Every day I get up asking how to make this the best day ever.

It’s a typical day in Iowa today with glimpses of sunshine, mainly gray, hovering around the mid 40’s and it looks like this week we’ll make out of the drought meter with ample rain.  It felt like freedom going to church with no jacket. I wondered if the skies reflected the wildfires that are burning in Texas and Colorado.

The outdoor environment matters to me, and I am hopeful that we get it right with what our kids and grandkids and their kids and grandkids need for our sense of responsibility.  That is the future guiding me for today’s decisions of what I buy, recycling, preserving water, what do I choose for minimal chemicals for my lawn.

And yet today’s reality is that it’s week 6 of Russia invading Ukraine and causing horrific destruction and slaughtering of innocent people. We have humanitarian issues at our own borders with the South American population looking for safety from their governments.  The weighing of involvement is gut-wrenching for everyone, especially those who are in key decision-making roles. Not always as clear as we might think.

War can be closer to home within our own families. Politics, vaccinations, masks, even the environment is polarizing.  And the worst war is in our own minds. It’s beyond what will people think and shame. Much of what is driving us is that we’ve learned to love isolation, and we’re scared that our budgets won’t allow us shelter, food, clothing, transportation, our phones because the divide between poor and rich, the gap for equality in employment for women, and minorities widens.

So the mask we wear is a smile, or “Good” in answer to how are you fits into the lie.

I have had to realize my holier-than-thou stance of no meds doesn’t resonate with my friends and family that are finding great relief using anti-depressants.  Especially with the last couple years of the pandemic, we’ve had to learn to live differently and better. I’m sure that’s only one example of me needing to relook at absolutes.

There is one absolute. The reality is that no one makes it out of this alive. I am seeing that play out within my own business colleagues and community. A lot of sadness.  Knowing that the decisions I make today affect tomorrow and that my tomorrows may be limited to what I think I know.

Since I don’t know what I don’t know, I am making today the best day ever with relationships, making music and teaching students how to bring out their inner music, teaching the next generation about health, environment, and giving back and paying it forward while doing good through Shaklee. Every day I get up asking how to make this the best day ever.   If you read through this and have thoughts, please comment.

COVID Check In

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m Irish by former married last name.  My middle name is “Midori” which means light green and growing so either way, it’s a good holiday.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!    It’s March 17, 2021.

First, thank you for being in my life.  I appreciate what you do to make it easier.

It’s been a year unlike any other coming through COVID. And I say “through” as a precursor to expected changes that will happen with vaccines and numbers declining. Those who study the numbers say 2022.

My wearing-two-hats life has been cursed and facilitated by Zoom and learning technology.  Students have been eager to learn.  I think piano gives them doable goals. Group lessons have been a foundational part of student expectation.

People are investing time and money into boosting their immune systems.  It seems this horrible virus likes best “weakened” immune systems.  Shaklee, always respected for being top quality, has been in huge demand. People are wanting to be healthy and that’s a good thing. I am happy to help.

We have all lost someone dear to us, be it current illnesses or other reasons and that always carries a long lasting sadness.  So many losses, I feel for those left to be brave and continue forward.

My Cedar Falls grandkids had in-person band concerts the last couple of weeks. That really is HOPE IN PRACTICE! I can hardly wait to see my Texas grandkids in June.  A planned delayed wedding reception from a May 2020 wedding for my Texas son, Marc, will make that possible to see them.

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m Irish by former married last name.  My middle name is “Midori” which means light green and growing so either way, it’s a good holiday.

Be well, and know that you make a difference in my life! How are you doing?

Ann “Midori” Barry