Tag Archives: Comfort

Recipe for Resilience (and the New WOW)

This recipe has been through A LOT…yet the stains and markings comfort me.

In a year that has been tumultuous (to say the least), Mom-Mom’s Raisin Bread recipe, (which I wrote down when I was a teenager) is proof of resilience, endurance,                  bounce-backability and most of all, the prevailing power of LOVE.

This recipe has traveled with me to at least ten different homes and each year when I get to baking I think about how Mom-Mom packed love into every loaf.

I already burned out one Kitchen Aid mixer in 2014, because this dough is NO JOKE.  It’s thick and sticky and clings to EVERYTHING.  (This includes my walls, my bowls and me.)

Each year the list of people I send the bread to grows.  It’s my one claim to fame; a tradition that honors my Mom-Mom and lets the people I love know they RATE when the package arrives.

So this was what my first UPS trip looked like:

I needed elves to bake, wrap, address, package, tape and ship.

All I had was me, myself, and I.

But I had the recipe for resilience!  L-O-V-E.

Every moment that I felt like waving the white dish towel, I conjured up thoughts of the dear people on the receiving end of these packages.  When a friend saw my war zone of a kitchen covered with flour, he kindly observed, “These are loaves of love.”

Yes, they are.

I talk more about how love fuels resilience in this week’s video, but before we go there, let’s make your mouths water:

Yep, they are crunchy sweet golden brown outsides with soft, cake-y, raisin-filled insides.  This treat is best served toasted and SLATHERED with butter.

Sorry to tempt you so.  But you are resilient!  And here’s more on that topic:

Loving and embracing the TRUTH with you this week!

And loving YOU.  It means so much that you are out there.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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In the Dark about Light – and the New WOW!

For all my exhortations about being light (lightening up, letting your heart be light, etc., etc., etc.) I found myself in a bit of a funk this week.

I may be coming to a “come to Jesus” moment about my level of busy-ness in life.  When 12 hours go by and you realize you haven’t stopped to go to the bathroom, it’s too much.

This, by the way, is no one’s fault but my own.

Trying to keep all the balls in the air when juggling can be an amazing skill, but the downside is you never get to enjoy crossing one project off of your to-do list, because you’ve got to quickly move to the next one before it comes crashing to the ground.

That’s not living.  It’s a hamster wheel that never stops. And I’m not a hamster.  (Though I’ve been acting like one.)

Oh, I have been trying to squeeze fun in here and there, but my phone remains tethered to my arm and I have been less than present in my human interactions.

Add to the mix some health challenges (like eyes that are still blurry – and much of what I do all day is read, write and proof things!) The internet is and endless pit of diagnoses, non of which make my heart LIGHT.

As I write this I am on another airplane, this time headed to a girlfriends weekend in Charlotte, NC.  While my friends have excitedly texted each other about what they are packing and what we’re going to do while together, I’ve been AWOL, sucked into the vortex of too many irons in the fire.

My plan of action?  To seek their wisdom this weekend.  This Fab Four (me and Renee, Anita and Cynthia) are some of the best sounding boards a person could have.  They are kind, honest, loving, funny and want the best for me.  I am going to sink into the comfort that they provide and believe for some clarity this weekend (in between or during shopping excursions and karaoke.)

Perhaps that is part of the reason why, when recording this week’s WOW I had the word WISDOM on my mind instead of LIGHT.   (And yes, I did also enjoy a rousing ‘put your foot in your mouth’ episode that also prompted this week’s parting message.)

WOW!  And boy do I need me some power.  How about you?

Power. Love.  A Sound Mind.

Sign me up!

May we all be empowered to make the decisions we need to in order to have the life we want to live.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Voting with the Truth (not the Lies) and the New WOW

I wrote a card to a friend this week, because I was struck by just how gifted he is in drawing good people together.  I found “my people” in Sarasota because of him, and I wanted to him to hear that TRUTH (in true Word of the Week style.)

I tried to say it – and believe me folks, I have no problem saying anything to anyone (God gave me that gene instead of the one that can balance checkbooks or cook meals) – but every time I tried to go there, he cracked a joke.

The truth wants to set us free, but can only do so when we LET it.

I only bring up that example because sometimes I see that same deflection in myself. A compliment poo-poohed, an expression of appreciation responded to with “oh, that'[s nothing…”  I thought about why we all sometimes fall into that trap that sticks an umbrella up when blessings start to fall down and have considered that it’s often because we are more comfortable with the LIES that bind us than the TRUTH that sets us free.

Have you ever heard in your head:  “You’re a loser.”  “You’ll never change.”  “Why bother?” “It’s too late for you!” (You can fill in the blank with your own variety of playful thoughts.)

And we entertain them!  Sit right down and tell me more!  Oooooh…that reminds me of ten other regrets/failure/fears…and down the rabbit hole we go.

Ah, but “You’re beautiful.”  “You’re talented.” “You inspire me.” “You make a difference.” “You should go for it!”

These lovely truths to often die on the vine because we sometimes (falsely) believe that embracing such good stuff about ourselves is conceited or arrogant or haughty.

Which is another LIE!

 

Lies

Let’s continue to vote with the TRUTH this week (and every week).

Imagine the energy and strength and power you’ll bring into your situations and challenges!  

And you’ll have an abundance of good feelings so you can give the excess away to others.

More on TRUTH…and the new (first ever) WOW!:

Boy does this play off of the whole empathetic approach to life that was part of the TRUTH I heard last week!

As always, when we apply the Word of the Week and seek to extend UNDERSTANDING to others, don’t forget to offer yourself some healthy doses of it, too.

xoxoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Jumping, Writing, Fighting Malaise and Two WOWs

When my spirits are low, I can’t jump at Zumba.

I’m just made that way.

I remember distinctly when I got into a screaming, knockdown fight with one of my best friends (now several years ago but still fresh in my mind.)

Such conflicts, especially with my friends, aren’t the norm and totally rendered me off-kilter. So much so that even when I went to Zumba class, I couldn’t wiggle or shimmy, let alone jump. A weight of unseen gravity was like a ball and chain around my heart.

This went on for a couple of weeks until we had a true kiss and make-up reconnection.

And then I could jump again.

Actually, not only could I jump, I felt like Tigger.

Oh the freedom that comes from conflict resolution!  And the joy of reconciliation?  It’s better than winning the lottery.

I say THAT to say this:

The events of recent weeks – and it began in Orlando with the shootings at Pulse Nightclub – heightened racial tensions, the disheartening political landscape, police officers murdered in Dallas…and just this past week, Nice, France – well, I felt a sadness; a hopelessness that perhaps some of you have felt.

This crab (my astrological sign is Cancer) tends to retreat when her heart is heavy.  And just like my inability to jump, I couldn’t type a blog post last week.

First one I’ve ever missed since I started.

I was going to blame it on technical difficulties, but since we’re all about being honest with each other, I couldn’t pass it off that way.

There are no pithy quotes or simple solutions to these perilous times in which we live.

On the theme of WILLINGNESS and last week’s FLEXIBILITY, I have been working at not judging and hearing all sides of an argument.

And depending on who I’m listening to, I can be persuaded.

Is anyone else out there like this?

For my mental and spiritual health, I can’t keep on focusing on what I can’t change.  All I can do is what I can do.  And though there’s still a good part of me that wants to hole up in my shell and ask you all to wake me up when things are better…

…that’s not gonna help anyone.  Least of all, myself.

So I will plow ahead (and so will you) and know that these were recorded when a little bit of sun shone through the clouds (because not only can’t I write when I’m sad, I’m also pretty silent).  And don’t want to wear makeup.

To catch you up, here’s last week’s WORD:

And here’s THIS week’s, which is remarkable:

We’ve been at this quite a while, and to get three consecutive words that say pretty much the same thing?

I know there is a message here that is taking its sweet time to penetrate my heart.

I suppose I should be OPEN to it taking as long as needed.

But one thing I’m going to work on this week is being open to receive.  (Since I feel a bit unable to give, it’s not a stretch to make that my focus.)

I’m open to receiving all sorts of love this week.  Feel free to send some my way!

I know, I know.  The best time to GIVE is when you feel like ya got nuttin’.

So I’ll try some of that, too.

What are you hearing in these words WILLINGNESS, FLEXIBILITY, OPENNESS?

Because maybe you have an insight we ALL could use.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Keep Swimming (and the New WOW)

So with theaters packed with people seeing Finding Dory, I can’t wait to get my ticket. Dory exemplifies resilience, our recent Word of the Week, with her “Just keep swimming…” philosophy.

I reflected a bit this week on when my tank of resilience wanes and there’s a clear connection.

One of my favorite scriptures (Ps. 77:3) provides the insight:  Complaining overwhelms your spirit.

Your body and soul may give up, but your spirit has indomitable resources. The catch is NOT to overwhelm your spirit with complaining and to let that unsinkable cork inside of you WIN.

There’s a catch that sometimes snags me, though.  In the effort NOT to overwhelm my spirit, I sometimes choose to not “talk it out” (whatever IT is) with someone else, somewhat afraid that negative energy will be expended and sprinkle its evil pixie dust, making matters worse.

Then I realized that talking something through with the end goal to glean insights from an impartial party that might actually bring relief, resolve or at least COMFORT is a good thing.

If my intent is simply to whine, murmur, have a pity party and otherwise indulge the negative vibes that seek to swallow me into a quagmire of muck, then no – it’s best for me to shut my trap.

Perhaps Dory’s short term memory loss aids her ability to just KEEP SWIMMING.  

She can’t obsess over that thoughtless comment or perceived slight.  May all of our offenses have short-term memory!

Final thoughts on resilience and the new WOW coming right up…

There are SO many ways to look at this new WOW.

Aside from being WILLING personally, how do you view the world?

Here’s a nugget to chew on this week (I know I’m going to): What if you believed that at ever turn, things were actually working to benefit you; that God (the Universe; however you choose to define the Source) is WILLING to more than grant your desires.

One of the companies for which I work has a credo to “delight our customers and exceed their expectations.”

If a business can make that claim and fulfill it, how much more can the Author of life and the very Essence that is love make good on that brand promise?

Instead of expecting a fight (based on past experiences in the school of hard knocks) what if you made the shift to seeing every person and every circumstance as a willing participant in your happily-ever-after?

I’m willing to meditate on that this week.  How about you?

xoxoxox

Brenda

 

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Getting By With a Little Help from My Friends (and the New WOW)

It was one of those whirlwind weeks involving a quick trip back to PA, squeezing in a host of meetings as well as a charity event (more about that in this week’s video) and an oh-too-early flight back to FLA in less than 48 hours.

Why do I do it?

This trip was no mandate from corporate; I’m totally committed to The Main Line Chamber Foundation and it’s effort to raise money for volunteer firefighters. I fly back every year on my own dime for the opportunity to award over $40,000 in scholarships to these hometown heroes.

Overall, these past few years I’ve spent more time in airports and airplanes that in the previous decade combined.  I actually enjoy it (though my husband would prefer that it occur less often) and here’s why:

I get by with a little help from my friends.  (Yes, I’m singing it as I write it!)

I’m about to blow the cover off of a little known secret, but there’s no risk that the best little bed and breakfast in the world will be inundated with reservations.

Because you can’t stay there.

When I fly back to PA, I stay at a place called Kamp Kantor.  It’s better than any five star suite at the Four Seasons.

I arrive to the warmest hugs imaginable.  The kind that instantly comfort you and say, “You are so loved and welcomed here.”  The hostess looks me dead in the eyes and can assess in an instant if I’m up for conversation or need to be ordered directly to bed.  Even if it’s 8 PM.

I look around, and my always too heavy suitcase has magically disappeared, already hoisted (seemingly effortlessly) up the spiral staircase (really) to my deluxe bedroom.

When I enter the room, soft, spa music is playing.  This time, there was a gift on my pillow (knowing how I love turtles, the proprietor had a silver turtle anklet waiting for me.)

And the bed? Something transcends the normal challenges of menopause and I sink into a dreamless, restful sleep that refreshes me for the onslaught of activities that await.

NOTE TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Many times you may see that I am scheduled to be in the Delaware Valley and wonder why I’m not visiting you!  Believe me, I don’t usually have time to go to the bathroom let alone visit.  I’ll try to rectify that in the future, but for now, thanks for understanding.

When I descend from my morning shower/hair/makeup ritual to face the day, somehow the PERFECT cup of coffee is waiting for me.  Just the right amount of cream and sugar and with an octane level like jet fuel, it’s served in a “Friendship” mug that warms my heart while jump-starting my day.

The best mornings are when there’s time for a good 15 minute chat. The proprietors of Kamp Kantor and I can TALK.  Topics range from pop culture to sports to politics to religion (nothing is off limits because there’s such love and respect among us) and before leaving, there a WOD (Word of the Day) to pick.

Mrs. Kantor is the one that started me on the choosing of what she calls “angel cards” and, well, you know how THAT ended up.  For over a year it has become my signature WOW ritual every Sunday on Facebook (and all because of my friends, the Kantors, whom I have written about previously.)

Oh, and did I mention that Mrs. Kantor lets me borrow her car so I don’t have to rent one?

Yes, this is an ode to Kamp Kantor, written with love and appreciation for the friends who make it a home away from home, Renee and Steve.  In a week where Sisterhood/Brotherhood was our WOW, boy did I benefit from their place in my life.

My sister and brother friends are like a diverse bouquet; they each add a unique perspective that is so crucial to navigate the sometimes rocky waters of life.  

Here are my parting thoughts on this WOW and the unveiling of the new one:

Ah, SIMPLICITY!

No more trains, planes or automobile adventures this week for me.

Let’s strip down our lives to the acoustic version this week.

It’s a simple song of love that I hope we all dance to…

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Ode to a Fabulous Woman – and a Comforting WOW

The preamble to this week’s WOW is a tribute to my dear mother-in-law, Jeanne Viola, who went to be with God on Valentine’s Day.

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Though I spoke about her on the video, there are a few more things to say.

She was a devoted Mother. (By the way, you NEVER called her Mom.  I slipped a few times and you could feel the sharp intake of breath around the table at the error!)

My husband, Duane, always sums it up this way, “She was always there for me.”

She held the family together like glue. Christmas Eve was a sacred family event for her.  She expected everyone to be in attendance, to be on time (she’d tell you if you weren’t) and to eat their fill of her world-famous stuffed calamari.

Duane would ask her to hide some of it just for him.  I bet the others did the same!

Even in her late 80’s, she purchased and wrapped presents for each of her children, their spouses, grand-kids and great-grandchildren.

She was one of the first aerobics instructors in the area, a belly-dancer, a truth speaker and the epitome of strength…but at the same time, child-like in her love for porcelain dolls, presents and parties.

Here’s more about my beloved Mother-in-law, and the new WOW:

Let’s all take comfort in the Presence of the Divine this week.

You may call it Energy, or the Universe…I respect whatever you may call it.  I’ve learned that my God is big enough and not at all touchy about these things.

May you be wrapped up in a soft and warm sweater of love this week.  And for those of you with broken hearts, may the Presence of love take you a step closer to healing this week.

Love,

Brenda

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