Tag Archives: Friendship

Joy is the Greatest Blessing of All

When I tell people that I lived in a homeless shelter, the knee-jerk reaction is almost always an immediate “I’m sorry!” And tell them “Why? I’m not”, which usually puts them in just enough shock so as to listen.

Living in the shelter, I regard as one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I had nothing, they had nothing. And yet I had friends who had my back and not because they could get something from me, or get somewhere because of me, etc.

To experience that much honesty is so overwhelming and it has changed me forever. It was then that I stopped caring about doing what other people wanted or working for other people’s attention or acceptance (emotionally abusive marriage aside) because I could see the price tag of one’s actions.  It is for those reasons that I found a way to reach out and help others, it is my motivation to not only feel but also share those feelings.

I am blessed to have 5 best friends along with Kid. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these relationships are honest and that we want nothing from or for each other but love and happiness. I know of no other blessings in life that are more valuable than these.

 

These last 7 years have been harder than I can put into words, but there is still the blessing of the friendships I have, the support they have given me, and after wading through the muck finding myself again and realizing my own self-worth. There is no greater blessing.

It is my personal belief that happiness is fleeting, joy is forever.  It marks your heart, it warms you in a cold world.  Happiness is a pay raise or going to a concert or having dinner with friends.  Joy is the love you feel from others, it is the love you have for your children, your family of friends, etc.  It is the feeling that “I’m going to be okay” in a devastating situation.  Joy is the permanent marks on your heart and soul that heals you, that warms you to the core, that keeps you going and can make you smile in a room by yourself when you think about and feel those moments all over again because they are permanently attached to your soul.

Joy is the permanent marks on your heart and soul that heals you, that warms you to the core, that keeps you going and can make you smile in a room by yourself when you think about and feel those moments all over again because they are permanently attached to your soul.

It is the feeling that “I’m going to be okay” in a devastating situation. It’s a person of faith’s feeling the love and serenity of their God.  Joy is the permanent marks on your heart and soul that heals you, that warms you to the core, that keeps you going and can make you smile in a room by yourself when you think about and feel those moments.

Maggie 

Dedicated to Matthew, Cheri, Dani, Steph, Bonna & Kid.  I wouldn’t be here today without all of you.

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The Lost Art of Courtship & Conversation – Part 1

Courting tends to be a thing of the past in the country.

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Attraction tends to outweigh the need for compatibility, which later can make a relationship harder to maintain.  Even in my own relationship history, there has only one person that I connected with as a friend before the relationship changed into something more.

For those who haven’t been following me all that long, I have separated from my husband with the intent of divorcing.  I’m rather gun shy so to speak and would rather avoid a relationship altogether than go through the dreaded “rebound”.  I’ve had enough upheaval without adding to personal pain and drama.

Recently a friend has expressed an interest in pursuing something more than our current friendship, which I am interested in as well.  Living two hours away from each other makes it very easy not to be hasty and to be able to truly find out more about each other as individuals before advancing our relationship further.  This is truly the first time someone has ever said that they’d like to get to know me better and it didn’t mean to get undressed.  The conversations have been absolutely amazing and insightful, including one evening of sitting on the phone while playing a game of online Scrabble together.  

The amazing part for me is that not only has it given me a greater insight and understanding of a dear friend, but it gives us both the option of taking a step back and still retaining the friendship if we decide this is not something we want to pursue in the long run, without ruining the friendship.  While I don’t see that happening, I find the entire concept amazing and almost surreal.  Having come of age in the early 80’s, this sadly is not how my generation generally handles relationships and dating.  I’ve literally been on less than a half-dozen pre-relationship dates in my life.

So the other day, I was surfing online when I found a list of “50 Questions You’ve Never Been Asked Before”.  I grabbed them and mentioned it and was delighted that my friend was just as interested as I was.  We only got half way through the list and it was one of the most enjoyable, insightful conversations I’ve ever had.  I can truly see where services like eHarmony and Match.com really have an edge into helping couples find the right person since we’re not really skilled in the art of courtship as a society anymore.

Having such a wonderful time learning about each other has led me to add a few more of my own questions as well as to explore the internet for some additional questions as well.  Since this has turned into a rather long list, I’m going to be posting it in installments.

I encourage you to check them out and ask them of a current partner, someone you’re dating or talking to online.  If you’re not in a relationship currently, ask a good friend to make them a better friend.  Sometimes we need “dating practice” even if we’re in a relationship and after all, getting to know someone better is always a good thing.  

  • 1. What’s your favorite candle scent(s)?
  • 2. What’s your favorite kind of pizza?
  • 3. Did you ever have an imaginary friend?
  • 4. How old were you when you got married?
  • 5. How many states have you been to? Lived in?
  • 6. What’s your favorite mixed drink?
  • 7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike?
  • 8. How many oceans have you gone swimming in?
  • 9. How many countries have you been to?
  • 10. Can you eat with chopsticks?
  • 11. What breed(s) of dog do you like?
  • 12. What would you name your son/daughter if you had one?
  • 13. What’s your favorite kind of cereal?
  • 14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?
  • 15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight?
  • 16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series?
  • 17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent?
  • 18. Where would you still like to travel?
  • 19. What was the last concert you went to?
  • 20. Have you ever taken karate lessons?
  • 21. What’s your favorite genre of music?
  • 22. What was the first amusement park you went to?
  • 23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in?
  • 24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray?
  • 25. How long have you known your oldest friend?
  • 26. Do you know sign language?
  • 27. What foods will you not eat?
  • 28. Do you eat spicy food?
  • 29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant?
  • 30. Red Lobster or Olive Garden?
  • 31. Thrift stores or yard sales?
  • 32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?
  • 33. What was your nickname as a child? 
  • 34. Who’s your favorite person in the world?
  • 35. Would you rather live in a rural area, in the suburbs or in a city?
  • 36. Can you drive a manual transmission car?
  • 37. Can you sleep with the TV on?
  • 38. Have you ever driven without a license?
  • 39. What’s your favorite flavor of Pop Tart?
  • 40. What was your first car?
  • 41. Have you been to the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
  • 42. What are your favorite children’s movies?
  • 43. Do you own a suit?
  • 44. What’s the last present you got?
  • 45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?
  • 46. What flavor tea do you enjoy?
  • 47. How do you like your steak cooked?
  • 48. What religion were you raised to practice?
  • 49. Where did you go to high school?
  • 50. The Grinch – Boris Karloff or Jim Carrey?

Let me know if you think of other questions and I will add them to the list for the follow-up posts.  Also, I’d love to hear your feedback! Post them in the comments section below.

 

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

Giving Thanks Every Day

I just found a fabulous frugal craft on Snail Pace Transformations.   (Btw, I LOVE your name!)  It is a gratitude journal, a place to log a sentence or two of what you were thankful for every day.  This is number one on my Christmas list this year, very inexpensive and yet very personal.

gratitude-journals

I admit that I am one of those people that sometimes have to work at staying positive.  Sometimes it’s very easy for me to get caught up in the tide instead of just enjoying the beauty of the beach so I look for little things to keep me on the path I choose.  I saw this craft and I jumped.  Whether its a gift for friends and family or just for yourself, its a great way to just a a minute a day to give thanks for what you have.

calendar
It all starts with dollar store calendars, the kind that show one week at a time. Like this…

I love the thought of making this part of my bedtime ritual, just a sentence or two of what I was thankful for today. Instead of going to bed dealing with the stresses of the day, fall asleep relishing and reviewing what you had to be thankful for.  Positivity breeds positivity.  And imagine making this a bedtime ritual with your child, even if a young one is not yet ready to write, it makes for a great dialog as you tuck them in and how it can shape them for the future.

calendar-cover
Then you can cover the outside with contact paper, your favorite pattern of duct tape or personal art.

Not only does it help in the training of a positive mind, but can you imagine being able to look back and read these a year, 5 years or 10 years down the line?  To bring back all those wonderful memories and feelings of days gone by.   Imagine your kids stumbling upon one of these once you’re gone and getting to remember all the best of you, with you.

Giving thanks isn’t just for one Thursday in November.  Spread the word.

{{hugs}}

Maggie

Online Sewing Class

Update:  I just found this great video that I just had to share.  It ties in with this project so beautifully and really gets your wheels of creativity going.

Let me know what ideas you have!

Mountains or Clouds – Who Are You?

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This blog is called Simple Living and it’s dedicated to exactly that.  For me it’s more than just non-toxic cleaners, but non-toxic people as well.

I read a fabulous article today about The 4 Excuses We Use to Hold on to Frenemies”.  A great read, true in every sense.  We all have toxic people in our lives at some point.  Some are easier to eliminate than others.  I think we all get to a certain crossroads with people in our lives where we have to remove them or ourselves for self preservation.

I started a few years back in my own “people diet”, trimming those from my life who generate negativity.  My suffering has been minimized and my joys have increased.  I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to allowing people to treat me badly, so everyone now and again, I have to stop and assess my relationships.

  • Do I need to give more time and energy to make this relationship work?
  • Does it cause me or the other person more anguish than joy?
  • Is this relationship one sided? Am I the only one putting in effort?

This may sound odd, but sometimes you need to evaluate.

I see people every week on Facebook ranting about how they’re tired of “the drama” but won’t take the steps to remove it from their lives or to remove themselves from the situation.  Why?  Because we’re taught that quantity rules over quality.

I, like most people, have only a handful of people I’m close to, yet according to Facebook I have a couple of hundred friends.  In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care for that word when it comes to online socializing.  These folks are not friends, they are my acquaintances; they’re people I’m friendly with but really are not friends with in the truest sense of the word.

My handful of friends are there, through thick or thin, through hell or high water, no matter what and I know it.

I was reminded of that again just last week at my going away party.  Of the 80 or so that were invited from my “friends list”, only the handful came.  At first it bothered me a bit, until I realized that I was being greedy for quantity over quality.  Something we all tend to defer to from time to time even though we know it’s quality that matters.

Those that came are the people I will be coming back to visit and who will coming to see me.  We will stay in touch and check on each other because we care that much about each other and their spouses, children, etc. These are the people who can bring a smile to my face sitting in a room next to me not saying a word or who can make me laugh while I’m crying my eyes out and I can do the same for them.  These are my friends.  These are who matter.

My true friends are the permanent mountains on the landscape of my life.  The rest are just clouds… they drift in, drift out, sometimes they make the day pretty and let the sun in, sometimes they block the sun and just bring storms.  Funny thing about mountains, they’re always there, always strong.  Sometimes the clouds obscure your view of them, but you can have faith they’re right there.

My mountains are the people who never stir drama just to watch others suffer, who only build me up and encourage me.  They provide shade and shelter from the storms of my life and strength when I am at my weakest.

Friendship, marriage, relationship… all the same thing really.

They take time and they take work but they are so worth it.  Don’t try to appeal to the masses, spend your energy bringing quality to those who bring it to you.  Remember that the only person you can force to be a good friend.. is you.

Look at the landscape of your life.  Find your mountains and just let the clouds drift by.  Enjoy the scenery of your mountain chain and the joy of simple living will be yours.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie