Three Simple Things That Blessed My Grief

by Connie on October 3, 2017

in Blog, Podcasts

Some of the hardest times in life are also some of the most difficult times to be a friend. What can you do to help a family who is caring for a terminally ill loved one? I’ve lost family members recently and being on the receiving end of this compassion has left me with a heart full of gratitude. Today I’ll share the most precious gifts my friends gave, and what you can do to help those going through heart-breaking times.

Every day on my drive to work, I would see a sculpture of eight arrows, seven of which were pointing down and the eighth on pointing up. Curious about it, I found out that the artist titled it, “Seven Down, Eight Up.”
It is based on a Japenese saying, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” This sculpture was inspirational to me each time I drove by it.
The reason why I am telling you this story is because it took me eight times to finally record this episode! But I eventually got it accomplished because my mom always said: “Never give up.”
I’ve had my mom on my mind a lot lately. In fact, that’s the reason why I have been away from the microphone for several weeks. My mother passed away recently. I’ve tried to let you know what’s going on, but I couldn’t make it through an entire recording without breaking down. Sometimes the grief is just too fresh to share it with the world. I eventually will, but for now, I just wanted to let you know that I now have my “arrows” pointed in the right direction! And more than anything else, I want to be here for you and help you find the end to those “downward facing arrows” in your life.

Sometimes you have to reach some of the lowest points in your life before you can rebuild yourself into the person that you’ve always wanted to become. I believe that when you begin to focus on bringing positive peace into your life, you will see it happen.

This week I want to share with you the things that blessed me during the days leading up to my mother’s death.

Three things that you can do to bring comfort to a grieving family:

1. Food is more than comfort, it’s essential. My friends offered to send meals, but I kept trying to “be strong.” Finally, nearly broken after many days of very little sleep, I asked them to bring meals. Their response was immediate, and even though I didn’t think I had an appetite, the food tasted amazing!
Another thing I found is that paper products are a must-have. Normally I’m not a “disposable” product user, but when a loved one is terminally ill, I would rather be spending time with family than in the kitchen any day. Here are just a few helpful items:
Paper towels and plates, wet wipes, tissues, (there were lots of tears) and even toilet paper (there were lots of visitors in the house;)
2. Ask questions, but accept the answers that they can give you at the time. Whether we’re on the asking or the telling end, we are there to offer kindness, caring, and support.
3. When you visit, take a memory to share. Is there a story that you can tell the family member that exemplifies how special their loved one is/was? Heartfelt stories and memories are priceless to the grieving family.

One more thing I want to add:

Everyone grieves differently according to their upbringing, how close or estranged they were to the deceased, and even according to where they are in life right now. How someone handles the death of a loved one, or how he or she responds to any grievous situation, is a highly personal issue. Our differences make us who we are, but we are also the same: We all have people we love and people we miss who are gone from us. Realizing that made it easier for me to accept the many different reactions to death.

No matter what you’re facing today, remember to never give up. Whatever positive thing you want in your life, don’t give up.

If there’s someone you can visit today, or send a card, or give a call, please do that: Your heart will be so much fuller, and they will have received such a gift from hearing from you. You’ll bring something positive into your life AND someone else’s.
Until next time keep looking up but never GIVE up!

“It’s in you pain that God is closest to you.”
~Pastor Rick Warren

“We underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or the smallest act of caring. All of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~Leo Buscaglia

Website: Positively Life After Fifty



Check out this episode!


This episode shares motivational stories to help you create a bucket list that can change your life.
Today I take a look at the surprising history of “The Bucket List,” talk about the benefits of those travel items on your list and share some inspirational stories to help you re-create your own life-changing list.

Have you given much thought to your bucket list lately? You should; it’s good for you.
A quick search and you will find the awesome things people have on their lists; from exotic destinations to simple acts of selflessness.

“The Bucket List” became a standard in American culture in 2007 when a movie of the same name was released.

Did the term “Kicking the Bucket” come from a children’s game or a method of execution(!?!)

The benefits of having travel items on your bucket list include mental, physical, social and financial.

Here’s a list of motivational speakers that may forever change the way you think about a bucket list:

  1. Ryan Eller, Motivational speaker and blogger, ryaneller.comHow a Bucket List Saved My Life” TEDx Tulsa
  2. Kathleen Taylor, “Rethinking the Bucket List” TEDx Tampa Bay
    Kathleen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 20 years experience in hospice and advanced care planning. She has a coaching and consulting practice serving the healthcare, social service, and nonprofit sectors.
  3. Edward Readiker-Henderson,  “Kill Your Bucket List” TEDx Maui talk
    Edward was an award-winning travel writer and traveled to over fifty countries and all the continents.  He is quoted as saying,”Whoever created the world went to a lot of trouble. It would be downright rude not to go out and see as much of it as possible.”

The Joy of a “Wonder List”
Maybe you think your life is just too busy even to consider taking that trip right now. Don’t worry about your to-do list, or that time is running out to visit all the places you hope to see and memories you hope to make. Sometimes the best moments are unscripted.

One”wonder moment” I had on a trip with my family became a treasured memory for me, and an “I wonder” moment blessed me with a life-long friend from the other side of the world.

Mark Twain quotes:
“Don’t wait; the time will never be just right.”
“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.’

**Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12



by Connie Minnell  On today’s show I talk about what goes into making good decisions.  I’ll share the four roadblocks of indecision that we need to look out for, and I’ll give the five steps to prevent them from happening. We’ll look at how depression, stress and age can affect decision making, and I’ll tell how a good memory can cause poor choices. I’ll share a true story about how one man had to rescue his mother from a poor financial decision and I’ll give the five steps to making better choices in midlife. And finally, I’ll talk about how the decisions we make every day create our unique life and build our legacy.

We have a great diversity in our lives, and all of the things needing our attention can really cause some stress. Our decisions affect our relationships, finances, and futures. But sometimes all those demands on us can cause us to become temporarily frozen from deciding what to do. Our system shuts down and we retreat to our “safe place” –that’s what indecisiveness equals– being stuck. Decisions can become harder to make for reasons like depression, stress, and age, or even having a good memory!

Depression     When you get depressed you are less likely to go with your gut instinct. In an article in research digest, Carina Remmers and her colleagues tested 29 patients diagnosed with major depression and found that the people with depression had an impaired ability to go with their gut instincts. Disclaimer: If you are seriously depressed, or if you think you ave had symptoms of depression for more than a few weeks, please see you doctor, because I’m not one, and this podcast is for entertainment purposes only.

Stress     Stress can affect our bodies and our abilities to make good decisions. In the podcast, I share a story about how stress during my last year at work caused my lack of decision, which became my decision and it affected my health in a negative way.

Age     Another thing that affects decisions is our age. Studies have shown that as we age, we begin to rely more on our instincts and our past experiences when we make decisions. Age affects decision making also. As people age, many are taking greater financial risks. Some of us to have to make decisions on behalf of our parents. My friend John had to take over his mothers  bills and accounts because she was giving money to a charity and not paying her bills. The people from the charity were tugging on her heart strings, so she gave them a large amount of money that she couldn’t afford. I tell you what he had to do in the audio.

A (Really) Good Memory     Researchers at the University of Chicago and Michigan State University studied a group of people with a high working memory but who freeze when making decisions. The study shows that people who have high working memory brain usually rely on those resources to solve hard problems, but if they also have a poor attention span then they get distracted easily. This then causes them anxiety, and it’s that anxiety that gets them to freeze up when the pressure is on.

The choices we make tell a lot about who we are and what makes us unique. But living with the results of those choices, or lack thereof, can sometime cause anxiety and even regret.  The thoughts that you have every day influence the decisions that you make, and those decisions have everything to do with what your life is. As long as you’re alive, you’re making choices and those choices represent what is important to you. Character traits develop as you respond to the choices that you make.

Decisions can be stressful especially when you don’t feel good or someone else in your family is sick. Before you know it, you let your emotions decide for you, or you just do nothing. Philosopher Ruth Chang calls this “drifting” She says that people who don’t exercise their own power of decision-making when faced with hard choices are called drifters. Drifters allow the world to, as she says, “write the story of their lives.” I relate drifting in life to the story of watching a stick in the stream. The stick, drifting fast down the stream, sometimes forward, sometimes spinning in circles, sometimes getting stuck.

5 steps to help you make those decisions with confidence

Step 1  Let your choices be a reflection of your hopes, not your fears

Big decisions can wreak havoc on your emotions… emotions get in the way of decisions, and that clouds your judgment. Fears can take many faces; fear of failure or pain, fear of what others will think,  fear of perfectionism, fear of success, If you cant make a decision, there’s a good chance that you’re afraid of something. Identify the fear, learn more about it, conquer it, and move on. Make the decision that’s best for you. Best-selling author, Seth Godin says, “You don’t need more time in your day, you need to decide.” Don’t make major decisions when you are visibly hurt, stressed, angry. Never make a decision that will purposefully hurt someone else. Good decision making includes keeping your honor and integrity. (My decision to take early retirement is discussed.)

Step 2 Do your Research, but stay focused and set a deadline

Even if you don’t meet the self imposed deadline, you will be closer to a good decision than with no deadline. Have you ever looked up a certain illness on the Internet and been completely overwhelmed with the information? Doing too much research can lead to even  more stress and overload us with information that we don’t need. Pull back from those distractions. There is so much information available at our fingertips, so it’s important to remember to look at the research with a discerning eye and stay focused on the specific questions you need answered to make your decision.

As you investigate the options, write down simple and specific information a way that’s best  for you.  You could use the traditional pros and cons list on a yellow notepad, or write down your findings on sticky notes and assemble them into categories similar to using an affinity diagram. the main thing to remember is that you’re not just relying on your instincts, you are also doing your research.

Some decisions, like how to handle a tough situation, are worth mulling over. Others, like deciding what you are going to have for supper tonight, are not. Don’t fall into that trap of over analyzing the small decision. Ask: Will this matter 10 years from now? Sometimes decisions seem much bigger than they really are. Maybe you’re struggling with whether or not to take that new job. You can quit your new job if it really horrible.

Step 3 Trust your instincts (your gut)

Our nervous system really does include our gut. When I’m stressed, I can feel it immediately in my stomach. Think about a person you love spending time with: They either make you feel safe or happy, or both. Now think about someone you can’t ever please or get along with. how does your gut feel  when you think of them? Relay that same test to each side of your decision. Remember the simple test of tossing a coin to decide when both sides were relatively equal. And before the coin even landed you knew which side you were hoping for? That’s your instincts kicking in.

Don’t be so hard on yourself if you can’t decide. Even if you have both options, with all the advantages lined up on either side of the yellow tablet, and you think that there is no best option, then you just say that they are on par with each other. You look at the choices and think about how much value that you have give to each item on your list. and make the best decision that you can with that information. Remember, our decisions become our life. Our life becomes our legacy.

Step 4 Get the advice of a trusted friend, or two, and (I) pray or meditate on it

Reach out to someone you trust, someone who’s been there or done that. Meditate on it or reach out to your higher power to help you become more focused on what you really want.

Step 5 Decide, accept, let go and move on

Finally, after you have made the choice, accept the fact that you made the best decision that you could with the information you had, in  the time that you had, and using the wisdom that comes with your age. Let go of any further anxious feelings.  Decisions have consequences, but how you handle those consequences are a reflection of your maturity.  Every situation, no matter how bad, can be made better by our attitude. So if you make a poor decision and have to handle the consequences, then it is in those circumstances that attitude counts more than ever. Remember, even wrong decisions can lead to some pretty terrific outcomes, but even if they don’t, you’ll  have a great story to tell and will have learned a valuable life lesson.

Thank you for being here! I’m so glad you decided to join me today!

You can visit my website at or

The following were mentioned in the show:

For the depression article referred click here.

Click here to watch Ruth Chang’s TED Talk video

Read more about Decision Making Factors

People with higher working memory ability suffer more from brain freeze

Check out this episode!