Friday, January 29, 2016

me-Harmony - Part One

Last summer a fellow blogger 
posed some very intriguing
questions for me to answer.
Lisa is a witty and thoughtful
writer and I was honored to
be selected to participate.

Instead of the usual getting-
to-know-you questions, many of
these required me to either
comb my memory banks or do
some serious reflection.

Several times I sat down to
type out my answers, and just
as many times, I pushed back.

Who am I? 

I heard an ad recently for
eHarmony, an online dating
service that, according to
Wikipedia, has prospective
members complete a survey
about their characteristics,
beliefs, values, emotional
health and skills, to help
match people's core traits
and values.

Aha, I thought. That's exactly
what Lisa's questions are going
to reveal. But would the
answers bring me harmony, or

It was time to find out.

She'd asked ten questions, but
I'm going to start with the
first five in this post.

{Honestly, the last five will
be harder to tackle. Later.}

1. Aside from your family and
faith, what's a cause you'd be
willing to fight for?

Animal rescue. So many of the
amazing creatures that we share
this planet with are neglected 
and treated cruelly -- both
domesticated and wild animals.  
They are totally vulnerable to 
the whims of mankind.

2. Name a book that has
changed your life.  How?

I just re-read The Art of
Racing in the Rain, by Garth
Stein, so that one comes to
mind first. It reinforced my
aspiration to live more in
the moment and to face with
dignity the inevitable losses
we all, as human beings, will
experience, believing to my
bones that it is not the end,
simply the beginning of a new

3. What's the first car you
ever owned?

A funky, ancient VW Dasher.
It was royal blue with a black 
hood, because the previous owner
replaced it after an accident.
The floorboards were nearly worn
through, like Fred Flintstone's. 
I called it Bruiser! 

4. What's the closest you've
ever come to dying?

At 26 I was mugged by two men
in a Chicago alley. A similar
robbery took place only a short
mile away that same day, but
didn't end with just a stolen
purse. Awful stuff. We put
our condo on the market the next
week and moved to the suburbs.
Our urban adventure was over.

5.  Would you rather travel
to the depths of the ocean or
to outer space?

Although deep ocean life 
fascinates me, I like the 
thought of exploring our
glorious galaxies. Plus,
I'm too claustrophobic for  
fathomless water : )

Despite my procrastination,
I did find me-harmony as I
reflected on Lisa's questions
and finally, logged them here.

But as I mentioned, I've not
yet distilled the last five.

Stay tuned.

Answer all the questions.
Question all the answers.

~ Laurie Gray


PS: How would you answer
these first five questions?
I'd love to know  
{all photos my own}

Friday, January 8, 2016

Setting the Dial

....but reading Pollyanna when I
was nine years old changed my
short life.  That's where I
learned about "The Glad Game,"
which said that no matter what
the situation, a person could
always find something to be happy
about if they tried.  Which meant
I could choose how to think! 
That's a lot of power for a
nine-year-old ~ like taking the 
lid off a jar of butterflies.

~Susan Branch, The Fairytale Girl

Sunshine sparkled on snow and
bare trees danced in the windy
and frigid air outside my bedroon
window as I welcomed the first
day of 2016.

My husband and I had made a
conscious decision that we would
greet the New Year lazily,
sleeping in late and staying in
pajamas as long as we wanted.

Our kids followed suit, and it
was so rejuvenating to have no
schedules or deadlines or to-
do lists for one special day.

Although a good portion of our
carefree day was spent pursuing
individual pleasures, like
watching funny movies or reading
or playing video games, we were
still together under one roof.

I decided the moment I woke
up that it was going to be
a very, very good day.

And it was.

Although I did scrawl a quick
list of intentions for 2016,
the overarching theme for
the year ahead rose to mind like
a hot air balloon drifting 

Every day, {as nine-year-old
Susan Branch discovered},
I can choose how to think.


Will each day be smooth sailing?


Will I ever wake up grumpy or
sick or tired or blue or.....


But I am free to determine how
I will meet each day, including
challenges, obstacles and any
unplanned bumps in the road.

So are you.

Every day we can set our 
internal dials to an affirming
word or phrase, and then gently
hold that inspiration close as
we journey through the unfolding
hours, be they tranquil or stormy.

Where will you set 
your dial?

Let us embrace the coming year
with a living hope for everyday

~ Lailah Gifty Akita


PS:  Dial in with me daily in
2016 on Instagram to share your
own setting! :) #setittohappy

Let's lift each of our precious
 and finite days of the coming 
year like those lofty balloons,
guiding them with positive
thoughts so that they ~ and 
we ~ can soar.

{all photos my own}