Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sympathy Cards

I recently needed to send a sympathy card to a good friend and found myself in the confusing state of not knowing what to say.  Really, I didn't.  It was a struggle to get my thoughts on paper.

I opened the card and started to write and stopped.  Maybe I was overthinking what to say, but everything I came up with sounded so trite.  Of course, I was sorry and very sad about the person's death but the words that I thought would be appropriate just didn't seem to send the message I wanted.  "Sorry" just didn't seem to cut it.  Not when I knew how much the other person was hurting and how difficult it was going to be to adjust to this loss.

If I could have, I would have drawn a picture of the person's broken heart with my arms around it.  There truly are circumstances when words don't seem deep enough, warm enough or comforting enough to use. 

I decided to refer to a book I use at work for business correspondence called, "Great Letters for Every Occasion."   It's written by Rosalie Maggio and I use it because I like her down-to-earth approach to correspondence.  This time I turned to her chapter on Sympathy and Condolence letters and found some helpful guidance on what to say and what not to say.

In trying to offer support to a bereaved person, I think both parties are at a strong disadvantage.  The person offering comfort is afraid they are going to upset the bereaved person and the bereaved person is shocked and emotionally exhausted.  It's a tricky area.  Even so, I can't imagine that people say some of the things that Maggio cites as comments you should AVOID saying.  Here's a few:

-- Keep busy, you'll forget.
-- Be thankful you have another child.
-- Be happy for what you had.
-- You'll get over it.
-- She is out of her misery at least.
-- I heard you're not taking it well.

Maggio also says that you shouldn't rely on well-meaning but hurtful cliches, false cheerfulness and optimistic platitudes.  If you're not sure what any of those things are to avoid, Maggio is specific:

--In a Reader's Digest article, "An Etiquette for Grief," Crystal Gromer says, "In the context of grief, cliches are simply bad manners. . . . 'At least he didn't suffer,' people say. 'At least he's not a vegetable.'  Any time you hear 'at least' come out of your mouth, stop.

--Creating an imaginary worse scenario doesn't make the real and current one better.  It trivializes it.  Lynn Caine (Widow) wrote, "It infuriated me to have people say, 'I know you'll be feeling better soon.'  I wanted people to sympathize with how terrible I felt then and there.

--Lynn Caine says most of the condolence letters she received were more about the writer's awkwardness, discomfort and inadequacies than about her sorrow or their shared loss.  There is a fine line between expressing your sorrow and dramatizing your own reactions, Caine adds.

Instead, Maggio offers suggestions on what is helpful to say:

--My heart goes out to you as you grieve the loss of your (insert the person's relationship to bereaved)

--I send you my deepest sympathy on (insert the person's name)

--It was with a profound sense of loss that I learned of (insert the person's name)'s death.

--We are all grieving with and for you.

--You have our deepest sympathy and our love and friendship always.

Even though it may be one of the hardest notes to write, don't ever under estimate the power of sending sympathy whether it's a card or a letter.  It is always welcome.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Music -- Owen Danoff's Drive By

Let's start off a new week with a new cover just recorded by the always talented Owen Danoff.  The song is Train's Drive By and after you watch Owen's performance you'll definitely look at your kitchen differently.  Please check out Owen's other great songs on YouTube.  Also, congratulations to Owen Danoff for his two WHAMMYS nominations announced last week!!!  Go Owen!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Good Karma

Photo by Eileen Milner

I am not a Buddhist but I do believe in karma.  Building up good karma in the great big 'ole universe of spirituality reminds me of what Catholics think of as corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Karma is the universal law of cause and effect.  Most people try to do good deeds because it makes them feel they have helped someone else and also because it's the right thing to do.  When it comes to doing bad things, we all try our best to minimize the bad karma we put out there.  It sounds so simple yet it's not.  I think about my reactions to those who annoy me and to those who fray my patience.  No bad karma out there, riggghhhttt? (I'm breathing and thinking peaceful thoughts).

Buddhists believe that karma is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings.  We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery.  We create our own Heaven.  We create our own Hell.  We are the architects of our own fate.  That's a lot of responsibility, right?

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, says there are 20 things that you can do to get good karma and build a happier and more fulfilling life.  Here you go:

1.  Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2.  When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

3.  Follow the three R's: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.

4.  Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5.  Learn the rules so you know how to break them.

6.  Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

7.  When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8.  Spend some time alone every day.

9.  Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.  Don't bring up the past.

14. Share your  knowledge.  It is a way to achieve immortality.

15.  Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

17.  Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18.  Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19.  If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.

20.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Music Heals Soldier's Souls

Music is a powerful medium that touches the human soul.

This link will take you to a compelling story featured in today's Washington Post.  I'm sharing the link because the story shines a light on the healing effects of music for veterans trying to overcome their traumatic memories of war.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


If kale is so good for you then why does it taste so bad?

I am trying to eat more kale this year because everywhere I look I see articles about the incredible health benefits of eating more kale.  Kale is that dark leafy green vegetable that you find in the same section of the grocery store where the lettuce is shelved.  It looks like it would taste good but it's deceiving.  At least it is to me.

According to WebMD, kale is a powerful antioxidant, kale is high in fiber, kale has zero grams of fat, kale lowers cholesterol, kale is super rich in vitamin K.  Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxident vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Kale is the superstar of vegetables and I'm a fool not to eat more of it.

Taking care of yourself by watching what you eat and resting helps you heal.  Listen to your body, and learn to be aware of its stress signals.  When you are feeling anxious about your circumstances, try to relax by closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and keeping your breathing regular. 

I want to like kale, I really do.  But the flavor is so strong, and to me, it's not in a good way.  I smell the kale before I even try to eat it and I am so turned off that I have to remind myself that kale is good for me in order to continue.  I tried coating it in olive oil and spreading it out on a baking sheet and baking it to make kale chips but I thought it tasted awful.  It was so yucky that I had to spit it out.  I couldn't stand the taste.

Tonight I am going to try my sister's suggestion of mixing the kale leaves with olive oil and sauteing it with some garlic.  Now that might make it taste A LOT better because I love garlic.  I certainly hope it's better because I have to find a way to eat more of this great vegetable.

What are your favorite ways to eat kale?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gabby's Message

Rep. Giffords hugs Daniel Hernandez, the former intern who saved her life.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a class act.

This past weekend we heard the sad news that Giffords has decided to resign from her congressional seat this week, a little over a year after she was shot in the head at a constituent event in Tucson.  If not for the shooting, Gifford's life would have followed a different course: she had planned to begin fertility treatments and she wanted to run for the Senate.

Giffords doesn't talk about her plans that have been put on hold.  Instead, she courageously moves forward, thanking people for their support and uniting us to do more.

While many of us would prefer to see her stay in office and continue her rehabilitation while serving as a member of Congress, that might not be the smartest thing for her to do from a health perspective.  Congressional schedules are grueling and  unforgiving.  I think she respects her congressional office too much to do it halfway.  

Earlier this month, Giffords and her retired astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, marked the one-year anniversary of her shooting in Tucson, AZ.  "I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice," Giffords said in a video she posted online on Sunday.

I am taking her decision to focus on getting stronger as a sign of hope.  She says she will return and I believe her.  We need more people like her to pursue public service.  She is an incredible woman full of determination and a heroic mixture of strength and vulnerability.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Go Giants!

NBC Sports

I'd like to give a big shout out to the New York Giants who yesterday defeated the San Francisco 49ers and now are going to the Super Bowl!!!!!

I know my husband is up there with a big smile on his face, celebrating in his own heavenly way.  It's funny how many text messages I received while watching the game commenting about his supposed involvement with the Giants as though he could make the game go one way or the other.  But once the championship game went into overtime, even I was shouting for him to do something to help the Giants win.

We all have our own ways of staying connected to our loved ones who have died and I will always connect the Giants to my husband.  There are times when I turn a Giants football game on just to bring back those memories of him shouting at the television and giving his own commentary.  He was a hardcore fan who took each game personally and when they lost there was nothing right with the world.

That's why I know that he is very happy right now.   My husband would always say that the Giants never made it easy to be a fan and yesterday's game proved his point.  The score was tied 17-17 as they went into overtime.  You wanted to watch but you couldn't watch.  The Super Bowl was on the line.  Then Lawrence Tynes kicked a 31-yard field goal almost eight minutes into overtime to give the Giants a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the N.F.C. Championship game.

Go Blue!!!  Now we go to the Super Bowl to defeat the New England Patriots, a rematch of the Super Bowl four years ago.  As my husband would say, "May the best team win and you know what I mean!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Insight from Bridesmaids

One of the reasons the movie, Bridesmaids, is such a run-away hit is that every woman either knows one of the characters or sees herself in one of the characters.

It's also an insightful movie about the ups and downs of friendship.

Multi-talented comedian Kristen Wiig plays Annie, a 30ish, single young woman who has hit a rough spot in her life.  Nothing is working.  Her boyfriend uses her, she gets fired from her job, her car breaks down all the time, she moves in with her mother and on top of all that her best friend is getting married.

I could go on and on about all the hysterical scenes in this movie but I won't.  If you've seen the movie, you know which ones I mean and if you haven't, then run out and rent it.  The surprise for me was that in the middle of this over-the-top comedy is a touching scene that addresses the choices a person faces when they feel they've hit bottom and life as they think they know is pretty much over.

The scene is a tipping point of sorts for Annie.  Annie is lying on the couch in her mother's house, feeling like a major loser.  Megan, a fellow bridesmaid played by the incredible Melissa McCarthy, comes to visit her and shake her out of her funk.  Megan jumps on Annie and starts to physically push her around and punch her.  "This is your life Annie," Megan says and continues hitting Annie until Annie finally pushes back.  Megan tells Annie that no matter what else is going on that she is her friend.  And as her friend, Megan is glad to see that the real Annie is in there somewhere even though she's having a pity party for herself.  "You are your problem," Megan says.  "You are also your solution."

It may sound harsh but Megan's on to something.  If you're not willing to stand up for yourself then what does that say?  Really, now, think about it.  I know it's much easier to deflect the blame and say it's your circumstances, it's not your fault and life is picking on you.  That makes it easy all around because then you don't have to take responsibility.  You're more like a pinball being pushed around in the machine of life than an adult.

Life has handed you a loss and it hurts.  Give yourself time to experience the depth of your loss.  It's okay to feel sorry for yourself  but then there comes a point where you have to put the brakes on those feelings and push yourself forward.  Megan may not have picked the nicest way of getting her message across but she is right about one thing.

The solution is in you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discovering The Silver Pen

A close relative just shared this insightful poem with me.  J. Hendel totally nailed it.  This poem and others can be found on a beautiful website called The Silver Pen.  When I first logged on to The Silver Pen a few days ago, I wondered how I could have missed this great site since it has been on the internet for a little over three years.  Things like this make me nervous because I start to wonder what else is out there that I don't know about.  Oh well...I'm sure it's a helluv a lot of stuff! 

I've added The Silver Pen to the list of blogs that I follow and I hope you will check it out when you get a chance:  http://www.thesilverpen.com/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beach Cams

Art by Sandy Gingras
I love Sandy Gingras because she is a beach woman.  She understands the magical pull of the ocean, the sand and the sun and her whimsical art reflects the need that a lot of us feel.

I am happy to be at the beach any time of the year.  Even when it's cold, I think about the ocean a lot.  I want to listen to the cleansing sound of the waves and feel the wind on my face.  Our family went to the ocean for a few days last January to celebrate a big birthday and it was lots of fun.  No traffic.  No lines at the restaurants.  No one on the beach.  

Alas, I am stuck in my office and must depend on Sandy Gingras' drawings and the Beach Cam for a virtual beach experience. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tips For The Early Days of Grief

Photo By Patti Raab

A family I know lost their brother right before Christmas and now the same family has suddenly lost their father.  I can't imagine the waves of shock, pain, anger, despair and confusion they are engulfed in now as they try to work their way through an intense grieving process.

Please include them in your thoughts and prayers.  The following article is dedicated to them:

The Early Days: Surviving the First Few Days of Bereavement
By Greg Wright

What are the most important things to know during the first few weeks of bereavement?  Several months ago, my wife and I put our heads together and came up with a list.  We hope it will be helpful.

1.  Beware of survivor's guilt.  Irrational guilt brings its best attorney.  You cannot defeat his arguments, but you can ignore him.

2.  Focus not on the rest of your life but just on getting through the next fifteen minutes.

3.  Expect grief to affect every part of you:
           -- Physically-shortness of breath, pressure in your chest & weakness
           -- Mentally - concentration, ability to make good decisions & will to live.
           -- Spiritually- confidence in prayer.
           -- Emotionally - ability to restrain anger & sadness

4. Be careful what you say to people, especially words expressed in anger.

5. Expect people to do stupid things.  You will have to ignore many things people will say to you.  Rare are the people who fully understand what you are going through right now.  Great is the necessity of being prepared to overlook & forgive.

6. Let people help you.  Not only do you need them, but you actually minister to them when you allow them to help you.

7. Recognize that everyone grieves differently.

8. Guard your marriage at all costs.  Recognize that men will usually grieve differently from their wives.

9.  Guard your identity -- even if you lost your only child, you are still a mother or father; you have been forever changed by having a child.

10. Guard yourself from despair.  Grief only seems unbearable.  Many can testify that it can be endured.

11. Guard your faith.  If faith is a part of your life, this is not the time to examine your faith.  This is the time to stand firm in that faith.

12. Delay major decisions.

13. Simplify your life as much as possible.  Make lists, identify next actions for each item & focus on the next action.  Ask others to help you.

14.  Due to compromised ability to concentrate: be very careful with driving, working in the kitchen & anything you do on a computer.

15. Be patient with your progress; grief must run its coarse.

16.  Be gentle with yourself & let yourself grieve.

17.  Be realistic about what faith does for you.  Faith does not take the pain away, but it does make the pain bearable.

18.  Let yourself be comforted.  Hang onto words of encouragement.  Even if they do not encourage you immediately, they will eventually if you do not throw them away.  It's just that grief delays their effect.

19.  Be careful about alcohol.  If you are not used to it, this is not the stime to start.  If you are used to it, resist any temptation to increase the quantity.

20.  Be careful about sleeping pills.  My wife could not sleep for days, so the doctor put her on pills.  Nevertheless, it was a struggle to get off of them.

21.  If faith is part of your life, pray for strength, and visit those Bible passages that deal with grief: especially Psalm 10, Psalm 13, Psalm 42, Psalm 62, Psalm 63 and Psalm 73.

22.  Guard your memories, and tell people you want to talk about your loved one.

23.  Be willing to heal.  Anger closes the door to healing, and bitterness throws away the key.

24.  Cry till you run out of tears.  Grief seems to have a mind of its own.  Don't try to fight it.  Your heart will tell you when you need to pull away and grieve.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I'm at the cemetary picking up the weatherbeaten Christmas wreath I placed on my husband's marker weeks ago and I spy four empty Heinekein bottles lying in a puddle of water on a nearby marker.

My, my...What do we have here?

I'd like to think it was someone's birthday and four friends or relatives came to celebrate, sing and raise one for their family member or friend.

Or maybe one person came and had a good time drinking four beers while talking and singing to their loved one.

Either way the empty beer bottles don't bother me at all.  At another location, people would regard the Heinekein bottles as trash and would be annoyed to find them laying the grass as litter.  Not me.  Other than creating work for the people who work at the cemetary, I like that people have been here, drinking beer, visiting someone they miss a lot and continuing with their rituals.

It is possible that a person or people were here drinking beer because they missed this person so much that they wanted to numb their sorrow.  I totally get why you would want to do that.  It is soooo tempting yet so short sighted.  I remember the day of my husband's funeral.  All I really wanted to do was drink martinis all day until I couldn't feel anything.  But numbing yourself won't get you anywhere.  It doesn't help you heal or work to get you in a good place in the long run.  When you come out of your haze, nothing's changed.  The person is still gone and the pain is still there, waiting for you to work it out.

Whether we like it or not, loss is a part of life and grief is a totally natural response to loss.  When people loose someone they love very much, they don't know what to do when their special days come along.  Some decide they will be closest to the person at the cemetary so they go to the cemetary to be close with the person, to hang out and mark a day that was special to them when they were alive.

There is no truth to the saying, "Out of sight. Out of mind."  The physical absence of someone doesn't mean  you stop thinking about that person when they die or that your need to feel close to them at particular times of the year also stops when they die.  I know someone who still bakes a cake on her father's birthday even though he died years ago and we still hang my husband's Christmas stocking on the  fireplace right beside the others.

We all have our rituals to ease the pain and they are precious.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Today is your starting line.

Think about all the good intentions or projects/ideas you keep in the back of your brain with the goal of pursuing them some day when you get more time.  You really want to make these things happen but it always seems that something gets in the way and the ideas remain just ideas; the creative thoughts are something to be developed in the future, and you just don't get started.

Today is diffferent.  Today is the day you kick yourself out of the box and you take the first step in researching, investigation or brainstorming.  Get rid of the baggage and move forward. 

It may be unsettling or a little scary but you're never going to know what happens unless you mix things up or try something different.

Today is the day you are going to:

--call a friend

--contact a family member

--set up an account

--make an appointment

--draft a proposal

--write a letter

Put yourself out there and see what happens!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gabby Giffords

Photo by CBSNews.com
If you google the word resilient, you'll be reading about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ.

Resilience is the ability to recover from a crisis, a dramatic life change or even failure.  Some people are born with resilience and others develop it. 

Resilience is when life hands you an awful situation and you turn it into an opportunity to learn or develop something about yourself.

Resilience is digging down deep within ourselves and finding the resources to cope with a changed life. 

To me, this is the essence of Gabby Giffords.

One year ago tomorrow, Giffords was speaking at a constituent event in Tucson, AZ, when 22-year-old Jared Loughner shot her in the head and then continued to shoot 18 others in the crowd.  Six people died, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge. 

Giffords has spent the past year on an unbelievable mental and physical journey learning again how to talk, walk and survive the emotional trauma of being shot at close range.  I can't imagine how hard and frustrating it has been for her to get to where she is today.  And she still has work in front of her.  But when you watch her on television, you have no sense of any of the difficulty she has experienced.  I think she has the most peaceful smile and I am inspired by her determination.

With her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, the two make a forbidable team.  They are scheduled to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting during a candlelight vigil on Sunday, January 8 at the University of Arizona.  If you want to know what true love is then read this post from Maria Shriver's blog written by Mark Kelly about what he has learned from his incredible wife:

Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

By Mark Kelly

Our spouses are often our teachers, guiding us in ways that may be clear only in retrospect.

I have been struck by this realization again and again in the year since my wife, Gabby, was almost killed in an assassination attempt. As she struggled to regain her ability to speak, I became her student, remembering vital things she taught me years ago.

At first, she couldn’t say anything at all, which left her scared and stuck inside herself. I remember one particularly rough day, about a month after the shooting, when I came into Gabby’s room and found her sitting in her wheelchair, tears running down her face. She was hyperventilating, absolutely panicked.

Through her tears, Gabby motioned with her left hand, waving it by her mouth. It didn’t take me long to figure out what was wrong. She had tried to speak and no words came out. She was making some sounds, consonants and vowels, but no words. She cried and I cried with her. All I could do was reassure her. “It’ll get better,” I said. “I promise you.”

By mid-February 2011, six weeks after the shooting, she had begun formulating words, but they were often delivered haltingly or incorrectly. She got stuck on random words. No matter what she meant to say, the same word, “chicken,” often came out in a burst: “Chicken, chicken, chicken.”

For Gabby, it was terribly frustrating. And for those of us who loved her, it was dispiriting to see a woman who had been so articulate reduced to grasping for syllables. But in my role as a caregiver, I found myself buoyed by recalling Gabby’s voice from earlier times. I’d recommend that any spouse dealing with a traumatic situation reach back into the past for a meaningful memory. It can offer perspective, comfort – and a way forward.

In my case, I had never been a patient man. I’d always been a go-getter, focused on “the urgency of now.” By contrast, Gabby knew well the value of patience. As a state senator and then a U.S. congresswoman, she’d let her constituents in Arizona say whatever they needed to say without interrupting them. She interacted easily with everyone, young and old, able-bodied and infirm.

After she was injured, friends and family would often interrupt her, saying the words they thought she meant to say. They were trying to help, but I saw this only added to Gabby’s sense of powerlessness.

And so it was helpful to me to think back to a day in 2006, after my second space flight as an astronaut, when Gabby and I got to have lunch with the legendary British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Dr. Hawking is paralyzed due to a form of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and it takes him an excruciatingly long time to say anything.

That day, I quickly gave up trying to converse with him. But Gabby was just incredible. She intuitively knew what to do. She kneeled down in front of his wheelchair and said, “Dr. Hawking, how are you today?” Then she stared into his eyes and waited patiently and silently. He took ten minutes to reply, “I’m fine. How are you?”

She could have kneeled there for an hour, waiting for him to answer.

My memory of that encounter helped me understand how I’d need to interact with Gabby during her recovery. It’s almost like something out of The Twilight Zone. It was as if Gabby was giving me a message back in 2006: “Watch me. I will be your teacher. Someday you’ll have to be patient with me and this is how you’ll need to do it.”

At the time Gabby was shot, I was preparing to serve as commander of the next shuttle mission. Gabby was starting her third term in Congress. Had she not been shot on January 8, 2011, she was scheduled to undergo fertility treatment on January 10. We hoped she’d be pregnant soon.

Gabby had such a rich life before she was injured that one of her speech therapists, an aphasia expert, recently asked her: “Given all the pain and sadness, are you glad you survived?”

“Yes, yes, yes,” Gabby said.

The therapist, Nancy Estabrooks, was struck by her lack of hesitation. “If you consider how much she had going for her, and how it all stopped abruptly,” Dr. Estabrooks said, “it’s not hard to imagine someone in that situation feeling suicidal, or losing the will to live.”

But again, Gabby was my teacher. I saw that her commitment to recover was clearly rooted in her innate optimism, her relentless drive, and in her relationship with those she loved. She’s doing so much better now. Her comprehension is 100%, she’s speaking in sentences, and she’s worked incredibly hard to keep improving. She spends forty hours a week in four kinds of therapy: physical, speech, occupational and music.

She’d like to return to Congress, and she knows that therapy is her only way to make that happen.
Meanwhile, just as Gabby has taught me so much, I’ve tried to find ways to help her see a path back to herself.

November 10th was our fourth wedding anniversary, and I surprised Gabby by inviting a cellist from the Houston Symphony to serenade us during dinner at our home. I put a white tablecloth on the kitchen table, lit candles and served a steak dinner. As the cellist played Bach, I explained to Gabby that the musician had suffered a traumatic brain injury after a 2009 motorcycle accident, and has since returned to work. “Look how beautifully he plays,” I said, hoping to help Gabby imagine her own continued recovery.

Like so many couples, Gabby and I have embraced the idea that we are each other’s teachers -- and that the lessons continue every day.

We’re excited by all the possibilities that await us in 2012, and by the things we’ll learn together along the way.

Mark Kelly was a captain in the United States Navy when he commanded the final mission of space shuttle Endeavour in May 2011. His wife, Gabrielle Giffords has represented Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007. Their new joint memoir is titled Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.
You can purchase Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or wherever books are sold.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mojo for 2012

Whenever I find myself straying off the path of being healthy and positive, I go read my Kris Carr books.  Carr, an author, motivational speaker, wellness coach and cancer survivor, is always uplifting for me.  She provides down-to-earth tips on self care along with other insights about living a healthy lifestyle.

To jumpstart your mojo for 2012, try to focus on the priorities in your life and what inspires you.  Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

Below is a link to a recent post on Kris Carr's website, Crazy, Sexy, Life (http://www.crazysexylife.com/).  While this particular post is from a guest blogger who is a doctor writing to an audience of cancer warriors, I think the post also has some great take away messages for all of us:


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.

                                                            ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Happy New Year!  The idea that 365 days stand before us, fresh and unmarked, ready to be embraced is rather daunting.  As I flip through my new 2012 Metropolitan Museum of Art calendar book that my Dad gave me for Christmas, I am hesitant to write in it because I want 2012 to remain unchanged.  What will this year bring?  Will I be ready?  How many resolutions should I make?

Well, that's easy because I don't have any New Year's resolutions.  When I made resolutions in the past, I only did so because I felt I was supposed to and not because I wanted to.  Going through the exercise of making resolutions always feels as though I am setting myself up for the year.  Instead, I approach each day as a chance to try and get it right.  I strive to be realistic about what I can achieve and what I can't.  With God's grace, sometimes it works and then sometimes it doesn't.  I remind myself that it's not the end of the world when things fall apart.

The point is to keep trying because you're human and you can only do your best and that's about all you can expect from yourself.  The feeling that we have today of looking forward to a brand new year is something I try to bring to the beginning of each new day.  I start the day reminding myself that today is a day that has never happened before; that today is good day because I have a chance to live and explore it.

So despite my hestitation to write in my new 2012 calendar, I will open the book, examine the dates on the blank pages and begin to live.