2015: Blogosphere and ME

It’s A New Year

I am excited to begin 2015 focused on:

  • improving the quality of this blog, and
  • uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Blogosphere

Because of the holidays, family member illness, and the death of Hubby’s last remaining aunt, I had to step away from blogging for the past several months.  Life is getting back to normal and I am happy to reconnect with my blogging friends.

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This month, January 13, I will celebrate my second anniversary as a blogger.  This blogging experience has opened the door to new experiences, new places and new people both in this country and other parts of the world.

Virtually, via blogging friends, I:

  • traveled to other countries as well as different places throughout the United States;
  • received helpful information on nutrition, meditation, exercise, alternative health care; and
  • entered a new world of books, poetry, religion and music.

Thank you, blogging friends, for uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically these past two years.

Finally, thanks to the information shared in a WordPress recent post,“Make 2015 A Great Blogging Year,” I have the tools to take my blog to the next level.

ME

Hubby, family, friends, and bloggers have all served to improve the quality of my life.  I am grateful.  But, recent acquired self-acknowledgement and self-awareness skills, guided me to the recognition that this responsibility is solely mine.

To improve ME in 2015, I will:

  • Nurture my Healing Container Garden as it brings peace, bliss, and tranquility into my space.

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  • Write daily notes to place in My Gratitude Jar, to express gratitude for the good things in life.

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  • Seek out those things which serve to keep ME grounded and directed in a positive way.

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  • Hone my photography skills because it is always good to learn something new and interesting.
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Camera Purchased Two Years Ago – Still a Work-In-Progress
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Upgraded Camera – Gifted to ME – Christmas 2014
  •  Incorporate healthy recipes into my menus and “go to” the healthy eating cookbooks purchased over the past five years and are never used.
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A Small Sampling of Healthy Eating Good Books
  • Research and explore different options to address my health issues.

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  • Continue to value and appreciate the love of my life, Hubby, as we approach our 55th Anniversary on April 11, 2015.

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  • Remember there are always new things for ME to explore.   

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2015, Here I Come Ready Or Not!

Photography 101, Day 1 – Home

Today’s Assignment

“To kick of this course, let’s introduce ourselves, share an image that means home, and get to know our cameras.”

I love every inch of my home both interior and exterior.  However, when the Florida weather allows (not too hot), I spend most of my waking hours on our rear lanai.

In this space, surrounded by my Container Healing Garden and the towering green trees of the Rear Conservation Area, I find peace, joy and happiness.

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My Home – Facing Street
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My Container Healing Garden
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Rear Conservation Area

 

 

Handbook for Life

While purging files last week, trying to declutter my office space; I, came across the Handbook for Life (author unknown).  A breast cancer support group friend sent it to me several years ago.

Rather than filing this document again and sending it back into hiding for another two years, remaining unseen until the next filing purge, I chose to share the 39 tips in this post.

After the last tip, I give an honest assessment of where My Life is in relation to the four categories presented in the handbook:  (1) Health, (2) Personality, (3) Society, and (4) Life.

Handbook for Life

Health

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more food that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  5. Make time to pray.
  6. Play more games.
  7. Read more books than you did last year.
  8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day — Meditate.
  9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
  10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily.  And while you walk, smile.

Personality

  1. Don’t compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t overdo it.  Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past.  That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.  Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  PROBLEMS ARE SIMPLY PART OF THE CURRICULUM THAT APPEAR AND FADE AWAY LIKE ALGEBRA CLASS BUT THE LESSONS YOU LEARN WILL LAST A LIFETIME.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument.  Agree to disagree.

Society

  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone of everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make a least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick  Your friends will.  Stay in touch.

Life

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. God heals everything.
  4. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  5. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
  6. The best is yet to come.
  7. When you awake in the morning, Thank God for it.
  8. Your Inner Most is always happy.  So be happy.

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My Life in Relation to the 39 Healthy Living Tips

Of the 10 tips related to Health, I gave a positive response to 8 out of 10.

I didn’t fare as well with Personality, of the 14 tips, 9 still are a part of my life.  In this area, I continue as a work-in-progress.  But, less than five years ago, I lived with the negative thoughts and behaviors cited in all the 14 tips.

Of the 7 Society tips, I have overcome 5 and 2 still remain.

Only 1 negative remains of the 8 Life tips, I live peacefully with the remaining 7 positive thoughts.

Finally,

  • responding to the statements in the Handbook for Life;
  • acknowledging the negatives in my life; and,
  • establishing a plan to reduce and/or eliminate my negative behaviors

brings me closer to living life to its fullest with a healthy mind, body and spirit.

 

 

 

Why I Choose to Live Beyond 75

One day last week, I had to stop, listen and process an interview on one of the cable news stations.

I was shocked!!  Why, was Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel saying he wanted to die at 75?

It was unbelievable.  And I asked Hubby, “was that the same Dr. Emanuel who shows up on so many national news programs speaking as an expert on health related issues, especially, the Affordable Health Care Act.”  He said, “yes, but didn’t recall the details.”

Because we both missed most of the interview, I wanted to learn more.  So, I went to my IPad and googled, “why I want to die at 75 Ezekiel Emanuel.”  My friend, Google, found a lengthy article featured in the September 2014 issue of The Atlantic written by Dr. Emanuel.  

Why I Want To Die at 75:  Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D.

“I am sure of my position.  Doubtless, death is a loss.  It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children.  In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But, here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist:  living too long is also a loss.  It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived.  It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world.  It transforms how people experience us, and most important, remember us.  We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.”

Dr. Emanuel is a healthy 57-year-old and does not plan to end his life at 75 either by assisted-suicide or euthanasia.  But, he does say, “At 75 and beyond, I will need a good reason to even visit the doctor and take any medical test or treatment, no matter how routine and painless.  And that good reason is not — ‘it will prolong your life.'”

He also contends that in America we are so focused on doing things “like exercise, strict dieting, popping vitamins, etc., in an effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible.  This has become so pervasive that it now defines a culture type – what I call the American Immortal.”

Why I Choose to Live Beyond 75

Dr. Emanuel says he only wants to live until the age of 75; and, I respect his right to make this choice.  But, two years from now, if I reach the age of 75, I will continue to make healthy lifestyle choices.  These choices will be made not to prolong life, but to live life to the fullest.

While physical ailments, dementia, feebleness, memory, problem solving and other health conditions, relating to the aging process, may occur; I believe, forecasting what may happen in my future, inhibits my ability to live authentically in the present moment.

Today, I am a relatively healthy, 72-year-old with several manageable chronic illnesses.  In 2008, at the age of 66, I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  Dr. Emanuel contends if he were diagnosed with cancer, after the age of 60, he would refuse treatment.  Again, I respect his right to make that decision.  But, I chose treatment.

And, over the past six years, I have been gifted with being in the present moment when my:

  • eldest grandson graduated from college
  • eldest granddaughter graduated from high school;
  • eldest grandson graduated from high school;
  • youngest grandson, graduated from middle school; and,
  • youngest granddaughter’s birth seven months after my 2008 breast cancer diagnosis.

Had I elected not to pursue treatment, I possibly would not have lived to see these major family milestones.

Additionally, beyond family milestones, I would have never witnessed the election of America’s first African-American President.  Something that I never expected would happen in my lifetime.

So, if I continue to be blessed with sound mind and body, I plan on being an active participant in managing my aging process beyond age 75.

And, I will not:

  • wait for death;
  • refuse medical treatment; or
  • accept that living a quality life ends at 75.

But, in addition to as-needed medical care, I will continue to manage my aging process by:

  • Being Positive
  • Practicing Forgiveness
  • Staying Physical
  • Embracing Family and Friends
  • Loving Me
  • Performing Random Acts of Kinds
  • Living A Spiritual Life
  • Trying New Things
  • Exploring New Places
  • Blogging About My Memories, Life Experiences and Random Thoughts

Rather than attempting to “cheat or prolong life” I choose to live life to the fullest until God guides me down a different path.

My Healing Container Garden

A gardener, I am not.  But, when I retired to Florida more than four years ago, I decided our lanai was too cold and sterile.  So to add life, I purchased a few plants to bring color and life into this space.

Since that time, the container garden has gotten bigger and bigger.  Daily, I retreat to My Healing Garden to meditate, pray, and be still.

My Healing Garden Photos

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MY Choice – Online Church

Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO

Six months ago, I made the choice to visit an on-line church service.   Nowadays, Sunday mornings from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., I am in front of the computer.

What Critics Say

To find out, I did a Google Search.  I found critics, both pastors and parishioners, who felt there were major missing elements within the on-line churches.   For example,

  • Corporate worship, praying and studying the bible together.
  • Serving one another and reaching out in mission together.
  • Encouraging each other through personal face-to-face interactions.
  • Taking Communion.
  • God needing your physical presence in the church.

Why I Made the Choice

Hubby and I retired and relocated to Florida four years ago; and, we spent the first three years visiting church after church looking for the right one to call our home.  Unsuccessful, I decided to accept a cousin’s invitation to visit her church service online in Chicago.  I had two options to worship:

  • On-Demand Recording at my convenience; or
  • Live Video Streaming during the actual church service.

Because, I wanted to hold on to the tradition of attending church on Sunday mornings, I chose the Live Video Streaming option.

After the first visit, I knew this was the church for ME.

First, the biblical teachings, mission, and focus on social justice mirrored MY former church.  I wanted to keep worshipping within the  “comfort zone” I had grown accustomed to.  And, these two churches embraced MY religious needs as a Black Christian seeking a positive spiritual, ethnic, and cultural experience within a church environment.

Second, the weekly Live Video Streaming church services connects ME with family members who attend this church.   The opportunity to build a stronger religious relationship, though we are separated by thousands of miles, has improved the quality of my life.   On any given Sunday it is possible to briefly connect with:

  • Cousin G, a Deacon in the church, singing in the Men’s Choir.
  • Cousin S’s young granddaughter, member, Children’s Praise Dance Team.
  • Cousin S, an Ordained Minister and long-time church member.
  • Cousin-In-Law D, a Deacon in the church, sitting in his designated pew.

Oftentimes, I will text, telephone, or e-mail Cousin S about a service.

Initially I had serious reservations about worshipping at an on-line church:

  • Self-Doubt made me ask, “How will others view this decision?”
  • Self-Awareness stepped in saying, “Who cares, it’s your choice.
  • Self-Empowerment gave ME the courage to accept, acknowledge, and embrace MY choice.

Though HUBBY supports MY decision, HE has yet to join ME for an on-line church service.   I’m just waiting.  After all, we have been partnering as a married couple for almost fifty-four years.  He’ll come around.

 

Exciting New Adventure – Yoga Class!!!

When I first signed up for an exercise program at the YMCA more than sixteen years ago, Yoga was my first exercise of choice.  But, I walked away.  Why?  I was . . .

  • Embarrassed about the inability to lift or lower my body to do the floor poses; and
  • Fearful to let others know about this physical limitation.

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Recently, this changed.  First, let me share my story.  Several months ago while perusing the Internet, I came across an article on Chair Yoga DVDs for the elderly and people with disabilities.   Immediately, I went to my favorite online source for DVDs, www.amazon.com, and ordered three — “Easy Yoga for Arthritis,” “Chair Yoga:  A Seated Practice,” and “Yoga for Us.”

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Looking to share my happiness, I e-mailed a friend who has practiced Yoga for a number of years.  She cautioned against trying to do this on my own.  Her advice, which I respect and value, was to find a Yoga instructor who could show me the proper way to do the poses and lessen the chance of getting an injury.

Following my friend’s suggestion, I discussed my dilemma with a personal trainer at the YMCA.  She urged me to attend one of the upcoming Yoga Issues classes.  Mind you, she said the Yoga Issues class was “low key” and designed to meet the special needs of people with “issues” that prevented them from taking a traditional Yoga class.

Imagine my surprise when I entered the class.   There were No Chairs.   Well, One Chair was in the middle of the room.   But, surrounding the One Chair were people sitting on a variety of vibrant and colorful Yoga floor mats.  All appeared quite comfortable in their Cross-Legged seated poses.  The ONE CHAIR, I assumed was for me.  So, I claimed it.   This “issues” group performed poses comparable to the ones I had observed while peeking through the window of the Yoga class at the YMCA in my former hometown years ago.

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In looking around the room, like me, there were,

  • elders in the class;
  • several people were overweight; and
  •  others may have had “invisible” disabling conditions.

But their “issues” did not seem to limit their abilities.

I sit in the CHAIR, fearful and embarrassed.  I watched the flexible and pliant bodies of people with supposed “issues” effortlessly bending, reaching, rising, lifting and twisting their bodies as they did the various Yoga poses.   Following the lead of others, I attempted, when possible, to do the poses in a sitting position.  I was embarrassed by my performance.

Disappointed, but not defeated, I returned to the class the following week.  Alone, in a far corner of the room, and leaning against the wall was the CHAIR.  I claimed the CHAIR.  Clearly, no one else in the class would ever need a CHAIR.   Naturally, I did not seek a spot in the center of the room.  The CHAIR and I went to the farthest corner in the rear of the studio.   I placed my Yoga mat in front of the CHAIR for the comfort of my feet.  Unlike the first class, I chose to do the standing poses without the assistance of the CHAIR.

Then, it was time to do the floor poses.  I sat down in my CHAIR.  After several poses, the CHAIR slowly started to lower toward the floor.  I prayed no one would notice.  But, the CHAIR kept moving down, down, down until my “buttocks” ever so lightly touched the floor.  Several people came to offer help.  Pride made me say NO.  I did not want people standing around trying to figure out how to get me up.  .

Instead, I remained on the floor.  To my surprise, with a bit of effort and a little pain, I got through the poses.  Independent, of any help, I brought my body to an upright standing position.

Now, I don’t want to oversell.  While I lifted, reached and twisted, this body did not always end up where it was supposed to go.  Touching my toes and sitting in a Cross-Legged pose are at the very top of my “Yoga Goal List.”

I am a little nervous about going to the next class.   But, FEAR and EMBARRASSMENT, are no longer problems.  After years of dreaming, I am grateful to finally have Yoga in my life.

Thank you CHAIR for breaking and gently guiding me to the right place.

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I Choose to Rise