All We Really Need We Carry in Our Hearts


January weather has been a trying month for many of us in Western Washington. To make things even more interesting the beginning of the snowstorm was the final move out weekend of a place I had lived for 11 years. It is amazing what you can accumulate when you live somewhere for a long time. I had been slowly moving my things out for several weeks with the intent of only having what I was going to sell left in the house.

Things were going okay until the snow. This of course affected the estate sale, leaving far more to find a home for than I had ever imagined! Amazingly, organizations hungry for donations braved the dangerous conditions elated to have so many things to further their missions. We could not have met our deadline had it not been for our wonderful friends and our cumulative networking. Networking isn’t just for business!

 We were still digging ourselves out of the snow when the ice storm hit, leaving us without power for three days and our back yard looking more like a battleground with all the fallen trees than a place of refuge. However, the hardest thing that happened that week was having to put down Tyla, my 15 ½ year old cat I raised from birth. She had not been doing well the past month yet we were delighted and hopeful when she seemed to rally upon arriving at her new home. For three days she was exploring everything, drinking water and even showing some interest in eating again. Then the power went out. She went downhill very fast and after two days I just could not see her suffer any longer. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is let go. But… letting go does not mean you stop loving or forget.

 We brought her home and buried her under the beautiful concrete cross that now hides under the shattered tree, where in the Spring lily’s will bloom. As we came inside, I looked at the boxes of my unpacked stuff. All the time to pack, move and preserve my special memories now seemed silly. I realized that so much of my stuff I have kept to stir memories; memories that have really always live in my heart. Our hearts have an infinite capacity to hold all the memories we wish to carry, good or bad. They go with us wherever we go, neatly packed and the good memories fill us with warmth on cold stormy days.

 I know many of you have gone through hard times both in your personal life and in your career. Sometimes we tend to hand on to “things” longer than we should. “Things” can be more than objects. What we tend to focus on tends to be what me produce. If you find yourself stewing (or steaming) about something that happened ask yourself, “what can I do to make it better”? Perhaps it is following the chain of command to resolve an issue, perhaps it is something you have no control over. Bad memories can literally eat your heart out. There is a line in a song, “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”. Sometimes, in order to win the game you have to let a bad hand go.

 We can focus on the damage done by the storm, which we have no control over, or be grateful we survived. I look outside to the fallen trees and notice how much more sunshine they let in. It is beautiful. Our roots should run deep so when the wind blows it may bend or break a limb but not destroy us. New limbs will grow and now so will the grass!

Negative memories weight heavy on your heart and good memories make it float. As Valentine’s Day approaches, remember to fill your hearts with good thoughts and memories. While your hearts may be full, there is always room for more and so much easier to pack!

 Happy Valentine’s Day from this Hart to yours!



The Importance of Giving

Giving, Sue Z. Hart, Christmas,

"What to give..."

This time of year, most of us start thinking about what we can or cannot give to the important people in our lives. Some of us will spend weeks looking for the perfect gift. Some will just buy something because they feel obligated while others will make their presents adding a personal touch.

As the holidays approach, we also become inundated with request from organizations hoping to capitalize on our “giving” spirit.  Both my inbox and mailbox, which rarely sees a personal note anymore, is over-flowing with sad puppies shivering in a cage or disturbing pictures of starving people on a dirty street. Salvation Army bell ringers greet us at department stores, foster kids need coats and tots need   toys. All are worthy causes. Non-profit organizations know this is the time of year people are most likely to donate as they open their pocketbooks to buy for those they love they will hopefully remember to give to a worthy cause.

In the hustle and bustle of the season, have you thought about why we give? Mostly I think it is traditional to give for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and of course Christmas. Historically, gifts were given to advance another either professionally or personally by providing them with something they did not have or could not buy for themselves. It was also a sign of appreciation and value of another. While most of us continue to give with the historical motives, it is something we do without much thought as to “why” we give.

I might also argue that we give because it makes us feel good. I love it when I am shopping and find what I think will be the perfect gift. The anticipation of the receivers’ reaction continues to fill me with excitement until the moment they start to open the gift.  I watch with eagerness as they begin to reveal the gift I have so carefully wrapped, anticipating the happy surprise in their face. I love to see the joyful expressions a gift can bring. My grandchildren are at the age where just the joy of knowing there are gifts under the tree for them renders excitement. They love tearing into the presents to find what lay behind the brightly colored paper, and I would suspect a big part of their joy is watching all the adults laugh and rejoice with them. Kids are funny that way; they watch adults and learn from their reactions. When you really think about it, I guess we never really outgrow the desire for approval from others.

So why should we give to organizations? I believe we need to give to our community for the same reasons we give to others; to help them advance their work and show we value the work they do. I had a friend tell me once he always gave money to charity but it was not until he got involved in a charity that he really felt he made a difference. Yes, he still gave out of his pocket but once he got his hands dirty, he realized just how much the money he contributed helps.

Depending on what is happening in our lives we may or may not be able to give time or money, but we should always give. An organization cannot exist without its community. Give what you can. I guarantee that when you give, the receiver will light up like a three year old on Christmas morning. Honestly, isn’t it the joy of knowing you made a positive difference in someone’s day the real reason for giving?

Joy, Giving, Glee    Giving, Sue Z. Hart, Laughter, Joy

For Everything There is A Season

I feel fortunate to live in a climate where we get to experience the beauty of each season. Being a philosopher at heart I like to take time to reflect how the changes in our environment can cause us to reflect on our own lives. As I look out my office window I can see […]

[Continue reading…]

Have You Found Your Music Within?

Hearing my own music.

“Most people die with the music still in them.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Today as we remember and honor our American Veterans I wanted to share with you one of my favorite movies, “Music Within”. The movie is based on Richard Pimentel‘s remarkable true-life story and how he turned adversity into opportunity, (always one of […]

[Continue reading…]

The Green Thing

I did not write this but received it in an email and wanted to share it. This is more sarcastic then I like but perspective is a wonderful thing. At the check out in the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good […]

[Continue reading…]

Lesson from Abstract Art

In a recent conversation with a colleague of mine, she asked if I had taken art in school. She stated that those who take art are more creative and can find solutions to a problem more quickly. Art teaches us to look at things differently. However, art like humor is personal and some art I […]

[Continue reading…]