It Really Is a Wonderful Life

IMG_2964It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is one of my all time favorite movies, not just for Christmas, but in general.  Since I was a kid, I’ve watched this almost every year.

I recently got to see this movie in the theater, something I never thought I’d be able to do.  Alamo Drafthouse plays old movies, and we bought tickets as soon as we spotted it on the schedule.  I’ve seen the movie many, many times, and I cry every time.  I cry in the beginning, and then again in the end.  Oh, and I also cry with Mr. Gower is hitting George.  Okay, I pretty much cry during the whole movie.  Your heart must be made of stone if you don’t.  The end of the movie played along with background noises of sniffling and blowing noses.  To use a cliche, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

What I love about this movie is that George Bailey is an ordinary guy forced to be extraordinary because of his situation.  Sure, he could have made different choices.  He could have chosen to do what Mr. Gower told him to and deliver the pills.  He could have chosen to go off to college and say “To Hell with the building and loan!”  He could have taken Mr. Potter up on his job offer.  But he didn’t do any of these things.  To him, he lived an ordinary life.  He lived in a drafty old house with lots of kids, an older car, and struggled to make ends meet.  He didn’t get to travel, the way he wanted to.

What he couldn’t see, what none of us can see, is how many lives we’ve touched.  Sometimes it seems like we’re in this life alone, doesn’t it?  In some ways, I think social media reinforces this concept because we can all see other people’s lives, but we’re not directly involved in them.

But the fact is, each and every one of us affect others in ways that we can’t possibly understand.  We’re not likely to have a Clarence who can show us what the world would have been like if we weren’t in it.  Here’s a real life example: when I was doing therapy, I would say some wonderful, profound things.  But later, when clients told me what I said that most affected them or what they most remembered, it was things that I didn’t even remember saying, or things that I thought meant nothing.  My point is that sometimes, when we don’t know that we’re affecting others, when we’re just being ourselves, that’s when we’re doing the most for other people.

That’s why I try to spread positivity.  I try to smile at the cashier and leave an extra dollar for a tip when I can.  I try to let in that person who wants to merge in traffic.  I try to listen to the crazy cat lady at PetSmart, even when I really don’t need to hear about the protein content of wet cat food.  I try to like or comment on other people’s Facebook posts because I know how lonely it can be when it seems like no one’s listening.  I try to comment on other writer’s blogs and support them.  I try to say “please” and “thank you.”  I try to be the best version of myself I can, because I just don’t know how something I say or do might affect someone.

Maybe I’ve never saved anyone’s life, or anything that dramatic.  But what if helped someone have a better day, and they went out and saved someone’s life?  It’s the Butterfly Effect, and there’s no way of knowing what happens when you flutter your wings, or how far those air currents go.

Be the best version of yourself that you can be today, and every day.  Let go of competition and jealousy.  You’re wonderful and you’re you for a reason.

It really is a wonderful life.  🙂

If you’re curious, here’s my list of the Top 10 Christmas movies.

Feel Good Friday

Happy Friday!  I, for one, am very happy that today is Friday.  I’m looking very much forward to the weekend.

Gang members feed hungry kids.

Man leaves letters behind for his family to read after his death.

Printer creates 3-D memories for the blind.

Luggage drive for foster children makes moving a little easier. 

Sewage workers go beyond the call of duty to find a woman’s flushed ring.

Go enjoy something today.

Go enjoy something today.

A Perfect Saturday

What breed do you see in the brown one?

What breed do you see in the brown one?

You don’t get many perfect days in life.  I’m trying to make the most of my weekends these days, and this Saturday was pretty much as good as it gets.

When we woke up, it was raining.  I love rainy days, and I’m glad to have them again now that I’m in Texas.  It was also 60 degrees, which meant jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt.  Jeans are my favorite clothes ever, and shorts just don’t do it for me the same way.  I have a few pairs of jeans that fit just perfect right now, and that makes me feel great.

We went to explore the local farmer’s market.  I have to admit, I’d gotten used to the anemic offerings in Arizona flea markets, where you’re lucky if you get a few locally grown items mixed in with typical supermarket fare.  I read this on their website, and one of the vendors also explained it to me: At the Cedar Park Farmer’s Market, vendors are only allowed to sell things they’ve produced in some way.  The coffee seller got her beans from Brazil, but she roasts them herself.  The man sharpening knives only sharpens knives; he doesn’t sell them because he doesn’t make them.  The man selling burgers buys his beef from the rancher a few tents over, then uses the recipe his mother showed him for his patties.

It was raining, but a really cool experience.  I think there were almost as many dogs as people there.  The kids were polite, and all the vendors smiled and made conversation.  We bought way more than we intended (it was meant as a scouting mission), and the husband got a bunch of water dumped on his head and down his back from the tents overspilling.

When we finished up, we headed over to PetSmart to pick up a few items.  Though my goal is to get away from big box stores, for things like cat litter, I don’t have a ton of options.  There was an adoption event going on, and my husband decided that Ripley looks a lot like a Boxer.  (I call Ripley my Rorschach dog test… everyone sees something different.  We know mom was a German Shepherd, but have no idea about dad.  Maybe a Pit Bull, or a Boxer, or a Great Dane.  Sometimes she looks almost exactly like Scooby Doo.)

Afterward, we got a little lunch and some Starbucks (the coffee roaster was out of coffee at the farmer’s market).  Then we came home and took naps to the sound of rain.  After that, we did quite a bit of unpacking.  I burned some candles, played some music, wrote some words… really, how does life get any better??

Feel Good Friday

I found some really good ones this week.  Take a minute and enjoy them.  Trust me, they’re worth taking the time to read and watch.

Lowe’s employees help a disabled vet.

Singer Colby Caillat is tired of being photoshopped.  This video really touched me.

Police officers buy groceries for a family in need.

Friskies releases “Cats of Summer,” a cute music video.  More importantly, they’ll donate food to homeless cats for every link click.

That’s all for this week.  Have a great weekend!

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
-Omar Khayyam


Feel Good Fridays

Ready for your dose of feel good?  Here’s this Friday’s feel good.  Anybody else participating?

Teen from Mesa AZ makes her prom dress into a work of art.

Why Ghostbusters still matters.

A celebrity who isn’t obnoxious and entitled?

Good Samaritan saves dog.

How traveling can change lives.

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Feel Good Friday

On Fridays, I post positive news stories.  I’m tired of seeing the depressing and darks, so I decided to be an agent of change.

I’m also proposing that those of you who read my blog take a moment on Fridays to give a positive shout out, in the same way people do Throwback Thursday.  Take a moment to post something positive on someone else’s wall, share positive news, or share a happy memory.

So, here’s some of this week’s news:

$225 million is being devoted to protecting the Amazon rainforest for the next 25 years!

A boy with autism confronts his bullies and makes new friends.

Staff and students raise money so a high school janitor can see his son.

Man follows through on promise he made his father when he was 8.

We all know bad things happen in the world, but why focus on them?  There are so many good people in this world.  I believe in putting my energy into what I want, not what I don’t.  So go out and share the good news today.

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.” -Norman Vincent Peale



The Best Time of My Life

Mystery Castle, Phoenix AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Mystery Castle, Phoenix AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Facebook inspires me from time to time, but not in ways that I would predict.  For instance, I was recently reading something an old high school friend wrote, and I realized, “This person thinks the best times of their life has passed.”  How sad.

Too many people seem to think that thinking positively is a cheap trick, mired in avoiding reality.  Thinking positively doesn’t have to be about avoiding reality.  It doesn’t work to avoid it anyway; try to avoid reality, and it will come and smack you in the face.  Hard.

No, the thing is, that most of what we’re thinking positively vs. thinking “realistically” about hasn’t actually happened yet.  How is it more realistic to think negatively about something that hasn’t happened than positively?  I believe that our energies attract things.  The nice thing about my positive thinking is that if the bad stuff never comes to pass, then I didn’t waste time worrying about it.  And if it does come to pass, then I deal with it.

I believe that every day, life can be an adventure.  And it often is an adventure.  Whether it’s a fun adventure or a frightening adventure is often decided by the person living it.  I’ve gone through bad times in my life.  And they weren’t improved by me being miserable about them.

Everyday is a choice… but will you choose adventure or irritability?  Do you have something to learn today, or has it all been done?  Are the best years behind you, or is the best stuff happening right now?

It’s all about choices.

Good News Fridays

On Fridays, I try to share good news I’ve seen… because there’s enough bad news.

A veteran is reunited with his bomb sniffing dog.

A homeless teen is the valedictorian and tells others to never give up. (video)

Volunteers make a real difference in the lives of premature babies… by cuddling with them.

SPCA lib dub… best animal adoption advertisement ever!  (video)

There you have it for feel good Friday, and remember:

“Just because today is a terrible day, doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be the best day of your life.”
-Anurag Prakash Ray

Good News Fridays

DSCN4641There’s too much emphasis on the bad news in the world.  But there are still good people out there, and on Fridays, I highlight positive news stories, people helping animals or other people, stories about love.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

A man drives 4,200 miles twice a month to save stray dogs.

A young man who is blind shows that you can reach your dreams with hard work and determination.

Things happy people understand.

A child shaves her head to support her friend who had to undergo chemotherapy.

Have a great Friday!

Good News Fridays

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

It’s really easy to read bad news online.  If I judged the world by the news, I’d think that everyone was depressed, angry, criminal, animal and child abusing.  There’s simply a lot of bad news in the world.

I meet a lot of people in my job, and while many of them are angry and depressed, most of them don’t want to be that way.  I decided that I wanted to take time on Fridays to promote positive news stories, that showcase the way people really are (or want to be.)  I believe in treating people as you want them to act, so I try to focus more on positive news than negative.  Plus, it’s all about putting positive energy into the world.

In the Philippines, a young boy saves stray animals.

The Beagle Freedom Project saved 9 dogs from product testing.  (Yes, product testing on animals still exists; no idea why.)

A Starbucks barista is an artist in disguise, and gifts lovely drawings to nice customers.

Have a great Friday, and remember: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  (Gandhi)