Something to SEA: Celebrating SoulSEAker’s First Birthday

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Exactly one year ago, I published my first post here on SoulSEAker, thus beginning my online writing life. Looking back, the year was filled with ups and downs, laughter and tears, but what’s most important is how much I have grown over the last 365 days.

I definitely am still “sea”king my soul. That is something I will never be able to cross off my “to do” list, because I will be continually evolving as a human being until my last breath here on Earth.

I thought it would be an easier process to find who I am and what I am meant to do, figuring the answers would just come. No, sir. By being present each day, by leaving the past in the past and living for the present moment, instead of a final product of who I am emerging, an ever-changing version of myself greets each new day.

And I’m totally okay with that.

The most important lesson I have learned over the last year is to be OPEN. I earmarked the word “determined” to be my word of 2016, but have changed it to OPEN for many reasons. While I have accomplished many of my goals for not only 2016 but also for my 45th year, one thing is certain: I must be OPEN to the new directions on my life map that are continually appearing each day.

What the end result will be I don’t know, but I am determined to be OPEN and to see what each sign, each clue, and each day brings. These new directions will result in a revising of my year and my life goals when the time is right. And when the time is right, I know I will abandon fear by taking a leap of faith and doing what’s right for my soul, my heart, and me. It’s coming. I not only feel it, I know it.

I believe the next year will be filled with excitement, new beginnings, and life-changing experiences because I will put my soul first, no matter what.

I can’t even imagine what I will be writing about or looking back on when I pen a post for SoulSEAker’s second birthday, but whatever I write, I know my soul will be content.

Many thanks to you for sharing my journey over the past year. You are what give my words a purpose, and I hope that I’ve been able to reassure and inspire you. Special thanks to my regular followers C.M., D.C., M.W., R.C., S.T., C.T., M.M., D.K., L.F., S.T., K.C., R.Y., B.K., E.H., D.S., M.B., and M.E.

To help guide my writing, I’d appreciate you taking a brief reader survey, which can be accessed by clicking anywhere in this sentence. It will only take a few minutes and you can remain anonymous. Many, many thanks in advance.

Happy First Birthday to SoulSEAker!

With my utmost respect and gratitude,

Jill

In Loving Memory…

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I never met any of the people listed below.

I have a “six degrees of separation” connection (2 degrees) to at least one of them.

On any given day, I might have been one of these people. So might have you.

All of these humans, simply having a carefree night hanging out with friends and family to escape the grind.

All of these lives cut short by a fellow human born without a soul and nothing but evil surging through his veins.

My stomach has been in knots since I first heard about what happened. I then learned about some connections that brought the incident closer to home.  As newer and newer details emerge, they continually morph into sheer horror. I am numbed, but at the same time, filled with anger, sadness, empathy, concern, and disbelief.

I’m a helper at heart, and there is nothing I can physically do to help in this terrible situation. At all. Nothing.

But I can remember each of these fellow humans, and learn about every one of them. I can love them all, even though I never met them. I can ask for strength for those who lost their daughter, son, parent, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin, friend, roommate, classmate, teammate, coworker, colleague, and/or fellow human. And I can love each of them, too.

I can be compassionate and kind, and try to cultivate humanity by not remaining passive and silent.

Please join me in pledging to do the same. Learn about each of these people. Honor them. Share their stories and their legacies. Be compassionate and open. We cannot let evil or fear win this one. 

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz 24 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

The world is violent and mercurial – it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love – love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love. – Tennesee Williams

This is a time for compassion and kindness, not for grandstanding or for inflicting additional hurt or pain through words, comments, or violence. Comments that make any reference to religion, race, gun control, political party, or anything else that inflicts further hurt or pain are not welcome, not necessary, and will not be approved.  This is NOT the place for it. We are missing the HUMAN in HUMANITY, people! Please…above all else…choose humanity over judgment.

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 6/4/2016

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Hello and Happy June to you! In case you missed it earlier this week, my June newsletter was posted, and the best part of the newsletter was announcing my 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016 challenge that will be held this July. Click here to learn all about the challenge and how you can participate.

I’ve been thinking all week about those who are dealing with flooding, whether in Texas or in France, and hope that my friends and followers are all safe. There was no shortage of news either this week: late yesterday came word that we lost Muhammad Ali, there were over 250 dogs rescued from a local home, people became very heated and took sides in a gorilla versus human versus zoo incident, and the truth came out about Prince’s death (which was what I did NOT want to hear). It’s clear that we need to take care of one another in this world full of self-righteous yet meaningless dialogue.  Instead of bitching about issues or things that happen, let’s reach out to each other in empathy, compassion, and sometimes, disagreement. It’s okay to disagree with the person who might be holding your hand. What matters most is that you have a hand to hold.

A longer intro than normal, so thanks for sticking it through!  Here are some interesting links I found over the past week.

Create! By my friend and fellow blogger Masha – just what I needed to read!

5 reasons Travel Feeds Your Soul – I’m always “sea”king and nourishing my soul…travel must happen, and it will in August!

Improve Your Life With Simple Rituals – by Melissa Marshall at TowerLife. Good advice here…Melissa put into words what I’ve wanted to write for a while.

And on another ritual front… The Importance of Morning Rituals – by Bo Johnson. I saved this link to share with you this week, and ironically enough, Dani from over at Positively Present also included it on her weekly roundup.

5 Non-Apps To Boost Your Productivity – again, good tips I hope to try in 8 days (summer break is coming)…

My Weight is None of Your Business – by Tanya Eby. Excellently stated, Tanya. I’ve gained a significant amount of weight from my medications, weight that cannot be lost through physical activity or dieting. Like Tanya, I’ve struggled with negative comments from others about being heavier.  I also am in my mid-40s and I currently weigh 181 pounds, which is a size 12-14 (sometimes a 16). I’m thankful she wrote this and urge everyone to give it a read.

How to Life Your Dream Life – Maybe it’s not impossible after all?

Free Printable Bookmarks – recommended by Dani at Positively Present

and finally,

Just Say NO to People Pleasing! (again recommended by Dani) – Glad to say that this week I said NO several times, and the world didn’t end, I didn’t turn to stone, and I didn’t lose any friends. 🙂

Once again, think about joining me for 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ this July! It’s going to be fun!

Until next time,

Jill

Very Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 5/21/2016

2016AFDPosterToday is Armed Forces Day, and I would like to thank everyone who has served or is serving the USA.

It’s been a week filled with tissues, antibiotics, and doctors around here as I muddle through with a nasty sinus infection. Any sort of cold or infection I get is usually worse because of my immune system issues, plus the cold/infection, in turn, makes my immune system symptoms worse. One feeds the other, and so on.

There’s an awesome powerboat race in town this weekend, and I hope to go to the parade today and the race tomorrow, provided that the weather cooperates. Hope you find something close to your heart to enjoy this weekend too! The sickness has given me, if nothing else, time, and I’ve been able to collect some good sites for you to check out this week.

Blackbeard’s Ship Confirmed Off North Carolina – pretty neat! From National Geographic

Why You Aren’t Dead Yet – by Michael Hyatt

What Makes a Good Life – from Erin Congdon

Top 50 Inspiration Blogs – so glad to see some of my favorites on the list

I love this narwhal mug!

You Are Free, Like it or Not! – from David at Raptitude.com

The Top 10 Reasons Warchild Should Have Backed Off. Seriously – by my good friend Johnny Utah

Watch Ya’ Mouth – from Joe Santagato. Once you have recovered from the hilarity of this video, you need to watch all 5 Mad Libs Madness videos he did with his brother Keith. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time (and I’ll be honest, I just watched them all again and my stomach hurts from laughing). If you find inappropriate language offensive, then I’d suggest passing on these gems.

and finally,

I’m Taking a Digital Sabbath starting tomorrow, as suggested by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Have a great week,

Jill

PS: Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of “Delicate Tapestries!” See my post here on how to enter. All entries must be received by 7 pm EST on Monday, 5/23/2016.  Good luck!

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 5/14/2016

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Hello, friends, and Happy Day! I might be mistaken, but I think that’s the SUN streaming in my windows this morning! It looks glorious too, lighting all of the leaves up and shimmering off the dew. It is a peaceful and welcoming ambiance today. Just what I was hoping for.

Unfortunately, things around my 50 x 100 feet plot of the world have been a bit difficult this week due to health issues, but every day I hope and pray for a better day. Perhaps that day is today, perhaps not. Suffice it to say I’ve been doing a lot of journaling, and I am very thankful for two very close friends and my family who have provided a non-judgmental ear to listen.

Here are some interesting clicks I saved this week. DON’T, please don’t waste a beautiful day checking them out. Instead, go out there and enjoy. These will be waiting for you later. Have a pleasant week!

Mama, Ducklings Take Annual Walk Through School – this will make you smile!

Abandoned: The Rise, Fall and Decay of Disney’s River Country – for fans of Disney and of abandoned places. Interesting and detailed read. For some reason, I cannot link the article to the entire title, so click on the word Abandoned to take you there.

Wonders of Life: The Sad (But True) Story of Epcot’s Abandoned Pavilion – another one…learned a lot!

Operation Gratitude: With Memorial Day approaching, check out Operation Gratitude to see how you can support our deployed troops.

Listen to 2000 voices sing Prince’s “When Doves Cry” – a moving tribute

These three made me smile the most:

Bartolo Colon Hits His First Career Home Run, and it was Unbelievably Glorious! SO AWESOME for the 42 year old Mets pitcher! Incredible moment in Baseball!

The Cure debut two new songs this week at their concert in New Orleans. Can’t wait for June 19 to see them at Madison Square Garden!

LOVE this new song from Justin Timberlake! I’m normally not one to like current music, but this song has me dancing right here in my chair (since my legs haven’t cooperated all week)! Give it a listen! It’s infectious. I can’t wait to feel better and dance with my niece and nephews to this song.

Until next time,

Jill

PS: I’m working on a 31-Day Prompt Challenge for July. More to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 5/7/2016

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It’s been dreary all week here in New Jersey, and today doesn’t look to be any different. That’s okay, though. Sometimes I like dreary days. It will become brighter this afternoon for me because we will be celebrating my nephew’s 5th birthday. I was summoned to “come over and play” this week by the 2-year-old, and it was the best two hours of the week. The 3 of us played with connecting gears, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Paw Patrol cars, and I had a lot of fun making them laugh by making my duck sound and by hitting balloons into the air. I hope you find time this week to spend time with the cherished people in your life. There’s nothing better than making memories and being with those you love.

Here are some interesting links for the week. Hope you enjoy!

May is Lupus Awareness Month – I will be penning a blog entry on Tuesday 5/10 about Lupus to commemorate World Lupus Day, which will be the only day each year I focus on my illness here at SoulSEAker. If you’d like to learn more about Lupus, please see the .pdf fact sheet linked here.

A Call for Kindness – by Susannah Conway. All women, regardless of your age, should read this.

Dan Pallotta: The Dream We Haven’t Dared to Dream – excellent Ted Talk recommended by fellow author and my friend Mandi Bean

2 Minutes Watching the Northern Lights Over Norway Proves the World is Still Beautiful – by Joe Carberry over at The Inertia

Say It Loud! I’m a Writer and I’m Proud – by Gayle Fleming

Why Do Some People Go Out of Their Way to Help Others – great video posted by No Limits

And Finally…

Even the Obamas celebrated Star Wars Day!

Have a splendid day and week!

Until next time, 

Jill

PS: If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, here’s a link to the May issue.  Take a look, then sign up! You know you want to! 🙂

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 4/16/2016

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Quote of the Week:  If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ~ Buddhist Saying

Another week gone, and at times, it was an uphill battle to muddle through and get what was most important completed. While there are some exciting plans being made and the most pressing deadlines and things on my to do list are being met, at the forefront every day is my health. With extremely active Lupus and Fibromyalgia, I am limited by low energy, radiating pain, slow and weak legs, and extreme fatigue, to name a few. As such, I have been unable to accomplish both professional responsibilities expected of me and many of my own personal goals. My schedule might be full, but my symptoms say otherwise. A crossroad is appearing along my journey, and in my heart, I know the route I will take, albeit it will take some time. The turning point was the instant when “I wish” and “I think” turned into “I know.” I am filled with excitement, calm, assurance, wonder, and even a little bit of fear as I begin to take control of my future and my life, while doing what is best for me and my health.

I only have a few links for you this week, but they are worthy of checking out. I wish you a calm and relaxing weekend, and hope to share more of my writing with you next week, more than just this simple round-up of links.

We’re Only Guaranteed Today, So Stop Waiting for Tomorrow! by Kati O’Brien at Tiny Buddha

Use Your Wings – some timely inspiration from Danielle LaPorte

Spring Bucket List Printable – from my friends at Designer Blogs Studio

Migrating Songbird Fallout on Machias Seal Island – nature is truly wondrous

More Than Just the Man in the Van – I’m now a fan of Detroit Tigers’ Pitcher Daniel Norris

Phil Collins Reshot All of His Original Album Covers for the 2016 Release – timeless!

Three Men Rescued from Remote Island After Writing ‘HELP’ in the Sand – true story!

and finally…

Laugh All You Want – the Shaq brand has sold over 120 million pairs of affordable shoes for kids at Walmart – Not looking to get into a spat here about Walmart and corporate greed, but I think it’s nice to see someone with influence lending his name to help those who can’t afford more expensive shoes. Thanks, Shaq!

Until next time,

Jill

 

Something to SEA: Don’t Miss THIS Opportunity

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One of my favorite television shows is “Cheers.”  The classic story lines, superb acting, hysterical moments, and witty one-liners keep me coming back for more 24 years after its original run on NBC ended. (Sidebar-How has it been 24 years since the finale?!?! It seems like yesterday!)

“Cheers” used to be a staple on TV Land, back before their original programming overtook the classics.  For several years, I could not find reruns of the classic series on any channel.  I bought a few episodes from iTunes, so I was able to rewatch those, but I missed seeing all of the episodes and couldn’t afford to purchase the DVD box set.

Thankfully, both The Hallmark Channel and MeTV started airing “Cheers” again last autumn. My DVR records each and every episode so I can enjoy the show whenever it is most convenient for me.  With my busy schedule, I rarely have the time to actually watch an episode, and more often have an episode playing just for background noise.

However, there are some episodes that are so good they make me stop what I am doing and watch it for the “nth” time.

One such episode is the series finale, “One for the Road.” I watched it last month, and the idea for this post has been brewing since then.  I struggled until now to find the right words that conveyed the magnitude of a seemingly innocent statement made by one of the series regulars as they all said goodbye to each other and to their audience.

“One for the Road” is one of the best series finale episodes ever made, with so much happening on both literal and symbolic levels. For instance, I love that Sam goes over and adjusts the Geronimo picture as a tribute to Nicholas Colasanto (who played Coach), and that Sam exits the last scene by walking into the pool room (which is how he entered the series in Episode 1, walking in from the pool room).

There is one quote by Dr. Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammar) that really hits me in the gut every single time I hear it:

“Time goes by so fast. People move in and out of your life. You must never miss an opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.”

He then goes on to tell his friends that he, he, he…. he trails off, and what is left unsaid is that he loves them all.

Frasier’s simple statement got me thinking.

How many times have I had the opportunity to tell the important people in my life how much they mean to me?

A zillion.

How many times have I actually done it?

Probably never.

Here’s a haunting example.

I was in a very cranky mood the very last time I spoke to my father before he passed away in December of 2014. I let the effects of a terrible day poison my being and my soul.  When I was asked to drop something off at my parents’ house, I was not in the best of spirits.  He saw that I was disheartened and irritated.  He hugged me and said that he hoped tomorrow would be a better day for me.  I left in a huff, choosing to go home where I could mope and sulk instead of spending a little more time with him and my mother.

Two days later, Dad passed away in his sleep from a massive stroke.

Instead of appreciating the chance to spend time with him two days earlier, I allowed the poison from my bad day to infect me, preventing me from savoring a moment that, in retrospect, I should have cherished.

I never got a chance to tell him, one last time, that I appreciated him, simply because I let things that were out of my control overwhelm me.

That was, and still is, a hard lesson to swallow. I know I cannot go back to change that moment, but if I could, oh how I would…

Hearing Frasier’s words last month reminded me of the painful lessons I learned from that fateful day in December 2014, but Dad would be proud that I learned from my mistakes:

  • I will no longer allow the day’s poison to infect me.  I will leave the poison at its source, and do everything possible to rise up positively against its negativity.  I will find the good in each day, no matter how hard I might have to look.
  • I will treat everyone with kindness and compassion, no matter what negative influence(s) might be present.
  • I will cherish each moment spent with loved ones, friends, colleagues, and students, and be present during those moments.
  • I will let people special to me know how much they mean to me. For example, I might write a note or a card to thank someone for their presence in my life.  Perhaps I’ll send a picture with some words of gratitude or share a memory that I hold dear.   My goal is to reach out to at least 3 people per week through handwritten means (versus text, email, social media, or any other form of technological connection).
  • Finally, I will do my best to not complain about things that are out of my control.  Instead, I will take each moment as it comes and deal with the situation the best I can without letting it overpower me.

Frasier Crane’s words of wisdom are as poignant and true today as they were in 1992.

Don’t miss an opportunity to tell the people who mean the world to you how much they mean to you before it is too late…because you might never have that opportunity again.

Don’t wait another minute to change your life for the better by heeding these important lessons.

The time is now.

Start today.

 

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 3/5/3016

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Hello and welcome once again to the end of another week here on Earth.  An interesting week, with one extra day, snow, the return of Scott Kelly to our home planet after a year in space, the beginning of a new month, cotton candy sunsets, the budding of daylilies, and more. Spring is definitely coming, and one of the yearly signs of spring that I get excited for is the opening of a restaurant in my town called Shrimp Box.  They close before the holidays each year, and when Shrimp Box opens, it surely is a sign that warmer weather is on the way.  Another sign, not so welcome, is that free parking in the meters and town lots along the Inlet and ocean, which began November 1, ends on March 1.  But paying for an hour of parking is better than deal with freezing temperatures (at least to me).

As you check out this week’s roundups of interesting clicks, take a look around your physical world as well.  What signs of spring do you see?  I’d love to hear!  Leave me a comment if you’d like, and take note of the small transitions which will usher in the season of renewal and rebirth.

Despite Mainstream Attention, New Jersey Skateboarder Still Remains Ambitious – wonderful post about a former student, Rob Werner, who is taking the skateboard world by storm.  I love following his journey and the fact a student has turned into an inspiration.

Treasures of Ireland: Along the Banks of the River Shannon – by the Palladian Traveler…oh to return there again!

Only YOU Can Create the Life of You Truly Desire – good post by the Art of Simple

15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog – by Joshua Becker over at becomingminimalist

How to Focus on the Present Moment – some practical ways to be present

90-Year-Old With Cancer Chooses Epic Road Trip With Family Instead of Treatment – I would too!

How To Read the 3 Signs Telling Your Purpose In Life – from Time Magazine

What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed – by Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Nonconformity

From the Trenches: Phlogging the Cold War Surf Contest in Asbury Park, NJ – by Eastern Surf Magazine’s founder Dick “Mez” Meseroll (one of my inspirations)

How to Read More – by Austin Kleon

5 Minutes With a Photographer: Alex Strohl – from Artifact Uprising (great company for prints and photo books)

How a Small Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude – by Michael Hyatt

and finally,

Yes! We Did it! 198 Days! – The Curious Bohemian, aka Suanne Elisabeth, successfully walked from New York to Miami. Her journey was inspiring, and I hope to cross paths with her someday.

Have a splendid day!

Until next time,

Jill