Expect nothing, appreciate everything

Expect nothing, appreciate everything” is my go-to life motto that I have embraced for years.  Too often I’ve seen people who feel entitled and are unappreciative of the blessings they already have heaped upon them-good health, loving family, a stable job, etc. and instead are always looking for more, more, more because that is what they think will make them happy.  MORE.

Wake up, folks-no one is guaranteed anything.  I used to volunteer at Gilda’s Club in Chicago and hang out with cancer patients, serving dinner among other things.  They coached us to just say it like it is, “Cancer sucks and shit happens.  Fight it as hard as you can and appreciate each day we are given.”  Having been widowed at the ripe old age of 21, I can definitely  say that this tragic experience taught me to not sweat the small stuff and appreciate life.  As I reminded one of my bosses when we were discussing a challenging situation,  “no one died so let’s just chill and work it out”.  Many variables can affect our lives that we have no control over.  A 23 year old man is not supposed to die but he did.  So I’ve always tried to work hard, love big and expect nothing while appreciating the hell out of everything I do have and cherishing every day the little things in life like exploring a new city, reading a good book, warm socks, or dinner with friends.

Today as I served hundreds of hungry homeless guests at our Shared Breakfast, I was once again reminded to appreciate everything.  We were lucky to have received a donations of hats, gloves and socks for our guests that we will share throughout December.  Our guests were so thankful not only for the hot, nutritious meal we served to them at their table but the added bonus of these hats/gloves/socks which will help them stay dry and warm while living on the streets of Seattle.  Coming home to drawers full of socks, I imagined how it would feel to own only the socks on my feet.  I am so thankful for my ability to have a job that allows us to have not only socks but a warm home with food whenever we are hungry.  Others do not have this luxury.  If you feel so inclined and want to assist this great organization that is 100% volunteer-driven and where all donations go to buying food, you can go to this site and give to  Shared Breakfast.

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Shared Breakfast in downtown Seattle, serving hundreds of guests in need

 

As we travel to Boise to spend the holidays, I will love being with my family.  And I will  appreciate the lovely meals we will share and the gifts we will give.  But mostly I will appreciate our health, our love and our happiness to be all together as a family for even a short amount of time. That’s my true gift.   And I will never, ever take it for granted.  I will appreciate everything, every day.  Happy holidays all!

Gabby & Chelsea-Great day to enjoy Seattle politics!

How lucky I am to live in a progressive city like Seattle where citizens rally to prevent gun violence and support the election of the first woman President.  Unlike the small crowd that turned out in Boise to see Gloria Steinem last week, the liberal folks in Seattle were out in force on Saturday as I went from rally to rally.  As I remarked to my friend Whitney who joined me at the Clinton rally, it was nice to be with people that share a similar passion to make a difference in our crazy world.  Communities united!

First up, I found buried deep in the newspaper an  article alerting me that at my local church, First United Methodist, there would be a rally to support the I-1491 initiative restricting guns access to those who threaten violence.  Too often teachers, parents, etc. see tragedy coming and don’t have the tools to stop it. The I-1491 initiative is just complete common sense and gives us a chance to prevent tragedy like what happened to the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Speaking at the rally was one of the Sandy Hook moms who founded the Sandy Hook Promise that helps people recognize warning signs and intervene appropriately with potentially violent offenders as they are allowed by law.  After she lobbied all the Senators to pass a background check proposal in 2013 and it failed, she didn’t quit.  Just like Hillary, she kept right on working for laws that would protect us from those who would harm others and themselves with guns.  Ultimately, this is all about saving lives.  Common sense, right?  Not to the gun lobby who would arm anyone and everyone no matter the cost.

After Governor Inslee voiced his support, he introduced Gabby Giffords who walked right up to the stage in the narthex and strongly urged us all to come together and make a difference with I-1491.  “Be bold, be courageous.”  Gabby is a true inspiration to us all to put aside our petty daily distractions and take on a bolder, wider purpose to help others.  wp_20161022_11_46_20_rich-2

Walking to the Clinton rally afterwards, I saw Gabby, who was sitting in the front of a black Suburban SUV at a stop sign.  After I gave her two thumbs up, she blew kisses to me and clapped in response.  Wow, what a strong and wonderful woman she is to never give up and keep bringing her energy and positive attitude to this important fight to help so many people.  I hope this initiative passes in Washington State and spreads to other states.  We must give everyone the tools and power to prevent violence wherever they live.

Luckily I got to the Clinton rally early as the line was already forming, full of passionate supporters.  I grabbed a spot for myself and two friends, which allowed us to sit right behind the girl scouts near the front as Chelsea spoke from the heart about her mom.  An excellent speaker (she comes by it honest from both parents), she told stories of what it was like to be the daughter of the President and her mom, the soon-to-be President.  She was low key, authentic and full of love for her topic of the day-electing her mom to be the first woman President.  Not dwelling on the antics of Trump, she focused on the good her mom has done in her career and what she would bring to the White House.  Taking many questions from the audience, primarily from the youth there, she didn’t deflect like they do in the debates and thoroughly answered the questions asked.  When asked how her mom has coached her to take all the negative criticism about her family, she responded with sound advice for anyone:  “When serious people give serious feedback, take it seriously.  When not serious people give not serious feedback, do not take it seriously.”  Well said Clintons!wp_20161022_15_29_47_rich-2

Today, I voted for Chelsea’s mom.  For me, this is the most important vote for President that I have ever made.  Never before did I think that the “other” candidate I did not vote for would be a disaster and ruin our country.  I do feel that way about Trump.  He just CANNOT be our leader.  He doesn’t represent the kind and good people who live in America.  He has brought out the racist, divisive and disgruntled demographic that Hillary will need to work with to improve their economic situation, to understand their anger and to ultimately move them forward to prosper in this great nation.  I believe in her and know that she will represent ALL the people, even the Trump supporters.  She is a better person than me and smarter than me and that’s what I look for in a President.  That’s why #IMWITHHER