Holly and Heather's Helping Hands

Inspirational Heartfelt Hints

Month: May, 2013

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Listening to Other People’s Problems

Ever have someone tell you about a problem they are having? They come to you as an objective person, trying to get your opinion or advice on something that may be bothering them. You try to provide a good listening ear and some helpful answers. But then, a little while later, they come to you again complaining about the same problem. Again you try to be helpful, but after a while it doesn’t seem that they’re taking your advice or even listening to you.  It’s like they don’t want to solve the problem. They are complaining and upset but week after week, month after month, year after year, they are still upset about the same thing.

Here’s one thing we have learned: You can’t solve anyone’s problems for them. You can only change the way you react or deal with what they have to say. A lot of times people don’t really want you to “fix” anything for them, they just want to vent. It is up to you to decide if you want to listen to the same old scenario time and again. Sometimes it is frustrating to watch someone you care about be unhappy. Other times you just want to scream at them to change their behavior. Ultimately, if it is upsetting for you to repeatedly hear the same problem, it’s ok to walk away. Some people have their reasons for not wanting to get off the merry-go-round.  Sometimes it takes years for change.

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Twin-Takes on Outdoor Clean Up Post- Hurricane

Each year just prior to Memorial Day, we endeavor to do a little spring cleaning outdoors. In the northeast, May is a beautiful time of year to be outside. We’ve already had many seventy degree plus days and after the fall and winter we had this past year, those days are most welcome.

But this year, the outdoor work to get our yards ready to enjoy barbeques and outdoor leisure is very different. Practically everyone in the New York area has had trees down due to Hurricane Sandy last fall, but many experienced far worse. For us personally, we look back with gratitude that sometimes difficult situations can bring out the best in people.   And on a grateful note, we’d like to share some thoughts that this year’s spring clean up brings to mind.

Heather’s Perspective: For the most part, the outside of our house was pretty much untouched after the hurricane.  Aside from debris cleanup, we only had 1 fallen tree that did not hit anything in our backyard but, due to its size, we did need about 4 guys to stand it back up again.  It was re-staked along with a few others that were leaning.  We were very lucky.  The storm just edged by our community, mostly causing downed electrical lines & power outages.  My family was in a fortunate place to be able to help others with post-hurricane needs, mostly food & clean up.

Holly’s Perspective: For me, I can look back and see how everything happens for a reason. My house was the only one on the block not spared by fallen trees. In the moment you wonder, “Why me?” But in hind sight, you see all the good that came from that experience: meeting neighbors I never knew that volunteered all day to assist in yard clean up and debris removal; getting the much-needed funds to repair damage to the house without worry that insurance premiums would skyrocket; getting bags of groceries from my sister 🙂 when my usually thriving community looked more like a ghost-town; being able to stay with my parents for a few days and take a hot shower when our power was out; being able to be a shelter for my in-laws when their power was still out after ours came back on. But the biggest debt of gratitude my husband and I owe is to our brother-in-law, my sister’s husband, Jimmy. He spent two weekends of his time helping to re-build parts of our damaged home. And it looks more beautiful than it ever was.

So this spring, while we continue to re-plant what was lost outside and re-build what was broken, we remember those even more devastated than we were and try to help in any way big or small. We will enjoy our outdoor spaces more than ever this summer with grateful hearts for what we have.  And Happy Memorial Day!

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Diffuse Your Triggers

Just about everyone has an issue or something they are trying to work through in their lives. When you have had a problem with someone or something from your past or present, it can be hard to truly let go and get to a place where thinking about it doesn’t bother you. Certain things in life can trigger that problem or painful memory and bring old hurts to the surface over and over. How do you diffuse that trigger and get to a calm, centered place about a situation which is long over or one you may have no control over? Lots of people pray, just give it up to God. Meditation is helpful to bring your mind to a peaceful state. Sometimes it gets better over time.  You may notice instead of brewing over something for weeks, you’ve forgotten about it after a few days. That’s progress. It’s nice to get to the point where, when a feeling is triggered, it just rolls right off your back with not so much as a passing thought. Hopefully you can get to that place. Ultimately, it all comes back to the big picture: remember what’s important in life. Go to that place in your mind and heart that’s good for you.  Forgive in your own way, let go, have peace in your life.  Either work it out or don’t, but shake the dust from your feet and move on.

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Happy Mother’s Day!

This song was originally written in 1915. Internet searches credit Howard Johnson & Theodore Morse. It’s titled “Mother” and we used to sing it to our mom as little kids.

M is for the many things she gave me.
O means only that she’s growing old.
T is for the tears she shed to save me.
H is for her heart of purest gold.
E is for her eyes with love light shining.
R means right and right she’ll always be.
Put them all together they spell MOTHER. A word that means the whole world to me!

Do you remember this mom? We love you! Happy Mother’s Day!

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Make Yourself Artichoke Dip!

Do you feel as though sometimes you are constantly doing things for others and if you do something nice for yourself it’s wrong? We know as mothers, we make a lot of sacrifices in life and that’s just the way it is. We accept that as a given – the kids come first. We’re trying to raise productive, ethically moral members of society and it takes a lot out of you sometimes! But even if you don’t have children, you probably have a significant other, home, job, parents or something pulling at you for your time & attention. That’s just life.

We tend to buy our kids & spouses their favorite foods, let them have the tv for their favorite shows and generally dominate the use of our time with their needful things. We don’t begrudge that but here’s the thing:  Why do we feel we can’t make our selves artichoke dip just because we are the only ones in the house who will eat it? Who cares?!? Make the artichoke dip or whatever it is that you want to do just for you. (You know that the artichoke dip is a metaphor for that indulgent thing you like that no one else does, right?)  We have to get over the guilt, as a whole, that it is ok to take the time to do little things for ourselves. Who wants to live with a grump that does everything for everyone else and never for themselves?

You’ve heard the old airplane “emergency” speech before take off, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others”.  Doing little things that make you happy is important for your well-being and that pleasant attitude is contagious. So go ahead and do something for yourself every now and again. It’s ok & even good for you.  What is your “just for me” thing?

Delicious Artichoke Dip Recipe:

One 12 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/3 cup mayo

1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese

1 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly around the edges.  Enjoy with your favorite crackers!  This recipe is meant for one; double the ingredients to serve at a party!

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