Monday, August 17, 2009

What a Year

As I write this, it is the final half-hour of the day that marks the first anniversary of the day my entire life changed. One year ago tonight I was told something so heinous that it caused me to question every prior moment of my life. Right now, it is not important that I tell you exactly what it was that was said. Even if it was, I wouldn't be able to. A year later, the wound is too fresh.
August 17, 2008. I didn't think that I would ever be able to smile again. I thought my life was over. As it turns out, I was half right. My life as i had known it was indeed over, but that is not a bad thing. Not only can I smile, but my life is filled with laughter now.
I can go on and on but I won't. I will just leave you with one of the greatest lessons I learned from this whole thing. Don't give up hope, no matter how bleak things may seem or how alone you might feel. Things will get better. You will be able to laugh again one day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Have an Attitude of Gratitude

I got an e-mail this morning from a friend of mine. Many of the e-mails she forwards me have to do with humility, thankfulness and God. This morning’s e-mail wasn’t any different. Some of them are hokey, most of them are reminders of perspective and some, like this morning’s, give me cause for introspection.

My friend’s faith was established in her from the time she was a child. Throughout her life, it was a constant and when she faced difficulty; her faith was there to help her through. Those of you who know me long enough or well enough know that I was not raised that way. For a long time, I pooh-poohed people like my friend, dismissing them as somehow weaker for having a Higher Power, like "God," guide them. As I got older and wiser, outgrowing the “angry young (wo)man” identity, I realized that I was jealous of these people. I wanted the unconditional love and acceptance that they had. As I grew wiser still, I realized that I had it all along within me. Since coming to this realization, my life has not been perfect. Last year was the toughest of my life, in fact. But I did not fall apart (at least not for too long).

I am not ashamed to tell you that I live each day with Gratitude for each day the Universe has given me; not just the happy days or prosperous days or easy days but for the days that come with pain and loss and adversity. I have been given a life filled with people who care for me, the capacity to love them back, a sense of humor that has helped me and others around me enjoy good times to their fullest and carry me and others around me through some of our toughest times. I am strong. That is no accident. It is a gift. For that and so much more, I am grateful.

What’s on your gratitude list?



PS: By the way, here is the e-mail I got that prompted this morning meditation:


When I received this e-mail I thought...
I don't have time for this.
Then, I realized that this kind of thinking is exactly what has caused lot of the problems in our world today.

We try to keep God in church on Sunday morning...
Maybe, Sunday night…
The unlikely event of a midweek service…
Or even no church service at all.

We do like to have Him around
during sickness....
and, of course, at funerals.
We don't have time or room
for Him during work or play...
Because that's the part of our lives we think we can -- and should -- handle on our own.

Why is it so easy to delete a Godly e-mail,
yet we forward all of the nasty ones?

Isn't it funny how simple it is for people to trash God,
then wonder why the world is going to Hell.

Isn't it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire,
but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing?

Isn't it funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list
because you're not sure what they believe
or what they will think of you for sending it to them.

Isn't it funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me
than what God thinks of me.

Jesus said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.”

Of all the free gifts we may receive, Prayer is the very best one

He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I will be nothing. But with Him, HE strengthens me. (Philistines 4:13)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Grease is the Word!

1978. Most of my friends wanted to be Sandy and were in love with Danny Zucko. Me? I had the hots for Knickie and wanted to be Rizzo. My friends and I were all crazy for Grease. It was watching that movie on the big screen about 10 times during that summer that galvanized my love of "The 50's." The music, the fashions, the drive-ins and the CARS!!!

When we moved to Islip in the summer on 2004, the suburban life was new for me, but not completely foreign. Even though I spent my grammar school years in downtown Flushing, my teen years and most of my adult life to that point was spent in the somewhat suburban settings of Glen Oaks, Floral Park and Bayside. I just figured it would be about the same out here but with more open space. Then one evening in September, I was picking up Catalina from Islip Middle School's gym for basketball practice and there was insanity on Islip High School's neighboring football field. It was Homecoming.

There were floats and jocks and cheerleaders and fans painted in purple and gold and the marching band. It was wild. The field was lit up with some of the brightest outdoor lighting I'd ever seen. Back towards the parking lot, there were teenagers clad in leather jackets and dressed in black. They figured they were too cool to join in with the nearby homecoming festivities and would have more fun watching and poking fun.

I was aghast. They never had any of this in Queens. I didn't think stuff like this happened in real life. In fact, the only place it comes to mind where I saw this occur Grease! You know when Danny and Sandy first realize they are both going to Rydell High? Sandy was a cheerleader and her crush (a young, blonde Lorenzo Lamas) was the quarterback and they were participating in all the fun. Meanwhile, the Pink Ladies and the T-birds were nearby making fun of the whole scene. That is until Rizzo brings Sandy over to Danny, reuniting these Summer Lovers. BAM! The worlds collide.

Anyway, I digress. One of my points is that even though I was born 20 years too late to live the 50s first hand, I now live someplace where I can be a part of traditions from a simpler time like Homecoming. It still is taking a bit for this Queens-girl to get used to but it just feels right.

My second point is for all you Greasers out there, especially if you are out here near me on Long Island's South Shore. The Boulton Center for Performing Arts in Bay Shore has selected its next Wednesday Family Movie. It is none other than GREASE! The show starts at 7 p.m. on August 12th. Tickets are a mere $8 for adults and $5 for kids. Can you believe we can see this classic film again on the big screen? Catalina is so excited that she finally has the opportunity to! You can get the tickets at the door or you can buy them in advance. Here's the link:

I'll see you there. I'll be the one in the Pink Ladies satin jacket (yes, I own one). Waa-hooo, YEAH!