Category Archives: people

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 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

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

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

Begin YOUR Climb to a Joyful Life on #MicheltorenaHeartStairs, With Gratitude

My dear friend introduced this hidden staircase in Los Angeles, in the Silverlake neighborhood, as I set new goals for my life. Standing at the bottom of the staircase, I noted there were 40 steps to the top. The number 40 is a special number for life, so my goal is to move up the staircase one step at a time as I reach new goals.How ’bout YOU? I encourage you to climb for joy as well.

Those of you following my postings know that I believe in serendipity. As we drove away from the #Micheltorena neighborhood, we talked about all the special relationships we discovered during our visit. For example:

  • Soon I will have a procedure to insert a #port near my HEART! How lovely to see the #hearts on the stairs as well as to climb up the #HEARTSTAIRS! So cool!
  • If one reflects upon this location from a SPIRITUAL perspective, you might focus on the number 40, and recall one story of Jesus who was alone for 40 days before he was crucified. Now I am focusing on 40 day events, whether scriptural, social, weather related etc. I have found that when alone, I reflect on life deeply and find peace. As I am about to begin chemo, deep reflection is my thing these days.
  • Importantly, because of the visit to the #HeartStairs, I am making a list of 40 objectives for health and life to build a bucket list. Starting on such today…
  • If one visits this neighborhood as a SOCIAL goal, you will learn that this spot is nearly the most posted photo on social media (#Instagram). Something HERE is very special and attractive, drawing people to this space. I wonder why?
  • As a dog lover, I enjoyed a cup of coffee at the #MuddyPawCoffeShop in Silverlake, a couple of shops down from the #HeartStairs. Their motto is, #Have A Cup, Save A Pup. The proceeds from all purchases at this coffeeshop help to rescue pups. See the photos below which capture the lovely outdoor dining area for owners and their dogs. How wonderful, at least I think so, to find a special spot for me and my pup!

So,… I invite you to check out this location online or in person. Join with me as we climb to our joyful lives in the future.

As always, BE GRATEFUL and LIVE YOUR LIFE to the FULLEST!

#MuddyPawCoffeeShop #HaveACupSaveAPup #SilverlakeCA #LosAngeles

#gratitudeultra

Grateful for Stained Glass Art

Here is a sketch of an image of stained glass with brilliant bright blues and yellows and images. I am looking for this image in religious stained glass art work sites, museums, old churches, and/or paintings. Has anyone seen this work? If so, please help me find it.

This week I am so blessed to have family, friends, neighbors and amazingly supportive people near me as our summer winds down and the fall approaches. Life is good. I hope you enjoy each day and give gratitude.

#gratitudeultra

Grateful To Find Comfort When In the Valley

It is hard to feel happy and grateful when you are afraid and stressed with life events. Last night I was in the “valley” in my life as my cancer has returned after more than five years being cancer free. Apparently, my tumors are like “sands” and they cannot perform surgery as they would have to “take up the entire beach”. I lost hope when learning that I would have to take chemo again. I hoped/believed that during the five years some new treatment might have been discovered, yet I was reminded that my ovarian/peritoneal cells were rare and my prognosis for life was short. What ever might I post today to lift our spirits?

Then, I remembered the verse from Psalms 23:4:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

KJV

What does this verse mean for us?

I am grateful to find comfort within this verse, and as I typically do, I searched for a deeper meaning to understand the new calm I felt when reflecting on these words:

  • David, in the earlier verses, had been describing green pastures, still waters, and pathways. I compared this to my five years of cancer-free joy and gratitude.
  • In verse 4, David switched to a description of a “shadow of death”. This seemed to capture how I was feeling with the diagnosis and treatment plan upon relapse.
  • But just as soon as I had a heart-felt low, David reminds one “not to fear” because God is with us.

Thus, through this post today I wish to emphasize the importance of “spiritual medicine”.

Just as I plan my chemical infusions, I realize I am also reminded regarding and recognizing the presence of ongoing Divine intervention. Divine intervention which never changes over the years.

God inspired sweet and deep passages to continually protect, love, instruct, and remind us.

Today, I find deep gratitude as the words in Psalms echo in my heart: no more shadows, no more fears, no more evil as God is with me, now, in this valley of decisions.

#gratitudeultra

Joy in Discovering Vermonica in Los Angeles

Did you know that LA had more than 400 different types of streetlights, having one of the most diverse streetlight ecosystems in the country? Yep. This was true.

However, with changes overtime came new lighting structures and the old unique lamps were taken away and replaced, and discarded.

BUT Sheila Klein, an artist, collected 25 of the vintage lamps and created Vermonica (at the insertion of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard). Vermonica has been called an “urban candelabra” capturing dozens of LA neighborhoods and 70 years of lighting history. The 25 older lamps still light each evening – a beautiful sight, thanks to the efforts of Klein.

Go check the lights out, or google it online at la.curbed.com. I was pleased to recently learn this history of LA lighting, including the Urban Light exhibit (202 lamps from 1910-1930) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Grateful For Independence

Today I am celebrating my independence from ordinary life as I continue my walk in a State of Gratitude. Approximately one and one-half years ago I started my pathway to Gratitude and it changed my life. I can tell you story after story about so many moments of pure wonder and delight in my life now that I am on this new pathway. I am not the only person who is practicing Gratitude these days. Check out Instagram posts such as #gratitudemakestheattitude, and many others to learn that practicing Gratitude provides:

  • portals to suddenly open in your life for a brief moment, then close up again
  • experiences of serendipity during a day when you least expect something awesome
  • insights into meaningful ordinary experiences that bring great joy and pleasure
  • sheer happiness when engaging with friends, family, and loved ones
  • deeper understandings of life events, and relationships
  • genuine satisfaction with everyday interactions with your neighbors, and strangers
  • opportunities for deeper study of spirituality, God, and various religious practices

My blogs will continue to fall into three broad categories: #gratitudezero (pets, foods, places, simple things), #gratitudelite (experiences with people, everyday events, momentary insights), and #gratitudeultra (often resulting from a spiritual or academic inquiry into the deeper origins of gratitude).

But today I hope to remind everyone that Gratitude will bring you a new found independence within your own life. Why?

Because when you are grateful you are more positive, more hopeful, more joyful, and more thankful for what you have in your life.

Practicing Gratitude replaces the negativity, the fear, the worry, the sadness, the anxiety, and even pathways leading to depression in your life.

I invite you to try it yourself! Be grateful! Be positive! Become more independent through your new outlook on life!

Try it and let me know how your own attitude begins to change…

Happy Independence Day to You through Gratitude!

#gratitudeultra