Earth Angels Among Us

There are “rules” of kindness that were instilled in all of us at an early age, while for some,  love for fellow man, compassion, empathy and care are who they are at the soul level.  I first became aware of the difference years ago while traveling.  A man traveling with his wife, seemed to be having difficulty and neither of them seemed to know what was happening.  Young and unsure myself, I just made sure I walked near them in case assistance was needed.  I started up a conversation with them so as to not be too obvious, but so that I could take his other arm, not held by his wife  giving him more support.  When we arrived at an area where he could sit, I returned to my group and was asked annoyingly, ” You just can’t help yourself, can you?” I pondered that for years.

Although it was seen by my companion as a negative thing (something I didn’t understand at the time), I believe compassion and selflessness is available to everyone.  Some accept it in their heart while others accept “The rules” that seem to say, offering to help is as good as giving.  Others go back and forth from “The rules” to true compassion seamlessly. I think I fall in the latter.

While enduring the effects of chemotherapy, I became aware of several of these Earth Angels who began by searching for a way to assist a friend or family member with a cancer experience.  They created through trial and error, a product to ease a specific discomfort.  Some of hese people then began to create more and made them available to others.  Some found funding and donate the products, and others sell them at cost. My own Earth Angel knits me soft, luxurious hats and always sends them with the words, “If  it doesn’t fit or isn’t to your liking, pass it on.” Another of my Angels made herself available to drive me to some of my treatments.  Many offered, saying “Call me if you need me”, but my earth angel called each week and asked what she could do that particular week.  I also discovered that “Call me if you need me”, something I too have offered in the past, is not the offering of the gift I thought it was.  Putting the needy person in a position to call friends until one was available is more inconvenient than I ever realized. Experience. I also realized that with the length of many  treatments, one card, gift, visit etc., are not sufficient to assist in raising spirits.  I have an Earth Angel that sends out inspiriational cards weekly to many people. Now I realize what a wonderful gift that is.  Consistent texts or messages provide a connection that is valuable.

I don’t think Earth Angels see themselves as such. They are being themselves, living from their heart, but they tremendously impact those around them.  In gratitude to Earth Angels who have assisted you during a difficult time, please take just a minute or 2 to explain what someone did for you or a loved one that was a true gift of the heart that made a difference.  A generalization of the kindness may be included in a future blog, “Gratefully Acknowledging Gifts From the Heart”. Their creativity may inspire many others.

You can leave your messages here or email them to me at cbethhoffman@outlook.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Take the Easy Route

How many times a day do you think you make a choice?  Depending on your outlook you may think it is a lot, or none at all, being assured that others make the decisions for you.  We all make choices from an extra  10 minutes of sleep, to grabbing an umbrella, or washing the coffee cup.  The thing is when we think we are taking a short cut, or taking the easy way we often are creating a more time consuming or difficult situation later in the day or somewhere down the road of life.  Not washing your utensils and placing them in the sink throughout the day saved seconds that created a bigger mess at the end of the day.  But washing the cup when finished seems at the time to be wasted time.  Grabbing the umbrella might be something you “don’t have time for” and yet makes life easier when the downpour the weather prediction called for barrels down on  you.

Why does the easier ways seem more difficult at the time we make the choice?   Perhaps we see the future as having no limits on our time.  We won’t be rushed, or pressured in any way. Perhaps there is a rainbow at the end of our thoughts that isn’t there at the time. Perhaps we are just too involved in the moment and not at all thinking of our future.

Most of us have experiences in which we afterwards think to ourselves, “I wish I had done it differently.”  Hopefully they are small situations, but sometimes the consequences take years to develop.

For me it has been nutrition.  I am not overly educated nor ignorant, knowing enough to live a healthy lifestyle, but I didn’t.  I had some interesting stories I told myself as well.  One of the greatest limiting beliefs was that if all this food being offered and advertised was so unhealthy, “they” wouldn’t be allowed to advertise it as they do.  There has been another story in my mind concerning deserving a treat.  How different things would be if that story told me I deserved optimum health.

So now after all the years of assuming that it is ok to be acidic, to drink, eat sugar, not exercise regularly BECAUSE I am really not sick, I am now diseased. My body as  a petri  dish tells the  story.  And simply put, all disease grows in an acid environment.

I take this very seriously now.  I am not looking for sympathy but for others to see that eating processed food daily, sugar daily, ignoring vegetables or only eating the ones high in sugar (yes vegetables have sugar!), and convincing themselves that it is OK because they feel fine, is not taking the easy route.  It is being short sighted because decisions made today can have effects in the future.  Caring for yourself is so much easier than caring for a diseased, injured or weak body later, when you are tired and run down or the “cure” wears your body down to nothing.

Some things that are the easy route to a happy healthy life:

Drink water to keep  hydrated.  Other things like juice, soda, and alcohol  should be limited. Think of them as an occasional treat.

Brush and floss your teeth.  It is not time consuming!

God didn’t invent bras.  Use bras in public and let the girls hang free in private, allowing the lymph system  to do its job.

Move Frequently! Don’t sit for too long for the same reason.

Pack a lunch you make yourself that doesn’t come prewrapped. Think fresh.  No, it doesn’t take forever! Avoid fast food.

Get a water bottle that isn’t plastic or aluminum and take fresh water with you everywhere.

Laugh!

Limit sugar anything to a couple times a week.

Listen to music.

Be mindful, meditate or pray.  Get out of ego state whenever possible.

Be around people you love and who love you.  There is nothing more important. Hug!

Be grateful for everything and feel that gratitude .

Smile! Smile!  Smile!

Sending you blessings for health and happiness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Gratitude Effortlessly

Life is busy.  Even when time is afforded for myself, there are still many things floating through my head, and at the end of the day, I think to myself,  “Did you give gratitude today?”   I have realized that gratitude does not have to be spoken or even thought, but it does have to be felt.  Gratitude takes place in the heart more than the brain.

Think about it. A child accomplishes something and comes running to you to share with pride.  You don’t think, “I am grateful that he was successful and wanted to share it with me.”  You do feel and share his happiness with a big smile and maybe even a hug, and a few kind words of encouragement.   Are these not expressions of gratitude?

Another scenario may be arriving home after a long day of work, and busy traffic on your commute. Before getting out of the car, you sit a moment and take a deep breath, slowly letting it out.  You may not give gratitude for completing the day, arriving safely, or having a moment of peace and calm, but in that slow breath, are you not conveying that message?

Spoken gratitude is a gift to others as well as yourself in that it keeps you mentally grateful.  But it is far more than words; gratitude is a feeling you express from your heart.  It is found in a smile, a sigh, recognition of something beautiful in nature.  Acknowledgment of God’s creations is a form of gratitude, as is respect for the purity of waterways, and the sky and other gifts of the universe .  Compassion for living beings shows gratitude for their creation.

Living a life of kindness, responsibility, love and integrity is showing gratitude for all you have.  Verbalizing is a wonderful thing but living a life of gratitude and appreciation from the heart is expressing your true self, and at that time gratitude becomes effortless.

Thanks for participating!

Beth

Beginning the Year in Gratitude

Life is primarily choices, not that you can choose things that happen to you, but how you react to them.  Life bring, disease, accidents,  and other hardships, but whether you suffer through it or not, is a choice.  There was a time I would have disagreed with it, telling myself that I just didn’t understand.   Gratefully I understood better by the time the end of my mother’s life came to be.  I could have been frustrated, angry, impatient, but was not.  I understood this was her path, not mine and was able to help her through it without taking anything personally.  She was surrounded by my Loving Self until the end. For that I am grateful.

Each day offers the same thing-  a choice of how we will look at the things that come our way.  gratitudes

Be grateful.  For every negative thought that comes into your head, find something to be grateful for. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  I am blessed to live overlooking a beautiful lake.  I begin my days looking out and being grateful for my surroundings and my life.

Follow gratitudes with affirmations of how your life is or will be.   Some affirmations I have borrowed and use are:

1. Today is going to be a great day.
2. I am grateful!
3. I will do good today.
4.  Everything is happening perfectly.
5.  I act from a place of love and courage.
6.  I am enough.
7.  I hold my well being sacred.
8. I am positive.
9. I am love and I love.
10. I am accepting and forgiving.
Affirmations each morning provide a direction for the day.  Rather than getting up and taking off on the fly, simple positive statements like these can guide your thinking from the beginning. Your thoughts control your beliefs so being aware of how you think is very important.limiting belief3
If you are new to positive and grateful thinking, it takes practice, and you can exaggerate at first to expand thinking positively.  You may think your affirmations are not truthful or you really don’t have that much for which to be grateful, but as you continue, your thinking will come around.  Now wouldn’t you like a new year with more smiles, joy, appreciation, gratefulness, and love?  It can happen.  Your thinking creates your demeanor and your demeanor impacts what you manifest.
Smile at strangers, hug your loved ones, value your well being and care for yourself.  Respect others.  Leave judgment and criticism in 2015.  Show your Loving Self in 2016.
 treat people like treesWishing you a blessed new year!
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10 Ways to Help Children Face Negative Emotions and Find Happiness

Worry, doubt, fear, sadness and poor self esteem don’t belong in children. Adults either. But we expect children to be happy and playful and full of joy. How do they take on so much negativity at such a young age? Although it is assumed that traumatic experiences are the cause, more often than not, it is something much smaller that can cause a personality to wither with no one the wiser.

During a study of key life influences, I remembered one such account when I was five or six. The den in my family home had a bay window and I had been told not to climb on it. However it was very tempting. It was my very own dance stage! I don’t remember anything in my way. Perhaps I didn’t see it as an obstacle, but the Victorian lamp that probably had been passed down through the family, hit the floor. My distraught mother cried and cried. Why couldn’t I listen? What was the matter with me? How often scenes like this happen in family life. Frustrated parents lose it and yell, something they wish they could take back. But the child gets over it and life goes on. All is well. But is it? My little self perceived an unbelievable fact that day. Lamps and other things are much more important than me. It was my first encounter with not being worthy. I began practicing playing small. My mother always thought that I had a hard time adjusting to school and that was why I became more quiet and subdued. She would have been devastated to know that her reaction to a broken lamp had that kind of impact.   I discovered this about myself in my sixties and have pondered the unknown affects I may have inadvertently caused for my children and grandchildren. But the reality is that what took place took place in my brain.

The brain chooses how it will react to situations, and that reaction becomes an emotion. Each human being has a multitude of interactions and experiences some of which trigger negative emotions while others do not. Protecting children from experiences is not possible, nor healthy. If they don’t learn to deal with small things, they will have no skills for dealing with larger ones. Research has shown that over protective parenting leaves children vulnerable when they grow and leave home. They are used to their parents as their life shield. They feel exposed and worried. Rather than hovering, or feeling guilty for our own emotions, adults can teach kids how to handle situations that have triggered negative emotions of fear, self -loathing, sadness, feeling unworthy or unloved. People expect children to “get over it” when many adults do not have that capacity either. They hold grudges, blame, show anger, or are willing to let go of relationships rather than deal with the emotions, or “get over it” themselves.   happiness

So how do we help kids deal with negative emotions in their life and be happy?

  1. Appreciate having them in your life and teach them to love and value themselves.
  2. Acknowledge their feelings and give them an opportunity to talk often.
  3. Value their concerns and commend their efforts to deal with them.
  4. Assure them they are surrounded by God’s love and His protective angels; they are never alone.
  5. Teach them to communicate with God. Listening to the answers in their heart is just as important as talking.
  6.  Be grateful and practice daily gratitude with them.
  7. Guide with questions rather than tell them how to handle their emotions.
  8. Show them forgiveness and an ability to take responsibility for your own actions so they can model you. Children need to forgive themselves.
  9. Prove that joy can be found most anywhere (without medications, alcohol or drugs).
  10. Help them to choose happiness for what they have in the present.

All experiences in life offer choices. Kids need to learn that so they avoid feeling powerless. Imagine if you or I learned this as children!

Celebrations From Within the Heart

I love Father’s Day and Mother’s Day celebrations because it is a time we get together for a few hours over a nice meal and enjoy each other’s company.   Tradition in this country is for gifts and cards, too. (Well, come to think of it isn’t that our tradition for everything??) In many families I believe it is a time to remind children of all ages that it is someone’s special day and to be nice. Kids hear, “Don’t fight.” “Be nice.” “Say Happy Mother’s Day”, “Happy Birthday”, or whatever is celebrated. Some even get dressed up in their finest. There are many special celebrations!

I sit here wondering how these celebrations are different in families that practice living from their heart every day. I would love to see discussion on this page! My grandson is naturally a from- the- heart- kid. He enters the door and seeks both of us out for a hug and “I love you” before heading off to do something. He never leaves without a repeat. In between, he has his “Why can’t I…” “I want…”, “Why do I have to…????” , like many other kids, but he is respectful and caring every day. Celebrations are not necessary when every day is from the heart. The interesting thing is, those that live from their heart, look forward to celebrating others! They don’t resent it, it is a joy!

Each child has their own unique personality and reacts to living with the same upbringing in different ways. Some truly hold onto living from their heart more easily than others. Others become entrenched in serving themselves. This is one area where modeling doesn’t always work. (But don’t stop exhibiting through your words and actions how they should be!) Not all children learn to be loving from being treated lovingly. We cannot expect children to want to treat others the way they are treated because the truth is many receive the message that they are worthy to be treated that way. Reciprocation is not considered when it is they who are the deserving ones. Conundrum sometimes, isn’t it?

imagesDU8B6AI2Giving gratitude each day is a wonderful way for children to begin to learn to live from their heart. It can start with one thing, one general thing, one superficial thing, one selfish thing. And it doesn’t even matter if it is sincere in the beginning. Gratitude is a way of living that takes time for many, especially if they believe they are entitled. It is a small thing to do in your family. It can be done with each child, one at a time each day. Every day. Consistently. Why do I say one child at a time? Firstly what a special discussion time for you and your child every day! Secondly, kids are competitive. By talking with them alone, each has the opportunity to speak without feeling theirs wasn’t as good as a sibling. Janet Eltaktouk wrote an article in the Sun Sentinel entitled Five Ways to Create an Attitude of Gratitude in Children that continues this discussion. Every little bit of gratitude is a good thing!

After a few weeks, discuss gratitude about certain activities, abilities or people. What are you grateful for that happened in school today? What are you grateful to Grandpop for? Later, you can add things like, Do you think your teacher knows you are grateful for him or something he did? How could you let your sister know you appreciate her? Children who begin to recognize all the things in their lives they have to be grateful for, and give gratitude for them will increase living from their heart. The day will come when most days are days of celebration!

gratitude

Kids Need to Learn to Be. Be What? At Peace With Themselves.

Gram looked up from her cup of tea. “There are many things to do! But you don’t have to always do something. You can just be.”

Gabby looked at her grandmother “Be what?” she asked.

“You don’t have to be something. Just be you! Bring your Loving Self as close as you can. Forget about all the outside things your ‘all about me’ self is involved with, and wants to do.” imagesQMP5XHRX

Gram took another sip of tea, “At first you might need to lie down, or close your eyes, or be in a quiet space. Then just be.

Kids need to learn to be at peace with themselves, to think by themselves, to love themselves. We all need to let go, breathe deeply and be one with quiet. As I sit here in the moment, I feel a breeze on my face, the rustle of leaves, a distant boat and many birds. I am grateful for all of it, but I had to learn to be.  In an article in the Huffington Post, this is also called mindfulness training.

In a world of TV, video games, email, Instagram and phones that do it all, sitting alone has changed. More and people are not participating in the events they go to, much less spend quiet time with their thoughts. It is an easy change, but takes some effort.

So why should kids (and you) learn to be at peace with yourself? My first thought is to find out who you are. Sure you know what you think you think but is that really you? Do you sound like your mother? Grandmother? Best friend? Discovering that many of “my” beliefs weren’t mine at all, was a huge surprise.  Here I am defending what I believe to be true and I never considered whether I really believe that. Think that is ludicrous? Try it! Analyze your strong beliefs. What do you defend to the nth degree? Any chance someone else’s points might be valid? You will never know if you don’t take time to think about it in the quiet and from your heart. Many of your beliefs were set while you were a young child. Many of those beliefs you have already passed on to your children and they aren’t even yours!

Prayer and meditation are valuable in connecting with God, your creator. Connection beyond one’s self helps children as well as adults stay centered and grounded and with that comes power- not over someone or something else, but from within, a feeling that all things are possible. One of the first affirmations I learned was from Tony Robbins, “All I need is within me now.” That is powerful!meditating 8yr old

During peace and quiet times, gratitude can flourish if children are taught to make it a part of their daily thoughts. It is a frame of mind that once learned reduces negativity, fear, judgment and criticism. Positivity becomes the primary thought process. With gratitude comes joy. With joy, their ‘all about me’ self, your ego diminishes bringing you and them closer to peace.

Children can also be taught to set intentions, like a to-do list for a way of being.   Rather than, ‘I will make my bed’, it might be, ‘I will be kind and helpful to my sister.’ Just being alone in quiet is a perfect time for this! They can call it their ‘to be” list!

Quiet time, just being time allows children to learn to appreciate themselves as well. Quiet alone time can be used for ‘What I love about me’. Gram told the children in the story “Just Being” that by loving themselves as God loves them, they are showing appreciation for the gifts He gave them. She also recommended that they thank Him for things they don’t quite believe are true yet because the more they think it and say it, the sooner they will believe in themselves.

Contentment comes with just being which leaves boredom out of their vocabulary. Now that is truly a gift!

 

Yes, You Should Read My Loving Self and Me!

The energy was wonderful at Wonderstone Gallery in Dunmore, Pennsylvania for the launch of My Loving Self and Me on April 18, 2015!   A grandmother and customer of the Gallery came by to tell me how important she believes the book to be. She had bought it earlier for her 12 year old grandson and they read it together- actually he reads to her. She shared that she too believes strongly that reading together with older children is valuable (see link in first blog entry) She continued to say that there just aren’t enough of this kind of book. Another woman was walking by and felt compelled to come in. After hearing a reading, she took a book to read to her church school class. It was delightful conversing with all those who stopped in!

The book contains 15 short stories that introduce children and adults beginning their spiritual journey, to their loving self or true spiritual self of God and ego, that part of the human which seeks personal wants and needs without a clear sense of the perspective and perception of others. The title story My Loving Self and Me introduces these concepts, simplified for young readers, and the rest of the stories add everyday situations that children like themselves face. The characters, Gabby and her brother Ike and their extended family deal with the issues which develop in life- fears, feeling badly about themselves, prejudice, bullying, responsibility, respect for nature, respect for themselves, giving and receiving and making choices.    The character children learn to see themselves as loving beings who make choices by going to their heart, and trusting in God for messages, peace and strength. They treasure their angels.  10858515_841382615903051_7792340483147793706_n

They learn to be still and listen, meditate and pray, and communicate with others. My intention is for your child to feel a connection with the characters and learn from Gabby and Ike’s experiences. For extra practice, each story is followed by a section called ‘It Takes Practice’ where they choose what their loving self would do. The answers to the questions are written to be easy, to build confidence in their choices, with follow up support that extends their understanding. Each story is also followed by a related poem. I have been told that while discussing the ‘It Takes Practice’ section, children have brought up situations from their school experience, something parents do not always hear. They also created their own questions for “What would your loving self do”? Wonderfully what I had intended!

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Someone far away can be a support by phone.

Not all children will have someone to read with them, nor will they have the support system of the book’s characters. In the summary they are guided to find an adult with whom they feel safe and are assured has their best interests at heart.   Everyone needs someone with whom they can share and get feedback. Although children will benefit from adult communication while they read, it certainly can be read independently.

The scenarios in the stories are based on elementary and middle school school experiences, but any parent can gain from reading them. Even if children are too young for the stories, parents can begin incorporating the concepts and the vocabulary into their child’s life. By the time they can read it, they will be pros at living from their heart!open your heart