Archive | January, 2013

The Golden Rule

11 Jan

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Are human beings naturally kind or intrinsically selfish?

A group of researchers from Harvard and Yale set about to answer this very question. This group, which included, a developmental psychologist with a background in evolutionary game theory; a moral philosopher/psychologist; and a biologist/mathematician, theorized that “the first impulse to act selfishly or cooperatively serves as an indicator for one’s inherent moral nature.

A series of experiments were conducted whereby participants played a “public good” game in one of two ways, one – fast, where they made a decision in under 10 seconds, and slow where they had at least 10 seconds to decide. The findings were interesting in that those participants who had less time to act were more generous than those who had a longer time to make their choice.

These results suggest that our first instincts are to act with compassion than with selfishness. Read more about this research here.

Could this mean that human beings are, at heart, truly selfless?  Does this imply that there could be a way to encourage and develop compassion in people to a level where altruism becomes “the norm” in human behaviour? Can we all live by the “Golden Rule”?

The Compassionate Action Network has posted an article describing ten things that researchers have discovered about happiness. It’s an interesting list of surprising findings about achieving a meaningful life. Take a look at the research here and while you are there you might want to sign the Charter for Compassion to support the creation of a more compassionate world.

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I am grateful for the compassionate people in our world who are working towards peace, love and harmony on Earth. Today, I wish for kindness for all.

Random Acts of Kindness

9 Jan

I just watched a heartening video clip from NBC’s Today Show that aired on January 8th, 2013. In a world that seems to focus on tragedy and bad news, I was happy to see this news byte about a teenager in Iowa who came up with his own way of combating cyber-bullying.  Jeremiah Anthony, 17, began tweeting daily compliments to students and staff at Iowa City West High. He and two of his friends, dismayed at hurtful comments sent to teens through social media, decided to spread a little happiness to their peers everyday.

As the encouraging tweets were read by the teenage recipients (who are randomly chosen by the three friends), the practice caught on and students began to “pay it forward” by tweeting positive messages to others.

We can all learn from Jeremiah’s actions and use our words and actions to uplift each other by noticing and acknowledging the good in our family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. Just imagine what could happen in this world if our encouragement went “viral” in real life!

Watch the news clip here:

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Today, I am thankful for the kindness in this world shown by people like Jeremiah Anthony.

The Bachelor, Gerbera Daisies and a Tea Party

7 Jan
Beautiful flowers and pretty teacups

Beautiful flowers and pretty teacups

I’m still feeling a little “flu-ish”, but  I feel better than I did yesterday, so, yay!!

I adorned the house today with little vases of colourful gerbera daisies today. Brynne brought them home from her work at the corner store — bouquets and pots of cut posies that have been around too long and will soon wilt, but still pretty enough to enjoy for a day or two. Daisies are my favourite flower and the bright, cheerful blossoms gave me a real lift!

The new season of The Bachelor began tonight. This program was one that my daughter, Bailey and I used to watch together. It isn’t really my kind of show, but it is a lot of fun to watch with her and so I guess it has grown on me. Unfortunately, now that Bailey has moved out on her own, it is a little harder to get together for Monday night TV watching. C’est la vie! We are trying to figure it out — maybe we will just have to watch it and text our comments to each other as the series progresses! It might be fun to do that and then chat about it later! We’ll see…

At 10 pm, Brynne wandered out of her room and we made a pot of tea (Exotica – delicious!) and settled down on the couch for a delightful cuppa, an episode of Castle and some chuckles from Failblog (a website of funny faux pas from the world wide web) and a couple of few handfuls of chocolate covered espresso beans.

All in all a delightful evening.

Today, I am grateful for beautiful flowers, delicious tea and a cozy evening of  togetherness!

*Hack*, *Sniffle* and Sneeze!

6 Jan

Ugh! I’m sick! Headache, muscle aches, chest congestion, sore throat… I don’t want to complain (okay, I DO want to complain, at least a little!), but it is definitely not fun to be sick!

So, I’ve been laying low for the past few days… sleeping lots, drinking fluids, taking ibuprofen — you know, trying to make myself comfortable (and less cranky)

However, there is an upside to suffering through a few days of misery — that is if you happen to live with a loving partner who wants you to feel better! My hubby has been cooking dinner (his special chili, with the secret ingredient — I believe it’s red wine, but shh!, don’t tell him that I know), fetching me cold and/or hot drinks and bringing me chocolate and other treats! I know — I’m spoiled, right?

Black & White Chili - photo and chili by Bruce

Black & White Chili – photo and chili by Bruce

This morning, I felt somewhat human, so we thought we would get out the house for a bit, just to “blow the stink off” as he says! We decided to get a bite to eat and wander around the shopping mall (we were running out of cold supplies — especially, chocolate!) We stopped in at David’s Tea to buy some Cream of Earl Grey, Earl’s Garden and Nuts to You. I also spotted the Tea of the Month, which is  Organic Super Ginger — the perfect blend to soothe my irksome cold symptoms.

I’ll be back to normal in a couple of days, I’m sure. In the meantime, I am going to try to keep my “crankiness” to a minimum by taking care of myself — getting enough rest and staying hydrated and it’s a good time to catch up on my reading!

Today I am thankful for a bed to sleep in, warm blankets to snuggle in, and a strong immune system to fight through a cold. I am grateful for caring family who administer TLC.

Reflection on the Day

4 Jan

Today was a quiet day. I didn’t even venture out the door.

I did a little cleaning (the bathroom was a catastrophe!), checked my email and hung out with my daughter. We sat on the sofa, side by side, chatting, laughing, holding hands and watched “Thor” in the middle of the day.

Some might say that idling away the afternoon was a terrible waste. I say that it was an idyllic few hours enjoying spending time with my beautiful daughter. Before I know it she will move out on her own and I will look back on moments like these with joy and love.

Today I am grateful for my two, beautiful daughters. Thankful to be able to spend time with them and to share my life with them.

Sisters!

Sisters!

Afternoon at the Movies – Les Misérables

3 Jan

Today, I went to see Les Misérables [the movie] with my daughter. She was eager to see it, but I wasn’t so sure. I’m not a big fan of musicals and I didn’t know much about the story, and it seemed like it might be more than a little depressing. However, I had heard a bit about this movie —Tom Hooper’s decision to film the actors singing live got me curious so I decided to go along — and it’s not a bad thing to spend the afternoon with your child (even a grown up one)!

This is a powerful story of redemption, among other themes and this film adaptation of the long-running, popular musical is a sweeping, emotional, gut-wrenching motion picture. The cinematography, the set designs, costumes, make-up, the lighting — it all came together to transport the audience to the impoverished, gritty streets of Paris. But it was the acting, singing and directing of this film that amazed me.

Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Jean Valjean was compelling, his voice, as he sang, expressed the range of his feelings as he searched for meaning in his life. Russell Crowe was the epitome of a stalwart police inspector and his voice reflected that iron-clad faith in his beliefs. But it was Anne Hathaway’s heart-breaking outpouring of raw emotion when she sang I Dreamed a Dream that blew me away. The strong supporting cast was superb. Les Misérables is a marvelous, grand and unforgettable movie experience.

Watch the trailer and if you decide to see the movie, bring tissues – you will weep!

A Toast to the New Year!

1 Jan
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote and even though I do not make New Year’s resolutions, I think that these are words that I will try to live by in 2013!

Goodby, 2012! I am thankful for all the love I shared with my family and friends this past year. I am thankful for a year of good health, a year of growth, another year of happiness. I am overjoyed that my husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage in 2012, that our daughters are both happy and healthy, that both our families are well.

I look forward to a new year of joy, wonder and awe shared with family and friends.

New Year Toast

May you have…12 months of happiness, 52 weeks of fun, 365 days of success, 8760 hours of good health, 52600 minutes of good luck and 3153600 seconds of joy.

Happy New Year!

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