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One year wiser?

“aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always  should have been”

David Bowie

Even though it’s only been a week since we were last together, another year has officially passed and I’m hoping that means that more wisdom, not wrinkles! While I am past the mid part of life, the fact is we never really know where our mid-part is. My mom died at 60, each day our time is ticking and for me it feels like a race. Somedays I run too fast to notice what is around me…..and yet I race to use my time, each precious drop for the greatest purpose….whatever that may be….a walk with a friend, time with my children, service to my family and others.

The process of aging is an adventure for sure and like every growth process there are spits and spurts. We spend the first quarter of our life physically growing. The second quarter trying to figure out who we are. The third quarter coming into our stride and knowing our strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully in Q3 we find how to give those gifts away or our purpose.

I’m not sure if we have one purpose but would like to believe we have many. What I do know is that every one of us is here to love and be loved, to use our gifts to their greatest good and that life is so much more than about yourself, it is about being of service to others. I’m grateful everyday to be alive, for my health, to celebrate another year and looking forward to Q3 and becoming the person I always should have been.

charity matters

 

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Copyright © 2018 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

The Countdown to Summer…

“Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.”

John Mayer

Just typing the word makes me happy, giddy, joyful….Summer. I know it isn’t officially here until June 21st with Summer Solstice or when the kids are finally out of school but with Memorial Day weekend just a few days away, I think that the official countdown officially begins now.

Summer brings with it longer days, a slower  pace, a change of routine and one that rarely involves stress or homework. Summer brings simplicity, joy, relaxation and sunshine….and who doesn’t need more of that? We race around all year and then something shifts as soon as we get through Memorial Day. I’m not sure if it is an internal clock that is triggered by our childhood summers or simply the weather but regardless, we all feel it. More than that we need summer, a time for rest and renewal.

So this weekend, as you celebrate Memorial Day, get excited to celebrate summer and all the joy that comes with the season. Have a fantastic long holiday weekend and enjoy the countdown!

Happy Memorial Day.

charity matters.

 

 

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Copyright © 2018 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Let love be the last word

L-O-V-E. Four simple letters that change everything. Love, a word that should always be the first thing said and the last. Anyone who has ever lost someone suddenly knows this. Love and saying, “I love you,“are words to live by.  You hear it, you may think it, but do you actually say it? Life is so short and changes in the blink of an eye and last week we blinked and it changed.

First, was a call that a friend had died unexpectedly. We had seen him two weeks before, told him what he meant to us but had no idea it would be our last hug and in a blink he was gone. Two days later, another 49 year old friend shared that he has 3 months to live and is dying from cancer. The reaction was swift and immediate, hugs, tears and I love yous.  The words didn’t take the pain away and the blows felt like a one two punch, almost too much to process within such a short period of time.  The reality of how fragile our lives truly are came crashing down in a way that just makes everything else seem trivial and irrelevant.

As I watched the evening news that night, still trying to process our loss and find something better to focus on, I saw that a Southwest Jet lost an engine. What struck me wasn’t the pending panic or fear but rather all passengers scrambling to connect with loved ones to make sure they said I love you one last time. Had they started their day with it? Did they say I love you before they got on that flight? Did everyone they care about know how they felt? My sense was no because each of them appeared to try and say it, just one last time.

Fifteen years ago, when I discovered that my mom had died tragically and unexpectedly, one of my first thoughts was,”Did I remember to tell her I loved her before she left for her trip? Was I love you my last word?” I replayed the tape of our last time together over and over until my godmother confirmed that, yes, I had said it. I had a witness and somehow, the pain subsided.

Since that moment, our family doesn’t end a call or leave the house, no matter the rush…without saying , I love you. Angry, late, grumpy we say it. It is a gift and one that I have only recently realized, in light of last week.  Life is precious. It is short. We have so little time and yet somehow, we miss the important stuff. If I died tomorrow, everyone in my life knows that I love them because love is always the last word.

L-O-V-E. Four simple letters that change everything.

 

charity Matters.

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Grateful, just grateful

“It is not joy that makes us grateful; but it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

It’s here. There is no avoiding it, this is it. Today is the last day before they arrive….no not the in-laws or the kids home from college but the holidays. Today is the last day before the email box is bombarded with holiday sales and Black Friday deals. The last day before people start talking about holiday cards or even worse before they begin arriving. This is it. The calm before the storm. Right now, this moment, it is our gift.

So before it happens I am taking a moment, a breath, a pause to simply count my blessings. A moment to be grateful for the three crazy boys who will be home raiding my refrigerator any time. Grateful for the fact I have a refrigerator stocked with food when so many will go without.  Grateful for the all the friends that will pop by this weekend for football and chili, when there are so many who are alone. Grateful for my crazy wonderful family who fills my life with life, chaos, drama, humor and so much love, when there are so many with broken hearts and homes. Grateful for my health and the health of those I love, knowing so many will spend the holidays in the hospital. Grateful for work I love and for all of those who serve others. Grateful for being safe, happy and healthy and grateful for being mindful that no matter what I have, someone else has less.

They are coming whether we are ready or not. So when it gets scary, stressful, overwhelming, one thing too much, just stop and think about what you are grateful for. I know your list is long and your heart is full. It is not joy that makes us grateful but gratitude that makes us joyful.

Blessings to you and yours for a joyous Thanksgiving.

With gratitude,

Charity Matters.

 

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Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Life…

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Marcus Aurelius

I am the first to admit that Mondays are not my favorite. The list that looms with the week ahead is often overwhelming.  The pull of obligations can make me feel like an old Stretch Armstrong toy, with people pulling from all directions. While some weeks are certainly easier to embrace than others, I must be honest, I am not a fan of Mondays.

However, recently I have been getting up a little earlier, in trying to find a moment of solitude. A few short minutes to simply think. No cell phones, electronics, back round noise or distractions. The challenge is trying to keep my mind from the  dreaded “to-do” list. When, I do simply sit in stillness, it creeps in slowly like the old friend that it is….gratitude.

A gift so simple, so profoundly powerful and completely life altering, that is what gratitude does. So this week as we begin our Monday, take a tiny moment to find gratitude for the simple gift of being alive….because you have to start somewhere.

Wishing you a beautiful week, happy Monday!

Charity Matters.

 

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Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Happy Thanksgiving

“What if today, we were grateful for everything?”

Charlie Brown

modern-family-thanksgiving

Today is the day that we give thanks for all that we have….our crazy wonderful families, our health, a meal, our freedom and time to just be together.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude.

Perhaps, this year we can begin to make every day one of gratitude.

If we continue to focus on all of our blessings and all that we have, we will always be full….and not just of turkey and stuffing!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Gratitude

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

 Eckhart Tolle

gratitude-i-am-grateful-for

As we all begin to prepare for Thanksgiving, it seems like an appropriate time to think of all we have to be grateful for.

It is so easy to think of all we have to do, but perhaps for just moment we can reflect upon all the blessings we have.

When my sons were younger we did “Thankful Thursday” every Thursday night at our dinner table. The boys would roll their eyes and then share whatever they were thankful for from “no homework” to “everyone at our table.” As the years went by, it became clear that this lesson in practicing gratitude was a gift.

Today, our college age sons reference their gratitude frequently. Now it comes in the form of a family text thread, the most recent from my 21-year-old “be thankful that we are all healthy and alive”

I think that is a great place to start….

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

A house full of noise

thankful for noise

As Thanksgiving week begins, there is much to be thankful for this year. My sons are heading home from school mid-week, the house will be full of noise, chaos, friends and all that fills me up. There is simply nothing better than a noisy full house that is alive.

This year just as our house begins to fill in one area we will begin emptying in others. A process that for many, is cathartic, renewing and invigorating but for me has been difficult. My husband can rifle through a drawer never notice the saved birthday card, the tiny memento and in a moment have it all in a box. Yes, he  wins on efficiency…

However, for me each drawer uncovers a memory, a moment, a special something and I find myself looking backwards at our life and all it has been. Where has it gone? How are our sons in college?Remembering how we were and filled with nostalgia.

I am reminded by many, that this is a process that most go through at some stage of life and I find myself wondering if it easy for everyone or this difficult? I know being sentimental does not and will not lend itself to our new mid-century zen home and that,”stuff” and memories are not the same. Yet, each item triggers another memory, another moment and a place in time that brings smiles and tears.

So, as the house fills with the noise and the chaos of the week, I am full of gratitude. We have been blessed with 3 amazing healthy sons, a life full of family, friends, fun and memories and a home that has anchored much of it. As the tears, roll down my cheeks and the house fills with noise I know that this is what matters and I am blessed.

 

Charity Matters.

 

A funny thing

A funny thing

As I mentioned, we recently put our house on the market. We have no plan but just threw it out to the universe because it simply seems like the right time with our second son leaving for college. While keeping beds made (with boys), the house picked up and clearing out for showings at a moments notice is no picnic, there has been an amazing transformation in our family in the last two weeks…..gratitude.

Every time we look at a potential nest for our clan, we hear “this room isn’t as nice as the one I have” or “our kitchen is better” and on it goes.  Even my husband and I find ourselves at night, saying how much we love the old beautiful wood floors in our house and how blessed we feel to live in this very special place. While we have always loved our home, it is the twisted human condition, that you don’t appreciate what you have until its gone which has hit our household.

Perhaps, at the end of the day if we don’t find the “right” next stop and stay in our home, then maybe that’s the lesson in this journey. Afterall, I now know for a fact that my boys know how to make a bed, keep their room clean at all times and that they truly realize the blessings of home. If that is the end result of this process, with or without a moving truck, then I would have to say its a move more than worth taking.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is Thanksgiving and it is a day set aside for gratitude, which is why I love this day so much! There are so many things that I am thankful for and you are at the top of my list. You have been here every week reading Charity Matters, cheering me on with story ideas, commenting when a post touches you and sharing posts with friends. I am so truly grateful for you.

Your own giving of time and your excitement to share your favorite cause fill my heart each and everyday. As, I sit here up at the lake surrounded by family and friends my cup  is running over. I have been given so much and feel the need to give as much back as I possibly can and I get the sense you feel the same way too.

So wherever you are this year, serving meals to the homeless, slaving away in your kitchen cooking or simply watching football on TV, know that I am grateful for you, your support and all you give of yourself to others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Thanksgiving Gratitude

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

 Edward Sandford Martin

Tomorrow is a day created for thanks and gratitude. I wanted to take the time to thank each of you for joining me in this journey of Charity Matters. You have been here as I have strived to find my voice and share the inspirational messages of incredible people doing amazing work for others.

I am grateful for you joining me every week and it is my hope that Charity Matters has touched your heart, inspired you or maybe just made you grateful.

I would be honored if you would consider sharing Charity Matters with your friends so these messages of hope can continue to spread. This year we all have much to be grateful for, please know how grateful I am for you.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2011 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.