we wake up.

It's about waking up in the morning, swinging your legs over the edge of the bed, bending over with your hands over your face, as you pause thinking about the challenges you face today, and wondering if you have the strength to do it. Without knowing, there's an Angel present, whispering affirmations, and confirmations that 'everything will be ok' and that you're not alone, and yes, you can do it.


Towards the end of last year, I achieved a bucket list item: I published a book featuring 50 years of my poems. Change, perspective, growth - it's all good. #bethechange #spreadthewordofgood





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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Review of Year End

One Year Ends Another Begins

As I write this we are celebrating the Year End of 2019 and welcoming in the new year and a new decade...2020. 

year end new begin
Wishing you all a Happy New Year
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Here is wishing you all the best in the coming year. I would like to leave you with this toast to end the year and begin our new one. It is a quote from Edith Pierce:

"We will open the book. It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and it's first chapter is New Year's Day."

As you fill the pages of your book of Opportunity, I hope you have few filled with sorrow and many filled with happiness. From myself and the other contributors of Review This, we wish you the best for this coming year and decade!




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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  It is the day we give Thanks for all the blessings we have received. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a good time to look back over the past year and express our thanks for all of our blessings.  In this post I will be showing you through my photographs a few of the many blessings I have experienced during the past year.

God, Family and Church

Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, two great children and their spouses and four wonderful granddaughters.  For this I am grateful.

I also belong to a church family that has many wonderful supportive members.  They are true blessings.

Photography

I enjoy taking photographs and honing my photography skills.  I belong to a photography club that gives me opportunities to learn more about my hobby and also provides the opportunity for field trips around the area.

Fort Zumwalt Park
Civic Park

St. Louis Riverfront


Nature Photography

I enjoy taking photos of nature, but I am particularly grateful for all the opportunities to take nature photography in my own back yard.  Here are a few of my favorites from the past year.





Lighthouse Photography

Over the past 12 years since my retirement, I have enjoyed photographing lighthouses and have photographed over 150 in that time period.  This year I am thankful for the lighthouses I was able to photograph on the east coast.



Photography Near my Home

I live in the St. Louis metro area and have some wonderful opportunities for photography near my home.  Here are a few from the past year.
Art Hill



History Museum

St. Louis Wheel
Bandstand in Forest Park

Sunrise and Sunsets

I find the variety in sunrises and sunsets to be amazing.  I love photographing them at all different times and different weather conditions  The first photo here is a sunrise in Jupiter, Florida and the second is a sunset in Cape Cod Massachusetts.





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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre-Dame de Paris Reflections

Mourning The Loss Of History

notre-dame de paris
Notre-Dame de Paris image courtesy of pixabay.com
Today I will be reviewing some history of Notre-Dame de Paris with you. The world watched in horror and shock yesterday, 04/15/2019, as this beautiful historical landmark of Paris burned. Whether you are a member of the Catholic Church or not, the loss of this beautiful cathedral that had survived wars and rebellions for over 800 years was devastating to see. This icon of the city of Paris and the country of France will never be the same. 

Our Lady Of Paris, the English translation of Notre-Dame de Paris, was commissioned to be built in 1160 by Bishop Maurice de Sully. He would never see his dream fulfilled of the French Gothic structure because it took almost 200 years for the church to be completed. It does not appear that the Bishop randomly chose a site for the cathedral to be constructed. He must have felt that there was something sacred about the land, at least I feel that way. A religious structure of one kind or another had been on that piece of ground since the days of the Roman Empire. A Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter was the first known structure. Four churches would eventually replace the temple before Notre-Dame began to be built. A 4th Century basilica dedicated to Saint Stephen was the first. In the 7th Century the basilica was replaced with a cathedral for Childebert I who I happen to be a descendant of. Two renovations of the Romanesque style churches followed. The Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, opted to demolish the existing building but did recycle many of the materials for what would become the most popular tourist attraction of France and the city of Paris.

As I watched the soaring red flames lighting the sky of Paris yesterday, one of the factoids by a reporter caught my attention. Something like 52 acres of wood had been used to construct the portion of Notre Dame that burned. It was often referred to as The Forest. No wonder it seemed to be consumed by fire so quickly! The timber had been drying for over 800 years. 

You might have assumed as I had that this historical cathedral belongs to the Vatican and the Catholic Church. The statement of President Macron that Notre-Dame de Paris would be re-built baffled me at first. Why would he be so committed to re-building when the French Government feels so strongly about the separation of church and state? Wouldn't it be up to the Pope to decide on what to do? Well, a little searching on my part revealed the answer. A law in 1905 made the famous cathedral the property of the French state. The Catholic Church is the designated beneficiary with the exclusive right to use the building for religious purposes. The paying of employees, the maintenance of the building, the utilities, security and other expenses are the responsibility of the Archdiocese. The Catholic Church does not receive any subsidies from the French Government. I found that fascinating to say the least.

If you would like to find out more about the history and architecture of the cathedral, there is a wonderful book that you can purchase. 

 They may be able to build a new structure but it can never be what stood before. There are not artisans today like the ones who built the original. The amazing craftsmanship of the past would be very difficult to replicate. 



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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Life is Short, Make it Sweet

The Heart of Country Music - More Songs
With all that's going on in this world, it's important to focus on the simple things that make life beautiful.

As the song says, 'life is short, make it sweet'. The lyrics of this tune by Old Dominion remind us to spend time with those we love. Sunsets, fun and sharing time with each other, it doesn't get any simpler than that.

(Lyrics)
"I never gotta wonder where my honey be
I ain't savin' all my sugar for a Saturday Night
Seven days a week I got an appetite
The sunsets like a tangerine
Let's find a road we've never seen
Don't waste another mile or a minute not kissin' me
Life is short, make it sweet"

Make it Sweet is a Cheerful Song 

When you need a musical boost, blast this one on repeat. With life's twists and turns, it's not easy being 'seen'. Lolz. The good news is, when you take control of your thoughts and your environment, being seen is something you can control from within. I know, it all sounds cliché but I speak from experience and I've personally done the work.

For over four years now I've made a conscious effort and practiced that other old cliché, 'control your thoughts control your life'. Sure I'll slip up from time to time and unwittingly let someone rent space in my head, but not very often.

As soon as I feel my mental strength begin to diminish, I work to take back that control. It requires a conscious effort, until it becomes subconscious. The key is practice. It's no different than exercising the body: Takes time, takes repetition.

A quick tool I use to pull my mind away from unproductive tangents is word repetition.

Choose your word. Mine is 'Hope'. When the brain decides it wants to run my life, I take back my control by repeating my word over and over inside my head as many times as it takes until that noggin' of mine has forgotten the tangent it was on.

You'll slip up many times and in the middle of it forget you were using word repetition. No biggie. Just pull yourself back on track and start again. After years of doing this, bad thoughts and energy just begin to avoid you - they'll realize you're like Fort Knox, no getting in.



Music is One Road to Inner Peace

Make it Sweet by Old Dominion is the ideal, bring it back to the basics song. As soon as my husband and I heard it, we both smiled and agreed that the message was calming. The lightness of the tune helped to unweight the heaviness of the day.

Another Relaxation Option - The Zen Channel - Stingray Ambiance

If you have this channel, be sure to use it as a way to control the energy you allow in your home.

We mostly read our news now and our TV sets on the main level have Stingray Ambience on all day. They feature gorgeous scenes from all over the world with light music in the background. In fact we rarely watch regular TV now. We only tune into shows that interest us from time to time. We're not blocking out the world, we keep up-to-date online. We're just actively controlling our home's environment. It makes a big difference. It heals the soul.

Between aromatherapy, the Zen Channel and the song Make it Sweet, we're creating our own peace.

Here's to your happiness :)




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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Review of the Meaning Behind Different Colored Roses

The Meaning Behind Different Colored Roses
Did You Know that Each Rose Color Has a Unique Meaning?

With Valentine's Day around the corner, there's nothing carved in stone that says you have to give Red Roses.

If you want to send a different message, check out the meaning of each colored rose as described below. Once you determine what you really want to say, send a dozen roses of that color instead.

Red Roses

This one you know. It generally means "I love you". Sending red roses tells the person in no uncertain terms that you love them. It also speaks to beauty and lets the person know, that in your eyes, they're perfect just the way they are.

Yellow Roses

If you want to send someone a flower that expresses thanks for the friendship you share, yellow roses are a good choice. Yellow roses tell the person that they make you happy and you're thankful to have them in your life.

Lavender (Purple) Roses

If you've just met someone and you've got that love-at-first-sight thing going on between the two of you, then sending them purple roses says you're eager to continue and grow this unexpected relationship. Purple is also associated with Royalty, so if you happen to fall in love with a Prince or a Princess at first sight, send them purple roses.

White Roses

If you're looking to send flowers to someone you just met, white roses are the ideal choice. They're used in weddings to symbolize new beginnings but you don't have to be getting married to experience a new beginning. Don't hesitate to send them in the case of anything new; new job, new baby, new friendship, new love.

Pink Roses

Is there someone in your life that you admire? If so, send them pink roses. Perhaps it's a person who has accomplished a great deal, been an awesome friend or set an unparalleled example with their life. Sending your mother pink roses speaks to your admiration for her. Pink also represents gracefulness. For the person with high integrity and who behaves in a classy manner, pink is their flower.

Orange Roses

Orange roses speak to your excitement about being with a person. You're anxious to take on new adventures with them and your relationship is all about enthusiasm and, where applicable, desire. Give orange roses to the person you want to take on the world with. It doesn't have to be a love interest. In fact, if it's a good friend, give them a combination bouquet of yellow, orange and white roses.

Peach Roses

Do you want to send someone a 'Thank you'? If so, then peach roses deliver that message. If you're grateful for someone and what they've done for you, or for just being in your life, peach roses say it without words. When you want to show someone how much you appreciate them, add peach roses to your bouquet.

Now that you understand the general meaning of each rose, consider the message you want to convey and either mix and match them or give a dozen of one color.

If real flowers aren't doable, here's a collection of faux bouquets to send to that special someone:




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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

December 26th, Time to Write a Thank You Day

Boxing Day Blues can sometimes strike when all the awaited  festivities are over.  

And they do seem to be over so quickly.  All the hustle and bustle of preparing for the BIG day gives way to feelings of let down and down right depression.  Knowing this before hand might just help you to get through those feelings and come out the other side with a new sense of wellbeing and a new purpose too.


thank you note, mental health, Christmas let down, coping mechanisms
Christmas time and all the build up to this holiday can make some people really "crazy".  There are all the lists for food, drink, presents, guests and so much more to attend to.  Then there is the cleaning and other preparations for the BIG day.  

By the time it arrives you are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  And just when you think it's perfect, it's  over in a heartbeat.  

The let down can be so significant, that many mental health agencies start to prepare for the fall out early as well.  But it doesn't have to be this way if you do just a little more preparation for this amazing holiday gathering.

Having a plan in mind to help you cope with the let down will significantly make the holidays much happier.  To that end, I am going to make some suggestions that just might help you, or someone you love, get through that post holiday let down.

Today, on the Calendar of Days, is Write a Thank You Note day.  Now, you may not think this is a good idea, but I'm here to suggest it's a great way to relive the excitement, joy, and happiness of the Christmas gathering.  It will help you to capture what was really important and let go of the myriad of small disappointments that may have happened to make the day less than perfect.

After all, getting the family together and enjoying each other's company is the real beauty of Christmas.  The gifts and the food and everything else is secondary to just being together.  

Sitting down and writing a thank you, will let you put into words how much you enjoyed and appreciated all the efforts everyone made to make this Christmas special.  It really acts as a way to relive the excitement and the funny things that happened during the previous day.  

If that doesn't work for you there are many other ways to get through that post holiday letdown.  Here is my list of ways to do that and maybe you can add some of your own ideas.

  1. Write that Thank You note to someone who went out of their way to make the holiday special.
  2. Plan a trip to the zoo. Christmas antics aren't just for people.
  3. Arrange some time to go for a walk in the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, decorations and all the sights.
  4. Let yourself relax with a good movie or go out to a show.
  5. Invite someone you haven't seen in a while for coffee and a good chat.
  6. Go out and play in the snow (if you have any).  Bundle up with those new scarves, hats and mitts.
  7. Start a new hobby.  Scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, drawing or woodworking.  Coloring pages are still a great way to relax too.  
  8. add your own ideas here.......

dealing with emotional let down, Christmas let down, emotional exhaustion 
All the expectations, disappointments and let downs seem to disappear when you have a plan in mind.  Just writing a note can help you get through that emotional build up of the past month.  Going out to park, zoo, or being with a good friend,  can give you a release for all the frustrations you may have felt or are still feeling.  It's hard to stay disappointed when you are at the zoo checking out all the Christmas treats the zookeepers have in store for the animals in their care.  Just watching the Polar Bears, penguins, monkeys and more,  get their treats can be a delight for your overworked body and spirit.  The walking and exercise are good for you too.  Too much food and drink can be the trigger to make some people feel cranky and "out of sorts".  Drinking water and walking can help undo all the overeating and indulgences that took place the day before.  If you can't do the exercise, then just sitting back and watching a favorite movie, with full permission to just enjoy it, can also revive the drooping spirits.  A new hobby will keep your mind and hands occupied while you try to figure out just what you are supposed to do. An active mind doesn't have time to dwell on things that didn't go as planned and that's a good thing.   

If this all fails, then you can always go to the internet and start planning something different, a vacation in the new year, places you want to see or books you want to read.  On Review This Reviews, you can find lots of book reviews, Do It Yourself projects, movie reviews and more.  I dare say you could spend the better part of a day just checking out all the articles and I'm sure you will find a few that will trigger some ideas of your own.  


The most important thing on December 26th is to relish and relive, enjoy and form the memories of the day before.  Writing that note may be the first step in some well deserved "self-care" that will keep you from drowning in some very powerful negatives that could be plaguing your spirits.  Don't let Christmas let-down, get you down.......there are plenty more good times coming your way. 

don't let Christmas let down get you down......coping mechanisms, depression,

**Olivia is not a health care specialist, if you are feeling down or depressed, please check out your local  health professionals.




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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Being Thankful Reviewed

Celebrating Thanksgiving

thankful
Give Thanks every day (image courtesy of pixabay.com)
Instead of spending this morning reviewing a product, I choose instead to review being thankful instead. This emotion is not something that can be purchased but instead is a choice that we make every single day, not just on Thanksgiving Day. Well, at least that is what I think. It is a choice whether we realize it or not. 

For me, every morning when my eyes open I humbly say a prayer of thanksgiving for being on this side of the dirt for at least one more day. I do look at each day as a precious gift and promise each morning to try to make the best of that day as is humanly possible for me to do. 

Sometimes our lives seem to be filled with obstacles that could make us choose to be bitter, sad, angry and lost. Holidays, often times, bring our negative emotions closer to the surface. We find ourselves being depressed due to the loss of someone close to us that won't share the holiday with us. Perhaps we are far away from home and family and are heart broken with the thought of being alone during the holiday. I know those feelings well, more than I like to remember. I can empathize and sympathize with all who feel that way as Thanksgiving approaches with Christmas not far on the horizon. 

There was a time in my life when I wasn't sure that Thanksgiving, in particular, would ever be a happy time for me again. At the time my life was forever altered just two days before the holiday. I feared that this time of the year would forever be darkened by that horrible event. I realized the following year that it would only be darkened if I let it. I could sit around and feel depressed or I could make the choice to look for the people and things in my life to be thankful for. It wasn't hard to see hundreds of reasons to feel grateful and thankful. I made up my mind that year to always look for the good and wonderful things in my life.

So, this year as every year, I am most thankful for my beautiful family. My children, my grandchildren and my loving husband fill my life with joy every day. I am thankful for a roof over my head and food on my table. I am thankful for good health and an abundance of friends. I am thankful for each day that my eyes open. There are people who are not on this earth to share the day with me this year but I am thankful for the time that I did get to share with them and I know that they are here in spirit and will always be in my heart. I won't be saddened by the things that are lost but will be happy with what is here and look forward to what is to be found. I am thankful for it all.

For those of you who are reading this, my wish is that your Thanksgiving will be filled with joy and happiness. Actually, my wish is that you find something to be thankful for every day. Just remember to look, it shouldn't be too difficult to find if you open your heart.







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Sunday, October 28, 2018

The App Calm - A Personal Review

I Finally Downloaded the App 'Calm' onto My Cell Phone

Since our computers spit ads and suggestions based on what we might like or want, it figured out I could use a little 'Calm' in my life.

After ignoring the App for several years, it finally got me! I downloaded it a few days ago.

The App has a free version and a paid version. I'm using the free features at the moment.

Scenes - The Feature I'm Currently Into

I use Scenes for relaxation and as a sleep aid.  However, it's the sounds of the scenes, not the visuals that I'm focused on. The scenes are beautiful and you can also watch while listening.

Scenes is essentially the same as the radios from back-in-the-day that feature a choice of background sounds such as waves, thunderstorms, forests, and more.

Simply, choose the scene and calming background sound you prefer. Put the headphones on, listen and relax. 

What We Get with 'Calm' Premium

A full library of music, meditation, and stories.
  • Guided meditations for stress, gratitude and more
  • Sleep stories are pretty cool! Put in your earphones and listen to a relaxing story to help you fall asleep. I've listened to one story included with the free portion of the App. It was hauntingly relaxing.
  • There's also music to help you focus, relax and of course, the obvious, to sleep.
  • They have Masterclasses by world-renowned mindfulness experts designed to help you take control of your thinking and guide you towards living in the now. I haven't tried this yet. However, this feature absolutely appeals to me.
Why Use Calm

With the internet and YouTube you might be asking yourself why would you need to use an App. After-all, why not just listen to videos from YouTube on your phone, or read articles you find via search. That was my original thinking as well.

The answers:
  • Convenience, no commercials
  • No need to search YouTube or the Internet for Meditation or Relaxation tools
  • Your calming tools are conveniently located in one place
  • Quick access on your phone when you need a calming break
  • Daily Calm inspirations added
  • Body Calm programs included
  • Masterclasses on Mindfulness
  • They add new music weekly
  • A full library of stories to fall asleep by, and new stories always being added
My gift to myself this Christmas, is to upgrade to premium. I do love the convenience of this App.

Here's to your peace of mind.



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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Dad that Doesn't Cost a Dime

It's Corny. It's Cliché. But if You Can Give it, It's the Best Gift.

The best gift you can give Dad, is your time.

If you're one of the fortunate with a living father, and a father you enjoy a good relationship with, then it's a certainty that your voice or your company ranks highest on his list of wants.

This suggestion is not meant to sound preachy, it merely comes from the heart of a person whose father has passed on.

My dad loved when we visited, he often said to me, "Barb, I love it when you're here". That's exactly how we feel when our children are home as well.

Dad gave us the greatest gift, the gift of love, and we're passing that down from generation to generation. It doesn't get any better than that: Love, compassion and family.

When He Hears Your Voice, I'll Bet Your Father Lights Up

There isn't anything your father wants more than to be with you or to at least talk with you on Father's Day.

When he thinks about you I'll bet dollars to donuts that he reflects upon every aspect of your growing up. I say that because, when I speak to my sons, I see every age and almost every moment of their life in that moment. 

With social media and personal devices, our habit of texting, emailing or posting our sentiment crosses over into expressing ourselves on special occasions. That's OK too. There's nothing wrong with posting a song for dad, or texting a personal note of love to him, but if you're able to, a phone call or a visit ranks at the top.

Although you can get dad a gift, and I'm sure he'll appreciate whatever you choose, when he looks around his kitchen table at his family sharing memories and laughing, that's the gift that beats them all. His heart is your heart.

Written for My Dad in Heaven - He Blessed Us With Love






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Monday, January 1, 2018

We Wish You the Best This New Year

All the world welcomes a new calendar year today.

This time of year is a time to reflect on things passed. Whether or not you set New Year's resolutions, the beginning of the new year is often viewed as a fresh start with feelings of rejuvenation. A time to plan for the coming year.

A Year in Review at Review This!


Thanks to our beloved readers, 2017 was a good year for our site. We continued to grow this year and over time have welcomed 795,884 of you to our site. Your visits, comments, and shares are greatly appreciated. 

2017 also brought us grief and loss with the passing of one of our writers - Susan Deppner. She was (and is) loved by so many. 

As we look ahead to 2018, our goal is to continue to provide heartfelt and honest reviews. We plan to continue to share those things that make us happy; those things that make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Our hope is that you continue to find our reviews helpful. 

On behalf of the writers at Review This! we wish you all the best. May your 2018 be filled with joy, peace, health, and success. 

Best Wishes,
Dawn Rae
on behalf of the Review This! writers


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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Amazing Things to Do Between Christmas and New Years Day

One of my Favorite times of year is Christmas, but once it's over you can feel let down.  So let's Review Ways to keep that after Christmas Depression at bay!

If your family is anything like mine, the days leading up to Christmas have been full of all kinds of trips, errands to run, parties to attend and a host of other fun and time consuming activities.  Depending on the ages of your children or grandchildren, there will also be more than one Christmas recital to attend as well.
This is not a complaint, but, it is a reality.  We get so wound up with places to go and people to see, that when it stops, we feel lost!  Some of us will only feel that way after the New Year because we are still in the middle of all the partying still.  Others, who do not go "all out" for New Years will feel that way sooner.
The bottom line is, it doesn't have to be this way at all!

Part of your planning for the holidays should include that time between the holidays, so that holiday let down is minimized or completely obliterated.  No one really wants to be depressed at the best time of the year. 
christmas party, depression, let down, emotional times, familySo let's make those plans now!  If the plan is in place,  you will actually follow through.  

So let's get down to some concrete ways to stave off any negative feelings.

First of all, if you have family visiting, make arrangements to go somewhere on an outing.
  • visit the downtown area and look over the lights and Christmas Displays
  • Go sledding or skating, if your body allows that kind of seasonal fun.
  • Make Snow Angels (with the above caveat)
  • Go to a park with a handful of bird seed, for those birds who don't have a feeder close by
  • Pick up some small gift cards for a coffee shop and give them to "Street People" to enjoy
  • Visit a local church and see their Nativity Displays
  • take lots of pictures while out and about
  • when you come home, make some Hot Chocolate and watch a favorite movie
  • Be Thankful for the Blessing of Family and Friends.
Between Christmas and New Years is a great time to make some plans for the next year too!  Many a lively conversation could be had over those plans.  Will you make resolutions for 2018?  Will you decide to travel more or less?  How about making a resolution to get together with friends more often?  It is a great idea to look forward, but also take some time to look back and be thankful for all the good things that happened in the year just past.  

gratitude, family, visits, make plans
When the hustle and bustle has come to a standstill, it's no longer a dreaded fear, rather it's a time to take stock.  Look ahead at what might be coming your way, and look back to see where you have been.  If things weren't the greatest, find ways to make this year to come, better.  If the year past was wonderful all around then celebrate this wholeheartedly, and pray that the year to come will be as blessed as the one just past.  Gratitude for everything is a great way to live.  You don't become nearly as disappointed and you really don't let yourself become engrossed in the things you have no control over either.  

Start taking note of things you are thankful for and try to do something new in the coming year.

If you need help thinking of all the things to be grateful for, there are several different types of journals that can give you some coaching either in pictures or scriptures.  One of my favorites is the one:


If you don't have a gratitude journal, a blank book works well too. Sometimes though in our busy lives, we need a hint of encouragement and for that a true gratitude journal is a bonus. Each page will give you a little inspiration to get you started with the right attitude. If you are not a particularly spiritual person, there are journals that remind you of gratitude without scriptural readings. Whichever one is to your liking, will be a good choice and they are inexpensive.  Maybe Santa brought you one, but if not that's okay too.  You can always get your own when you feel the need for it.  It will be an investment in yourself, for your mental and physical and spiritual well being.

May I take this opportunity to wish you and all your family a most Beautiful, Blessed and Wonderful New Year!
gratitude, holidays, cheer, new year, thankfulness

pictures courtesy of Pixabay.com






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Monday, October 9, 2017

Susan Deppner


I haven't spoken online yet anywhere about the loss last week of friend and co-worker Susan Deppner (Susan52) because I am still in a state of disbelief even though I knew Susan was  unwell and her time was limited. However, as most of her friends online now know, she is gone.

As Sylvestermouse, said in her goodbye to Susan, “The death of a precious friend is never easy. When that friend is someone you interact with on a daily basis, it leaves a huge hole in your life that can never be filled again.” That is so true. No one will take Susan's place in my life online.

Susan described herself on Hubpages as a “baby boomer who enjoys reading, writing, cooking, spending quality time with her family, and consuming therapeutic quantities of dark chocolate.” She wrote about those subjects, too. About food, recipes, books and of course about the Kindle but also about so much more as is evidenced by her work on that platform.

Susan also shared family recipes on her blog, Recipes for Real People. I love the image in the upper corner of her two favorite kitchen helpers who have grown up and now have their own kitchens. Because I am from a different part of the continent, Susan often introduced me to new recipes like her Loco Moco, her Pink Pickled Eggs and her Dump Cake.

I am sad that I will never again hear Susan’s words of encouragement and advice.

I am sad that I will not hear what is going on in her life.

I am even sad that Susan and I won’t be discussing what is for supper, a subject close to our hearts and to our stomachs.

I am sorry that Susan and I never had the opportunity to meet face to face especially after supporting each other online for about a decade.

I noticed the following description on Susan’s Google+ profile this morning and I think it sums up her spirit very well.


Susan Deppner
Writer. Teacher. Encourager.
Worked at Life from the Inside Out.

Susan, you will be missed. This flower is for you.

Love always,
Brenda

P.S. Susan, if you are reading this. I did notice that you used a comma after the word 'and' in the list of things you enjoyed doing, which you will remember was a subject of some lively debate in our masterminds group and of course I was in the no comma camp. We sure covered a lot of ground in our discussions over the years; it was an absolute pleasure knowing you.














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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Farewell to a Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor, Susan Deppner

Susan Deppner
It is with a very heavy heart that I write to our readers today on Review This!  The death of a precious friend is never easy.  When that friend is someone you interact with on a daily basis, it leaves a huge hole in your life that can never be filled again. 

Some people touch our lives in a special way that leaves us forever changed.  That is most certainly the case with Susan Deppner.  Her deep abiding faith directed her every action and she was an inspiration and witness to us all.

Susan was the easiest person to love.  She never failed to support her friends in words and deeds.   In difficult or stressful times, Susan would step in with a word of reassurance and peace.   She truly had a way of calming a soul. 

It was always clear to anyone who knew Susan, that she adored her husband, her sons, her daughters-in law, her grandson and her entire family.  I know she showed them through her kind, loving ways every day of her life. 

We have been honored to have Susan as a contributor.  She is irreplaceable and the entire staff of Review This grieves over the death of our beloved friend.      


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Monday, May 29, 2017

Practicing Mindfulness on Memorial Day


Memorial Day is a day set aside each year to remember those who have lost their lives while serving their country in the armed forces. The meaning of the day can easily become lost in the long weekend filled with barbecues and beer. Or become confused with Veteran's Day, with which we greet our living armed forces folks with a "Happy Veteran's Day". Political disagreements can threaten to erode the meaning of Memorial Day altogether. As a result of all of these things, and with utmost respect to those willing to sacrifice so much for my protection and freedom, I choose to spend Memorial Day in mindful remembrance.


Memorial Day - Remembering Individuals


As a grateful Army mom, whose sons both returned from deployments, I have decided this year to intentionally know about someone (or multiple people) who have given the ultimate sacrifice.  I wanted to put real names on this holiday in order to honor them and their families by keeping their memories alive.

I chose to read World Changer: A Mother's Story: The Unbreakable Spirit of US Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn by Karen Vaughn.  

Overnight, I've read 75% of the book. Karen tells us of her son as a child, an adolescent, a young man, and finally a Navy SEAL. She tells of her perspective of parenthood as a Christian and of her faith in God. She describes her mother-son bond and how that bond is broken when the helicopter is shot down, killing all on board - including members of Navy SEAL VI - including her son. She writes with such honesty of the moment that my chest hurt as I sobbed. 

Despite the great loss she and her family have endured with the loss of her son, there is somehow peace in her writing. There is no asking for pity, only a quiet strength. I'd imagine she attributes that to God. She is a good witness to those of us who are not as convinced of such an active force in our lives. 

In this book, Karen Vaughn memorializes her son in a beautiful way. She describes his childhood antics, his school-aged years, and his move into being a husband/father a such a loving way - without being overly syrupy. I definitely feel as though I know who Aaron Vaughn was in life. 


Memorial Day - General Remembering


On this day there are many ways to remember those who have passed before us, in the service of their country.  A few ways to remember in general are:

  • attend or participate in a Memorial Day parade
  • fly a flag
  • watch movies (such as Act of Valor, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Pearl Harbor, and so many more)
  • watch documentaries 
  • visit a military cemetery 
  • visit a war memorial or museum
  • choose a time period and educate yourself about that war

Even if you don't agree with the politics of a particular President or the reasons a specific war has occurred, the United States of America is what it is in large part because it has been participating in battles for over 200 years. I guarantee there has been someone, in some conflict, who has supported or protected your interests. 

On this Memorial Day, I am focused in my thanks to those individuals who were willing and able to do what I am not. Today, I am mindful of those families who have lost a loved one in the defense of our country. 

Updated:  I have become aware that immediately following the launch of World Changer, Amazon's link to purchase hardcovers went down.  I am not aware of the reason why but want to make sure that I provide my readers with an alternate link for the purchase of World Changer in hardcover.  In the event the Amazon link goes down again, please refer to Karen Vaughn's official website to make that purchase - Official Karen Vaughn World Changer site .







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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

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