Does the season make you jolly or stressed?

Does the season make you jolly or stressed?

Maybe it would benefit us all if we changed our tune just a little bit to include, ‘Tis the season to make others happy.’ 

Look around you, who is in need of a little care and happiness?   When our focus is on making other’s happy, we are making space for our own joy and grace.

If you’re not happy, perhaps you are focused on the wrong things. To be happy, sometimes we just need to appreciate and recognize what we already have.

To experience joy, we just need to remember how blessed and loved we are to have a job, or talents, a place to lay our heads at night, loved ones around us, or even a healthy mind and body. Usually around this time of year, we’re figuring out how to get my step-mom here for the holidays. This year she is no longer with us. Be grateful for the loved ones in your life RIGHT now.  Spending so much time with her  in the hospital before she passed reminded me even more of the importance of health.   If you have your health, then you have something to truly  be jolly and happy about.  I’m healthy and I’m happy and I am grateful.  I hope you are too!

Change Is Part of The Master Plan

It is December, the time of holiday spirits, year-end reflections, and the anticipation or regret of the approaching winter weather. If there is one thing that I know for sure, it is that things WILL change.  All you have to do is open your eyes to see change all around you.  There is new construction where once there were trees or abandoned property. Houses once filled with familiar voices and laughter are now empty or new occupants have staked their claims. The trees which once were spectacularly clothed by nature now stand naked and barren, while simple houses are lit and dressed in their best holiday finery.  Even relationships that we had last year have perhaps changed, some for the better, others for the worse.  And if we are fortunate, we too will  have changed! Remember, it’s not the strongest or wisest that survive, but the one most adaptable to change.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” -George Bernard Shaw

“Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.” –Maya Angelou

Change is part of the master plan and is inevitable.    Life will happen, with or without our permission, engagement, or opinion. Our only choice is to decide whether we will grow from the change or not AND whether we will drive the change or let it drive us.  You  can fight it, shape it, or embrace it.  So, why not decide to grow, to improve, to be happier, to be financially secure, to become smarter, to become more virtuous and loving, and to make your mark and make a difference.

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Give Thanks for the People in Your Life

Thanksgiving 2010, the Talley family had a different kind of celebration.  Instead of food being the focus, our thoughts were on giving thanks for the people still in our lives and for the life of a very special nephew, Larry Daniel Talley. Lil Larry was killed after being thrown from a motorcycle just a few blocks from his home.  The graphic tribute below was created by his loving niece Indiah.

Ironically, he was taking a final spin before selling his bike that afternoon, but tragically it turned out to be his “final spin.”  And, at the age of 33, he was laid to rest on Friday, November 26, 2010, surrounded by an outpouring of love rarely experienced while one is still alive.

Make Everyone Feel Special

How was he able to attract over 600 people (some say almost 1000 with those who came and left) from around the country to his funeral in less than five days?  I think, probably because everyone who knew him felt his love for them.  He made everyone he knew feel special.  When you were around him, you knew you mattered to him. We affectionately called him ‘Lil Larry,’ but there was nothing little about him, he always had “big tales to tell, a big smile, a big laugh, and an even bigger heart.   He took the time to regularly connect with everyone, family, friends, and strangers alike.  Nothing was more important to him than family, he loved his family, and we knew it.

Don’t Wait to Show You Care

Why do we wait to let people know how much they mean to us until it is too late?  In the funeral service held for Mrs. Frances Barnes two months prior, the choir sang a song that left a lasting impression on me.  The lyrics, “Give me flowers while I can still see them; say kind words to me while I can still hear them,” still ring in my ears because of their profundity.  I learned similarly profound lessons from the lives or deaths of  Lil Larry, Mrs. Frances Coley, and Mrs. Jacquelyn Lefton.  Reflecting on ‘what we remember’ when a loved one passes on offers important lessons for this life and how we should live.  What will people remember about you?  [View a video tribute of  my nephew Lil Larry’s  life]

I’m Barbara Talley, The Poet who speaks and inspires.   To find more about me, visit:  www.thepoetspeaks.com

You Can’t Attach a U-Haul to a Hearse

I spent the day after Thanksgiving burying a loved one.  During the past three months, I have attended four funerals and four times I have been “forced” or “privileged” to look at the eventual finality of this earthly sojourn and to put this whole human experience into perspective.  Interestingly, there has been at least one preeminent and recurring lesson through them all: in the end, all that there is, all that matters, is love! [Note: Thing 1(Laylah)- in the picture below is the three-year-old daughter of my nephew who died last week,  Thing 2-(French Pope IV is my grandson.]

How Many Lives Do You Touch?

Love is the glue that connects hearts in this life and in the next.  In the end, no one cares how much money you had or didn’t have, what degrees you had or did not have, what jobs you lost or found, where you lived, what you wore, or what you drove, none of that really matters.  No one cares how much “stuff” you have; because in the end, no one attaches a U-Haul to a hearse.  Love is all that you take with you.  The one with the biggest heart wins!  And, in the end life asks a different set of questions: How many lives did you touch?” How much love did you give?  How much did you care?  And more importantly, how successful were you in letting people know how much you cared about them?

Don’t Wait to Show You Care

Why do we wait to let people know how much they mean to us until it is too late?  In the funeral service held for Mrs. Frances Barnes two months prior, the choir sang a song that left a lasting impression on me.  The lyrics, “Give me flowers while I can still see them; say kind words to me while I can still hear them,” still ring in my ears because of their profundity.  I learned similarly profound lessons from the lives or deaths of  Lil Larry, Mrs. Frances Coley, and Mrs. Jacquelyn Lefton.  Reflecting on ‘what we remember’ when a loved one passes on offers important lessons for this life and how we should live.  We don’t control our entrants or exits, or when we take our first and last breath. So it would behoove us to get our houses in order.   What will people remember about you?  What will you take with you?

I’m Barbara Talley, The Poet who speaks and inspires.   To find more about me, visit:  www.thepoetspeaks.com

The Holiday Season Isn’t A Swap Meet

The holiday season isn’t about a swap meet.  It’s supposed to be a ‘heart’ meet, where people connect and celebrate the religious, cultural, or social significance of the season.

Focus on the Season, But Don’t Forget the Reason

Just as it is important to reflect on the reason for the season, it is equally important to focus on the reason for giving.   Many do not give ‘just for the joy of giving’, but instead give as a reciprocal duty or obligation.  Someone gives you a gift and you feel obligated to give back.  In this heartless exchange, no one wins.

When you miss the spirit of giving, little thought is put into the gift itself.  You look for a good sale where the price is reasonable and the discount is huge.  You leave on the full price sticker so that it appears that you spent more than you actually did.  The gift may even be something that the person cannot or will not value, use, or appreciate.  In some cases you may just regift something you were given that you don’t want.

Put Your Heart Into It

When the heart is not in the gift and no serious thought is taken to think about what would make the other person happy, the gift can trigger the opposite emotion.  Instead of bringing joy, it could backfire and make the receiver angry especially if they feel that their gift was more expensive or more thoughtful than the one that they received.  We can avoid a lot of this when we give for the sake of giving and realize that a gift is its own reward.  Radiance and I have a private story about this very same thing.  She went out of her way to give a friend a very generous gift and was very displeased with the gift she got in return.  To this day she calls the girl, “crappy gift giver.’

My humble advice to you, if you can’t give with the right attitude, then it’s probably better to not give at all.  After all, it is the season to be jolly and if you’re not happy, then you’ve missed the point!

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit  my website.
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