You Know Me So Well!

We all have those friends that we’ve known for many, many years but only actually see once every few years, right? Yet, there may have been a time when you were very close and spent a lot of time together. Fortunately, we have amazing technology now which allows us to continually share our lives together from afar.

Well, I have a few of those friends that I very seldom see or get to spend time with. It makes me so very sad that our lives have taken different directions, but I realized today just how incredibly bonded I am to those friends still.

In speaking with one of those friends on the phone today, whom I’ve known for nearly 25 years, I received a detailed account of her interpretation on how I handle grief. I was surprised at how perfectly accurate she was at remembering and understanding how I still handle grief in my life.

Something else that struck me was that I’ve only seen this friend twice in the last 20 years, although we were very close the first four years we knew each other. In fact, I even stayed in her home for a few weeks after my house burned down until I was able to get into another home.

Twice in 20 years, and this friend still knew me so very well, in fact better than anyone in my family! So what does that say about the connections we make in life?

There’s a meme that I’ve seen on social media quite a few times which says, “Some friends come into your life for a reason, others come only for a season.” There are many people I’ve considered friends whom I no longer have any contact with. There are friends I’ve lost contact with for many years who’ve resurfaced in my life due to the ease of technology. Yet, through all of the distances, absences and re-connections, I’ve learned just how incredible those relationships have been and how much of ours hearts we’ve shared together.

I’ve heard many statements from people known and unknown such as, “Nobody understands” or “They couldn’t possible know how I feel” or “You couldn’t walk a block in my shoes”. Stop and think about why that is if you’ve ever said or thought any of those statements.

No other person can ever know exactly how you feel or what you’ve been through, but if you’ve never given your best in any friendship or relationship, then those statements will ring true. People can only know you when you give of yourself to them.

There is of course those who are deficient in integrity and character and will use whatever you give them against you and that is very unfortunate. Yet, when you give of your heart, there will be a time when those who once lacked those skills will understand just how positively influential you were in their lives and will learn to pass it on.

Listening to my friend today showed me how very powerful our relationship was and that only happens when you love yourself enough to pass it on to others.

So, who knows you so well? If you can’t answer that questions, you might want to look inside yourself and break down some of the fortifications barring your heart from loving and giving. It’s hard to get what you cannot give.

Blessings to you my friends.

Being Gramama

          It’s cold outside. The frost blankets the ground like tiny diamonds, glistening in the morning sun. I walk around the concrete abutment so as not to impair the new, Spring grass budding beneath the minuscule icicles hanging from the blades. As I approach the rose bushes, I realize how long they have survived in blistering heat, drenching rain and heavy snow throughout the years. I look at the cross behind the roses, worn and weathered from the same elements that have spared the roses.

The cross was fashioned from a pattern my son had made in the shape of a sword he wanted for a costume. I had helped him cut it out of the thin press-board after he carefully drew the pattern, free-hand onto the wood. The following week, we made a cross for the side of the road where my son was killed instead of a sword for his costume.

Three years after setting the cross on the side of the highway, we moved out of town. I could not bear to leave the cross as it was something my son had painstakingly created on his own. Therefore, it now sits in my backyard, transplanted into a bronzed container, surrounded by the roses we placed in the church for his funeral.

My son was 20 years old when he moved to Heaven. I no longer had the opportunity before me to watch him grow into a man, to walk with him at his wedding, or attend the birth of his children. The realization of this lost future was devastating to me.

I was blessed to have had two beautiful, amazing children. My son was born just after my 24th birthday and my daughter was born shortly after my 26th birthday. I initially did not want children when I was younger, but having my children changed me and brought me love I never knew I possessed.

Losing my son so tragically, I tried my best not to lock my daughter in a closet. Although she was 18 years old when her brother left us, she was still my baby girl. When she moved out of our home a short time later, I sincerely felt I had lost both of my children. She had moved a whole three hours away and I felt like I had lost my world altogether!

I was so very grateful that my daughter moved back with me for the birth of her first child. I hadn’t really thought too much about grandchildren before that as my children were still young, mostly in my mind. Yet, being with my little girl during the blessed moment she had her son was beyond belief!

I am in no way saying that one child can replace another, but it felt like a new start for me. Although a grandparent’s role is far different than that of being a parent, I felt it still afforded me another chance at being a part of a future I had been denied with my oldest child.

I thought about my grandmothers and how they were an integral part of my life. They were the patience, reasoning and wisdom that young parents have yet to learn.           They were always a safe haven when “Mom/Dad doesn’t understand!” To me, my grandparents were angels on earth.

I count myself so very fortunate to have experienced a long life with my grandparents. In fact, I’m 52 years old and still have one grandmother living!

I know there are many people who’ve not grown up with grandparents and I’m so very sad they never knew that special love only a grandparent can give. Fortunately, technology has afforded us with Surrogate Grandparents to help connect families who live too far away, or simply do not have a grandparent in their lives.

Being Gramama to my grand-babies has made my world so very amazing. I love to watch them learn while they play, I love the “out of nowhere” hugs, kisses, snuggles and I love you’s that pop up so randomly. I love the fact that as I’ve grown and matured, I have achieved the kind of wisdom and patience that makes a grandparent who they are to a child.

If you are a grandparent and your grandchildren aren’t close, become a Surrogate Grandparent to a child or children close to you who do not have their grandparents with or near them. The benefits and rewards are so very amazing to both the children and the grandparents who pour out their love to each other, regardless of kinship.

Have a blessed day and remember to share your love and blessings with others!!!

What’s Your Purpose

WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?

 

 

What I’m Good At According To My Friends And Family

The following list is an actual record of the responses I received to the question, “What is it you think I do best?”

  1. Deal with stress
  2. You’re best at talking people into doing things your way
  3. I think you’re best at counseling the grieving. You’re a wonderful listener & have real life experience to lend proper advice. That’s my official answer. Honestly, I think you’re a wonderful mother, grandmother and friend
  4. Expressing unconditional love…Even when we don’t agree, when we’ve been mad at each other, or out of contact for a while, there has never been a moment in my life in which I doubted you love me.
  5. You protect the things you love in life. You’re a fighter! If ever I’m in a battle, I sure as hell want you on my side
  6. Living, loving, helping others… family oriented
  7. Always willing to help people and family before your needs
  8. Have compassion and love for others. Artistic, handyman, problem solver
  9. You’re compassion for others
  10. I think you organize and plan the best
  11. You’re amazing at giving advice, you know exactly what to say always
  12. You’re best at the execution of actions based upon he facts

Recently, I was taking a course in personal development and one of the assignments was to ask friends and family what they felt I was best at. Some of the answers, and from whom they originated, rather surprised me. Some seemed a bit of a no-brainer and some of them gave me a chuckle. Incidentally, the one that made me chuckle the most was from a longtime friend who, for a while, became a bitter enemy and then a friend again. All in all, the answers I received certainly gave me some food for thought.

It’s easy to look in the mirror and imagine you know the person staring back at you. You believe you know yourself better than anyone else does; but do you really? Seeing something and being something can sometimes be very different.

I understand that 30 years ago, most of the answers I would’ve gotten would have been very, very different than those I received today. Growth and change are inevitable, even for those who may be stuck in one form or another of mental or physical challenge. Mental, environmental, physical, emotional, people, places, situations; all these things promote change whether it may be good or bad.

Many people feel lost and hopeless because they just don’t know their true purpose. Think about the strengths you had as a child. Have those strengths remained with you over time? Have you nurtured those strengths? Have others nurtured those strengths? Or, have you let life get in the way of your strengths and lost focus? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure even the most successful people on earth have at one time or another doubted their strengths. The difference between them and you? They never quit!

Some people consider failure an all-time negative action. Some people consider failure a launch to greater success. It merely depends on your perspective and what your action or reaction is to any given happenstance.

One of the simplest examples of perspective I’ve ever seen is from the Disney movie, “Meet the Robinsons” where the slogan was, “Keep Moving Forward”. In fact, that phrase is an excerpt from a quote by Walt Disney himself,

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long.

We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things,

 because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Now, do you think Mr. Disney knew exactly what his purpose was? Walt Disney had a dream from the time he was a young boy to build an amusement park. He was focused and used his passion to create the greatest, most loved amusement parks in the world.

Another man who followed his purpose is Donald Trump. Although Mr. Trump may not be as loved by the masses as Walt Disney, he still must command respect for following his passion and making considerable strides in the real estate market. Although Mr. Trump’s technically a real-estate mogul, his true calling is in negotiation, finance and economics. Yet, my personal opinion is that he could work on his diplomacy and finesse a bit.

These two men are just a fraction of the amazing people who’ve followed their purpose and passions and made it BIG! Did they have failures? Yes! Did they let it stop them from their purpose? No! They used their failures to propel them into space on the rocket of success!

Now, figuring out your passion and purpose may seem like a daunting task if you’ve lost your way from the strengths of your childhood. Yet, there are simple exercises that can help you find it again. One of those exercises is to ask your friends, family, co-workers and business associates what they feel you’re best at. Another is to figure out what it is you like to do; what makes you feel good. Then, there’s a simple psychological test called the Kolbe test. This simple test shows you what your strengths are and helps you expand on them.

I’m sure you’ve all heard that to find your purpose and pursue it, you’ll be doing what you love so it won’t feel like work and the money will follow. But, how do you find the best way of following your dreams in a financially productive way?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Talk with people who are already doing it
  2. Study people who are already doing what you want to do
  3. Learn all you can about the options available to you
  4. Join groups that follow your interests
  5. Have confidence in yourself
  6. Believe you have what it takes to upscale whatever makes you happy
  7. Above all else, be aware of who you are helping by following your passion

That last one is a direct thought pattern I learned from the late, great Zig Zigler. One of his most famous quotes was,

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough

other people get what they want”

 Many people have followed in the footsteps of great people. One of the best ways to learn anything is by example. Think about when you were a young child. I’m sure I’m dating myself, but do you remember a game called “Monkey See, Monkey Do”? If not, the game was essentially a mimic game; you mimicked the actions of another child. So, think about who else you mimicked: your parents, siblings, teachers, friends and other relatives. How’d that work out for you?

As children, we primarily perform Unconscious Behavior Mimicry. We tend to unconsciously mimic our parents behavior at a very young age since we spend most of our time with them. Subsequently, children are also likely to mimic opposite behaviors or no correlating behaviors if they feel shocked or upset at the behavior they are witnessing.

Many of the behaviors learned as children are often carried into adulthood. As adults, we may have no understanding as to why we are either afraid of something or excel at something. There is great news though! Behaviors that are detrimental to our success can be changed; sometimes just as easily as mimicking someone who exhibits behaviors we desire. Other times, more extensive therapy may need to be involved.

The point is, that if you are shadowing the path and purpose of your life, but feel stuck, or you haven’t even started following your path; surround yourself with people who are successful in your purpose. Make a conscious effort to change old thought and behavior processes to benefit your goals. Lean on your strengths and guide yourself into finding your best ever job that doesn’t feel like work!

Blessings on your journey to success my friends!

 

monkey-see-monkey-do

If You’ve Got It…..!

My Nana was quite possibly the classiest lady I ever had the privilege of knowing. To our family’s misfortune, she passed away at the young age of 53, when I was just 13 years old.

I remember how softly she always spoke, even if reprimanding someone. I remember, no matter how badly she felt, she always looked like a million dollars. I remember the silky feel of her hair on my cheek when I sat on her lap as she told me stories, and I remember the lilt in her voice and her infectious smile.

The one thing that always stuck with me was a specific visit when I was 12 years old, just a few short months before she passed away. I had saved my babysitting money to buy myself a tailored suit and nice shoes. At 12, I was enamored with the “business woman’s” look of long, tailored skirts and up-swept hair. I practiced for hours upon hours with my hair to get just the right look. I wanted so much for my Nana to think I was as classy as she was and so I wore my tailored skirt and vest and rolled my hair into a classic up do just to go visit her.

My uncle, who was only five years my senior, was flabbergasted that I did not look like a 12 year old girl when I walked into the house. He began deriding me for looking far too “mature” for my age and asked my mother what she was thinking allowing me to dress in such a manner. I started to become very upset and then my Nana stopped my uncle’s lecture by simply stating, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”

At first, I didn’t realize what my Nana was really saying. I had heard that term before, but usually in a manner that someone was showing off something they should be concealing.

My Nana went on to tell my uncle that I looked beautiful and had done a “mighty fine job” of dressing myself with class. I was just beaming that she thought I looked classy!

I realized then, that the term “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”, although often spoke in derision, simply meant that you should exploit your talents, your dreams and your individual creativity.

I am now two years younger than my Nana when she passed away. Most of my career was spent wearing tailored suits and fancy shoes. At one point, in my early twenties, I had an enormous walk-in closet full of tailored suits and over 200 pairs of fancy shoes. In fact, I usually bought the shoes first and then looked for outfits to match. Due to age and injuries, I can no longer wear those fancy shoes. Yet, I still keep a few pair that I just can’t seem to part with.

Some people would think me vain and narcissistic for collecting these suits and shoes, but to me it was all about being as classy as my Nana.

Now, I understand that class isn’t just about the clothes; it’s about your entire persona. Class is having respect for yourself and others. Class is showing love even when you’re feeling sick or in pain. Class is speaking softly and always looking for the good in people and the best in life.

I don’t think I’ll ever come close to being as classy as my Nana; but I’ll forever keep trying and I’ll forever remember her love and her class!

Communication

Communication has been an issue between people since the beginning of time. The biggest problem is as one person feels he or she is communicating articulately to another, the other person is perceiving a different story. Why is this?

There are numerous scientific articles in regard to nature vs. nurture and how it affects behavioral outcomes. Some of the information in these studies reflect how there are “environmental hotspots” which affect behavior more than genetics Nature vs. Nurture. A quick example would be that a person raised in an environmentally hostile area would not have the diplomacy that a person raised in an environmentally peaceful area would have. Therefore, communication between those two people would be very strained and most likely lead to serious misunderstandings. Neither person would be equipped to understand the other’s point of view or appreciate that person’s passion on the subject in which they are attempting to communicate. Thus, although each person is attempting to be as open and direct as possible to the other, and very likely trying to communicate the same directive, they most likely would not come to an agreement.

The above simple illustration can be viewed throughout history. Countless wars have ensued due to miscommunication, whereas merely one person did not have the understanding of the other person. In fact, there was a song written in the early 1970’s which portrayed this very fact named One Tin Soldier.

Face to face communication is always preferable in any situation as an individual is able to visually communicate his or her position through emotion and body language. Whereas these days, more and more people communicate through text, email or some type of social media, which does little to allow for emotion, facial expressions or body language. Therefore, few people are able to communicate in a way that provides a true point and position to the other person. People should also take into account the coveted, but dreaded “autocorrect”, which may inadvertently send the wrong word. One word can make all the difference in how a message is received and perceived. Sometimes the most simple word or grammatical error can change the entire meaning of the message a person is trying to communicate and could end up being disastrous. I have read through many people’s text to each other as they have asked me to agree with his or her point of view compared to the other person. In most cases, I find that each person is saying almost the same thing and actually agreeing with the other person on a solution to the issue. Yet, due to misguided perception, debauched grammar, or the inability to be compassionate to the other person’s feelings, hurt and anger supervene and there is war!

I’m sure we have all been in similar situations to the ones demonstrated above. One of the best ways I can demonstrate to you, my readers, is to show the difference between active and passive listening, which you can see in the attached image.

Becoming an active listener is an art. We all are passive listeners at heart and need to seriously work on becoming an active listener in order to have better communication skills. Increasingly, there would be less miscommunication and better relationships would be created.

Being an active listener is one of the best ways to have better communication skills. Another is to be compassionate to the other person’s thoughts and ideas. Being compassionate allows for empathy in regard to the other person’s present, past and future situations, upbringing (natural and environmental) and gives the communication increased, peaceful effort for both parties.

I myself have not always communicated in an appropriate way. Not that I was meaning to be obtuse in any way, but was merely in a poor state of mind due to either real or perceived situations happening in my life. Therefore, I was not being compassionate to the other person’s situation and was unable to listen or communication properly to assuage the issue. Most of the time, a simple “I’m sorry” will do to correct miscommunication and feelings of hurt, frustration and anger, which can result in lost relationships. Other times merely recognizing the fact that I was less than diplomatic was a lesson I needed to learn and move on, doing my best in the future not to repeat those actions.

I hope this helps with any communication issues you, my readers, may be having in your life. Just remember, living in peace with yourself allows you to live in peace with others.

 

Happiness

 

Happiness is the key to a prosperous life. I’m not just talking about money either, although having money to pay bills and enjoy some of the finer things life has to offer can be very nice. Some of the other ways of being prosperous include having a loving, personal relationship with someone special; having a loving relationship with your children and other family members; having a job that doesn’t feel like “work”, yet still easily covers your financial obligations; being healthy; and having trusted friends who are willing to always be by your side no matter your financial, physical, or emotional situation at any given time. These are just to name a few of the ways that prosperity can manifest.

So, if happiness is the key to a prosperous life, what is the key to happiness? My grandmothers would always tell me, “Smile, no matter what. If anything, it will make people wonder what you’re up to”, or “Smile and the world smiles with you”. In essence, they were telling me that being happy was infectious. Just like the old adage of “Misery Loves Company”, where miserable people want to surround themselves with other miserable people, happy people want to be around happy people.

These were wonderful little sayings, but how can you be happy when you feel like the world is falling apart and nothing is going your way? My grandmothers had excellent points, but it still never really sunk in until I was watching a TV show one night. One of the characters was going through an extremely traumatic time in her life. One of her co-workers asked her how she could even smile much less seem to be happy in light of her struggles. She answered very simply that with all the trauma and drama, she chose to be happy because being happy was easy. It’s been a very long time since I saw that show and I don’t remember the exact words, but I do remember her specifically saying that “happy is easy”. Apparently, her statement was so poignant in my life, that I remember it decades later. I don’t remember the character’s name or much of anything else about the show, but I think about her statement of being happy all the time.

Since that time, I’ve realized that no matter how bad circumstances or situations are in my life, there is always something positive that comes out of the turmoil. Therefore, I choose to be happy in the midst of tribulation, not just for my sake, but for the sake of others around me. Now, I didn’t say this was always easy. Sometimes you really have to work to find that happy place during extreme emotions. For example, one day I was becoming increasingly frustrated at my 18 month old grandson as he rolled around like a crocodile while I was attempting to change his dirty diaper. I finally used my grumbly voice and told him to stop squirming because he was making a mess. Out of nowhere, his three-year-old brother tosses a neck scarf over his little brother’s face and yells quite dramatically, “Grab on, I’ll pull you out!” as if to save his little brother from a terrible fate. My mood instantly changed from frustration to downright belly laughing happy. Additionally, the baby quit squirming and let me finish changing his nasty diaper.

So, choose to be happy. You’ll thank yourself and so will others around you. In fact, you just might influence the happy in those who are having a difficult day. “Smile and the world smiles with you”!

Introduction

Welcome to Gramama’s Corner, where you can share in stories about life, love, children, home, work and any other little tidbits. I don’t know about you, but my grandmothers were a wealth of information on all of the above. Now that I am a grandmother, I understand even more adamantly, how precious their little life tidbits of wisdom were. The information and experiences they shared gave me such a firm grounding for learning and growing. So now, I would like to share these with you.

Some of the experience and advice I will share will not work for everyone; we are all individuals with our own directions. Yet, it never hurts to hear something different which could allow you options to provide to you some thoughts on a more diverse level.

Gramama’s Corner is not meant to replace medical or psychological help. In fact, I highly suggest that if you have a medical or psychological issue, you contact your family physician immediately to receive the professional help you may require.

The information that I share on this site is mostly my own opinion and is not meant to be offensive or deriding in any way. We all have our own beliefs and opinions and I am merely sharing thoughts on how to make life a joy.

Just a little background about me: I was a funeral service professional for more than 20 years. I have a degree in psychology and working on a degree in sociology, am a certified celebrant and public speaker and best of all, I am a grandmother to two beautiful baby boys!

If you do not agree with something I have written, please feel free to state your own opinion; just keep it civil. People hear you better when you whisper, than when you yell. Additionally, if you have helpful information from your own grandmothers or experience, please feel free to share. Again, keep it civil and positive. This blog is meant to increase love, joy and happiness.

Thank you for sitting in Gramama’s Corner with me!

My family
My family