October 28th: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I have a friend that means quite a lot to me.

Just last Saturday, he came over to my house to visit.

We had had a discussion about something I have been very upset about for awhile: His poor communication skills.

Not two weeks prior to this, I had approached him calmly and told him that his communication skills had diminished over the course of the last two years, that he had become quite horrible at following through with texts, emails, and phone calls or even a simple “thank-you” after he had asked me to complete a task for him or even offered him a gift. I told him that as my close and dear friend, I expected common courtesy from him in our relationship.

His response to me? “I’ve never been very good at this.”

Now, if he were a child, or a young adult, I would accept that answer and I would work with him to improve on this bad habit but he is a man of 52 and so it is not my place to “school” him.

I thought back over the course of our friendship together and remembered when he at least made the effort to call back within a reasonable amount of time, to at least type “Ok” to a response in a text or email and I realized that it wasn’t that my friend “couldn’t” manage communication… he had managed communication just fine numerous times in the past… it was that I had allowed my boundaries to be crossed, bad behavior to be accepted, and now his actions were speaking loud and clear to me: He knew that I would accept his poor behavior time-and-time again because I had shown him time-and-time again that I would.

What changed in a week to make me realize that this was no longer acceptable?

He let down my child with his lack of communication.

He disappeared after making verbal promises.

He committed to my son and then did not follow through.

As soon as I looked at the situation as a mother, I could see the situation in it’s true light: this behavior is unacceptable from a good friend, and definitely from a person that claims to love me and my family.

Will I say anything this time?

Probably not.

Will I expect him to communicate appropriately in the future?

I doubt it.

His actions have spoken louder than any words.

I have given him the benefit of the doubt one too many times and I now know what I have to do.

I have to change my actions and no longer accept inappropriate behavior from someone I love.

If he truly wants to be my friend, to be in my life, he will have to work on his end of the relationship.

What I am asking for is a reasonable request.

I expect good communication from my family, friends, even my work colleagues and he is no exception to this rule.

The response “I have never been good at this” is no longer acceptable.

And my acceptance of poor behavior, and poor boundaries on my part is no longer acceptable to me.

We must both work on our short-comings to make this the relationship it should be: one that is healthy and bound by common courtesy and good communication.

“Dear God, help me to stand strong when I must change my actions for the better. Help me to understand that by being clear in my demands now, I will bring the best out in others over time or I will make new relationships that will fulfill my spiritual needs.”

October 27th: Running Scenarios

I was once watching a television show where a character told another character, “Just use your imagination.”

And the other character responded with, “Oh no. My imagination is a scary place. I never go in there alone.”

I couldn’t stop laughing. Although I love my imagination when I am creating wonderful things such as; music and writing… I really don’t like my imagination much when it begins to run scenarios.

My mind can take me to some very dark places.

My mind can often assume the worse, refuse to give someone the benefit of the doubt, be absolute in it’s resolution that “I am completely right and you are completely wrong.”

Yes… my imagination can be quite the “scary place.”

In the past… I would take a worry and I would waste my precious time running every possible scenario from the best outcome to the worst outcome so that I would somehow feel prepared for what may lay ahead of me.

Well, there is nothing wrong with logically thinking something through but… when you spend hours, days, weeks, worrying about scenarios that will probably never happen… that is obsession and obsession is a waste of valuable time.

Spending hours creating scenarios that left me feeling helpless, hopeless, full of pain and suffering caused me to become worn ragged by fears that never came true.

Wouldn’t it be better to spend my time being productive? Helping others? Focusing on the positive and moving forward in faith?

Could the worst case scenario happen?


Could my greatest fears come true?


But how many minutes of joy, serenity, happiness, connection am I willing to give up by letting my imagination hold me hostage in my fear?

“Dear God, help me to stay in the present moment. Let me see the joy in my world today instead of fear in what may be in my world tomorrow.”

October 26th: How Important Is It?

In the grand scheme of things… how important is it?

This is what I think to myself now when I catch my thoughts becoming agitated and unruly:

How important is it?

Is this a major life crisis that I am currently worked up about or… a minor problem that will pass into obscurity over time?

How important is it?

Arguments, hurt feelings, misunderstandings can often be put aside if we step back, and look at the problem and decide… how important is it?

Does this problem really need to be solved or am I just wanting to fuss and vent?

Is this conversation an honest criticism with someone… that may help them to grow.. or am I just being snotty and judgmental?

Is this something that really needs to be talked about at this very moment, or is it something that can wait?

My life is full of decisions and I must choose each day to decide “How important is it?” before I open my mouth to speak.

“Dear God, help me to be quiet and calm. Help me to think about my situation and decide if it needs to be discussed or if I can let it go and move forward towards more important matters.”

October 25th: Observing

Sometimes when we don’t know what to do… it is best to step back and carefully… attentively… watch the situation unfold before choosing to make a decision.

Often, I can not be sure if I can trust a particular person, or a particular situation, until I have had time to study each closely.

Sometimes, a person might appear to be most wonderful. They may put their “best foot forward,” doing particularly impressive things aimed at pleasing me but over time, they may not be able to keep this charade up and the true person… shows up.

This “true” person may not be worthy of my time and attention.

This “true” person may not be honorable in their intent.

There are times in our lives when we run into people who do not have our best interests at heart and often, by taking the time to observe their actions over the course of several weeks, possibly even months, we then see that this person is not someone we want connected to us through a long-term relationship.

Sometimes, situations can seem exciting… a great plan… a way to get ahead… but once again, if we step back and observe… make sure that we have all of the details.. understand the logistics… we may see that this “great plan” is in no way “great” for us.

Observing is a way of assessing a situation logically.

Observing is a way to step back from emotion, waiting to react, before choosing with calm clarity what to do next.

This does not mean that we sit in “limbo” unwilling to make a decision for fear we will make the wrong choice.

Observing means that we watch, we wait, and after a specific amount of time that seems reasonable… we act.

“Dear God, help me to be patient and observe the world around me. Help me to choose wisely when creating lasting relationships with others, and searching out new and interesting opportunities.”

October 24th: Self Control

It is not always easy to maintain self control.

Situations can be infuriating.

Life can be heartbreaking.

Relationships can be devastating but to react with pure emotion, with no thought to logic or consequences, can make a horrible situation worse.

I have learned that maintaining composure at times of great stress and strife is difficult for all of us but, something we must strive for if we search for growth on our spiritual path.

Sometimes, we make mistakes; allow our anger, our hurt, to get the better of us and react to the offending person or event.

It is easy for me to be hard on myself when I fail and lose self control but each time I do… I am humbled by my experience and reminded how I want to behave differently in the future.

If we can find a way to exercise self-control, take a step back, wait before reacting, we can think through our actions and ensure that we are acting according to our “higher self” and not our “shadow self” or our ego.

“Dear God, help me to maintain self-control in trying times and heartbreaking situations so that I can make decisions that will heal and help all who surround me.”

October 23rd: Self-Pity

Sometimes I take myself to a place I know I shouldn’t go: a place of self-pity.

Self-pity does nothing to help me grow, and everything to make me feel miserable in the moment.

In the past, I would often run to self-pity, look for it, let it consume me, and therefore, I didn’t have to look at the work I needed to do to move past my pain.

Self-pity is always a distraction from the work at hand and a way to live in our sorrows.

Today, when I am feeling sorry for myself, I allow myself a moment to grieve, a moment to cry, a moment to feel down, and then I do what I need to do to get back on track:

I call a friend who will offer me support.

I busy myself with my tasks and chores for the day.

I write about my feelings so that I can address my problems later when I am in a better state of mind.

I help someone else… and use my strength to help them combat their own pain and suffering.

Self-pity is a crutch that I choose not to lean on… a bad habit that must be removed… if I choose not to indulge in it… I choose to move forward with strength and faith.

“Dear God, help me to remove self-pity from my day-to-day life. Give me the strength to move forward with courage and dignity.”

October 22nd: Celebration

Each day on this Earth is a gift.

Each moment a celebration of life.

I have often been surprised during the painful times by impromptu joyous celebrations that took the sting of my heartache away:

A moment with one of my students that made me proud.

A family gathering where everyone was lively and entertaining and the love could be felt throughout the room.

My pet, acting silly, or making a face that seemed close to human, sending me into fits of laughter.

There is much to celebrate in this world even when things seem at their bleakest.

It is our job to keep our eyes open and be aware of it.

When we are pained, when we are troubled, it is often hard to find something to celebrate. But if we have faith, we will see celebration, in even the most mundane day-to-day moments.

“Dear God, help me to celebrate life even in my darkest days. Help me to see joy in the smallest moment and celebration even when my heart is heavy.”