Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another benefit of looking for the good

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my dog's nipple seemed kind of hard. Then I noticed the hair around it seemed to be raised up some. So I started keeping an eye on it and I found that there is a mass growing there and it's growing fairly quickly too. It's now about the size of a lima bean. Today I took him to the vet and had the mass aspirated. At first the vet found fatty fluid and was pleased, thinking it was just a cyst. But under the fatty fluid it was hard. She aspirated the hard part and, under the microscope, it showed "bizarre" cells. She said she doesn't feel very good about it and I have a gut feeling it's not good too. She's sending the samples off to be biopsied. It will be next week before I know anything.

All the way home from the vet's office, I cried and petted him until he finally got annoyed with me and jumped in the back seat. By the time I got home, I was sooooo depressed and drained from crying. I ate some lunch and then crawled into bed and went to sleep. When I woke up, I sat down at my computer and checked my email. I had a comment from Steven, one of my followers. You can read his comment in the comment's section on my post about looking for the good in what you already have. When I read his comment about how I was helping him, I realized that, with his comment today, he was helping me! I was very depressed about the news about my dog, and some other things too but I won't tell about them. But reading Steven's comments got me back on track to trying to find the good in every situation. Thank you very much Steven! Your timing is impeccable! :)

I guess that's how it works, huh? Maybe looking for the good is contagious. Maybe if we all tried to look for the good and tell other people about the good we find, then they will look for the good too. What if that expanded out over the whole globe? I think maybe we'd have peace on earth like we sing about at Christmas. Hmmm

Anyway, back to my dog. I never dreamed I could love a dog like I do Bossy. (His name is Boss but I call him Bossy.) He has stuck with me through some really serious hard times and he has made me get up when I just wanted to wallow in self pity. At times when I just wanted to give up, Bossy wouldn't let me. I love him like my child and I dread the day he leaves. But that's kind of part of the deal when you adopt a pet. Especially when they're already adults when you get them. Bossy is 10 yrs old and I've had him since he was three. Seems like a really short seven years since I got him. And yet I can hardly remember what life was like without him. Oh yeah, I got to eat my cheeseburgers by myself and didn't have to share them. LOL!

No, I'm not going to find anything good about my dog having a tumor and possibly being at the end of his life. What I will do is borrow from the past and think about all the good that has come from having Bossy in my life. I think that focusing on those things while I deal with the tumors and such will make the pain of possibly losing him less intense. I guess you could say that looking for the good is kind of like an emotional pain killer.

PS I just checked out Steven's blog and what a great artist he is! Check it out!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking for good in what you already have

Ever since I lost my home in 2006, I've felt uprooted and "homeless" in the sense that the roof over my head doesn't belong to me. I rented for years before I bought my house and every place I lived always felt like home. But there was something about owning a place that changed how I felt about "home". In the three and a half years since I moved out of the house, I've lived in a pop up camper, a hotel room, an old tenant house that was going to be torn down, a farmhouse, and this apartment I'm in now. I moved here in July and it has never really felt homey. Just a place to hang my hat. Kinda depressing actually. I've never taken any interest in decorating it or doing anything to make it feel cozy. Until today.

In my quest to focus on the good because what we focus on gets bigger for us, I decided that I would do some Christmas decorating. Last year I bought a 9 ft artificial tree at the Goodwill Store for $29 and it looked beautiful in that old farmhouse with the 10 ft ceilings. But this apartment is tiny and has regular 8 ft ceilings so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to use it. I knew I could leave off the bottom section and that would take care of the height. But I remembered it was a fat tree too. Would there be room?

Three days ago, I lugged the big tree box into the apartment and pulled out the sections. Once I figured out which was the bottom section, I put that part back in the box and took the box back out to the utility room. Then I spent the next TWO freakin' HOURS assembling the tree and fanning out all those branches. By that time I was tired, grumpy, and tired of messing with it. I slid the tree into the spot I wanted it and there it sat, completely naked, for three days. I had also brought in the boxes and bags of ornaments and lights. They covered the chair, ottoman and sofa. My house looked like a disaster area and every time I looked at it I wanted to cry.

Today I got myself busy and put the lights on the tree and the ornaments. Then I put on the top and I found a can of snow left over from last year so I sprayed the tree a little. Then I took all the boxes back out to the utility room. After vacuuming the tree needles off the carpet and putting the poinsettia design table cloth on the table, I was finally done.

Still, I felt nothing. I always enjoy the lights of a Christmas tree but I still didn't have that warm fuzzy feeling I was hoping for. But tonight I wanted to cook a few things. I hate to cook so I cook ahead several different dishes and freeze them in individual serving sizes. That gets me off the hook with cooking for a while AND it keeps me from overeating.

By the time I started cooking it was dark outside so I closed the blinds and turned off the main light in the living room that makes it like daylight in there. Now I have only the lamps on and the light from the Christmas tree. My apartment is a studio one-bedroom so the kitchen is on one wall of the living room. I was cooking spaghetti and was stirring the sauce when I turned around and saw the tree. Some of the lights twinkle. I put all the lights on it that were on it last year when it was 9 ft instead of 6. and the tree just glowed! And, for the first time since I moved here in July, this place felt cozy and homey.

I decided to look at what is good about this apartment and there really is a lot. Especially now that it feels cozy and warm. One thing I like about it is that it's VERY private. The way it's situated, there are NO neighbors within eyesight. I'm a very private person and enjoy sitting outside on my deck in the summer without getting univited guests. (I know, I'm a hermit. LOL!) It is also a convenient location. Everything I need, and a few things I don't need (ie fast food places) are within a mile or two. There's also a lake nearby where I can go for walks. Oh and the rent is cheap! And I've got a great landlord that takes good care of the place.

Since I moved here, I've been dying to get out. I wanted/want to get back to the country. But I think I'm figuring out that if you look for the good in what you already have, then more of that good will come. And when I looked for things I liked about this aparment, I found things. I also found things I didn't like when THAT was what I was looking for.

I still hope to move back to the country when my lease runs out, IF I find a suitable place. But meanwhile, I'm going to focus on the good aspects of living here. If nothing else, it will make the next six months a whole lot easier to live. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

To find the good you gotta pay attention

Yesterday I had some grocery shopping to do and some other errands to run. I set out with the intention of continuing my "experiment" of looking for something good in every person I came in contact with. But the day moved so fast it was almost a total blur. I got so involved in the task of finding what I was looking for at the grocery store that I kind of went into my own little world and forgot to look for good. Well, not completely. I do remember a teeny little blond haired girl in a lab coat, apparently the pharmacist, asking me if I needed help with anything. I thought at the time that was a good thing and I appreciated her doing that. And I almost ran into the girl who worked in the floral section but she laughed and said "That's OK hon!" That was pretty good. :) And there's a cashier at one of the stores that I always enjoy because he's very quick witted and funny. I told him I always wonder what he's up to because he's always grinning. :) In case you haven't noticed, I like to laugh. My life got really really serious for a while and I hope I never go back there. Life's too short.

I did have a couple of long phone conversations with a new friend yesterday and I saw a lot of good in him. But I was paying attention then. When I was talking to him, I was 100% there. When I was in the grocery stores I wasn't. I've heard the saying "Wherever you are, be there." I think there's a lot of truth to that. I think I've probably missed out on a lot of good stuff in life because I wasn't paying attention. I wasn't really there. I was living at such a fast pace that there wasn't time to notice the true beauty of the world around me and the good in the people around me.

Oh, I did notice some good things about yesterday. Between buying products that were on sale and using my coupons, I saved about $40 on my groceries! And I bought some homemade cheese from a local farmer and it is sooooooo good!

Today is another opportunity for me to slow my butt down and pay attention and look for good stuff in the people and experiences I have today. I'll report in later.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Looking for good in people

I have to admit that I'm not a "people person". That doesn't mean I'm a recluse or anything. It just means I don't enjoy working with the public and I'm not a very social person. I prefer quality over quantity and I allow very few people into my life as far as getting close. That's just the way I've always been. But even people like me have to be around other people every day and it's important to be able to interact successfully with people. I've always been challenged in that department. In the past, I've found dealing with people to be quite exhausting and frustrating. But I think that is because of the mindset I've had about it. Like most people, I've had a number of "bad" experiences with people and I guess I've tended to focus on them and magnify them in my mind. Remember, what we focus our attention on is what gets bigger in our lives. So I've decided to, again, shift my focus when it comes to people. Yes, I've had bad experiences, met rude obnoxious people, been hurt, been ripped off, been taken advantage of. BUT, I've also had some really good experiences with people as you've seen if you've read my other posts. So starting yesterday, I've decided to try an experiment. I decided that I'm going to practice looking for something good in every person I come in contact with. So far today, I haven't been around anybody. So I'll tell you about yesterday.

The first person I saw yesterday was my neighbor. He was out with his dog when I was out with mine. What I saw good about him is that he's always the same person whenever I see him. Not moody or anything. I always know he'll be friendly. And he likes my dog so that makes him a good guy! :)

The second person I saw was my customer's husband. Well, I guess he's my customer too but I rarely see him and it's usually the wife that I deal with. He was outside putting up Christmas lights when I pulled up to their house. What I saw good about him was that he's got a really sweet, mild personality even though he's a Major in the Marine Corps. I always think of Marines as being gruff and tough. And he seems to be a really good father too. And very respectful to me.

The third person I had minor contact with was a lady at the grocery store. She and another lady were standing near the register and I asked if they were in line. She laughed and said "No we haven't figured this out yet!" And I saw that they had found some kind of Santa thing they were trying to figure out and they were chuckling about it. That made me chuckle too. Their laughter was contagious. That was good!

Next was the cashier. She had a big smile and was very friendly, which is NOT the norm where I live. There were some samples of Christmas candy on the counter and I asked her what they were and she laughed and said they were soooo good and she keeps eating them herself even though she's not supposed to. I said maybe I shouldn't even try them and we laughed together. She had a charming accent and a good sense of humor. I enjoyed the brief contact with her.

I had another house to clean in the afternoon and the customer is not a very pleasant person to be around. He's really gruff, unfriendly and sometimes downright rude. I wasn't looking forward to seeing him and wondered what I could find good about him. But I found something good! He wasn't there!!!! LOL! I"ll work on finding more good about him and report back later! :D

After I left his house, I came straight home because the weather was getting crappy. So no more people for the day. I think my experiment went well. Hopefully, if I continue, it will become a habit to look for good in people. It sure would make life more pleasant, I know that! I invite you to join me in the experiment and contribute your comments here on my blog or email me privately at

Monday, November 30, 2009

Multiplying the good

Haven't been feeling very philosophical lately. But I HAVE noticed that I've been having a lot more fun lately and I laugh out loud more. And I smile more. I wonder if it has to do with my efforts to look for the good in every day. Maybe there really is something to the old "attitude of gratitude" thing. Thanksgiving day was a good example. I was by myself all day long and some people felt really sorry for me. But it was a truly awesome day. The weather was gorgeous and I took a three mile walk. There was a little bit of a breeze blowing and the sun was warm on my face. I almost felt like I was at the beach. I love walking on the beach. In fact, one thing that makes me feel good is to close my eyes and think about how it feels to walk on the beach. I'm learning that I can still draw joy from past experiences by just reliving them in my mind. I've also learned that the opposite is true. Unfortunately, I've had more experience reliving painful experiences than joyful ones. I'm working on that. But it seems to me that when we replay experiences in our minds, it's just like having the experience all over again. It's like it multiplies the feelings we had when it first happened. So I think I'm going to try to relive some happy, joyful experiences so I can feel those great feelings again. And try NOT to relive the bad stuff. So if it's true that we attract to ourselves more of what we think about the most, then if I'm thinking about really happy times I've had, then I should have MORE happy times, right???? Hmmmm. I think I'll put this idea to the test.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Still more angels!!!

Writing this blog has helped me to be more aware of how "lucky" I've really been in my life. As I have looked back, I can see that there has always been "somebody somewhere" looking out for me. Here's another angel story.

I've mentioned in previous writings about losing my home in 2006 and eventually renting an old farmhouse out in the country. But I haven't mentioned that there was a seven month period in between the two. During that time, I was as close to homeless as you can be without literally sleeping in the woods. Brace yourself for some more twists and turns on this winding road life seems to be. Follow closely now!

When I saw that I was not going to be able to save my home, I started thinking (not necessarily clearly or logically, but thinking) about what I wanted to do. I had already lost my mother, my boyfriend, my car, and my mind. And now I was losing my home too. So the way I saw it, I had nothing left to lose. I didn't particularly like the housecleaning business at the time and didn't mind losing that too. I had always wanted to just get out there on the road and just go and explore and see what else was out there. I decided that this was my cue to go!

So I started looking around for a camper to travel with. I had managed to buy another vehicle and it had a trailer hitch. But I knew I could only pull a very small camper, that meant it had to be a pop up! And I didn't have very much money either. So it had to be lightweight and cheap! Well, one day I saw one on ebay for $1500 and I placed a bid on it. After placing my bid, I laid down to take a nap. When I woke back up, I checked email and had one from ebay. Having already been outbid on several campers, I assumed this was another outbid notice. But, much to my surprise, it was a YOU WON notice! I sat there in disbelief that I had actually purchased this camper!!! AND that I had to drive across three states to pick it up!!!! I paid for the camper via paypal, emailed with the seller and got directions to his home and that weekend I headed out for my journey to pick up my new little home on wheels.

When I got to Indiana to pick it up, the guy opened it up to show it to me and, even though it was about 20 years old, it looked brand new it had never been used. Then he told me the story about how he got it. It turned out that he worked for the city landfill and one day he was filling in at a dump site for another employee when this man came in pulling this camper. The man got out and said he and his wife had been fighting over the camper for months and he just wanted to get rid of it so she'd leave him alone about it. So my seller asked if he could have it, and the guy said sure, he didn't care. So the seller in Indiana posted it on Ebay, and a soon-to-be homeless person in North Carolina bought it. That would be me.

OK. Fast forward a few weeks. There is a website called where people give things away or if there's something you need, you can post it and someone may have it to give. One day, a woman named Leslie posted that she needed some plastic nursery pots. I happened to have a gazillion of them because I had been learning to propagate plants. But I knew I was losing my home and wouldn't need them so I gave them to Leslie. After that, we kinda sorta stayed in touch. We exchanged occasional emails to catch up and we went to a couple movies together. But we didn't get what I'd call close. Now put Leslie on the back burner for a minute.

After I bought the camper and some supplies and kept the lights on in the house while I was still there, I realized I no longer had enough money to go out on the road. (Like I said, I wasn't thinking very clearly or logically. Just running scared.) So I decided I'd keep my housecleaning business going for a while and park the camper at a campground and live there until I had enough money to go. Unfortunately, because of the depression, I wasn't able to work enough to make any extra money. Only enough to survive. So for about four months, I lived in the camper which I had to move from one campground to another every couple weeks because that's only how long they'd let you stay. It was kind of tough but kind of neat at the same time. I liked being in those campgrounds out in the country. It's what made be realize I'd like to live in the country.

Now back to Leslie. One day we were chatting on the phone and I told her I just didn't know what to do. I felt really stuck because every dime I made went to pay for campground rental, gas and food. I wasn't making any progress. Much to my surprise, she suddenly blurted out "Why don't you park your camper in our yard and live in it so you won't have to pay campground rent?" I was shocked! Remember, we really weren't that close and didn't really know each other that well. I had given her some flower pots, that's all. And here she was offering to let a stranger live in her yard? I said "Are you sure?" and she said she'd clear it with her husband and call me back. He approved and for the next three months, I lived in her yard in my little pop up. And that's how I was able to save up some money.

Not done yet. Keep following me. Enter Hank! Way back in the summer, when I first lost my house and first started living in the camper, I did a cleaning job for Hank. He owns rental properties and had called me to clean an empty house for him. I hadn't thought any more about him. Well, it was the end of November and it was getting too cold for me to live in the camper. The last night I stayed in it, it got down to 54 degrees INSIDE the camper with the heat on. I promptly checked into a Motel 6 the next day. (They're pet friendly. I had my dog living in that camper with me. I wasn't about to get rid of him.) Well, a couple days after I checked into the hotel, Hank called me. He left me a message reminding me who he was and said that he was wondering if I was still living in the camper. He said it was getting too cold to live in a camper and if I needed a place to stay, he had an old house I could rent on a week to week basis. The house was going to be torn down but I could stay in it till it was time for the demolition. I was VERY grateful and I ended up staying in that old house through June when I moved into the farmhouse. It's still incredible to me that he remembered me after all those months and cared. Again, someone cared about another human being who was struggling.

Just like my story about when my ABS went out on my car, there's no way I could have orchestrated all these events. The guy who was fighting with his wife about the camper, the landfill employee who didn't show up for work that day, the ebay seller who filled in for him and got the camper, Leslie, Hank. All of them are on my angel list. And when I'm feeling kind of like nobody cares, I have to look back over my life at those people who helped me when I needed it most. And interestingly, they were ALL strangers or at least people I didn't know well. Wait, I forgot somebody. The nagging wife who made her husband give a way the camper! Who knows what might have happened to me without her? LOL!

All good things come to those who believe. Believe in the good. Look for the good. Comments or questions welcome.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another "Angel" Story

OK. First of all let me say that when I talk about angels, I don't really mean celestial beings that float down from out of a cloud somewhere. I'm really thinking of the people who come from out of nowhere, people you may not even know, to offer assistance in our time of need. I believe that "spirit" is in everyone and everything. And while I don't believe in a God that is a man somewhere out there that is orchestrating our lives like a puppet show, I do believe there is a "power" or "spirit" that is working for the good of all mankind even in little things.

Tonight I want to share a story about an "angel" who came to my rescue last summer. It's one of those stories that has so many unexpected twists that you couldn't possibly orchestrate it yourself. You know there has to be "someone" out there making it all happen.

I drive a 1991 Jeep Cherokee, a car which I am totally in love with. I used to get a new car every three years back in my material girl days. But, fortunately, as I've written about before, I had a breakdown and am no longer able to work my ass off like I used to. Or maybe I should say that I have better sense than to work my ass off like I used to. Anyway, when my 2003 Ford Explorer was repoed, I ended up with this old Jeep. I found it on and it was love at first sight. It's the kind with the fake wood panelling on the sides and it looks like a little Wagoneer. (I guess that's TMI, huh? ) Last summer the ABS went out on my beloved Jeep. For those who don't know, ABS is the Anti-lock Braking System. Not something you want to be without. I drove the car to my mechanic and he said it was a job that HAD to be done by a dealership. So off I went to the dealership. I left the car there and got a rental car. The next day the guy from the dealership called me and said "How much do you like this car?" I said "Well, I really loved it up till just now." And he proceeded to tell me that the repair job would cost $2,000 which is more than the car is even worth. I told him I'd get back to him.

OK. Follow closely now because here's where a twist comes in. I have a weight issue and have lost 75 pounds on Nutrisystem. In the past, before Nutrisystem, I would have gone straight to McDonalds after getting news that my car was gonna cost $2,000 to fix. I was living hand to mouth and didn't know how in the world I'd come up with that money. BUT I didn't drown my sorrows with food!!!! I took the news very calmly and stayed on my program. I've lived long enough to know that things like this always work themselves out somehow if we'll just let them. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've always had what I needed when I needed it but I often didn't know where the hell it was gonna come from. So I didn't panic and I didn't go on a food binge. I am somewhat active on the Nutrisystem discussion boards and that night I posted a thread where I patted myself on the back for not going off program when I got the bad news. I just stated briefly that I had found out it was going to cost $2,000 to fix my car, that the ABS had gone out on it, and that I didn't know what I was going to do.

Enter Mark. Mark is another member who participates on the discussion forums. I had never had any direct contact with him at all and had no idea what he did for a living. He replied to my thread telling me to send him my VIN number from my car and he'd check on it for me. He thought he remembered there being a recall on the ABS for my Jeep. Of course, I figured he was full of shit but I emailed him that my car was 17 years old and I was sure any recall would be long out of date. He emailed back and told me what he did for a living and that sometimes recalls had lifetime warranties on them. It turns out that he, to keep the explanation short, is a big wig over a large number of car dealerships. So I emailed him my VIN number and he looked it up and, sure enough, the ABS for my 17-yr-old car WAS a recall item and it DID have a lifetime warranty on it. The job only ended up costing me $500 plus the cost of the rental car! I would never have known anything about the recall if Mark hadn't helped me. And Mark wouldn't have known I needed help if I hadn't behaved myself foodwise and then posted a brag post about it. AND Mark had no real reason to help me out either. There was no benefit in it for him at all. Well, at least he hasn't asked for any favors yet! LOL!

To add another little twist to the story, even the $500 I had to spend was a challenge. But my landlord let me use my rent money to pay for it and then they divided that month's rent over the next few months and let me pay them back.

There is no way in the world I could have orchestrated a scenario like that if I had tried to figure out what to do about my predicament. I probably would have just tried to get a credit card to pay for it. That's about as creative my little pea brain can get. Instead, a man who was a total stranger who lived several states away looked something up for me and gave me some information that saved me $1,500. And the people who expected my rent did without their rent money that month so I could pay the part I did have to pay.

You will always always always have what you need when you need it. That's a good thing. Look for the good! :)

PS For the record, I have since gotten to know Mark a little via the discussion boards and, he's a good guy but he can also be a real shithead sometimes. So, apparently, "good" doesn't have to come through perfect people. :D

Please click "comment" below and share your "good" story.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Look For Good In Others

Today I've been thinking about how life is a perceptual experience. What I mean by that is that we all see things differently and experience things differently. Any given situation is like a diamond that has many different facets. And whichever way you turn the diamond, or the situation, you see a different facet of it. I think it's because of the snowflake thing I mentioned in a previous post. I believe people are like snowflakes, no two alike. So it makes sense that we would all perceive things differently. There's always two sides to every story.

Here's a couple of examples that I've experienced in my own life. I remember one hot summer day I decided to treat myself to some ice cream before going on to my next job. I went to a place that served the particular kind of ice cream I like. It is "hard serve" ice cream. Back when I was a kid, (now I sound old) there was only one kind of ice cream. And it was hard. Then they came out with "soft serve", which I always felt was nothing more than a thick milkshake. :) Anyway, I particularly like this ice cream because I like to "chew" it. As I sat there in my car in the drive thru window, I saw the girl making what appeared to be a milkshake. I assumed she was making it for someone else. But then she handed it to me and, with a big proud smile on her face, she said "I couldn't get the lid to fit so I whirled your ice cream in the milkshake machine for a minute." Being the bitch that I typically tended to be back then, I first got really annoyed at her stupidy. But I wasn't in the mood for a conflict so I took the ice cream and drove off. While I ate my whirled up ice cream, I thought about the girl. From her perspective, she felt like she was doing a really good job serving me by making sure that lid fit on the cup. From my perspective, I wanted "chewy" ice cream and she made it NOT chewy by whirling it. She was trying to do a good job at her job. She was doing what she believed to be giving me good service. You can't fault her for that. So I had to see good in her where at first I didn't.

Another example was a time when I called in a take out order at an Italian restaurant. I was on my way home from work and just wanted to pop in, pick up my food and go home. But when I got to the restaurant, I was told to have a seat and my order would be up soon. About 20 minutes passed and finally a very matronly, motherly looking Italian woman came out with, again, a big proud smile, and the bag with my food in it. "I waited till you got here", she said, "because I wanted your food to be NICE AND HOT for you!" Again, perspective. Having the food be nice and hot was her priority. Having it be fast was mine. But, like the ice cream girl, she honestly believed she was doing a good job for me. The intention was good. Focus on the good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ya Never Know Where Good Will Come From!

These may not qualify as angels but I'd still like to share the stories. I've been very, very fortunate in my life in that I've always had everything I needed. Sometimes I didn't have it till right when I needed it and sometimes I didn't know until the midnight hour where it was going to come from. But it always came. From somewhere, somehow. And, most of the time, where it came from was a place I couldn't possibly have imagined. So now if I need something, I just know that it will come from wherever it is now.

In 1999, I bought a house from some elderly people. I had an inspection done and all seemed well. But the weekend I was moving in, I kept smelling gas coming from the furnace closet. I had the gas company come check it out and it turned out there was a cracked heat exchanger in the furnace. It was leaking carbon monoxide into the house. Or is it carbon dioxide? Anyway, the gas company condemned the furnace and cut off the gas supply. A quick call to my realtor revealed that the fine print in the inspection report stated that the inspection did not include a mechanical inspection of the furnace and suggested the buyer (that would be me) get a separate inspection done for that. So I had no recourse. And no furnace. This was in July so I didn't need heat anyway yet.

I got some prices from several heating and air companies for replacing the furnace. It was going to cost several thousand dollars! I had spent my last dime buying the house. (Lesson learned: NEVER do that!) So that winter, the only heat I had in the house was space heaters. They did pretty good at heating the house but I worried about fire hazards. And they weren't particularly energy efficient either.

The following spring, I got a phone call from one of the heating and air guys I had gotten a price from seven months earlier. His name was Lion (short for Lionel. Cool, huh?) I had forgotten all about him. But, apparently, he didn't forget about me. He was calling to tell me that he had a furnace for me. I told him I still didn't have any money but he explained further. A friend of his was putting a new system in his house and the old furnace he was pulling out was exactly like the one I had (except it didn't have a cracked heat exchanger). The furnace was only about 7 years old and still under warranty. He said he would GIVE me the furnace and let me just pay for the duct work and the labor for putting it in. Still, I had almost no money to pay for anything. So he asked me if I would clean his office in exchange for the labor and I could pay him just $200 for the ducts they'd have to install. THAT I could do!

For six months, I cleaned Lion's office to pay him back for the labor. And that's how I finally got a furnace for my house. Lion would always blush whenever I would tell anybody the story when he was around. Or sometimes he'd leave the room saying he had something to do or that he needed a cigarette. But I still loved telling the story because it said a lot about what kind of person he was. In a world of "every man for himself", Lion thought about someone he knew of that needed help. For him to remember me at all was incredible. And he could have probably sold that furnace and gotten some money out of it. But money wasn't his top priority. He cared. About someone he didn't even know. I wish there were more Lions around. And I want to be more like him too.

I WAS going to tell a couple of stories tonight but I think I'll save the others for another night. Don't want to be a blog hog. :D

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sometimes Angels Stink!

Have you ever seen an angel? I bet you have and didn't even realize it. In fact, I bet you've BEEN an angel for somebody at some time in your life. And you might not have even realized THAT either. I don't think angels are celestial beings with wings that show up mysteriously. I think we are all angels for each other. I've known lots of angels in my life. I'd like to share one of my angel stories.

The first angel I am aware of showed up really late one night. I had gone to a nightclub with a friend and we got blitzed. She picked up some guy and left with him and there I was with no way home. (That was back in the good old days when you could pick up a guy in a bar and spend a little time with him and not have to worry about dieing from it.) Anyway, after the club closed, I proceeded to walk home, or should I say stagger home, at about 2 am. As I walked down the street alone in the dark, this guy pulled up and offered me a ride and told me how much he liked, well, you know. I got scared and started running. Thinking back, I probably ran half a mile. But, when you're drunk and you suddenly get a rush of oxygen to your brain, what happens???? You pass out! I think that was the first time I ever made a bargain with God. I promised God that if He would get me home safe, I'd never drink again. After picking up my bent up glasses off the pavement, I stood up and proceeded to walk towards home again. Then another car stopped. It was a beat up old car and driving it was a huge man who smelled horrible and his car was totally trashed. For some reason though, I got in with him. He told me he had just gotten off work and thought I looked like I needed help. I remember noticing a very worn Bible sitting in his dash board. I don't remember talking any more but he got me safely home and I never saw him again. This guy definitely wasn't a sterotypical pretty blonde girl with a long flowing dress and white wings. But I know he was an angel. I never thought an angel could stink that bad!

I have lots of other angel stories but I'll save them for later posts. (A great way to get you to come back to my blog, huh???) I just feel like there will always be help there for us when we need it. And we never know where it's gonna come from or in what form. I guess it's up to us to keep our eyes open. Angels are everywhere. Good is everywhere.

I'd love to hear other people's angel stories. If there's anyone out there reading my blog that has had an "angel experience" please leave a comment or email me the story at

Friday, November 6, 2009

It Might Have To Do With Thoughts

When I was in my late teens, I took a job with Combined Insurance Company selling (or should I say NOT selling) cancer insurance. It was a door-to-door, cold call selling job. I starved. But the company did have some very valuable training. I didn't know how valuable it was then, but I do now. They taught things like positive thinking and such. Then I signed up for the Dale Carnegie Course and read books like "Think and Grow Rich", "The Power of Positive Thinking" and "The Greatest Secret". Still I couldn't seem to figure out how to make my life work. So I turned to religion. I read a book called the Bible and it said things like "believe and you shall receive" and "as a man thinks, so is he". I still didn't get it. Then I got interested in metaphysics and learned principles like "what we think about most of the time is what expands in our lives" and that we are creating our lives with our thoughts. Now that I'm 51 years old, I think I've figured something out. Don't know why nobody told me. I think......that if we focus our thoughts on the good things in life, then we'll string together a whole bunch of little good things and end up with one big good thing called a great, happy life! Whew! Glad I finally got that one down!

By the way, did you hear about the turkey recall???? Somebody forgot to butter the balls! :D

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There's Nothing Permanent

Today has been the first day since I started this blog that I've had a hard time finding the good. Or maybe I should say I had a hard time making myself LOOK for the good. The good in life is not hidden from us like Easter Eggs. It's all around us all the time. We just gotta pay attention. Today, I guess, I didn't really feel like paying attention. My sinuses are burning, scratchy throat, watery eyes, tired, etc. Probably allergies or a cold. And I'm feeling really depressed and feel like crying. Probably PMS. I bailed out of work early today and came home and crawled in bed and slept several hours. I must have needed it because I felt better once I woke back up. (There's something good!) The best thing about today, though, was that I was able to bail out early and come home and take care of myself. AND that I DID come home and take care of myself. In years gone by, I would have just kept pushing. I am very very grateful to be self-employed and be free to do what I need/want to do. I was never very successful living a structured lifestyle. I'm glad I live in a country where I can design my life to suit ME. It IS, after all, MY life.

One thing I've thought about is how I used to go around saying "It seems like every time I start getting my life together, something goes wrong." But the flip side of that is true as well. Every time something goes wrong, it always works out somehow and then my life is good again. I guess it's just a choice we make as to how we're gonna look at it. The old glass half full, half empty thing.

Another good thing is that life is constantly changing. So, if you don't like your life right now, stick around, cuz it's gonna change! Today I saw this great video about a guy down in Texas that does art on dirty cars. He makes all these awesome pictures on his car windshield, only to have the rain wash them away. His said it's OK with him because that gives him the opportunity to create a new picture. Kinda like life. Check it out.

Maybe today was a good day after all.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We Get To Choose

This weekend I've had a great opportunity to practice looking for the good. On Friday night, I went to the long awaited Willie Nelson concert. The concert was great and I did get to meet Willie after the show and he signed my book and gave me a hug because I told him it was my birthday. I was elated! I smiled all the way back home, which was a three hour drive. My face hurt from smiling so much. :) But when I was waiting for Willie to come sign my book, I also approached the other members of the band as they got off their buses and I made the mistake of calling one of them by the wrong name. He was clearly offended and said he wasn't going to sign my book if I didn't even know his name. I realized my mistake later and was so embarrassed! I even told one of the other band members to tell him the girl who called him by the wrong name said she was sorry. Then I was embarrassed that I had done that! So I embarrassed myself twice! All the way home, I was so excited about hugging Willie that I didn't think about much else. But then the next morning, after I'd had some time to come down out of the clouds, I started thinking about how I offended that other band member. And I couldn't get it off my mind. Every time I'd think about it, I'd feel a flush come over me and my stomach would kind of tighten up. It kept getting bigger and bigger in my mind. What we focus our attention on is what expands in our lives. But I think I've learned that it first expands in our minds. Tonight I'm working on shifting my thoughts to how good it felt to meet Willie Nelson. I even told him I loved him and he said he loved me too. Thinking about that makes me feel a flush too but a different kind. I know he really meant it too. He loves people, always has. I could feel a very gentle and loving evergy coming from him. What an awesome man. I'm trying to think more about that and not about the other guy. I think that at any given moment we have the opportunity to choose whether to focus on happy things or not so happy things. Tonight I'm trying to choose the happy parts of my concert experience.

There was another way that I saw how true it is that what we focus our attention on is what happens in our lives. I really really really wanted to meet Willie Nelson. I thought about it a LOT in the weeks before the show. I even rehearsed in my mind what I would say to him when I met him. Of course, I forgot to say it, but still. I talked a lot about meeting Willie and it went through my mind quite frequently as I went through my day. The thing is though, it wasn't something I just conjured up and didn't really have any passion for. I REALLY was serious about meeting him and I "knew" in my heart that I would. It wasn't that I was forcing those thoughts to run through my mind. I didn't write any affirmations about it or repeat it out loud like an exercise. It was just something I wanted so much that I couldn't stop thinking or talking about it. And, sure enough, it happened. I wanted it passionately, and I believed it would happen, and I focused my attention on it and, it happened! Hmmm. I might need to patent that formula! :D

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Experiencing the Good

This morning I thought I found a small lump in my breast. But then I realized that small lump IS my breast! I'm the only woman I know who can gain 75 pounds and still have small boobs. And now that I've lost the 75 pounds, they're pretty much shaped like nanners. SMALL nanners! In my next life I want to have big boobs and long legs instead of big legs and long boobs! What's boobs got to do with looking for the good? Nothing. I just felt like talking about 'em.

As far as looking for the good goes, I think maybe part of LOOKING for the good is EXPERIENCING the good. I think we should really drink it in, really absorb whatever it is, make it a part of ourselves so that when the "bad" comes we'll have the good in us to remember and hold onto. Too often we are in such a rush to get to what's next that we don't really notice what's happening now. We're never fully "there" when the good is happening so we miss it. The years go by and we think we've not had much good in our lives. Truth is, the good was there, we were just too busy to notice it.

When I lived on the farm, I learned the fine art of doing nothing and I learned how to slow down and really notice the beauty, the good, all around me. I have very fond memories of sitting in the rocking chair on the side porch watching hummingbirds drink from the feeder just a few feet away from me. I can still close my eyes and experience that just as if I was right there. That's because I slowed down and got still and took the time to truly experience it. It's now a part of me. A good part. I found some good!

Another spellcheck with no errors! Damn I'm good! See! I found s'more good! :D

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shifting your focus

I think what I learned today about looking for the good is that you don't necessarily have to find good in the particular drama you're experiencing at the time. When I woke up this morning, I felt like a big fat gassy hog with frizzy hair and zits! It was cold and rainy outside. My dog wouldn't just take a crap where he was. He had to go looking for the perfect spot....while I got drenched! My cat was raising hell because she wanted to be fed. And I was running an hour behind schedule. And those were the GOOD aspects of the morning! For the first couple hours I was working, I bitched and whined to myself about how crappy a day it was. Then I remembered this blog and I said "Wait a minute, I'm the look for the good girl! I can't be going around thinking like this. But I couldn't find anything good about feeling fat, having the farts or having a zit the size of Texas on my nose. I wasn't gonna say something like "Having this zit is good because it inspires me to try new skin care products." I wasn't gonna go there. (Sorry if you're an Avon lady!) Instead, I decided to change the channel and watch a different to speak. I thought about how good it is to be self-employed so I could take some extra time this morning to feel sorry for myself, I mean nurture myself for a while before I went out to work. I thought about how good it is that I have a skill that allows me to basically work part time but make enough money to get by on. I thought about how good it was that none of my customers would be home when I was cleaning their houses and therefore they would not see me in the piss poor mood I was in. By lunch time, I was feeling pretty good. And the sun even came out. I'm certain the sun came out just because I shifted my focus and thought about good stuff. I do still have that damn zit though!!!!

Hey! I just did spellcheck and got a message that there were NO misspellings found! Woo hoo! Now THAT'S something good! See! :D

Monday, October 26, 2009

Create a Diversion

If it's true that what we focus our attention on is what expands in our lives, then it would behoove us to focus our attention on something we want, not on something we don't want. One of the things I currently want is a little POC camper I found out at the lake. (For those who don't know, POC stands for piece o' crap) :D As I mentioned before, I used to own a house (or really it owned me) and I got a new car every three years. After I lost all that, my perspective changed drastically and I realized what is REALLY important to me. FREEDOM! When I look back over my life, it finally makes sense now for the first time ever. I used to think I had floundered my whole life away and had wasted all my years. But now I realize that I really WAS working towards something. It just wasn't something tangible. It wasn't anything I could take a picture of or record onto a tape. Every choice I have made, every mistake I've made, the lifestyle I have chosen, everything goes back to my strong desire, need for freedom. To me that means the freedom to be who I really am in a world that wants me to be someone else. It means the freedom to live life on my own terms and be true to myself. We are all part of the whole and when one of us gets better, we're ALL better and the whole universe is better. (That line is a little out of place but I like it so I'm leaving it in!)

Anyway, getting back to the POC camper I want. I found this camper online one day when I was just browsing and dreaming. It's dirt cheap and I was able to negotiate owner financing. I will pay it off in two years and then be debt FREE! Then the only bills I will have will be utilities and such. Yes, it's just a little camper, but it will give me the FREEDOM I seek financially. Then I will be FREE to do some traveling and have some experiences I've never been able to afford to have because all my money has always gone to survival. I'll finally be able to live instead of just exist.

Let's see, I started off talking about creating a diversion. How the hell did I get on this??? Oh yeah! The only thing keeping me from buying this camper is that I am in a lease where I live now. My landlord has agreed to let me out of the lease and refund my deposit once he gets a new tenant to replace me. Well, this has been going on since August and still no new tenant. So, as we humans tend to do, I started thinking some pretty negative stuff. I have this standard rant in my mind. It goes something like this. "I don't know why the hell I even thought something like that could happen for me. Nothing ever works out for me. That's just the way it's always been. Don't know why I even keep trying. My life will never be any different than it is right now." Sound familiar? I especially sing that song when it's PMS time only with a little more embellishments. But this time, I decided to create a diversion to get my mind off the negative stuff. I figure if I can't make myself think positive thoughts, maybe I can at least keep myself from thinking the negative ones. Worth a try anyway. So the diversion I created was a Willie Nelson kick! Last summer I went on a Matthew McConaughey kick! I know, how the hell do you go from Matthew to Willie? Hey, they're both from Texas!!!! Anyway, I've rented or purchased several Willie concerts and also three books by him. And this Friday I'm going to Charlotte to see him in concert! Since I hardly ever do anything other than work, eat and sleep, this Willie concert has been a big deal for me. I've looked forward to it all month long and have spent a lot of time thinking about Willie and his music and his life. Not only have I learned a lot about Willie, but it's gotten my mind off the delays in getting the camper. I'll keep you posted how that goes. But I really think creating the diversion is a valuable tool I will continue to use. This month has been fun just thinking about it. Fun is good! Keep looking for the good! Get the connection? :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Looking for the ME

Part of looking for the good is looking for the good in myself. I have to admit that I've spent my whole life until recently thinking I was a total loser because I didn't seem to fit into any of the "slots" of society. I'm not a hippie, a yuppie, an intellect, a debutante, a redneck (well, OK, maybe part redneck!), a leader or a follower. I'm just me. But "me" always seemed strange because I never met anyone else that was like "me". Finally, not too long ago, it dawned on me that people were created like snowflakes, no two alike. And I realized that sameness is not natural. So now, instead of trying to find myself in others, I look in the mirror. Now I am able to see a lot of good in "me" that I could never see before and I embrace my uniqueness. Life is much better now and I'm happier than I've ever been now that I'm just being the best "me" I can be. I'm finally comfortable in my skin. An added benefit is that I'm also better able to accept and appreciate other people who are different from me....which would be EVERYONE, of course, since we're all like snowflakes! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finding Good in "Bad" Situations

I'm not a religious person at all but I seem to recall a Bible verse that says something like "...if there be any virtue, if there be any good, think on these things." I interpret that to mean, basically, look for the good! I remember seeing an interview with a soldier who'd lost both his legs in combat and he was a master at looking for the good. He said the "advantage" to having lost his legs was that it made it possible for him to counsel other soldiers who'd had traumatic injuries in the war. I'm not sure I could really look at it like that if it was me. But it really made me think.

Sometimes things happen that we think, at the time, are the most horrible thing in the world but then they end up being the best thing that could've happened. I used to be a workaholic big time! I worked probably 80+ hours a week and in my "off" time I was thinking about working. People kept telling me I couldn't keep up that pace forever. But I'd just laugh and tell them I was a "high energy" person and a great time manager. I prided myself on being able to accomplish more in a day's time than the average person. I called it "ambition". Now I call it insanity. Along about 2005-2006, I started to lose my "ambition". I started getting really tired and had a hard time carrying the work load. So I decided to cut out all my night work. That way I was "only" working 50-60 hours a week. Still I got more and more tired until finally I totally crashed! I slipped into a disabling depression and couldn't get myself out the door to work at all. Sometimes I'd get out the door only to get to my first jobsite and break down crying and not be able to stop. I'd come back home and crawl in bed. Of course, when you're self-employed, if you don't work you don't make any money so I quickly got further and further behind on my mortgage payment and car payment until eventually I lost both. May 6, 2006, I had to move out of my home. I was terrified and thought it was the most devastating thing that could possibly happen. But, after bumping around to a couple different rental places, I got the opportunity to rent an old farmhouse out in the country. And the two years I spent living on that farm were the most healing and growing years of my life thus far. I lost all my "stuff" but I found ME!!!! Living in the country forced me to be still and quiet and that's when I reconnected with my soul. And I finally did my grief work that I never did after my mother died in 2000. And I let go of anger I had bottled up inside me. I also became healthy physically. I lost 75 pounds and got off my blood pressure meds. Sometimes it takes a breakdown to make a breakthrough. I'm now VERY glad I lost that house and the car and all my other "stuff". Life's not about stuff.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Started

Well, here I go with Day One of this blog. I have to admit that what gave me the idea to do this blog was that I had registered to win a gig doing a blog for a vitamin company. It was a six month gig that paid $5000 a month! You would write about how you keep your mood up. It was a promotion for their Sam-E product. The person who got the most votes got the job. Well, there was this skinny chick in California who had about 3,000 votes before I ever even knew about the contest. Now she has over 5,000 and I have about 280. I guess that's what I get for being a loner, huh? Hell, I'd do the job for $2000 a month!!! Anyway, in keeping with the purpose of this blog, the good that came from that was that I decided to start my own darn blog. Writing this blog every day will be a great way for me to keep myself focused on the good stuff in life. And there's lots of it if we will just look for it. So come along with me as I learn how to do this damn blogging thing AND look fer da good!!! :D