Win or lose, it’s how you play the game


Life deals us cards to play throughout life.


Most of the time we fairly confident in our ability to play. The cards may not be the best, but we learn strategies to play confidently. We find ourselves having to bluff from time-to-time, but we get through it and win a hand or two.

Sometimes, we are dealt a handful of crummy cards.  We have no idea how we can win the game. And then, the next few hands are worse than the one dealt before it. We might even look at those cards and wonder why it seems that we have been dealt more than our fair share.

Have you ever noticed that some people can still win the game and continue to be happy and have fun, despite the overabundance of crummy cards that are dealt to them, often at no fault of their own?

Some people play poorly.

They may blame the deck, the dealer, or LIFE for not having been given better chances of winning. They may complain incessantly about without a willingness to take responsibility for how they play in those situations. They cannot see their way to turning the hand around through better play, or cutting their losses strategically.



 Bad cards happen to us all; but we have to play them.

If we want to have a more fulfilling life, then we have to choose to play, otherwise we automatically lose.  We have to choose to re-frame how we see what we have been dealt…what we live.  We must choose to see beyond the negativity that we feel and learn how to figure out how to see our cards from a different perspective. (Perhaps, we have a habit of talking about most things from a negative perspective?)

Taking ownership of our habits can be biggest struggle.

This is the one “card” that we can choose to play differently.

When we play the cards we have been dealt in life, we are playing the game with the others around us. Do we want to drag the others down so that we don’t have to be alone in the miserable game? Or can we choose to have some good fun with others who can move through life with us?

Again, we must play the cards dealt.

It’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes, it is all we can do to just get through the game without quitting.  But, the next hand we are dealt may very well be the winning hand.



LIFE is the Battlefield

It all begins a minor disagreement.

Then, one person gets so offended, they find it necessary go out on a limb to try to destroy the other.

This phenomenon is not new to any of us who went to junior high school. If you look at the history of the world, there is continual evidence of this.

These bullies relish finding people who will blindly follow them and do their dirty work for them. These “sheep” are sent out to be the annoyances.

Should there be a response or reaction from the intended receiver, the leader-aggressor will often give a surprised look, leaving the ambushed one to be the overly-reactive screaming banshee. The blame is always transferred to the vocal one.

Of course, the Bully and his or her clan will stand on the soapbox of sanctimony. They claim to have been picked on unduly, satisfied in their ability to have turned the tables on their intended, and often unsuspecting, victim.

Another set up. And yet again, someone else takes the fall.

People have not changed very much over the centuries. No matter where we are, or whatever situation it is that we may interact as human beings, there is likely to be someone who will always try to turn any situation into a battlefield, picking fights that are unnecessary.

Have you encountered this type of situation in your life? In your workplace? At school? On social media? With family or friends? Other situations?

Do you always walk away? Or do you try to defend yourself, your name, or your honor?

Walking away does not mean “ignore it and (maybe) it will go away.”

We must get to a point in our lives where we start to recognize the patterns in ourselves and in others.  Perhaps, you are like me that you find it necessary to prove your innocence, because you were made the scapegoat in many aspects throughout your life? You may find yourself continually in defensive mode.

Others know that they can “bait” you into the battle with comments such as:

  • There you go, always being defensive!”
  • “Why must you take it so personally?”
  • “If it weren’t true, you wouldn’t react as you do!”  

Sound (or feel) familiar?

  • The truth is…you take it personally, because the other meant it to be personal.
  • The truth is…yes, you are always on the defensive.
  • The lie is…what you are fed as their truth must also be your truth, accompanied by your reaction.

Walking away means that …

  • We know exactly who we are and own our choices and behavior.
  • We are no longer willing to live by the baited tactics of others, who may try to control our behavior by continually setting us up to fail.
  • We know the difference between competing to “be right” and behaving in a way to “do the right thing.”
  • We know how to love others, in spite of their faults, but recognize that we do not have to take part in, nor have an interest in, the matter or action.

We have to learn to let go.

There comes a time when we must know within ourselves what is right or wrong. Proving someone else wrong, no matter what you may know to be absolute truth because of the evidence you have, may not always be the best way to approach the situation.  Believe me, I know this one well.

Learning to let someone be (or think they are) right has been one of the best lessons I have learned.   Does it still irk me?   Of course, it does!

Yet, letting it go does not mean that I am wrong.  It does not mean that I am responsible for being life’s teacher to all of humanity in its ignorance.

The one truth that I have learned is that…

Life truly is the battlefield…

And I am the one that is allowed to pick the battles that are worth my time.


Photo credit:  Pixabay public domain

Reflecting on 2017 and looking forward to 2018

2017 has been a year of LIFE.

2017 was the year that marked five years since my diagnosis of stage 4 Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)/Carcinoid Cancer. As there is no cure in my case, there is no remission.  Yet, here I am looking forward to the sixth year, many believing that August 2012 would be my last birthday.  I celebrated my 62nd this past year, and I look forward to the next!

2017 has been a year of EDUCATION.

I studied Spanish in 2017. I also enjoyed lectures and discussions in Philosophy, Ethics and World War II History from professors who are brilliant and love their subjects.  I am taking all these classes as a “senior audit student,” so my tuition is waived.  I do not receive a grade or credit for taking them, though they will show up on my transcript that I have taken the classes. I received my Bachelors degree nearly 16 years ago, but I love to learn, and I like the challenge. I will continue doing the same in 2018.

2017 has been a year of CREATIVITY.

It was only three years ago that I picked up a paintbrush for the first time to put something on canvas. If you talked to my friend and creative arts “coach,” she would tell you that it has been difficult for me to break through certain emotions to get in touch with my child-like creative self.  Yet, this year, I painted 10 canvases, nearly all of them with faces. Though they may never become famous works of art, they are MY works of art, as childish as they may seem to others.

2017 has been a year of FRIENDSHIP.

This year I have come to realize the truer meanings of “friendship” or “relationship” to others, and what it means with friends, family and acquaintances, and in business and pleasure.  Learning to recognize those relationships, which are uplifting to all parties involved, as well as when there is little reciprocity, has been of the utmost of valuable lessons. I have continued to learn that, by accepting others for who they are, it is simply about love.  It does not necessarily mean that relationship will continue. Sometimes, we must learn to let go of others.  It is equally as important to accept and love oneself, and make choices that are best for us and our well-being.

2017 has been a year of GRATITUDE.

There are so many things this year for which to be grateful. Having had the opportunity to learn about myself and others, I am grateful for the chance at all the experiences and lessons that have been presented, even when it is necessary to deal with the painful realizations that all things and people are not as they seem.   However, though we encounter those few people in life who choose to stand in extreme judgment, spewing ugliness, and doing their personal best to drag others down into the mud with them, there are many more people in life that we encounter…

…there are so many more who are accepting and beautiful, uplifting and encouraging, supportive and loving, and who will be there without judgment.  

These are the people in life who are truly the most genuine, and will share themselves freely…vulnerable and without expectation.

If nothing more was learned in 2017, I have learned about genuine love from and for others and I am so grateful for these people in my life.

* * * * * * * * *


Of course, none of know the answer to that question!  We set goals, make resolutions, and have the best of intentions, before something happens to put a glitch in our plans, derailing all those lofty dreams.

All we can do is keep moving forward, approaching life with gusto and working toward being a better version of ourselves.

2018 will be a year of LIFE.

I know that I must continue to live every day that I am given. I will wake up and look forward to whatever adventures each day presents to me.

2018 will be a year of EDUCATION.

I will continue to audit classes in 2018. I am looking forward to what more I can learn. I love keeping my brain engaged.  I look toward taking more classes that encourage more of the creative side of my soul, not just the academic.

2018 will be a year of CREATIVITY.

The first class at the college for which I am signed up is a Jazz Musicianship class. I have known the professor for nearly 20 years. I have never taken a class from him, but I know that he is a brilliant bassist, having seen him perform with various bands over these two decades. I look forward to putting in practice more improvisation and taking more risks as a singer. I look to resurrect the music in me in a way that gives me joy, getting back to what I consider my “jazz roots.” As well, I’m in collaboration right now with another bassist to start to work together in 2018, possibly with a bass and vocal duo.

I have several more canvases that I have to paint. I want to continue to explore acrylic painting, and to approach my style of painting with as much freedom as I have begun to embrace,without worrying about what others think of it. I am also planning to enter a couple of them in a juried art show designed for veterans to share their art.

2018 will be a year of FRIENDSHIP.

Oprah Winfrey said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

These words from Ms. Winfrey are representative of my biggest goal for 2018, as I too often waste too much energy and time with people, situations and things which I let “eat at me” and rob me of my inner peace, and halt my joy. Sometimes these are things that are beyond my control.  At other times, some will purposefully do whatever they can to “pick” and get a reaction.  HOWEVER…

Let me point out AND repeat the operative words:

I waste…I waste…

No matter what others may do to us, or try to do in order to cause us grief, even though it certainly does affect us, it is ALWAYS MY OWN RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that I care for my own well-being.  Like so many others before me, I must take care not to be sucked into the old patterns that some will try to heap upon me.

2018 will be a year of GRATITUDE.

Let us all be aware of (and own) the choices that we make, as these will be the ones that make the biggest differences in LIFE and views of success in 2018. Let us all be GRATEFUL for those lessons we learn by what life deals out. Let us all be joyous in the genuine relationships that we are given that truly lift us up to happier hearts and a desire to be better to one another.










Vulnerability and Telling More of a Story


Coming to understand myself and the “whys” behind my beliefs about the world and the people in it has always been of interest to me.  I am also just as interested in others and their stories. As I tend to be rather curious and analytical, I have often been told that I “would make a good counselor.” I am not sure that it is truth, but I do see that I am willing to look in the mirror and find the connections with others and the correlations of experiences. It requires us all to be more vulnerable.

Recently, I have begun to “look” beyond some of the issues that have presented in my life. They seem to be inter-connected in so many ways.

It has been more than two decades since I have truly done anything to “celebrate” the Christmas holidays in my home. There have been some moments where one may have seen a glimmer; however (for the most part), it has been non-existent. I have cooked or helped to cook the holiday meals elsewhere, but it was never the same. Much of the time, I went to a restaurant for a meal…sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone.

“Hoarding,” or just Scared?

This past summer I began to open up and admit to “shutting others out.” The easiest way for me to do this was to not deal with clutter in my home.  This way, I did not allow others into my space.

I could have let others into my home, but there would have been some who would have been judgmental and then  would have told others how awful it was…I was.  Some would have accused me of being “a hoarder,” likening me to the extreme hoarders featured on the television show.

Truth be told, I bought into those visions of myself. I did not see reality, but saw myself through the judging eyes of others. So, I shut down not only from others, but myself.

One of the things that I would never have been able to tolerate is the filth of rotting foods, the scampering of rodents, and the other horrors that are sensationalized with the show.

Yet, the piled-up, unpacked boxes from previous moves kept me from “LIVING” in my home and accepting others into my home to celebrate life, friends and family, and the holidays we share throughout the year.

Preparing to Die

I moved into my current townhouse in September 2013, preparing to die. It was a year-and-a-half earlier that I was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)/Carcinoid cancer, and told by an Army Lt. Col. and surgeon that I “…(had) six months to a year, two…if lucky.”

So, when I moved, I truly believed that I had less than a year to live. That being the case, why unpack?

Looking back, I understand the ideas or thoughts and how they manifested in the way that they did. But I also recognized that how I choose to look at my life and what I think, believe or do is MINE to choose, despite what others will tell me, think of me, or treat me.

Starting to Live Again

This summer, I have started to “let go” of the accumulation. I am unpacking and donating items that I no longer need to friends, family, and organizations.  I am beginning to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.  It has much less to do with the condition of my home, but the condition of me and my view of life and the people in it.

I call this my “Clutter Project.”  I am facing my inner turmoil around letting others see who I am on the inside, which is difficult. It is not easy to be vulnerable. It is not easy to be open, knowing that there will be some who will act in judgement, and then reject and abandon. It is downright painful, and then very tempting to pull back and shut down even more deeply.  It is not easy, and their is so much more to do, but I have started.

This is where the choice to keep moving forward is so important. Trusting when it is scary to do so.

I have allowed two trusted friends to see the chaos on the inside of me and in my home. Each has been invited to dine with me, including Thanksgiving Dinner. Two other friends have come over (separately.)

There was an online friend from Australia who stayed with me for a week this month.  We had only spoken by phone for an hour total (two calls) in the 18 years that we had “met” online.

Last week, I committed to hosting Christmas Day dinner here in my home. It will not be formal, but rather informal. There will be seven of us for certain, and maybe a total of three more.  I must admit that I am a bit anxious about it.

Since I have opened up about my struggles to one of my sisters, and to my best friend (BK), each has shown me so much love and support.  The relationship between my sister and I has strengthened in ways I never imagined, and it is much more authentic than
any other relationship that I have had with a family member.

If not for BK’s help in going through things here in my place these past five months, I would feel paralyzed. She has been here to help me as I push through the process in my own way. She and I (together) are learning our own lessons of telling our stories, and listening with more love. Of course, it requires us to be truthful with one another, but more importantly…truthful with the person in the mirror.

So, Christmas get-together at my place!

I will likely invite others over during the season between now and the New Year holiday. It is getting easier to allow people that I know care and who are not going to walk in judgement of me into my home…into my heart. I am also confident that if I felt there were others who would walk in and look down their noses, I would be gracious enough to offer a coffee, but cut the time short.

Keep telling your story

I know my story. I know the characters in the story, up to this point in my life. I understand how the story has been written, but I also know that there are twists and turns in every story, and that we never know how any story will end.

Is it not wonderful that we get to write more chapters and change the direction of the plot of our stories? We find other characters along the way. When the story is all-told, as we come to the end, it is a far different story than we expected.

I am grateful to all who have become part of my life. I thank each for taking time to read and “listen” to more of my story.  I appreciate all who have shared their stories with me.

And I look forward to continuing the journey.

(Note:  Edited from original post by the author, “There is always MORE to the story, if one is willing to listen to the storyteller” written and published on 13 December 2017 at

It’s the middle of February and Life seems to be moving at mach speed

Life seems to pass along so quickly any more.  There never seems to be enough time.  At least, that’s what I hear others say.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece called “Out of sight, out of mind” ( click on the link to read) and noted that we do not pay much attention to those around us. I have to wonder just how much can be attributed to the fast pace by which we make our choices.

I also wonder why we want to include others in our lives, yet do not seem to have the time to do so.

The question remains:  Do we REALLY want them or do we simply feel obligated to say so?

Life continues to move day-by-day.  One day, it will come to an end for each of us.  But time will continue to move on for those who remain.  Are we ready to deal with the consequences of having so little time for those we say we care about?

Time is ticking away at record speed. Quality time spent is so important, that we must make some decisions to forego the things that rob us of joy, and seek out those moments where we do not settle. Time will not wait for us.



Living with Intention or Wandering?


There seems to have been a grand movement toward the “living with intention” ideology. Of course, every generation believes that they are the first ones to think of it. Some use traditional philosophies or religious teachings to take the step toward living intentionally. Others reject the traditional, as it feels stifling and rigid with “should” or “don’t” around ever corner, guilt and shame being the motivator.

Some struggle for a lifetime, unable to see the joys of life through the challenges faced, often going to their graves feeling that their lives had no meaning or purpose, as defined by others’ definitions. Others accept their plights, taking on martyrdom as their sole purpose so others will not have to suffer the same unpleasantness and can live happily.

Then there seems to be those who have it all, exempt from the tragedies that have befallen others. They are born with societal standards of beauty, health, and success. If (when) they do find themselves in tough times, it is often hidden and rarely shared for fear of judgement by others or tarnishing the image they have worked so hard to maintain in their attempts to protect the status that they enjoy.

Each and everyone of us struggles. We humans are the ones who decide (and define) who are more deserving of those struggles.

Because we are bombarded by the definitions that others have piled upon us, it is often difficult to know what living intentionally means to us, as individuals. We are too busy trying to follow others’ acceptable versions of those intentions.

Some will choose a different path altogether, one that is seen as a wanderer or “dancing to the beat of a different drummer.” They are often rejected by family, friends, and society for being an  embarrassment. Years or decades later, they are still talked about behind their backs, and discussed as pitiful creatures who have not found their way.

The trouble with this is that the basis of these discussions is on very old perception, based on limited knowledge. It is often accompanied by an active refusal to seek new knowledge and understanding.

For the person who finds him- or herself as the wanderer, living without the intention that others think is acceptable, it is rather easy to fall into a habit of feeling unworthy or lost. It can be a challenge to find the meaning and purpose.  Perhaps, it is not in finding it; rather, in recognizing it when it shows up.

In the last few days, I have experienced some of those recognizable moments, which are evidence that I am, indeed, living with intention.  I will share more of this in my next post.

Until then, please remember J.R.R. Tolkein’s words describing Aragon…

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.



 Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), “Strider”, ISBN 0-395-08254-4

Photo credits:  Public domain photos via Pixabay

Copyright:  Author, Coral Levang, 2016. All rights reserved. May be used with permission and proper citation.




Funk(ing) the Dumb Stuff on an Anniversary


The longer we live, the more apt we are to have days that remind us of life’s events.

Anniversaries of things we would like to remember, or wish we could forget, will stick with us.  Some of us are better at remembering those dates than others.  Anniversary dates of birthdays, weddings, divorces, being hired or being fired, accidents, other days that simply have some sort of impact on us and our lives, both big and small, become a month, weekly, and (dare I say?) daily occurrences, especially as we approach our golden years.

Some of these days coincide with normal holiday seasons and, if the event has been particularly challenging or painful, we never look at the holiday or month or season quite the same. As we anticipate the anniversary of the event, the grey clouds of doom and gloom seem to hover over us, and we can dread the very act of waking up to face the days ahead.

We can get caught in a funk.

If this funk were the music of the band, Tower of Power (ToP), then it would be a lot more fun. But this is the kind of funk that sucks the very life out of you.

I have been approaching this funk for about six weeks now, as I foolishly continue to recall or ruminate on the dates, and remember situations and stories that take me back to April to July of 2012.

Today, I asked my sister, Sonja, if she knew what today was. She remembered, yet I proceeded to mention that this was the date four years ago that I was informed of stage 4 diagnosis with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)/carcinoid cancer. He said the prognosis was “six months to a year, two if lucky.”

I cannot even begin to articulate what it is like to hear those words. It changes the world, as you know it. There are a few days where you are in a complete state of shock, trying to wrap your head around the knowledge, most of the time in disbelief. Then you have to move forward somehow. I did not know how I was going to make that happen, and nearly made a decision where there would be no moving forward.

But I did move forward and have now come to this four-year mark after diagnosis.

But have I truly moved forward?

My sister may not realize it, but she kicked me in the ass today.  We all need it from time-to-time.  She held a verbal mirror in front of me, and I had to take a hard look at myself.

“Yes sis”…she knew what day it was.

“I don’t focus on that though.” 

And then she knocked me over.

“You showed me to let go and never look back, to keep moving forward because that is where our future resides…You taught me to never fear the moment…”

At that moment, all I could think of is, “I did?” 

Inside, I felt like a fraud.

Presenting the image of having it all together…

…and asking others to see beyond their own challenges is certainly much easier than going through the pain of moving forward.  Even if others do not know it, because I can talk a good game, I know it. And the couple of people whom I let in to see the pain, and fear, also know it.

Thankfully, they will call me on it, when I need it. They do it with love, but just as directly and compassionately as I do it with my clients and students…and with them.

Yes, today is an anniversary. It has been four years since I hear some bad news that changed my life. The events leading up to it were painful, scary, and confusing. The months following were challenging on many levels, including my choice to stand up to a doctor that I did not believe had my best interest at heart.

But, I must let go of the internal hold these dates have on me, because I am holding on to the fear, anger, and pain of those days, weeks and months from four years ago. It has been insidious; so much so that I did not realize it.

I am alive. I live with neuroendocrine tumors. I have had surgeries, and more CT scans, MRIs, monthly injections, and blood work than I can count.

BUT…I am ALIVE…and my future lies in moving forward.

In the words of my sister:  

“…it’s easier to preach what we know to be true…, but difficult to apply to our own lives…Logic and emotion collide and we…are paralyzed to apply it…We feel empowered (however) to help others…”

I do not know when I ever taught her any of the lessons she taught me today. But she does understand me, and we are very much alike.

Today, I move forward into my fifth year after diagnosis. The future. And I am eternally grateful for those who have stood by me, understood me, and loved me every step along the way.

As far as the “funk”…I think I will take a lesson from (ToP), and “funk the dumb stuff” from now on…

© Coral Levang 2016



Mirror, Mirror…

pretty-woman-635258_640I remember a wise person in my lifetime who said, “When you have an extreme reaction to or dislike for a person, where you find it necessary to let others know how much you despise him or her, it usually means that you see something in that person that reminds you of yourself.”

When I first heard those words in my early adult years, I vehemently denied that to be true. Truth be told, I had a few choice words about the one I now consider to be a sage, decades later.

I saw this person as “full of self,” and showed my righteous indignation with my relentless “How DARE (fill-in-the-blank)?” I continued to tell my story of how I was wronged to anyone who would listen. Of course, it was always from my perspective, as I pointed out each and every flaw of my nemesis.

It was my own ego that kept me telling this story–and others like it as I saw myself as a victim–over-and-over again.

As I continue to learn and have shared this similar lesson with others, I admit that I can now better appreciate the wisdom shared with me decades ago, and wish that I had been willing to get to know this person. I would have spared myself many other uncomfortable life’s lessons, if only I had been willing to seek to truly understand more.

There will always be times when we will hear words that seem harsh to us, especially when challenged to take an honest look at a situation. Of course, we all come to these moments from a perception that has been framed by our own individual experiences in life…just as others do.

But just as we look at others with the judgment we can so quickly dole out, we must be willing to look in the mirror and concern ourselves with what it is in the reflection that is so similar to what we say we dislike in another.

Once we can look in that mirror without the anger, and begin to own what we see and learn to be kinder to ourselves, we may find that there are more opportunities to learn and grow from others who are much like us.

When Thanksgiving Day Changes


We all have expectations of what the Thanksgiving holidays are meant to be.

Media has certainly played a big part in creating what the “perfect ” day is supposed to be.  So, when the situations in life are less than Hallmark-perfect, the feelings of loss or being “less than” can eat away at the very core of what we have come to believe is normal.

I have had many share with me over the years that they feel that “the joy of holidays has disappeared.” I am convinced that this is not uncommon. There are simply those who retreat for a few days, allowing others to believe that they are busy and happy.

Things change. Family dynamics change. People struggle to change with them, not knowing how to do things differently. They are thrown into a tailspin and nothing resembles what was or what is “supposed” to be.

I have had many years of Thanksgivings to learn to do things differently. Many of them have been fun, and filled with much love and peace. Yet, I still have not learned how to manage them well.

Life has changed drastically for family members and friends that they are learning to deal with their own expectations of what holidays and life truly mean. I suppose that I had talked myself into believing that some situations would go back to what they once were long ago. But that is my own version of what I was taught to believe today should bring.

Today, I will not host a Thanksgiving dinner. There are no definitive holiday plans or invitations to join any one else in a celebration of the holiday, or to help them in hosting such an event. Today will be like any other day.

There is not a moment where we are not surrounded with the commercial visions of sugarplums and Santa and Norman Rockwell-inspired visions of family gatherings.

Wait!  Sugarplums and Santa?  Aren’t we still talking about Thanksgiving? I am confused. Halloween to New Years becomes such a blur when Christmas decorations are being sold in October.

Anyone of us can fall into a pit melancholy, hurt and pain. We can feel slighted for not getting invitations. We may feel discarded by those who “should” (fill-in-the-blank).

I admit that I have fallen into that pit a time or two over the years.

Yet, I have learned that every day can be a day of thanksgiving, whether or not it is filled with turkey and stuffing, and pumpkin pie while watching football games with people you may see once a year.

But who is to say that you cannot stuff a turkey with bread, or bake a pumpkin pie in July, if you wanted?

Has Thanksgiving been reduced to simply a turkey, cranberries, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows?  Is this what it has become because we have all bought into unrealistic expectations that have been shoved down our throats by society, media, and (dare I say) dysfunctional family?

Each day we wake up, there is an opportunity to give thanks for whatever we have. Is that not what the words represent?  Thanks giving?

I do not know if I will eat turkey or pumpkin pie today. I might just have pancakes and eggs at my local Denny’s.

On Saturday I am meeting a group of people for a traditional dinner and game night, if I need my tryptophan-fix.

Yet, today I will reflect on many things for which I am thankful:

  • LIFE itself
  • People who have remained by my side to care for me since my 2012 diagnosis
  • Living in a place where I am safe
  • The few dear friends and family members who continue to make it a point to let me know they love me by picking up a telephone or sending me something in the mail to surprise me
  • Having enough
  • Opportunities presented to me when I trust in the process, others and myself
  • A new life born on Tuesday–my grand niece, Rosie, at 9 lbs. 6 oz.
  • Being enough

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For those of you who celebrate today, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with much joy and love and peace that you so deserve on this day and always.

And for those of you who are sitting at home alone, maybe you will join me for those pancakes at Denny’s.


For what things are you thankful for today?

Three months comes to an end

This past several months have been filled with a whirlwind of events, as it is for us all nowadays. I have come to the point in my life that I do not want to continually “multi-task,” nor do I wish to be ever-vigilant, making sure that everything is compartmentalized, living by the “never-let-them-see-you-sweat” rule. Even when life gets hectic, it is nice to be able to step back and take a breather.

I have done just that. Taken some time off.

Taking a break

I work part-time as a contract trainer, though doing the work I do with our clientele, 25 hours can feel like an 80-hour work week. I think it is due to the nature of the job, always being in front of an audience. Always being “on.” Maybe it is due to how I do my job and my personality.

This is not a complaint! It is one of the things I love most about the job. I give it 110% of my heart, soul, and energy when I am there.  Even after I leave work, I am not one who can easily leave the people–my workshop participants–and forget about them.

After my last day of training on July 20th, I looked forward to “some time off.” I asked not to be put on the August schedule. Six weeks to simply not worry about others. Of course, it takes time to get used to letting that go.

By mid-August, I realized that there were going to be some “heavy” situations involving family and friends. I wanted to be of support to them, giving them the 110% of my heart, soul and energy while I was needed.  I did not want to have to split that part of me between the two parts of my life.

So, I asked for September’s schedule off so I could commit my time to my family.  I was not on the schedule until the last two weeks in September, so coverage was able to be found.  I am also happy to say that the crises moments have passed, and others are beginning to move beyond them, as life continues on.

Time and change can be frightening

I was not on October’s schedule until the 20th, so it meant that I would be off from any work for a total three months.  That scared me a bit, as I have come to rely on the income from two to four workshops a month over the last six years. That part has not been easy, but I am grateful for what I have that has allowed me the breather.

I have also wondered whether or not, after three months, I could walk back in and train with the same fervor–at the 110% level–as I have for nearly seven years. I know the material. I easily adapt to the audience. But will I be a bit rusty?

New opportunities and loyalties

Several days ago, I was contacted by a friend who has her own consulting firm, wondering if I might be interested in a short-term contract as part of a training team. We have known one another for six years, having attended the same training week upon hire.

After hearing the details of the contract, it is one that sounds exciting and gives me an opportunity that is unlike any other I have had. As well, I was able to recommend and refer another great trainer for the same opportunity, and she has agreed to be part of the team on this project. I am excited to be working with this woman–my friend and sister.

Both of us have commitments to other employment situations, but when opportunity knocks, it is hard to not answer the door. We each have talked to our prospective employers/project team lead and asked for the time to work on this special project.  Each will accommodate the schedule, accordingly. It is nice to know that there are employers and managers who understand and are willing to work things out with people that they value.

What is in store

So, it looks like I will be traveling to Texas for the last two weeks of October with the possibility of an extension, if needed.  I am not on schedule with my other gig until November 17th, so it works out from the time perspective.

We never know what life has in store for us when we are willing to step back, and allow ourselves some time to breathe. It gives us opportunity to view the world, ourselves, and the situations in our lives from a different perspective, when we are accustomed to running on “automatic.”

I am grateful for the relationships I have made with people who are supportive of me, and see value in me that I do not always see in myself. I am also glad to have come to a point in my life where I fear less and trust more.  

It starts with trusting in oneself to make the right decisions…for oneself, at any given moment in time.  I am glad to have had three months to give me the chance to breathe and allow myself some clarity and more perspective.