Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What To Say and NOT To Say When A Spouse Dies.

A lot of us have been there. A friend loses a spouse and we  want to say the right thing, but we stumble over our words and don’t quite know what to say to make her feel better. Will ANYTHING we say make her feel better, we wonder. Perhaps not at the moment, but there’s a lot of things that will make her feel worse, I assure you!

My sister’s friend lost her husband the other day. He was only 42, the exact age of my first husband when he passed away. It brought up some memories for me, including the things that well-meaning people said to me. Yep, there are some doosies!

What NOT To Say:

1. You’ll marry again soon. Really? REALLY? This woman just lost the love of her life and you’re already thinking about marrying her off again? NUMBER ONE WORST THING TO SAY!!!

2. Thank goodness you had time to say good-bye (if it was a long illness) or Thank goodness he went quickly and didn’t suffer (if it was sudden). Either way, he’s gone. There isn’t enough time in the world to say that last “Good-bye” or “I love you” and if it was sudden, there are so many things left unsaid. BAD, BAD, BAD!

3. You’re so young, you have a whole life in front of you (if she’s young) or You were so lucky to have had so many years with him (if she’s older and had been married for many years). If she hadn’t been married very long, she’s mourning the loss of their dreams and their future together. She can’t imagine a future without him. If she’s older, she’s mourning the loss of all those memories with him and still, she can’t imagine the rest of her years without him.

Those are the 3 worst things to say. (Believe me, I could go on and on!)

What to say (and do):

1. Talk about him. Bring him up whenever you can and it’s appropriate. Tell funny stories about him. Make her smile, remembering the good times with him. I can’t stress this enough. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BRING UP HIS NAME. It will not make her sad.

2. Let her cry. And cry and cry and cry.

3. Don’t ask what you can do for her, just DO IT. Bring her dinner. Tell her you’re going to the grocery store or discount store when you’re on your way and ask her what she needs. Pick up her kids and take them out for a couple of hours. You get the idea.

4. Do not abandon her. Don’t be there for the first month or so then figure she’s okay, because that’s what others will do. Be there for as long as she needs you. It could be years. Don’t leave her…please.

Those are the main points. This doesn’t only apply to somebody losing a spouse obviously, so use it as you wish.

And if you are in the situation and you can’t remember what I’ve told you and you think that you might be on the verge of saying something inappropriate, STOP! Close your mouth, hug your friend and don’t say a word. That always works!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Madness- About those 2013 resolutions...

Good afternoon, dear readers. It's a balmy 74 degrees here in St. Louis ~and it's January 28th. Tomorrow the forecast calls for lots of rain that by Wednesday will turn into snow showers. My jonquils are so confused.  

Only a few days left in January. How are your New Year's Resolutions coming? Somehow, it's been easier to begin foreign language lessons and get a new hairstyle than it has been to learn to forgive completely and hold to healthy boundaries. (Can I get a witness up in here?!) The healthy boundaries with people is getting easier. I'm learning to say,"No thank you" and "Maybe another time". I've even said,"You know, I just don't think that's for me," and went on to the next thing. I'm a little proud of me. 

I think the more I am able to hold to the healthy boundaries, the easier forgiveness will come. And sometimes, I just have to let go what sometimes sneaks back in. And oh, unforgiveness can be sneaky. But forgiving is easier than signing up for swimming lessons. I guarantee it. 

Whatever your resolutions are, I hope you are holding to them. 2013~still 11 months left to make it happen!

Yours, living with an open hand,


Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Madness- Thanks, Stan

St. Louis lost a treasure this weekend. It's not that we really "lost" him. We will always have the memories, the stories, and most importantly, the standard he set. He set it, not for being one of the greatest hitters of all time, but for beyond that. He set it by the way he lived his life. For anyone a part of The Cardinal Nation, we all come together to remember Stan "The Man" Musial. And what a man he was. The New York Times says it best here: The Star Who Stood Out By Not Standing Out. That's our Stan. May he rest in peace.

And lest you think we have forgotten, Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Take a little time to do something to make a difference!

Yours, pouring my second cup,


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


When did our parents become our children? How is it we find ourselves talking to them as though we are the parent and we know what’s best for them?

Sadly, this is the situation many of us are finding ourselves in. We don’t want it. We never asked for it. But here we are. And we’re suddenly making life decisions for our parents that we don’t want to make.

Who among us wants to see our parents as weak, child-like individuals? We want to remember them as the strong people we looked up to, even feared sometimes. Back when we were kids, we didn’t even think about talking back to our mom or dad, or punishment would be quick and severe. The words “Just wait until your dad comes home from work” would send us crying to our rooms in anticipation.

But now, we see our parents needing us as we once needed them. They need us to make the decisions for them that they cannot. To know what’s best for them, while preserving their dignity.

It’s hard for us and it’s hard for them. It sometimes can seem like an impossible situation. But we do the best we can. There are many, many resources out there: websites, groups, books, companies, etc. One just needs to look; the help is there.

(I often post articles about this very subject on our Facebook page if you want to “like” it!)

Here’s to being the parent and the child. It’s not easy, I know.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Madness- Open Letter To Congress

Dear President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker Boehner, all the Democrats and Republicans, Lobbyists, Special Interest People, Majority Leaders, Minority Leaders, Party People, Non-Party People, and anyone else on Capitol Hill who is involved in running our country,

In case you haven't noticed lately, it seems that America is in a bit of a mess. I'm not sure what you're doing up there, but from here, where I can kinda see what I THINK is going on (or, whatever the media chooses to report), it looks like things are ready a good ole Spring Cleanin'. No matter the issue- economy, spending, debt ceiling, gun control, mental health, health care, foreign policy, foreign aid- you name it, it looks pretty messy.

Of course, running a country of nearly 312 million people is bound to get messy. Probably pretty ugly most days, actually. I mean, people are people, right? And while most of us want the good, decent, right thing,  when you are dealing with over 300 million people, there are going to be some real rotten apples. I get that. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking, especially since the Sandy Hook Tragedy. Words cannot define or describe that day. There were, and continue to be, a lot of heated reactions. A lot of emotional outpourings. And of course, what America does best, a lot of compassionate giving. We give when we hurt because somehow, we just want to make things better. 

And I think that's at the heart of every single issue we are facing as a country right now. We just want to make things better. 

You know, there are a lot of coaches, captains of industry, iconoclasts of creativity who have turned what looked like utter failures into gleaming examples that now inspire many on a daily basis. I've read a lot of their books, listened to a lot of their speeches, watched a lot of the documentaries. There seem to be two words that are an overriding theme:

1. Basics.

When a team does not work together, they do not function. So what does the coach do? HE MAKES THEM DO THE BASICS UNTIL THEY GET IT RIGHT.  I know, it's really not rocket science. But sometimes, even the smartest of us need to review. Even the best of us still have to do our exercises and warm-ups or we fail to carry things out with the best technique and performance. What if we went back to some fundamental, basic, sensible thinking? Common sense, keeping it simple? I know our founders didn't deal with a lot of the things we deal with today, but wow, they gave us a pretty good framework. What if we just said,"We don't have it? Then we can't spend it." I know. Super basic. But that's how so many people I know have gotten back on track. I mean, it's not like what we're doing right now is working. What's keeping us from giving this a try?

2. Balance.

There is a reason why our government was set up with a system of checks and balances- to keep us from going to far one way or the other. Again, not rocket science. Balance is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Entire cultures are built on the concept. I wonder what that would mean for American Society, instead of judging everything as "That ROCKS!" or,"That SUCKS!" we could find merit and worth in the middle. HECK- how about meeting in the middle, reaching across the aisle and getting something done for a change? Novel idea, but I still think it can be done. Then again, I have been called a dreamer.



There are 311 plus million people depending on you to get it done. Please don't let us down. 


Melissa R. Bishop

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Funny- Confessions of The Lolanator

Today is Lola's Birthday. Can you believe I'm actually considering making her a "treat cake"? What has HAPPENED to me? I'm falling apart! I've never been much of a pet person. Before Lola, when the kids would ask for a dog, I would flatly reply,"If I need another living, breathing thing to care for, you will get a sibling. And I can tell you right now with great certainty, that will take an act of The Almighty." And now, while I don't fawn over her, I will admit that I love her and I'm happy she is here.  Today, the Lolanator is two (fourteen) years old! In honor of the Lolanator, I'm posting some doggie confessions, most of which she could easily accomplish if we were not so diligent. And some of which she has absolutely done. (Yes, she's lucky to have made it to age 2!) 

Nonetheless, Happy Birthday Lola!

And now, back to business,


Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So between the holidays and out of town guests and quitting my job at Weight Watchers, I’ve been a bit, well, not just falling off the wagon, but underneath it and run over. Several times.

But I’m back on it. I’ve brushed myself off, put my work-out clothes back on, downloaded the WW app on my new phone and purged my kitchen of everything I could without my family killing me. I’m back, baby!

Here’s what I’ve learned, with a little help from an article written by David Kirchhoff, President and CEO of Weight Watchers.

1. We make over 200 food decisions per day. And those of us trying to eat healthy probably make way more than that. This can be overwhelming, so keeping a food diary makes me more mindful of what I’m eating. I’m not always great at it, but I do my best!

2. If I deprive myself of what I really, really want, I’ll never succeed. That doesn’t mean I can eat an entire package of Oreo cookies, but it does mean I can have one or two.

3.  Whatever I eat, I own it. Period.

4.  I don’t surround myself with my “trigger foods.” I try to manage my environment as much as I can, given I have a husband and two growing boys in the house with me.

5.  I try to have a plan as much as I can when it comes to meals and snacks. If I “wing it,” I’m setting myself up for failure.

6.  Routines work. Yes, they can be boring sometimes, but they help me stay in control.

There you have it! Even though I’m not a Weight Watchers leader anymore, I’m still a Lifetime Member, and right now I need them more than ever! But whether you go to WW, another diet place, or just want to eat healthier, I applaud you. And don’t let those New Year’s Resolutions drift off by mid-February. This is your life, take control!!!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! A brand new year, with new hopes, dreams and aspirations. Last night, the B House welcomed the New Year with our simple traditions- dinner, movie, games (Guitar Hero kicked my booty! The Hubs, however, rocked it.), watching Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve and a champagne toast to 2013. As I sat contemplating my 2013 resolutions, I  thought through all of the usual: drop 15 pounds, clean out my closets, get organized, sell The Caregiver Organizer, write songs.... the list was endless. And then I realized, I was not making resolutions, but thinking about goals. So I dug deeper. I wanted to do some things that really mattered, something that might truly make a difference. After much thought, here's what I have resolved to do:

1.) In 2013, I resolve to be slow to be angered/offended and quick to forgive. Completely. Complete forgiveness means not holding on to the grudge. To the resentment and bitterness. Forgiving completely means letting go of the hurt, holding on to the lesson and allowing the wound to heal. And from there, moving forward.

2.) In 2013, I resolve to hold to healthy boundaries. I have a tendency to hold on to relationships and places a little longer than I should. Let's face it. Some people are poison. I don't mean it in a judgemental way, simply matter of fact. Maybe a better way of saying it is they are crazy-makers. And no matter how much I do the right things, continue to love them and try to keep everything at peace, it won't work until they make the change. It's okay for me to let go. It doesn't mean that I've failed. It just means they're crazy. ;) And it's okay for me to let them go. 

3.) In 2013, I resolve to be unafraid to fail. Fear of failure has paralyzed me in certain areas for far too long. Time to kick that nagging "what will people think of me if I fail?" fear to the curb.

4.) In 2013, I resolve to not worry about what what other people think, what other people are doing or worry about what other people are going to say. I've got things to get done. And I can't do it and please everyone all at the same time. Never happened. Never will.

I felt so much better about the promise of 2013 after I made this list. Yes, I will still set goals. ( I WILL learn to swim this year!) But I resolve (to reach a firm decision about ) to be a better me in a much, much better way.

I wish you every happiness and every success in 2013.

Happy New Year!