Friday, May 31, 2019

Fortune Cookie Friday: Good News for Bees

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Hello, all!

Today I’d love to share a fortune cookie with you, and apply its message to a scenario I recently read about.

Great things are made of little things.  

You may have figured out that bees are near and dear to my heart. After all, this blog is called positively b.e.e. because of my childhood nickname of Bee and my desire to make a small difference in the world.

But bees–the fuzzy kind with stingers—are really important for more than just my own sentimental reasons.

They are pollinators—the reason we have crops to eat and beautiful flowers to see and smell.

They are an example of little things that help to make great things!

There have been reports of anything from Colony Collapse Disorder to pesticides to habitat loss to the planting of non-native plant species to climate change or any number of other reasons why bees and their colonies suffer, disappear, or die.

But with bees being important to our ecosystem, crops, and economy—other than becoming beekeepers, how can we help them?

Well, one guy named Dan Harris just figured one tiny piece of that puzzle out!

Dan is the inventor of a nifty device that you can use if you come across a starving bee on the sidewalk or patio. He figured out that bees’ fast metabolisms sometimes cause them to get caught short and have to rest, but without some kind of snack for them to nosh on, well...that’s basically a death sentence for a starving bee.

Each of these devices—no bigger than a credit card—holds three servings of a beekeeper’s formula to feed a starving bee. Simply peel back the foil and place the card down on the sidewalk next to the bee, and what do you know? They’ll climb on up onto the card and start chowing down, allowing them to continue their journey to the next flower or crop or back to their hive!

Dan has started crowdfunding the project and partnered with Richard Horne, who helped design and illustrate the cards. You can visit Bee Saviour Behaviour for more information, as well!

So, to go back to our fortune: Dan's invention is also a little thing leading to a great thing, don't you think?

I highlighted this story not only because it’s good news for bees, but also to get your creative wheels turning:

What small steps can you take today, this week, this month, or this year to solve a problem you’ve seen in  your community, your neighborhood, or your life? Or to meet a goal you have? Or to help someone out who is in need?

Share your story with me—I’d love to hear about all those wonderful little things that are leading to great things! 


 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~


Friday, May 24, 2019

I Get a Good Feeling

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

Okay guys, we haven't had a Friday Dance Party in a LONG time. And it seems appropriate to kick off the holiday weekend (in the US) with something upbeat, uplifting, and fun!

So stop what you're doing. Take a break and join me RIGHT NOW, and let's raise our endorphins along with our heart rates, and DANCE!

The lyric that particularly stood out to me: "Gotta love the life that we're living." Thank you, Flo Rida, for that!

Life is AWESOME, ya'll!  Live it to the fullest!

If you're in the US, have a great Memorial Day Weekend.


 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, May 17, 2019

Crossing the Finish Line

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

Hello everyone!

If you think I’ve forgotten about your requests for more stories about acts of kindness, you’d be mistaken! 😁

I recently saw a story right here in my adopted town of Pittsburgh that is making me smile a week later. It highlights some qualities that I really admire about this town. Pittsburgh and its outlying areas are full of people who exude perseverance, teamwork, compassion, empathy, and volunteerism.

Laura Mazur and Jessica Robertson were the last two runners in the full Pittsburgh Marathon. Everyone else had finished, and the streets were starting to empty out. They were total strangers to each other, as Laura is from New Bremen, Ohio, and Jessica hails from Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Laura and Jessica met around mile 14. Laura, who was running her 12th marathon, could see that Jessica, who was running her 1st marathon, was flagging, so she said to Jessica: “I’ll make you a promise. I won’t leave you if you don’t leave me. And no matter what, we will cross [the finish line] together.” Jessica’s response was: “Well, I won’t leave you because I can’t do this alone.”

And so they ran together, and at the last mile, they grabbed hands and held on tight as they fought to get to the finish line. At over seven hours of running, they were both exhausted, but they did it! You can see the sheer elation come over them as they finish in this video:

I am so in awe of these ladies, first of all, for completing a marathon, and secondly, for sticking together like that! 

In addition, the people who volunteer on race day are to be commended for all of their hard work. Many commit to staying all the way to the end, even if the last runners are slow, so they can cheer them on. To me, that takes a lot of dedication. Toward the end of the race, several volunteers, some of whom had already finished their own races, could tell that the ladies needed some motivation, and they came through! Instead of being concerned with getting back home, into the shower, and eating some food after the race, they stayed there and cheered these ladies on!

One of them thought to pull out her phone, capturing the viral moment forever. You can see some of them talk about it starting in the middle of this video:

This whole story makes me smile, and I hope it has done the same for you.

If you’re feeling like the world is kind of wonky right now, take hope: there is good in this world. That will never end.

There will always be good people helping each other out.

Especially here in the Steel City.

You just have to look for them.

Have a great week! 🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

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Friday, May 10, 2019

How Your Expectations Affect Your Stress Levels

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a good week. A week that was not stressful in any way; that was happy and fulfilling and a total breeze!

What’s that, you say?

It wasn’t a total breeze? You’re stressed out to the hilt and headed to happy hour as soon as 5:00 p.m. hits so you can try to unwind and forget about work for a while?

Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash
Believe me, I can relate.

I have a history of being easily prone to stress, after all. And though my stress habit has vastly changed with all the self-development work I’ve been doing over the last several years, it will still sometimes rear its ugly head.

I often complain to my husband when these times arise, and he always says the same thing to me:

So what does he mean by "stress is just expectations"? 

It’s very simple, really: your expectations (or someone else’s) can create stress in your life if you don’t manage them well. If you’re stressed out, adjust your expectations accordingly.

My husband—who by the way has no interest in some of the stuff I am interested in, like meditation, manifestation, and living purposefully—has mastered the basic concepts of manifestation perfectly.

The basic gist is that the things you think of are the things you draw toward yourself.

He told me the other day: if you’re expecting to be stressed out, you will be.

Bang-zoom! He’s right!

I really married a winner. I’m grateful I have him to turn to when I’m stressed, because he gives me perspective that lets me get out of my own head.

Consider what expectations you are placing on yourself, your work day, your friends, or your family, and then see if you can tie that in to any feelings of stress you may be feeling or a stressful environment around you.

Once you make the connection, adjust your expectations. 

For example, I have been known to push myself too hard, work-wise, especially since I am self-employed. I have been learning how to adjust my expectations by telling myself: "You know what, Beth? It’s okay if you take a half day off today to do something for yourself."

I also don't always expect to be stressed any more. I've been able to take on larger workloads and do them in less time without feeling anxious or stressed out the way I used to. It's a whole new world over here, and I'm loving it!

How hard are you pushing yourself or someone in your life? Is it creating stress? 

If you feel like someone else’s expectations of you are adding to your stress, then you may want to address those, too.

I hope this has given you some food for thought, and helps ease any stress you feel in your life as you begin to work on it!

Until next week, I hope you have a great and stress-free week ahead! 🐝

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 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, May 3, 2019

Another Way to View Grieving: Let the Light In

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures for more info. 

Hello friends,

I know the subject line sounds kind of serious, and, is. But I’m going through some grief right now, so it occurs to me to share some of my thoughts on grieving, in case they’ll help you, too. After all, grief is negative because it hurts. And I'm all about disrupting negative things.

There are aspects to grief where we can grow or find comfort. A sense of gratitude, strengthened community connections, and reinforced positive neural associations through memory are also possible during the grieving process. I’ll get into that in a bit, but I wanted to preface with something, first.

At times in my life, I’ve been referred to as a bit of a “Pollyanna.” If you’re not familiar with the story of Pollyanna, it centers around a girl who, no matter what difficulty befalls her, finds the silver lining and is positive. According to Merriam-Webster, the term “Pollyanna” refers to “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.”

While the story of Pollyanna was definitely a factor in the formation of my resilience as a young child, it’s not the whole story of who I am and how I get through things. For one thing, I wouldn’t call my optimism “irrepressible.” It's usually in play, but I don’t sugarcoat life. I’ve learned to say, “Yeah, this stinks” when something stinks.  I am realistic about what the issues are and work hard to find my way through them.

Even in my gratitude journal, I don’t sugarcoat. I don’t focus only on positives. Sometimes, I write about negatives, because I can find the meaning within them and am grateful for the lessons or the growth that happened because of them.

Grief is one of those scenarios. It really hurts. To add insult to injury, I am not one of those “pretty” criers. You know, the movie stars whose eyes perfectly release that one tear to stream down their faces while they look utterly beautiful in soft movie lighting?

Yeah. Not me at all. I’m a three-hanky, grotty, blotchy, red-faced crier. It’s ugly, guys.

See? That’s one truth of grief, for me. Not going to throw some positive language at you guys and say "See? All better!"

That's not how any of this works.

So with that in mind, what do I think can disrupt the negativity of losing someone you care about? What does grief really offer other than pain, sadness, and tears?

I have in mind Rumi’s quote:

Instead of letting it simply wound me, I let grief be the vehicle by which the Light may enter me. 


For one thing, I take time for gratitude. You can be grateful for knowing that person. No matter how big or how small a role they had in your life, this person shared their energy, friendship, thoughts, dreams, what have you...with YOU. Take note of what you found special about them and their role in your life. On the flip side, people are flawed, and maybe the person you’re grieving wasn’t always warm or nice or comforting to be around. But maybe the role they played in your life helped you to grow in some way? Take note of that, if that’s the case.

You will always have memories of them, too. Sometimes the people who die were complicated, and maybe the memories are complicated, too, but if you can focus on the good memories: the moments of laughter, or a photo they’re in where they pulled a silly face, or memories from a nice family trip; all of these can help as you go through the grieving process.

I know I’ve mentioned the book Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom before. In it, they discuss strengthening positive brain states through association with positive memories. I look at my current cycle of grief as an opportunity to do that. I am focusing on the good memories, and it does help with the pain.

You can find ways to honor each person’s memory in a meaningful way, too, by incorporating memories of them into your actions. While people traditionally go to funerals or memorials, those aren’t the only way to honor someone’s life. For me, I like to take a specific action that is really tailored to that person and my memory of them. I’ll demonstrate this a bit later, at the end of this piece.

A third thing that happens when someone dies is connection and sense of community. As people come together to celebrate someone’s life, speaking about their own stories and memories of the person who died, there is comfort to be had in that. Social media brings more visibility to the grieving process, with people's walls becoming living memorials. So read what is written: even if the person sharing is a total stranger to you, I bet you can relate to what they say. You can smile and laugh at their memories as they share them. You can see the similarities between you. Go to the Facebook wall of any deceased person and read the impact they had on other people’s lives. Know that you are a part of a community of people who loved and liked that person. With the advent of the virtual world, sometimes our only way to participate in a sense of community after the death of an online friend is to congregate and share online.

For the more traditional method of grieving, funerals, wakes, and memorials are similar in the aspect of people talking about what the deceased meant to them. These services offer a time to get together with others to say goodbye to the deceased and are usually followed by a shared meal or get-together. Breaking bread with others is an incredibly healing tradition. Listen to the stories people tell around the table or room. Take comfort in sharing a bond with them through your loved one who passed.

No matter what your thoughts on grief and your ways of getting through it, know this: be okay with feeling the feelings. There is no shame in crying or any of the other side effects that can happen with grief, such as sleeplessness, depression, anger, aches and pains, etc. These are normal responses. Don’t try to “be strong” and not cry or whatever it is we tend to do.

As an example of this: when I was a kid, my great-grandmother died, and I thought I was “being strong” for my family by trying not to cry too much. All I did was give myself a headache and feel sick to my stomach, and I ended up having a huge blowout at a family function afterwards when my grief became too much to bear and I couldn’t hold the tears in any longer. I was like a pressure cooker that went off, crying uncontrollably as I let it all out.

I was only 10 years old, and I have no idea where I got the notion I had to be strong at that young of an age.

Once I realized that “being strong” isn’t necessarily the answer (or rather, that strength looks different than I thought it did), I dedicated myself to not bottling it up, but feeling it and being kind to myself when I did. One of the things I had to get used to, feelings-wise, is how feelings can change during the stages of grieving. For instance, I could be crying about the person one minute and then smiling at a memory of them the next, and then be fine for a few hours or days, then have grief sneak back up on me at some unexpected time, sometimes months or years later.

That’s all okay, guys. It’s all normal, as long as you aren’t immersing yourself in it 24/7. So if you see yourself in anything I’m talking about, know that it’s okay.

Finally, if you’re grieving and having trouble with it or just want to talk, please reach out to someone: family, friends, or a grief counselor/therapist. You do not have to suffer alone, and there are ways a professional can help. While there is no “normal” timeline for how long it takes to recover from the death of a loved one, if you’re totally submerged in grief 24/7 and can’t find your way out, please do seek help. The Grief Resource Network is one such resource available to you.

I am not ashamed to admit that during a period of much loss in my life many years ago, I reached out to many people for support, including a counselor for a period of several months. The counselor was great at helping me process the parts that had happened before I started seeing him, plus he gave me tools that helped me cope when the rest of it happened, and my friends and family were also there for me.

I hope this piece helps you if you are grieving something in your life. You are not alone, and it will get better, eventually.

Now, I hope you’ll help me honor the memory of my friends who passed recently by reading their stories: 

Dawn was a knitter and spinner that I’d met online on Ravelry, the popular site for fiber folks. We eventually became Facebook friends, and have known each other online for several years, though we never had the opportunity to meet in person. We had a lot of mutual friends, and had a great time online joking around about all kinds of things. She was a tough, take-no-bull-from-anyone type of gal, but also so, SO funny! She was a single mom, and her daughter, family and friends are going to miss her a ton.

My method of honoring Dawn’s memory was to go through a bunch of her old posts and click the “laugh” emoji button on all of them again. This seems really appropriate for me, since our relationship was totally online and mostly on Facebook, and it made me feel better for doing it. After only a few posts, I was laughing hysterically instead of crying. Anytime I’m sad about Dawn’s passing, I will just go read her timeline and smile.

Angeline was a former co-worker at a job that was really, really difficult for me. I was terribly bullied at that job and often disrespected by my coworkers. It was a real “mean girls” club; they even made fun of me for being Catholic, and yet management would do nothing about it. But I did have a few friends there, and one of them was Angeline. I eventually left that job, and so did she, but we stayed in touch.

My best memories of Angeline involve how we’d talk for hours and laugh, commiserate, and share stories over a cup of masala tea. We liked to talk about old TV shows and books. Her family was from the southern part of India, and she went to the store and bought me masala tea powder and taught me how to use it. We’d also go out to dinner together, often to Indian restaurants in the area, and she would teach me about the dishes. I loved getting to know her, and will really miss her.

I am honoring Angeline’s memory by making a nice cup of tea with masala tea powder in it, just as soon as it comes in. (I had to order it online, as I’d run out of the bottle she’d given me a long time ago.) I might also look up some vintage TV shows and watch them for her. Whenever I miss Angie, I will raise a cup of masala tea to her memory and smile.

✨Dawn & Angie brought light to my life, and I will honor that.✨

And for all of you: thank you for reading this piece. I hope it was helpful in your own journeys. 💛🐝

Need more resources? Here are some books that may help:

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Reflections on 2020

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See  Disclosures  for more info.  It’s finally...