A World of Estrangement Led to Serenity…

All of us know Complaining Jacks and Joyous Johns. They go to a ball game together and John loves the seats and Jack complains they are uncomfortable. John loves the food and the beer and Jack complains the hot dogs are cold and the beer is warm.

Jack’s complaints are justified. The hot dog wasn’t hot enough and the beer was warm. What all the Complaining Jacks and Criticial Craigs don’t realize is that negativity exacts a price that no healthy person can afford to pay. We tend to think of negativity as the tendency to criticize, blame, hate, fear, or be depressed as a psychological disposition… Here’s a thought, what if you viewed negativity as a spiritual disease? The understanding of what negativity really is and how it operates is crucial to dealing with this plague. While one is engaged in the act of criticizing he or she is confined to a World of Estrangement, like a prisoner in a cell. Negativity creates a world of estrangement and there is no love or joy in that world. Fault-finding, blame, resentment, hostility and anger are the plane tickets that land us in the World of Estrangement. Some of us have taken up permanent residence there and those that have are destined to suffer from poor health both physically and mentally. Living in the World of Estrangement, the State of Negativity, is equivalent to living atop a nuclear-waste disposal site. Why would any intelligent person stay there? Why wouldn’t they just move out? After all, the World of Estrangement charges its inhabitants an exorbitantly high rent.

It seems as if people just get stuck and can’t seem to get themselves out once they are dug in so deeply. My friend Jacqueline was one of those Complaining Jacks until recently. She told me she got sick and tired of being sick and tired and decided she needed to make a change before she wound up either in a psychiatric ward or the cardiac unit.

Jacqueline told me she had to let go of her long-held resentments, her cherished grudges, her precious claim to be the innocent victim of someone else’s wrongdoing. She proclaimed that she was the rightful owner of those legitimate gripes but soon learned that the gripes owned her and were literally destroying her. The key to her success she told me was her Serenity Necklace. I found it hard to believe that something materialistic had the power to change her so drastically. She told me it wasn’t actually the necklace which she bought from Rush Industries but it was prayer that is etched on the Serenity Prayer Cross Pendant. “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference…”

I am so happy Jacqueline found her serenity. She is a different person and I am so happy to spend time with her now. I now call her Joyous Jackie!!!

The 5 Steps For Magnificent Interior Hawaiian Foliage!

I went to Hawaii on my honeymoon and fell in love with Hawaiian Peacock Jasmines. When I was pregnant with my third child we moved to the suburbs and all I wanted was to plant a garden full of my favorite plants. Unfortunately, I found out that Peacock Jasmines can only be grown outdoors in warm, tropical climates. I don’t think New York is a warm, tropical climate, do you??? Ha ha, far from it… I was so upset but in the scheme of things, this was not catastrophic, simply a small annoyance. I searched the web and found the plants at Rush Industries and discovered that they work very well as houseplants. I was so ecstatic – little things tend to make me happy. I couldn’t wait to bring them home and fill my home with masses of snow white flowers and the sweet scent that I fell in love with in Hawaii. My house looks so beautiful. In case you are interested in planting some yourself, follow these 5 easy steps:

Step 1
Place the plant where it will get plenty of bright light, but not directly in a window where it will get hot afternoon sunlight. Although the plant can grow in partial shade, it will produce fewer blooms with less light.

Step 2
Keep your peacock jasmine in a warm room. Temperatures ranging between 80 and 90 are best, with nighttime temperatures between 70 and 80. Keep the plants away from cold drafts. If the nighttime temperatures in your house drop below 60 degrees, the plant will temporarily stop blooming.

Step 3
Always allow the top of the soil to dry out, and then water it deeply and let the water run through the bottom of the pot. Remember to never allow the bottom of the pot to sit in water. Your plant will also benefit from a misting of room temperature water on dry winter days.

Step 4
Prune your peacock jasmines between November and January when the plant isn’t blooming. Clip off only enough to keep the plant the desired size and shape. Make sure to remove dead leaves as needed. Don’t forget to provide your plant with a wire hoop or trellis to climb on.

Step 5
Lastly, fertilize your peacocks after pruning, and again two to three times spread out evenly during the year. Always be sure to use a good quality liquid houseplant fertilizer.

I had a small dinner party a few weeks ago and decorated the table with beautiful leis I created from my plants. I was hoping to post some photos but had some issues with my camera. I will post them as soon as I can. By the way, I am also in the process of making perfume from the plants like they do in Hawaii. I will let you know how it turns out. I may have a new business in my future. One never knows. In the meantime happy planting and ALOHA!

Freedom From The Bondage Of Resentments

My friend Christa shared this with me: “…Sanity is living with the present, insanity is living from the past.” What a powerful, interesting statement! Christa is a recovering addict, in other words, according to her: “We are never recovered, we may be recovering or in recovery but it is a forever, ongoing process. In fact, saying I am recovered can be dangerous. I must always remember, yesterday I was an addict; today I am a recovering addict but that can only be true if today is lived fresh. For me that is following the steps of the program. In order to get to the point I am at today, I needed to stop living from the past because that kept me living a life of insanity. For today, I can say that I am sane because I am living with the present. I have learned to forgive and let go of my resentments that kept me in bondage.”

I was quite impressed with the way Christa spoke and worked the program. I needed to learn more about how she got to the point where she lived and breathed recovery. She told me about a relationship that changed her:

“Believe it or not, dear girlfriend, the heart knows best… My heart was bleeding and I was in so much pain from a toxic relationship with my brother Phillip. Our relationship hurt so much, it was all consuming then a miracle happened… We both changed our attitudes, we put Higher Power between us, since then we have opened up to possibilities. It freed me from my resentments that kept me in bondage and defined me in the past. I now have a companion on my spiritual path whom I choose to call God. My brother and I let each other be and enjoy our time together; one of many blessings. I have let go of the insanity from the past; the physical, sexual and emotional abuse we both suffered and made a decision to allow my Higher Power to guide me. Our relationship is not perfect but no longer toxic and we are now best of friends. I have a Black Cross Pendant from Rush Industries and I bought an identical one for him to celebrate our renewed spiritual connection. Thank you God and thank you Phillip for coming back into my life! I love you dear brother…”

Cancer & A Positive Outlook!

I recently went to visit my dear friend Pamela who just completed a round of chemotherapy for stage 4 breast cancer. I have known Pamela for many years and she is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met. Here’s a brief inside look at what an incredible woman she truly is:

“When I was first diagnosed, I was absolutely devastated. I was too numb to even think what about I needed to do to manage the stress and anxiety that naturally comes with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I found myself feeling very lonely dealing with the feelings and changes I was about to undergo even as I was surrounded by loving and supportive people. I found that talking to others in a similar situation was the first step in helping me cope with the uncertainties ahead. I began to truly feel my feelings and almost crumbled. I felt a tremendous loss of control and unwanted feeling of aloneness and was afraid I would lose hope. In my new circle of friends I found the strength to look my cancer straight in the eye and tell her “I AM GOING TO BEAT YOU!” My zest for life began to come back and I gained a positive attitude toward my illness and was ready for the fight. My group became my lifeline to information, support and encouragement through good times and bad. We celebrated one another’s recovery and we mourned many losses but we did it together.

The key to my recovery came when I was willing to see everything that happens to me as an opportunity to learn a lesson and grow. When that key turned life began to feel so much better and today I can tell you that it is better. I recognize that suffering is self inflicted and if I cannot change my circumstances, I can always change my attitude. My new attitude allowed me to break free from the fear and empower myself for what was certainly going to be the most difficult challenge of my life. For today, I am so grateful and I try to live each and every day as if it may be my last but I have a feeling I will be here for a very long time to come.”

I found the perfect gift for Pam. I bought her a What Cancer Cannot Do Keychain. The keychain is inscribed on the front with “What Cancer Cannot Do” and the back says: “corrode faith, shatter hope, destroy peace, silence courage, invade the soul, steal eternal life, conquer the spirit, cripple love, kill friendship, suppress memories”.

Pamela, thank you for sharing a glimpse of your journey. I am sure you have touched many souls… God Bless You!!!

The Oscar’s And A Magical Faux Pearl Necklace

Did anyone watch the Oscar’s last weekend? I love watching all the glitz and glam and especially love the preshow fashions. I don’t know if you had a chance to see Silver Linings Playbook but if you didn’t, I suggest you go this weekend. Besides Bradley Cooper who is oh so adorable, check out the new “IT” girl in Hollywood – Jennifer Lawrence. She won best actress Sunday night for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. Not only was she spectacular as the girlfriend of Bradley Cooper who played a young man with bi-polar disorder, she is absolutely adorable and charming in person as well.

Sorry for going off topic a bit but not only did this film make a star out of Jennifer Lawrence, more importantly it brought the issue of mental illness into the news in a positive light. There is so much stigma attached to mental illness and unfortunately it is a topic many people brush under the rug. It is time we break the stigma and realize that people with mental disorders deserve the same type of treatment as if they had diabetes, heart disease or cancer. I apologize again for going off topic but I feel very strongly about this and want to advocate for those less fortunate than us…

Back to topic…. My friend Rise had the opportunity to sit next to Jennifer Lawrence at one of the after parties. Rise said she has a likeability factor that goes through the roof. She said they became fast friends and exchanged email addresses and cell phone numbers as well. Did you notice the beautiful necklace Jennifer was wearing with her knockout dress? Well Rise couldn’t keep her eyes off of it and told Jennifer it was smashing. Believe it or not, Rise was wearing a Faux Pearl Necklace and Jennifer non-challantly took off her diamond necklace and replaced it with Rise’s Faux Pearl Necklace. Rise was absolutely flawed. She couldn’t believe that actually happened. She was pinching herself all night to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. When you see the paparazzi’s post Oscar pictures you will notice Jennifer’s Faux Pearl Necklace from Rush Industries which by the way, looked much better than the diamond necklace. The diamond necklace seemed to get lost on her neck with the gown she was wearing. The Faux Pearl Necklace was much more substantial and the blueish grey and pewter tones brought color to her beautiful face and she looked absolutely magical.

Jennifer, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for our new superstar who seems to rewrite the rules for Hollywood in charming ‘Jenlaw’ style!

My Meaningful Religious Ring

“Cherish your human connections – your relationships with family & friends” – Barbara Bush

Did you know that our human connections help keep us from isolation. “United we stand, divided we fall”. I was a witness to a miracle last weekend. My son celebrated his 3 year anniversary of recovery and the whole family was present. The feeling of love & spirit filled the room to such a degree that it sparked many emotions beyond my wildest dreams. It was something so beautiful that its hard to describe unless you experienced something similar. We have been through some very turbulent years and have had to detach for long periods of time in order to save my own sanity. Not only did I detach from my son, I detached from many friends as well who were not able to be there for me in my time of need.

Initially when I detached, I detached in an unhealthy manner, sometimes with anger, sometimes with fear. The anger, led to loneliness and isolation. Until I found my way to the rooms of 12 Steps I was lonely and broken. I have found many new friends in fellowship who I have learned to trust and count on any time of day or night.

I had the pleasure and honor of presenting my son with his 3 year coin last weekend. There was not a dry eye in the room. Many people shared about how lucky my son is to have his mother, father, siblings and even grandparents present. I told my son how proud I am of his accomplishment but I also thanked him for my recovery. If it wasn’t for his struggle with addiction, I never would have walked into a 12 step program and found my own peace, serenity and a new way of living.

At the end of the meeting my son surprised me with a Religious Ring from Rush Industries. The ring is inscribed with “Faith” on the top with a small CZ to dot the “i”. He said: “Mom, I couldn’t have done this without you. At first, I stopped using for you, then I discovered that I needed to do it for ‘me’. Until I turned my fear into faith, I couldn’t recover. Thank you for being you and for always being there for me and having faith that I would find my way. I am so grateful we were able to mend our relationship. I will always cherish my connection with you Mom! I love you.”

My broken heart has finally healed…

We surround ourselves with the ability to serve others. It’s all about love, peace, courage, serenity & faith. Let love, light and peace surround you today, tomorrow and forever…

A Nurses Prayer Pendant For A Dedicated Army Nurse

When most people envision a nurse, they likely picture someone in a white uniform, administering medication or injections at the doctor or in the hospital. We rarely think about the nurses on the front lines, risking their lives with our men and women in uniform. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Kathleen, an army nurse who had recently returned from Afghanistan.

Kathleen: “Many of my friends who I went to nursing school with are deployed all over the world, participating in humanitarian missions, and supporting the Global War on Terror. We stay in touch via skype and help to support each other mentally as our jobs are quite taxing physically and emotionally. My patients depend on me and trust me to provide compassionate and proficient care always, day and night. I nuture the most helpless and vulnerable ones and I offer courage and hope to those in despair while protecting the dignity of every individual in my charge. In addition to tending to the physical wounds of our Warriors I address the psychological wounds which are often much more challenging. Many of these men and women often suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from all of the atrocities they have witnessed. I received a social work degree along with my nursing degree to be able to attend to these disorders in the proper professional manner. In addition to taking care of the patients, I am an advocate for family members and communicate with them regarding their loved one’s progress. I am fundamentally committed to provide exceptional care to past, present, and future generations who bravely defend and protect our Country. I love what I am doing and take great pride knowing that I am serving my Country.”

Kathleen and I spent hours together and we became fast friends. She is a very special woman dedicated to her profession and her Country and I am proud to call her my friend. I bought her a Nurses Prayer Pendant with a pink border to show my appreciation for all she does for our Nation.

“LORD, GUIDE MY HANDS AND MY HEART AS I CARE FOR MY PATIENTS TODAY.” Kathleen, you are amazing and I wish for you all of life’s blessings, today, tomorrow, always… Until we meet again…

What You Should Know About Recovery & My Serenity Tree Pendant

My recovery is an ongoing process. I think about the roots of a tree and the need to nourish those roots in order for the tree to grow and bloom. In order to progress in my recovery I must nourish myself as I would nourish a tree in my garden. I have a Serenty Tree Pendant that I recently bought from Rush Industries to celebrate my son’s third year of recovery. After all, I think I also deserve a gift for living through these past 9 turbulent years with him. Our relationship has become more comfortable than it ever was before as we have both learned to become peaceful within ourselves. When someone we love takes the steps to recovery, it is a welcome development and new challenges arise for both the addict and the family. In the midst of this new lifestyle, we must not forget to use our tools of the program. Some of the tools I find helpful are: phone calls, journaling, extra meetings and reading literature. I have watched my son in these last three years return to the young man he once was and we are closer now than we ever were before. I feel so blessed and am so grateful to have my son back. There was a time where I wasn’t sure he would make to his next birthday, that’s how serious his addiction was. Whenever I let my mind go into those dark places, I recite the Serenity Prayer over and over again, until the words are emblazoned in my heart and I believed them and breathe them. That is when I “let go and let God”. I finally accepted that my son had his own Higher Power and he would have to find it on his own or he would never recovery. Thank you Higher Power for nourishing my heart and soul and a special thank you for guiding me and my beautiful first born son to work our individual programs and find recovery! “”God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference…”

Mommy Dearest & Her Multi Strand Pearl Necklace

I love pearls and so does my “Mommy Dearest”. We have recently reconnected after a long estrangement and I bought her a beautiful Multi Strand Pearl Necklace for her 79th birthday to show my love and appreciation for having her back in my life on my terms!
My Mom and I had a very turbulent relationship from the time I was about 11 years old. By the time I turned 21, our relationship changed and we became best friends, BFFs. My Mom was and still is a beautiful woman and has an amazing spirit. All of my friends loved to spend time with Mom as if she were one of the gang. Over the last 20 plus years, our family has gone through a lot of adversity and coping with my family was not an easy task. I had to detach from many of my family members and it was, and still is, extremely painful. I have discovered that there are many paths to self-care with families. Some people I know simply sever connections while others choose to stay connected and learn different behaviors. Others I know have disconnected for a time and then return slowly on different terms. That is the path I chose as I learned to take care of myself, love myself and live a healthy life despite what other family members do or don’t do. I have learned to say “no” when that is what I want or need and to say “yes” only if it feels right for me. I have also learned to detach with love when necessary and to express how I feel without attacking one’s ego. By the way, there is no one or perfect way to deal with members of your family in recovery, it is an individual choice to choose a path that best suits ones needs at each point in time. I have learned to ask God, whom I call my Higher Power to help me choose the right path for me with my family. I have learned to put myself first and foremost and not to forfeit my own self-care. Getting back to “Mommy Dearest”, I am so grateful to have her back in my life and I know she feels the same way. She has many other pearl necklaces but hasn’t taken off her Multi Strand Pearl Necklace and has posted pictures of it all over her Facebook page and on her Instagram account as well. How many 79 year old Moms do you know that are on Facebook and Instagram? Not many I’m sure. I told you she is “hip”! Go Mommy Go! I love you!

Serenity Prayer Jewelry & My Son’s 3 Year Anniversary

Acceptance was the answer to my struggles. I was trying so hard to save my son from his addiction and by doing so, I was simply enabling him to continue using his drug of choice. Trying to change a person or situation we don’t like only results in conflict. The stress caused by conflict creates more stress and more conflict and steals your ability to be open to opportunities for growth and change. I hope I’m not turning you off with my psyobabble but my life has changed so drastically and all I want is for others to share my peace and serenity. If I can change, anyone can. When I accepted my son’s drug addiction as “his” and started focusing on my recovery, everyone and everything around me began to change. I am happy to say that my son celebrated 3 years clean last week and this weekend we will be celebrating his recovery at his Narcotics Anonymous meeting. One of the miracles is that he asked me to present him with his coin at the meeting and say a few words. I hope I can contain myself and not fall apart because it is so emotional for me. I never thought I would see this day… In addition to presenting him with his 3 year coin, I bought him a piece of Serenity Prayer Jewelry from Rush Industries. Until this prayer was emblazoned in my heart, I was not able to accept and begin to recover. “God Grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to Change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” Look within, find inner strength, peace and serenity and watch the miracle unfold…