“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” ~ Robert Tew
It’s Not What it Seems
It seems things are getting back to normal amidst the COVID-19. Department store parking lots are full, many more vehicles on the streets, restaurants open. One might think that the pandemic is almost over. What many don’t see is the number of people who are still struggling to pay their bills, rent/mortgage, or putting food on the table. It is a sad situation. One that I’d never expected to see here in the good old USA.
I Learned the Truth
Speaking to a few people, they mentioned they had been laid-off or fired from their jobs. Yet have not received a check from unemployment. Some have not been able to get through processing their claims. Other’s are still waiting on their $1,200 stimulus check. These are hard-working citizens who pay their taxes and shouldn’t be going through such a scenario. It’s not a handout. They did not choose to be laid-off. Where is our great government when they are needed? Why is it so hard for these people to receive their unemployment checks, or even access the DEO website for that matter? And this is not the worst of it.
Families are Being Evicted
At the entrance of my neighborhood subdivision, there’s an apartment complex. On various occasions, I’ve seen lots of furniture and personal belongings dumped on the sidewalk. A sure sign that someone had been evicted from their apartment. It’s not common to see it except for these past few months. I can’t imagine where these people are going to live in.
About the Food Line
Just this morning as we drove to the auto shop, we encountered a traffic line that began at the apartment complex entrance. I had never seen so many vehicles around here so I asked my husband if he knew what was going on. Well, it was the food lines. The lines to receive food from the food pantry almost a mile away. Two lines through two different streets with vehicles waiting their turn. There were so many vehicles with people – young and elders. It took me by surprise. I never expected to see this situation and it made me realize how desperate people are. That there are many more families struggling than what we imagine or even hear on the news. It broke my heart.
Struggling Hard-Working Citizens
This is not an affluent area but it isn’t a poor area either. These are middle-class hard-working families who pay their taxes just like everyone else. They should not be in the situation they’re in. I don’t think it’s fair. But, there’s nothing I can do except offer my prayers to all. It opened my eyes to the reality of COVID-19 and what the media does not say. My prayers to all.
Yesterday was a sad day for me. What I thought could be an awakening for society has been nothing but a complete disappointment. I knew that COVID-19 would not bring about anything good. But I felt with people staying home spending time with their loved ones, reflecting on their lives, and connecting with nature might bring out their love for life which is buried deep within. That people will forget about living just to work and fulfill their greed for material things or be better than their neighbor, friend, family, etc. Unfortunately, it did not happen.
Amid this COVID-19 scenario, I followed the social distancing 80% of the time, leaving my home only to see my elderly mother and to work on Mondays where I’m alone in the office. Most of our shopping is online except for groceries. But this week, I ventured out twice. I visited the supermarket and a hobby store. For me, it was the saddest shopping experience I’ve ever had, and here’s why.
My first shopping experience was at the supermarket. It was not empty, but there were fewer people than usual. I noticed the social distancing right away, and that’s okay. I also noticed how social distancing had changed people’s behavior. I was at the deli counter, waiting on my order. The junior male employee was wearing a mask but no gloves. He was very polite. For me, the mask is uncomfortable, and I only wear it while out in public, so I can imagine how hard it must be for him to wear it anywhere from 6 to 8 hours a day. Anyhow, he finished my order and called for the next person, a middle-aged woman. While I arranged my deli items in the cart, the middle-aged woman began asking the employee why he was not wearing any gloves because it defeated the purpose of wearing a mask. The employee responded politely, but I could not hear what he was saying since I walked away.
Suddenly I heard the woman yell, “Do you understand what I mean by it defeating the purpose of wearing a mask if you’re not wearing gloves and touching things everyone else touches?”
I didn’t understand why she felt the need to berate the deli employee when she did not have on any gloves or mask. Why scold him when he’s out there working so we can all have the things we need? I would not let that affect me, so I continued to complete my grocery list. Among the COVID-19 social distancing changes is the one-way aisles. I don’t watch or read the news, so I wasn’t aware of the supermarkets implementing it. Since I don’t walk around looking at the floor, I didn’t notice. I saw the dirty looks at me from other shoppers. It wasn’t until I had crossed three aisles that I finally realized why the dirty looks when I glanced at the floor. Oops!
When I arrived home, I shared the experience with my husband. So he shared what happened at the supermarket when he went to pick up a few things a couple of days ago. He told me a woman was wearing a mask with a political message on it. Another woman who didn’t have a mask asked the mask wearer why was she wearing a mask if her political party does not agree with that. According to my husband, the masked woman lowered her mask and blurted out the words, “F… Y…” to the other woman. There was no need for either woman to ask or to respond in such form. People need to mind their own business. It was rude to respond such as the above, but what business does the other woman have to ask?
The other shop experience I came across was at a hobby store. There were barely any shoppers, maybe a dozen, when my mom and I arrived at the store. I knew what I wanted, so I intended to go straight to that section, grab it, pay, and get out. But here’s what I noticed. You’re walking up an aisle and meet another person. They will either run away from you as fast as possible or turn left or right, whichever is closest. If you don’t have a mask, prepare yourself to receive a dirty look. There’s no “hello,” or “that’s an excellent product,” or anything said. And, if you want to ask an employee for help, make sure you have a good pair of lungs so you can shout out your questions from at least 6 ft away!
Where am I going with this? There’s no love left, no warm smiles, or helping hands. Everyone seems on guard, rude, and don’t care for one another anymore. Things are getting worse every day and just because of a pandemic. I wonder how many people have noticed this. How many people have sat to think about what is happening and what it means? I believe we should protect ourselves, but what’s happening is ruining people’s spirits.
Are we really protecting ourselves? No, we’re not. Germs are rampant throughout the air when in enclosed premises. Just because we wear a mask does not mean we will not get sick, especially if it’s not the proper mask. When we go shopping, we first take a cart or basket others used. Not every store is cleaning their carts or baskets, and not everyone walks around with disinfectant wipes to do so. Then we pick up an item that who knows how many people have touched it with germy hands. They do not spray those items with decontaminants either. We proceed to pay using their keypad to key in our pin or swipe our credit card. Some stores place a plastic cover over the keypad. Okay, the keypad is safe, but the germs are now on the plastic cover. There goes the “germ-free” environment! We have passed them on to our vehicle, which we will sit in, drive, and carry those germs into our home. Think about it; it’s the same everyday situation without a pandemic. It’s no different. You can catch any disease this way, so it does not protect us from anything. We have complied to become inhuman, uncaring, and misunderstanding.
I understand we should take care of ourselves. But we should do it the same way we take care to avoid getting the flu or any other virus. Not by ignoring each other. That’s not socially distancing. That’s being rude. I, too, understand no one wants to die, even though that’s the one thing we will for sure have in life. But the fact is, when our time arrives, it doesn’t matter how but it will happen. I’m not insensitive, and I apologize if you think I am. I lost my oldest son 13 years ago, so I know the pain of losing a loved one. I know THE worst pain of losing a loved one and don’t want to experience it again. But it’s a reality that we will face.
I’m not saying to not protect yourself. I agree with protecting ourselves, but why do it in such a way? Why give a person the stink eye because they don’t have a mask? It’s not mandatory in Florida, so they are not breaking any laws. Why bother with comments to those that wear a mask or don’t wear gloves? What good does it do to criticize the store staff if they do or don’t wear protective gear? If it affects you that much, then don’t go out. A simple “Hello” or “Have a pleasant day,” won’t kill you. It can improve your day. You might not agree with me, but that’s how I feel. We are living in the saddest times of our lives with no proper reason. We just lost touch with humanity.
I don’t tolerate well people who tend to push the blame on someone else, other than themselves, for things that go wrong in their life. I believe we are responsible for the way our life turns out. Yes, we all have problems and not everyone has had a perfect childhood. We have encountered hard times and struggles. But, we learned from those struggles. Most of us realize where the problem stems from and take action to avoid repeating the same situations. The issue lies when some never make an effort to correct it even when they know that there is a problem or where it began.
Of course, there are many whose lives were affected so severely that they don’t even recognize that their upbringing was screwed up. But you don’t hear them saying, “I didn’t have a good example to follow.” I feel that once you recognize that phrase, you’re capable of making a change.
For instance, let’s use a random name like John. John claims he went through many struggles in his childhood which played a big part in who he is today. John’s dad abandoned the family when John was 6 years old, and his mom turned to alcohol. John was the oldest of three children, so he had to be the adult figure for his siblings when his mom was passed out. Fast-forward to John’s adult life and he too is an alcoholic.
John constantly blames his mother and father for the poor choices he’s made. According to John, his parents were not present for him so he did what he could. Do you see what I mean? John doesn’t think he’s responsible for his actions. Though he recognizes he did not have the best examples to go by. My point is if John recognizes the mistakes of his childhood, his best choice of action should be to not repeat them. Instead of imitating what his mother did, why not opt for not drinking at all? If he did not have enough to eat, why not make sure he is capable of supporting himself? If John’s dad walked out on them, why not strive to be there for his children?
We have choices. It is our responsibility to make the right choice. There is always room for error, but there’s also room for improvement. Therefore, the old excuse that you did not have a good example growing up, or the previous administration made the wrong choices, or whatever else excuse you choose, does not sit well with me. If you can recognize where the problem lies, then you sure as heck have the power to correct it. Stop blaming others for your mistakes, or for how your life has turned out. It is no one’s fault but yours alone.
“You have the ability to quickly change your patterns of thought, and eventually your life experience.” ~ Abraham Hicks
Manifesting what you want in life is not only talking positive things. It’s a bit more complicated than that but not impossible. The trick is to reprogram your subconscious mind. For instance, have you ever had a decision to make and hesitantly made up your mind as to what to do, but deep down inside you’re still questioning it? Well, that’s your subconscious mind at work.
There are ways to reprogram your subconscious mind. I used a YouTube guided meditation from Power Thoughts Meditation Club’s Subconscious Mind Reprogramming – Activate Your Higher Mind. It didn’t happen overnight. But it didn’t take too long either. I think it has to do with our eagerness to get there. I listened to the video many times over for about a year. And I still do listen to it every once in a while.
Although just listening to it won’t help you manifest what you want. You also have to learn to speak and think in a positive way. The law of attraction does not understand negative words or phrases.
So, if you’re asking for a job closer to your home you should not say, “I want a job which is not so far.” You need to rephrase your request. You can say, “I want a job close to my home.”
Trust me it really works because this happened to me. I manifested a job where I DID NOT have to drive far. Big mistake, I was offered a great opportunity, but the drive was an hour away. I did accept it, but two years driving an hour back and forth took its toll on me. So I manifested again carefully choosing my words and BAM, it worked!
I was once explaining this to a young couple in the presence of an elderly lady very dear to me that I’ll call Jane. As I spoke to the young couple, Jane chimed in saying, “That’s not true. All my life I’ve said that I did not want to take care of children when I got older and look at me. I’m almost 75 and still taking care of children.”
For me, that was a great example. I turned to Jane and responded, “You got what you asked for – taking care of children. The law of attraction does not understand negative words such as: no, don’t, or can’t. In other words, don’t manifest what you don’t want. Just ask for what you DO want and be specific.
Also, being grateful for what we have will attract more things to be grateful for. Giving thanks for all our blessings is a sure way to start. Every one has a blessing in their lives. I believe there are just too many negative beings concentrating on what’s going wrong in their lives instead of focusing their attention on what is going right. Let’s switch it up a bit. Every day look for one thing which you’ve been blessed with – be it health, family, career – anything and build it up day by day. Just by being able to open our eyes when we wake up is a blessing so start with that.
Each morning when I wake up and before I set my feet on the floor, I give thanks for the new day. I also proclaim that the new day will be a great one. Little by little, I have reprogrammed my brain to think positive thoughts. I don’t allow negative energy to disturb my inner peace.
You’re probably saying it’s much easier said than done or that I probably never had a bad experience. Well, you’re wrong. I am a grieving mother. My son passed away at the age of 20 so I have had tragedy struck my life. After the initial shock, many crying bouts and intensive grief therapy, I decided to choose which path to take. I could walk down the path of depression or I could do for my son what he could not. I chose the latter.
If I was able to reach the place of peace I am in now, I believe anyone can because l don’t think there is any pain worse than that of losing a son/daughter. It doesn’t take away from the fact that I still miss him every day, but I realized I won’t bring him back. Therefore, I live for him and cherish the memories I have. And I find that I am much happier. So go ahead and give it a try. It costs nothing but you can gain a lot from it.
During our last visit to Puerto Rico, we spent some time with my dad and his wife. While we were at their home, I came across a stationary bike in their backyard terrace. It’s green, old, rusty and ugly. I had never seen one like it before and am not sure if it was painted or if that green is its original color.
My daughter tried the bike and it works just fine, though my dad and his wife don’t use it. They don’t recall how old it is and don’t want to get rid of it either. I doubt it is worth anything. It’s sitting out in the rain and sun all day and all night. But I have to say, that it is in good condition being where it’s at with no cover or care.
I just found it fascinating to see such an old relic still alive. I wish I knew what brand and year it was. Old folks have so much history in their homes. It’s interesting to see what we will see at our folks’ homes. Can you share any old relics with me?
“The smarter you play, the luckier you’ll be.” ~ Mark Pilarski
I Won the Lottery! I was stunned, surprised and in shock. I never thought, in a million years, that I’d be so fortunate. It happened when I least expected it. I wasn’t anticipating any winnings, so it caught me by surprise.
I looked at the two tickets on top of my dresser. My husband had bought them for me. They had been there for a while now. Today, I finally decided to check them. I grabbed the two tickets, a coin, and made my way to the dining room. I sat in one of the breakfast nook chairs with my tickets and coin. With lots of patience, I began to scratch.
I didn’t even look at the numbers that were uncovered. I just scratched away. I cleared the entire ticket leaving no spot without scratching. I then made my way to grab a paper towel and clean the mess I made with the scratch-offs. After I cleared the mess, I picked up the scratch-off and began looking at the numbers one-by-one. I saw the combination of winning numbers but did not immediately notice it. As I repeated the numbers in my head, I suddenly realized what had happened. I WON THE LOTTERY!
What joy, what happiness I felt. I was ecstatic and felt an adrenaline rush. Oh boy was I happy! I needed to calm down, collect my thoughts and tell my family. I managed to contain my emotions and think of my next steps. When I finally got it all under control, I knew what my next move should be. Feeling more relaxed and breathing normally now, I just need to figure out where I will cash my $1 dollar winning.
I love being outdoors with nature – listening to the birds sing, the sweet aroma of grass and flowers, the sight of beautiful flowers blooming and luscious landscape. My yard is no exception. Plus add to the above the flowing waters of my outdoor fountain and the soft melody of my windchimes. It’s the perfect setting for meditation.
Meditation outdoors is not new to me. Every now and then I sit outside for as much as an hour of meditation. But I’ve never practiced yoga outside. The Florida weather doesn’t entice me to.
I have read that practicing yoga outdoors is more beneficial than in a studio. Practicing yoga outside can boost your energy, heightened your awareness, build confidence and boost meditation benefits. [See Yoga Journal]
As I stepped outside early this evening, I found it to be the perfect setting for a yoga session. The weather was just great – no clouds, no rain insight, and the sun was setting. So I took advantage of the opportunity Mother Nature had given me.
I brought my yoga mat outside and engaged in a wonderful, soothing, spiritual yoga practice, as well as a little meditation. The soft light of the sun setting, the trickling water of the fountain and cool breeze made it all the more relaxing. I felt refreshed, calm and peaceful.
Yes, I love nature and little by little I’m building my own little sanctuary where I can sit to meditate and practice yoga to my heart’s content. I’m very grateful for these beautiful moments. Thank you, Lord.
“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day. That’s jus the way it is.” ~ Sad Quotes
Every day, I wake up giving thanks for another day of life, a restful night, my loving family, and all that I have. I follow up by posting a daily affirmation on Facebook. I could mean something to someone when they log on. But today, I felt sad. I’ve had this sad feeling all day long. Why? I don’t know. Thankfully, there’s nothing specific that could have caused this sadness I feel. It’s just there.
It’s happened before. Especially when it’s a special occasion or a holiday. The feeling of not having my son causes these emotions. But there’s nothing going on that would merit an emotion of sadness and I don’t know how to shake it off.
I went about my day at work and even took some time to get
my hair nicely done and spend some time with my friend. But the sadness is
still there. I received some good news from my son, but the sadness is still
there. I’ve thought about all the great moments in my life, but the sadness is
still there. I sat outside and meditated, as well as, prayed to the Lord; but
the sadness still prevailed. I began to think about my upcoming vacation and
how amazing it’ll be, but the sadness still invades my every thought. I smudged
my home with Tibetan sage, which smells amazing, but the sadness is still
So, what do I do next? How do I let go of sadness that I don’t even know why it’s there? Should I cry it out? But why? I don’t even know why I’m sad. I guess, like many other things, this too shall pass. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon.
Have you ever experienced a sadness you were not able to
shake off easily? If so, what did you do?
“Time will inevitably uncover dishonesty and lies, history has no place for them.” ~ Norodom Sihanouk
The new trend being used to write reviews for certain products is deceiving. I rely on reviews a lot to make my purchases. But after my latest experience, I don’t know who and what to trust anymore.
In May 2019, I noticed that my hair was thinning and falling out more than usual. I opted to purchase a shampoo and conditioner to prevent hair thinning. It had great reviews – over 200 of them so I decided to go with it. It’s a little pricey at $24.99 a bottle each, but I purchased it anyway.
When I received the product, it had a sticker on it with instructions on how to get it for free! Woohoo, who doesn’t like free stuff right? So, I jumped at the opportunity to get a free bottle of shampoo and hair conditioner. The instructions were simple, go to the website on the sticker, enter your name, address, email and order number from Amazon; write a positive review, take a snapshot of your review and submit it to the company. So, I fell for it and followed their instructions after about a week of using the product.
Don’t get me wrong, the product smells amazing. I love the aroma of lavender. During the first week, I didn’t see much of a difference other than it left my hair stringy – not soft like other shampoos. Also, the conditioner seems more like a hand cream than a conditioner. But I thought I’d give it a chance. After all, it was only a week. Maybe I should give it more time.
A month went by and I saw no progress. On the contrary, after I washed my hair and began untangling it, I saw more hair on the bathroom counter than before. I thought, “maybe my thyroid is out of wack and acting up. So, I went to the doctor which sent me to get lab work done. The results came back normal so it’s not my thyroid. I felt perfectly fine and I’ve been eating very healthy lately, so what could it be? The only different thing I’ve been doing is using the new shampoo and hair conditioner. So, I took a break from it.
I still had some hair loss, but it wasn’t as severe as when I was using the special shampoo for hair thinning. But I still have the shampoo and conditioner that I bought and it was pricey, plus the free ones for writing a positive review, so I gave it another try. I don’t feel it is preventing my hair from falling out. So now I’m in search of something that will really help.
My point is, I relied on those reviews. I’m sure, just as I fell for it, many may have as well. But it won’t happen again. I’ve seen the same offer on other products I’ve bought. Now, I hold on to the special offer sticker and if the product is worthy of a good review, then I’ll go for it. If I didn’t like the product or didn’t feel it worked, I have forgone the offer. And if the “limited time” to submit the review passed, oh well. I apologize to all for writing a positive review of a product that doesn’t deserve it because many of us rely on these reviews to make our purchases. It’s unfortunate that we opt to deceive others just to receive a free product. Shame on me and others!
For the record: My announcement above on the SholdIt is genuine. I love, love, love that scarf!
This month brings me a lot of emotions. On Tuesday, July 9, is the angelversary of my son’s death. It’ll be 12 years now. It hurts the same as the day of. I can think about all the joyous times we spent together. My mind is well-aware of what happened and accepts it. My heart does not understand. How can I repair this broken heart from the loss of my son? I don’t believe there is any way to repair it. I’m at a good place with my grief now. But, every birthday, holiday and this month, in particular, will always trigger these feelings. I don’t have to think about it. It’s only natural. It’s called love.
Can’t Help the Feeling
A person who grieves the loss of a loved one does not plan on riding the rollercoaster of emotions. It just happens. The feeling isn’t welcomed. It just shows up. We do not entertain them either, they just linger there. We don’t relive the tragedy. It just seems like the events of that day/night will haunt us forever. This feeling just grabs ahold of a person like it or not. No two griefs are the same and none compares to the loss of a son/daughter – the worst grief you can experience.
Even after 12 years, I keep the feelings between my husband and myself. I know he understands, he goes through it too. I asked my daughter how it affects her. She responded that she tries not to think about it and keep herself busy. I too, keep myself busy. That’s why I write. It makes me feel better to jot it down. It helps me release the tightness in my chest and lifts up the tension on my shoulders.
It’ll Be a Good Day
Yes, July 9 will be a difficult day for me. I am doing my part to make it a good day. Will I go to work that day? Maybe. I’ll keep a positive attitude and hope for a good day. And, as I’ve done these past 12 years, I will continue to do for him what he could not.
My advice to the rest of the world is to hold your loved ones tight and let them know how much you love them. Let go of the petty things and embrace each other. Life is short and not worth clinging on to the resentment. Don’t waste precious time in meaningless things. Blessings to all.
A Tribute to My Son
The Great Eternal Silence
By Aquinas T. Duffy
Missing in the darkness, vanished without a trace. With only the memories and photographs to fill an empty place.
Frequent prayers and fervent cries. Is there anyone there? But the only sound was the silent, eternal fanfare.
For a long time, it’s a deafening sound, subdued by a path through lost and found.
Laughter and sorrow, anguish and grief; all the moments of life but with no relief.
Everything and nothing, one within between all; gentle, loving, penetrating the eternal silence falls…