Flesh and Blood Angels

by Monica Shaughnessy

angel-1406127I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by angels. No, no, not the kind with wings and trumpets. The flesh and blood kind.

When a writing injury side-lined me (repetitive motion is a killer, folks!), many, many friends offered assistance. “Can I help you type? Can I help you format? Can I help you with errands? Can I help you with…anything?” they asked. I won’t embarrass them by naming them (they know who they are!), but I am grateful for their kindness. Some of the offers I humbly accepted, some I didn’t. But even the ones I didn’t made me feel like help was just an email away should I need it – a comforting thought.

My husband will most likely be canonized at some point for his role in my recovery. Without him, the house would’ve fallen apart. Then there is my doctor, the miracle worker who fixed me. I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to them all.

And since they’re angels, they don’t really expect anything in return. Well, except my doctor (cash, check or charge)! So I decided that instead of paying the help back, I would pay it forward and be someone else’s angel. But don’t let me have all the fun. You can do it, too.

Here are some small ways to start today:

  • The next time someone holds a door for you, hold a door for someone else later that day.
  • If someone lets you cut in line, give someone else a break on your next shopping trip.
  • Get a friendly smile and ‘good morning’ on the street? Give one out to someone least expecting it.

Well, you get the idea.

Really want to earn your wings? Be the FIRST person to hold the door, offer a cut, give a smile. If you’ve read this far into my post, you probably don’t need convincing. But if you do, I’ll leave you with this quote:

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.”

– Lucretius

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For those who want to know more about repetitive motion injuries caused by writing, read my full post here.

The Thanksgiving Hold-Out

by Monica Shaughnessy

pumpkin-pie-1372787-mI love Thanksgiving. It’s the pause between sugar-fueled Halloween and credit card-fueled Christmas. But if retailers got their way, I think we’d skip right over it. The local radio station is already playing carols, half my neighbors have their trees up, and you can’t turn on the TV without seeing old St. Nick. As one of the last of the Thanksgiving Hold-Outs, I REFUSE to rush my seasons simply because retailers are in a hurry for us to buy, buy, BUY!

I get it. This year, Thanksgiving falls at the end of the month. This gives people less time to shop, decorate, etc. if they wait until the last gobble-gobble of Turkey Day. But as Americans, we don’t just rush through holidays, we rush through life. We’re always in a hurry to get to the Next Thing.

It starts when you’re a kid. You want to grow up and be a teenager. When you’re a teenager, you just want to go to college. When you’re in college, you long to graduate. Then you’re in a hurry to “settle down” (or avoid the altar!) and get a career. When your kids are born, you tell yourself, if I can just make it past their potty training or get them into kindergarten or junior high, then things will be grand. When they leave home, you’re just hoping and praying for retirement. In fact, the only stage of life or “thing” people don’t want to rush is death.

All we really have is a single moment on earth, this one right HERE. Your last one doesn’t exist anymore and your next one isn’t guaranteed. So why waste it? (And by the way, thanks for spending part of that moment on this blog!!!!)

As you’re heading into this holiday weekend, slow down a little. Enjoy your friends and family. Delight in the last few days of fall. Tell a story, say a prayer, make a connection. Take a deep, deeeeeeeep breath before Christmas and renew your energy. Thanksgiving comes but once a year.

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I am thankful for many things, including you, dear readers. Have a great Thanksgiving!