5 Simple Rules to be Happy

 

#1 – Free your heart from hatred.

Hatred only drives a wedge into any situation where it presents itself.   But even more important, a heart full of hate is a person filled with an abundance of negative thoughts and actions, which result in a dark and stress filled life.  When you look at everyone and everything from this perspective, the good things in life are clouded from view every day of your life.  Open your heart, and it will open your mind.

 

#2 – Free your mind from worries.

Simply expressed, worrying never changed any situation from happening.   It is the constant obsession of “what if’s”.  All worrying does is cause stress, which is neither useful nor good for you.  The only benefit of worry is to steal your joy out of every day of life, as well as possibly result in a shorter life.  My attitude is to give it to God.  His power is far greater than mine, and with true faith in Him I know that everything will work out okay.

 

#3 – Live simply.

We all have so much “stuff”; the accumulation of things that display what we’ve accomplished.  If you want to free your mind, de-clutter your life.  There is something positive in letting go of things that have very little meaning to our lives.  Buying stuff only makes a person happy for a moment.  Freeing yourself of clutter, makes a person happy from within and makes traveling through life much lighter & freer.

 

#4 – Give more.

Human nature is built to help others in need.  There is no greater feeling in the world than the contentment and pride felt when helping another person in need.  You don’t have to be rescuing the world.  By simply reaching out to others around you on a daily basis, it not only changes their world, but makes your world a bit brighter everyday too.  We all have the power to have an impact on other people’s lives for the better.  It all starts with one simple act of kindness.

 

#5 – Expect less.

How disappointed is the heart that sets its expectations at the highest level possible on a daily basis.  Giving more than you expect to receive in return, will make each blessing you receive much sweeter.  The more you give without expected return, the more the Lord will send blessings into your life.  As the saying goes, “it is better to give than receive”.

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The Magic of Christmas!

 

As I start to compose my new entry, I want to wish all of my friends a blessed and wonderful holiday season – Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all my dear friends. Yes, I’m a bit late posting this (yet again!), as the holiday season was a bit more emotional for me this year.   Like Ebenezer, I wanted to take some time to get past all of the memories of Christmas’ past.  As most of you know, my beloved Mom passed away this past July, and the holiday was definitely different without our “Matriarch“.  The dynamic also changes within a family once the parents are gone.  Families within the ranks grow bigger, and the one main “mob screen” of the traditional Italian family gatherings you grew up with disperse to within those groups.

 

Christmas…., what a wonderful time of year!   There is certain “magic” about the time frame from Thanksgiving to Christmas that touches even the hardest of hearts.  Amidst all the hustle and bustle lies a wonderful sensitivity.  The spirit of Christmas is like a magic wand that makes life a bit softer and more beautiful.  It’s the spirit of love, generosity and goodness.  It’s not about the gifts, but rather the heart with which it’s given.  It’s a time when our souls are truly more interested in people than things.   At this time of year, you find people reaching out to others, and including them in their festivities so they won’t be alone.  Christmas is about family traditions and baking certain foods and desserts that make lasting memories that keep a family together.  The holiday isn’t complete without that certain tradition or baked good that has been passed down through the generations.

 

Christmas has been very special in my family since I was a little girl.  Because we didn’t live near family, growing up my Dad started my family tradition of baked stuffed lobster every Christmas Eve.  My brother Charlie and wife Carol took over Christmas Eve the first year they were married back in 1973.  (Believe me when I tell you, there is a special place in heaven for my sister-in-law Carol.)  That first year in 1973, all of the Reppucci and Schroeder family members jammed themselves into Charlie and Carol’s little apartment. As the years went by and the family grew, my brother’s idea of what the evening should include grew exponentially with it!  It was always the greatest extravaganza you could imagine!  And the food… Dear Lord we could feed a small country!  It was done in the true Italian tradition of the “7 Fishes”, except my family did what seemed like the “70 Fishes” – (the 7 original fishes done 10 ways each!!).  And we would cook all night.  The dishes just kept pouring out of his kitchen over the bar area onto the dining room table which was set up as a buffet.  Outsiders would do whatever they could to “score an invite” to be with the Reppucci’s on Christmas Eve!  But the evening was never complete without us all going into Charlie’s family room, where every year he read “The Night Before Christmas”, and we all sang Christmas carols.  Believe me, the food and wine were always amazing, but the most special part of the night always took place in that family room!! All of us snuggled in there together, singing at the top of our lungs (and mostly off key)!!  I remember one year when Santa made an unexpected visit – and I can still remember the shocked look on young and old alike when Santa walked into the house!! Man, that year was THE BEST!!

 

So why does this magic end on January 1st when we take down the decorations?  It seems to me the world would be a better place if we all kept the “spirit and magic” going all year through?  So maybe on this New Year’s Day we can all make a conscious effort to do one good thing per day this year.  It can be just a kind word or act – smile and say good morning to a stranger; hold a door for someone behind you; or call someone just to see how they’re doing.    Let’s all try not to be so busy doing “things”, and start being busy doing small kindnesses from the heart.

 

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is a great year for all, with each day filled with the spirit and magic that only comes from the heart.

 

God’s blessings,

Patti

 

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends.  Okay, so I know this post is over a week late, but I had to make the pies and roast all the vegetables to get ready for the Italian feast!!  As soon as that was over, it was time to start decorating the house and flipping through my cookie recipes!  And here we are…..!

 

During this time of year, we all turn our minds to “thoughts of thanksgiving” and of the many blessings in our lives.  We sit around a table with our loved ones, and take turns during the ritual of expressing what we’re grateful for this year. But, this really shouldn’t be a once a year thing that is part of our mindset for a week or so.

 

Gratitude should be the backbone of our lives.   It is the secret to transforming your life from ordinary to extraordinary.   We all have so many things happening around us everyday.  But by really noticing the little things in the smallest moments and occurrences, and having general appreciation for these things, you can elevate your mind and heart to a new level of peacefulness and happiness.  Looking past the surface to the “good” in everything is immensely good for the mind and soul.  But more than just feeling it, a truer experience comes from expressing this gratitude to the others in your life who have had an impact or contributed in a special way.  A simple “thank you” from the heart, when a family member or friend does a routine thing to help out goes a long way on both ends.  It makes them feel appreciated, as much as helping you recognize the value of having them in your life. I found a saying on the Internet that reads “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it”. Unfortunately I couldn’t read the name of the author, but it’s really a great saying!  So true and profound!gratitude-gift-quote

 

So start today to look at the small things in life differently. The result of the amazement you experience in noticing will be the epiphanies of how blessed your life truly is!  These moments of awe will transfer your heart and soul to a place of peace and the realization that every day of your life holds small wonders and blessings – you just need to look for them and stop focusing on the other stuff!!  Every night when I get into bed, as I lay my head on the pillow I think of 5 things from that day for which to be grateful. Once you get used to looking past the surface to the small blessings in life, it will be very easy to find 5 things each day!  But the best part of all is that every night I fall off to sleep thanking God for such a nice day!!

 

Gratitude should be the attitude with which we live every day of our lives!!  From here hopefully we all move on to Spiritual Awakening, and how that truly transforms the quality of our lives.  How does it, you ask?….Well let’s leave that for next time.

 

Thanks for reading,

Patti

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What it Means to be a Woman….

 

 

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From the time I was a little girl, I always remember my Mom and Dad stressing the social etiquette of “how to be a lady” with me.   For the longest time I thought that “Emily Post” must be a neighbor I hadn’t yet met, as my Mom was always quoting this person!!  For my whole life, my Dad always said, “ladies don’t chew gum”!!  To this day, I can’t even put a piece of gum in my mouth without having the urge to spit it out after approximately 5 minutes.  For me it’s more of an exercise of cleansing the palate.

 

But more importantly, my Mom stressed what was important as an “Italian woman”.  She brought us up in the traditional Italian fashion of devotion to family and others.   My whole life was spent cooking with her, as well as cleaning and decorating the house for every holiday.  I remember that I used to rush home from grade school to inquire about dinner, and ask if I could cook it myself?  My Mom thought this was the greatest “gig” in the world, as she could finally sit down and relax while I made dinner every night!  But to me it was so much fun being in the kitchen creating meals.  As I grew older, I moved away from her basic recipes to more creative twists to entice my families’ palate.   But some of my fondest memories are our traditional day of baking the Christmas cookies together. Those were always fun days of creativity!  We always made our traditional holiday favorites.   We started very early in the morning and baked until dinnertime, and sometimes picked it back up at night!  Flour, ingredients and equipment were everywhere in her tiny kitchen, and as the day progressed the baked assortment was spread out on the dining room table. On one such day, my brother Peter decided to take a new date home to meet my Mom and I.  The kitchen was a straight vision line through the living room to the front door. To our shock, in they walked without warning – Mom in her “housecoat” and me in an oversized football shirt, without our hair done and flour down the front of us!!  To this day, my sister-in-law Tina says she knew in that moment how alike my family was to hers, and that she knew she was going to like us!

 

But my biggest lessons of womanhood were about love, devotion and respect. These I learned from watching my parents interact with each other every day. Despite their differences in personality, they were very much in love and treated each other daily with the upmost respect in the way the spoke to each other and interacted. They always had each other’s back. The most important thing in the world to them was their devotion to each other and our family – which was their priority every day. This devotion was never stronger than when my Mom went through her very serious bout with colon cancer.  She taught me in those many, many months the true meaning of being a strong woman for her family.  She faced the battle with an amazing amount of courage, faith and determination to recover – despite her diagnoses. And my poor Dad was so devastated to see the love of his life so sick.  He only left her side to go to work each day. As I watched my Mom, I realized how she truly was the pillar of strength that held up our family!

 

Their example didn’t stop with our family, but rather extended to all of their friends and our relatives. My parents were always donating their time to someone or some organization to help others.   This instilled a sense of philanthropic in my siblings and me, and more importantly taught us the importance of being loyal, supportive and dependable to others.

 

I recently came across the below expose about God’s specifications for a woman. I’m not sure who the author is, but it is perfect!

 

When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day. An angel came by and asked.” Why spend so much time on her?” The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?

 

She must function on all kinds of situations.

She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time.

Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart.

She must do all this with only two hands.

She cures herself when sick, and can work 18 hours a day.

 

THE Angel was impressed “Just two hands…..IMPOSSIBLE!
 And this is the standard model?”
 The Angel came closer and touched the woman. “But you have made her so soft, Lord”. 
 “She is soft”, said the Lord, “but I have made her strong too.  You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome.”


 

“Can she think?” The Angel asked. 
The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate.”

 

The Angel touched her cheeks, “Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her” 
”She is not leaking…it is a tear” the Lord corrected the Angel…
”What’s it for?” asked the Angel. The Lord said. “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”.

 

This made a big impression on the Angel. “Lord, you are a genius! You thought of everything. A woman is indeed marvelous!” The Lord said, “Indeed she is.  She has strength that amazes a man.  She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.
  She holds happiness, love and opinions.
  She smiles when she feels like screaming.
  She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid.
  She fights for what she believes in.
  Her love is unconditional.
  Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies, but she finds strength to get on with life

 

The Angel asked: “So she is a perfect being?“
 The Lord replied, “no”.  She has just one drawback, she often forgets what she is WORTH!”

 

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Making Plans with Momma

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My Mom was a woman of great wisdom and opinions.  During her last week of life, fully aware that her days were numbered, we sat and spoke about many things together.  We even discussed this blog, which I had told her I wanted to write months beforehand.

One particularly hard conversation was when she started talking about her funeral with me.   With the same strength and grace as always, she expressed her desires for everything from music to readings, enlightening me on all of her favorites in both categories.  I thought to myself that I better go get something to write this down, acknowledging mentally that it was my responsibility not to screw this up!!!  Dear Lord, she was planning a “high mass”, and I was sitting there without pen or paper!!  But for some reason I couldn’t move a muscle.  I knew if I left the room to go get the required writing materials, this special moment would be broken.   Then without missing a beat, we got into the important details.  She leaned in, looked at me and inquired, “what do you think I should wear??”  Like we were planning a birthday party for one of my siblings!!   Although I was getting mentally upset, I tried my best to hold it together.  We discussed a few beautiful outfits that she owned, and settled on a white beautifully beaded suit that was her favorite.  I’ll never forget the way she looked at me when this decision was made, feeling that she had made the right choice for eternity. Her only other request was that I make sure that she had on all of the appropriate jewelry.  Got to love her, she was a “fashionista” till the end!!!

But this wasn’t the lesson of the day.  As we concluded the planning of the funeral in detail, suddenly I couldn’t hold it together any more.  The realization that in a short while my mother would be gone from this earth had overwhelmed my mind and heart.  I started to cry, and exclaimed to her that I was losing my best friend and what was I going to do without her?  The memories of a lifetime of cooking, shopping and talking about every stage of my life together came flooding out, and I couldn’t see how I could go on without my Mom and best friend.  To this she took my hand in hers and answered “I’m not your my best friend – the Lord and the Blessed Mother are your best friends, and they will always be by your side as they have through your whole life, to help you through everything.  Prayer, and trusting in the Lord and Mother Mary are the most important things in life.   Through them all things are possible”.    I knew she was right, as I’d seen the hand of the Lord working in my life many times.  But, somehow I knew she’d be watching everything from above also.  It’s just the kind of mother she was!

Being a woman of great faith, my Mom was very devoted to the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy to the Lord.  During her last week, we prayed this Chaplet with her daily.   As most devote Christians know, the Lord passed away at 3:00 PM, so this hour was very sacred and special to my Mom.  On the day my Mom passed, she expired before the hospice nurse could get to my sister’s home.  Upon arrival, we told the nurse that my Mom had passed an hour previously, and she proceeded to examine her.  She pronounced my Mom as passed, and looked at her watch for an official time to register on her death certificate.  She proclaimed her death at 3:00 PM, to which myself and my siblings all let out gasps and giggles!  The nurse being unaware of what was happening asked about our reaction.  We told her, and I added to my siblings that it was my Mom’s way of telling us that she had arrived in heaven with the Lord.  And believe me, heaven hasn’t been the same since that day!!  I can see her interaction in many things here on earth.  She’s still pulling the strings and sticking her hand in everything for her family.  What you ask…. well that’s for next time!!

Thanks for reading. 

Patti

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Momma’s Last Lesson

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My last lesson from my Mom was on the day she died:

All through out my life, I was always close with both of my parents. But, my Mom was my friend – we shopped and cooked together all the time. She and I would spend time together and there was never a lapse in our conversations, it just flowed from topic to topic. As I became an adult and ventured out into the world, my Mom was my greatest supporter, always cheering me on.

But the one thing I never got from my Mom when I went to her with my “whoas” of a tough day was an “awww, poor Patti!” NEVER…. not once! No matter what life dealt me, even breakups from cheating boyfriends or lost business deals. But, she did have a standard answer for me in my times of stress. She always told “oh Patti, just suck it up!! You’re stronger and better than that!” Huh??? Are you kidding me? Not even a little “oh that’s too bad”?

The funny part is that she always had tremendous sympathy for the difficult events in the lives of my siblings. I used to sit as she sympathized that my “poor brother had to drive to Boston for work once a week”. Amateur!! I drove to Boston almost every day for work. And when I wasn’t driving to Boston, I was driving to other parts of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut or NYC. I guess she saw this as her daughter leading an exciting life that she never had??

I must tell you that it always drove me crazy to hear her tell me over and over throughout the years to “suck it up”. Over the last five years, my dear friend Jerry always got a chuckle out of hearing that Mom had dished out her famous advice yet one more time to me!! (Or maybe he was chuckling at how it drove me nuts!!??) Then on July 1st, we received the news that her recent congestive heart failure was affecting her kidneys, and their function had greatly declined. She knew what that meant, and opted not to do dialysis. We took her to my sisters’ home along the seashore, and took care of her for the next week until she peacefully passed away.

That night I went home and sat on my bed so distraught at the loss of my Mom and best friend. Through my tears I finally got it!! Eureka!! It all finally made sense why my Mom didn’t coddle me. She was doing her job by making me strong for the day when she wouldn’t be here for me to talk to. It all finally was so clear. And my next thought to myself was her message from heaven, “oh Patti, just suck it up!

Thank you Mom!! I finally get it. You truly were the best!!

During her last week, my Mom and I discussed many things. One thing we did discuss was my life without her. And yes, she had some words of wisdom for that also!! What you ask…well that’s for next time. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Patti

Hello world!

My first lesson in life:

My Mom, Eleanor Reppucci was an amazing woman who lived life with class, dignity and an incredible spirit.  She was totally engaged in life everyday, and had a fierce commitment to things she believed in!  But, most of all, she was a wonderful mother, who was totally committed to her family and our home.

One of the first lessons I learned from my Mom happened when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  I was in first grade, and something very traumatic had happened to me at school.  I had done something that I thought was totally embarrassing, and went home in a panic. Oh, the mind of a first grader!  It couldn’t have been that bad, because I can’t exactly remember what happened that day.  But, I do remember what happened when I arrived home so distraught.   My Mom was an expert at turning any situation around into a learning experience.  The first thing she did when I arrived home was to sit me down at the kitchen table, which was like “mission control headquarters” for my Mom.  Like any good Italian mother, she proceeded to get me a snack and a drink, which was always home made!  She then proceeded to make me tell my humiliating story in every detail.  When I was done, to my surprise my Mom looked at my situation from a totally different perspective than me.  She told me that I had done a wonderful thing to try something I didn’t know, and that by being wrong,  I had actually learned far more than any of the other kids that never tried.  I remember her telling me that I had learned a lesson that none of the other kids knew, and she made me feel like I was ahead of them on the learning curve.  She told me to never be afraid to try something, even if I failed, for the important lessons in life came from failing and understanding why.  Trying and failing was the stepping-stone to getting it right and succeeding.  She told me how proud she was of me for trying.  Wow, I couldn’t believe it – I had done a really good thing! And doing it made me smarter than the other kids!  Who knew….!!??  Looking back, I realize that my mother in some ways created a “monster” that day, because for the rest of my life I was never afraid to try anything.  And always remembered that without trying I could never succeed.

The next day, I strolled into school a brand new girl!   My peers who just yesterday we like me, actually looked like immature kids in my mind.   My Mom had told me I was ahead of them because I had tried, and I was feeling kind of sorry for the bunch of them that next day!  Without realizing it, my Mother had taught me about confidence, and about not being afraid to stick my neck out and try new things.  From that day forward, I never forgot that lesson.  (And, no one ever tried to bully me, or any of my friends in school!)  Her lesson carried me through life, as I had a successful career where I was constantly enhancing my knowledge through education, and always achieving new goals.  Thanks Mom!!!

So, that was the first lesson of my life.  But throughout my life, my Mom had a saying that she always said to me that became my last lesson when she left this world.  What was it you ask…well, that’s for next time!  Stay tuned……..