Sunday, March 30, 2014

Favorite Findings March 2014

Welcome to Favorite Findings for March! It's no secret that March was a very difficult month for me. Most of you know that I lost my mother who meant the world to me. Since I spent the majority of the month in the hospital with my family, I didn’t focus on beauty products. Instead of halfheartedly listing a small group of products that didn’t really mean much to me, I would like to share the lessons my Mom taught me. I think all of us can benefit from them.

1. Everyone should embrace their own beauty.
Everyone is beautiful. We should love and embrace our own beauty and the beauty of others. Beauty is more than just a person’s looks. Beauty can be found in how they love, how they live and how they treat other people. Beauty can be found in how a person embraces life.

My Mom (left) and friend 1964. She felt like a wall flower. She never felt beautiful; but she lived beautifully.
My Mom (left) Barbara and friend in 1964. My Mom felt like a wallflower. She never felt beautiful; but, she lived life beautifully. 

2. Never be afraid to accept a challenge.
Sometimes we are offered opportunities which don’t seem quite right for us. Even though we think something is too big or too great for us sometimes, we should just need to tackle it head on. You never know what great things you might find when you stretch yourself.

My Dad, Arnold, found the love of his life on a blind date.
My Mom, Barbara, was double dog dared to go on a blind date with my dad.

My Mom didn't want to go; but, she was double dog dared to go on a blind date with my dad, Arnold, who became the love of her life with whom she would spend the next 50 years.

3. The secret to a long marriage is respect.
Don’t allow your familiarity with someone to allow you to the opportunity to forget your manners. Saying please and thank you can go a long way to preserving those feelings of fondness for each other. Never speak words that you’ll regret; because, you can’t take them back. Speak with kindness in your heart.

My Parents on Their Wedding Day. After almost 50 years, they never spoke angry words to each other.
My parents on their wedding day. Although they fell short of their 50 year wedding anniversary, they loved each other to bits and never argued or spoke harshly to each other.

4. You can’t change your family.
In spite of their short comings your family will always be your family. Don’t let petty disagreements come in between you as life is too short and can end suddenly. Just love and embrace each other for who they are, faults and all.

My family accepts each other faults and all. We refuse to allow disagreements to separate us.

My family in the late 1970s (I'm on the left) even though we disagreed about a lot of things we learned to always come back together and work things out. 

5. Find happiness in the little things.
Life if full of obstacles; but, how you handle those obstacles determines the nature of a man’s character. Never allow those obstacles bring you down. Put on your dancing shoes and embrace the joy in the challenges.

My father, Arnold, in the '80s just being happy to be on a picnic with his family.My father, Arnold, in 1958 attending a high school dance.

My parents believed in being goofy and being happy. (Left) My father at a school dance in 1958. (Right) My father in the mid 80s at a family picnic. Yes, my dad is happy about eating off the hood of a car; because he was surrounded by his family! 

6. Don’t let rifts cause an irreparable damage to a relationship. 
Two people cannot love each other for long without discovering several things upon which they disagree. Do not allow those differences to dictate the course of your relationship. Agree to disagree and find a way to move on.

My sister and myself (right). I was really angry about something silly.
My sister and I in the mid 70s. I was certainly pissed about something and she doesn't seem to be concerned about it. I got over whatever was bugging me. 

7. Never lose your sense of adventure. 
It would be simple to allow our lives to become centered around what we are most comfortable with. Never be afraid to try new things, go new places and meet new people. This world is so much bigger than us. Enjoy it and all it has to offer.

My parents in Japan in 1967.
My mother left small town Arkansas to go with my dad to the ends of the Earth as an Air Force wife, seen here in Japan in 1967.

8. Don’t allow a less than flattering moment define you.
All of us have shortcomings and faults. None of us are any better or any worse than others. We are all humans, we are all flawed. Embrace that we are all searching for our best and all of us fall short. Don’t allow those moments to define our feelings for ourselves or others. Forgive and move forward.

Me in 1969 looking like that fat one from Laurel and Hardy.Obviously, not the most attractive picture of me. I look just like the fat one from Laurel and Hardy and I had a runny nose.

9. Never completely close doors.
Leave every situation and person with love. When you leave something or someone on bad terms; you may find that you need to go back to correct the situation. Instead of letting time to allow small things to work themselves into big things just make it right before you walk away. Negative feelings can eat away at a person.

Myself, my cousin and my sister. We reconnected after years of having no contact.
Myself, my cousin, Stephen, and my Sister, Tammy. We lost touch with my cousin for many years; but, have recently come back into contact with each other. I realize now how much I missed him!

10. Bad things happen to really good people.
Sometimes bad things just happen. Feel the hurt, embrace the pain and then find a way to move on. Don’t get stuck in the pain. Use the pain to find compassion for others.

My brother, Timmy, who only lived 10 days. I don't know how my mother at 23 dealt with such pain.
My sweet brother, Timmy, lived only 10 short days. He was born and passed before I had come into being but I have always felt his presence was with me.

11. Never stop having faith in good things to come.
No matter how bad things can seem right now, good things are right around the corner. Just hang in and hang on. Things will get better. Keeping faith that brighter days are to come can help you get through the dark times. Blessings are the sweetest when they follow heartaches.

My Mom and me. Giving birth to me helped her heal after losing my brother.
I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. My birth gave my mom something beautiful to look forward to and to keep her life moving in a positive direction. She didn't stay stuck in her pain.

12. Never go to bed or leave on bad terms.
Life is much too short. Do not leave those you love with negative words. You never know when they, or you, could be gone. Do not leave yourself open to that kind of regret. Speak your “I’m sorry” and “I love you” to those that matter in your life.

My parents on the longest yard sale, she wasn't doing it his way. They never went to bed mad at each other.
Although, they obviously got irritated with each other my parents never spoke harsh words to each other or went to bed angry with each other. They would lie in bed and talk through the days problems each and every day.

13. Embrace life no matter what you have.

There will always be those with more than you and those with less than you. Someone will always be better off and someone will always be worse off than you. Don’t measure yourself against anyone else. Just be happy with where you are and what you have while striving to be the best possible version of yourself.

My uncle, Jim, My Dad, and my uncle Dwight

Although, both of my parents grew up in poor families that had little; they were both blessed that the love they had was great. That was the greatest gift they gave their children.

These lessons were all things my Mom embraced and passed on to me. She was a beautiful woman with an insanely generous heart. She was a loving wife and mother who loved her family with all her heart. I was blessed to have her as my mother and I will miss her more than words can speak. I was a very rebellious teenager and gave my parents many challenges. I am proud to say that I sought their forgiveness and my mother forgave me with an open heart and open arms. In recent years, she was my best friend and I called her whenever anything good or anything bad happened to me. She was my biggest advocate and my greatest hero. She taught me how to be a patient with myself while coping with illness. She is now with my brother, Heaven got another Angel. Even though she’s no longer with me here, she will always be with me. My life is a shining example of her love and passion.

If you would like to read more about my mother her short biography can be found HERE. She was a fascinating women, who lived a brave life. I wish I could bottle some of my mother’s essence and give it to every person who has faced loss or challenges. She was the bravest person I know. 

I need to send a large word of thanks to the staff at St Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City. They took such great care of my Mom while she was there. Her doctors were amazing at doing everything they could for my Mom. I wish I could go back and hug every single nurse that helped my Mom. They helped my Mom be as comfortable as possible while in the hospital. They took care of her from such a place of love and compassion. I need to thank all of my friends and family that brought us meals both while in the hospital and after her passing. The meals gave us a sense of comfort that can only come from being content with good food and great company. To several of my blogger friends that gave me comfort and support while I was coping with this situation, I would like to send all of you a virtual hug! The interactions I had with you gave me a reason to smile when I couldn't find anything to smile about. I could log on to my computer and forget my troubles for just a moment. Thank you for being who you are. I can never repay the kindness you've shown; but, please know that I was touched to the very core of my being. To the two lovelies, who sent me beautiful tokens of love I openly wept over both. To know that I have beautiful women that have never met me; but, love me as if I were their friend or neighbor just reminded me that other people are as amazing as my Mom. Thanks for allowing her spirit to live on in your actions. My cup runneth over.