Sunday, January 27, 2013

Death Becomes Us...Eventually

Death.  It’s all around us.  It’s part of our world.  It’s the natural order of things; whether in living organisms or the non living. You see it within nature while walking on a hiking trail.  Once strong and vibrant trees now lay dying on the forest's floor.  A spider snatches his prey from the stickiness of the elaborate web he wove.  A hawk swoops down and clutches his talons into a field mice’s small body.

Not only have you seen it from afar with others, you experienced it up close and personal as well.  It may have been while sitting with a loved one during his last night on this earth.  You held his hand and prayed for serenity for him and the family.  Softly whispering in his ear, you reassured him that everyone in the family would be fine and that it’s ok for him to ‘go home’. 

In technology, death comes much more easily.  There’s always the new and improved gadget of some sort of another.  As a child, I recall the eight tracks and vinyl record players being used in the home.  Now one usually will encounter the use of MP3 players, I-pods, and Satellite radio for one’s listening pleasure. That’s just to name a few sources for the advancements in society’s technology.  Some items become obsolete and the birth of something new and improved takes its place. 

Awww, now birth comes into play.  When there is death, there is also life.  Birth.  New beginnings.  It is a beautiful thing.  One hears it in the cooing sounds of a newborn baby or even sees it by the playfulness of a frisky kitten. 

I’m amazed by the cycle of life.  How fragile and unpredictable it is.  Nothing is certain and nothing is promised to us but this…death.  We know it will come eventually but when to be exact is not revealed to most of us.

So with that being said, 1) don’t wait to tell a loved one how much you care.  Yet, most importantly, show them. Actions definitely speak louder than words.   2) Don’t hold that petty grudge because one day it really will be irrelevant on who did what to whom and why.  Forgive and let go.  It’s holding you back and in essence it’s killing your spirit; therefore, one day closer to death.  3)  Be grateful for everything and everyone in your life.  Regardless of what has happened to you.  I believe there are no coincidences and that everything happens for a reason.  We learn and grow from the good and bad; whether they come from situations or people.  4)  Now go out and live.  Truly live.  Live your dreams and your goals.  Reach for them every day until you conquer them or until you are gone from this world.  Be your authentic self and live your life with abundance, peace, and grace.

Hugs, my friends.  I love you all. J

Monday, January 14, 2013


The only constant is change. ~Heraclitus, 535-475 BC

Ain’t that the truth. My world shifted just before Halloween, and continues in a state of flux even now. My dad’s been really sick, and as I type this, I’m sitting in his hospital room, where he’s been since October. I have an entirely new routine. I’ve lost weight (not by choice, at first, but I used it to jump start the conscious weight loss plan). I see my kids through Skype video chats more often than I see them in person, which sucks. My phone has gone from an only-when-I’m-out accessory to a constantly-on-my-person-day-and-night appendage. And when dad’s stint at the hospital is over, I’ll have to get back into my old routine again. But I’m not sure I will be able to. Or that I want to.

Several of my new habits and behaviors have to get integrated into that old routine. For one, my exercising. I’ve started Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred (and yes, I curse her repeatedly, EVERY DAY, but it works, damn her). When that’s done, I’ll switch to her Ripped in 30 program. After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll start training for a 5k, like I wanted to do before Christmas.

I’ll also have to make more time to cook healthy foods. I’ve been sticking to a vegetarian diet most of the time, mainly to increase the amount of vegetables I’m eating. I have meat maybe once a week, but I’ve grown to prefer a vegetarian meal. I can eat a lot more without the additional calories, and I’m a lot less hungry in between meals. I’d never have tried it if I hadn’t won a copy of EAT TO LIVE, by Joel Fuhrman, from a contest on Elise Rome’s blog. Never thought I’d like it…but I do. A lot.

The most important integration will be to add more music to my day. Some of you are looking at that statement and wondering how on earth music could be more important than exercise or eating vegetables. Well, because those things keep my body healthy, but music is for my mind. And to me, that’s way more essential. Music inspires me. Drives me. Rescues me from myself. I have playlists for every mood I’ve experienced in the last three months. I have Pandora stations for my moods, too, but I use those more when I want to experience new songs I may not have on my iPod already. (If you’ve never used Pandora, I highly recommend it). Thanks to my long hours in the hospital, I’ve gotten used to listening to music when reading, walking around, eating lunch, and as soon as I get back to my dad’s house for the night, my iPod is plugged into the speakers there—I never realized how damned quiet my childhood home was. I run to David Guetta, Flo Rida, and Pitbull. I fall asleep with Frank Sinatra. I wake up to Neon Trees’ EverybodyTalks.

Maybe it’s because if I’m dancing/singing/feeling the music, I don’t have time to think about all the other stuff. As coping techniques go, it’s not too bad. What I do know is that without music, I’d be lost. So it’s definitely going to be a part of my new routine when I’m finally home for good.

And now that I’ve completely derailed from my original idea, I’ll stop there. *grin*

Since it’s the new year, many of us have made resolutions for change. What are/have you changed in your life?


Oh, and the song for which this blog post gets its title:

Monday, January 7, 2013

We All Want the Fairy Tale, Right?

I'm not bragging or anything, but I currently have a teenage daughter.  (You can stop laughing in ridicule any time now.)  Many days, I remind myself that despite her head-swiveling moodiness and her know-it-all attitude (when did my IQ drop suddenly?), she's still my baby and I love her.  Of course, what's not to love?  She's athletic, smart, good-hearted, spiritual, and she makes me proud--most of the time.

And, turns out, she still needs me.  Never more am I reminded that she does still need me (and secretly still loves me) than when she, totally out-of-the-blue, throws a hug around my shoulders and isn't satisfied until I've squeezed her back.  She'll usually ask me to hang out with her and watch a little TV or go shopping.  These moments are rarer now that she's older, but they still happen.

Another pastime she enjoys is watching reality shows.  So much in reality television is cringe-inducing, but one of her favorite, favorite, favorite shows is on TLC.  She loves to watch, Say Yes To the Dress.  It's a show about brides picking out their wedding dresses.  Yeah, one of those.

Now, let me say here, I never was the girl who dreamed of her wedding day, someday.  For various reasons, not the least of which is that I'm a realist (some would argue pessimist), when it comes to love, I never imagined my wedding day or my potential groom.  As it turns out, this is completely atypical as young girls go.  Yet, I've been married to my husband for sixteen years, so I obviously believe in romance and love, just not the fairy tale version.

And one evening, when my daughter and I were watching a particular episode of the show, she revealed something I never would have guessed.  This down-to-earth, future-focused young lady believed in the fairy tale.  She'd already started designing her dress in her head, knew colors and flowers, and so many other details about her "big some-day."

Who knew?  Even in today's world where my daughter knows she wants a career, she also wants the fairy tale.  She still wants a dream-come-true kind of life.  Don't we all really though?  Maybe not the Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White kind of fairy tale, but a more modern version.

I mean, even if I never fantasized about my perfect prince swooping in to rescue me from...whatever (because I knew there was no such thing as perfect, and I was in charge of my own happiness), I still had expectations for my spouse, my career, my family, my life.  It was a fairy tale of my own making though.  And just as the genre suggests, at times there's been magic and at times there's been obstacles to overcome, but the reality is--I want my little girl (who's not so little anymore) to want good things in her life.  I want her to dream big.  Just with a more modern fairy tale in mind where she's the hero of her own story.

What do you think?  Do we still want the fair tale?

Happy Reading and Writing,

Cherie Marks