Monday, June 20, 2011

Health & Happiness

When I was young my grandmother Kelley used to say a prayer before every meal that would only ask for two things, "health and happiness" for her family.
When I used to ask her what she wanted for Christmas she would say "health and happiness".
As a child and young girl I always thought this was a stupid answer and did not understand how she couldn't actually want something.
I had NO IDEA how important her wishes were.

I did not realize that she struggled to find her own happiness all throughout her life. She was very likely depressed for decades. She found solace in "inappropriate" places but happiness was all she was looking for.
Years later she would live through losing her husband to Alzheimers disease and then not long after that she developed it herself. 
Suddenly wishing for health and happiness made perfect sense.
Without those two things we have nothing.

My Wish
My wish for you is to find happiness
In the blooming of a new flower
On the blossom of a tree
In the sound of laughter
Hopefully your laughter.

I also wish for you to find health
In the strong and even beat of your heart
Within the air that offers you life
On your two legs that carry you
Hopefully carry you towards happiness.

Health and happiness are all I wish for you but they are a huge wishes that will last you a lifetime.
I hope you hold them dear when you have it and never give up on finding them when you don't.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Strength of a Woman

Strength : The quality or state of being strong, the ability to do or bear, the capacity for exertion or endurance, whether physical, intellectual or moral. Strength of body, strength of mind, or memory or of judgment. 

For most of the women that I have in my life, the past few years have been filled with STRESS!!!
Unexpected pregnancies,  marriage break-ups, drug abuse, gambling debts, house renovations, too much work, children with serious behavioral issues, serious marriage troubles, hospitalized children or close family members, personal illnesses, incredibly tight finances, sexual abuse, deaths, big moves, children leaving home (or coming home) and just about any other stressful situation that you can imagine. Many people, myself included dealt with more than one of these issues one after the other.

I can not even count how many times I have heard the saying "I just don't know how I will handle this." or "If just one more thing happens I am going to explode!". If not these sayings that something similar. I am sure you can all relate?

Life can be so hard for many of us at different times. At first I lamented in the difficulties and asked myself why life had to be so hard. I had no answer except my usual "if things were never hard, I wouldn't appreciate the good". That great reason is starting to wear a bit thin on me no matter how true it may be.

The next thought I had was about how incredibly strong we all are.
We women handle so much even on the good days. Making sure our homes are nice and welcoming, taking care of children/friends/family, putting our own needs on hold while we spend our time dealing with everything and everyone else on our never-ending lists of "Things To Do". I don't know about you but I don't even have enough time in my day to write a list, let alone follow it!

We care enough to remember our loved ones birthdays, who doesn't eat meat, which child likes peas and which one hates corn, who is allergic to red food dye, who needs a new pair of shoes, the dog needs it's nails clipped, the car needs gas, the electric bill is due, the date of a worrisome test that a friend is having, to send $5 to the school or $10 to a shelter, that the toilet bowl never got properly cleaned since last Saturday and a million other "little things" that we pack in to our days.
We notice the sad look on our child's face even when they say there is nothing wrong and no matter if that child is 2 or 42, we still care enough to make special time to find out what is wrong.
Not having a child of our own doesn't stop us from acting like we do have them either. We care for our friends children, our nieces and nephews or we turn that nurturing spirit towards caring for a furry/scaly/thick skinned baby that needs us just as much.
No matter what life has dealt us, we find ways to reach out and care for the world and the things in it.
After all these things are cared for we still go to work almost every day (paid or not) and take on more than our share.
So then we add any of my above list of huge stressors and we wonder why we feel so overloaded? Are we crazy? OF COURSE we are overloaded. We are women.
I am somewhat sure we are genetically predisposed to bite off way more than we can chew???

The most amazing part about every woman that I know is that despite everything that we do for others (more than willingly), the daily needs and wants of those around us that we respect and try to accommodate (also more than willingly) as well as all these huge life changing stressors that we are POSITIVE will bend us over to the breaking point... we are all still standing! We somehow manage to remain strong. We find the strength to go on one day at a time from somewhere deep inside ourselves and even though we want to curl up into a ball and do nothing but cry? We don't! We find the strength that we need to move on.
Some times we just need to stop and give ourselves a break and a pat on the back. Both are well deserved.

Take a bow ladies.
We are all amazing and the strength that we display (even if you whine about it) is inspiring.