Monday, November 30, 2009

Witticisms


You met my new older friend a couple of weeks ago, Vernon. I was over visiting with him today and we worked on my manuscript which is now called

Honoring Beginnings and Endings
How to Enrich Important Life Events

Vernon is a brilliant consultant/editor for me - and the fact that he celebrated his 103rd birthday last week makes the collaboration even more amazing.


While I was there, the staff was telling me about the his birthday party. Vernon has been living at the assisted care facility for about seven months. During that time the staff started to write down some of the clever things he said. The head staff person collected those sayings, put them into a book, and made copies for Vernon's family. At the party she read them out loud, then gave out the little booklets.


Talk about creating a meaningful moment. The caretakers tracked and recorded Vernon's remarkable comments. At the time they probably didn't know what they were going to do with them. They just realized that the sayings were precious. When the birthday arrived and they were thinking of what to do for a man who can't see, they came up with the idea of sharing Vernon's words and saving them for his family. I love this Mark the Moment story.
PS: If perchance my writing is more direct and less redundant, I am learning from Vernon who doesn't beat around the bush. He tells me as he hears it, as I read to him from the manuscript and he gives me his honest evaluation.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bracelets of Love and Support


About two years ago my lovely friend Teresa was diagnosed with cancer. She lives in Denver and I live in the Northwest. She needed treatment which included surgery, chemo and radiation that would take place over the course of a year. I was wondering how I could support her when I lived such a long ways away.

After thinking about the situation, and talking to a couple of mutual friends, three of us decided to make beaded bracelets for Teresa. They aren't hard to make. They are pretty and fun to wear. I asked Teresa if this was something she would like, and she said that she would. We each made twelve bracelets - one to wear ourselves and the other eleven to send to Teresa to pass out. Thirty three bracelets found new homes in Teresa's circle of friends and family. Everyone wearing the bracelet was asked to keep Teresa in their thoughts and prayers as she proceeded through her treatment.

My bracelet was blue and green. I wore it everyday for a year and half before it broke. I think I was thinking about this story because I miss the bracelet. I had Teresa with me for that entire time as her spirit spoke to me through the little beads. I thought I wanted a replacement, but the energy that came with that one ca't be replaced. My wrist is empty at the moment.
The good news is that Teresa came through all the treatment and is doing fine - maybe our little bracelets helped remind people to think of her - which we know probably helped in her healing process. At least it helped me because I felt like I was doing someting proactive. I am not quite sure how this interconnectedness works, but it is certainly worth a try, in case it makes a difference.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Seize the Moment

Good Morning: My neighbor Janice works at a near by nursing home. She has a resident there named Vernon who is 102 years old. Janice knows about Mark the Moment and suggested that I might want to talk to Vernon. I wasn't sure where this would all lead, but was willing to try. I went over there this morning to meet him.

Vernon is a lovely man whose eyesight is nearly gone but whose hearing and mind are excellent. He is a scientist who has published several books, so knows some about the publishing business.
We talked and I told him about my project. He made some carefully crafted comments. He told me some relevant stories about his past, then got back on track without me having to move the conversation in that direction. I was enjoying our time together.

I wasn't sure where this visit would be going. Suddenly I had an idea. I talked to Vernon about listening to books on tapes but he wasn't very interested in that. And he sits there for long periods of time alone. Maybe we could assist each other. I asked him if he would be interested in being a consultant for me. I would bring over some pieces of manuscript to read to him. We would then have something concrete to talk about. Even though connecting hearts wasn't his subject, he was very gracious about considering it. I think he is quite honest and very sympathetic so will be a valuable resource for me. I hope we will be assisting each other. We'll take it week to week and see how it goes.

This isn't so much about marking the moment, but seizing the moment - noticing opportunity and a win/win situation unfolding. I'll keep you posted on how this goes. We start next week. The Universe provides again in unbelivably creative ways!

Paula

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Recently I had a friend who was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma cancer. She is a longtime teacher at one of our local schools. Because of the health issues she needed to take some time away from school. She asked for two quarters off in order to complete her treatment plan, think about what was happening and regroup.


The teachers at the school must have gone through some sort of thinking process about her. It seemed like they wanted to support her through the health struggle and the decision to take a leave of absence. There were lots of teachers and how would they do this?


My friend told me about her last day at school - how she was called into the office at the end of the day via loud speaker. When she arrived all the staff was there, complete with janitors. The group had bought a large basket and every one contributed something to the basket that would feed her, pamper her, entertain her and clothe her. She was overwhelmed, but tickled, at this outpouring of support and concern. She knew the staff was on her side looking toward a good recovery.


I felt this was a lovely and appropriate action to mark this moment. The basket provided a container for all to participate.Each staff member thought about what she might need or enjoy during this time away from school. Each little offering added up to make one smashing basket.


Opportunities for marking a moment abound. Be aware and when you find one, wonders can emerge. Keep your eyes open and savor the chance to create something unique. You can do it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Saint's Day

Yesterday in church, we celebrated All Saint's Day - where we honor those who have passed on this last year. Although there is a long tradition of this celebration world wide, our country has not embraced this holiday. Have you ever received a Hallmark All Saint's Day card?

So yesterday six small votive candles were placed on the alter. They represented six of our congregation members who had died this last year. As part of the service, a woman read a short bio of each of them as their candle was lit. This isn't an elaborate or complicated procedure, but it touched me as I had known all the people. I was glad to be reminded of their lives and what they had meant to me.

I have decided to take that model and apply for me. I am going to keep a list on my calendar of people close to me who die this year. When next All Saint's Day comes, I will have this list to refer to, put out a candle for each of them in our house, and spend a few minutes reflecting on what they meant to me. For me it isn't gruesome, as death is a natural passage. We all affect each other and I want to relish the gifts these people left on this earth.

This is one small place where meaningful moments are found. They are tucked away in the cornors of our lives, eager to find their way into the world to make our lives richer and fuller. Be aware and you too will welcome surprising, simple, economic ways to celebrate.