Spreading Holiday Cheer


A couple of nights ago I took holiday potpouri oranges to each of the neighbors closest to us.  I even gave one to a neighbor we have had issues with. Last night I filled out and mailed our holiday cards.  I feel at this time it is paramount to remember who we are, and what connects us on the most basic levels.  We’ve become so divided with all the horror that is going on right now.  I see it on social media every day.  People reveling in small victories, celebrating hatred with no care to who they’re hurting.   Families harming each other at the voting booth while smiling happily across the holiday table.  When did we stop being human? We all bleed, we all hurt, we all cry, we all get angry, we all want what we want, but most importantly we all LOVE.  I’ve been binge watching sappy Christmas movies on Netflix.  I need to feel good, even if it’s just for a couple of hours.  The hatred and vitriol that dominates the news feeds and social media is really getting to me.  There are good people doing good things, we’re just not hearing about it.  It doesn’t make headlines, generate enough page clicks.  So it’s up to us to spread kindness, and love, and to try to aid healing.  I’m not suggesting we not be woke and vigilant against the countless atrocious inhumanities plaguing our country at the moment, but that we focus on loving, living, healing, and spreading good cheer.  We have to recharge our batteries to fight the good fight.  We have to focus on the good to keep doing the hard work.  Sometimes a little kindness can help us reach across the table to hear and be heard.  We have to be the difference we want to see in others. I wish you all the best holiday whatever you celebrate, and a fabulous new year.  Celebrate LOVE!

We’re Only Here for a Little While


No matter who you are or what you believe I think life has a way of reminding us of the things that should be most important. We get so caught up in the day to day that we often forget to truly savor and nurture the important people in our lives. I do my best to really live every day and give what I can to make the world a better place. Though I make a point to hug & kiss and tell my wife that I love her every day, and I make a point to connect in some way to all those I care about as often as possible, it’s not always easy when the people you care about are scattered.  A few things have happened lately to remind me that I need to make those connections and the savoring of the love I am lucky enough to have a top priority as much as humanly possible. So I am going to share with you, and maybe it will be a reminder for you as well. 🙂

It’s funny how the universe works sometimes…. like it’s knocking, and if you don’t listen the knocking grows so loud that you can’t ignore it.

First knock- It all started with a phone call at my place of employment, which is a deli. Now when you work in the restaurant business they usually do not allow you phone calls at work unless it’s an emergency. I have not given my work number to anyone. So the cashier answers our deli phone and says “Dani it’s for you, someone named Meridith”. The only Meridith I know is my sister in law. My heart starts to race. They have to clear it with the manager on duty before they can even hand me the phone. In those brief seemingly never-ending moments, I run through all the things that could be wrong. If my sister in law went to the trouble to look up my work number and phone me at work, my brother is either in the hospital or dead, or some other catastrophic thing has happened. I think about the last time I spoke with my brother. We don’t speak nearly often enough. A few years back he moved out of state. Before that we used to see each other about once a month. He and his wife always made the drive to come and see us. It was harder for us to get away with kids and all. The drive was 2 hours each way. He has come to visit once since he moved, and we were both at my daughters wedding, but other than that I haven’t seen him. There are all kind of reasons why and they are all valid. That said, I have renewed fervor to make it a priority to go and see him. We are going very soon. My manager allowed the call and it turned out to be a customer. Whew! Slowly my heart rate returned to normal.

Second knock- I dropped off my wedding ring to be resized at our favorite local jewelers. It is owned by 2 very charismatic brothers. They do good work, they are timely, and it is always nice to chat with them when I/we go in. I have been having trouble with swelling lately, and over the years I have also grown a little larger. Long story short my ring finger swelled so bad one day that the circulation to my finger was being affected. I was afraid that I might have to have the ring cut off. The swelling slowly dissipated and after a few days I was able to get the ring off, but it wasn’t easy. So I decided it was time to size it up. Not worth the risk. So I dropped it off at the jewelers and they said it would be ready the following Saturday after 3 pm. I show up Saturday to pick up my ring and there is a note on the door that said closed due to family emergency. The writing was erratic. It was disturbing, but I didn’t give it much thought. I called Monday, no answer, voice mailbox full, I called Tuesday…same. Wednesday I drove over there. There was a new sign on the door, typed with a photo. The photo was of the younger brother in one of his favorite hats. The typed message said RIP beloved brother, and gave the details of how he dropped dead of a heart attack Saturday on the golf course while golfing. It listed the funeral service location for those that may want to pay their respects. It also listed the times when the store would reopen. My heart sank. He was my favorite of the two brothers, the younger  hippier one. He had a ponytail for the longest time. He appeared to be in good health. He wasn’t much older than my wife and I….

3rd Knock, or perhaps I should say ramming of the door…-I was on facebook late in the day after having been busy with odds and ends and I started seeing posts that said “We stand with Orlando” and Prayers for Orlando. My wife and I went WTF!? happened in Orlando? So we went to our internet news headlines and there it was…. the largest mass shooting in U.S.  history.  We read in the coming days about all the victims, looked at photos of their smiling faces and cried. The stories were all so hard to bear. One that was especially soul crushing was the guy texting his mother from the bathroom of the club, telling her he loved her and that he was trapped and the shooter was coming and he was going to die. I’m a mother of a gay son and all I could think was what if that had been him in that club bathroom. WTF!!!???

My wife and I have been squeezing each other a little tighter lately, and for a little longer. We’ve been hugging our one son that still lives with us a little more. Kindness costs us nothing, and it’s what people remember about us when we’re gone. Love is all that transcends this life. Lets be a little kinder and gentler with each other, lets love a little harder and more often…cause we’re only here for a little while.