To sleep perchance to dream. We need the rejuvenation of sleep.

To sleep perchance to dream. We need the rejuvenation of sleep.

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Even a soul submerged in sleep is hard at work and helps make something of the world. Heraclitus

My son’s girlfriend came over on Saturday with a pillow she bought him. A Bamboo memory foam pillow. On the radio, we hear the host  waxing poetic over “My Pillow” which he uses and endorses. After she scrunched it to get it to pop up to its natural shape and popped it in the dryer on low for 15 – 20 minutes, we all touched it and thought we want one too.

A Kitchen Warehouse store has popped up at a mall where they are selling these pillows. My husband and I went there yesterday. All we could find were the King size pillows. We asked an employee do you have these in Queen size? She said, “no.”

I asked, “have you ever had them in Queen size?” She said, “no.” We were going to take the King size pillows even though they would be huge. My husband found the bin with the Queen size pillows. The only ones left were lavender scented. We grabbed two and put the King size pillows back. Why would the staff not have said she didn’t know, instead of lying?

The problem with these stores is they have so many things that are useful you can walk out with more than you went for, and of course, we did. We bought a solar scale. I hate getting on the scale and it no longer works because the battery is dead. These are first world problems, but still irritating. The spring scale worked for years but everyone in the house complained about it. Here’s to hoping this solar powered scale works for years.

Yesterday morning my son reported he liked his new pillow. This morning I can report I like my new pillow as well. We watched a YouTube video comparing the bamboo memory foam pillow to My Pillow and the reviewer didn’t like either. He thought they were too high and would give him a crick neck. He didn’t appear to sleep on either of them, so what kind of a review is that? My neck is fine this morning.

My husband’s glowing review is, “it’s a pillow”.

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. William Blake

Anything that can give us better sleep is likely to improve our health, our mood, our life.

Poor sleep is linked to obesity. I thought it was the chips and ice-cream, and not walking enough. Short sleep duration is associated with a drastically increased risk of weight gain and obesity, in both children and adults.

Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories. Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. When we get adequate sleep we tend to eat fewer calories.

Good sleep improves concentration and productivity. It has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.

Good sleep can maximize athletic performance.

Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk. Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity. In a short study of healthy young men, restricting sleep to four hours per night for six nights in a row caused symptoms of pre-diabetes.

Poor sleep is linked to depression. Mental health issues such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleep disorders.

Sleep improves our immune function. Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function. Too many late nights can make us feel like we are getting sick.

Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation. Sleep deprivation is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage and is strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. One study researched sleep-deprived people with Crohn’s disease and they were twice as likely to relapse if they were sleep deprived.

Sleep affects emotions and social interactions. Studies have confirmed this using facial recognition tests. Another study found people who had not slept had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness. Poor sleep may make it harder to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.

Looking at recommendations for pillows, Consumers Reports say almost 70 percent of us are side-sleepers. A firm or extra firm pillow is recommended to give us the proper alignment or curve of the neck and head. The most comfortable height is about 10 centimeters, about 4 inches off the mattress.

Sleeping on our back is often associated with snoring or more seriously sleep apnea. Here’s to hoping this pillow keeps me sleeping on my side which may lead to better sleep for both of us. Anything that helps combat the little irritants in our life is worthwhile.

The pillow we bought is firm but very comfortable. Touching it makes one want to lay one’s head on it. It is probably a pillow best suited for side sleepers, which we are.

In the end, it is just a pillow. If it can help us sleep better, with all the benefits that entail, then it is a small thing that can make a big difference. In life, we need to change the things we can, live with the things we can’t, and have the wisdom to know the difference. Finding a better pillow is one of the things we can change.

Do we sleep as well as we could? Would a change to our routine, pillow, mattress, or temperature make a difference? Is lack of sleep keeping us from being all we can be? Are we accepting as normal something we can change? Don’t we long for sleep perchance to dream?

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. Victor Hugo

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Family is forever. Life is what we make it. Opportunity and choice at every age.

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Family is not an important thing. It’s everything. Michael J. Fox

Family day is tomorrow. Every day should be family day and for most of us, it is. Those who are still in the trenches, where everything they do, think, spend, and work for is their children. Here’s to you! Raising children is the most rewarding, energy-sapping, resource-driven enterprise most of us will take on in this lifetime. We get as much as we give and there are no words for the joy we get from our children.

Sometimes it seems like getting from here to there, no matter where here seems is long and hard. Other times that same journey seems short and sweet. If you are past the heavy lifting of child rearing and now enjoy adult children, you know what I mean.

If you are now Grandpa or Grandma you’ve gotten your earned reward. I’m waiting for this one.

If we are lucky we get old. My mom tells me we don’t have to feel old. If we can stay away from a mirror, or at least don’t put our glasses on when we look in it, we can tell our self we’ve hardly changed.  We think certain things come with aging, but is it true? We need to question the ideas we allow to lodge in our brain. Do we feel old because we act and think old?

If we stay fit, active, and engaged, we can enjoy life at every age. The older I get the younger each age I’m at seems to me. I’ve watched my mom and her attitude. She’s never had a weight issue, so that has never taxed knees, hips, etc. She is a naturally happy person and she is engaged with people. Nieces who have lost their mothers enjoy talking to mine.

When we talk to some people they’re problems weigh us down. Mom is uplifting, she laughs at what she cannot change, she talks about the worst that could happen, and in doing so finds peace. Mom isn’t a worrier, she’s already dealt with some of the worst things that can happen. She survived.

Mom was widowed with two kids and a brand new baby, left destitute because the insurance company wouldn’t pay the insurance her husband had taken out to ensure she would be financially okay if something happened to him.

She survived, kept body and soul together, married my dad, had five more kids and built a life. Many of us worry how would we survive if X happens? We’ll do what we need to do. It will be what it is. We will make the best of it. Most of us won’t even worry about the things that will blindside us. It will come out of the blue, and there we are.

We will handle it well, or badly, whatever we are capable of. It will become our new normal. We will carry on. We can’t possibly know how we’ll react if X happens. We don’t know who will be there for us. We don’t know who will be there with us. We don’t need to know. What we need to know is we have the strength and courage to handle whatever comes our way.

This is family; this is what it stands for. Once we become mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpa’s we can never, not be them again. We can be good ones, bad ones, hands-on, hands-off, distant, close, engaged or unengaged. This is our choice, we can’t change what is, but we can be a negative or positive force in our families lives.

I was hearing on the radio that children without father’s in their lives in higher socioeconomic areas, don’t do better than children in lower socio-economic areas with fathers. I’m not sure I like everything being judged by money. There is an amount of money we need to keep body and soul together.

Neither man nor woman is perfect, or complete without the other. Thus, no marriage or family, no ward or stake is likely to reach its full potential until husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, men and women work together in unity of purpose, respecting and relying upon each other’s strengths. Sheri L. Dew

That amount of money depends on where we live, the cost of housing, etc. They give the amount most of us need to be happy at about $75,000.00 per year. Above that our happiness doesn’t really increase. Does the outcome for our children increase?

Getting on the treadmill of more, more, more, may actually only work for those who profit from us working harder. It may hardly profit our selves. As we work harder we have less time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and our families. When people drop out of the labor market and live on what they’ve accumulated or investments they’ve made, they may live more simply but more richly in the things that matter to them.

Life is about choice, we want more choice; does more choice make us happy? Does accepting our lot in life and making the best of it give us the most happiness?

There are always challenges; we can only make the best decision with the choices presented to us. Are we looking at all our choices? Are there choices we need to excavate and examine? There is only so much we can do in this life, but often it is more than we think.

Do we have dreams we haven’t achieved yet, that are still achievable if we have guts, determination, and luck on our side? Is it time to go after a new or old dream? Is it time to stay the course until the children are raised and then pursue something else? Is it time to start smelling the roses, or planting them?

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. Buddha

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What is truth? Do lies tell truth and does the truth tell lies?

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We are instinctively blind to what is not relative. We are not cameras. We select. Robert Henri

What is the truth? Is it the quality or state of being true? Is it that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality? Is it a fact or belief that is accepted as true?

Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”Henry David Thoreau said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Today we hear about “alternative facts.” Fake news is not new. Mark Antony heard the rumor that Cleopatra had committed suicide, and then stabbed himself in the abdomen – only to discover that Cleopatra herself had been responsible for spreading the rumor. He later died in her arms.

Psychology Today says: The mind does not perceive reality as it is, but only as it can, filtering, distorting and interpreting it. In modern times it has been argued that truth is largely constructed by social and cultural processes, to say nothing of individual desires and dispositions. There are categories and constructs regarding, for example, race and sexuality which may not reflect biological let alone metaphysical realities.

Some people feel if something works, it may well be true; if it doesn’t, it most probably isn’t. Some things work for me, but not for you. Is it possible there is no “truth” only “perspective”?

The greatest thing a human soul can ever do in this world is to see something and tell what he saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, and thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion all in one. John Ruskin

How can we know if we are lying to our self? Of course, self-deception is hard to distinguish from the truth. If it wasn’t we would never deceive our self. We usually don’t believe we are lying to our self, deceiving our self or in any way not dealing with what is. It is so easy to take credit for the good and find someone else to blame for what goes wrong in our life. We can do our best to bring radical honesty into our lives. If we will unflinchingly look at the reality of our life, our relationships, finances, and all other areas of our life and take 100% responsibility for the situation we find our self in. We can then look outside our selves and see the truth residing there as well.

If we can tell the truth, or at least don’t lie. We can try to look at the many sides of something to determine the truth of it. It is a good exercise and the more we practice the better at it we will become.

Psychology Today says, “truth is constructive and adaptive, while lies are destructive and self-defeating. So how useful is a self-deceptive thought or reaction going to be to you? Are you just covering up an irrational fear, or helping to create a solid foundation for the future? Are you empowering yourself to fulfill your highest potential, or depriving yourself of opportunities for growth and creating further problems down the line? Is the cycle simply going to repeat itself, or will the truth, at last, make you free?

Truth is something I question as a writer. At my Writers group, we were discussing true stories versus fiction. My belief is there are no “true stories”, that are absolutely nothing but the truth. There are always three sides to a story and only one is told by whoever is doing the telling. History was written by the victors. It wasn’t the truth; it is “his story”.

At least fiction doesn’t pretend to be the truth as it gives us the motivations behind the actions. It is in fiction we learn about ourselves. As the author not constrained by facts can delve into the heart of who we are, what motivates us, how we think, how our biases cloud our thoughts and actions. It is in fiction where the real truth of who we are is told. Not facts, not deeds as they happened, but the truth of who we are as people. It is in fiction we find ourselves. Fiction can go deeper into the heart of situations because it is not constrained by facts. Most of us do not know and understand ourselves and our deepest motivations; reading about characters and their motivations helps us see our self.

Is fiction the lie that tells the truth? Isn’t it through fiction we get to the motivations behind the actions and realize the motivation behind what is bad, isn’t always bad, and the motivation behind what is good, isn’t always good? Don’t we get to know characters better than we know real people? Isn’t it through those characters, we begin to understand our self and others better?

I believe in not quite knowing. A writer needs to be doubtful, questioning. “I write out of curiosity and bewilderment…I’ve learned a lot I could not have if I were not a writer”. William Trevor

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Our thinking makes it so. Cognitive biases and truth.

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One of the biggest things we have to be able to do is handle conflict and handle it correctly. We’re able to look at our biases, look at our frustration, look at our sin in this area, our pride and our selfishness. It allows us to move forward. Benjamin Watson

Hamlet’s truth, that we don’t know what is good news and what is bad news shapes our life. Only going forward do we see what unfolds. Some people are better at seeing the potential in situations both the good and the bad. Some people can read other people, but that can be good and bad. We may not give people who deserve the chance a chance, because we thought we could see something coming that wasn’t coming. We take chances the other way, we give people chances and ignore the signs of what is coming.

Our choices shape our lives, but we don’t always know what the best choices are. We had an amber alert in my area last night. My son in law just filled me in. An eleven-year-old girl was with her father and there was concern for her safety. She was found too late.

How do we process information like this? How does someone in their own mind justify this action? In a Psychology Today, article the author writes. Devoid of empathy, and pathologically self-obsessed, he allegedly blames the mother for fueling his revenge. The only victim that matters is him. Sure, his daughter is dead, but look how cruel this woman has been to him. From his perspective, the blood is on the wife’s hands. He’s just a poor, forlorn guy, who in Othello’s words, “loved not wisely but too well.”

It is scary to think someone can think this way. Yet, it is the only kind of thinking that makes sense. The fact it happened on Valentine’s Day is probably not an unimportant fact. This would be a case of the very worst happening from unmet expectations, and someone not being able to deal with how their life unfolded.

How do we navigate and process painful biases and conflicting emotions and press on to be sacrificial and suffer in the struggle? And what do we do with images and depictions that, known or unknown to those perpetuating them, may contribute to the impediment of human progress? Bernice King

Is there a lesson for us in how far down we let our thoughts take us? We like to think we are rational and logical, the sad fact is we are constantly under the influence of cognitive biases that distort our thinking, influence our beliefs, and sway the decisions and judgments we make each and every day.

The confirmation bias. Through this bias, we tend to favor information that confirms what we already believe. We don’t stop to question our beliefs.

The hindsight bias. We tend to see events, even random ones as more predictable than they are.

The anchoring bias. We tend to be influenced by the first piece of information that we hear.

The misinformation effect. Our memories of particular events tend to be heavily influenced by things that happened after the actual event itself. We may think our memory of a certain event is crystal clear, but researchers found that memory is surprisingly susceptible to influences.

The actor-observer bias. The way we perceive others and how we attribute their actions hinges on a variety of variables, and this can be heavily influenced by whether we are the actor of the observer of a situation.

The false-consensus effect. We have a surprising tendency to overestimate how much other people agree with our beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values. We don’t question our own thoughts.

The halo effect. Good looking people are often rated better than less attractive people. They are thought of as smarter, kinder, funnier, more qualified and of higher moral character. They are given more chances and more excuses are made for them when they fail at something.

The self-serving bias. We tend to give ourselves credit for successes, but lay the blame for failure on someone else.

The availability heuristic. We tend to base the probability of something happening to us based on how many examples readily come to mind.

The optimism bias. We believe because we are involved things will go better for us than they have for others. They were stupid, not hardworking enough, didn’t do enough research. We won’t make the same mistakes they made.

This goes to show that in our own mind we justify what we are thinking, our actions, our beliefs, prejudices, fears, and judgments. It all makes sense in our own mind. That we can somehow make it make sense in our own minds is the scary part. That we don’t see it as wrong thinking is even scarier.

How can we identify and deal with our cognitive biases that distort our thinking?

We’re all biased, right, in many different ways – politically, religiously, ideologically, the way our family raised us – and that’s find. Nobody wants to live in a world where everybody thinks exactly the same. The key, though, is to try to figure out where your biases are holding you back from solving problems. Stephen J. Dubner

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Loving and living. Love with your whole heart.

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Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each includes the other, each is enriched by the other. Felix Adler

If you woke up beside your great love, give thanks. If you’ve ever had a great love, give thanks. If we can smile because it happened, even while we cry because it’s over, that’s a step.

Valentine’s day isn’t a happy day for everyone. It punctuates what we may no longer have, may never have had, or recently lost. We are somewhere in the circle of life. A new beginning may be around the corner.

Today is another day where unmet expectations rear their head. It may be better to focus on what we can give, than what someone gives us. Chef Gordon Ramsay says, “If you are going out for a romantic weekend and they offer you the Bridal Suite, don’t take it.” You are just setting yourself up for more unmet expectations and you probably have enough of those to deal with on a “romantic weekend.” Especially if you haven’t decided beforehand what a romantic weekend means to you. Does one of you want to stay in? Does one of you want to go out?

At one time I thought women have more unmet expectations in the romance department than men. I don’t think that anymore. We long for great love affairs, we deserve them, and we are told everyone else gets them. We don’t always see through the laundry, paying the bills, and keeping body and soul together that this is part of “our great love.” We thought it would look different. We grew up in families where real life was lived, yet when it’s our turn we think it will be different.

Love isn’t cards, chocolates, roses, champagne, or nights in fancy hotel suites. Those are tokens of love. Love is looking at each other over your sleeping baby, that kept you up all night. Love is getting to the hospital and having loving arms enfold you. Love is looking up from your bills and realizing they pay for your life, the life you love, the life you’ve provided to give those you love security amid peace and plenty. Love is painting your home and looking at each other’s paint splotched faces and hair, knowing you would do it all again. Love is being in the puddle, trench, or whatever we may call it, facing the same challenges, and seeing their point of view, not just our own. Love is making choices that don’t only put our own interests forward. We make sacrifices for those we love. What hurts them hurts us, what makes them happy, makes us happy. We are part of a team, we become us.

A loving heart is the truest wisdom. Charles Dickens

Love is looking at the stars, and being grateful for someone to share your life with. Love is making plans for the future. Love is in the doing, creating, embracing each other through the fun and funny, the sweet and the bitter, the ups and the downs, the happy and the sad. If we can find romance in the ordinary, enjoy the fleeting moments that add up to a well-lived, well-loved life. Then we too can say we’ve had a great love and may it long continue.

We need to get in the trenches with our beloved. We need to feel what they are feeling, we need to be there for them and know they’ll be there for us. We need to know they won’t be perfect, they won’t get it right every time, and nor will we. We need to love each other through the worst to enjoy our love at its best. Nobody just gets the good times, we are all in, or we aren’t in at all.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

The leader of my writer’s group asked us to write a poem about love.

              Living and Loving

Love softly came and called my name.

I gaily laughed, it was a game.

But soon I realized no game I played.

This was a love that came and stayed.


We laughed and loved in our twenties

Lots of love and parties plenty

We said our vows and settled down

Looked about and said, “What now?”


Thoughts of babies came to mind

And soon reality was kind

A little boy came to be

We were overjoyed at being three.


It wasn’t long and we were blessed

 A little girl joined our nest.

Our life filled with laughter was complete

It took the patter of tiny feet.


When our daughter was six we got a dog

We felt blessed sleeping like a log.

Work, school, and soccer was our life

Life was full, there was no strife.


Our daughter got married this August past

We hope she has a love that lasts

What happened between then and here?

We were young, now retirements near.


Life sped by in a blink

Forty years go by faster than you’d think

We’ve had a love affair for thirty-eight years

Celebrated with champagne and beers.


We’ve weathered storms

Lived through changing norms.

We pray we’ll have many more years

Filled with laughter and a few tears.


We never know what life has in store.

We are always reaching out for more

Enjoy what you have because you never know

When winter comes and cold winds blow.


You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back. Barbara De Angelis

Rumi: The Big Red Book: The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love and Friendship by [Barks, Coleman]
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We may be alone but is it loneliness or solitude, is this our choice?

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Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. Paul Tillich

Last night I watched identical twins marry identical twins on TV. This was their dream, to all live in one house and have their twin-ship be understood and supported. The two women are both lawyers and the only time they say they understood loneliness was when they went to separate Law Schools.

Loneliness is a problem for many people, it makes us irritable, depressed, self-centered, and is associated with a 26% risk of premature mortality. In industrialized countries, one-third of people are affected by this condition, with one in 12 affected severely by it.

There are many types of loneliness caused by different situations.

We can be lonely because we’ve moved to a new city, country, job, or school.

We can be lonely because we don’t fit in. We don’t share the same faith, background, are socially awkward, or have different interests.

We can be lonely because we have no love interest in our life. We are single at the family wedding. We are newly divorced, separated, or widowed.

We may be lonely because we don’t have an animal in our life and without one we feel deep loneliness.

We may be surrounded by people who don’t have time for us. They are friendly “enough” for them, but not for us. We want a deeper connection. Maybe their life situation has changed and we wish it could be how it was when they had lots of time for us. Maybe our best friend just got married or had a baby and her life revolves around her new life, we feel stuck in the old one.

Sometimes we are hurt by those we trusted the most. A friend may have hurt us deeply. We have not replaced that friendship yet. Sometimes we never do.

We can feel lonely because our family has grown up and we miss the boisterousness that used to be our home as children go off to build their own life.

We are all born alone and die alone. The loneliness is definitely part of the journey of life. Jenova Chen

It is important to understand why we are lonely. If we can name it, we can change it. We go through stages in our life that when they are over, they are over. Sometimes parts of our life we didn’t know how we’d get through we miss when the busyness of that time is gone.  Are we are adrift with time we don’t know what to do with?

Can we be in a relationship and still be lonely if we don’t spend time with each other and create intimacy? Do we need to make the effort to connect with people, our spouse, grown children, friends, groups of people with similar interests, or would a cat or dog fit into our life and mitigate a degree of loneliness?

Maybe having roommates is a better fit for some people than living on their own? It was for me. I’ve never lived on my own. I never even thought of getting an apartment on my own. I went for shared accommodation and I stayed with shared accommodation. I’ve even thought for widowed and single women that shared accommodation may be the answer in later years.

Is living in an apartment building or Condo’s more social than living in a single family home, alone?

Many people will say they are alone, but not lonely. Others will say they are lonely but not alone. This is an issue we will have to deal with for our self. It won’t be something others can do for us. We need to learn to make new friends, fit into groups, or find groups we fit into. We need to make the effort.

All the lonely people need to get together. The lonely hearts club should become a real thing. It takes courage to reach out to people. They may break our heart. If we don’t reach out we live lonely lives. We never know what could have been if we’d made the first move toward friendship, or love.

Is there someone we’d like to reach out to or get to know on a deeper level? What is holding us back? Are we lonely, or enjoying solitude?

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother Teresa

Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering. Dalai Lama

Dealing with Loneliness: Learn How to Deal With and Overcome Loneliness to Never Feel Alone Again by [Perruso, Mary Jane]
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Valentine’s Day and unmet expectations.

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Two of the ways of dealing with Expectations are whether they are spoken or unspoken and whether they are realistic or unrealistic. Dr. Kim

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be cards, hearts, roses, chocolate and celebrating love. For many people, Valentine’s Day magnifies what they don’t have, for some it highlights what they’ve lost. At its worst Valentine’s Day creates expectations that can’t be met.

According to a study of divorce filings by Attorney and two legal sites that both claim February is the busiest month for divorce filings. The biggest spike is after Valentine’s Day and February divorce filings are about 40% higher than other months. A number of websites for married people seeking affairs report the day after Valentine’s Day is their biggest sign-up day.

How can this be we might say? Love makes the world go round, and don’t we all want more love? It seems we do want more love and when who we are with doesn’t live up to the hype, the expectation, or the promise of romance adds we are constantly comparing ourselves to, we take drastic measures.

My husband and I saw it when we were out last weekend. A couple, and not a young one, couldn’t keep their hands off each other; they were kissing passionately, endlessly on the dance floor. We all silently said “Get a room”, and wondered what the rest of their life was like when they weren’t necking on the dance floor.

Maybe we can minimize our expectations and maximize what we can do for our partner. We can spend more time with them, compliment them, offer them a back rub, and have a laugh together. Try not to react to anything that rubs us the wrong way. Ouch, is a good word to use and then go on as if everything is good. Be in a happy mood, because life is good, and don’t expect romance to come out of thin air. Do our best to not expect one romantic thing to happen on Valentine’s Day. Lower our expectations.

If things haven’t been going that well, don’t take out all the stops and go to the most expensive romantic restaurant we can think of. It will be awkward, it will be budget breaking, and it will be disappointing. Instead go to a little coffee shop or dessert place, share a piece of cake. Take a walk, hold hands, talk about the mundane, but talk. Show someone we love them, without an expectation that they know how to respond in the way we want.

This is where we get in trouble. We want a certain response. Our partner often has no clue what that response is. We are hurt, they are completely mystified as to what they’ve done, said, didn’t do, or didn’t say.

The first step is always the most difficult but nothing will ever change until you take it. Dr. Kim

We have different love languages, many people do what they would like to have done for them. Many people do acts of service when their partner wants them to whisper sweet nothings in their ear. Other people’s partner’s whisper sweet nothings and it means nothing because where is the service and action that backs it up. Some people buy gifts and all the partner sees is the unnecessary credit card bill.

We have to be detectives to figure out what love looks like to our partner. Maybe we could do all five. Make them dinner, buy them a single rose, box of chocolates or a card, give them a back rub, give them a compliment, ask them to go for a walk, hold their hand and talk, and wrap up the evening with some steamy sex.

Oh, there we go with the specter of expectations. It’s so easy to expect more than something can be, and give. Can we love our partner for whom they are, and not expect them to be something they are not? Can we enjoy what they do, and not wish they were doing something else? Can we keep our expectations low enough that regular loving partners can meet them? Can we make it so our life is not one unmet expectation after another, because it would take more than a reasonable loving husband or wife to meet them?

Maybe we should just ignore Valentine’s Day? I think it’s best to embrace it with low expectations and think of what we can do for someone we love, instead of thinking about what they can do for us. If we can buy a card and not expect one in return, give a compliment and not expect one in return, give a gift and not expect one in return. I love the quote by Jessamyn West, “It is the loving, not the loved woman who feels loveable.

Love is a verb, the more we love, the more loving we feel. The more we expect from someone else the emptier we feel. We are in control of how much love we show, give, and the ways we show and give it. We can feel more loveable by being more loving.

The antidote to Valentine’s Day may be to see how much we can give instead of how much we can receive. If we give all we have and expect nothing in return we may find it is the best Valentine’s Day ever.

Expectations in marriage need to be shared. Dr. Kim

A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other. Unknown

A wife needs to know that her husband is completely committed to her and to their marriage. Dr. Kim

Never stop being your husband’s girlfriend. Dr. Laura

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Life is a journey, stop and smell the roses, and give a hand when you can.

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Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu

Yesterday my brother called me and we had a lovely long conversation.

We talked about anything and everything. He told me about two books he’s been reading about sailing around the world. The authors of one of the books met a man sailing solely around the world who said, “I’m going to be the first person that sailed around the world and didn’t write a book.” It’s a shame he didn’t because people who love armchair adventures are missing out on his.

My brother tells me “the girls” at the library he goes to want to read my novel. It isn’t published yet but he has a printed copy. How great is that? Like Drake said last night at the Emmys, “if you can get people out in the cold and the rain to hear you perform, you don’t need an Emmy.”

It may be, some of the artists and writers that remain connected with their fans, who never become famous enjoy their experience more. My writer’s group would probably love to have a famous author join. It would change the dynamic, would J.K. Rowling, Daniele Steele, or Stephen King fit into our writer’s group? Probably not, but not because of them, but because of how the rest of us would react toward them. The feeling of being trapped by our own talent is a phenomenon written about in the Harvard Business Review May/June issue in 2017.

Once talent turns into a set of expectations is where people feel trapped. When stars can no longer live normal lives it is isolating. They become defined by one small part of who they are. This also happens in organizations where someone becomes “the star employee.”

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. Walt Disney

Some people quit at the top of their game or on the way to the top because somehow their success is robbing them of being themselves. They are becoming only what their talent is and they are no longer seen as a rounded human being.

Once you become a star by definition you don’t fit into the group. Most of us think it would be a good problem to have, but a lot of us spend a lifetime feeling like outsiders. Belonging is important; not wanting to rise above the pack may be something we unconsciously engineer into our lives.

I just took a quiz on my wolf personality. I came up as “the wild one”. ‘You are almost always happy and optimistic. You would fit easily into a pack but would also do fine by yourself. You like to cheer and help whenever you get the chance. You are a fragile flower and easily swayed by love, though you don’t let it rule you.’

It doesn’t mean anything, but it’s interesting. The more we learn about our self, what feeds our spirit, what motivates us, the more we can become the best us. Learning to love our selves, how we are, embracing our talents, our gifts, and our contributions. We have our contribution to make to the world. Someone else’s contribution we may envy, but it is not our contribution.

If all of humanity is like an entity, a body so to speak. We can’t all perform the same task. We can’t all be hearts, or brains, or fingers, or toes. Whatever we are to do, we can do it to the best of our ability. Embracing who we are, loving our self and others, this I believe is our task. Finding our place in the world and making our contribution is the journey we are on. Where are we on the path?

I told my brother I would recommend the books he told me about. He especially liked that they talked about what was going on in the world during their adventure. He was young and remembers that time as well. We can’t find all the great books out there by our self. It is through other people’s recommendations we find some of the books that speak to us. It is one of the great joys in life to recommend a book that touched us and have it touch someone else too.

The journey is never-ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment. Antonio Brown

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Two On A Big Ocean Hardcover – Jan 1 1981

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Finding inspiration and creating our life with mind, body, and spirit.

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What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau

Where do we get our inspiration? Where do we get the resilience to keep on going, creating, doing what needs to be done?

We create a life with mind, body, and spirit. It takes energy to be the mother, father, partner, employee, entrepreneur, politician, artist, writer, musician, athlete, we want to be. Where do we get the inspiration and energy to build the life we want? We can’t just make withdrawals, we have to make deposits.

What we eat is a deposit, what we think is a deposit, how we exercise is a deposit, what we think about and what we read is a deposit. If we are alive we are depositing enough to stay alive. Are we depositing enough to create the life we want?

Are we eating the best food to fuel our body? Do we move, exercise, walk, and stretch? It will be hard to live our best life creatively if we can’t move because of pain, and stiffness.

Do we get enough sleep? Research tells us hardly any of us get enough quality sleep. Are there things we can do to improve this? Do we watch what we eat and drink before bed? Have we created a good bedtime routine? Do we have a good morning routine?

Everything we do supports everything we do. On days we don’t bother to cook or eat nutritious meals we won’t feel as well, we won’t have as much energy, we won’t have as much to give.

If we stay away from exercise our energy flags, we get stiff; we develop aches and pains caused by inactivity.

It takes discipline to create the life we want, to cook the food we need, to read the books to feed our mind and to stay away from negative thoughts. We need to create positive habits to create the life we want.

Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results. Robin Sharma

We can start at any point in our life to be the person we feel we should be. It all starts with a decision, and the easiest way to change our life is in small increments, hanging a new habit on something we already do.

We need to congratulate ourselves for something we start doing that is good for us. Today at The Writers Group a new person attended and she had never read her poetry out loud to an audience. She was encouraged to do so by my friend, she got up and read a poem when she sat down she looked like she had conquered a fear, and taken a step. She says she will be back. None of us know if that was a huge step for her or just a small step. It was a step. If we keep taking steps, big and small we accomplish things.

If we put ourselves out there we need to be able to accept criticism and grow from it. A friend’s daughter performed a one-woman show recently. I had another engagement and couldn’t attend. Last night at an event I ran into her, she started going after her dream years ago of acting and singing. As she was leaving she said, “The work of being self-employed never stops.”  I think she understands cultivating one thousand true fans. She is doing what she loves; it isn’t about fame and fortune so much as following our path, creating something meaningful and living the dream.

Last night at the event a performer sang, she isn’t an artist I recognize. She has a powerful voice, put on a good show and I heard a guy in the audience say to my husband, “finally, the song I came to hear.” This was another example of someone who has a following of true fans. We went because our friend was one of the DJ’s.

Someone I grew up with is promoting a Country Festival in my hometown; I have never had the pleasure of attending, yet. I hope the stars align and one year we can attend. She and others are building something. It takes work to create and promote an event year after year.

It might seem like a leap to think of yourself doing what you dream of. After you start doing it, it becomes part of you. You grow and morph into the goal and dream you’ve set for yourself.

At the writer’s group yesterday one of the members had her photographs on the cover of two anthologies put out by the writer’s group. The speaker suggested she get a picture taken of her holding the two books and find a space on a wall where she could hang other pictures of her accomplishments and see what pictures end up populating her wall. What a great suggestion for all of us. Isn’t this why we take graduation pictures, and wedding photos, we are celebrating the beginning of something.

What accomplishment can we congratulate our self on? What picture could we frame that will continue to inspire us as we continue on our journey? My daughter gave me two framed pictures for Christmas; one was me holding her when she was about three. The second was her and I on her wedding day with foreheads touching. It was a lovely, thoughtful gift.

Celebrating our achievements is part of the journey. We should acknowledge the moments that build our life, big and small. It may be a big or small step that leads us somewhere we want to go. Every journey starts with a single step. Aren’t we all on a journey? Don’t we all have something to celebrate?  Can we find inspiration if we look around us? Is it other people, nature, other great works of art, writing, or music? Many of the great works of art were created by depicting Biblical scenes. Finding what inspires us is part of our creative journey.

When the awareness of what is achievable brushes your life, your journey has begun. Lorii Myers

Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling by [Dyer, Wayne W.]
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Love is a decision. Love fully, truly, deeply.

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The human race is like a bunch of porcupines huddling together on a cold winters night. “The colder it gets outside, the more we huddle together for warmth; but the closer we get to one another, the more we hurt one another with our sharp quills. And in the lonely night of earth’s winter eventually, we begin to drift apart and wander out on our own and freeze to death in our loneliness.” Arthur Schopenhauer

Does anyone want conditional love? Is anyone capable of unconditional love?

Do we feel capable of loving absolutely unconditionally? People who are religious feel they have unconditional love. Sometimes they pull away from God because they feel too unlovable. Do we feel unlovable and pull away from those who love us. Do we make it almost impossible for them to love us?

Even porcupines huddle together for warmth but they must be careful to not get too close or they prick each other. Do they do a dance like we humans, drifting too close and then too far from each other? Do they find a happy medium, do we?

A study from Princeton University tells us four out of ten infants born in the United States do not form a strong bond with either parent. The main problem according to the Princeton study is forty percent of infants in the US ‘live in fear or distrust of their parents’, and this will translate into aggressiveness, defiance, and hyperactivity as they grow into adults.

I was reading that parents of newborns that are not compatible with life, who do not bond with them. Have a harder time accepting the loss than those parents who loved without caution the little time they had. We may think we are inoculating our self from pain by guarding our heart. It doesn’t seem to work that way, the more we love, truly, fully, deeply, the more at peace we are with the inevitable. This also seems to play a part with the death of a spouse. The better the relationship the easier it is for the remaining spouse to deal with the loss.  When everything was said, that needed to be said there are no regrets for what could have been or should have been. When Dad died I don’t think any of us had anything left unsaid.

A husband and wife may disagree on many things but they must absolutely agree on this, to never, ever give up. Unknown

Marriage is on the upswing it seems for the over sixty-five-year-olds. Dr. Kate Davidson co-author of Intimacy in Later Life says older men and women said: “they never thought they would feel like that again, and it was lovely.” It seems men want someone to come home to, and women want someone to go out with. Widows tend to marry widowers. Widowed men marry women, single, widowed and divorced. Davidson tells a story about a wealthy man of 75 who married a divorced woman in her early 60s. “She used Botox, went to the gym twice a week, a real dish. “How did you get someone so scrumptious?’ his friends asked. ‘I lied about my age’,” he replied. ‘I told her I was 90.’

Couples in their sixties-plus see a much longer term future for themselves; it’s another adventure to be had in life. Older couples have more time, some have more money, they no longer have childcare commitments, and they are free of stress from work. There are boulders to be dealt with, grown children are not always ecstatic for their parents. The children sometimes worry about inheritance, sometimes rightly, sometimes not.

Love at every age is a minefield. If we worry too much about what could happen, we miss what is happening. We need to love fully, truly, deeply, knowing what will happen, will happen, and we will deal with it when it does. Worrying about what might happen doesn’t change it; all it does is keep us from enjoying what is to be enjoyed now.

We don’t need to wonder if pain will find us. It will, but we won’t feel less pain by loving less, we will feel more pain because we will look back with regret at what we can no longer change. Can we live without regret, and  love without caution? We can only do our best, but when we know we’ve truly done the best we could, gave all there was, we feel the loss but not the regret for what we could of, should of, but didn’t.

Love is a decision, we make it every day. Sometimes it is like loving a porcupine, sometimes it is like loving a puppy. We don’t get to love during the good times if we can’t love through the cold, dark, winter of our lives. As they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming, but then again so is spring. If we give up when it is cold, windy, stormy, then the spring sun will not smile on us.

This may be why widows tend to marry widowers, they know about getting through the stages of marriage and they feel divorcees do not.

Whatever stage we are in, another stage is coming. We may be looking forward to the next stage or enjoying the stage we are in. If change is the only constant? Can we hold on for the wild ride?

My husband has made me laugh. Wiped my tears. Hugged me tight. Watched me succeed. Seen me fail. Kept me strong. My husband is a promise that I will have a friend forever. Unknown

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Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs Hardcover – Sep 5 2004