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Walking On Snow

There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special.

Carol Rifka Brunt

We had a little snowstorm here and it was delightful! I adore when it snows! I could watch the flakes falling for hours as it feels so peaceful to me. The sounds of snow falling is magical and Buster (our new Golden Retriever Christmas puppy) and I were out in the middle of the night while it was snowing a few times and it was chilly, but well worth it. Because nature’s soothing sounds of snow falling, while the world is asleep, I find amazing. To see him trying to capture the falling flakes was adorable and to witness his first few steps on snow (which he had never experienced before) made me giggle, even though I was trembling in the cold. He, who has a double fur coat, was non-plussed as he rolled around in the snow! Ah, the joys of having a new puppy!

I love this quote as it felt so true, especially when we were out a few times in the snow and as it kept falling, our footprints were erased for the next time he had to go outside. Each time, it felt special! There’s nothing like walking on newly fallen snow! It’s as if you’re blazing your own trail!

I think that’s what our lives are for – blazing our own trails (with or without snow). Taking the time to enjoy those precious quiet moments with those we love, cozy and happily being with loved ones, spending time just being in the present. Noticing all the glorious presence in nature and our world.

May you all have a lovely weekend. Keep your heart lights lit and gather your loved ones together with gratitude in your heart for all of the blessings we have.

Shine On!

xo

Greatest Love of All

This morning I awoke with a song in my head and…you guessed it! It was the Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston. I could hear her singing in my mind and as I got the puppy out and about, I found myself softly singing the song to Buster.

It’s been a long journey to my 50’s as I’m sure it has for yours. But the one thing I have learned is what this song talks about – loving ourselves. It’s taken me a long time to learn to love me, especially after those whom I thought loved me, didn’t. The healing journey through breast cancer and through life’s challenges has been hard won. But I have healed and now, I help others, which in turn, helps me.

When we sit with someone who needs a caring listener, who has an open mind and kindness flows between us, we begin to heal. When we’re the ones who are helping someone else, all of that beautiful healing energy flows between us and helps us to elevate our loving vibrations! So we begin to love ourselves slowly but surely.

I love connecting and inspiring people and you’ve all been so kind and supportive to me. I hope that 2022 flows freely with kindness,love and caring to everyone so that we can all sing along with Whitney and mean it.

Shine On!

xo

Here are the lyrics…in case you want to sing along and really think about them!

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

Everybody’s searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
And so I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago
Never to walk in anyone’s shadow
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me

The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

I decided long ago
Never to walk in anyone’s shadow
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me

The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
Is the greatest love of all

And if, by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Linda Creed / Michael Masser

Celebrating Twenty Years

Flowers from CAngel

I am feeling so blessed today, more than usual, as I celebrate this special milestone in my life. I wanted to share it with you, my friends, since you have been with me for many years. Twenty years ago today, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as you can imagine, I was devastated. My life turned upside down and I will admit, there have been many ups and downs over the last two decades. But I am still here and cancer free today.

I have learned so much over these past twenty years and I have so many loved ones, family and friends, doctors, nurses, lab techs, and even strangers to thank for helping me along the way. It took a village to get me to where I am and I am ever grateful to all of the angelic people who each made a positive difference in my life.

With a grateful heart, I have been blessed with this milestone. I learned so much from having breast cancer that I consider it a gift, for even though it took a lot from me, the life lessons I learned from it are priceless. Hence the name of my blog, The Presents of Presence.

For in being present with what is and what was, I learned that I am stronger than I ever knew I could be. I found inner strength and joy in the simplest moments which might have passed me by, if I didn’t learn to take each day as it comes. The color of a sunset, the warmth of a summer breeze, the amazing gifts from Mother Nature and the new beginning each dawn brings. Learning that life is short and love is the legacy I wish to leave behind when it is my turn to transition.

I learned that people may come and go, but I remain grateful for the good memories. I learned about forgiveness. I learned about healing, physical, mental, emotional, and how the body, mind, and soul work in conjunction. I discovered a deeper sense of spirituality, divinity, and the cultivating of inner peace.

I bonded with others who had cancer and found an incredible connection in helping them. I also lost a few friends I made through their untimely passing from the cancer we were fighting together. They inspired me to keep going even when they could no longer. I found a calling in helping others.

My rituals have evolved over the years to include prayers, quiet moments, a gratitude journal, and increasing my intuition and all of the precious gifts that I was too busy to explore. I have found me over the years, authentic me, the one with whom I am at peace.

I have scars from the many, many surgeries I have endured. I have health issues resulting from what I experienced and I am still checked often to make sure that the cancer remains at bay. Up until now, those check ups, twinges, strange lumps, etc. could put me into anxiety wondering if this were a dreaded reoccurrence come to pass. Perhaps now at twenty years, I will be able to ease that part of me, knowing that I have had this time to continue to heal myself.

The light of love never dims. Our heart lights shine on always and so tonight, as I raise a glass of champagne with my sons over dinner at home, I thank you all from my heart for your kindness, your support and your love. You are a blessing to me and I am so grateful for all of you.

Shine On!

xo

Christmas Will Never Be The Same Again

I realized today that Christmas will never be the same again after our new addition. Our house and all of its Christmas decorations are not in the same places anymore. As you can see above, the furry Christmas tree skirt continues to be askew because Buster loves to snuggle on it. So he does and I’m ok with it.

My sons and I are sitting and relaxing in the family room together while the puppy is in what we refer to as his corral (playpen) nearby. He’s relaxing after having gone outside for yet another romp in the grass, picking up sticks and leaves and carrying them around before we have to open his mouth to make sure he doesn’t choke. It’s like having a baby again, except this one eats things off the ground! LOL

This has been a long year, hasn’t it? Filled with many challenges, but on this day, I am feeling grateful that we are all still here, still healthy and happy. I hope that you are all doing well too. I was late designing the Christmas cards this year, so they are more like New Year’s cards, if in fact they arrive before the new year begins. A little nudge had me hesitant to choose a family photo for the card because I kept feeling as if a puppy were in our future, he’d arrive in time for his Christmas card debut. I am grateful to report that he did!

A golden retriever was not the breed we originally planned to get; as a black Labrador, like the one I had growing up, was our intent. Well, at first it was a husky which my older son had been begging to get for years, but even though I adore huskies too, I have heard they need a lot of exercise and we are not in the position for that at this time. So when we saw this little puppy locked eyes with us, touching our souls and letting us know that he was our new baby, there were no questions. I believe that we connect with our animals and bond through the love. They come to us when we are open and able to embrace what is meant to be.

I will tell you that occasionally I wonder what I was thinking as puppy training is a challenge at the moment. So if you have any tips and tricks, I’m listening and ready to learn!

Shine On!

xo

Merry Christmas To All

My dear friends, it has been a dog’s age since I’ve written and I apologize for the delay. I haven’t been on for quite awhile so I’ve been missing all that’s been happening in your lives. I hope that you are doing well and that all are healthy and happy in your families. Please let me know how you’re doing!

In the meantime, I’ll give you an update in case you’re interested. Our dearest American Bobtail cat Tiffy passed away this summer. She had been an integral part of our family and a beloved fur therapy kitty. Honestly, we were all quite devastated when she began to decline in health, but it was age-related. Tigger, our rescue cat, stayed the course with us, snuggling when we were teary and making us laugh when needed.

We started talking about getting a puppy as my one son has wanted one since he was little. But it had to be the right one for us and even though he begged for a husky puppy, I wasn’t convinced that we would be able to handle that type of high energy. I always believe that animals come to us (and we to them) with the right timing. So I’d like to introduce Buster, our golden retriever puppy who is 11 weeks old. We got him right before Christmas so that everyone would be home to bond with him and to let him acclimate to our home in the best way possible.

Buster

If you had asked me in September if I were getting a Christmas puppy, I would have giggled, but here I am. Life always gives us opportunities to increase our joyful quotient and ours was in the form of a Golden Retriever puppy. So without further ado, welcome to our family Buster!

Shine On!

xo

A Family Thanksgiving

Saying Grace – Normal Rockwell

This image hung in the kitchen at my parents’ house for decades. On the wall, next to the kitchen table where we ate our daily meals because my Mom loved it. Each time I see this, I think of my Mom because it was so significant to her and part of our upbringing. It’s titled Saying Grace. Are you familiar with it?

For me it’s a good reminder that life is what we make of it. No matter who’s watching, we can be ourselves, authentically us, shining on and comfortable in our own skins. We don’t have to conform to the masses, but instead, stay true to ourselves. Counting our blessings even when they may seem small and passing along traditions that are important to us. Quietly, without fuss or fanfare, the simplicity in Saying Grace comforts me.

Do you feel it too?

Life was simpler then I think and many times Normal Rockwell captured that family-oriented simplicity in everyday living. It makes me grateful for the blessings I’ve received and isn’t that what Thanksgivng is all about? It’s not about the turkey, the sides or the pies. It’s about FAMILY (friends included) coming together with love, understanding and Freedom From Want, even for a short time.

Freedom From Want – Normal Rockwell

Sharing the Thanksgiving feast is a blessing that I count many times over. While both of my parents have now passed, these memories become even more precious as time goes by. Our family’s love continues. We are looking forward to spending time together, my sister’s family and mine. To be remembered, to be included, to share with others is priceless.

My wish for you is to have a Blessed Thanksgiving if it is one of the holidays you celebrate. Even if it isn’t, I send blessings your way too. Take a few minutes to give thanks and share your gratitude for what we concentrate on grows abundantly. I wish you Freedom From Want.

Happy Thanksgiving! We are blessed!

Shine On!

xo

Twenty Years Ago Today

Time is such an interesting concept as sometimes it goes by very quickly and at others, it seems to plod along slowly. As with many anniversaries, today is one of remembrance and I wanted to honor those who we lost on September 11, 2001 and those who we lost subsequently because of this heart wrenching tragedy.

Many of us know exactly where we were when we first heard the unbelievable news. Especially being a Jersey Girl and so close to NYC, we felt the fear, the grief and the hole in our lives in different ways. As I gazed up at the clear blue sky this morning while drinking my coffee and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature, I prayed because it was a morning such as this that changed so many lives in ways that nobody could have dared to imagine.

Even so many years later, I am stilled by this anniversary. Does it affect you as well?

One of my favorite songs we sang at church when I was growing up was Let There Be Peace On Earth. While I was sitting outside this morning, the song came to me and the words nestled into my heart. So I had to share them with you in case you feel as if you’d like to sing along.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be
With God as our father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally

Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin 
With me (me)
With me

I’m sending heartfelt hugs to all of you. Please continue to shine your heartlights and share your loving kindness with those around you. Our world feels mighty heavy lately. Your beacons of heartlight shine so brightly and help us all to remember that we are not alone.

God Bless.

Shine On!

xo

Make A Joyful Noise

I awoke this morning before six am hearing:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: It is He who hath made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise: Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; And His truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100:1-5 King James Version

I spoke along with my mind, knowing full well that today is the anniversary of my Mom’s passing and this was one of her favorite psalms. I laid there quietly with tears running down my cheeks, repeating the psalm that as children we said before bed every night with her, and in her last moments, we said at her bedside.

Of course you knew I’d be sad today because I loved my Mom. She was special. She was genuine and like me, she loved with her whole heart. But I miss her even more because I’ve been sick, and there’s nothing like a caring Mom to take care of you when you’re home sick. So I’m a bit more vulnerable today than usual.

But I miss her. I miss how she saw life and could absolutely make me laugh, even when I was sad. She saw through people’s baloney. She kept life real. Even with her condition, she didn’t forget some things that became funny over the years. She and my sister (in the photo) always had a good time wherever they went! Can’t you tell?

They made a JOYFUL NOISE and loved every second of it! That’s what life’s about – taking what you’re given and making the best of it. Being in the present moment and realizing the gift that is this precious present moment! I am thankful we had many of those over the years and that my sister and I continue the tradition together.

Thank you for reading today as my heartlight is grateful, but perhaps a bit dimmer than normal. Any love and light would be appreciated if you can spare some? Thank you in advance for sharing!

Shine On!

Xo

Tiffy Cat

Yesterday I picked up our sweet Tiffy from the vet. Her cremains were in a pretty wooden box that had a pale pink plaque with her name scripted on it. As well, there were her two front paw prints imprinted on a heart-shaped, white ornament that we can hang on our Christmas tree this year, as well as the certification that it was indeed our girl whose remains were in the box.

My sons and I unpacked her, tenderly holding what was left of our dearly departed cat. I’ll admit we all were teary as she was almost fourteen years old and had been with us from the beginning. It was the end of another chapter in our lives that we are going through together.

We’ve been through many changes together, my sons and me. Those difficulties have only bonded us closer together as we have endured many losses. I am proud of who they are and where we are as a family. I feel very blessed to be their Mom and even through these shared experience of losses, we have continued to grow together.

As we set Tiffy’s beautiful box next to our previous cat Chessie’s, our sweet Tigger whom we rescued seven years ago appeared. She sat on the floor facing the boxes, staring up at them. Her ears perked from time to time, but she remained still, her eyes looking up into the space where the boxes were.

I wondered if she felt their energies. If our Chessie and Tiffy were still here with us in spirit? If Tigger saw something that I could not? Or heard something that my ears were not able to hear? Or sensed something that I wasn’t noticing? Or if it was just a figment of my imagination that she was acting this way?

You know it has been said that cats can see spirits. Have you ever heard that? Have you ever heard that those who love us never leave us?

Either way, after a few minutes she went to cat nap in her bed. When she got up a little while later, she came over to snuggle with me. Pushing her head against me, marking me and reminding me that she is still here. Oh how grateful I am for her presence in our lives! I am sure it was a bit of an adjustment for her as well when Tiffy passed. She’s now the only cat here, and she seems to have begun to mimic some of Tiffy’s snuggling traits as well as meeting us at the door when we come home, which she hadn’t done before now. That was Tiffy’s job and she never failed to greet us enthusiastically!

While Tigger’s meow isn’t quite as bold as Tiffy’s, she seems to be practicing more often now. I guess it was easier when Tiffy spoke up for the two of them when it was time for treats. Now she has to speak up for herself.

Thanks for reading. I just wanted to let you know that Tiffy is back where she belongs, with her family who loves her. We are grateful for the years her loving presence was a part of our lives.

Shine On!

xo

You’ll Know When It’s Time

It has been a sad time at our home. Our fur baby Tiffany (Tiffy) has been sick for a few months now and I wasn’t able to write about it. But if you search for ‘Tiffy’ on my blog, you’ll find many posts about our resident cat expert in healing through ‘fur therapy’ as she has been with us almost 14 years, snuggling in our arms and hearts with her strong purr healing.

But the time has come and as I write, with tears streaming down my face, I can’t believe we had to say goodbye to her. Anyone who knows us will remember how chatty our Tiffy was as she never stopped talking/meowing to us until she got her way…and she did get her way more often than not. She and I spent every morning presently together, as she demanded to be held like a baby and snuggled after my first sip of coffee. I can’t even begin to describe how bereft I feel without my little love.

I wish I didn’t know when it was time. I wish I could have healed her so that she could have stayed with us longer. My heart is breaking without her here. My sons and I are feeling her absence as she was such a force of love here. I thought that when our first kitty Chessie (you can search for her too) passed that my heart broke wide open, but Tiffy’s loss has broken all of our hearts. Thank goodness we still have Tigger as I hope she is ready for her very needy family to get some fur therapy. May Tiffy have taught her well.

Fortunately, each precious kitty has her own set of strengths so perhaps we have to wait to see what Tigger’s are now that Tiffy has passed. Tiffy was a force to be reckoned with and so now Tigger will step up. I know it won’t be the same as each relationship is different, but as I sit here typing to you quietly, Tigger is next to me, somehow understanding that we need each other. Her calm quiet presence soothes me.

Thank you for letting me share. Keep shining your heartlights!

Shine On!

xo