I See You

I was in my local coffee shop and just finished my order. I noticed the line behind me had 2 people when a group of 3 went straight to the register and ordered without noticing that there had been people waiting behind me. They never looked, just ordered.

The lady who was bumped in line was so kind and just let them go ahead of her. I decided to walk up to her and let her know that I SAW HER and that she was not invisible. She explained that she just felt like it was a fight she didn’t want to start. The barista also spoke up and said that he saw her too. She appreciated that we noticed her.

It may seem like a small thing but I started thinking about people who do not feel seen. It got me wondering about how such a simple moment can change someone’s day. It woke me up to the fact that sometimes I am not paying attention either, especially when I’m in a hurry. Why has kindness taken a back seat in our society? Is everyone just in our way and an annoyance? Do we even care to realize that every person matters?

I started thinking of all the situations that trigger frustration:

  • On the road while driving — especially in traffic
  • Pedestrians who have the right of way
  • Any elementary school playground
  • The waiting room of a doctor’s office
  • The airport
  • Trying to reach customer service by telephone

It’s okay to:

  • Let someone into your lane, even if they decide at the last minute — we all do that once in a while
  • Look for pedestrians — show them you see them
  • Help kids learn to work out their conflicts right there on the playground — make sure they each listen to the other’s feelings — then send them back to play
  • Create better systems in waiting rooms — update everyone who is going to be taken in late — everyone’s schedule matters
  • When flights are delayed, update every 15 minutes and be honest as to what the problem is —
  • Customer service is the first line item when running a business — if that is not pleasant for customers, everything else will fail behind it.

I decided to change my routine and while taking my normal walk around our reservoir, I looked up at everyone I passed. Everyone smiled — people took the time to say hello.

Taking a Walk

I stopped on a street near my house last week and noticed that the neighborhood goats were set up getting rid of our dry brush. This sight attracted so many people — they all got out of their cars to see this extraordinary service take place and everyone was amazed, smiling and taking pictures. Kids don’t see this sight every day.

Thank You Goats!

It doesn’t take much of our time to value people. It just needs to be a part of our day. Who knows, it could become a habit —- I SEE YOU!

Why The Moon?

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

President John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas September 12, 1962
A Daughter’s Reflection

It’s funny the things that stay in my memory.

I was seven years old when politics started to become a part of my life. President John F. Kennedy inspired my parents and that positive energy kept me curious as to what a President was and what he did. People liked him and he made them laugh. He challenged the country to give back and serve. He had an adventurous spirit and loved the ocean. He was an Irish Catholic and my grandmother beamed at that fact. He had a daughter that was my age.

It also was the first time I realized that evil could take him away forever. No child was protected from the news that our President had been killed. Our country cried for days and the sadness left a mark on all that remember that time in November, 1963. I kept thinking about his children. There were no neighborhood kids playing outside. Every business was closed. We were frozen watching Walter Cronkite on CBS News hoping that he was wrong.

Disbelief and Shock

We got to the Moon and beyond. His words repeated over the years as one of his greatest speeches — we choose to do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard . . .

I learned to be sad but to keep moving forward. Our neighborhood organized a talent show in our garage and sent the money to the Kennedy Family to help build the Kennedy Library. We were so proud to collect our coins and send them in the mail. We received the card that gave us hope that he would be remembered forever

Sadness/Giving Back

This week has been full of news reports about the 50th Anniversary of getting to the Moon. How could he predict such an accomplishment? It was said today that the technology that led to that famous landing set the course for all of our technological advances as we know them today.

I’ve heard many times to dream a dream bigger than you can imagine for yourself. Accomplishments come from doing hard things. Pride comes from a humble and hard-fought win.

I kept going in my life even when things got hard. I’ve made mistakes but worked hard to get back on the right path. Sadness takes a piece of our heart but it builds resolve.

The other night I saw an amazing and bright moon outside my window. I never want to lose that image of it’s bright light inviting adventure.

Brave Enough

What I’ve come to notice is that if we are brave enough to allow parts of ourselves to die — old roles, old beliefs, and old identities that no longer serve us — then we can evolve more fully into our authentic selves. Sit with that.

Maria Shriver

Change is scary and hard. It is easier to stay in the comfort zone of every day life. Problem is there is a moment when the question becomes “what if I’d…….”

I got comfortable with the safe pattern of being a nurturer rather than a dreamer. I avoided risk and set myself up for zero growth as I aged. I wanted to make sure that no one was ever angry or disappointed in me. I was becoming a very uninteresting and sad person.

Funny thing, there always comes a day of reckoning with yourself. Here is when it happened for me:

  • I was in the walk-in refrigerator of our restaurant crying for the thousandth time;
  • I had lost my laugh;
  • Our life savings was in that business and I could not walk out;
  • What the heck did I want — no one knew.

I decided it was time to find someone to help me sort out what I was feeling. I found a counselor who did not let me feel sorry for myself. Instead we worked on a finding out what I wanted and setting goals week by week. I lost my tears and gained a plan.

We sold the restaurant a year later. I enrolled in college. I got busy and had to restructure my day so that my kids, my husband and my home did not take the hit for me finding myself. I made the decision that even if I only had the ability to take one class a semester, I would not stop till I completed my degree. It took me almost 15 years but I graduated and found my strength in the process. I did not quit when it got tough. Tests and term papers became my challenge. Although going to school was tough on my family, they never wavered in their support for me.

How does this story relate to When House is Home you ask? Through it all our home was a part of all the changes I went through. I always felt relief that I had this space to give me comfort when I opened the door. It was filled with chaos and love. It was set up to be a happy place. No matter where I was in my world, it never failed me. When a home recharges your spirit — you know it is meant to be yours.

I learned to trust my instincts that the paths I had taken all these years were exactly what I was meant to do. What role do you want to shed? If you could wake up tomorrow and be doing anything, what would it be? I am paying more attention to people who do great things with a simple idea — one of them is 4Ocean. They are two surfers who started cleaning up the ocean trash, one pound at a time.

When House Is Home

What I Learned This Week

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau

My struggle has always been to stay in the present. Writing is my tool to keep me humble. My outward demeanor does not always match what my brain is thinking. I want to laugh all the time but I am so serious most of my days ~~ is it possible to find those waves that Thoreau is talking about?

I subscribe to Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper ~~ she makes me laugh in her quest to be unique, she too is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants aside from expectations and she interviews interesting people with thought provoking problem solving ideas on her podcast “Meaningful Conversations” ~~ all the ingredients that keep me coming back each week. I like the way she approaches life and inspiration is a great way to move forward.

This week my husband and I made a major life decision:

When Downsizing is Not Downsizing

We have been looking at smaller homes in our area. We knew downsizing would be hard but would open up possibilities ~~ smaller yard, smaller inside, more free time. Turns out downsizing would have been more stressful to achieve than we hoped:

  • We would be making a lateral move financially and the security we have built up over our last 36 years would dissolve.
  • My husband’s creative vision for our yard would disappear with a sale and I reminded him, “when our family and friends step outside, they feel your love.”
  • Every room has meaning and that was our plan.
  • A larger home means more movement each day ~~ a good thing for our health.
  • Our neighborhood is familiar and comforting.
  • Watching a moving van pull away would take too much of the life we built together with it.

Home is a feeling ~~ not stuff. We must come up with a new idea for an adventure but we want to come home to the place we love.

And so, we are staying. We are relieved. We laugh more each day. We have to rely on our imaginations to come up with new ways to explore our need for change. We must stay healthy to keep up with our home maintenance schedule. Creative financial planning must become a date night topic.

We are still those two young marrieds with four kids who created a beloved home with meaning. We are not ready to let it go . . . . .

When House Is Home Family