Category Archives: motivation

Intellectual Joy from Focus on Legacy

I find intellectual pleasure when focusing on ideals and principles. Words and concepts publicly adopted are crucial historically when such much later form the cornerstones for policies. Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King. On other days, we focus on religious leaders, or politicians, or particular men or women honored throughout history.

What is meaningful to me is watching the history of an event or speech move from an ideal to a reality. Sometimes it takes a long time; other times the social change is quick.

My father, a minister, and my mother, a poet also left a powerful legacy for their children. Each of us care about others and entered into helping professions. Today, I also focus on their legacy for their children. I thank my parents for their legacy they passed down to me.

Public and private organizations routinely honor members for their contributions and legacies to their societies. One only has to read the background of each honoree to learn of their impressive, often selfless acts.

Today, I pause to focus on “Legacies” as without such, we would not have ideals and principles from which to develop concrete policies and programs. My joy comes from focus on legacy today. It is good to have values from which we become inspired and aspire to better acts and actions between our fellow men, women, families, neighbors, and communities.

#gratitudeultra

Gratitude For Prayer

Recently a stranger approached me at a bakery and asked if she might pray for me. I said “sure” and then she asked if she might put her hand on me while praying. Again I said “sure” as I listened to particular words in her prayer with her young daughter looking up at me. It was not a typical experience. Immediately after another stranger (on the other side of me while waiting in line for the order) told me about her personal story with health issues. I listened and wished her well. While these types of conversational exchanges are increasingly emerging throughout my everyday life, and I am deeply grateful for each and every human interaction, I wonder “why” persons are drawn to me to pray or engage within deeply meaningful exchanges.

I firmly believe that “healing” during any illness occurs as a result of medical science in part, but most importantly, occurs because of the power of prayer. I am learning that the “healing experience” is a collective one, shared mainly by those who have experienced the deepest valleys and highest mountaintops of fears and hopes. Prayer is at the center of most monumental human experience.

Personally, as I grow older I want to learn more about prayer. For example, do you know that there are many different types of prayer (from gotquestions.org)?

  • The prayer of faith
  • The prayer of agreement
  • The prayer of request or supplication
  • The prayer of thanksgiving
  • The prayer of worship
  • The prayer of intercession
  • The prayer of imprecation
  • Praying in the Spirit
  • An invocation prayer

There is great power in prayer and I am grateful for each and every prayer I hear, participate in, offer to God, and receive. I feel such gratitude each and every time someone or a group of individuals prays. How ’bout you?

#gratitudeultra

Grateful That Beauty Hunts The Beast

Recently I spent nearly two hours in an MRI Tube at the City of Hope. Fortunately, I listened to music while in the large, tube-shaped magnet and tried to imagine the persons who created such technology. As I listened to the various tones and noises within the tube, I thought about movies I had watched where 3-D images were built using water molecules and radio waves, creating aligned atoms to form cross-sectional MRI images. With each noise, I tried to think what bodily organ was built as I was rolled a little bit in, then a little bit out repeatedly. When the frequencies sounded low, I believed my bones were being examined and the density of the bone required lower frequencies. Of course, I really have no idea what was happening in terms of the actual technology, but it gave my mind something to do, so I would not become afraid.

Somewhere during the midpoint of my experience, the song “Beauty and the Beast” began to play. I paused and felt extremely happy. I felt such joy that I had the opportunity to be in that tube – the BEAUTY of science. In the old days, doctors had to perform exploratory surgery to learn of hidden tumors, bleeding, and various health problems. My gratitude overflowed to have Medicare pay for me to have the opportunity to have an MRI. Around about that same moment – I visualized the BEAST that was the cancer cell that was sneaking and lurking within my organs, and vessels. Again, my gratitude overflowed that Medicare was helping me find these beastly cells so that we may remove them from my body.

It was such an interesting moment in life. I am grateful that Beauty Hunted The Beast on that particular December day. Find Gratitude each day in all that you do!

#gratitudeultra

Grateful For Faithfulness

While I was receiving chemotherapy yesterday, I was listening to Carrie Underwood sing the old hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, and I was looking out the window at the beautiful mountains, and sky, and fields. I started to cry when I focused on the word “Faithfulness”. It is really such a wonderful concept, isn’t it? My mind wondered to all that is faithful in our lives:

  • I believe that God is Faithful to me/us not only during tough times, but good times as well. I recall my father, a Baptist minister of more than 60 years, so faithful to his church members, as well as so faithful to God, never wavering from his beliefs.
  • My oncology doctor is faithful to my care. He and his PA stopped by to check on me yesterday during my 10 hours of infusions. His kind gesture made me happy. He knows I want to stop for a while to rest, but he is ever faithful to helping me live, as possible.
  • People, who are in serious relationships or marriages, are faithful to each other. Faithfulness is the foundation on which those communions of love are based.
  • More generally, we believe that our bosses, our jobs, our various work projects will faithfully pay us every two weeks, or once a month, etc. We trust in that faithfulness.
  • Regarding nature, we trust that the sun will rise each morning, and the moon will appear each evening, faithfully.
  • Furthermore, we trust in the faithfulness of our city transportation services like buses, trains, planes, and ships. During the recent pandemic disturbances in supply chains were impacted when we could no longer trust in such systems.
  • Finally, we generally have trust in the faithfulness of our personal health, our bodies… until they break down…

Faithfulness is such a necessary concept on which we depend daily, without even thinking. Faithfulness is great, until it is gone. Faithfulness feels good, until it is broken. Faithfulness is a promise from God; is a given. It should never be taken for granted. Therefore, GREAT is thy Faithfulness is such an important construct for us to value and cherish and appreciate. What do you think?

#gratitudeultra

So Grateful For Beauty Above: Look Up More Often

The other day I was raking leaves and picking up after my dog. I realized I have a habit of looking down more often than looking up! As I was carefully carrying the leaves to dump, my eye caught the sky, and it was so beautiful. I paused and grabbed my camera.

I’ve been reflecting on what I might say within this post:

  • Looking up takes our minds closer to Heaven
  • Looking up reveals the multiple colors of the sky, changing throughout the time of day
  • Looking up probably helps with our neck and improves our posture
  • Looking up might minimize the number of accidental falls, trips, and stumbles
  • Looking up has recently been connected to cell phones, crossing streets, etc.

Bottom line: look up more often! I think you will enjoy the views.

#gratitudelite

Be Grateful for Vegetables – They are Fun!

Recently, @BetteMidler posted this picture on Twitter – a BrocCollie and Collieflower!

This photo made me smile. In fact, I tried to re-create it…

Look for fun activities in your life with those you love!

Eat more veggies. Improve your diets. Have fun with vegetables!

#gratitudezero

Appreciate the Spirit of Exploring Gratitude

A dear friend in Canada shared this posting with me during her Thanksgiving. What an exploration of gratitude! I invite you to take a moment to reflect upon the various dimensions of walking along the pathway of gratitude in your own life:

  • Some of you will reflect upon your present circumstances in the context of whatever has happened to you in the past. (This might become part of the #gratitudelite series.)
  • Will your reflections help you design a new pathway to your future? How so? Depending on your musings for your future, you may even wander into the #gratitudeultra series.
  • Others may focus on gratitude during your own Thanksgiving holiday. You may focus on preparation for the upcoming meal. A Thanksgiving meal may be an annual larger gathering of family, and/or friends which turns the availability of food into an extension of old favorites, long time family memories of meals gone by, and stories shared again with family, and/or even with strangers who may become old friends. (Focusing on favorite foods, and repeated stories might become part of the #gratitudezero series.)
  • Read the first line of the highlighted image above: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life”! Wow, what a densely packed statement. Consider what you think is enough gratefulness within your own life?
  • But, also reflect upon what you accept or deny in your own life as you define joy and happiness?
  • As you explore various options for gratitude where do you find “confusion”, versus which choices or options seem crystal “clear” or best within your own life or for you?
  • Finally, consider that the author invited you to even explore what causes you to feel “chaos” within your own mind in contrast to an impression of “order” in your life?

My friend sent this image to me with a beautiful line “Grateful for our friendship…”

Appreciate this spirit of gratitude as you enjoy your own Thanksgiving holiday.

#gratitudeultra

Focus on the Complexity of Water – Multiple Dimensions

Water has so many different purposes and applications. We are reminded of the power of water this week in Florida with hurricane IAN. Water is special as it is critical for:

  • sacred religious rituals like Baptisms, blessings, prayers, births and deaths
  • life as one cannot live very many days without water
  • production of power for utilities
  • cooling systems as in air conditioning
  • cleaning one’s body and clothing
  • sporting events like surfing, paddle boarding, skiing, kayaking, canoeing, boating
  • transportation as in cruising, transporting goods and services around the world

Water makes up the composition of most of the cells in our bodies. Blessed water is changed when one studies the angle at which our molecules connect.

Water is often so beautiful and scenic which is why people love to go to the beach and to live near the beach or lake front, riverside, or even on a pond in the country.

Water is not static but may be dynamic as in a water fall which ripples or roars as in Niagara Falls.

This week find gratitude in studying the complexity and multiple dimensions of water. Its beauty, but power is never ending. IAN reminds us that water should not be taken for granted as it may surge, rise, suck one under, drown, bury, and destroy.

Given the full scope, range, and power of water, give gratitude for water as it is a life form that is dynamic, necessary, and ever changing.

#gratitudeultra

Finding Gratitude in Belonging

I am currently engaging in significant rounds of multiple chemotherapies in order to save my life. This is a new experience for me. BUT, what is most impressive right now are the various people who are stepping up to help me! I am so grateful for their kindnesses. They are driving me to appointments, bringing food, offering to clean my home. We are engaging in meaningful and deep conversations together by phone, text, email, and/or in person. People are serving on standby for whatever I might need. WOW! This outpouring of good will from so many different people is touching my heart daily. Of course my family and dear friends are near and always helpful, but people I do not know very well are genuinely assisting me regularly. Since I am an introvert this is a new experience for me.

I feel such gratitude to all these people and want to let them know how much they are helping me!

This concept/feeling of Belonging is wonderful! We all belong to many different groups of people during our lifetimes: family, friends, neighbors, professional associations, churches, community groups, social media groups, friends of family’s friends, post readers, artist groups, groups of persons with disabilities, sports groups, and strangers we meet at various medical appointments etc.

My sincere gratitude and peace of mind these days is emerging through belonging to these groups!

Belonging is the best medicine!

Belonging is causing me to heal, feel great joy, and deep gratefulness.

I know I am not alone on this journey. I belong!

Thanks everyone for going with me to the unknown. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

#gratitudeultra

Finding Gratitude In A Cancer Diagnosis

After five years without my cancer returning, it is back! In four days I begin an intense round of multiple chemotherapies. Surgery is not an option for me this time. Chemo seems to be the only option now.Thus, I search for the courage for what I am about to face. I make last minute arrangements to prepare my mind, body, and spirit to begin to walk the new pathway to my future.

I feel fortunate to be a Ph.D. researcher as I use my skills to find, analyze, evaluate, argue, and describe the various courses of action available to me and my doctors. One of my areas of expertise is in cultural understanding of various groups, people, social classes, ethnic communities, and so forth to learn about and try to understand the value systems and choices people make throughout their lives. I can tell you that age, gender, cultural backgrounds, and various norms are readily observable within Western medicine in contrast to global medical choices. With a minor in statistical design, I am greatly dismayed when reading various medical peer reviewed journal articles, and when attempting to hold discussions with oncologists and other medical professionals. Answers to my simple questions regarding treatment outcomes are not readily available it seems. I do not have adequate time or resources to pursue inquiries into the various companies underwriting and sponsoring some treatment options, and clinical trials available to me.

On the other hand, I am also blessed to have been raised by an old fashioned Baptist minister, who taught me to have faith in God, to go to the scriptures for guidance, and to accept that everything in my life is according to God’s Master Plan. During this time I draw my gratitude from my heart versus my head, for which I feel extremely grateful and at peace. Daily, I read the various poems my mother wrote within ahouseinsideofme.com. Her ministry to the various families within my father’s churches offers guidance and gives me peace and understanding at this time.

Being the analytical person that I am, I have been thinking about patterns throughout life. For example, I do not think that anyone has a perfect life. Life seems to regularly present all of us with variances, for example, each day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset; every person experiences a birth and also their death; the tides in the ocean are governed by the gravitational dance between the Earth, Moon, and Sun to give us daily ebb and flow, and/or high tide or swells versus a shallow sandbar or reefs.

So it goes with cancer it seems. One discovers it and removes it through surgery, chemo, radiation, and various other treatments and joy follows with each test documenting no evidence of disease; yet apparently those little cancer cells typically like to reappear with a reoccurrence, and thus the cycle, i.e., remission and return which causes one to experience joy and sadness alternating throughout their life. We ring the bell at the end of a treatment interval and we reserve an infusion chair several months or years in the future. These variances are cyclic patterns of repetitions so often experienced by persons who are visited by the big “C” during their life.

For me, I have determined to find gratitude through my cancer diagnosis through my understanding of the above mentioned types of cycles experienced each and every day throughout one’s life. To be alive means total acceptance of variances during each and every day one is living. Just as the beauty of the colors of the sunrise always fade each day and the night blackens the sky; the joy of beating back and taming each cancer cell fills one’s heart with hope and expectation all the while, in the back of one’s mind lingers the anticipation of new cells revisiting to begin the cycle again.

My cells are visiting me again at this time. Soon I hope to initiate further action to invite them to leave me with hope. Thus, I find gratitude in my recent cancer return, similar in fashion to watching the waves in the ocean and each sunrise and sunset.

Be grateful!

#Gratitudeultra