Tag Archives: Happiness

Mountains or Clouds – Who Are You?

85

This blog is dedicated to simple living and 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

Advertisements

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.

Spread the Word, Lend a Hand

** Update**  Christion Isaac-Alexander Shaw  6/20/09 – 12/18/14   Please consider helping with this fundraiser to help with the arrangements and passing on this story of Christion and his life.  Thank you – Maggie **

 

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.  I have been experiencing many life changes, most positive… a new relationship, new additions to the family with more on the way, a little travelling with a whole lot of visiting, etc.

Today’s post unfortunately is not so upbeat.

Today we’re stepping up to a window into the life of an incredible single mother and her two sons… a one seven-week old named Cameron and the other a five-year old named Christion who has muscular dystrophy.

 

10411891_10152809936304223_8213019713494721850_n

 

This is my friend KaShonda and her boys.  Christion is 5 years old and has Nemaline myopathy Muscular Dystrophy.  He’s a great kid.  He laughs and plays and watches TV… loves Handy Manny and was completely enamored with being able to watch PBS Kids on my iPad and snuggling with me while Mom and I got to spend time together.  In many ways Christion is just like any other 5-year-old.

 

 

10494703_10152544660644223_1438197855785837736_n

 

Then there’s all the special extras that do not surround a typical 5-year-old… oxygen, suction to clear his lungs, a belt that provides air pressure that simulates pounding on his back to loosen the mucus in his lungs, wheelchairs, monitors, pulse oximeters, etc.

While as a country we’re trying to get kids away from the happy meals, Christion has never had one and probably never will.  Christion doesn’t eat, he has a feeding tube directly into his stomach with nutrition that comes in a pouch.

 

10646657_4574978348115_8600501728360998714_n

 

Christion doesn’t have babysitters or daycare, but has home nurses.  In fact KaShonda even went to nursing school just so she could not only be better prepared to take care of her son but so that she would be able to work at home with him.  It doesn’t get anymore incredible than that, truly a devoted mother.

Sadly just a few short weeks ago, Christion’s health once again took a down turn when he developed pneumonia and wound up in the ICU.  Finally improving enough to be moved out of ICU, you can see that spirits were high.

 

Tickle time!
Tickle time!

 

Later this very same day, November 28th, Christion coded.  Medical personnel worked on him extensively to revive him but he was down for 12-13 minutes.    This is Christion right now…

 

10846415_399458066873191_1354376197947122985_n

 

Heartbreaking is the only word that applies and yet that word doesn’t go deep enough.  He is 5 years old and should be writing letters to Santa, not hooked to monitors unresponsive.  His Mom should be trying to sneak in presents to surprise him with, not crying bedside in a hospital room, praying for her son.

10377545_10152818977849223_2870303999933511563_n

Then there’s Cameron.  For those who would say that thank God the 7 week-old is “normal”, they are incorrect.  While Cameron is quite healthy he is in no way normal.

Seven week-old babies should be in their mothers arms, not bounced around to relatives so his mom can keep her vigil at Children’s Hospital.  Cameron should have a big brother that can teach him to throw a football, intimidate kids who try to bully him, teach him how to date, how to drive and be his best friend.

UPDATE:   While the CT scan and EEG’s looked promising, an MRI has shown that Christion has suffered massive trauma on his whole brain and the prognosis is not positive and family is preparing for the inevitable.   Prayers are still needed for this family, for strength and courage to help them along their difficult journey.  Any donations would help considerably.  Please consider sharing this post or the fundraiser page to help.

Donations for Christion

Donations for research can be made to:

Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Office
222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60606
888-HELP-MDA
(888-435-7632)

 

If your children are healthy, give thanks.  Not just once, but every day.  Life is fragile and it can be short.  Please take the time if you can to help a friend or neighbor who may need that extra hand.  Consider donating to research to continue the fight for a cure for this and other diseases and disabilities that hurt children and torment parents.  Even a few dollars a month can do a lot of good.

Have a safe, happy and healthy with your family and please join me in #PrayersforChristion.  Please share this story and allow his story to open hearts and maybe a wallet or two.  We can’t have too many people praying for him or sending positive energy their way.
{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Blessings for the New Year

New Years Tidings

Now don’t wait for it to happen, make it so!

{{hugs}}

Maggie

The Reason For The Season

Christmas lists get smaller

What is the reason for the season?  The answer will vary greatly depending on who you ask.

For the Christian, it is the celebration of the birth of The Christ.

For the Pagan, it is the essential step in life before the rebirth of nature.

For the parents of small children, it is the time that Santa makes his annual visit rewarding good behavior and delivering coal to those who were naughty.

For the science minded, it is the tilting of the earth’s axis as we make our annual rotation around the sun.

My father would have preferred to have the traditionally large Catholic family… lots of kids around the table.  My dad was an only child and mom was the youngest of two (with a very large age difference, which sometimes made her feel like an only child).  Try as they might, they were only able to have the two of us.  Due to their many failed attempts at a larger family, they were very appreciative for the two of us.

My mom was raised Lutheran.  As an adult she believed that if God is everywhere that she could commune anywhere, that church was man-made.  She preferred to spend her time in nature to reground and center herself.

My dad was raised strict Roman Catholic; church every Sunday and every holiday, fish on Fridays, schmutz on your forehead for Ash Wednesday Catholic.  The only child of two very reserved parents; it was a quiet, orderly house at all times.

Because my parents were married in the Catholic Church that meant that my Mother had to agree to raise her children Catholic.  Honoring her commitment (and to keep her in-laws quiet) my sister and I were baptized in the church; I got as far as my first communion.

Shortly after, my dad’s job transferred him from NYC to Chicago, away from family and friends and for him, away from the church.  The only time we went to church after that was when my grandparents came for a visit.  He held his beliefs, but agreed more with my mom that God was found in the beauty of nature.  We spent weekends at the park, every chance we could and eventually she talked him into camping – a deep love that they shared for the rest of their lives.

Since it was just the four of us, we remained very tight knit.  Holidays especially focused on the appreciation of the fact that we had each other.  While most parents cringe often during their child’s high school years, my dad was in heaven.  I had friends that came over frequently and a boyfriend that just about lived there due to his own bad home life.  Pop couldn’t be more thrilled!  A noisy house filled with people.

As time progressed, Pop loved having his daughters having boyfriends and eventually husbands.  More people in the house!  Come the holidays and everyone was invited, literally.  Folks from the office, friends, acquaintances, the mailman, even the people he commuted with on the bus to work.  We always made sure that we had untagged “generic” gifts under the tree for the unexpected visitors… a tin of cookies, a giant Hershey’s kiss, a travel coffee mug.  No one was going to come for Christmas and leave empty handed.  It wasn’t about getting things, it was a way of saying thank you for being a part of our lives and our celebration.

Grinch

My mom’s absolute favorite Christmas movie was How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Mine has always been Scrooged (followed by the Grinch).  It’s only with the hindsight of age that I realize that my parents raised us to have a Dickensian Christmas (as in Charles Dickens ~ A Christmas Carol), to know what it took so much effort for Scrooge and the Grinch to learn.

So what is the reason for the season?  Well for those of us who celebrate a more Dickensian Christmas, it is about appreciating family, communicating love and sharing with others.  I want to take the opportunity to thank you for being part of my celebration.  Enjoy and celebrate your loved ones this holiday season.

{{hugs}}

Maggie

The Path to Happiness

Are you happy

Happiness is…

Happiness