HELPING OTHERS… even when you feel you have no more to give. You do!


Living on Tybee Island, Georgia for the past eight years has taught me much. Each and every day I learn more and more about: life, people, and more importantly myself. Having gone through the humbling effects of Hurricane Irma the past few weeks has shown me firsthand about the importance of God, Nature, and Man. Without all three working in harmony… we would be nowhere. This natural “cleansing”, if you will, by the first two powers shows that Man alone isn’t “… all that, ”(as my students used to say).

Lately, it appears that with what’s going on in the world a little natural destruction was in order. Who hasn’t been annoyed, and I’ll also say embarrassed, by the Political Arena? In the states affected most by Hurricane Irma: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina,- we have had a diversion of sorts. But this piece is not so much of Politics, Business, Loss and/or Profit associated with this latest natural disaster… but rather of people and how we can be better at what we do and how we do it. Now, we are dealing with mass destruction in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

My state of Georgia hasn’t taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in more than a century (1898) and only four minor storms made landfall here during the 1900s. Georgia’s three worst hurricanes all occurred during the month of August and all came ashore in the Savannah vicinity in: 1881, 1893 and 1898.  So, choosing Tybee Island a laidback, eclectic, and accepting place to live and write was a no-brainer.

I could go to the Atlantic Ocean to walk, write, and pray anytime. Imagine my surprise when after one hundred years plus… we encountered Hurricane Matthew and then Hurricane Irma within eleven short months.   What was God’s message for me and for others.  I was not mentally prepared for what I saw when returning to the island. Many people lost homes, cars, and all their worldly possessions. Huge two and three hundred year old trees with 3 and 4 feet circumferences lay across roofs and streets. Water stood, and still stands, everywhere; the mosquitoes start biting in the early morning hours. I had seen this happening on the television to others, but now this was mine to embrace.

The idea that helping others is part of a meaningful life has been around for thousands of years. Aristotle wrote that finding happiness and fulfillment is achieved “by loving rather than in being loved.” Yet today, many of us seem to be struggling to find meaning by gathering up achievements and often spending so much time at work, the gym, or even alone, that we’re cut off from other people. Have we been headed down the wrong path? (Hmmm. “Path” the word used to describe the direction of a hurricane.) New research is providing more and more evidence that kind and helpful behavior causes us to feel that our lives are more meaningful and discovering what we can do to reap those benefits.

Psychologists have distinguished between two types of mental/physical well being: hedonic well being (a sense of happiness in life) and eudemonic well being (a sense of meaning and purpose in life). Although “happiness” and “meaning” in Life overlap significantly, researchers suspected that helping others is especially crucial to developing a sense of meaning. University researchers have found that having strong social connections, and not necessarily with friends, was important for both our happiness and meaningfulness in living. This has been so evident in the aftermath of the hurricane as workers from many states have come to help and aid those in need. When I thanked an American Red Cross worker for their help yesterday, they replied, “It is my pleasure.”

Does helping others promote a sense of “meaning?”

But, does behaving in a kind and helpful way actually cause us to feel that our lives have more meaning? While it may seem intuitive that helping others goes along with a meaningful life, it’s possible to imagine a variety of different explanations for this. Perhaps, those who feel like their lives have meaning are more motivated to help others or perhaps, some other factor (for example, being religious) causes people to be helpful and experience more meaning in their life.


  • Random Acts of Kindness (RAK s): Feel happier by doing things for others. (They don’t even have to know it was you; it’s more fun that way!)
  • Saying “Hello” and asking, “How are you doing?” or similar. How often do people pass each other in silence or not even a glance?)
  • Loving-Kindness thoughts/ prayers: Strengthens feelings of kindness and connection toward others.
  • Reminders of Connectedness: A subtle way to induce kindness, particularly in kids. (It’s never too early to start kids on “doing” things for others. As they get older they will rarely be the ones with their hands out to get something they haven’t earned.”
  • Encouraging Kindness in Children: Praise kids in ways that make them more kind to others. This is the best of “paying it forward.”
  • Start small. You don’t need to begin with grand gestures; even small ones make a difference, but do something for others everyday!
  • Make your helping count. It turns out that not all types of giving have the same effects on us. In particular, helping others can be especially effective when you can see the specific impact that your actions have. Even someone smiling back at us, who normally doesn’t, means we are having an impact!

Take time to thank others. Expressing gratitude towards others can be a giving act too. When others take time to do something nice for you, making them feel appreciated can help build your relationship with them and make your life more meaningful.

Make our “to do” List shorter. There is always someone/ someplace that needs immediate attention over our own personal needs. Prioritize!

Amazingly, I personally have beaten all the odds.   I am so blessed with minimal loss, but in doing so gained an entirely new perspective on the power of Humans and kindness in giving of ourselves as we join forces and struggle to clean up, help, and encourage those less fortunate.

The Gift of Choice.

Within all of us is the same personal attribute; it was given to each of us at birth… it is the gift of Choice. You don’t have to leave the house or go “on line” to acquire it. It is a gift we give ourselves, but often we are afraid to unwrap it.  Often, it lies unused and unopened. Today, is the day to choose a better life for yourself. 

If there is any dysfunction within your immediate living situation… be it with yourself or a loved one…it is time to remove yourself from that dysfunction.  If you are a minor, then find a trusted relative, pastor, or teacher/coach that you can talk with and give you the help you need.  If you are an adult and are being abused… in any fashion… then it is not healthy and destructive to your being. It can no longer be kept a “secret.”  In the mere admission that you “need help,”  you have made a positive choice.  If you are the one causing the dysfunction to either yourself or to others…today, it stops.  It’s a matter of choice and available to all of us…anywhere.

No more excuses, no more alibis, no more whining.  Choose a better life for yourself or a loved one.  This will be your favorite gift.  Ever.


The whole reason for any experience in our lives, is to call forth a remembrance of who we really are as an object of infinite potential. We are created as… All That Is and All That Is Not.

If we stop trying to control, move past, go beyond, cast out, go above, or run from the possibilities of “negative’ experiences” … then there is no reason for them to control us anymore.  It’s usually the negative experiences that we dwell on the most.

In other words, the instant we realize and accept that everything in our life is equal, then we recognize that we cannot go beyond or move past negative situations. They are part of our life!        I have to work really hard at this. The negative situations are equal to us, since we are infinitely everything.  However, if we let it, that’s an empowering thought.

Hence, we need to become accepting to just let go, (OR, “Let Go; Let God),  as many believe and allow the idea that the possibility of a “negative’ situation” has the potential to happen at anytime! You can become perfectly content with that idea, since you soon realize that every “negative”  situation is created, even sometimes by ourselves, and allows us to grow! Now, that idea I really like.

Magicians often use mirrors to perform their illusions because mirrors reflect a clear image of life making the illusion seem very real; you are unaware of the mirror that the magician is using. When you are the “magician” in real life situations… then there are no illusions…  you see the mirror and you use the mirror as a tool. I like to think it’s the mirror to our soul.

Think of reality as a mirror, then we must change ourselves in order to see the change in the mirror.  For example, if you desire for your hair to change color or style… then you must dye, comb or brush the hair on your head in order to see the change in the mirror. More times than not, people will try to change what they see by changing the mirrored reflection. A famous quote says, “Be the change you want to see in the world” this is exactly what that quote means. When you take responsibility for all of your reality, then you give yourself the power to change anything within your reality. Cool, huh?

We can adopt this perspective into reality, by first looking around at everything we see and hear in our reality right now. Next, close your eyes. When you close your eyes in the moment, you are telling your mind to refresh your viewpoint. Now, open your eyes and look around you again, except this time see everything as if we are looking into a mirror. Everything you are now seeing or hearing is a reflection of the mirror within you.

Everything starts from within and is reflected outwardly. If we don’t like what we see… in any aspect of our life… the reality and negative situation is ours to alter. I’m a believer!


The Bottom of the Third… of My Life!

As one of the qualifying Baby Boomers…I am about to enter what I am calling the BOTT (or, the bottom of the third)  of my life.  I know, good sports’ analogy, right?  I am excited! I know the bases are loaded and I’m psyched. In my head, I am still young, funny, athletic, and bright.  Then I look in the mirror and realize painfully that one fourth of those is gone.  Yup, you know it’s the first one.  Well, three quarters of a whole isn’t all that bad.   I can still remember staying up all night, rock concerts, and mini skirts being the mainstay of my life… as if it was yesterday.  Many of you can share in this.  If you can’t, then you certainly have your own several things that will be carried with you as the fondest of memories for the rest of your life.  When you’re young, you’re cool.  When you’re older, you rule. I made up that phrase just now, but it’s a good one, I think.

For many years, I raised my own children (and many others as well) within my classroom walls.  It was a prideful thing when I knew that it was a job well done.  Now, my adventure(s) will be just for myself and those whom I love.  It is not nearly so important that “everyone” like me in the bottom of the third as it used to be.  It is more important that I continue to work on being pleased with myself and my efforts as a human being. In this third, I still have much to learn.  Each day, I am aware just how Blessed I have been.  True, there are as many lows as there are highs, but I get to actually feel every one.  Hopefully, I have grown from each test and challenge.  Some of my own life negatives and positives, I write about.  It is done so in the hopes that many will realize they are not alone.

I write about things that I believe we as human beings have in common with each other.  It has become so apparent over the years that at the end of our times here on Earth, each of us will have experienced as many days of happiness as days of sorrow. It is dealt to each of us differently and in different periods of our existence, but it’s equality at its best.   In spite of outward perceptions, no one has it all!  When I was younger, I didn’t “get that” but I sure do now in the BOT.  Recently, it was made known to me that what I write is “huge” in other countries.  I didn’t understand why!  But, upon closer examination, I realized that I could say/ write things in America, that perhaps, were not able to be said (revealed) in other areas of the world.  Again, is this part of the plan of my life?  I believe so.

There are so many wonderful people that I encounter in all aspects of my life.  Each one has a different story, yet each has an unseemly parallel to each other.  My heart is filled with such good feeling towards my fellow man and grows with each passing day.  It’s easier to love they neighbor, than to hate them.  People are wonderful and each day I learn something new that enriches me.  My guess is that all these realizations I am experiencing are part of God’s greater plan during our visit here on Earth.

As I enter the BOTT, I do so with strong conviction and solid goals.  I may not look exactly the same, my body may have a few aches and pains, but life is better than it’s ever been.

This is Your Life! The Secret is in the Editing.

This is interesting to think about. While we can’t change the past or predict our future, we can change the present life we are living. We have the choice, every single day, to do what we’re doing and just how we do it. I would love to say that I’m going to “edit” all of the negativity out of my life, once and for all… and live happily ever after for ever. Of course, it’s not that easy. There are real life issues when it comes to living the present. Personal issues, family issues, health issues and… well, life itself crowds the every day agenda. If we could all just do what we wanted to do every day, it would be nice, but that’s not realistic either.

This brings us to a logical question: What can you take out of your present situation to make life more of what you want it to be? Believe it or not, there are even little things you can change to make your world more of what you want it to be. Too often we settle for things as they are, assuming that is how they have to be. They don’t. You have the God-given ability to “cut things out” : negative people, bad places, unhealthy activities and habits, and whatever it takes in order to improve your current Life’s Story. Just as when I’m editing the written word, it’s not easy to cut things out, but it can be accomplished.

This is what we need to do in real life too … edit. When you’re writing your life, you can’t have everything in the story or it gets cluttered and chaotic. What’s important to you? Not what’s important to the people around you, but to you! Give your own story strength of character and integrity of personal choices. You can’t control what others do, but you can control your own actions to the stimulus!

The past may be gone and the future might be uncertain, but we have the power to choose our ” now.”

Positive Practices: really see our fellow man!

Sometimes, I feel tested and confused in life and have a day or two where I’m blue. Luckily, it is rather short lived, but I was in one of those spaces until yesterday.  When I least expected it, there was God’s reminder of my own Blessings. I had been focusing only on my tests as of late.  I call these my selfish times and they remind me to be more humble and accept my tests.
I first saw the homeless man, when I pulled into the parking lot of a large super-store…O.K…WalMart. I have never spent one night without a roof  of some sort over my head.  He was not standing visibly out in the open, where he could be easily seen, but rather off to the side.  He sat on a wooden bench that almost seemed out of place near the large lot…but there he was. At first, it struck me odd that he was not standing closer to where all the cars were coming in.
I was not sure why he had even caught my eye at all, on his remote bench, as the parking lot was busy and I was being cautious.  It was the first day in almost a month where the temperature and sun seemed to be in harmony and maybe he was enjoying it. The man was holding a small sign, which eventually caught my attention; it said nothing more than HOMELESS.    He held it low on his lap.  Perhap, he was worried about Security or local police chasing him away.  It was then I decided to buy him some food and give it to him as I was leaving the parking lot.  Inside I picked up a few prepackaged sandwiches and drinks, got my own toiletry items, and headed back out to my car.
From where I had parked, I couldn’t see him any longer.  Maybe he had left.  When I got closer, I could see that he was still seated in the same spot…in the same position, holding the sign in his lap.   I wondered what I would say to this man. It was difficult to tell how old he was; he was so dirty. His ragged sweatshirt was torn and the soles were pulling off his sneakers, I could see that as I proceeded towards him.  He spit onto the pavement in front of him with huge racking caughs and held up his hand not to come any closer.
“I have a bad cold,” were his first raspy words.  “I’ve been sleeping in the woods.”  My bag of food seemed inadequate, but I handed it to him anyway. I hadn’t seen a full grown man quite that thin in a long time. His blue eyes were direct and he didn’t look away, but stared right at me. Most of his front teeth were missing or badly decayed.  He held such sadness in his eyes, that I involuntarily choked up. We chatted back and forth for a bit. I’m not sure why, because he was totally sober, I asked if he would stop drinking and he hesitated… then nodded agreement.
When he mentioned he had just been into WalMart checking out the cough/cold   medicine and then rattled off the price.. .I knew he was telling the truth about not feeling well.   If I had stopped and asked him what he needed on the way in, I could have gotten that for him while I was in there, but I hadn’t been that inciteful.  It also occurred to me that maybe he was completely conning me. For some reason, he still struck me as sincere.  I noticed a still burning cigarette on the ground next to the bench and asked him to try and stop smoking too.
My own brazenness amazed me!  Who did I think I was asking this total stranger to stop drinking and smoking?  Again, he nodded agreement. He acknowledged that the soft drink would feel good on his throat, but he didn’t know how much of the sandwich he could eat.  I merely asked him that he “try” and felt compelled to mention how thin he was and that he needed to take better care of himself.
As I turned to leave, he called out to me softly.  “Thank you for calling me Sir,” he said to me.  My throat tightened.  “God Bless you Miss.”   No, may He bless you,” was all I could utter in reply.  They were the most sincere words I had said all week.  As I waited to pull out of the parking lot, I gave a final glance in my rear view mirror.  The man was eagerly tearing open the cellophane on the roast beef sandwich.
And all of a sudden…I got it!  There, but for the Grace of God…go I.

So, I ask all who read these words to make a resolve that we focus not only on our own issues/needs, but actively assist others whose station in life is even less than our own. There are so many who need help, now more than ever.

Integrity Defines Each of Us

        I define Integrity as “doing the right thing, regardless of the outcome.”  It is not always easy to do that. Often, we are worried about how others might view us or if they will “like” us. With our family, it is often will they “love” us.  I bump into this one often.   To make it a clearer choice for myself… I usually think about … will like myself if I do not do the right thing?  Then, my path or “choice” becomes clearer.  At the end of the day, the only thing each of us owns free and clear is ourselves; that is both mind and body.  Integrity is ours when we do the right thing for others… and ourselves.

     A few years ago, it was mentioned by one of my own family members… that my “choices” sometimes affected them. That both surprised and saddened me at the same time. We had been going through a period of great change in our immediate lives and it sometimes required that I focus on my own issues and healing … in additon to theirs.  I had erroneously reasoned that unless I was “healthy” in mind, body, and spirit …I would be of no use to them.  So, in order to do that, I had become “unhealthy” to them.  I didn’t see it that way, but they did. All I knew was I believed in my heart that I was doing “the right thing” for them… as well as myself.

     That’s when the light went on!  Each of us feels tested and challenged, some more so than others by mere personality.  We recover in the best and only way we know how, at the time.  Is it always the best for the other people in our lives?  Maybe not.  However, we do the best that we can with what hand we have been dealt.  While I was busy being proud of myself for my own personal accomplishments of not ‘falling apart’ at this new test in Life …they saw my actions/ words as inappropriate.  While I was trying my best to keep it “all together,” for them more than myself, they saw my actions as negative.

     And then, one night as I was falling asleep…Eureka!  At that particular time, I really believed in my heart and soul that I was doing the best I could in that given situation and with Integrity.  But our personal definition of Integrity, and doing the “right thing” may not be someone else’s definition then or even now.   Is there a right way and is there a wrong way of dealing with things in our lives that are difficult?  What I realized…in a moment of clarity…was that our personal ”right way” of doing something maybe someone else’s “wrong way” of handling the same trial or test.

     We must do the best we can, each time, and always do it with purity of heart.  But, brace yourself…sometimes, it may not be viewed as we would like.  Keep the destination in sight. I have to believe it is all seen from above by God.  I personally don’t believed that: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” as the cliche goes.  Good intentions… are always good, even if they fail.  If you tried your hardest… then regardless of the outcome,  you did it with Integrity.  Peace to all.


The Journey is the Destination

Sometimes, we think we are making progress on a personal, professional, or social situation… only to suffer a setback. Although, the events of the setback, seem almost tragic at the time, they are merely bumps in the road to our “perfected self.” Afterall, we are only passing through Earth on our way to Eternity. This thought gives me the courage to plod on… following my own path. Someone might intentionally be negative or hurtful to us. Maybe we are demoted at work or even lose employment. Sometimes, a loved one tells us that they no longer are “in love” with us… or even worse… have betrayed us with infidelity. And how often have we all had to actually hear things about ourselves that we knew to be false? How do we react; how do we deal? It is not always easy, but I suggest taking the higher road.

This does not mean that you don’t react at all… and just walk away without efforts to understand or correct the situation at the time. However, it must be done with Honor and with Integrity. Do not retaliate with nasty words or hasty deeds. I try to follow this practice, but know only too well how difficult it is. If one does retaliate by coming down on the same level as the attacker, it brings nothing if not more hurt. Ultimately, the opposer will forget the incident of injustice and you will carry the burden of guilt in how poorly you handled the test/challenge as it was presented to you by God.

What helps me with negative situations is to ask myself: “Is this the worst thing that has ever happened to me?” “When I’m done here with my time on Earth… how much will this test/challenge mean?” “Does this define who I am as a person. Even the most heartfelt attempts to correct a wrong are not always successful. That makes me see things more clearly. Life isn’t meant to be easy. Sue

All gifts, as well as challenges, in life… are equal!

With the advent of celebrities i.e.:  political figures, major athletes, recording and performing stars coming to the forefront over the recent years…about their own issues of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual…one can’t help but notice that life has some great “equalizers.”  You might be able to have fame and fortune…but then God tests/challenges you in another area or even several areas during your lifetime.

Life is not supposed to be easy; it was not designed that way.

Our Life’s individual ‘tests’ are given to strengthen and improve our inner core.  If we give in or give up on the test or challenge…we gain nothing.  Staying in an abusive relationship  or not saying anything about it within a family allows the abuser to ‘win.’  That lowers our own self-esteem and increases their dysfunction.  When I look back over history on all the men/ women who have made a difference for humanity…it was filled with victories not easily won. Rather, there were personal  battles faught with endless conviction.  We all have that same ability.  We are humans and that separates us from other mammals.  We are able to reason and think and then react!  Ask someone for help for yourself if you are suffering abuse… or get it for another person.  Do not take “no” for an answer.  The victory is there. Courage to change a negative situation is the first step. Sue

This Lent, why not GIVE in place of “giving up?”

As many Christians are at the beginning of the Lenten Season… we have been urged to “give up” something… or fast in reverence to this holy time of year.  It seems almost mundane and often done without thought.  Imagine just the opposite, if during the next five weeks, leading up to Easter Sunday…  we GIVE something of ourselves, rather than “give up.” That would honor God in so many ways.

Giving of myself in any fashion makes me feel good and the recipient(s) benefit too. It is a win:win situation for all. I’m not a saint, I do know that, but rather I see it more like a healing technique that I’ve learned over the years to help myself heal from my own hurtful past. Then, it just became a really good habit that I’ve continued for many years.  We don’t often look at it that way.   You know…”giving” as medicine, but it really is.  It came to me yesterday, that this might be an excellent Lenten practice, no matter what your religion, that might just become a wonderful “habit” after the season of abstaining/ fasting has ended.

      Instead of “doing without” something for this Lent… why not “give” something of yourself, talents, or just do something to make someone else’s day/life a bit better!  Good idea, right?

I know many give in church or to a special organization in financial ways. That is truely wonderful. BUT, what I’m proposing is that we can also give in small ways each and every day and they are not always financial gifts.  Sometimes, what I give is “time.” Sometimes, it’s my “help.” Sometimes it actually is financial help…but most often to a total stranger. In today’s society, everyone welcomes that kind of gift and it is usually much needed. And, as anyone who knows me well, will tell you…I always give my advice. (I let out a loud roar as I wrote that because it is so true!)  But my favorite gifts are gifts that noone knows about… but me… the “giver.”

Sometimes, it’s as simple as pulling someone’s garbage can back up their driveway or picking up the mis-thrown newspaper and putting it by your neighbor’s door. Perhaps, grab a garbage bag and collect trash in a much used area of your neighborhood. Or, take not only your own shopping cart back to the store, but a few others too or maybe pick up that garment or product that’s on the store’s floor, that keeps getting either stepped on… or over by everyone. When we make a point of complimenting someone on a job well done in either their efficiency or thoroughness, they feel good. Better yet, if you see something or someone that strikes you as particularly wonderful or special… say something.  The tone of the entire day will be one of positivity for not only that recipient, but to all they encounter.  It’s the best of passing it forward.

These are random acts of kindness. We do them not for the “thanks” that normally follows each of us doing something nice; we do them because they make the world a better place for others. However, what I guarantee is that IF you choose to be a giver, it will be you who is receiving the greatest gift.  I give you my word.