Tuesday, January 8, 2013

                          Music Really Is Good For The Soul

     Nine days ago my daughter, my VERY good friend, moved far, far away.  She also left with her brand new daughter, Piper.  My first granchild.  I am currently trying to learn to cope with their absence.

     Leslie is one of my five children.  She is 27 years old and lives with her husband and her new daughter in Central Asia.  Leslie came home to have her baby in America.  She arrived on October 17th.  She was 35 weeks pregnant and she came all by herself.  Her husband followed her three weeks later. 

     Leslie and Josh lived with us until December 28th.  Leslie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on November 20th.  Piper Grace is her name and I completely feel her as a part of me. I love her so much. I had the privilege of having Piper come home from the hospital and live at our home.

     First, Leslie arrived.  Three weeks later, Josh arrived.  Two weeks after that, Piper arrived!  She was born the day before Thanksgiving. A new person for me to love. 

                                               And, love her I do.

     Fast forward to December 28th.  The day had come to say goodbye.  I drove Leslie, Josh and Piper to the airport.  We had decided not to have a crowd at the airport.  You see, last spring when they originally moved, the airport goodbye was grueling.  This time, there is a baby to think about.  A crying crowd cannot possibly be good for a five week old baby.  So, the rest of our LARGE family said goodbye at our home and I was going to say goodbye at the airport. 

     Their first flight was delayed due to snow, so I got some extra time with Piper (and her parents).  We sat at the table in our chairs and just spent the last hour with each other.  Not too much was said, we were pretty much overflowing with emotions

     We said our goodbyes, cried our tears and I took the hike back the parking lot.  Alone.  There was a little bit of snow, so the parking lines were missing.  Well, I accidentally drove over the sidewalk and took a shortcut to the exit.  Both of the girls in the booths were laughing hysterically at me.  When I gave the girl my parking slip, she told me that I had just driven over the sidewalk. "Oh - so that was the big bump?"  Then, I started to laugh with them. Funny thing was, I didn't even care.  You see, I have driven over sidewalks before.  Once on purpose while getting out of park after dark in Grand Haven and once when I was trying to find a parking spot (also snow covered lines).  I actually laughed through my tears and headed for home. 

     Now that I am home, I miss them.  I miss them so much.  About five days after they left, I woke up in the morning hearing Miranda Lambert singing "Over You".  The chorus was singing over and over in my mind. The words were exactly how I was feeling.

                                                 "But you went away....
                                                     How dare you....
                                                        I miss you"

     I couldn't have said it any better myself.  I heard the song in my mind all day.  I was officially sad.  I woke up hearing those words, and they stayed with me all day.  When I got home from work, I got on my laptop and watched the video.  As I was watching the video, hope welled up inside me.  I suddenly was feeling a sense of happiness.  After hearing the sad song all day, I realized how lucky I am to have Piper to love, The person the song was written for had died.  No one in my family died, they moved.  I was going to see them again.  It will be a LONG journey, but I will see them again.  I am so lucky to be Piper's Grandma!  I AM going to go on an adventure. I AM going to Central Asia to visit them!

     The sad song that was playing in my head when I woke up, had brought me joy as the day ended.  I have felt sad many times since then, but I am feeling better.  I have been listening to a lot of music since they left.  I have found comfort in music.  Some songs make me sad.  Some songs make me want to dance.  Some songs bring memories.  Some songs don't do anything for me. Feeling while listening to music is therapy to me.  I have always enjoyed music.  I never realized how much sadness and comfort the same song could bring. 

     Every one of us deals with our pain in whatever way works for us.  Music has been a very special comfort to me.

     Music speaks to my soul.  I imagine if you let it, it will speak to your soul as well.  .

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Power Of Nice

     I just finished a book titled "The Power Of Nice".  It was such a thought provoking and good book that I decided to share my thoughts.

     Basically, the book explains how much more we can get out of life being nice.  It seems like such a basic principal, but I think most people could use a little help in this area. 

     I bought the book because I was intrigued by the idea of having someone actually taking the time to write a book to encourage niceness. I consider myself a nice person and many nice things happen to me.   Is that a coincidence?  I think not.   

     Every time we speak, we choose our words.  You can choose to be nice or you can choose to be rude.  If you choose to be nice, chances are you will get a much nicer response.  Some people don't think you can hear emotions in our voices.  I disagree.  I think the tone of our voice speaks louder than the words.  People tell me they hear a smile in my voice.  That makes me feel good.  I want people to know that I am smiling when I talk to them.

     I truly believe that people that are nice to other people are happier individuals.  No one is happy all the time, but we do have the ability to make ourselves feel good by being nice.  There is a quote that I have always loved.  It goes like this:  "Be nice to everyone.  Not because they are, but because you are."    

     Imagine if ALL of us could just be nice to each other?  Can you imagine how much better we would feel?  I make yummy cupcakes and I give them to people because it makes them smile.  I make chicken noodle soup for people that are recovering from an illness.  I let people with small purchases go ahead of me when my cart is full. I smile at strangers.  I give compliments to people that I don't know.  I have paid for the person behind me in the toll booth.  All of these things make ME feel good too.   

     When was the last time you did something nice? Maybe you should try it.  Smile at a stranger.  Tell them to enjoy the sunshine.  Open the door for a person that has their hands full.  Do something nice every day.  I can guarantee that you will be a happier person for it.

     As parents, we are examples to our children every day.  By teaching our children to be nice, we are actually helping them to become happier adults.     

     We can make this world a better place.  One nice gesture at a time.  Oh, and you can always buy the book.  




Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bare Essentials (of life)

     Today I decided to go to Kohls.  I need a new purse and had earned some "Kohls Cash Bucks" and thought it would be a fine day to spend them (since they are going to expire soon).

     As I was driving to Kohls, the sun was shining, the music was great, and so I got motivated to go to the mall and check out a couple of stores there.  I am not that much of a shopper.  I love to get new things (who doesn't) but I just don't enjoy shopping.  I really wanted to get some more Bare Minerals lip gloss, but I couldn't even remember where that store is, so I decided to just go to Pennys and see what they had for purses.  I did find a purse and a couple of new shirts and headed out of the store. 

     As I was walking out into the mall, a young girl ran in front of me looking upset.  She was walking fast and and kept looking behind her and saying "stay away from me".  Just then, a Mom came up beside me trying to catch up to this young girl.  This was obviously her Mother.  The girl took off on a fast run and the mom broke into a fast run as well.  The Mom was trying not to make a scene in the mall, but the little girl was having a terrible temper tantrum.  As the Mom ran, her phone flew from her purse onto the mall floor.  A man that was walking, picked up the phone and was trying to get the Mom's attention.  This was impossible to do since the Mom was trying to catch her daughter.  I picked up my pace (remember - I was heading nowhere) and told the man that I would catch the Mom and give her the phone since she was having trouble with her daughter.

     Finally, the Mom caught the daughter and grabbed her.  The daughter let out a loud scream, fell to the floor and starting kicking her mom with her boots.  Right then, I got to them both.  You could see the Mom was VERY embarrassed by the scene her daughter was creating and people were starting to stop and stare.

     What to do?  Hand her the phone and go on my way, or offer her some help.  I decided to do both.  As a mother of five, I do know a few tricks.  One of the best tricks when there is a child with a temper tantrum is distraction.  So, I said to the little girl laying on the floor screaming and kicking, "Hey - look at what your Mom dropped.  I think this belongs to her.  It looks like you are not very happy.  Is there anything I can do to help you or your Mom?"

     The little girl stopped kicking and screaming and looked at me and seemed happy to hear my voice.  I bent over and touched her hair as she was laying on the floor and told her how pretty she was.  The Mom was clearly VERY upset.  I continued talking to the little girl and asked her how old she was and what her name was and I began to sense there was something amiss about this small child.

     Her Mom came close to me and said "My daughter suffers from autism and I said no to buying her a tiara and this is what happened.  I usually do not bring her to the mall, but I wanted to give it a try.  I feel awful right now and I am sure everyone here thinks I am a bad Mom".  She was on the verge of tears.

     I was smiling at the child while the Mom was talking to me and found out her name was Summer and she is nine years old.  Just then, Summer jumped up and took off again.  This time, Summer was walking at a much slower pace, but still upset.

     I told the Mom that I was a Mother of five and asked her if she would like my help, or if she would rather I left her and her daughter alone.  The Mom said "please help me".

     I suggested we stay back just a little bit from Summer and keep a close eye on her and make sure she was safe, but let her have the space that she felt was necessary.

     As we followed her, she looked back at both of us and you could see she was starting to calm down.  As she was calming down, we walked closer to her.  As we came by her side, she turned into a store and found a chair in that store.

     The store was the Bare Essentials store.  She sat down in a chair that they use for makeup application.  There was only one other customer in the store and I asked the sales clerk if she would be kind enough to put some makeup on Summer.  As the sales clerk was putting a little color on Summer's cheeks, I bought the lip gloss that I wanted.

     Somehow, I had ended up in the Bare Essentials store.  How exactly that happened, I am not sure.  But there I was, getting so much more than just lip gloss.  I was getting a lesson on autism.  I was helping a Mother in desperate need.  I was helping a child.  I was giving the Mom some reassurance that she was not alone in this world. 

     In a very short time, Summer was smiling and telling me how pretty she was feeling and that she couldn't wait to go home and show her little sister.  Summer's Mom said "thank you" in a very meaningful way and I left the store feeling like I had made a small difference in their lives.

     I felt very close to God at that moment.  Who or what else could it have been?      


Monday, November 8, 2010

Making Birthdays Special

     For anyone who doesn't know me, I like to make birthdays special.  I consider it one of my gifts.  I have always enjoyed putting homemade birthday signs all over the house, notes inside vehicles, baking the birthday cake, buying cards, and anything else I can think of to make a person feel special on THEIR birthday.

     Last Friday, November 5th, my coworker Heather, was turning 30.  She shared with me that she was a little bummed about the big  3 0.  I decided to take it upon myself to make her 30th birthday a good one.

     I made her a cake, bought her a card, and then purchased two bundles of carnations.  There were about 40 carnations in all.  What was my plan?  I was going to put the carnations in a bucket in the backseat of my car and find 30 people to stop by the office, get a flower from my car and bring it into Heather!

     I get to work an hour before her, so I had plenty of time to make my arrangements.  I called her husband, her mom and dad, the local police department, the local light and power workers, salesmen that come in on Fridays, all the coworkers, her mechanic that works in Lowell, and anyone else I could think of that would like to be in on the fun.

     Five minutes after Heather got here, two men came in with carnations.  Then a few minutes later, two more men came in.  She said "How do they know it is my birthday?"  I just smiled.  By the time the UPS man came in with a carnation, Heather was onto me. 

     The mailman, who seems quiet by nature, walked in belting out "Happy Birthday" at the top of his lungs!  One of the guys that works here handed her a carnation and said "We are playing bachelor today.  At the end of the day you must pick your favorite."  Oh, so many smiles...

     By 1:00, twenty men had been in and given her carnations!  It was SO fun!  Can you believe it?  Twenty men walking in and handing her a carnation.  Now, that is FUN!  All of the men know Heather and they were so happy to be in on it.  The Chief of Police even came in!  At about 2:00 her husband drove out from Grand Rapids to surprise her and at 3:00 her mom and four of her siblings had driven to Lowell from Sparta to also surprise her.  Heather's dad also stopped by on his way back from Battle Creek.  Even her stepdaughter that I facebook messaged came by with two of her friends.   

     At the end of the day, 39 people had been in to give Heather a birthday flower.  Needless to say, Heather was having a HAPPY birthday!  It was a success!  Heather's birthday went from the dreaded birthday, to a very happy, memorable birthday.

     Making other people feel special makes the soul feel good (at least it does for me).    


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Buying some Mums

     While driving north of town, on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, I saw a lawn full of pumpkins and cornstalks that were for sale.  I decided it was time to decorate our house and our Main Street Inn.
When I pulled into the driveway, the yard was full of people.  There were people taking pictures of kids and pumpkins, babies and pumpkins, teens and pumpkins, etc.  So, you get the picture.  Only one small problem.  There didn't seem to be a person selling the pumpkins.  So, after about 10 minutes, people all started looking around and saying things like "Do you work here?" "Should we just put money in that bucket?"  

     At last, a young man came out from the house and he looked so surprised.  He couldn't believe all the people standing around.  He helped a couple of the families and I could see that he was going to be busy for awhile and so I told him I would be back with a truck to haul my stuff home.

     When I got back fifteen minutes later, the rush was over.  He and I were laughing about the crowd that he did not expect to see when he came out from eating his lunch.  He helped me carry four pumpkins, and a corn stalk bunch.  This should have added up to $16.50, so I gave him a $20.

     We got everything loaded into the truck and I got my change from him.  As I was climbing into the truck, I noticed he gave me $15 back.  Oh no......what to do.......  drive away.....or get back out of the truck and be honest and tell him about his mistake.  Well, I went with the honesty.  I got out of the truck, walked across the lawn and said "I think you gave me too much change.  I gave you a $20 bill."  He smiled at me and said "No I didn't.  Have a great day!"
     Isn't that so cool?  I drove out of his driveway with a BIG smile on my face and felt good!  As I headed home, I spotted another yard with beautiful Mums for sale. So, I stopped.  The Mums were three for $10 and since I had money left over, I bought three.  The Mums were beautiful!  I brought one home, one to the Inn and then I decided to give the last pot of Mums to my Mum.  She loved them!!! 

     I am sure that young man that gave me such a deal on my decorations had no idea that it would enable me to stop and buy those gorgeous flowers.  But, for some reason, he decided to make my day a little bit brighter.  And that he did!

     So, when was the last time you made someone's day a little bit brighter?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My mum.

My mom is one of the most thoughtful women I have ever met.  She is an inspiration to many, and I just thought it was about time she had a blog so she could share her thoughtfulness with the world!