The Dough Starter

The Dough Starter. What is it?   Like sourdough bread, where did the original “starter” come from? It takes a little of the starter to add to the rest of your recipe in order to complete the process. The result is a reward of warm, out of the oven bread. Butter melts into the divots and the options for layering on top of that are endless.

Funny, I thought. That’s the same idea behind that one drawer in everyone’s kitchen or hall (maybe both) that collects stuff. Oh sure, you clean it out every now and then. Typically that time comes when the drawer requires longer than one minute in a series of mashing and rearranging moves that do not offer (drawer) closure. So it’s cleaned out, but aha, you have been left with another version of “Dough Starter”. That pile of what-nots and necessary thingies that don’t really have a spot all their own. They lie in a small pile assembled in the now cleaned drawer in solidarity. These perfectly good things, not ready for the trash, all have one notion in common.  No home to call their own.  Perhaps alone they are not significant enough to be housed in a home of their own. Yet without the item, that one piece of information that has the ability to morph into an item of great importance the task may be impossible to complete.

Similarly, the Follow-up Folder is on my desk now. It is currently void of things to do. All that remains is the “Dough Starter”. There you will find unrelated pages.  They relate to obscure notes, phone numbers and instructions that no longer have a current need. I’m thinking hey, it might be vital again, one day.   They are then joined with the clipped pages that relate to some task that has been reported complete, but is it? Once confirmed, the paper trail can be filed. But what remains is the “Dough Starter”. Like all “Dough Starters” each bit of the starter is required. The recipe is not complete without all of the vital bits. What is otherwise produced might lack that one thing that should have remained in the “Dough Starter” but was thought to be inconsequential to it.

Never underestimate the “Dough Starter”. It can make your progress or it can break your progress.   For example, a one-time Gate Repair man’s phone number was not worthy of a file card of its own. Where would I file the card? Would I remember the Company’s name or the Contractor’s name? Of course I wouldn’t. There it went, into the “Dough Starter”. Years later, when asked…the “Dough Starter” did not disappoint. There, in the plastic security blanket of a page protector was the slip with the information needed once more. That once in a blue-moon place, safely housed in the “Dough Starter”, offered another delicious bite of success without fuss.

Do not misunderstand me. Keeping the “Dough Starter” pure and viable is important. That drawer you are not able to shut, the folder too full to see the identifying tab at the top of, or even that stack of old purses that mysteriously manages to shove a favorite purse under the bottom of the pile is calling. (Closet purses are in cahoots with Dryer socks after all).  Maybe some of your favorite old handbags are enjoying the top of the heap but like the de-cluttering lady says, if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. That being said, I do have an old macramé purse in the “Dough Starter” pile of my closet. It has come out to save me a time or two on Halloween or that themed dress day at the office.

Do you have an emotional “Dough Starter”? Is there that quiet place inside you can go to? Clean out that sacred space of the things that no longer serve you. Keep the important and unresolved issues there until you can find the right place to safely store them. You will be left with that same little pile of odd feelings and emotions that you aren’t quite sure what to do with. Leave them right there. That is for your very most treasured “Dough Starter”. Do not force it. Let it age and it will come to you with just the right purpose to complete your progress at just the right time.  It is the key ingredient in the recipe called YOU.

This is Decidedly Debra. I hope you have enjoyedcropped-Debra-145.jpg this little slice made with love and a bit of my very own “Dough Starter”.

 

Chasing the Dream or Embracing the Dream

The abundance of blessings in my own story is evidence of true miracles.  When you finally learn how to make the fine distinction between Chasing a Dream vs. Embracing a Dream, the shift can bring dramatic results. 

For so much of my youth I imagined in glowing detail what I wanted in life.  Yes, that was very different then as compared to now.  Age has a funny way of changing a person’s perception on things I guess.  Suffice it to say, I am enjoying the confidence that comes with advancing years.  Life experiences brought me new dreams with a few of the old dreams still tagging along for the ride.

  

I am not certain at just what point I began to embrace my dreams rather than chase them, but oh, what a difference that shift made.  We learn along our journey that life means to give us all that we dream it can.  What a joy it is to allow that to come to us freely, lovingly and joyfully!

So many years were spent painstakingly working and striving to reach goals that all too often seemed just beyond reach.  Saving money was difficult as it seemed to always be needed to patch some hole in my symbolic leaky boat of life.  Bad decisions were lamented over for far too long, keeping the path of abundance blurred and hidden from view.  It was there the whole time, yet I literally couldn’t see the forest for the trees.  Too busy running, chasing something I had convinced myself was elusive.  Too busy being fearful that my dreams could never be reached.  Occasionally it even seemed such dreams might be undeserved.  How much time did I spend comparing my dreams to those of others rather than just living my own?

Do you have a sense of how satisfying a dream can be?  As I dream of a world without suffering, a drive to work without traffic, or more money in my bank account then I realize these dreams are entirely possible.  Remind yourself of that whenever it may seem unlikely.  Know this, they are NOT impossible.  The sooner you begin to embrace the dreams you do realize, the more you will dare to embrace all your dreams rather then simply chase after them.  More and more, you will undoubtedly find the path to realizing your dreams may be even more possible than you first dreamed.

In closing, This is Decidedly Debra and I say…Dare to Dream and embrace it!

Continue reading “Chasing the Dream or Embracing the Dream”

TRAIN TRAVEL

I thank Francine whom thanks her friend Bobbie for the following…

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LIFE IS LIKE A JOURNEY ON A TRAIN…WITH ITS STATIONS…WITH CHANGES OF ROUTES…AND WITH ACCIDENTS!

AT BIRTH WE BOARDED THE TRAIN AND MET OUR PARENTS, AND WE BELIEVE THEY WILL ALWAYS TRAVEL ON OUR SIDE.

HOWEVER, AT SOME STATION OUR PARENTS WILL STEP DOWN FROM THE TRAIN, LEAVING US ON THIS JOURNEY ALONE.

AS TIME GOES BY, OTHER PEOPLE WILL BOARD THE TRAIN; AND THEY WILL BE SIGNIFICANT I.E. OUR SIBLINGS, FRIENDS, CHILDREN, AND EVEN THE LOVE OF OUR LIFE.

MANY WILL STEP DOWN AND LEAVE A PERMANENT VACUUM. OTHERS WILL GO SO UNNOTICED THAT WE DON’T REALIZE THAT THEY VACATED THEIR SEATS!

THIS TRAIN RIDE WILL BE FULL OF JOY, SORROW, FANTASY, EXPECTATIONS, HELLOS, GOODBYES, AND FAREWELLS.

SUCCESS CONSISTS OF HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH ALL PASSENGERS…REQUIRING THAT WE GIVE THE BEST OF OURSELVES.

THE MYSTERY TO EVERYONE IS: WE DO NOT KNOW AT WHICH STATION WE OURSELVES WILL STEP DOWN. SO, WE MUST LIVE IN THE BEST WAY – LOVE, FORGIVE, AND OFFER THE BEST OF WHO WE ARE.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO THIS BECAUSE WHEN THE TIME COMES FOR US TO STEP DOWN AND LEAVE OUR SEAT EMPTY – WE SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES FOR THOSE WHO WILL CONTINUE TO TRAVEL ON THE TRAIN OF LIFE.

I WISH YOU A JOYFUL JOURNEY FOR THE COMING YEAR ON THE TRAIN OF LIFE.

REAP SUCCESS AND GIVE LOTS OF LOVE.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, BE THANKFUL FOR THE JOURNEY!

LASTLY, I THANK YOU FOR BEING ONE OF THE PASSENGERS ON MY TRAIN!

-AUTHOR UNKNOWN

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I love this, I hope you do too,

– Decidedly Debra

From My Burbank Home

I was driving to work from my Burbank home last week and it occurs to me that at the ripe old age of 63 I can still be “the procrastinator”. It did not leave me feeling very highly evolved, which of course we all know I am (insert eye-roll here.)

On my routine drive into the office, from my Burbank home, I have become familiar with the scenery I pass. I look for the neat and tidy yellow apartment building on the right, just after the apartment building which is missing its tree. After that I know the old Circuit City building will be approaching on my left. That means it will not be long until I reach Ranchito Street. There is where I find the apartment building I want my house painted the same color as.

It is the missing tree that is the visual for my point today ladies and gents. The enlightened path we are on has taught me that what matters is right here, right now. This present moment. So last winter I was on my journey to work, from my Burbank home. I approached a lovely but rather plain apartment building along the way to my right. Suddenly I was struck by the beauty of this young birch tree draping its fragile limbs. They almost seemed to be reaching for something unseen. It was one of those atmospheric days and it was about to rain. The sky was dark and cloudy, covered with large clouds. The clouds had arranged themselves in a symphony of whites and light to darker grays. Alone they looked like a beautiful watercolor. This tree, dancing in the breezes against the lack-luster blue gray building for its backdrop was also dramatic. The scene was so remarkable to me that I thought about pulling over to take a photo of it. But no, I might then be late to work.

I passed this tree for the next several days. Each day I thought I should capture the loveliness of that small birch in a photo. Day four. I approached the small tree and to my shock and dismay it had been sawed off to just a foot or two above the ground. It broke my heart. There its small white and black dappled stump stood all alone against the backdrop of that building. It looked abandoned. No movement, no feeling, no photo. Why hadn’t I stopped to take that photo.

Had this young tree fought mightily against the harshness of the day’s elements and snapped, only to have some do-gooder trim its stump to an even disgrace? Perhaps the neighborhood hooligans also noticed the speck of beauty in their otherwise grim hood and were offended by it’s suggestion of goodness and had retaliated? I might never know.

Each day on my way from my Burbank home, I look for that tree stump still there. It reminds me of what was once there.

I honor its creation in my mind.

It reminds me of how fragile life can be with its “here today, gone the next” tendencies.

I give thanks for mine and thanks for those I love.

Most importantly, it reminds me to live in the here and now without hesitation or regret.

I know I will now take photo opportunities without procrastination.

Yes folks, all this while driving to work – from my Burbank home.

With love and wishes for a joyous New Year,

Decidedly Debra

Lessons Learned At School

I was glancing through my FB posts recently. We all know the variety of opinions that we can find there.  Some, in my opinion, are intelligently expressed and some are downright rude. I usually decline to respond fearing a lengthy on-going litany of unappreciated remarks that typically fail to enlighten anyone. Often the only outcome is a ranting contest geared to blame and blow off steam.

A post I read yesterday expressed dismay from a dog owner who, with the so-called permission of teachers, had been exercising their dog daily on nearby school grounds. The breed of the dog is medium to large and does have a reputation that many find alarming, particularly off-leash. The post went on to explain someone must have contacted local authorities and complained. The police then responded to the location and advised the dog owner that the activity was not acceptable and they could be cited for an off-leash animal in public. They were not cited. That is an expensive ticket to receive and requires a court appearance I believe. But the dog owner was not pleased.

Here is where I admit I have also enjoyed watching my dog frolic freely on the expansive yet fenced safety of a large grassy area at my local school’s playground. While my particular dog’s breed usually incites giggles and awes as well uninvited outstretched hands, she is 64 pounds and nonetheless capable of biting when feeling threatened.

Over a year ago I stopped letting my dog off-leash in my local neighborhood school grounds after receiving a rather stern talking to by the school’s custodian. It was after hours. I was not intent on mingling with the daily throngs of those whose designated purpose was to be there. I was reminded that the next time I was seen there, even after hours and while the gates were unlocked, I would be locked in and left to figure out how to hoist mself and a 60 plus pound animal over the tall locked gates. Additionally I  would probably need to contact local authorities for assistance and the result would be a citation or two for my continued behavior.

Meanwhile, let me get back with the follow up FB comments to the original post. Most were wondering why “Joe Public” had nothing better to do than make it their business to complain to authorities. Many suspected the breed in question had prompted the call. Still others believed the police should have something better to do like focusing on more significant criminal activity. After all it was the dog owner’s belief they had teachers’ permission to be there in the first place.

I admit to being astounded at the outcry of responses laying blame on the person who reported the owner and their dog on school property, the nasty and unreasonable police as well as the misunderstood breed. Only one of the 20 replying to the post, besides me, suggested that the pet owner take their pet to the appropriate “Dog Park” for the desired off-leash exercise. It seems many are willing to attack those who see this behavior as  inappropriate. It saddens me that we are so quick to name call the authority we expect to protect and serve us. When will we, as I since have, take a hard look at ourselves and wonder why we are selfishly choosing behavior that is clearly only convenient for us, party of one?

While my dog is well behaved I never let her out of my sight. I remember the days at my own school when a student would come to class unknowingly tracking in a shoe-bottom full of grassy stuck on excrement. It took a moment for the odor to waft about the room causing the groans and gags of students expecting to accomplish the day’s lesson(s). Usually not until or after traipsing the offensive attached bundle around the classroom is it noticed and a finger then pointed at the innocent offender who is mocked mercilessly.

The same teacher that spends valuable time trying to calm a classroom rather than teaching our children now has to summon custodial services to help with the poo-trail. I am guessing that teacher, who may have found it easier to offer permission to the after school activity of a friend and their dog, is now faced with a smelly classroom. Why? Because it is easier to offer unauthorized permission rather than trying to explain to a friend or fellow pet owner that a school yard is not the place to exercise a dog, or ten, or twenty, no matter what the breed. Especially when you consider the many who do not even have the desire or readiness to clean up after their pets.

I would invite each of us to stop the name calling and take a good look at ourselves. I have had to ask myself what my motivation is for the many things I choose to do each day. Is it for the benefit of many or just myself? Would I love to have a fenced in acre or two to let my pet run free? Of course. Would it be practical? No. I would be asking for snake bites, poisoness plant encounters and other uncontrollable situations, but in a perfect world it would be lovely. That does not make it right. That does not make someone trying to stop me wrong. It just is what it is. Our fantasy. Usually I find that it means we are looking for the easy solution to our wants and desires, with little or no regards for much else in reality.

I remember working at a large equestrian facility’s many years ago. It was huge and full of wonderful amenities. When potential boarders came to inquire about the possibility of housing their fine steeds there it seemed like heaven on earth at first blush. I was quick to remind them that they were going to be sharing that facility with 600+ others, all who believed their needs to be the most important. Perhaps that backyard horse facility for one was better suited to their liking? It was a notion I reminded them of often yet it was exasperating for them to hear, particularly considering the price they paid for their place in a facility that, albeit beautiful and well appointed, was often restricted in their enjoyment of it. It would have been easier for me to simply paint a rosey picture, but that was not the reality we would all be dealing with.

School is now out for today but let us remind ourselves of the lesson I believe we can all benefit from. There is a place and a time for everything. We should be careful what we wish for – not only for ourselves but for each other. It is our responsibility to regard our actions with our own integrity and bring personal accountability to our conduct. Do not assume that others have our worst interests at heart. Try to see the bigger picture and align personal agendas with those we know others would wish for as well.

Pit Bulls and Labradoodles aren’t really that different.  Neither are you or I.

Class Dismissed.

Forgive Me

I have been working very hard at forgiveness. In doing so I have forgiven myself for the things others might perceive I’ve done wrongly. More importantly I have finally forgiven myself for the things I perceive I have wrongly done.

Like the character Sophia in “Golden Girls”…Picture This

Not Sicily, but 2017, Encino, CA…I’ve agreed to go pick up lunch for myself, the boss and a coworker. I really don’t want to eat fast food (but I forgave myself) and as I pull into the drive way leading to the drive thru I glance to my left and wonder why a parked car is idling there (honest). As I approach the order speaker I hear a car horn and look back. I begin to realize that was not a parked car but rather a car approaching the drive thru as well. They were thoughtfully leaving space for those driving in to park. Horror of horrors, I would never intentionally do such a thing as cutting in line! This appears to be exactly what I have done. Just then a man approaches my car window and begins to point out the now realized obvious and asks me “who do I think I am?” Still stunned I thank him for pointing out my mistake as he irrately storms back to his car. It is now I realize there is little or nothing I can do about it since more cars have now moved into the cue of cars behind me. I forgive myself and wonder what else I might do about it.

Options? I get to the order speaker and explain to the faceless voice that I just want to drive thru without ordering. I will park and go inside since I UNintentionally cut in front of people. But wait, I forgave myself and instantly realize that will do little to ease the burden on those behind me. The voice agrees with me and I place my order. Should I pay for the order of the car behind me? It is not the angry man. That might make it better, but others have also incurred a time delay from my action and I don’t have the means or desire if I’m honest to pay for lunch for everyone. After all, wouldn’t this now involve my faux pas extending uninvited effort on the part of the faceless voice. The Voice reassures me. We are in agreement that it was a mistake, an innocent error on my part.

The point is, are we so challenged that we cannot afford to forgive each other of our mistakes? How small or large does a wrongdoing need to be before we can dispense a dose of forgiveness? Must forgiveness require a person to want forgiveness in order for it to be offered?

It occurs to me the man took more time and effort getting out of his car to confront me vs. the amount of time my error caused him delay or effort for him to forgive me. I get it – he mistakenly thought my mistaken action was intentional. His intention seemed clear. I asked the person who took my exact change and at the next window that young woman who gave me the goods for their forgiveness. I requested them to extend that to the customers that followed (yes, even Mr. Grumpy pants). I pulled forward and waited by the wall for an attendant to bring me my order.

The still offended party pulled up behind me (I was anticipating the possibility) doors locked, windows rolled up, a/c on. Hopefully realizing that enough time had been spent on this he pulled away while yelling loudly out his window a word I would never utter. I forgave him. I hope everyone else who heard it forgave him too.

Time is certainly a commodity these days. It seems forgiveness is invaluable. We are forced to waste time in traffic while we witness what would seem to many as intentional and unintentional wrongdoings. All is forgiven. We see many trying to be efficient with time as they fiddle with phones, checking in and keeping up while seeming to be intentionally or unintentionally rude. All is forgiven. That is a personal choice. But while time is fleeting and cannot be held onto – Forgiveness can be long lasting and oh-so healing.

The moral of my Sophia-esque story this day? Clearly I seek forgiveness from those who perceive I’ve wronged them. I have lovingly forgiven myself! I hope the handsome young man can find a way to smooth his angst with his own forgiveness. I’m guessing all who heard the word shouted from his car in such desperate and frustrated anger would also hope the same. Something in my heart tells me it might not have really been me but something bigger that is eating at him. Just a guess, but I hope he finds peace. I prescribe a dose of forgiveness today, it certainly helps me.

Enjoy,

Forgiveness Doctor,

Decidedly Debra

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Find out what it means to Me)

I am trying so hard to understand those who are kneeling during our National Anthem at sporting events.  It seems they are doing so in meaningful protest toward our President of these United States and his policies and against racism.  When pressed for more explanation those (like myself) who are unclear about their intentions are often answered with the statement that those offended by their actions are responsible for promoting divisiveness in this country.  BULL!  To them I say look in the mirror.

Frankly I am certain it is they who are promoting divisiveness.  In fact, I find it frighteningly close to an act of treason.

When someone is hired to do a job and they use their time on that job to protest anything, it is wrong in my view.  They could and should be fired for not performing their job.  I would apply this to players and managers alike.  If I took work time to make a statement about anything other than what my paid position requires of me, I would be wrong.  Freedom of speech has nothing to do with it.

Recently it was explained to me that until 2009 athletes were not required to be on the field during the National Anthem.  If government lobbied to pay them to do so in an effort to encourage patriotism, so what?  How can anyone enjoying the blessings of this great nation then dishonor the men and women that got us here by not proudly honoring the playing of our National Anthem?  How is this an appropriate protest for anything?  How is this acceptable on—the-job behavior?  How is this an example to be supported?  It is NOT freedom of speech but rather a flagrant show of disrespect.  Disrespect for you, for me, for themselves (an all too common problem these days by the way) and disrespectful to our great nation.

Freedom of speech is a treasure yet respectfully only valid on our time and our dime.  Period.

Another example – why should I enjoy being held hostage by the Emmy’s (or any televised award show) and forced to listen to the political ramblings (on either side) of those paid to perform scripted entertainment for which they are being recognized?  It is disrespectful and Hollywood should go on notice that I am no longer listening or engaged.

What I enjoy on television or in the movies or on the gaming fields have nothing to do with what the players want to say beyond what they were hired to do and that is simply to perform.  Any unsolicited remarks or actions beyond the scope of the task they were hired for is otherwise disrespectful.  Stop it.  No one needs to be subjected to such nonsense in the name of freedom of speech.  I will not be and I know many who will no longer be.  Take notice NFL.  Take notice Hollywood.  I believe you are about to see your ratings go south.  Who will be left to watch?  Round them up and let the whining begin.

Divisiveness comes in to play when it seems convenient to say so.  Racism is divisive and so is reverse racism.  You cannot bring something together by taking sides. You can however, learn a thing or two by listening, at the appropriate time, with an open mind and a respectful heart.

If you want to draw lines in the sand and rally around your freedom of speech do not do so on someone else’s dime.  I would respectfully suggest you take your own time, effort, creativity, and assemble that effort of protest on your own and/or collectively with your supporters.  I would support you to that end.  I might even learn something.  I am willing.  Can you manage that?  Or are you only interested in protesting if it easily fit into your schedule or while you are being paid to perform and if you have a captive audience of a few million or more?  This is no time to be lazy.  Doing so is an embarrassment to those protestors (remember the 70’s) who work hard and strive to make valiant efforts to ensure their freedom of speech.

Has our President drawn some lines in the sand?  Perhaps.  But remember, our President has been elected to the position he holds.  He is our Commander in Chief.  His job, a thankless one at best, requires him to safeguard our great nation and its CITIZENS first and foremost.  People voted and he won.  He deserves our respect until such time as those not in agreement with him have the opportunity to elect someone they find to be a better choice.  That is the process. Until then stop being disrespectful and start being positive and constructive in the sharing of your concerns.

In closing Decidedly Debra suggests;

Respect yourself first,

Respect your bosses (if you are bold enough to take their money every pay day),

Respect each other, and

Respect this great nation of ours.

Decidedly Debra respectfully invites you to “get out” if you cannot.  E-mail me if you find any place better than our great United States of America.  Certainly the world needs help, but get off the sofa and go where the help is needed – I see no good in bringing more problems to this great land of ours.

A Telethon for the Disaster that is You and Me

It is interesting to me that we need a “Telethon” to show we care about each other in order to feel compelled to offer financial support in an effort to help in some particular time of need.  It should not surprise me really.  We are at a time when we gear up to “un-friend” those who do not think similarly or perhaps disagree with us with a push of a button.  Gone are the days of polite discussion (or even heated discussion for that matter) where we can disagree but remain respectful to others, and in my view, to ourselves. It is a sad day indeed when we need someone to tell us to reach out a helping hand.  Sadder yet when we promote disaster like a business only to find the next overwhelming circumstance overshadowing the last.  It is downright pathetic when we have come to the place where unless it directly affects us we can no longer manage to take a moment to care or even imagine the impact that affects one or another.  Not until a camera forced in the face of a starving child, a homeless person, or an abandoned animal, do we feel concern.  I am beginning to think it must take a stomach turning visual for us to feel ashamed and show compassion.

Here is the thing folks – reach out a helping hand when and where you can.  Lend an ear for a moment.  Keep kindness in circulation…always.  It does not take millions, but a genuine smile can be worth thousands.  A meal shared with another might keep a person or animal physically and/or mentally going for days and the love and caring it can provide might keep some filled for weeks.  Perhaps it may be just the spark needed to see that not all is lost and they can rise above whatever they might be struggling with.

I am not going to sugar coat this.  Some of us seem so starved for attention that the least glimmer of caring can unleash a seemingly exhaustive wave of need.  That is ours to manage rather than shun.  With assurances that we are not practicing the once-a-year telethon-mindset or a onetime opportunity and how with practice we can revisit the concept of caring.  We can let these starved individuals know we will be there again with a shoulder, a hand, a smile or an ear or even a dollar.  Practice this and we will get better at soothing our own souls and feel safer in our own skin as we learn about the plight and fancies of those around us until it no longer takes an event of magnitude to bring us together.

Who have we become when we can easily spend $20 at the convenience store for a one in a trillion chance to win millions?  Yet we have to hire a bank of volunteers to answer phones and provide A-list celebrities to hold our interest while another human being begs us for any amount in the name of kindness and caring?

I watch as we get in our cars each day and put on a stern game face to maneuver through the throngs of others, often just like us, to get to a place where we can provide for ourselves and, God forbid, maybe another.  Do we really need someone to remind us when a helping hand is appropriate?  Do we need to be cold-called and our tragedies promoted to offer help?  It only takes a second to let someone go before us who is on the same path.  Are we so afraid to be taken advantage of that any kindness appears to show our weakness rather than our goodness?  Have we become so misguided that every courtesy appears to us as some sort of threat?  I am here to tell you that a smile from a stranger does not have to equate to them wanting to put their hand in our pockets.  In reality, for some it might, but we are a smart lot and if we trust our God given instincts, we know the difference.

I wish for a telethon that lacks A-listers but rather is a production to remind us of the human qualities rather than frailties that each of us possess.  The compassion with which we all can manage to understand and grasp good fortune in small doses with some sort of regularity rather than hoping to rack up millions at a time or two.  (Maybe that is why I love The Voice or America’s Got Talent so much.)  These kinds of daily responses will clear the way for every one of us to participate in this thing we call human nature.  The very nature that allows us to celebrate with each other and grieve for one another with a willingness to navigate both.  The very nature that allows another’s success to be an inspiration rather than a jealousy.  The very nature that is essential in assisting us to care for another’s grief and in turn empower us all to carry on.

Can money constantly and consistently circulate much like the blood coursing through our veins? We can benefit more by it than just the self.  Without circulation we will die.  With it, we can thrive.  By giving a little on a regular basis we see how it offers life to those in need while regenerating itself and thriving in ourselves.  It is the same really.  Like blood, water, money and love, a little in frequent intervals is the only promoting we all truly need to thrive as a whole.  It circulates within us and does not stagnate.  It can foster a sense of freshness and renewed spirit. When offered it can be beneficially contagious.  It can heal and touch us all, young, old, abundant or wanting, it has no preference and should be there to benefit the whole, the family, the community, the planet.  Like a tiny stone tossed in a still pool it ripples out and is far reaching.

Say no to sponsored “big business” telethons.  Say yes to your own personal telethon of caring and giving.  Remember giving does not necessarily require a trip to the bank or writing a check.  When was the last time you offered your neighbor a smile, a warm coffee cake, a broom to help clear a path while getting to know them? Give  it a try.  Let me know how it works.  I’m “Decidedly Debra” writing under the “Frankly Francine” sight and I approve this message.

-With Love

The Number Seven

Let me apologize early on for what will be a personal post. Perhaps not void of valuable information if, like me, you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a relationship breakup.

It has been about seven weeks for me, Decidedly Debra. But the relationship was a long one. It lasted over seven years – nearly ten years if we had ended it this coming August. It was not without it’s rough spots but I own that as well as my [then] partner does. Inasmuch as many who knew us as a couple found our breakup surprising, there are at least seven that tell me they aren’t really surprised. On some level I was and yet in retrospect I am not. I guess it is some of the circumstances throughout this relationship I actually found surprising. In the long run It made the end of it not so surprising.

Recently I was remembering with fondness some of the time we spent together, particularly when we travelled.  I began to feel a distinct sense of sadness so I turned to the Internet for a bit of advice. I was looking for the “Seven” stages of grief. These 7 stages are relatable to loss of someone near and dear regardless if the loss is by death or simply a life choice.

1) Shock/Disbelief.

That certainly fits here. When someone who claims to love and be loved can shut down communications and lose the ability to allow their relationship to sustain them during times of stress and/or struggle is shocking and unbelievable.

2) Denial.

This can’t be happening. Certainly those consoling me believed it was not really the end. I too began to deny its end when I thought about it at that point.

3) Bargaining.

Maybe I should call and give him the chance to explain.

4) Guilt.

Was I at fault? Could I have behaved differently. Did I cause this breakup? Did I actually want this breakup???

5) Anger.

Really? After all we’ve shared and all I’ve done to negotiate circumstances in the past? Circumstances that now appear to have certainly had some bearing on the beginning of the end! Bite me (times seven)!

6) Depression.

‘Nuff said.

7) Acceptance/Hope.

I accept that I’ve made the right decision for myself. (Say that seven times to yourself before bed or first thing in the morning). I am hopeful my future will result in a relationship that brings me closer to true happiness and is enriching while we meet each other’s needs.

Meanwhile, Frankly Francine reminds me that as a “party of one” I can go to Costco (open seven days a week – but it is best to go on Tuesday for less crowds) and pick up the stuffed bell peppers I love. There are six to a package and I can easily and quickly cook all six. The ones remaining (did I mention my increased appetite during this breakup?) can each then be placed in its own baggie and frozen for grabbing to quickly and easily microwave for lunch or dinner later. They are truly delicious.

I wonder how many stages a dog goes through when they lose someone they’ve been close to?  Could it be seven?  How does that work when one dog year equals seven of our own?

Until next time. This is Decidedly Debra – and if you have some positivity you’d like to share, please, feel free.

 

Mother of Invention

Frankly Francine and me (Decidedly Debra – her daughter) are currently enjoying a discussion. The topic – you ask? Reinvention. At any age, any place, any relationship status, working or retired. Reinventing oneself is an excellent way to invigorate and refresh. Shedding new light on an old (or dull) life can be very exciting. Who couldn’t use a bit of pep in their step?  It could be just the shot in the arm needed.  It’s also very contagious.

Perhaps you find yourself cooking as though you were still feeding a family of four even though your kids have long been out of the house. Now it’s just you and the hubby. The leftovers are frustratingly met with something akin to “Meatloaf?  Again???” Don’t throw the pan. Instead realize that there are options. More than ever there are meal options for one or two. And remember, while your Mister is wondering what’s for dinner – offer him a glass of (fill in the blank) and ask him to turn off the television to help with the salad.

The point is, you don’t need to fret. Try injecting a new idea or a new routine (without making it a routine rut) to help you in the process. Trader Joe’s is an excellent way to pick up smaller prepared items that are delicious, reasonably priced, more healthy than not and quick to go from refrigerator to table. Now all you need is to add the salad (they also come ready to go in a bag) or the veggie. If you have someone to help with the dishes you will be ready to grab the dog and take that walk around the block in nothing flat. Everybody (including the pooch) wins! And you will still be home in time to watch your favorite program but feel much better about it in the long run. Will your new experimental meals always be worth repeating? Possibly not. But there is nothing wrong with the discussion that might follow about likes and dislikes and what to do differently. It could prove very enlightening.

Daring to try something new is easier than you might think. We all find ourselves comfortably stuck in our way of doing things. If that is working for you then congratulations. If it isn’t, ask yourself what’s missing. Better yet, ask your partner what is missing. Pose the question to your friends. Communicating your need is hard.  But it’s harder to look into the eyes of a person you really care about and not see the spark you once new. That goes for yourself too. Look in the mirror!  Are you seeing what you want to see looking back at you? It might be an overworked and underpaid version, but is it the best version you can muster? Would you want to come home to you? If not, why not? Is there nothing in this world that would be worth a bit more effort to include and possibly make all the difference? Is it really so hard to tell someone you love and admire that the things that “did it” for you in the past are no longer floating your boat? That could be hurtful unless you are ready to offer “how about we try this or that for a change”? No one likes a problem without a solution.

I think everyone at one time or another has heard a bit of unpleasant news and wished they had been given the opportunity to do something about it before it was too late. It’s much easier and perhaps less hurtful in the long run if we seek out solutions before it festers into the unforgivable and all is lost. As phases of our lives change, and as such so do our needs, then it only makes sense so then should our actions.

Perhaps as we get older it become more important to eliminate unwanted clutter or to learn how to live on less money.  Maybe traveling to visit family is more important or perhaps less possible.  Being realistic about changing needs is fair. To do otherwise is unfair to yourself and those we love.  But it isn’t always obvious, so dare to explore the possibilities.

Show and tell.  We loved it as kids in school.  Remember? We started out inquisitive and ready to discover all that we could.  Then we think we know it all and seem to spend our time putting all we’ve learned into good use.  There is a time, later on, when we naturally fatigue and desire simply to relax and enjoy all that we’ve worked so hard for. That doesn’t have to mean not caring and turning into grumps that believe life has nothing left to offer.  Do you not have anything left to offer?

Offer yourself a bit of exercise. Keep yourself mobile. Keep your mind sharp by exercising it. Be the best you. Lead by example. If you need to take a nap then do. But don’t just sit back day in and day out and watch the world pass you by as others around you wish for the you they knew you were and can still be.

I once asked a partner to join me in a serious conversation about our needs.  I was told there was nothing to talk about.  Indeed there was not.  It was hard to hear but easy to know better.

Dare to reinvent yourself. Let us know how that goes. Consider this an invigorating challenge and let us know how it goes. If we can help define that in some way for you – we’re here to help. Remember; be daring and willing and realistic.

My Best,  Decidedly Debra