Because the Bear Said So Saturday, Dec 14 2013 

You don’t argue with a bear. If you are hiking down a path and encounter a bear, you take another route. You don’t barge on past him or demand that he gets out of your way.

Life can be like that. Obstacles can be so insurmountable that if we try to force our way through, we just spin our wheels and go nowhere, or we are outright prevented from proceeding on our planned direction.

But that does not mean it is the end of the line. It doesn’t mean we have to give up. Nor does it mean that when taking the path of least resistance we are taking the easy way out.

We often can get to our destination by another, better, route. The key is in thinking clearly.

There always are options. Rarely are we left with only one choice. One may seem the only alternative weighed against everything else, but another path does exist. And in the end we may find that the direction we seemingly were forced to take really was the best for reasons previously unseen. That bear was a catalyst for us to veer off in an area that is so much more than we imagined.

When encountering those bumps—or mountains—stop, think creatively, and be open to new and alternate ideas. There’s always hope for a positive outcome.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Where’s Your Joy? Thursday, Aug 22 2013 

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On a scale from one to ten with ten being the highest, my daily pain level is usually at about a four and some days it’s two or more times that. When I was in church on Sunday I could hardly hold the song book or drag myself up from the pew. After Mass I told my friend Al that in times like that, it is difficult to be joyful.

Al’s advice was to keep going, keep smiling, and stay positive. He said that if I don’t do that I will fall deeper, and it will be so much more difficult to pull myself up again.

Al knows what he is talking about. He has had two bouts of cancer. At one point, he was frighteningly ill. Throughout it all, Al did remain positive. I don’t ever recall seeing him without a smile and a kind, gentle word.

When I returned home from church I started a list of things that make me happy. Simply writing the list helped, and every time I add to it, which is all the time, or read it over, I feel good. Many of the entries would be on your list too. They are about friends, family, and the little things in life we don’t always appreciate. There’s nothing like a hot shower in the morning or after a hard day, but not everyone has hot water. Some don’t have running water. And many don’t even have access to clean water.

We are greatly blessed and stopping to count those blessings from time-to-time is good medicine. Like the song from the Sound of Music, when we feel down, simply think of our favorite things.

What’s on your list?

Here are just a few of the items that make me happy:

  • Kissing my grandsons’ silky, baby cheeks
  • Walks with my husband
  • Photos of my grandsons
  • Hanging out with my children
  • Siblings I can count on
  • Hot cup of tea
  • Chocolate
  • Flower gardens
  • Island Park
  • Writing
  • Reading a good book
  • Quilting
  • My faith
  • Cooking for loved ones
  • Art museums
  • My comfy bed
  • Lunch with girlfriends
  • Yoga
  • Mass
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Music
  • The smell of fresh-baked bread
  • My home
  • Strolling through my little town
  • A glass of Chardonnay
  • A story that makes me belly laugh
  • The smooth ride of my new car
  • Creamy cheeses
  • An interesting magazine
  • Witnessing a kindness between strangers
  • A massage
  • Playful pets
  • Having a large extended family
  • Having many, many dear friends
  • Walking a beach
  • Sunshine
  • Laying out at a pool
  • Learning something new
  • The ability to see, smell, hear, talk, walk
  • The magic community
  • A job well done
  • Reliable service people
  • The majestic mountains
  • Warm Breezes
  • Travel
  • The French Market
  • A free-day
  • Finding something that is lost
  • Accomplishing a goal
  • Knowing I am not alone

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