Monthly Archives: April 2013

Desert in Bloom

April is so beautiful in Phoenix. Mornings are crisp and cool in the 60s and 70s and the days heat up as the sun rises over the horizon. It’s a great time of year to be here and the warm days are a solid reminder of the summer heat to come.

Enjoy the moment.

Things in our lives change just as the seasons do, and it’s important to appreciate what we have now, as unlike the seasons, we don’t always know what to expect of the future. And while the summer in Phoenix is a challenge for those who don’t like 100-, or 110-degree days, it can be a great time to shift our focus to indoor activities and those inside home projects that we put off when the weather is so glorious outside.

Speaking of change, I have one to share: I decided to accept a full-time job. At first I was concerned that it wasn’t in line with my goals for my life, however, the more  I thought about it, I realized that it doesn’t have to be so black and white. This job will allow me to work from home, which will offer me some flexibility that I never had in a corporate role.

Without a two-hour daily commute, I’ll have more time in my life, and more time to dedicate to my volunteering and my writing business. I know that I need to learn to better manage me to be sure I don’t work excessively and stay focused on the things that matter to me. Not a bad lesson to learn.

The truth is, that while I did get some work, I was starting to get hungry. So my decision makes sense for now, and I can continue building my business after hours. This will give me time to practice balance in my life, and to ensure that I continue to grow. My decision isn’t forever, it’s for now. And I choose to enjoy the beauty of every moment, including this one.

Desert in Bloom

Focus on the Good

Last week started off really badly. I got a stomach virus, and was mostly awake only to heave what little was in my stomach. I had a splitting headache and felt really crappy. Then my laptop died, and I found out the hard drive was fried. Unfortunately I hadn’t backed up for a month, so I lost all of my recent work including two blog posts. I had struggled with writing one of them and finally got it to a point that I was thrilled with it and ready to post. Poof! Gone. Then when I left the Apple Store, shoulders hunched, I found one of my tires was almost flat. So I had an hour to stew in my self-flagellation soup, frustration and nausea. Good times. 

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Perfectly timed, I picked up a book that morning by Anne Lamott titled, “Help, Thanks, Wow.” In this book she talks about these three prayers of “asking for assistance, appreciating the good we witness and feeling awe at the world.” She explains part of the process as “gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.” I couldn’t agree more. My service in volunteering, particularly over the last six months of my “mid-life awakening” have been so rewarding and have definitely changed my life.

So, I decided to take a step back from my current situation to see the positives. Had I not noticed the low tire, I could have had a flat at an inconvenient place and not one mile from a tire store. Ok, there’s something. The laptop is salvageable and will require a new hard drive at a cost of around $175. Ok, it could have been worse. I started to feel better, and thankfully had the time to recuperate and feel better without the stress of keeping up with a job. And while it stinks that I lost the two blog posts, this certainly gave me new material to work on. And who knows? Maybe I’ll rewrite the other two and they will be even better than before.

That’s more like it!


There’s always different ways of looking at situations. It’s hard when we’re in the middle of the “ick” to take that step back to see the positive, but that’s especially when we need to.

 Help. Thanks. Wow.

The Value of Money

I’ve been volunteering with Hospice of the Valley for a few months now. My first experience is with a dementia patient with Alzheimer’s. I’ve never known anyone with dementia, and wasn’t sure what to expect, even with the training that I received before I started volunteering.

My experience has been well beyond any expectations. She is such a wonderful lady, and her family is pretty amazing too. They have been dealing with this awful disease for several years now, and all of the kids are pitching in where they can to help out. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and a true honor to be a part of it.

I got an unexpected call from their daughter-in-law a few of days ago, and picked it up right away with some concern. The call was nothing to do with my patient, but instead, an invitation to Easter dinner! She said that I’m a part of the family and that they wanted to invite me over to join them for the holiday.

I was awed and so incredibly honored. Here I am, a volunteer who visits once or twice a week. I don’t really do anything beyond spending time with and keeping an eye on my patient to make sure everything’s ok. It gives her husband and caregiver some time where he can get out of the house and run errands, so he’s appreciative, but to me, the few hours hardly seems like anything at all. And they invited me over with the entire family to join them for Easter dinner. Wow.

People, myself included, tend to place a lot of value in money. Money often dictates the value or worth of things. As a volunteer, I’m not paid and only spending my time to hopefully bring some comfort to my patient and her family: to help ease their burden of not only keeping her safe, but watching her slowly deteriorate.

Piggy bank

What Money is

Money is the currency that we use to purchase things. We trade money for the items and services that we want, and that we need.

What Money is Not

True value is not derived by the cost of something, or by what someone is willing to pay, but in how things make us feel.  It is not proof of worth, it is not esteem, it is not proof of success. It is money, which is used to barter for things and services.

As I build my new life, of course the income that I derive from work has some importance as I have bills to pay. However, what is the value of money for me? It’s no longer equal to my self-respect, my esteem and my belief in my success. It’s purely to purchase what I need or want.

The reward that I get from the work that I do helping others: priceless.