Comfort: A right or a privilege?

I’m not sure why, but every time I hear a certain commercial, I feel some frustration. I’m sure you’ve heard it. A famous actress comments on a well-known brand of furniture by imploring the listener to “live life comfortably.” Something about the tone of the ad just comes across like there should be an expectation of comfort. So that we’re clear, I’m not against comfort. I like my comfortable bed, my recliner, my sofa. I appreciate having a comfortable, adjustable chair to sit in at work. I even enjoy a level of comfort in the vehicle I drive, despite its age. But I think there is a difference in wanting those things and expecting them.

Maybe it’s the month I spent in Papua New Guinea back in 1982. Seeing people satisfied with the very little earthly possessions they owned changed me. The way the people sang with uninhibited strength was energizing, to say the least. People walk for miles to get to a church service or carry heavy loads of produce or wares to care for their families. I watched a nurse clean and bandage the burned belly of an infant who had rolled into the fire kept going the majority of the day for cooking. As a layer of skin peeled off in her hands, I made an effort to hold back the tears. Then she told me that the child would most likely have serious scars due to the parent’s not understanding the need for changing bandages to prevent infection, as well as the lack of clean supplies.

Maybe it was the trip to a remote village in Alaska with a group of teenagers. It was clear that I take so much for granted when we were required to refrain from flushing any paper down the two toilets to which our group of 21 had access. And the only showers were a quarter mile down the road. They were coin operated and we tried to get two or three people rotated through on the $1.50/10 minute sessions. (Quite an interesting planning maneuver that was! I learned a lot from those teenagers and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.)

Or maybe it’s the occasional trips I get to make back to the place I call home. Seeing how simply people live and the strength they show by being satisfied with what they have gives me perspective.

I am not preaching here. I’m not saying you must turn your back on all things comfortable. I’m sharing my own new desire to live more simply. To not be drawn in by “stuff.” To always appreciate what I have and the wonderful people in my life who touch, move, and inspire me to be better each day. To even appreciate the people who have made me uncomfortable enough to grow and not be satisfied with anything less than my best.

Baby Boomer Sandwich 

Many of the details regarding my generation category fit the majority of people born in the era called Baby Boomer, with some exceptions for myself and my cohorts who were raised in a conservative atmosphere. I am at the tail end of this generation, sandwiched between the Mature/Silents of The Great Depression and Generation Y, also known as Millennials. I am watching a child mature into adulthood and an adult decline in health and awareness simultaneously. One is taking on more responsibility, making decisions for her future, and another is finding the need to release independence, which must be heartbreaking and uncomfortable. One is not 100% clear about a career choice, while the other spent 35 years working for one organization.

 

This sandwiched feeling is proving to be uncomfortable at best and stressful as well. Making choices regarding where time is spent, while trying to manage a relatively new career, is a nerve-wracking, hair-graying, exhausting experience. (That hair-graying thing is for a friend, okay.) I’m not saying I desire to be free of the responsibility of caring for a parent. I’m just saying that it is not only physically exhausting, but also a very emotionally-draining experience.

 

In 2001, my father passed away after a stroke that left him unable to do anything for himself for 14 months. It was excruciating, watching a man, who had survived many health problems and the loss of his only son, who had spent his entire adult life showing and preaching God’s Love, who never met a stranger, not be able to speak or sing. I could see in his eyes how painful it was, and in his last week felt it necessary to tell him it was okay to let go and receive his heavenly reward. I promised him I would take care of Mom and I will keep my promise. 

 

Since then, Mom has been diagnosed with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Her hands that once held a paint brush, pen, or wood-burning tool to create beautiful artwork are now gnarled. She struggles to put on any shoes because her toes are crisscrossed. Walking, standing, or sitting in a hard chair can last only minutes, and she sighs often in pain and frustration as her body fails. She feels like she is only a burden to me. And in an effort to simplify my life and be less stressed to handle the caregiving role, a downsizing move and purging of things caused a reliving of memories that felt somewhat like I imagine an airbag deployment might feel.

 

In addition to the immediate reality of pain and weariness, the news of my parents’ peers having significant health issues and passing from this world are ever present reminders of my mortality. I see the look of “when will it be me?” in my mother’s eyes. Since I’ve already lost one parent, I feel for my own peers when I hear they have lost theirs. And I wonder how long before I’m without my remaining parent. I also ponder why two people who used their talents for God would have the ability for sharing those talents taken away. That’s when I remember a quote from Erma Bombeck. She said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” My parents certainly used all of theirs. It’s the only thought that comforts me when I am aware of my mother’s pain and remember my dad’s. 


I realize that parent-child relationships can be challenging and that aging and pain can increase those challenges dramatically. I only pray that God gives me wisdom and helps me show a gracious spirit in whatever time my mom has left. I certainly don’t have what it takes to fulfill this responsibility on my own.


Erma Bombeck. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved April 13, 2015, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/ermabombec106409.html  

A time to help, and a time to be helped.

Things have been a little crazy in my life. Many of you read my post about the emotional conflict of moving, and moving is exactly why I didn’t write last week. I’m reposting this because asking for help was a painful experience as well. How is it we (and I really mean “I”) think that mentioning to friends and coworkers a challenge ahead of us is really communicating that we need help? Why is it so painful to actually admit we can’t do something alone? For so long I’ve been pretty independent. I really do love learning to do things on my own. I used to change the oil in my car. Because I could, and save money. I have primed the water pump on an evaporative cooler and changed the pads myself. (Those of you living not living in the Arizona desert might need an explanation regarding said evaporative cooler, aka swamp cooler.) I’ve change the O-rings on a pool backwash valve because paying someone to do it was out of the question. I’ve installed shower doors by myself. I’ve taped, dry-walled, and skip-trowelled a room. I’ve installed a ceiling fan, changed a ceiling fan light switch, and many other outside-the-box tasks. Asking for help is like nails on a chalkboard for me, so having to ask for help in moving last week was beyond difficult and way outside my comfort zone. But I had to do it. There was no way I could do it alone. And although there were many who couldn’t help because of the urgent-last-minute-nature of my request or the distance, those who were able to help, did so with a gracious spirit. I am extremely grateful and humbled by some who came a significant distance to help. Others worked throughout the night because it was cooler. Still others worked in the hot sun with no complaint and genuinely-giving attitudes.
So, that double dare? That came back to bite me. And I very nearly fell under the weight of it. Eating my own words was a bitter experience. In following through, I have grown and become more compassionate toward others who need my help. Hopefully I can remember this lesson the next time I need help.

journalmehealthy: is what i see in the mirror real?

“There is a season, turn, turn, turn…”

“No! Me do it.” Recognize those words? You must have heard them before from a toddler, recently finding his or her voice and discovering independence. We get aggravated with them because the additional time it takes for them to complete the task will most likely take  significantly longer than if we did it for them, yet we secretly cheer at the thought of one less task on our agendas. We feel the sweet smell of success when our children can do things for themselves. For me, that independence took on a life of its own in adulthood. Why is it so difficult to ask for help? Is it the fear of looking weak? Like someone will think we can’t “handle” things? We’re somehow wasting their valuable time?

I love helping others. It’s why I became a counselor. Helping is just part of my nature. And it was…

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3 Reasons Why I Will Always Cheer for University of Kentucky Basketball: Not the reasons you might think.

I’m sure I’ll hear from some haters on this topic, but just bear with me before you get your drawers in a wad. This is not just about scores and records. Not about championships or losses. This is about loyalty, pure and simple. Hear me out before you try to argue some point from an article you’ve read or anything else, for that matter. Three reasons. Here they are:

1. Kentucky basketball is pretty much the only sport there is in the Eastern Kentucky mountains. As a kid, the nearest professional team of any sort was Cincinnati Reds baseball, and our ears were tuned to the radio for those games in the summer. Although I’ve been away for 27 years, UK basketball is still in my blood. I grew up in those mountains, in an environment where television wasn’t an option. I can remember working feverishly to get school work done in our two-room elementary school where we attended on Saturday rather than Monday, so that we could listen to Cawood Ledford “Voice of the Wildcats,” call the games. Even if the guidelines had allowed for it, the technical and logistical option of watching any TV was fuzzy, at best. Literally. When I finally had the option of TV as an adult, the ribbon wire that ran nearly a mile up the mountain to an antenna shorted out every time it stormed. We eventually made the then-exorbitant purchase of the 10-foot satellite dish to watch the games and invite others to watch with us. Those are some good memories, with my dad getting caught up in the excitement, and passing along that loyal excitement to me. Cawood Ledford was from a county near where Dad and his brothers grew up, and he talked about him like he knew him personally. There is something about watching games now that makes me feel close to Dad.

2. Somehow cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats makes me feel a loyalty to the mountain people. Life is hard in those mountains and survival is a result of loyalty and courage. Coal-mining is hard work and it can damage health in many ways, but it’s been an industry that has sustained the area for a significant period of time. I have nothing but respect for those who have taken care of their families this way, no matter the risk.

Furthermore, if you’re a stranger visiting the area, and you mistakenly drive up the holler, pulling up to someone’s house, you might be met with a rifle-toting homeowner. However, if you have the opportunity to get acquainted and step inside, the refrigerator will be emptied onto the table, day or night, to make sure you never have a pang of hunger while in their company. If you eat what is provided, you have most likely made a friend for life. And I do mean life.

So when the Wildcats win, those loyal, hardworking, highly-hospitable people of the mountains win. Even if it is just to get noticed in a world where so many run to the city and miss the calm, laidback, stunning beauty of a frequently-underrated part of our country. Did I say beautiful? There is nothing like casually driving the winding mountain roads, enjoying the green foliage in the spring and summer, or the rainbow of colors in the fall. It’s a truly magical place to get in a relaxing vacation.

3. Because of UK Medical Center, I know the miracle of motherhood. I suppose there are plenty of other places that could have assisted in making that happen, but they didn’t. In 1987, after multiple fertility drug trials, tests, and diagnostic surgeries, I had major surgery at UKMC to repair blocked fallopian tubes. Just over twelve months later, the most beautiful baby girl was in my arms and my life has not been the same since. And if I could turn back the clock, I would go through it all again.

So there you have it. You can tell me about the money spent on the program. You can question my loyalty to a school I have never attended. (Maybe I should take an online class just to say I did.) I don’t care. I love to see them win. For the Commonwealth. For the caring, loyal, hospitable people who deserve some nationally-noticed bragging rights. For some great childhood memories. For the gift of motherhood. And win or lose, I pray they represent Kentucky with grace.

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Every Story Matters

Twice a year, I have the opportunity to work a side gig and gain a few extra dollars for my pocket. NASCAR is not an event I follow or even enjoy. Watching it on TV is akin to watching paint dry in my opinion. Watching it in person is an exercise in LOSING MY HEARING! (Sorry. Just wanted to make sure you heard me!) While the biggest reason I work at these events is the paycheck, which is decent, given the temporary/part time status, the other benefit is the people. Every size, shape, economic status, ethnic origin, regional dialect, fashion style, and hairdo is represented at a NASCAR event. The people watching is a calendar event. (I’m talking rednecks, executives, mullets, drunks, celebs who fear they might get assaulted by the autograph-seeking crowd. You get the picture. Oh, and people who think the employees were born yesterday and come up with some interesting schemes to reach the suites for free food.)

I’ve been participating in this gig for nearly eight years, and each time I gain some insight regarding the people I see from a distance, interact with briefly or longer, or work alongside. This weekend was no different. I sometimes imagine what kind of story is behind each human that shows up in that venue. And then there are times when I have the opportunity to hear a story that I never imagined.

This weekend one person I’ve worked with this entire time shared a very personal story with me. I’m not at liberty to re-share it, but I have to say that it gave me a new perspective about this person. He is a fun-loving, always joking, intelligent guy. And for eight years I did not know anything about a very difficult time he had been through as a teen. I always enjoyed working with him and anticipated catching up before each event. After this weekend, I feel inspired to know what he shared, as well as honored that he felt the freedom to share it with me. His making himself vulnerable just confirms what I attempt to drill into my clients. Every story matters.

Every time  I get a new group of clients, they look at me in horror when told they will be writing their life stories and sharing them with the group. Some have developed so many defense mechanisms and so much distrust that the process is excruciating. Some don’t want to share because they feel like they didn’t experience something bad enough to explain their drug use and behaviors that resulted in their incarceration, especially after hearing some of their peers’ stories. What they discover is that every story has something that can relate to their own. Every story matters.

This weekend as I heard an unusual and unexpected story of courage and strength, from someone I’ve known for years, I was reminded that my story matters, too. Someone needs to hear it because maybe it will be at the exact time they needed it. Your story is important, too. Someone out there needs to hear it. Please share it. It could save someone.

Painful Pleasures of Moving

In the first 19 years of my life, I moved once, (not counting the year I lived in the dorm on the college campus where I grew up), from a small apartment to a larger house when I was age 9. Since that time, I can count nine times, soon to be 10, with the longest time in one place being nearly 11 years at the previous address. Whether a move has been of my choosing or not, each one holds a level of stress different from any other. 

The move to the current address was the second as a single mom, but given the length of time in one place, more stuff had been acquired, making the packing and planning a challenge. Added to it was the fact that the process included selling two houses – mine and my mother’s – and packing massive amounts of belongings. Fortunately, it was to a house that was slightly larger with room for all the aforementioned stuff.

A newly anticipated move now includes downsizing and simplifying, also known as purging said stuff. Making decisions to save, toss, sell, or give away belongings is painful at best. Coming across reminders of memories long past and having to choose creates major conflict, sometimes because the people with whom those memories were made are no longer physically in my life. The flood of memories is pleasurable. The choosing to let go, not so much. The stuff would mean nothing to a stranger, but hold so much meaning for me. But alas, the decisions must be made to let go and move forward. In contrast, the process cannot be rushed, but the stuff prioritized for its value. Fear comes in thinking the beautiful memories will be forgotten and the stories not passed along to the next generation.

Seems like the perfect parallel of life – letting go of the baggage that weighs me down: choosing the people who add to my life through encouragement of my efforts in making my dreams come true, releasing those who negatively challenge the positive activities I want to accomplish in life. The less stuff I’m attached to, the more free I am to be the person I was intended to be. This process is making me more aware of who I am, what my purpose is, and the kind of people with whom I want to surround myself. 

Besides, the memories cannot be erased. They’re just stored away in the files of my brain, to be accessed when needed most. I’m implementing a defragmentation for better focus!

Piano “Lessons”

I grew up with a father who was naturally talented when it came to music. His childhood was spent in the economically-depressed mountains of Eastern Kentucky. At a young age, he picked up a guitar and sang with his older brothers. He only saw a piano once before being sent away to a Christian boarding school at the age of 13, where he fell in love with the keyboard and the beautiful sound it produced. At one point when the newness wore off, he told his piano teacher, Miss Reed, a stern single lady, that he was quitting. She promptly relayed his wishes to the fiery little lady who was in charge of the school, Miss McConnell, who threatened to send him home. He knew his parents would never stand for that, so he agreed to keep up the lessons.

He started teaching me piano lessons when I was five. I remember wanting to play, but my attention span was short, making practice excruciating. Mom would set the kitchen timer to 30 minutes, and when she wasn’t looking, I would take off a couple of minutes (okay, maybe more than a couple). As I got a little older, he would have Bible college students teach me. One teacher was instructed to push me to learn my notes, and I got significantly better that year because she was firm but patient. (Thanks, Denise Adkins, and later on, Patsy Major and Aneta Morey!) At best, I was progressing at an satisfactory rate. (Even when he would yell, “Sharp, sharp,” or any other correction from the other room when I was practicing. Talk about frustrating!)

Things changed drastically in 9th grade. One teacher had moved away, and I didn’t want to take lessons at school, particularly when the school year began with the accident and subsequent death of my only sibling, Chris. I was devastated and used piano practice as an outlet for grieving, playing with force when my parents were out of the house, through sheets of tears. It was survival and an important activity in my grieving process. But, Dad was my teacher that year, and lessons were sporadic, because he was broken and grieving himself, and I was perfectly fine with it.

When 10th grade started, Dad insisted I take lessons during school hours to have consistency. When I looked at my schedule, who do you think was the only available teacher for that study period? That’s right! Miss Reed! The same stern, no-foolishness teacher who taught my dad many moons before. I begged to get out of lessons that year, just imagining how tough she would be. But, there was no convincing Dad. And so, I showed up, greatly fearing what drastic measures she might take to get me in line. And my worst fears were confirmed. She would slap my wrist up, directing me to lift between phrases. And she would put her hand to her ear to inform me that she couldn’t hear me counting out loud. Horror, I tell you. (I think she and Dad were plotting this torture, or she was paying him back for wanting to quit years before!)

At any rate, I survived long enough for her to present me with choices for a recital piece. She played through several numbers, waiting for me to choose, but none were any challenge, so I waited, spotting the Nocturne in Eb by Chopin at the side. When she finished the others, I pointed to it and asked about it. She shook her head and tried to give me a little sample, explaining that she wasn’t sure her attempt was a good representation. When she stopped, I immediately told her I wanted that one. She proceeded to tell me she wasn’t sure I could do it. My reactive thoughts were what drastically improved my playing that year. I remember thinking, “I’ll show her. I’ll do it or die trying.” (Very threatening, right?)

And I did. It was probably my best performance. Ever. And to think that it was because she made me mad. When I think of it now, I wonder if she did it on purpose. I mean, as a teacher, that is what she wanted, right? When she questioned my ability, I took it as a challenge and it motivated me to do my best. (Again, I wonder if she and Dad were in cahoots!) And then I wonder how many times since then I have experienced someone questioning my abilities or motives, and allowed their words to discourage me and cause me to throw in the towel. But why?

I’m not certain why I have let others have that kind of power over me or why it has taken so long for me to figure it out. Late bloomer, I guess. Maybe I need to write in red lipstick on the bathroom mirror: DO IT OR DIE TRYING. It might be the only way I remember not to let other’s negative expectations take up too much space in my head. I’ll take that challenge, thank you, with Caramel Macchiato ice cream on the side!

Thanks for reading my ramblings!

P.S.  Additional thanks to Beth Finney for leading me on to better hymn playing in the two following years.

Be – Do – Have

Raise your hand if you typically introduce yourself as what you do or your role in your family? Hi! I’m so-and-so, and I do such-and-such. I work in a corporate office. I teach 1st grade. I’m a stay-at-home mom. (And I have to say that I am so grateful that I got to stay at home with my child until she started preschool. There is no amount of money that could have been more rewarding and fulfilling. I’ll also say that if you are/have been a working mom and like it, I have no stones to throw.) But, are you really what you do? Your job or career is an important part of you and certainly adds value and meaning to your life. It is not who you are.

For some reason, we (I) feel that what we have and what we do make us more important (or if you’re embarrassed to tell what you do, less important). If we have the beautiful house, fancy car, nice clothes, the attractive spouse, the perfectly-behaved-and-performing children, the elite job, that somehow that makes us more valuable in the world. When we think this way, we are really thinking backwards. It goes something like this: If I have the aforementioned things/people/job, then I can do ___________ (what my family needs, what my boss wants, etc.) and then I will be __________ (important, valued, generous, caring, kind, happy, determined, etc.).

I struggled with this for years. I knew what kind of person I wanted to be, but kept getting caught in the cycle of have-do-be, essentially hiding who I really was. I have found the opposite works more efficiently and effectively. What positive characteristics do you know are hiding beneath the surface because you keep thinking you must live up to an expectation? Has someone told you that you “always” are a certain way? Do you believe their predictions, telling yourself that you cannot change unless you have money/education/career, cannot do what they said you couldn’t, and then be what they said you would never be? It’s time to name those characteristics that you know are at your core, and be those characteristics. Then you can do the things that need to be done, in order to  have the things you need (and maybe some things you want).

This is how I phrase it: “Hi. My name is Vicky. I am the possibility of fun, freedom, and generosity. I work as a counselor.” When I am being those characteristics, it creates an opening for others to feel fun, free, and generous, allowing me to do what needs to be done, and have the things I want out of life (satisfaction of great career, etc.). I’m not claiming to be perfect at this just yet, (See a previous post about perfection.) but when I seriously make the effort, good things happen. It’s a process to make progress, not perfection.

A Simple “Thank you” Will Do

Why is it so hard to accept a compliment? Are they undeserved? If the complimenter knew where we got the dress, the shoes, the coat, would they think we were less? Maybe that we’ve kept that novelty tie around too long? Or will they think we spent excessive funds and judge our budgeting choices? What about the “your hair looks nice today” compliment? Does that mean it didn’t look good yesterday, or any preceding day? Why do we have to explain our choices or wonder if there are alternative motives to what others say about us?

My theory is this: don’t make it mean something. Period. (I’m not claiming that I am a pro at this. I’m writing it to make myself accountable.) Whether it’s a negative comment or a sweet compliment, the words are about the speaker, not the one to whom they are spoken. When you give compliments, or even when you have less-than-kind statements to make about or to others, why do you make them? Generally, they are spoken because the speaker feels a certain way around the target of their words. Obviously, there are other motives for making sexual-harassment-like comments toward others, but I will refrain from that topic here. General compliments towards others are made because the speaker feels pleasant around that person. And the speaker feels even better when the compliment is accepted and appreciated. When they are dismissed with the “oh, I’ve had this old dress forever” or “I got these shoes at Goodwill,” it could be translated as “I don’t deserve your compliment, so don’t say anything nice to me again.” The complimenter walks away feeling like their words mean nothing. Completely defeated. If the words are negative, the speaker gains some undeserved emotional power over the receiver if allowed to mean something and define who we are.

I once had a related conversation with a sweet high school girl. She was in tears because other girls were calling her a whore due to her ending of a relationship, making her “available” to be asked out by the boys they hoped would ask them. In reality, she was a good student (academically and behaviorally), athletic, attractive, and popular, and they realized their chances were now slimmer than when she had a full-time boyfriend. She quickly realized their name-calling had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with how they felt less around her, and she moved beyond their hurtful words. (FYI – People who are hurting or feeling “less than” are generally the ones who lash out physically or verbally.)

So … I’m challenging myself to just accept compliments with a simple “Thank you.” Or even a “Thank you. You made my day.” As a complimentee, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling, and so does the complimenter. Even if someone makes a demeaning comment towards me, I might just say “Thank you,” and try to remember that most people speak from their own feelings that have nothing at all to do with me. How about it? Want to take the challenge with me?

P.S. I am quite aware that “complimenter” and “complimentee” are not officially endorsed by a dictionary. I’m taking some liberty to get my point across, and I’m perfectly fine with someone having a problem with it. How’s that for practicing my own challenge!?

A time to help, and a time to be helped.

“There is a season, turn, turn, turn…”

“No! Me do it.” Recognize those words? You must have heard them before from a toddler, recently finding his or her voice and discovering independence. We get aggravated with them because the additional time it takes for them to complete the task will most likely take  significantly longer than if we did it for them, yet we secretly cheer at the thought of one less task on our agendas. We feel the sweet smell of success when our children can do things for themselves. For me, that independence took on a life of its own in adulthood. Why is it so difficult to ask for help? Is it the fear of looking weak? Like someone will think we can’t “handle” things? We’re somehow wasting their valuable time?

I love helping others. It’s why I became a counselor. Helping is just part of my nature. And it was a significant part of my nurturing as a youth. (Did you catch that nature vs. nurture reference?) My parents and the other adults around whom I was raised modeled giving of themselves every single day. Sometimes I even give of myself too much and get myself into trouble because I find it difficult to stop. I spread myself thin and find myself drained, physically and emotionally. But the chatter in my head tells me, “Don’t stop, there is more to do. If you need help, those you are helping will somehow think you aren’t good enough to help them.” (Don’t dismiss me. Just admit it happens to you, too!)

About three years ago, I found myself feeling exhausted and stressed out with tasks to do, decisions to be made, and a medical issue that left me physically and emotionally empty. It took me awhile, but I finally connected with four beautiful ladies from high school in a private message group on Facebook. I was afraid of being judged. Of believing that my issues did not warrant the kind of concern I was giving them. “What if they think I’m being silly or a big baby?” I can truly say that making myself vulnerable and asking for their prayers and words of encouragement have changed my life. They did not judge me. They did not scold me. They promised their prayers and offered words of love and lifted me. And they shared their own struggles so I, in turn, could pray for and encourage them. I would have missed out on a huge blessing had I given in to my fears and not asked for their help. And my asking keeps on giving.

You say, “But I can’t do that. I can conquer my hurdles on my own. I don’t need help. Asking would make me appear weak.” So, let’s say you had a friend who got themselves into a bind, and had they asked you for help, you could have prevented or at least lessened their difficulties. Wouldn’t you feel disappointed that they were afraid to ask? You feel satisfaction when you help someone who really needs it, right? Maybe others do, too!

I am challenging myself to remember how I get a blessing when I help others, and others receive a blessing when they have an opportunity to help me. Try it. I double dare you.