This morning, while I was outside with Matthew (the Maine Coon), I opened up my Notes app to jot down my to do list for today. Apparently, I haven’t used the app in some time because I found a note I left in there that I would apparently need the next time I opened up the app. It contained Anthony Hopkins’s “Powerful Words.”
It’s funny how the universe works, especially when it concerns matters of the soul. The note was something I left for myself because it concerned one particular person.
When I left the note for myself a couple of years ago, I was frustrated at the time. Things didn’t work out. The universe prevented me from doing the things I hoped to do (like move to France at that time). But now I see why the universe was stopping me. Certain things needed to happen first, and it had nothing to do with me.
The same quote kept popping up yesterday for me. It said that just because things don’t happen when you want it to, it doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. Things happen when the moment is right.
When I saw this note this morning, I had to say to myself this was never about me and how I felt. This was about the person I was thinking of when I saved it. The universe made sure I saved these words so I could share these words when the moment was right. The Universe is always making sure we find the right words when the people dear to our souls need to hear the Universe speak, especially when the Universe is working its magic.
ANTHONY HOPKINS – Powerful Words
′′Let go the people who are not prepared to love you. This is the hardest thing you will have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing. Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.
Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything to earn the appreciation of those around you, but it’s a boost that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.
When you begin to fight for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you in this place. This doesn’t mean you need to change what you are, it means you should let go of the people who aren’t ready to accompany you.
If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you don’t do yourself a favor by continuing to offer your energy and your life. The truth is that you are not for everyone and not everyone is for you.
That’s what makes it so special when you meet people who reciprocate love. You will know how precious you are.
The more time you spend trying to make yourself loved by someone who is unable to, the more time you waste depriving yourself of the possibility of this connection to someone else.
There are billions of people on this planet and many of them will meet with you at your level of interest and commitment.
The more you stay involved with people who use you as a pillow, a background option or a therapist for emotional healing, the longer you stay away from the community you want.
Maybe if you stop showing up, you won’t be wanted. Maybe if you stop trying, the relationship will end. Maybe if you stop texting your phone will stay dark for weeks. That doesn’t mean you ruined the relationship, it means the only thing holding it back was the energy that only you gave to keep it. This is not love, it’s attachment. It’s wanting to give a chance to those who don’t deserve it. You deserve so much, there are people who should not be in your life.
The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy, and both are limited. When you give your time and energy, it will define your existence.
When you realize this, you begin to understand why you are so anxious when you spend time with people, in activities, places or situations that don’t suit you and shouldn’t be around you, your energy is stolen.
You will begin to realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself and for everyone around you is to protect your energy more fiercely than anything else. Make your life a safe haven, in which only ′′compatible′′ people are allowed.
You are not responsible for saving anyone. You are not responsible for convincing them to improve. It’s not your work to exist for people and give your life to them! If you feel bad, if you feel compelled, you will be the root of all your problems, fearing that they will not return the favours you have granted. It’s your only obligation to realize that you are the love of your destiny and accept the love you deserve.
Decide that you deserve true friendship, commitment, true and complete love with healthy and prosperous people. Then wait and see how much everything begins to change. Don’t waste time with people who are not worth it. Change will give you the love, the esteem, happiness and the protection you deserve.”
Everyone needs a sick day pantry to prepare themselves for the inevitable: the day you feel under the weather.
Most people never think about preparing for their sick days at home when they plan for life’s little emergencies. They usually wait until they are sick to buy the things they need. They never prepare for the inevitable…the day they are sick. So why wait until you are sick to get what you need when you can just prepare your home for the sick day that is eventually going to come? You should have your own sick day pantry.
Sick Day Pantry
Just like you need to have your own food pantry for the basics you’ll need when you cook, you should also start a sick day pantry for the days you are not feeling well. You don’t have to have an entire closet filled with the necessities. You just need to make sure to have these items stocked in your home.
Where to begin? Start with a list. This is a list you can refer to as you slowly put together your pantry. You don’t have to accumulate everything in one shopping trip. Just keep your list handy and pick up the items you need every time you shop. Soon, you’ll have your own complete sick day pantry.
Each and every person is different when it comes to what they need to comfort themselves when they’re under the weather. Make sure all of your go to sick remedies are listed as a priority on your list to purchase first, before adding any of the other items to your pantry. For any prescriptions you need regularly, make sure to always have them at the ready.
SOUPS: Whether you prefer Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, broth, or your own batch, make sure your cupboard or freezer always has those sick day soups on hand. If you make your own, make sure to freeze a container of soup (and label it) each time you make a large pot of soup. Or if you prefer the soup from your favorite restaurant, order an extra one to add to your freezer. That way, you can have a variety of soups to choose from on sick days. Remember, you are building up your stock when you are healthy. You can still use these items when you are healthy, just remember to make it a habit to continuously restock every time you shop, order out, or cook.
COLD/FLU MEDICINE: Everyone has their own go to medicine. From NyQuil to Halls Cough Drops, make sure you always have it available. Keep NyQuil and cough syrups on the shelf and check their expiration dates. Do not refrigerate. For cough drops, the best ones that work instantly are the Ricola Lemon Mint drops. They’re also great to carry in your bag for those rare times you have a coughing fit when the entire room is quiet (think theaters, meetings, transit, etc.). We all know, that’s when coughing fits love to make their appearance.
PAIN MEDICATION: Make sure to keep a variety of pain medication in your arsenal, because not all medicine is one size fits all. From acetaminophen (Tylenol) to ibuprofen (Advil) to whatever works specifically for you, make sure to have a variety of pain medication on hand at all times. This includes pain relief medication like Midol for those who use it.
ALLERGY: Always have allergy medication. As we grow older, our bodies change. One minute we can eat a certain food, the next minute we are suddenly allergic to it. Always keep on hand the allergy medication that works for you. Benadryl may work for you, but Claritin and Allegra may not, and vice versa. Buy what works for you and your household. You may also have a need to keep an epi-pen in your arsenal. If this is you, make sure you have enough on hand in your home and on your person. [ALLERGY MED HINT: Having coffee with an antihistamine helps to stave off the lethargic reaction.]
FIRST AID KIT: A First Aid Kit is a must. It will have everything you can possibly need in case of a tiny emergency. If your kit does not include Neosporin, make sure to add it. [NOTE: Band-aids do not last forever. If you have 20 year old band-aids, it may be time to replace them.]
EYES: Do not wait until you are on your very last pair of contact lenses to see the eye doctor. I had to use one pair of contact lenses throughout the entire pandemic before I could restock. Not to mention, my glasses broke at the start of the pandemic. Lesson learned. Always have your yearly supply of contacts filled, along with contact solution and eye drops. Don’t have just one pair of glasses, have a backup pair, just in case something crazy happens like the world shuts down.
MEDICATED RUB: There are some people who grew up with the comfort of having Vicks VapoRub massaged into their chest or back when they did not feel well. Believe it or not, it’s not just for what ails you. It helps take the itchiness out of bug bites. Just apply it to the bug bite on your skin. For mosquito bites, in some cases, you may find the bite disappears the next morning. If a bug bite remains 3 days or more and it’s still swollen, see your doctor. Some bugs can carry infections that require antibiotics. For medicated rubs, the generic brands work just as well as the name brand. Also, tiger balm has it’s own magical properties. You can find tiger balm in Asian stores.
ELECTROLYTES: Gatorade, Propel, Pedialyte, electrolyte water, etc. should be added to your pantry. You may not think you’ll need this, but you do. It helps keep you hydrated, especially if you are vomiting or have diarrhea. Even if you’re a little under the weather, one glass a day (while you are sick) will help you mend faster. If you prefer all natural versions, try Ultima Replenisher electrolyte mixes. They come in a variety of flavors. Pedialyte also comes in liquid, powder, and popsicle form. If you have pets, electrolyte water can help them when they are sick. Some cats and dogs can have Pedialyte but check with your veterinarian before administering it to them. [NOTE: It is a good idea to have a myriad of options at home. You can easily take powder packs on the go, or keep them at the office. For those with pets, make sure to have electrolyte water and a bottle of Pedialyte. While vets recommend the no flavor Pedialyte, Matthew Lucifer (the Maine Coon – pictured) will only drink the flavor version. He refuses to drink electrolyte water. When your animals get picky, make sure you have options to see what will work.]
HONEY: Honey is excellent for treating colds, sore throats, the flu, and seasonal allergies. For people with seasonal allergies, you should look to purchasing local honey. Local honey comes from the bees in your area, so that means any pollen that could be affecting your allergies are being harvested by local bees. Many stores carry local honey. Just read the packaging to make sure it’s from someplace near you. For instance, if you are in California, you shouldn’t buy local honey made in New Jersey. That won’t help you. Buy only local honey from your neck of the woods.
Also popular for what ails you is Manuka Honey. This type of honey has a long list of benefits from supporting wound-healing and antibiotic-resistant infections to maximizing gut health.
Note that not all honey is made equal. There are a lot of counterfeit honey options out on the market (think molasses or brown sugar and water). Make sure you do your research before you buy honey. Fake honey won’t help you. For those with pets who suffer from seasonal allergies, giving your pet a tiny bit of local honey every now and again [one to three times a year] will also help them during allergy season.
LEMONS: Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C and flavanoids. A hot cup of water with fresh juice from a lemon and honey can help soothe a sore throat or a cold quickly. If you add lemons to your diet (either as a juice or using the peel in recipes), it serves as an antioxidant that helps prevent diseases and boosts your overall health’s wellbeing.
NATURAL REMEDIES: There are many tested, but true, remedies out there across the globe. If you have a go to natural remedy, make sure you always have those ingredients in your pantry/refrigerator.
One ingredient that is a MUST to keep in your pantry is cornstarch. It speeds up the clotting process. It is safe to use on cats and dogs when they are bleeding. This includes bleeding around their mouth.
TISSUES: You can easily buy a set of six boxes of tissues for a few dollars. You will thank yourself later that you have a back stock of tissues you can go through and you don’t have to use toilet paper, paper towels, or your sleeve when you have a runny nose.
VITAMINS: B12, C, D3, Elderberry, etc. are vitamins you should take regularly. But when you start to feel off, B12, C, D3 and Elderberry can all do absolute wonders to help you fight off an illness. Coupled with electrolyte water, soup, and rest, you’re sure to kick that sick feeling quickly.
COMFORT FOOD: Sometimes the only thing you want when you have the flu is orange juice and Oreo cookies (or maybe that’s just me). Whatever your comfort food craving is, there may be a chance you don’t want to keep these items stocked. Consider snack packs and as they start to reach their expiration either donate them to your office coworkers, give to the homeless, etc. After they expire, just throw them out (do not donate). For juices, you can freeze them as ice cubes and use them to liven up a drink or to have as popsicles.
Or you can do like I do with these two comforts. The second you feel off, buy them for that just in case this is the real deal. That way, you have them when you need them. If it’s not an illness, woo hoo! Oreos, mimosas and Netflix are in your future.
Other Items to Stock in Case of Emergency
Besides just the basics of cotton balls and cotton swabs, make sure to add these items to your medicine cabinet.
FOOT CARE: Corn removers, blister bandages, and moleskin tape (to prevent friction and blisters, as well as add extra cushioning for calluses and corns). Depending on what ails your feet, you may need additional items to help relieve your feet from pain. Everyone gets blisters every now and again, so make sure you have those bandages or moleskin tape.
HEATING PADS/COLD PACKS: If you use these, make sure to have them in your Sick Day Pantry.
HUMIDIFIER/AIR PURIFIERS: Having both are very important during sick days, winter months, and allergy season. Vornado makes excellent humidifiers, just make sure to add extra filters to your sick day pantry. The filters need to be replaced every 6 months. Or if you are a heavy user, you may need to replace it every few weeks. You’ll know by looking at the filters. The blacker they are, the sooner you need to replace them. For air purifiers, there are new models every year that outdo the next. Research the year’s best air purifier and go with whichever one suits your needs and budget.
MENSTRUAL CARE: Sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups/underwear, always make sure to have a back stock ready for yourself and for guests. Also, make sure to have your choice pain meds, chocolate, and heating pad at the ready. [NOTE: Make sure to only buy organic. There are many menstrual care products that cause more problems than they do good. For instance, many tampons and pads on the market are designed to make you bleed more. Some products have been linked to infertility, cancers and miscarriages. There are some ‘organic’ brands that are not really organic. Go with brands like Seventh Generation and other similar companies. Online companies like Thrive Market and Grove Collaborative (both require memberships) help take the guesswork out of it for you and only sell items that are good for you and the Earth.]
ETC.: Grow aloe vera in your home. It’s a cactus, so it’s easy to maintain. It’s great for skin application from sunburns to using as an antiseptic on cuts. [Note: there are studies that do not recommend ingesting aloe vera long term. It’s excellent as a topical application, and should be used mainly for your skin. While there are benefits to ingesting aloe vera, there are many medical studies that do not recommend ingesting it long term.] While you can buy a bottle of aloe vera, having a living plant in your home and snipping only the little bit you need is far more eco-friendlier and better for the environment. You don’t have to worry about the plastic bottle or the product expiring. You can also freeze aloe vera leaves to prep for sunburns.
If you have a green thumb, try growing different herbs like mint, basil, lavender, marigolds (fights fever and treats acne), chamomile and others you might like to use in a tea or in your recipes. Even grow some cat grass or lemongrass for your cats to help them when they’re not feeling well. Make sure to always check if the plants are safe for your animals before growing plants indoors.
How to Stock Up
You do not have to stock up on everything all at once. Keep a list handy of items you need to add to your pantry and pick up an item each time you shop, especially when you see a good deal. Check sales in your area. Clip coupons. Use your saver cards. Buy generic. Also, don’t be afraid to buy some of these items at a Family Dollar or Dollar Tree.
Also, do not overstock items that can expire, especially if you do not foresee yourself using those items before the expiration date. Stock up on items that you will use regularly like cotton balls, cotton swabs, tissues, menstrual care items, and food you will eat whether you are sick or not. Even Gatorade and Propel expires, so make sure to not overstock on those items, unless you see yourself as using them before they expire.
Sometimes that deal of 2 bottles of NyQuil calls to you, but think before you spring for 2 bottles. If you are shopping for one, you will probably only use 1 bottle a year. That second bottle could expire before you even open it. Start shopping for the next bottle AFTER you open up a bottle and start using it.
If your company adds funds (free money) to an FSA/HSA card for you, or if you add funds to a card yourself, you can use the card to pay for many of these items to build up your sick day pantry. The CARES Act of 2020 expanded FSA/HSA rules to allow use of FSA/HSA funds on items such as menstrual care products. You will also find that these funds can be used towards OTC drugs, PPE, foot care, acne products, acupressure products, and so much more.
A few weeks ago, I started packing an extra lunch to give to the homeless guys on the block that I adopted in NYC. There are usually two or three guys on that block.
I started packing an extra lunch, just to up my thoughtful giving game. Instead of giving the guys a little treat pack, I would give them a meal that I made in my own kitchen. This was about sharing the blessing I’ve been given. If God deemed that my refrigerator and pantry be filled with so much food (more food than I can consume myself), then I should share the bounty.
When I changed my diet a couple of months ago, I noticed there were certain items I could not donate to the neighborhood food pantry. It made me ponder what I should do with all of this food I can’t eat anymore. That’s when I realized I could cook up a few meals and give it to my guys during the week.
I have a bread machine with plenty of flour. I didn’t know what I could do with all of that flour after my lifestyle changed. Then I realized, I can bake bread for them.
A few days after I came up with the idea of making complete meals for the guys, I saw a Facebook posting about someone who used to do the same thing.
When the writer of the story was a young boy, his mother used to send him to school with an extra lunch for one of the boys in his class. She told him, “Give him the lunch before school.” He didn’t understand why. There were times he would hand the boy the lunch during lunch hour.
He didn’t realize until he was older that the reason why his mother asked him to give the boy the lunch before school was so that no one would know his situation. It was a way of hiding that boy’s poverty from their classmates. Kids can be cruel. His mother wanted to protect the boy from that cruelty he would have received from other kids by receiving this charity.
The author realized the invaluable lesson she was instilling in him. There are kids today that are humiliated because they can’t afford a hot lunch. It is even exacerbated by the school system when children have their hot meals taken away and have it replaced by a cheese sandwich.
A bunch of idiots on a school board decided to institute those rules of cheese sandwiches when parents failed to pay their children’s lunch bills. It’s the school system humiliating the child in front of all of the other children, because their parents are not paying the school lunch bill. They’re punishing the child for their parents’ failure.
It’s not right.
Imagine changing that narrative if you are a parent. What if you sent an extra lunch with your child, just in case there was another child that was subjected to the cheese sandwich? What if you sent them with extra food for those children whose only food they will receive that day are from those school meals? There are some schools that have a private food pantry for impoverished children who are from homes that cannot afford food.
It is private so that other children do not know who is shopping that food pantry.
It is a shame that children have to fear other children finding out that they are starving. Children with the wealth of food on their tables should share with those who do not have that same blessing. This is a human quality that should be instilled in each and every one of us. We should not feel ashamed or overprotective of sharing our blessings with others.
I’ve seen people repulsed when I stop to give food to the homeless guys or stop to talk to them. Someone was telling me recently that he was out with a woman when they were stopped by a homeless man asking for assistance. He went to give him the few dollars he had in his pocket. The homeless man accidentally brushed up against the woman and she freaked out. She was so disgusted she said she had to go home and shower to get the homeless off of her.
When he told me this story, my mouth literally dropped. He re-emphasized the most important point, “They are human beings, too.”
We live in a world where there is so much abundance. It is unfathomable that anyone should go hungry in this country. How is it that we cannot share this wealth of food with everyone?
If you’re a parent, teach your kids a valuable lesson about being a thoughtful and giving human being. Send them to school with an extra lunch for those kids that are hungry. Get the other families to do it, too. If there’s no private food pantry, get the school on board to start one. If there is one in your child’s school, donate to it.
Kids that don’t have to worry about food have a better chance at succeeding in school. When they are focused on where their next meal is coming from or the fact that they are starving, they will fail in school. Even in colleges, this is an issue. Don’t think that just because someone got into college that they are not homeless or starving. They are still trying to better their situation, but it becomes difficult when they are looking at the clock hoping they get to the shelter in time or the fact that they are starving. When all you can think about is food, it makes it harder to concentrate on your studies.
It takes a village to help raise each and every child. We need to change the current narrative and stop being so divided. It is small changes like this that will help move our future as a society in the right direction.
For the adults, pack an extra lunch. You never know who you’ll encounter that may be hungry and starving. Maybe you already know someone that could use that extra lunch you’ve packed. There may even be someone in your own workplace or church congregation that can’t afford food.
Donate to your local food pantry. If there’s no community food pantry, start a giving box where people can put food in the pantry box. People that need the food can take what they want. This is about helping each other. No one in America should go hungry. Do your part and share your blessings with others. Not everyone gets that same blessing of a hot meal three times a day. Some people are praying for what you take for granted.