Sleep Alludes Me Again

I should be sleeping but here I am, awake again. I’m thinking about my upcoming surgery tonight. I’m not frightened. Perhaps I should be, but alas, I have no fear. I am having a partial pancreatectomy with a splenectomy. In other words, the body and tail of my pancreas and my spleen will soon be removed. This is a very big surgery but not as big as it could be. 

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It’s a big surgery and will out me in the hospital for several days. Not fun. The good part? No cancer. The bad part? Precancerous cyst, however, it was caught early and I had pain which is rare with tumors in the pancreas. Because of it’s size it must leave! It’s 3.8 cm. I’ve named it Ichibod and it’s time for Ich to vacate my body.

My surgery is in 2 weeks. I know I’m in great hands as I have total faith in my surgeon and his team. He specializes in the pancreas and I known him. He is kind, hard-working and an excellent surgeon. I’ve worked with him in clinic as well and when I went for my consultation, he stated he’s rather see me on the other side.

I’m in God’s hands. If this cyst had not been found now, it more than likely would have turned into cancer. God has a plan for me and it’s here, with my family. I thank God every day for my life and for the ability to be here with my family each day. I know things will be fine. This isn’t my first abdominal surgery. It probably won’t be my last. Each day is a new day to do more. Each day is a gift.

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Love Surrounds Me

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Nothing is better than having my children all home and to hear their laughter as they enjoy their time together. Today is one of those special days. My oldest daughters had an orthodontist appointment this afternoon so she drove the 2 hours to get here. After said appointment she came home.

Once everyone came home from school, the gathering happened around the piano. With one playing, then another joining in and everyone singing, the fun and laughter began. Everything from video game music to Funky Town was played and sung. Even the ukulele was played. The house was filled with joy and liveliness. Of only you could hear the laughter. They laugh until they practically fall out of chairs and per their pants sometimes.

I sit back and just enjoy their joy. It’s infectious. Just like them. They bring joy to my heart. They bring life to my soul. My life is so much richer because of them. Who would I be without my children? Who knows, but I know I certainly wouldn’t be the same as I am.

I am richer because of my children. I am better because I have them. I am crazier thanks to them, and I have less of a memory too. They are each such amazing individuals with their own unique talents and personalities, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, some days I might tweek a couple things but what parent wouldn’t of truth be told!

What gives your life joy?
What do your kids do that enriches your life?

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When Genetics Just Suck

Anxiety and depression are cruel twists of fate. In my case, I suffer from both of these as many people do. Nothing terrible happened to me that I couldn’t handle. I really don’t have PTSD as a therapist tried telling me once. I think she really could see everyone as having some sort of traumatic event causing them to have PTSD but truth be told, I think I’m my case, genetics are more to blame.  It just sucks.

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The depression and anxiety can be all consuming at times, but the anxiety really is the worst for me. It always has been. For me, it got really bad in college. I had to sign up for a class late which meant missing the first day of class. That threw me off the rest of the semester causing me to have panic attacks every time I would get to the doors of the building. I didn’t know how to drop the class and was anxious about new places so instead, I took the F. It killed my GPA there. The recovery was brutal. I didn’t go back to that university thanks to my anxiety and panic attacks. I felt so alone.

Eventually, I returned to school but was ready to face the world. I had good friends and a good support which really helped. It’s thanks to my support system that I am the nurse I am today. I also had better control over my anxiety.. I was in a completely different stage of my life by then.

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Now, fast forward to today. I’m a mother of 4 amazing kids. We’ve weathered many storms together but always come out ahead. 2 of my 3 daughters have to take meds for depression/anxiety. I am the one that caused this wretched twist of genetic mayhem. Now, my other daughter, may need medication, too. Are my genes so strong as to cause this for everyone? What a lovely thing to pass along.

Living with anxiety can be crippling, especially when it’s paired with panic attacks. All rational thought processes are out the window with anxiety. Your rational mind tells you you’re being stupid but the anxiety has you believing you will die because your heart will jump out of your chest if it beats any faster. Living with anxiety simply sucks the fun out of life at times.

I’m doing much better than I used to, but it still rears its ugly head from time to time. Chemical imbalances of the brain are just as real as high blood pressure and diabetes but the stigma associated with these diseases is profound. Why do people judge so readily? I believe it’s because they simply don’t or refuse to understand.

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Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of someone with anxiety or panic attacks or depression. Imagine being stressed out making a phone call to order a pizza. I’ve lived that. For lack of any other way to say it, it simply sucks. Normal, everyday activities are hard but we struggle through them because we have to live. Once we get through the hard parts? We are awesome and tons of fun! More importantly, we are just as normal as you.

When We Were Small

IMG_1125Many people write these days about how kids spend the majority of their time on electronic devices, but there are still those kids that play outside.  If I could take away some of the computers, mobile phones and game systems, I probably would, but sometimes they are kind of nice to have around, I’ll admit.  Sometimes, kids do actually learn something from them, but other times, they just waste an extraordinary amount of time on them.  I know from personal experience with my own kids, but let’s go back to explore what we did when I was young and compare.

downloadWhen I was young, I spend my days outside playing for the most part.  I was a normal child who loved playing with my neighborhood friends.  We would ride our bikes, play soccer, make believe that we were in other worlds, play tag, catch lightening bugs.  We had a blast!  We would wander around the neighborhood and just go from house to house playing with each other and gathering more friends often times.  We would also play inside our friends’ houses, too and play board games, although I still don’t care for Monopoly, play Barbies, play house and make believe we were on board a rocket ship headed for Jupiter.

20140816_134527.jpgSome of my friends, including my husband’s family, had an Atari 2600.  There were times we played that as well, but we didn’t spend tons of time playing it.  You see, the graphics weren’t great, like today, and we had other things that we liked doing.  My husband was so good at Pitfall.  I was enthralled and amazed at his skill.  I eventually got an Atari, but I had only Combat and Pacman for it.  I loved it, but again, I had other things to do with my time as well.  It was on a small, black and white TV but I did love that Atari.  It was mine, until dad did something while playing it and the darn thing broke.  That ended my Atari life.

The thing is, we didn’t live for our game system.  We weren’t allowed to eat, sleep and breathe video games and there simply weren’t that many games to play.  Prior to the Atari, the system of it’s day, there had been Pong.  I also loved playing that at my cousin’s when I visited.  We had a life outside of games.

Our family just got a used video game system for Christmas, which my son adores.  If he had his way, he’d play it all the time.  The Boy loves playing football on the system most of all.  We don’t allow him to play it all the time, which he has gotten better about since the weather has gotten nicer.  He still loves to play outside and with his friends.  I’ve talked to him about staying inside vs. playing outside.  I will say that if there is a knock on the door, he knows his friends’ knocks and runs off to play immediately. He’s just like I was at that age.

The kids these days are not as active as when I was a kid on a whole, but perhaps they aren’t allowed to run around outside like we were as kids either.  I’m very thankful that my kids are like me and have been active kids.  Sure, I was very active and my son is the most active of my kids.  He’s just like his parents who never stopped going as kids.

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I’m so blessed that I had such a great childhood.  I had everything I could have ever needed or wanted.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but what child does? I always had plenty of really good food to eat, a roof over my head, a fantastic backyard to play in, good friends to play with and a family that loved me.  What more could a little girl ever ask for.  Kids need love, food, shelter and the great outdoors.  I provide this for my children and I work very hard to do so.  I also have happy and healthy kids because of it.  How could I ask for anything more.  Perhaps everyone should encourage their children, like we do, to get outside more and enjoy life and their imaginations like we do.  Their kids will thank them for it, eventually!

My Hope for Our Future

It’s graduation time again.  This year, I have another daughter graduating from high school.  She is very bright and studious.  She exemplifies a student in her attitude.  As my dad would say, she is a worker.  I’m very proud of her.  I should be.  I’m proud of all my kids.  They are naturally good kids and so far, none of them have given us any trouble.  I hope that trend continues.  This one, however, has been mature beyond her years her entire life.

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When Clare was 2, she was very small and dainty.  I remember very vividly a day when she and I were home together.  Her older sister was at pre-school and Clare was playing quietly with her green, Mardi Gras beads.  She held them up to the window sill and said very clearly, “Mom, my necklace is approximately this long.” I was bewildered that she should say such a big word and use it correctly.  I might point out that she had just turned 2.  Most of the children her age were speaking in very short sentences but her sentences were very complex.  I stared at my child, asked her to repeat herself just in case I hadn’t heard correctly.  I had.  The look on her face was one of incredulity.  It was as if she couldn’t believe I didn’t know what that word meant.  This is my child.  This is my overachiever.

In kindergarten, she would come home from school every day and sit down immediately, without having to be told, and do her “homework”.  I have NEVER had to tell her to do her homework.  She always has done it and she has always done well.  She has also always done extra credit when it was given.  As I say, she is a worker.  I wish all 4 of my kids would do their homework so easily.  My oldest has to study on her own now that she is away at school but she had to be coaxed some when she was younger.  My younger 2 have always been terrible about doing homework.  It amazes me that they all came from me!

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These are my children.  These are our future.  They are my hope but they also have their own hopes and dreams which will lead them to their own desires and destinies.  Clare will start her pre-med studies this fall at university away from home.  Her older sister is in nursing.  My younger 2 will do other things unrelated to medicine, I’m certain.  They each have their own paths to follow and things to accomplish along the way.

20141206_204318.jpgMy oldest daughter, Emma, is an extraordinary vocalist.  She started her college career, as many do, not sure what she wanted to be, but began in music education.  She loves music, but was scared to death to think that all the hard work and hours put in would leave her without a job at the end of her college years.  She has now switched to the field of nursing and loves it.  She is compassionate and empathetic and will be an invaluable nurse.

In high school, she not only succeeded but excelled in music.  She achieved the female solo for the All-District performances her sophomore and senior years and went to All-State Honors Choir both her junior and senior years.  She got her silver cross, an accomplishment which is not easy to achieve in music which culminates with a beautiful solo recital at the end.  She was succeeding in college as well, but wasn’t happy.  One needs to be happy to have hope  and to be our hope for the future.

Clare has excelled in the classroom and in music as well.  She has a very high GPA, she is in the National Honor Society and French National Honor Society, but musically, she didn’t go for her silver cross.  She opted to go the route of senior recital instead.  For once, she chose the option of less stress.  She made All-State Choir her Senior year. She has no notions of majoring in music.  She will major in pre-med and something else which is still undecided.

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As I say, our children are our hope for the future.  There is no denying that.  We’ve all heard people say that, or sing it.  It’s how our world continues.  My hope is that I’ve done a good job rearing them.  I pray often that my children will be independent, intelligent and strong.  I want them to always make the best decisions they can but to think about things before they do make a decision.  I want them to make their future bright, as my oldest 2 are now adults, in the eyes of the law.  To me, they will always be my baby girls.  I still have 2 more that I can make a difference in and I hope that they listen sometimes.  I hope they will be like their older sisters and succeed in life.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/

 

Mother’s Day Without Mom

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Mother’s Day is coming up and this is the first year I’m not looking forward to it. For anyone who has lost their mother it is a very difficult day. Stores are filled with reminders that Mother’s Day is approaching. TV commercials flood in with reminders. All I see are reminders that my mom isn’t getting card this year. I won’t be eating dinner with my mom this year.

I have my children who will make my day special with a card and delicious brunch. That will make this day easier, but it won’t make me miss my mom any less. I feel that now I have become motherless child. I can talk to her all the time, yet I can not hear her voice. I can no longer hug her or kiss her cheek. We can’t laugh together like we used to. It’s been just 5 months since She took her last breath. I miss her every day.

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It is a concept that unless you’ve lost your mom, you simply can’t understand it no matter how hard you try. You can sympathize to an extent, but it just won’t be the same until you go through it.  It’s a misery I wouldn’t wish for anyone. Moms are so special. I know my mom was the best mom I could ever ask for. She was always full of life. That is how I will always remember her.

As we celebrate the Mother’s Day, we should remember all moms. The moms who are with us, the moms we have lost and the women who we consider moms. It’s going to be such a bittersweet Mother’s Day for me this year, but I’ll get through it. Heck, my oldest daughter won’t even be home this year.

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For those of us without our moms, it’s just tough. Tears will flow for many as we remember all the good and wonderful times we had with our moms. We may seem okay on the outside but our inside may be a blubbering mess. We cry in private. We mourn for a long time. We still miss our moms no matter how many years go by or how old we are. No one can take her place. She will always be your mom.

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The Better Way to Solving Conflict

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Confrontation is not something I enjoy. It’s my nature to avoid it, but sometimes we see a wrong and want to make it right. For instance, if someone you know is going on about a friend of yours and you see this happening but don’t want to get in the middle of it. Well, okay, if it involves my family or friends, I will say something for sure, but wouldn’t it be nice if we knew the best way to say something without offending everyone involved?

In one of my orientation classes we talked about this sort of circumstance in the work setting and how to deal with it. I decided this was something I wanted to share with you. I believe we all have had these experiences where we know we have to confront someone but we imagine how awful it’s going to be. We feet over it and it can cause extreme anxiety. What I learned night help though.

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First, never say anything when you are angry. You know darn well you’ll react to the emotions you are feeling instead of the situation that is upsetting you. Instead, wait until you have calmed down and can think and speak rationally again to the person you wish to confront. This could take days, but it’s better than flying off the handle and reacting to the situation.

Second, speak in first person. Say things like “I feel”, “I am concerned” or “I care”. You don’t want to place blame on the person you’re confronting or they will either shut down or fight back. Nothing calm there.

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You want to compliment the person for the good before you confront the negative issue. This helps with the whole mood of the encounter and keeps things calm. Sandwich the confrontation between compliments. Such as “you do such a great job with… But we have a problem.”  Show concern for why they did what they did by following up with “I’m concerned about you. Can I help” or “tell me what’s going on”.

Speak softly. Position yourself with a open stance and slightly bent forward to be more open and inviting to the person you are confronting. Body language is huge! It’s a lot bigger than what you say. It’s more how it’s said.

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I just found this to be very useful information and wanted to pass it along to all of you! You never know when it may come in handy. Oh. One last thought. People can’t argue with you unless you argue back. A great phrase is “I can see you’re really frustrated about that”. Try it! Let me know how it goes and as always, have a beautiful day.

A Bit About Me

I was cruising through some of my favorite blogger’s posts this morning, of course while drinking my coffee.  I love to have those lazy mornings drinking coffee in bed and reading everyone’s latest posts.  I can only do this on the weekends now and miss keeping up with everyone.  Wow, what amazing talent and fun people there are in this world.  I’ve made friends throughout the world through blogging.  It’s one of my favorite parts about blogging.  The connection of people.

20140906_144130While reading this morning, I discovered a challenge that I also challenge all of you to do.  You can look at it as a meet and greet, of sorts.  It’s just 30 questions to fill in our answers to.  How much fun!  I would like to thank each of you for visiting my blog.  Some of you visit regularly and others, it may be your first time.  I do hope you keep visiting though.  I love to write.  It’s who I am just as much as my being a wife, mother and nurse.  I love to look at the stats on my page and see how many people have visited and which country they’re from.  You mean the world to me, really!  Thank you.

Now for the fun part. The questions!

1. What’s your middle name?

It’s Marie.  My brother, who is 6 years older, thought Marie Osmond was awesome, so, I am Marie.  Also, Marie, pronounced differently, was my mother’s name.

2.What was my favorite subject in school?

Well, growing up, it was English.  When I was in nursing school, it was maternal/neonatal nursing.  I love to grow and learn and believe we never stop learning.

3. Something I miss dearly.

My mom.  She passed away 5 months ago and although the pain of losing her is not as sharp, it is always present.  It hits me at the strangest times quite unexpectedly now and I find myself crying.

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My beautiful mother and I on my 18th birthday

4. My latest addiction.

Most definitely blogging.  Since starting this blog in mid-February, I have been blessed with faithful readers and wonderful new friends from all over the world.

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5. Favorite song at the moment.

I absolutely love anything by Bruno Mars, U2 or Mumford and Sons, but I have a huge variety of music that I enjoy.

6. Something I could name my son.

Well, I have a son named Liam and he is the light of my life.  If I were to have another, I’d like Dermot, but those days are past so my only hope now is to wait for grandchildren years from now.

7. Favorite Food.

Seafood, avocados, Noosa yogurt and fruit, just not all together.  A crab or lobster salad with avocado is really nice though.

8. What is the last thing you bought?

New bedding for my bed last night.  Prior to that it was hockey gear for my son’s birthday.

9. Favorite book of all time.

Easy, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I’ve read it so many times and am thinking of reading it again.

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10. What is your favorite color?

Pink and French Country Blue

11. Do you have any pets?

I have a zoo.  We have 3 dogs, 3 cats, 4 bunnies, 2 hamsters and a baby squirrel that we are rehabilitating presently.

12. Favorite Perfume

Jessica McClintock.  It reminds me of my mom.  She gave me the bottle I have now and I use it sparingly just so I can have it longer.

13.  Am I religious?

Yes, I am happy to be Roman Catholic

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14. If I was a flower…

I would be a rose, a beautiful pink rose.

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15. Have you ever been out of the country and how many times?

Yes mostly to Ireland.  My family is from there so we traveled there a great deal when I was a child.  As an adult I have just been back to Ireland and to Canada. I’ve also been to England.

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16. Do I speak another language?

I have some Spanish and although I took German in college, I don’t remember much at all.

17. How many siblings do I have?

I have one older brother.

18. How old am I?

46 years of fabulous

19. Do I drink?

Absolutely love a glass of good wine occasionally.  More often it’s two but with my dinner.  I love going out with my friends for dinner and wine!

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20. Last time I cried.

Last night.

21. Favorite TV show.

Outlander the series on Starz

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22. How tall am I? 

5’3″ or 63 inches tall.  I’m vertically challenged.

23. What phone do I have?

Seriously, does that matter? It’s one that works.

24. Can I cook?

Julia Child I am not, but I know my way around a kitchen.  I jut don’t enjoy it like I used to.

25. What do I do for a living?

I am a professional registered nurse.  I love being a nurse and I’ve thought of going on in school, but I have 4 children to educate.  They come first, plus, I like what I’m doing.

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26. My favorite part of my body?

My eyes and my smile.

27.Things I do better than others.

I write from my heart.  I do everything with compassion and empathy so it only makes sense that my writing comes from that place too.

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Back to writing!

28. A compliment I’ve overheard.

That I am so kind and always have a smile on my face.

29. My relationship status

I’m happily married to the love of my life.

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30. Ask me about anything, right away!  I’ll answer it!  I promise!

 

Outlander in Scotland or Paris!

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Imagine being transported back 200 years to a time without the luxuries of running water, indoor plumbing and bras and underwear? Can you imagine going back in time to the year 1745 and living in Scotland or Paris? You know, Paris, fashion capital of the world! If you are a fan of Outlander, the series, both in print and now on Starz, then you have read or watched this happen. This amazing transformation was so well written by Diana Gabaldon that you feel a part of the journey of Claire and Jamie Fraser.

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The series starts off in 1940’s Scotland until Clare is unexpectedly transported back to 1743 Scotland. I won’t spoil the how’s of this but there she meets Jamie Fraser and is forced into marriage to save her own life.  There are differences between the book and the Starz series, but they are small. The actors are phenomenal and really as I’d pictured as I’d read the books.

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I, personally, am a huge fan of this amazing series both on and off screen. I’ve read the books several times because the author, Diana Gabaldon is the most incredible story teller I’ve ever come across. Her wit and descriptive writing, as well as the story line and historical relevance keep you coming back for more. In fact, you can’t put the books down!

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In part of the series, you find the main characters, Jamie and Claire living in Paris. Can you picture yourself there? If you watch the series, you can see Diana’s words transformed into visual images that are astounding! Such beautiful scenery and costuming! Imagine being transported to Versailles at the height of Court! Such dresses and finery! Wealth, tapestry, wigs and a very constipated king needing an audience for everything including having a bowel movement, or rather, trying unsuccessfully to poop! How about having the role of the king’s personal butt wiper! No thanks.

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I could watch the series over and over just like I love to read the books over and over. Each time I reread the series, I learn that I’ve missed something else and forgotten others. If you’re looking for an excellent series I highly this one. It is my all-time favorite series. I have suggested it to so many and anyone who has read it falls in love with it and can’t put those books down either!

Just a Whisper…

Have you ever just whispered so as  not to wake your sleeping child when they were brand new? I wasn’t one of those moms. I believed in getting them used to the noises they would be listening to from the time they came home.
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Kids get used to what they are surrounded by. I know this because I’m a mom of 4 and because I was a pediatric nurse for 16 years. I guess you could say I know a thing or two about kids. Kids have been my bread and butter, so to speak, although no longer, as I am now seeing, the big people. Regardless, kids pick up on things from their parents. If you are loud, they will be loud. If you speak softly, they will speak softly. Well, for the most part.
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In my house, my son is always amazed that I can hear him whisper. It just is something I’ve learned to do over the last 20 years. My husband mumbles a lot and I strain to hear him quite often but if clearly spoken, I can hear the whispers. My son tries this out all the time! I love it. It’s sort of a bonding thing for just the two of us.
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Whispers can be dangerous as you never know who can hear you. Words can hurt or words can heal and lift the spirit. Let our whispers be joyful and not be judgemental or hurtful to one another. Whisper something kind today and let the goodness spread.