Making Peace With the Past

Making peace with the past is something many of us have to do at least once in our lives, oftentimes over and over. What does that look like in your life?

life, grief, growing, dealing with the past, life coach

For me it’s a difficult thing to do. That’s why I find value in talking with others and learning from their experience. Phrases like: “Coming to terms with”, “acceptance”, “embracing the past” leave me feeling frustrated and lacking.

I found myself in a conversation with a group of women discussing these very words just the other day and I now have a better understanding of the terms and of myself. Proof once again that we were never meant to do life alone, proof to me at least.

Those words: acceptance, coming to terms with, embracing, learning to live with the past all had connotations of condoning or liking the things we have experienced. That’s what I heard these women say. Now I know it doesn’t. I knew already, you know? I just didn’t know deep inside where it really counts.

So making peace with the past looks a little different to me these days. It means grieving the losses and grieving them well so they won’t continue to come up. It means starting to look at things in a different way, which will lead to a new way to live. It means choices and contentment. I may even mean joy.

Making peace with the past is a process, much like most things that will help us through. It is an opportunity to get to know the authentic you that you have been all along the way but perhaps lost sight of. I’m not saying this process isn’t painful. It may be the most painful thing you’ve ever experienced in your life. Worth it, however, if you achieve your goal of making peace with the past.

Making peace with the past is a way of learning to live, fully engaging in the reality of your present life. Where else is there to live but in the present? This puts you in a place to better understand who you are and how to care for yourself, which, in turn, allows you to be a person who can give to your family. You may even find that you are challenged to grow in ways you never imagined and, AND like it.

It seems that making peace with the past really isn’t about the past at all, but about the present. It means living a life free from the things that have haunted you and kept you stuck in a place you never wanted to be.

Making peace with the past is a beautiful thing. How do you make go through this process?

Around Town

There are lots of things to do around town no matter what place you find yourself in. I’m a dining out kind of person. I like to find and try different places to eat, especially around town. My husband and I visited an old favorite, tried and true on MLK day, Hungry Pelican. The place is old, maybe even older than I am, but for the most part, it hasn’t changed a bit.

Hungry Pelican, dining out, places to eat, Louisville

My good friend Karen and her husband used to live right next door to Hungry Pelican, in the basement of a funeral home, but I’ll save that story for another time. We visited Hungry Pelican a lot on those occasions we were hanging out with them.

I also remember Hungry Pelican being a go-to choice of places to eat after church back in the day when we were listed as Young Married Couples. A group of us would go to Hungry Pelican for lunch after the Sunday morning service had ended at least once a month.

I’m a fan of seafood. White fish is my fav, and Hungry Pelican has some pretty tasty white fish on the menu. Of course I need an order of fries with that and the cola tops off the meal quite nicely. This past visit, my husband was in the mood for a piece of Key Lime pie. They had an interesting version of this tangy/sweet dessert. It was a white chocolate mousse key lime concoction. I was skeptical upon hearing the description of these blended flavors, but it was good.

I’m not sure why we decided to visit Hungry Pelican. Perhaps it was a chance to walk down memory lane as we made our way around town, for walking is what we did after our over the top luncheon.

Hungry Pelican, dining out, Louisville, seafood, around town

We visited the Parklands which is a part of the developing Louisville Loop, a walking/cycling path that is slated to encircle our city. Parts of this park is now open, while over half is under construction or waiting to be.

Louisville Loop, Parklands, walk, cycling, around town

Louisville Loop, Parklands, walk, cycling, around town

Louisville Loop, Parklands, walk, cycling, around town, the trestles, sheepman

The photo above is of The Trestles, home of Sheep man. That too, is another story for another day.

The weather was nice for time spent outside, a bit of untypical weather for Kentucky in January, or maybe not untypical at all. The weather is anything but predictable during the winter months. It was a nice day to be out and around town.

Birthdays, Celebrating Life

I like birthdays! I’m not sure when this phenomenon occurred. It just sort of happened as I aged. I remember when I turned 40 (barely). I loved that birthday! It seemed to never end. There were events happening one after another. My husband bought a dining suite that I had been wanting as a surprise. The kids were young. I’m not sure how they managed to get it up the stairs and all set up. Bonus: I had the most beautiful bouquet of flowers that I have ever received sitting on that table, with the lights dimmed to make an appealing sight. Although I didn’t have the for withal to snap a photo (this was before the smart phone came into our lives) I will forever have a memory of that view as I walked into the great room and saw what awaited me. birthdays are special, celebrating life, birthday cake, turning the next age And then…several of my girlfriends showed up at our house as a surprise, with a chair in tow that went with the dining suite. They then wisked me off for dinner and a movie. The movie was Runaway Bride. That was a while back, folks. The details about the table and chair are a little fuzzy. I think the plan was to get the table first and purchase the chairs a few at a time. My husband had four of the chairs around the table when I walked in to see my gift, however,  after my friends came bearing one, suddenly the other appeared, or something to that affect. Bottom line is six chairs have always accompanied the table. We still have the dining suite. :)

Turning 50 was an amazing birthday too! I decided I wanted a party! I had a few guidelines for my husband just to help him through. What, you didn’t think I would throw myself a party did you? I wanted to invite all our family and friends, I wanted our boys to play a few songs, I wanted a guest book for people to sign but no gifts please and the most important tip of all… he should call my friend Debbie for help.

turning 50, Happy Birthday, birthday parties, friends and family, celebrating life, my good friend   turning 50, Happy Birthday, birthday parties, friends and family, celebrating life, our boys   turning 50, Happy Birthday, birthday parties, friends and family, celebrating life, the party

birthday memories, turning 50, birthday parties, friends and family

The party was everything I hoped for.

My birthday is in January. It has been like that since the day I was born. ;) There aren’t a lot of things to do in the dead of winter so a tradition was started several years ago, with the exclusion of the turning 50 bash. We go see a movie (of my choice, of course) and dinner out with the whole family. I think that’s what I like the best these days, having all our kids together, sharing a meal, better still, one that I don’t have to cook. The best gifts ever…our kids.

Turning 55, turning 50, Happy Birthday, birthday parties, friends and family, celebrating life

Birthdays are special. It’s the celebration of a person and the world being a better place because they are in it. My husband generally goes all out in the gift department. He’s not big on shopping as a general rule, however, he does birthdays in a big way.

birthdays, cake, gifts, family

I’m not sure it is any one particular reason why I so enjoy birthdays. I just do. And I think the older I get, the more I come to enjoy and appreciate them. Life is short. Loved ones are important. That’s why I like birthdays.

My Favorite Blogs

Sometimes, as a blogger, you run out of ideas or things to blog about. It’s not very often that happens to me, however when it does, I go to Kludgy Mom and utilize her Idea Bank with over 600 blog post ideas. That’s where I got the idea for My Favorite Blog.

tips for bloggers, my favorite blog, The SITS Girls, good blogs

I would have to say that my favorite blog hands down would be The SITS Girls. It. Just. Is. There are a ton of great blogs I enjoy visiting but The SITS Girls is at the top of my list.

Where else can you go to find new blogs to read on a regular basis? They feature a lot of other bloggers and their posts because they like to share the love. And if you are a blogger yourself, you can learn everything you need to know about blogging from The SITS Girls.

Here’s the deal, The SITS Girls is my favorite blog because they show you how to make money with your blog. They give you a chance to show off your own blog by signing up for your very own SITS Day. They help  connect you with other bloggers in your niche (or another niche) with their forum, their Facebook community, their Twitter chat every Saturday morning (#sitsblogging) and various events you can participate in throughout the year.

The SITS Girls is my favorite blog because they host blogging conferences during the year too! Last year I attended the first Women Get Social event held in San Diego. I loved this event, not just because it was hosted by the SITS Girls and they had amazing speakers but also because my good friend Jan at Grammy’s Life So Far went with me, and it was my first time to visit California AND my first flight. Lots of firsts and tons of education, not to mention a room full of bloggers just dying to network.

I also attended the conference in St. Louis and Atlanta. My husband accompanied me to those places. We turned them into mini vacays and saw some interesting sights. I’m anxiously awaiting the 2015 conference schedule for The SITS Girls.

And last but not least, one of the reasons The SITS Girls is my favorite blog is because the women behind the blog are amazing. Tiffany and Fran are blogosphere geniuses. I am honored to know them.

St Louis, Route 66, Blog conference

SITS Girls Bloggy Boot Camp, conferences, Atlanta, covered bridge, Stone Mountian, Georgia, attractions, parks in Georgia

I know there are a cornucopia of blogs out there I have yet to find but so far my favorite blog is The SITS Girls!

All The Lonely People

This is for all the lonely people, not just the ones I mention below. I think we are all lonely people at some point in our lives. Are you old enough to remember the song by America entitled This is For All the Lonely People? I am! Click to listen.

I took some time today to go be with my aunt. Just be with her…talk with her…sit with her. She is alone all day, with only the company of her aging, sleeping dog, and the television, which she keeps muted but on most of the time. One day it was on a Spanish speaking channel. My aunt doesn’t speak Spanish. It was a worthwhile way to spend a few hours, sitting with my aunt. All the lonely people.

I met my niece at the bus stop. She is alone for 30 minutes or so until her parents get home from work. She doesn’t like to come home to an empty house. So I was there waiting for her so she wouldn’t be alone. I sit with her until her mother arrives home with her little sister. All the lonely people.

I took a walk with my husband this evening through a neighborhood we have never walked through. We ran into an acquaintance who lives in the area. We stopped to chat and he told us that after 15 years of caring for his disabled wife he has decided to move on because he feels like life is passing him by, just like the song.

lonliness, being lonely, helping others, America

But what if life isn’t passing him by? What if he was meant to be there with his wife, even though it’s lonely.

Life is full of loneliness; lonely times, lonely people. I was honored to make a small difference in a life today, not for all the lonely people. Just a few I know.

Grieving, a Part of Life

a view

Grieving is a part of life. It. Just. Is.

Like it or not the above statement is true. The grieving process is the same, no matter where you are, no matter what you are grieving. Loss is loss in whatever form. There are some losses that alter your life forever, and some that are just a minor inconvenience, but grief is an important part of it all.

To skip that important component is not a good idea. I’m not even sure you can actually skip it…deny it, pretend there isn’t a problem or filling the void the loss has created may be a more accurate description.

The most challenging part of it all is the balancing act you must perform between feeling the grief, looking for the lessons, counting your blessings and moving on; instead of getting stuck in the questions of the loss suffered (and there are many) becoming paralysed with the facts, the what-ifs, the wishing aways, and perhaps even the blame and guilt.

I’ve had my share of loss over the years. Sometimes it seems like more than my share. Each case is different. Each incident brings it’s own set of thoughts, emotions and circumstances.

Where I find myself today is in the middle of the “Why me’s?”, and that’s okay. I’ll stay here a little longer. Then I’ll stand up, brush off my knees and do the next thing…but not just yet.

I want to grieve this most recent loss well. I want to grieve it thoroughly. And that’s just what I am doing because grieving is a part of life.

This post was first published September 19, 2010. I decided to republish because it seem pertinent and timely to many. If you are going through a time of loss, may you grieve well, my friend.

 

Sunday Football Food

I’m not sure what’s going on at your house today but we have Sunday football and food happening here. Both games will be watched here today and tonight, and what better food than pizza?

pizza, football, Boom Bozz, game food

We picked up Boom Bozz earlier today and it was good stuff! Boom Bozz just opened a new store close to us. It looks like a nice place to eat but today called for carryout.

pizza, Boom Bozz, game day, football

Boom Bozz is actually one of my favorite pizzas. It is a nice balance of sauce, toppings and just the right amount of crust. The crust of pizza is my favorite. I could totally live on bread! Totally, but I try not to.

Pizza, favorite food, football, game food

The fam enjoyed the pizza and there were two pieces leftover from two large. The price is reasonable too. I can’t wait to visit again even on a non Sunday Football day.

Time Marches On

Christmas is behind us, a part of the past and one for the books, as they say. I had a different perspective this year, especially when it came to taking down the Christmas tree. I left it up a bit longer as time marches on.

Christmas, holidays, changes, time

I am usually so done with the Christmas tree and everything about the festive holiday on the 26th of December. That is the day I have been taking the tree down for several years now. Not this year, however. I’m not quite sure what it was. I just couldn’t make myself take down the tree and those stockings that were hung by the chimney with care. I left them up until January 2, which is unheard of for me!

There was nothing special about this Christmas that made me want to linger in the afterglow. No joyous event or occasion that compelled me to bask in the passing holiday cheer. In fact, quite the opposite was true. “Just get me through this” was my mantra for the season. And that is what happened as one day followed the next and time marches on.

Without any fanfare or much planning I simply walked in the house one day and began taking ornaments off the tree. I divided the ornaments the usual way, each person’s going into the designated box. And I haphazardly wrapped and placed them inside without first putting them in the original box they came in when purchased. My daughter and I placed the various decorations in the boxes and I helped my husband carry them to the basement, and placed them carefully onto the shelves where they will sit until the end of this year for time marches on.

Christmas 2014 is now a memory, a bleep in time with another Christmas coming before we know it. But first we have a new year to navigate. New experiences. New endeavors. New people to meet and old relationships to continue nurturing.

I am happy last year is behind me. I’m also glad I made it through Christmas and even stayed with the holiday longer than usual. I’m not sure what this year holds but I believe it will be good. I am learning to embrace the events that I encounter and learn the lessons well along the way.

Of one thing I am certain, time undoubtedly marches on.

Turning 55

Turning 55, that’s what I did today. There are a few things I want to share about turning 55.

I am now eligible for senior discounts. I will definitely take advantage of this rite of passage. I mean if you have to get old, you might as well get a discount, right? I know I can get a discount at Wendy’s. It’s called a senior drink. I have a friend who told me that when her kids were young they would post a list of where kids eat free. Now they post the senior discount list. You might as well take advantage when you cross that line.

The next thing is this…when you fill out forms asking your age, they usually provide you with a series of boxes with a range of numbers. For instance; 25-35, or 35-46, etc.  Here’s the deal: 55 and up is the last box. There are no more boxes to check, my friend. It’s the last stop!

birthday cake, turning the next age

Turning 55 is really no big deal. It doesn’t feel any different than turning any age felt. It’s just a number. I’ve heard the platitudes before. I basically agree with them. It is just a number. The alternative, although is appealing, I’m thinking it’s just not my time yet. After all, I’m only 55.

Turning 55

I’ve found that I enjoy birthdays! I do, so turning 55 is really no big deal. I spent it with my family. There is nothing I love more than being with my people, and turning 55 provided me with that opportunity. The gifts were good, the good was tasty, the cake was pretty but the company…priceless.

birthdays, cake, gifts, family

Turning 55 was just another birthday but I enjoyed the time.

 

Ultimate Gift

I have a few movies that I watch every year. The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall is one of those movies. My daughter, husband and I just finished watching it the other night. This is one movie that I enjoy more than the book. They added a story line in the movie that makes it better, in my opinion. The Ultimate Gift is full of life lessons.

Gifts

It made my top reading list post a few years ago (click) and I just wanted to revisit what I like about this movie. The book lists 12 gifts that we don’t generally view as gifts, but the older I get the more I know it’s true that life is full of gifts, most often coming in the form of things disguised as something other than gifts.

1. The gift of a day is one such gift.

A powerful thing that we take for granted…just waking to another day. No one ever knows the events that will make the day like no other.

2. The gift of a problem.

It is safe to say at this point in my life that I have learned the most valuable lessons EVER in the form of problem. This still holds true no matter how much I despise the fact. And it is a gift. One that I even embrace these days, though not at the moment, I must admit. I will one day, of that I am sure.

3. The gift of work.

What? Another gift we take for granted. A necessary evil, we might even call it, but work provides a much needed purpose in life and we all need purpose. I am grateful for the gift of work. It serves to take my life off the Gift #2…just saying.

4. The gift of money.

To some this is a curse. To most a means to an end. We all need money. It is a gift.

5. The gift of friends.

I was just thinking about this today, how fortunate I am to have good friends who are there for me, no matter the need. To have friends in your life is an amazing gift. I cherish my friends.

6. The gift of learning.

This gift becomes more valuable with age. I love to learn. To learn is to grow. I never want to stop learning whether formally or on my own.

7. The gift of family.

One of my favorite gifts. What would I do without my family? They’re not perfect, no family is. I count it a great privilege to have such great family members, including distant and by marriage.

8. The gift of laughter.

I love to laugh! I love to be around people who like to laugh and who makes me laugh. I enjoy being around my family and friends because we usually end up laughing.

9. The gift of dreams.

What is life without dreams? Without dreams this nation wouldn’t even be in existence. Without dreams we wouldn’t have the many conveniences we have now. Without dreams we would cease to exist.

10. The gift of giving.

I love to give of my resources and time! It brings me great joy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gift we choose to give as a family or just a silly thing I do on my own, it is truly a gift to give.

11. The gift of gratitude.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of this one. I have so much to be grateful for. I something forget to be grateful, though when I examine my heart I find it is full of gratitude. I am blessed with this gift.

12. The gift of love.

Love makes the world go round, right? Love is a gift we take for granted I am sure. I would never give up the experience of having loved and being loved for anything. The greatest gift of all.

The year has just begun. I look toward the future with anticipation. If I keep my focus on the gifts in my life and all the new things I am learning, this year will be full of growth and new experiences.

I look forward to this, the ultimate gift.