Passionate! Tuesday, Sep 27 2016 

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Our passions are the frosting on the cake of life. Mine are evident from my blog posts. The majority are in regards to my family, faith, and writing. I also am passionate about healthy living and Alzheimer’s research and support.A day without at least one of these, is a sad day indeed.

My relationship with God is primary. My family is my greatest joy. And writing allows me to utilize my creativity in a ministry of offering readers credible information, guidance, and hope.

Living and breathing these passions is the fuel that keeps me going. I’ve faced, and am facing, a tremendous amount of challenges in several areas of my life, and I’m keeping afloat because of the blessings of my passions. They give purpose and value to my pain and growth.

Studies repeatedly find that people who have a purpose live longer and healthier. Our passions make us happy, and when we are happy, blood pressure and stress lowers, both of which positively impacts our health tremendously.They give reasons to drag ourselves out of bed. They offer an outlet to express ourselves and make us feel like our lives matter, what we do matters, we matter.

We typically have several passions. But if you are contemplating what yours might be, think about how something makes you feel.Most often, passions are ways in which we share the best of ourselves with others. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who or what means most to you?
  • Do you use your talents and gifts? How so?
  • How do you express your creativity?
  • What do you do for your closest circle of family and friends?
  • What types of goals do you set for yourself?
  • How do you help other people, animals, or our planet?

Making time to be aware of and delving into our passions every day brings joy. However, maintaining balance is essential. Anything we take to an extreme, can develop into an addiction.We are more than one thought or activity.I enjoy a piece of chocolate in the afternoon. But it wouldn’t be a treat if it was the only food I ate.

(Take a look at my other blog, Mary K Doyle Books, and author Facebook page.)

 

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Every Vote Counts Saturday, Feb 27 2016 

The Illinois primary election is fast approaching, and I’m not sure how I will vote. Unfortunately, I’m not excited about anyone in the race.

In my opinion, few of the 11 presidents who served in my lifetime, including the present one, were exceptional leaders. The public vote has spoken otherwise, however. Either they found these presidents more than acceptable or that they were the best candidates on the ballot.

Regardless, I accept the decision of the democracy, and I will vote every opportunity that I have. It is my privilege and obligation to step forward and note my choice. Voting is not a God-given right. Many countries around the world limit that opportunity.

It can be difficult to sift through the media noise surrounding the elections but important to do our best to listen, read, and discern for ourselves. May you use your power wisely, the elected make us proud, and God bless America.

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Relief with Essential Oils Monday, Dec 14 2015 

Days like today are typically painful head-to-toe. I have fibromyalgia, and the low air pressure literally weighs heavy on me. I’m sensitive to prescription pain medication and aspirin, and am allergic to anti-inflammatory drugs including Naproxen and Ibuprofen, so I look for alternative ways to deal with the pain. A warm shower and the stretching of yoga and other low-impact exercises are helpful. I’m also getting relief from essential oils.

I mix a few drops of an essential oil called Panaway into a dollop of coconut oil and then massage it into the bottom of my feet and my most painful spots. When used before bedtime, I can sleep comfortably through the night. Without it, on my bad days, the weight of a bed sheet causes pain.

Essential oils are highly-concentrated, distilled or cold-pressed plant products. They are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They’ve been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, well-being, and food preparation. There are over 200 references to aromatics, incense, and ointments throughout the Bible.

Panaway is a 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil by Young Living. This company uses only unadulterated essential oils. Their distillery is the largest and most technologically advanced in North America. They state that their Seed to Seal® process preserves the integrity and potency of essential oils through every step of the production process.

If you are on prescription medications, or have health problems, check with your doctor before trying any of the oils.

You can visit the Young Living site here.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

What Time Is It? Saturday, Nov 21 2015 

My apologies for the lapse in posting. The last month and a half flew by vacationing with one of my daughters and her family; preparing for two different 75 minute talks, working a booth and presenting at a conference in California; revising one of my books; enjoying time with my son who was in town; and completing all the regular daily work, home, and family activities.

Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? Sometimes it speeds way past us. Other times it crawls slower than a turtle. The clock continuously clicks away at the same speed whether we are lost in a movie or worrying about our teenager out on a Saturday night. It isn’t time but our perception of it that changes with the events that are occurring.

Children perceive  the arrival of Christmas morning as endless, unlike middle-aged adults who feel like we just packed up those decorations. When we consider that a four-year old waited a quarter of their life for Christmas to come again, it’s easier to comprehend their anticipation.

The concept of time has intrigued philosophers since antiquity, although much remains unclear even today. Numerous in-depth studies have been made. Recent ones incorporate psychology, memory, biological functions, environmental changes, circadian rhythm, and the relationship between time as perceived and time as measured in physics.

Time is defined as the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues. It is the period when something occurs. Time is related to the complex experience of change. The succession of events and changes are separated by intervals called duration—such as the duration of a dinner, a walk through the park, or shaking someone’s hand.

Few durations are isolated. Most overlap. For example, we text while eating and listening to the radio.

We have no specific receptor for time, unlike our senses of taste, smell, hearing, and sight. Time perception is subjective. Psychologists believe there is a neurological system associated with sensory pathways governing the perception of time. It utilizes a distributed system in the brain. Since time cannot be directly perceived, it must be constructed.

The perception of time requires attention. New events appear to take longer because we must pay attention to them more intently. Older events are connected to our memory and already processed to some degree. Doesn’t it feel as if the trip going to a destination typically seems longer than the return home?

Attention to time comes with attention to the stream of time-data without losing concentration, which is why those with attention-deficit find it more challenging to gauge time correctly.

Time disorientation is common in people with Alzheimer’s disease. This probably is connected to the inability to concentrate as well as the mounting challenge of reading clues such as the rise and fall of the sun and hands on a clock. The person with Alzheimer’s only knows how it feels to them at the moment, since they increasingly live in the moment. For example, it may feel like we haven’t seen them in weeks when in reality, we just walked out the door. It may feel to them as if they showered moments ago, when they haven’t showered in days.

Metabolic rate also may affect the perception of time. The larger the animal, the slower their metabolic rate, and the quicker their perception of time. Smaller animals metabolize faster resulting in a slower perception of time allowing them to perceive more events in the same time span.

©2015, Mary K Doyle

My No List Sunday, Aug 2 2015 

One of the benefits of becoming a woman of, let’s just say, a—mature—age, is that I can say NO. I care a lot less about what others think.

Maybe it’s the good little Catholic girl in me, but in the past I regularly did things out of obligation. I pushed myself beyond what was physically and emotionally healthy. Somethings I took to the extreme. I’m not sure why I felt the compulsive need to have everything in order all the time.

Other times I was caring for loved ones. These people are very dear to me, and I wanted to be there for them. But I went too far, sacrificing my well-being for theirs.

And then there are those I didn’t want to offend even though they weren’t particularly kind to me. In the end, they weren’t any happier after all of my efforts.

So I now have quite a long list of things I refuse to do – unless I change my mind. Here are a few items on my No List:

  • I will not push myself to exhaustion. I’ve finally realized that taking breaks actually allows me to do more.
  • I will not hold on to little things that are best shared with my loved one. If I have something to say, I’m going to say it rather than simply think or feel it.
  • I will not do “fun” things if they are not fun for me.
  • I will not wear painful shoes no matter how cute they are.
  • I will not eat junk food – too often.
  • I will not go barelegged if I think my legs look better in hose.
  • But then I will not wear hose if it’s too hot, no matter how I look.
  • I will not pass up play time with family and friends.
  • I will not ever intentionally hurt anyone.
  • I will not look back with regret. I did what I thought was best at the time. I can only go forward.
  • I will not spend any time I absolutely do not have to with hurtful, petty people.
  • I will not hang on to past hurts.
  • I will not pass an opportunity to tell people how much I love and appreciate them.
  • I will not run unless my or my grandchildren’s lives depend on it. I just don’t like to run.
  • I will not pass on emails that say something bad will happen if I don’t.
  • I refuse to have cancer. I’m not doing it.
  • I will not breeze by my blessings without recognizing and giving thanks for them.

Now why don’t you make a list of your own? It’s quite liberating. Please share. I’d love to hear what’s on your list.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

 

Another Door Opens Tuesday, Jul 14 2015 

The saying is that when one door closes, another opens. This belief is biblical as well. We simply have to ask. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:8).

That “perfect” job we recently were laid off from, the devoted pet that passed away, or the lengthy relationship that ended will always hold a place in our heart. Nothing can replace something that was meaningful to us. And some losses are incomparably greater than others. Their absence can be excruciatingly painful. The fact is that they once were ours, gifts to be thankful for and appreciated forever.

We can hold onto the hope that the future offers us treasures that will be beautiful in another way. Often it is something we never could imagine.

Think carefully about what you desire. Keep positive and confident. And don’t forget to do that knocking and asking.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Real Colors Wednesday, May 6 2015 

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It started innocently with a box of crayons. My two-year old grandsons proudly announced the colors of each one to their Uncle Joey. “Wed. Yeddow. Gween. Boo.” But then they said the word that triggered a lengthy explanation from their artist uncle—“popo.” “Purple is not a color,” he declared.

According to Wikipedia, purple is closer to red, and violet is closer to blue on the traditional color wheel. Although both appear similar, violet is a spectral color. It occupies a place at the end of the spectrum of light (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) and also has its own wavelength.

On the other hand, purple is a perception. It is a combination of the two spectral colors of red and blue and does not have its own wavelength. There is no pure purple light as there is for orange, also a combination of colors. This is similar to the color white, which also is a blended mixture of many colors.

I know little of color or photography, but perhaps this is why purple does not photograph well. All of the fabrics in the photo here are what I consider to be shades of purple, yet all look different to me in the photo than they do in reality.

Even if artists don’t recognize colors not on the spectrum, the Merriam-Webster dictionary does define purple as a color.  The best part of this acknowledgement for me is that we can continue to hear our little ones say “popo.”

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Peace in 2015 Sunday, Dec 28 2014 

DSCN0916As 2014 fades away, we look to the new year with optimism and anticipation. Whatever was good about the past, we hope it continues. Whatever was difficult, we pray is left behind.

Some of this is in our control, which is why we make New Year’s resolutions. The custom of assessing our financial, emotional, and physical health at the onset of a new year, and making plans to improve them, is our opportunity to begin anew. Some say there is no reason to make promises that will not be kept. But however long we follow our resolutions, at least we turn things around for a few months. We lose a few of our holiday pounds on our new diet, get a little stronger with an exercise program, and spend a little less money, slightly easing the credit card gift charges we made over the holidays.

In addition to the typical resolutions, perhaps in 2015 we might consider ones that promote a kinder, more peaceful world. We don’t have to do much to make a difference. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food kitchen
  • Donate gently or never used items
  • Avoid all books, movies, and online activities that include violence, cruelty, or profanity
  • Visit museums
  • Attend cultural events
  • Surround ourselves with gentle, loving people
  • Attend church services
  • Don’t participate in gossip in the workplace
  • Give thanks daily for what we do have
  • Clean the clutter out of our home
  • Smile at strangers
  • Think positively
  • Treat others respectfully
  • Check on elderly neighbors
  • Read inspirational books
  • Pray for peace
  • Try to be more patient
  • Avoid worrying about things that are not in our control

©2014 Mary K. Doyle

The Best Medicine Friday, May 23 2014 

The saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. Care and input comes from everyone who touches the child’s life—parents, relatives, friends, neighbors, caregivers, teachers, clergy, and so on. But that support does not end with childhood. We continue to be the product and accumulation of everyone who touches our life throughout our life.

Recovering from pneumonia and acute asthma I am reminded of the key people in my life who are there for me, the friends and family who send me notes, bring meals, call, and are ever-present with love and prayers. These are the same people who contribute every day toward the person I am and will be.

It is especially odd to be in the position where my children are nursing me back to health. (I’m getting better but am told to expect several weeks of recovery.) I’m the mom. I’m the one that has always cared for them.

I remember my mother describing how it felt when I bathed, dressed, and sometimes fed her during her years with cancer. It was a humbling and heartwarming experience for both of us. My father, siblings, and I were the ones cleaning her house, cooking, and caring for her. We could not do it as well as she did but were eager to give it our best because she had taken such good care of all of us all of our lives. We wanted to return some of that love she showered upon us.

Still, it was awkward for her, and now I understand. It’s humbling to allow others to do simple activities we temporarily cannot.

Life teaches us many lessons, and sometimes it is simply to sit back and feel the love. There is no better medicine that.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Check Points Thursday, Apr 25 2013 

Periodically, we benefit by stopping and looking at where we are, what we are doing, and where we want to go. Without reassessment, we either take our many blessings for granted or do not make the changes that will help us grow. We get stuck in a rut, spin our wheels, and go nowhere.

Our housing, job, or relationship may have been the perfect solution at the time we chose them but no longer work well for us. We continue working in an office because we enjoy fellow employees but know we have no room for advancement, would prefer a different position, or could increase our earning potential elsewhere. We live in a home that is currently too large, too small, or too far from work. We remain in relationships that are difficult or even detrimental because we do not want to be alone.

Making life-changes can be scary. We worry about making the best decision as if life and death depends upon it. But such fears, which most often are without reason, hold us back from attaining our dreams. Few choices alter our future so significantly that everything is affected by them. Most only affect a segment of our lives and can be changed or modified as we go along.

That pathway to a happier, fuller life begins with a pause. Stop and look around. Then take one little step.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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