Before we left Kampala, Uganda's capital, it was a daily occurrence for me as a young child to see dead bodies in the street and to fall asleep to the sounds of machine guns and screams. And when my father failed to come home, I always thought that his voice was one of those screams I heard in the night.
It's been hard to see Dad so sad, because in much the same way he wants us to be happy, that's what we want for him too. I am compelled to let him know that I no longer take my time with him for granted, at least not in the same way I might have just six months ago. Up until that time, there would always be another phone call, another visit, another chance to say "I love you." Now we know that those moments are gifts; sometimes small, but always appreciated.
It started with a prenatal yoga class. Across the room, the beginning of a bond formed with another mom-to-be with a due date close to mine. We had a lot of the same pregnancy side effects. We were both having boys. She was energetic and outgoing - and SO excited about having a baby - it was hard not to notice her.
So many people are hiding these days behind their devices, using efficiency and speed as just one of the many excuses to avoid direct communication. I don't purport to be the Emily Post of digital etiquette, but the following are times when some form of more intimate and potentially interactive communication may be preferable to their smart phone or tablet equivalent.
During a brief vacation away with my Greek immigrant parents in sunny Florida, I had the serenity to engage them in several wonderful lengthy chats about their past (always a favourite topic of mine) and to quietly observe them. These are the additional gems that I have gained from my parents' experiences.
Living life with gratitude sometimes means one must offer thanks at the most un-opportune moments. Uttering words of gratitude even for those things in life which one is not always fully enjoying, passionately loving, deriving pleasure or benefiting greatly from nor receiving back a large measure of happiness.
It has happened to all of us at some point. You have a great idea, and someone else likes it so much they "borrow" from you -- or outright steal. In the big picture, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, if we were able to copyright ideas, creativity would be stifled. So what do you do when someone steals your ideas?
Nietzsche's creed came down to the declaration that "there is no God, no afterlife, and therefore man is completely on his own." For anyone who has bought into this vision of life, the driving force will be an ideology of power and domination. Such intangible values as generosity and mercy will most likely be scorned. But helping and caring for others is its own reward.