Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Out Like A ______?

The blustery month of March is nearly behind us. Will it go out like a lion or a lamb? Thankfully, it appears to be the latter this year.

Whatever the weather ultimately decides to do, think of this day as one of transition.

What does the end of the month mean to you? What does the eve of a new month represent in your life?

Review the blessings you’ve experienced in the past month. Name them. Spend time breathing in their life-affirming properties so that you experience those blessings for a second time.

Now, look to your hopes, dreams and wishes for the new month to come. Name them. Spend time examining how you will make those desires a reality, what first steps you will take.

When you move beyond your distractions to a place of complete presence, you begin to see the blessing and the opportunity in each new day.

Today, this week: Be present to the moments in each of your days. Breathe in your blessings and opportunities with gratitude.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Smile and Be Glad!

When Sunday night rolls around, our minds start to get ready for the week ahead. By the time Monday morning arrives, we may feel sad that the precious weekend has ended and we have to face the chore of getting up out of bed and getting into the groove of the work week. 

You have a choice!

You can decide to feel energized when the Monday morning alarm clock chimes. You can jump out of bed, ready to take on the new week with a spirit of adventure, curiosity and blessing.

You have been given the gift of this new day and this new week!

How do you want to enter that week? Regretting that the weekend is done? Or in anticipation that the new day and week will bring possibilities to you and opportunities for you to serve?

You have a choice.

Today, this week: Smile and Be Glad!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Time for Change

Change is in the air. A new season is about to begin. Spring is on its way!

As much as we may believe that some things are unchanging, we truly live in a state of impermanence. Things are always changing (including us), even if that change takes place slowly.

At other times, change comes suddenly and rapidly and feels as turbulent as a spring storm.

Using nature as our guide and the advent of spring coming upon us just days away, consider how you might be changing. Consider what you'd like to change in your life.

Change can reveal beautiful, new opportunities--whether it happens slowly or swiftly. A new season invites new ways of thinking and new opportunities. 

Today, this week: Embrace change with anticipation.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Shine On!

Some March days are rainy and dreary. Some March days might even be snowy and stormy. 

Seeing as you can't control the weather, you may as well focus on what you can control and that would be your attitude.

Even when things seem difficult or challenging or rainy or dreary or snowy or stormy, you have the power to carry sunshine in your heart and allow its bright rays to cast out to others wherever you go. 

Choose sunshine today, no matter the March weather. Shine on!

Today, this week: Bring sunshine wherever you go.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Good Hair Day

I was in the beauty salon chair recently, getting my hair trimmed, when the scent of a permanent wafted by the chair in which I was sitting. The smell of that perm took me back to when I was a little girl. 

My mom always gave herself home perms back in that era. I can recall her dividing her hair into sections, then wrapping each section meticulously around little rods, securing them into place and then dripping permanent solution from a squeeze bottle horizontally over each of the rods. The scent of a home perm was unmistakable in that era. When she was done and her hair was dried and brushed through, Mom would emerge with lovely curly locks. Like me, her hair wasn't naturally curly, yet she wanted that look, so permed hair it was.

My mom with her pretty head of permed curls and me with a bullfrog (but that's a story for another day - If you're intrigued, see my August 21, 2018 blog post: My Dad, the Snake Man - Part Two).
As a little girl, I was fascinated by Mom's hair. Sometimes, she grew it out slightly to form a French twist in the back of her head, which I always told her made her look like the female lead television star from The Honeymooners, Audrey Meadows. 

Sometimes, Mom's hair would be short and permed. Sometimes it would be dyed one color, at other times another color. My dad, who traveled for his work, would wait for us to join him during one of my school breaks. He would always joke that as we got off of the plane, he'd have to watch for me first because he wasn't sure he'd recognize my mom. He'd laugh that he didn't know what color or style her hair would be in when we arrived. Until her hair turned a beautiful white when in her 50s, Mom colored her hair because she didn't care for its natural shade, which she often referred to as an unattractive "dishwater blonde." No matter what color her hair was, natural or chosen, I always saw my mom as the most beautiful woman in the world.

Personally, I haven't felt the need to color my hair. Mine is naturally a brunette shade, just like my Dad's was. He didn't begin to show real signs of gray until he was in his 60s. I am following in his footsteps.

Only once did I let a friend "paint" some highlights in my hair when I was in college and that ended up producing some interesting red-colored results. Once was enough.

In addition to perming, my Mom was adept at pin-curling my hair when I was a little girl. She used either some little silver metal clips or bobby pins, as well as a slather of pastel-colored Dippity-Do hair-styling gel. This process created little "spit curls" (such an attractive name for them) over each ear.

Mom also trimmed my bangs, usually by placing tape across my forehead to secure my hair in place and then snipping right under the tape line using her sewing scissors. That exercise resulted in straight bangs--most of the time.

That's not to say I didn't get my hair cut at a salon, too. In fact, in some of my more independent moments, I was able to walk the few blocks from elementary school to Betty's Beauty Bar where I would meet my mom to get my hair trimmed. I always felt grown up stepping foot into that beauty parlor, as we called it back then.

Here I am at about seven or eight years old, a salon of choices on one head:
spit curls, a ponytail and home-trimmed bangs.

As a little girl and then as a teenager, I liked fiddling with my hair, trying new styles and using the latest gadgets that my Mom found useful. I was particularly thrilled when my Dad came home one day with a portable hair dryer, the kind that made me feel like a movie star. I can still remember the feeling of the elastic from the plastic cap on my head, the warm air blowing my hair around underneath. There was very little assembly required with these contraptions other than to put one end of the hose into the base of the cap. It all fit neatly into a little round suitcase. There was even a little mirror in the tufted lid to make sure you looked beautiful when you came out from under the cap.
Here I am at age four, all smiles as I sit under our fancy, new portable hairdryer.
I must have felt the need to entertain myself while under the dryer
 by playing music on my little, red plastic melodica.

As I got older, my hair went from pixie cut to long tresses parted on the side or, as was popular in the 1970s, parted in the middle, which actually made me look quite dreadful (but at least I fit in with all of the other girls who wore their hair the same way and surely looked more attractive than I).

When my junior high school French class spent a month in Europe, I came home with a shorter hairdo, a souvenir of my travel experience. From then on, I seemed to need a series of implements, gadgets and goop to keep my hair in place--everything from blow dryers to curling brushes and irons to hair sprays and gels. I was a walking salon.

Things changed, however, when I underwent chemotherapy for cancer treatment two times while in my 30s. It was strange to lose all of the hair on my head, as well as my eyelashes. After being used to seeing dark hair around my face, I suddenly looked like a foreign being anytime I glanced in the mirror. I finally had my head shaved so I didn't have to deal with the stress of having my hair fall out in clumps when I washed it, risking that it would clog the drain, or as I slept at night, causing my pillowcase to look like it had grown a layer of fur. I wore wigs each time I became bald, and although they were nice, neither felt like me.

When my hair grew back in, I realized that simply having hair made every day a "good hair day." The regrowth of my hair reminded me to be thankful of my blessings every day. After the second bout with chemo, my hair even came back in curly for a little bit-- my "chemo perm," as I used to call it.

As a result of my chemotherapy-induced hair loss twice in my adult life, I decided to wear a no-fuss hairdo going forward, one I could simply wash, comb and go. Long gone now are the implements, doodads and products I used to use to style my hair. I am simply happy just to have hair and to look like myself, even with a little gray peeking out or streaking here and there. 

Sporting my "chemo perm" and a grateful heart just to have hair again, I jumped for joy.

So, the message here is that if you have lots of hair, no hair, permed hair, straight hair, long hair, short hair, thick hair, thin hair, whatever kind of hair, remember that when you look in the mirror, every day is a "good hair day." Indeed, every day is a good day when you choose to make it that way.

Sunday Sunshine: Look for the Similarities

I read about something called The Three Sisters, meaning corn, beans and squash. When The Three Sisters are planted together, they provide support to each other's growth. 

Instead of competing and crowding each other out, they use their diversity and their differences wisely so that all three can flourish.

What a lesson! We humans could learn from The Three Sisters and from nature, in general. When we first seek to find common ground, we can then appreciate our diversity and wisely address our differences.

Where might you benefit from finding common ground?

Today, this week: Look for the similarities before the differences.