What you focus on expands

It was 10 a.m. on Valentine’s Day and my chocolate fit already had been addressed.
The unopened box of “Queen Anne” chocolate-covered cherries left over from Christmas was but a shell of its former self as all 10 of the sweet-nothings were currently en route to my digestive system.
I really was not looking forward to Feb. 14 because no matter how bullish I am about handling my perpetually independent life, Valentine’s Day dawns rather blue and empty with my husband away.
Granted, some will say that Valentine’s is just another day and, in all honestly, it is. But this is my space and I’ll cry about it if I want to.
Yes, the chocolates were an attempt to fill a void, and no, they didn’t do anything for me except give me the usual regrets—made worse after I read the nutrition facts printed on the box post-consumption.
Accordingly and repentantly, being that the first two main ingredients are sugar and glucose syrup, and not chocolate, I ingested 130g (30 teaspoons) of sugar in two minutes.
Ironically, Jackson Browne’s song “Running on Empty” was playing on iTunes and as my stomach revolted against the junk-staple overload, I wished that I, too, was doing what the song said as I plummeted into a hypoglycemic nightmare.
I boiled a cup of water and squeezed into it the juice of half a fresh lemon—my current holistic remedy for the “ickies”—and I got back to the business of being bullish because I know myself very well.
I am pathologically positive and the doldrums don’t have much of a life around here.
Faced with making a brighter day for myself, I decided to write about three objects important to me and that have helped shape my world.
First is a photograph of my grandmother, the late Florence (Caul) Drennan, taken when she was about 13 years old. I found it here in this house in 2006 after she had passed away.
I don’t recall seeing it before then, and I doubt it would have meant as much to me at any time in the past as it does today.
Grandma would have been 95 years old this April if the Universe worked the way the rest of us wished it would, but as I have come to realize, “Fate rarely calls on upon us at the moment of our choosing,” to quote Optimus Prime from the “Transformers” movie.
The 1927 photograph shows Grandma holding a Bible and surrounded by eight other young gals whose names are written on the back. They include Lucille Heward, Adeline Steele, Eva and Annie Caul (Grandma’s sisters), Gladys McLeod, Astrid and Alice Herrem, and Vera Hanes.
Although it is apparent the girls were posing in mature fashion for the photo, I would bet the bursting smiles on their faces surely were followed by unrestrained laughter once the box camera flashed.
I can hardly believe my Grandma was once so young, and when I am down and out or sweating the small stuff, the photograph shouts to me “carpe diem” and reminds me how fast time flies and how precious time is.
Seize the day.
Secondly is a piece of ocean coral that I’ve had sitting on my bedroom dresser in every place I have lived since 1978 (which, to my amazement, stands at 14 houses).
That year at Christmas, my family travelled with my grandparents to South Padre Island, Tex., located on the Gulf coast. On one of the many sunny days of that vacation, I was walking on the beach alone with my Grandpa, whom I adored.
I was 18 years old.
Grandpa Drennan reached down and picked up a piece of coral and between us, we decided it looked a lot like a three-legged dog. He handed it to me and said, “Here’s your Christmas present.”
Granted, it may sound corny and perhaps a tad scant in the gift department, but no word of a lie—it remains the most precious gift I have ever received from anyone in all my life.
That little piece of coral reminds me that the simplest of kind gestures might just be our greatest gift to someone else.
The third object? Many choices wandered around in my head and not one of them meant more to me than another. Perhaps the indecisiveness was a hint to give the off-the-wall word soup a rest.
I often wonder why some things happen when they do.
I checked my e-mail and there in my “Inbox” was a Valentine message from my husband, quoting Oscar Hammerstein II, and it read: “Do you love me because I am beautiful, or am I beautiful because you love me?”
Awesome. Thanks honey!
As the saying goes, “What you focus on expands.”
The rest of my day had a smile on it.

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