Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's the thought that counts...

How often have we heard that platitude?  It’s a statement meant to placate someone on the receiving end of an effort gone wrong or a well-meant gift that strikes a bad chord. “Don’t worry about it, honey.  He meant well.  Just remember, it’s the thought that counts.” The funny thing is, it’s true.  It IS the thought that counts…literally.

The “gift of thought” is the secret I discovered when faced with the imminent passing of a favorite cousin, back in 1989. Plagued by the need to do something to help, but unable to find a way to do so, I gave my cousin the gift of thought. When someone is terminally ill, what exactly do they need? Certainly not clothes that will go unworn, or gadgets that will never be used, or food they are unable to swallow or digest. What does a person with a terminal illness think about when they know their time is limited?

How about a list like:
  • Why did this happen to me?
  • What did I do wrong?
  • Did I do this to myself with all that (drinking, smoking, carousing, unhealthy eating…fill in the blank)?
  • What’s going to happen to my spouse/parents/kids?
  • Who will take care of them?
  • Why didn’t I take the time to travel?
  • Why didn’t I spend more time with my family?
  • For what attributes will I be remembered?
  • Will I be remembered at all, and by whom?
  • Why didn’t I save more money to provide for my family?
  • How will my children survive with no parent providing?

You get the idea.  If you knew you had a month to live and you were in a deteriorated physical state, wouldn’t you be thinking about, asking yourself, or berating yourself for many of those things and more?

Every moment we have here is precious:  every minute with family, every minute doing what we love.  We enjoy that time because we don’t think about its limits…until we are forced to do so.

So how does the “gift of thought” weigh in on all this conjecture?

I came to the conclusion that the best “help” I could give my cousin was something else to think about:  something funny, something thought provoking, something inspirational, something other than his imminent demise or his regrets over things left unfinished.  But that help had to be continuous and anonymous to give him the maximum benefit of being on the receiving end of the gift.
For the last three months of his life, my cousin received an anonymous postcard in the mail on every mail delivery day.  On each card was printed a quotation that was intended to provoke thought, encourage laughter, or inspire him to change the direction of his thoughts outward…to thinking about others rather than his predicament.

I knew it had worked when the postcards were a heavy topic of conversation at the calling hours, the subject of a portion of the eulogy, and when one of the quotations was printed on the leaflets passed out at the funeral.  What I didn’t know was just how important those card were to my cousin, his wife and his kids.  I wouldn’t find that out for 20 years.  When I talked to my cousin’s widow a few years ago and heard about the real effect the postcards had on him and his family, I cried with both happiness and sadness.  You will too, when you read about it.
I did know enough, shortly after my cousin passed, to assume that what worked for him would work for others in similar situations.  And so began the 25-year journey of providing the “gift of thought” to those in need.
And that, my friends, is why I threw off my shield of anonymity and wrote the book.  “A Mystery in the Mailbox” is meant to inspire others to give the “gift of thought” to someone they might know who could benefit from the project.  That person could have a terminal illness, some sort of chronic condition, or just be enduring a long-term recovery.  Receiving the “gift of thought” might be just the thing they need to boost their spirits and give them something to look forward to…something to keep them going.

If you were on the receiving end, think what such a gesture might mean.

You don’t have to wonder.  The evidence of how it works and how it helps is found in the book, as well as instructions for doing it yourself.

May you be inspired.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 49 of the Juice Fast

My totals after six weeks are:

Stubbornly still down 12 pounds

Down 25.5 inches

Cold weather, wind, and darkness have torpedoed my good intentions to add regular exercise to the mix in an attempt to get the scale to move.  I had actual meals all weekend, so that could be the reason the scale won’t budge, but I am not about to give up yet.  The original plan was two months of juice fast.  I have decided to extend this until the end of April.  I’m hoping for enough early morning light and cooperative temps in April to make the “death march” feasible.  Can’t believe I’ve lost another 2.0 inches, while the scale refuses to move.

Stay tuned for next week’s report!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 42 of the Juice Fast

My totals after six weeks are:

Down 12 pounds (this is getting monotonous)

Down 23.5 inches

Still on a plateau.  My change of strategy didn’t quite happen.  I had soup veggies, and salad this week.  Could be why the weight plateau continues.  Though I’m amazed to have lost another 2.5 inches.  We’ll see if I can get myself moving to get off that plateau and keep myself motivated.

Stay tuned for next week’s report! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 35 of the Juice Fast

My totals after five weeks are:

Down 12 pounds

Down 21.0 inches

Okay, I admit I have hit a plateau.  Time for a change of strategy.  No excursions from the juice this week AND it’s time to start a plan of movement.  I was hoping the weather would improve so that I could resume my "death march" strategy, but I absolutely will not be going out until I won't get frostbite in the quest for calorie burning.  I’m happy to be down another inch, but I need to make some progress to keep myself motivated.
I am thrilled to still be losing inches!
Stay tuned for next week’s report!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Day 29 of the Juice Fast

My totals after four weeks are:

Down 12 pounds

Down 20.0 inches

I had hoped to be at -15 pounds today, but again, I ate several times this week…a lunch for a colleague, scrambled eggs a couple times, and I had a couple small pieces of flatbread with tomatoes and banana peppers yesterday at a winery.  Never-the-less, I still had a 2-pound loss for the week, and another 2.75 inches gone.  Today I am making a pizza with a cauliflower crust.  We’ll see how that flies!
I am thrilled to still be losing inches! 

Stay tuned for next week’s report!