I stayed at home to work today and was pleasantly surprised when my husband and daughter walked in with my favourite flowers for my veranda pots. I didn’t even think they’d remember what I like. They added yellow and pink to the palette and I can’t wait to get them transplanted. Now we have orange symphony, lemon symphony and sweet blue sunrise, which is pink. 

A symphony of colour waiting to blossom in abundance on this overcast May Day. 

In the hurry of getting things done it’s important to stop and appreciate the little things that happen, to take time to say thank you for, adding a symphony of colour to my day. 

Maybe having to work wasn’t so bad after all.  I’m grateful, thank you. 

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Being a mom is an interesting path to walk at the best of times. We joke that kids don’t come with a manual and it’s true. No matter how well read you are, how trained you are, even with all the skills and patience you bring to the task, there’s still a lot of trial and error and just plain luck involved.

I think most mother’s really do want the best for our children. Sometimes, I admit, we make mistakes and miss the mark. It can range from simple to complex. We’re  a little over protective, maybe we make too many choices for them. For the most part we all work it out and over time our relationship, we hope, grows stronger. Unknown-1 As I saw mother’s day played out on social media I realized that there is truly a huge range of emotions and experiences that transpire around this celebration. Within my own group of friends and news feeds, the joy and beauty was truly apparent. Right along side of it, with the same intensity was grief and anguish.

There were mothers who lamented children no longer alive to celebrate this special day with them. A hole left in their lives that will never be filled.

Loving daughters and sons who didn’t look forward to the day because mom was no longer with them to celebrate. It didn’t matter if the loss was recent or decades ago. An old wound was reopened.

Moms who feel aching loneliness, lamenting their children’s indifference over outdated misunderstandings. Grandchildren who  only know stories but not grandma’s warm embrace. The absence of celebration or the pain of loss while celebrating the joys that remain.

Mothers separated by vast distances from their children, connecting through technology that didn’t exist when the mothers were their children’s age. Not the same as sharing the same space but so much better than the alternative.

Grown children who were certainly babes in arms a short time ago, towering over mothers in loving embraces. The smiles and joy spilling from the page and into my heart.

What became clear was that Mother’s Day was different for each mother, as different as each of our children are. What remains constant is that each mother and each child no matter how old, how far away or estranged, is in someway moved. The bond, no matter how strained or strong is marked somehow, whether it is visible or invisible, acknowledged or not.

My mother is aging faster than I’d like to admit. I know that my time with her is limited. Time goes by too quickly, we never know just how much we have.  One of the biggest things people say they wish they would have done differently was to have forgiven someone, or to have said “I love you.” more. I was reminded of this even more this year. In which case, there is really only one thing to do.

phonto

It really doesn’t matter who it is, if there’s a relationship to repair, appreciation to show, love to give, choose to do it now. Life life, make memories, no regrets.

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years~ Mike & The Mechanics “In The Living Years”

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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What are you doing today?

Is it worth remembering?  

It’s up to you and only you. Enjoy the power.  

  

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Mother's First Bouquet Photo Credit: J Fries

Mother’s First Bouquet
Photo Credit: J Fries

To all a happy Mother’s Day
And this a mother’s first bouquet
Clutched in a small and grubby  fist
Accompanied by a sloppy kiss
Nothing brings a quicker smile
Than a child awed by nature for a while
Sharing their love in this simple way
To wish you a Happy Mother’s Day
And if this time for you is past
Wishing you memories that forever last.

 – J Fries

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©Jade Beall Photography Charity, mother of 3

Jade posted on FB the other day about a photo shoot she had with a lovely mother of 3, Charity.

Women feeling dissatisfied with our own bodies is nothing new.  The movement toward self acceptance and self love is a challenge for many. The fact that our bodies are constantly changing, especially when we have children, doesn’t help. We have to constantly learn to love and accept differences that weren’t there before.

I know our acceptance of ourselves is affected by external influences and something Charity said to Jade showed me just how important the attitudes of those around us are as we develop our views about our own bodies and those of others.

I also grew up with veiny women in my family and my dad actually has gnarly variscosities in his legs too. When I was a kid, I thought it was normal and liked the way they felt like worms under the skin. My mom and grandma never took measures to hide their veins and no one really talked about them being unsightly, so I guess I just accepted them as normal.  ~ Charity

via Jade Beall Photography.  Click the link to read the entire interview.

“I just accepted them as normal.” Normal, not something to be ashamed of or to hide. Just a normal thing that occurs to varying degrees in many bodies, both male and female. No big deal. It just is.

Just think about the difference that belief makes. No pressure, no feeling bad, no hiding. It’s freeing, it’s empowering.

Think about the influence we as adults have on children. Our actions and our words that we use with little thought are moulding the beliefs and attitudes our children will hold about themselves and others as they grow up.

“If only I could lose five pounds.”

“Why doesn’t she take care of herself?”

“Did you see the size of Mildred’s veins?”

“I’ll just have salad, want to watch my girlish figure.”

“Ah she knows I fell for her long legs.”

“I’d never stay with a woman who let herself go like that.”

“Short hair on a woman is too masculine.”

Laughable except that I’ve heard every one of those things recently said in front of children.

Charity’s family helped her develop a sense of body image that has helped her find an inner security many would envy. Her attitude is evident as she speaks about her pregnancy.

Pregnancy is one of those states of being that changes our anatomy and I’m just so grateful for the gift of bearing this child that I see all these changes to my body as a small price to pay. ~ Charity

As a mother with that kind of attitude, I have a feeling Charity’s children will grow up feeling empowered and learning how to love themselves unconditionally right from the start.

Thank you Jade and Charity for sharing such a wonderful lesson.

Jade is also working on a new project to develop a Beautiful Body Project Multi-Media Story Website.

We are currently building a dynamic digital-newspaper-style website which will be the global media platform to showcase the videos images and stories of the women these photographers & videographers find in each of their countries, forming a cohesive yet diverse body of work unlike any existing media platform available today, dedicated to truthful images and inspiring stories of women about topics that aren’t often explored in mainstream media: birth, breast-feeding, living with cancer, miscarriage, loss, eating disorders, self-harm, sexual abuse, and beyond as a way to illuminate hope with the larger goal of building healthy self-esteem in current and future generations of women!  ~ Jade Beall

If that’s a project you see the value in follow the link to see how you can be a part of making the vision a reality.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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from 7 Cups of Tea

from 7 Cups of Tea

Sometimes you just need to talk and all you want is someone to listen. No advice, no judgement, just a sounding board, an “active listener”. Sometimes those listeners are very difficult to find. We all know how satisfying it is when we feel heard. So exactly how do you find a good listener right when you need one? A cup of tea might just be what you need, maybe even 7.

7 Cups of Tea was shared with me a while ago and it just sat, simmering in my pile of things to go through until today. 7 Cups of Tea was created by Glen Moriarty for people who just need someone to listen to them. Their site explains:

“We connect you with a compassionate, trained active listener through our secure network. You also have the option of anonymous chat with a therapist for online therapy or free counseling online. Whether you want to chat about life, love, stress or just talk about your problems, we have an active listener or online counselor for you to vent to via anonymous chat.

7 Cups of Tea respects your privacy. Our bridging technology lets you connect one-on-one to a listener while remaining completely anonymous.”

An article on CMXHub explains how it all got started in 2013.

“A little over a year ago, Glen got the idea to start the business from a conversation with his wife. He realized that having a reliable, active listener was a rarity and he wanted to make this gift available to everyone around the world. Glen said he hit the ground running: “We presented at Start Norfolk and we were covered in the local paper. That’s when we met Sheila.” Sheila Swanson, a military wife who has listened to other spouses for a living, became their first listener soon after. Today, she works on staff as their community manager alongside their Director of Community Development, Laura Small.”

So if you could use someone to listen to you, you might not have to search as far as you thought.

Maybe you don’t really need to talk, but you’re a great listener. There might be a volunteer position waiting for you then. 7 Cups of Tea can’t exist without the 17,000 trained volunteers who do just that, listen. It’s a community passionate about helping each other out – lending a much needed ear right when it’s needed the most.

Disclaimer:  Rise Like Air is not affiliated in any way with 7 Cups of Tea and accepts no liability for the content of 7 Cups of Tea website, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

© 2015  JFries / Rise Like Air

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riselikeair:

Over the last few months I’ve come to know some of the homeless people of Canada through they eyes and writing of Dennis Carduff. His chronicling of everyday life has allowed many of us an insight into life on the streets that we otherwise would likely never have experienced. We’ve come to feel for them, hope for them and care about their stories. The loss of Joy has touched people many walks of life, people she never even knew existed. It feels like we’ve lost a friend.

Dennis continues to tell their stories with dignity, caring and humanity. Joy, you will be missed, you have not gone unnoticed. Respectfully, thank you Joy, and thank you Dennis for helping me to see life through different eyes.

Peace.

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Originally posted on Gotta Find a Home::

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womanbox

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29 April 2015

Bearded Bruce was using the pay phone. I waited for him to finished. He said, “Hey boy, it’s good to see you. It’s been a couple of months now. It was a brutal winter.”

I said, “I’ve been looking for some of my friends. Markus, I talked with yesterday. I’ve met with Magdalene and Native Nance. I’ve seen Greg and Luther. Little Jake I’ve talked to on the bus.”

“You won’t see Jake for a while. Three days ago was check day.

“We’re still around. I pan on this corner then move on to the next block later on. I’m just waiting to hear about some work”

I asked, “What kind of work will you be doing?”

“Landscaping, the same as last year.”

I remembered that Weasel and Bruce shared that job last year. I didn’t want to mention that sad topic.

“Yeah, I’ll be…

View original 492 more words

Sunglasses in Sand from Image4world.com

Sunglasses in Sand from Image4world.com

We’re always looking for positive stories to showcase kindness, and all the good stuff that fills our world but sometimes we miss in the onslaught of busy-ness and bad news.

Sometimes, I forget that those stories don’t have to come from far off places or people I don’t know.

The other day my niece Mariah shared on Facebook an experience she had. It reminded me that not only do wonderful things happen right here every day, but that “kids now a days” and young adults are pretty awesome. As in most circumstances, you see what you look for. It’s a good reminder to look for what’s good, because you’ll find it.

Her story was brief, just one of those simple status updates people on FB tend to make. She was on her shift at a large grocery store. I’m pretty sure it was a fairly normal, uneventful shift. The normal greetings, scanning items, smiles and thank yous.  Maybe a grumpy customer here or there but nothing really out of the oridinary.

So tonight a family came through my till that was obviously on a very tight budget for their groceries. They were carefully watching their total as I rang everything through. When they hit their limit, the first thing to go were the little sunglasses their 2 sons wanted. When they started tearing up and the parents said they couldn’t afford them, I felt so terrible. I asked the parents permission, and then I bought them their sunglasses. The looks on those boys faces tonight were priceless.  – Mariah

It brought joy to my heart and a tear to my eye. It’s not that unusual, unfortunately, for people to have to make tough choices when they are shopping. One of the hardest things a parent ever has to do is say “no” to something like this because they simply can’t afford it. It happens every day.

It makes me feel so good when I hear about someone taking the time to help someone out, whether monetarily or otherwise. I know Mariah has her own financial obligations and it’s the selflessness of the story that made me smile.

I hope the boys remember the kind cashier who made it possible for them to go home with the sunglasses they had chosen. I also hope that when they have the opportunity they will create their own ripple of kindness.

Thanks Mariah for making a positive difference, and setting a great example for all of us to follow.

If you ever doubt what a bit of kindness can do…

If you feel inspired, don’t waste it… do something kind… right now… the opportunity is right in front of you.

© 2015  JFries / Rise Like Air

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riselikeair:

“ ‘Normal’ is just a euphemism for being accepted but acceptance and inclusion are not about having things in common, they’re about the personal decision to see the good in people. ”

This blog is a breath of fresh air. Just one more look at labelling and judging. Do you fall into the trap of discerning “normal”? Time to rethink it.

Originally posted on Breathe This Life:

quote-the-only-normal-people-are-the-one-s-you-don-t-know-very-well-alfred-adler-1465

There I was, nervously standing in the junior high cafeteria lunch line, cash in hand, waiting for my turn to pay. Adam Sandler’s “Lunch Lady Land” played in my head.

Focus, Tom!

I had three minutes between picking up my food-tray, paying for it and finding an open seat. But an empty seat doesn’t make it open, as I soon found out. “Think fast, Tom!” My eyes darted around as I attempted to lock eyes with a friendly face. I had one chance get it right and a miscalculation would mean public rejection, a ruined reputation, embarrassment and hurt feelings.

There! I saw my buddy Chad and slowly meandered to his table but as I laid down my tray, I was assaulted with a sudden onslaught of questions and insults. “Why are you sitting here?” “Who wants you here?” “Name ONE person at this table who is your friend.”

Frantically…

View original 954 more words

We all have tendencies to judge.  I know, it’s natural. It’s about being aware that we’re judging, realizing we might not actually see the whole picture or know the whole story.  Once we acknowledge that we’re better able to tease the “facts” out and make better decisions.  Often our initial labels and judgements are proven to be less than accurate.

A friend passed a video on this morning and in just a few minutes, it proves the point oh so well.  Don’t be too quick to judge.  And don’t forget, other people judge us too quickly too – so don’t let their labels and judgments define you. Don’t let it become a battle.

Be you.

That’s who you are.

And no one, not a single other person, not even your identical twin can be a better you than you

Not by far!

And that is truer than true.

The video is a collection of Ameriquest commercials which tackles the subject of judgment in hilarious fashion, which in our opinion always drives the point home better.

Remember.  “Don’t judge too quickly. We won’t.”

If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilites the benefit of the doubt?  David Sedaris

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.  From: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Please note:  Rise Like Air is not affiliated with Ameriquest in anyway and makes no endorsement for or judgement against the corporation.

© 2015  JFries / Rise Like Air

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