Tag Archive | family

Fickle emotions of New Year’s Eve


Emotions are fickle – have you ever noticed? I live my life as an upbeat, positive person looking at the silver linings and expecting the best from life and those who are in it. It somehow surprises me when the disappointments come … and yet on the other hand, maybe not. I’ve spent many hours and years working to improve myself and my relationship with this thing called life. I know more than I think, I understand a lot about myself and hope to know what I need about others – at least I’m always learning. And, I’m acutely aware that it’s all an illusion. And yet, I still find myself waking up on days like today feeling melancholy. The voids in my life seem to be deeper and wider – more pronounced for some reason.

There is fun to be had for sure – for goodness sake it’s New Year’s Eve! This past year, 2013, has been a gloriously blessed year for me. I celebrated my 50th birthday with the love of family and friends giving back to community. I have met new friends, added a daughter-in-law to my family, traveled to parts of the world I have only always dreamed of. It has been a fabulous time. There have been heartaches, mostly in the form of soul friends crossing to the next adventure before me. I know I’ll see them again so I celebrate the gift they have been in my life.

There’s just something kind of sad about this day of crossing over. It’s not fear, it’s not worry, it’s just a silly, fickle emotion. I will sit with it for a brief time to try to discern the lesson in it. I will not wallow – sadness just isn’t a very good friend.

And then I will shake off this melancholy visitor to get back to my celebratory self. I will don a goofy hat and tweet the kazoo of a New Year party favor as I ring in the new year with friends and family. For tomorrow I know the sun shines on the dawn of a new year. There is no magic in the change from one day to the next … simply a choice to start afresh. Set new goals. Begin new adventures. Love more. Be more. Create more.

No matter what emotion is visiting you today – I wish you blessings of the mind, heart, and spirit for 2014. Happy New Year!! See you on the other side!

 

 

Aunt Jean, you are loved!


Aunt Jean 9-2-38 to 6-10-13Yesterday my Aunt Jean passed away. I didn’t see it coming, frankly. She’s been sick many times and with prayers from so many, she always had the grace of God behind her healing and pulled through. But yesterday was her “Going Home” day and our prayers were answered differently.

It was a tough day yesterday. I heard of 5 deaths, ranging from an infant, to a young man in his 20′s, to a girl battling cancer, to an expert in his field, and finally, sadly, to my Aunt. My heart was so heavy with that news.

Aunt Jean was actually my aunt in my birth family. At the age of 19 she recognized me out at the mall. I was shocked but as I grew to know her, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. She always had her eye out for me and my siblings who were placed in an orphanage years ago. She had the memory of an elephant – she could remember details and tell stories like no other. Although she hadn’t seen me since I was 3, she said she knew my eyes and that was it. I must admit, I wasn’t always emotionally ready for the heaping and mixing of birth family and adopted (what I call my “real” family). And through the years I bobbed and weaved in and out of Aunt Jean’s hugs. It didn’t really matter. She was steadfast. She was patient. She was faithful. And when, in my 40′s I was finally ready to be whole, she was waiting for me without hesitation. She shared pictures, and stories … and love. I will never forget her generous heart and her happy laugh. She was an angel to me in many ways. We used to fantasize about what it would have been like if she had been my birth mother instead of my Aunt. Those were fun little fantasies and I knew, there was something special in her that allowed her reach out through the turmoil and the years to recognize me.

My heart is heavy from this loss. There were still words and stories unspoken. But I count myself blessed for having been given the chance to get to know her. I got to cry with her, laugh with her, break bread with her, and pray with her. What could be better. And now, I know she is singing and dancing with the love of her life, Uncle Norbert, as they praise at Heaven’s throne. I love you Aunt Jean. As a  fellow writer I wrote this simple little poem for you.

See you on the other side! Be BLESSED!

“The tears I shed are bittersweet,
And with hand to heart I pray.
That your joy in heaven be complete,
As we say good bye today.
The hole we feel as our lives go on,
Will only hurt a while.
I’ll keep my eyes on eternity’s gate,
Where I’ll once again see your smile.”
~ Barbara Bernard Miller

Kindness Inspires Kindness – It’s coming!


KIK logo 8-13-13I simply can’t wait! I’m like a child at Christmas that suddenly hears the jingle of Santa’s bells or the hoofs upon the rooftop. The excitement is intoxicating!

What am I anxiously waiting for, you ask? Well, it’s my 50th Birthday KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS Day!

What started all this was a simple inspiration that jumped to me via my dear friend Anita. She had read a blog that inspired her. See how this is going? Here’s the link to Making Life Whimsical. Amy from MLW had blogged about her 40th birthday and celebrating with a KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS Day. As Anita was reading Amy’s blog she said “I can do that.” And as soon as she shared the idea with me I knew I would do this too. I had been pondering what I could do to make my 50th special. The best way I can think of to make my day special is to make it meaningful. I can use that day to help change the world in small ways here in my community. I try to spread kindness every day and this will be a concentrated day full of gift giving – from me, not to me!

Anita’s good news is that she had a KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS day last week. Here’s a link to Anita’s blog about her day. I’m so blown away by the positive outcome she had. My excitement is growing even more!!

Now the plans are coming together for me. I have my list of kindnesses almost complete. I’ll be meeting with my friend Barb H. to create a plan and a schedule to make it possible. I’ll be calling on friends, family, fans, and my peeps of all sorts to join me in planning, gathering donations, and hoofing it around Cincinnati spreading our kindness gifts. I’ll be taking pictures and blogging here as the plans come together and as the day materializes.

I invite you to join in too. Either on my birthday (Aug 13, 2013) or on yours, do an act of kindness that makes your heart sing and makes your soul celebrate. Then take some pictures and sent me a note describing it. I’ll share your kindnesses on my blog as well.

My desires are big but very doable. I want to make my KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS day a huge success. I want to light the eyes and brighten the smiles of many, many people. And I want to inspire more acts, gifts, and day that are even grander than mine. Are you in?

Tell me what you plan to do …. and be blessed!

Just another day in paradise …


I’m so glad that God still performs miracles! He does them every day and thankfully I try to be aware of them. I know I miss some along the way by being busy and distracted. However, some are just too HUGE to miss. Yesterday I received one of those – BIG, really very BIG!

I’ve shared on my blog that I am adopted. I spent ages 3-8 in the orphanage and was adopted by a lovely family. I don’t even think about being adopted anymore really – they are simply my family. I spent most of my life turning my back on my painful past and keeping my eyes on my good fortune and the love this family showered me with. I was saved and I have no idea how or why. God plucked me from a hellish situation and gave me another path to walk. Leaving the past behind me worked for me as I got to create myself anew.

However, as I’m dancing in my middle age I have been gradually collecting blessings as I reconcile my past and my present. I realized along the way that there is enough love in me to keep my family and to reconnect with those in my birth family as well. And last night I reconnected a little bit more.

It was a quiet evening – just me and my puppies sitting by my fire trying to figure out what to watch on TV. One of my regained sisters, Lynnette, called me out of the blue. I’m thankful to have reconnected with her but we don’t get a chance to talk much (not nearly enough). She said “get in your car and come now”. She went on to tell me that my “baby brother” who lives in Texas and drives a big rig was about 90 minutes away from her house and was stopping on his way through. Wow! Now that was not a call I was expecting to get. So into my car I got and I drove the 50 minutes to her house. It was a multiple event as this was my first time meeting her lovely children and wonderful husband. That was momentous enough.

Then we hopped in her car and drove to the rest stop an exit away where he was to meet her. Of course she didn’t tell him I was coming but it was a wonderful surprise! I cannot describe in words what it feels like to look into the eyes of someone you’ve not seen for 43 years since he was a babe in arms. I cannot articulate the blessing and the healing that happens in that miraculous moment. Even with my command of words and love of using them … I cannot describe it.

I am bone tired but happy for the conversation into the wee hours of the night. I am blessed to know that the pains of childhood really can be released in adulthood. I am so awed that in the midst of craziness and hardship, this man turned out to be a warm, genuine, sweet man. The miracles just don’t stop happening when you are hanging out here in paradise.

Hugs your siblings, hold them tight … and be blessed!

History in Fabric


History – we all have one, but some are clearer and deeper than others. We have ancestors which we look like. We have stories we’ve heard countless time from parents, grandparents and others. We may live in family homes passed from generation to generation. And yet some of us live with mystery for history. I’m finding that the more I learn and understand my history, the more I am aware of myself – big things and tiny nuances come into focus.

My history is quite short though, having been adopted. I actually have two threads – one that goes back to my birth family where I have very little information. And a second thread that weaves through my “real” family – the ones who raised me. That is the family that I relate to the most. Those are the stories I can almost recite having heard them at the feet of my grandparents.

Bernard's Wedding QuiltEven with this dual history I find that I really don’t have any items in my home that belonged to anyone further back than an aunt or grandparent. Those that I have, I truly cherish. One of my favorites is a quilt that I have had tucked away. It’s been displayed off and on over the years in my various homes. I’m delighted to have pulled it back out this week and can see it every day again. This quilt was a wedding gift for my grandparents, Jule & Mabel Bernard. They are the couple that changed my life. It started when they would take me and my siblings out of the orphanage for “friends of the orphans day”. Eventually, I was adopted by their daughter when she married. I was able to keep them in my life as grandparents. They blessed me in so many ways.  Having this quilt that they received on their wedding day means so much to me. I don’t use it, although it is in pristine condition. But I love it for all that it stands for. It’s bold. It’s satin. And it’s symbolic of a love that lasted a lifetime. It’s also a touch-point for me to my history. I’m blessed to still have my grandmother. She’s 93 and not able to get out anymore. But she still remembers the stories. Here’s a picture of my quilt, displayed with pictures of my grandparents, parents, and my kids. When I see it, I can remember the fun times we had together. I can remember my history.

What is the most precious treasure you have from your history? I’d love to see a picture if you have one.

Remember and be blessed!

Grateful for YOU!


Today, like so many other people, is my favorite holiday. In the US the 3rd Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving Day.” Oh, it is the feast to end all feasts. It originated in the humble beginnings of our nation as the settlers and American Indians came together in peace to celebrate and share the bounties of the harvest. Those are honorable and neighborly roots – some of the best of our national history.

Today, every family has their traditional fare in which turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and side dishes are featured at the table. Cooking and planning takes days or weeks and not hours. There is nostalgia as traditions are repeated year after year. Favorite dishes might only show up on this special day. And in true US fashion, the fall event is punctuated with parades through the streets and on TV to usher in Santa to the season, lots of American football games to rally the men around the TV, and all the fun (and sometimes crazy) dynamics that family gatherings seem to produce. Oh yeah, and the insanity of the kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy (not my favorite part I must say).

That’s the logistics of the day. And while I love and cherish the traditions of the day, the real reason it is my favorite holiday is that, at its heart is the spirit of gratitude. It is a day for THANKS giving and not gift giving. It’s a day where people come with hands full of offerings and not open for receiving. It is a precious day set aside to be thankful and for that reason, today, I count my blessings.

Here’s a few for this year:

> I am thankful for God and my faith. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that gives me eternal life, hope, and daily guidance. Without it, I am a shell of  a human and I am grateful.

> I am thankful for my job and that both of my children are once again gainfully employed as well. I am thankful that hope and perseverance will rule the day and others I love and care for will also find employment. It is my prayer and my belief for them.

> I am thankful for the love of my family, where I have 2 Grandmothers, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my dear sisters, their husbands and my precious nieces. And a brand new dose of gratitude for the newest, my 2 day old niece Abby. What a lovely addition to a wonderful, loving family.

> I am thankful for the reunion with some precious members of my original family. The healing is complete. The appreciation has begun. I am grateful and blessed to have more family to love – Shirley & Lynette.

> I am thankful for my friends who have held my hand and my heart through thick, thin, joy, pain, fear and fun. They are precious in every way. I am especially grateful this year for Jeanie, my oldest and dearest friend who has fought the valiant fight against breast cancer and won. Praise God for that special blessing!

> I am thankful for new acquaintances who have come into my life in varied and surprising ways – from my summer intern Ellidia, to friends across the nation and across the globe that I have connected with over the year.

> I am thankful that in my country we can dissent with passion, speak out our minds and our hearts, and peacefully shift power and authority in our government. Agree or not on the choices, we democratically and peacefully shift.

> I am thankful for those that serve – military, police, and fire fighters. They honor us with their daily sacrifices and they serve to protect all that we hold dear – our ideals as well as our lives. I am deeply grateful.

> I am thankful that my education and experience have given me success in my career and my skills are sought after by those who offer opportunity for recognition and new growth.

> I am thankful for my spiritual sisters and brothers who come into my life daily, weekly, and monthly in loving and supportive ways. I especially treasure my Wise Women & Bill friends who speak only of love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. They feed my soul and my heart on a constant basis and bless me in countless ways.

> I am thankful for this platform and the virtual friends who I have met online. You have broadened my world, allowing me to see my life and talents differently. Not only do you listen but you also contribute to my world. Especially you Dan – you have opened my eyes to how blessed I am in big and small ways. Your humor and your loving, generous spirit bring a light into my world and I am grateful.

This is just the beginning of my grateful list. As I prepare the meal for my family today I will continue to joyously and gratefully say prayers of “Thank You.”

I wish you all an awakening to your heart of all that blesses you – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts that make you “you” and your life so precious. Happy Thanksgiving Day … be blessed!

 
 


 

Baby Fun


 

Yikes – it’s been forever since I wrote on my blog. Nope, haven’t been sick but have been busy. No excuse I suppose but in life we prioritize day-by-day. I miss writing and interacting with my friends and fans here. So I come back today for a lighthearted revelry.

This weekend my middle sister and I hosted a baby shower for my youngest sister. We had a great time between preparing and laughing as we attempted various things from Pinterest. Yes, we successfully made a diaper cake and a melon baby in a watermelon bassinet (see picture). At one point there were 6 hands in that watermelon trying to situate the baby “just right”. Between my mom, sister, and I, we finally got it right. And we were pleased to say that it stayed sweetly intact the entire time. And we laughed – about our own baby showers, the cuteness of the tiny little baby clothes and need for “magic butt cream” (don’t ask – my sister and her husband are pharmacists). Of course, we laughed about the lack of sleep we endured as well. And when Sunday rolled around and the house was impeccably cleaned and decorated with tiny clothes on a clothesline and balloons and tissue puffs all around, we were pleased with the results.

When the mom-to-be arrived she looked so adorable with her little basketball belly and bright eyes. I remember, with just a tiny bit of sentimentality, those days from my own maternity stories. Yep, it’s hard to remember the details, but I remember the emotion – the half nervous, half excited feeling as the baby’s kick got stronger and stronger. I know my sister will be a fabulous mother. She’s an excellent teacher, a wonderfully creative girl, and sweet. Probably the sweetest person I’ve ever met.

And now, we are simply left to wait in anticipation for the bouncing baby girl angel to arrive sometime in mid November. She’ll be here in time for her first Thanksgiving. And won’t we all be blessed!

Enjoy the little angels in your life, and be blessed!

 

My Dad …


My Dad is a friendly, quiet, gentle man. I am blessed to have him as an example in my life. Because he is quiet he sometimes slips into the background of a scene. He likes it there. I wonder if he realizes that even from the background he has given so much and created so many fun and happy memories where he has touched my life.

As a little girl, not long out of the orphanage, I knew he was so strong. I recall how he tirelessly knew I pretended to be asleep after a long night at the VFW. He played along and would carry me from the car to my room. He seemed to know that I needed a Daddy’s arms to carry me at times. I remember the smell of his cologne – Old Spice. To this day I love that classic scent. He never complained or let on. I didn’t know he knew I wasn’t sleeping until I was older and my mom would chuckle about it.

And he has a fun sense of humor – it can sneak up on you and surprise you sometimes, especially if he’s playing cards or a game. I remember how he always liked to play a trick on my mom when he’d give her Christmas gifts. He was forever sending her on a treasure hunt by hiding part of her gift (like one of the slippers or the handle of the skillet) it was silly fun but a great childhood memory.

When I was a teenager he faithfully attended the Father-Daughter dances at my school. I’m sure it was not on his list of things he’d been dying to do but he still seemed to have a good time with the other dads. And he’d always dance a few slow dances with me. He bought me a corsage and would take me to dinner – like a real date. He was always a gracious example of a gentleman. He still is.

And while he has never been heard raising his voice, he certainly has the strength of his tone to let me know I crossed a line. In my youth I was foolish enough to swear in front of him once. He looked at me with a look I had never seen before or since and vowed if he ever heard that in his house again he surely would turn me over his lap and spank me. That was all it took – just that look and those words and I assure you the threat never had to come to pass. It was the only time I actually saw my Dad angry and I knew he meant it.

And now, in retirement, he is such a wonderful grandpa. He spends time, tirelessly playing games with my niece or showing her all his gardening tips. He’s still the “big kid” that used sit with me and laugh at Scooby-Doo while we ate cereal on the living room floor. And it is sweet how my Dad shows his love for my Mom in many everyday and mundane ways. He is forever a servant leader in our family. It is clear that their vows are still alive. He is patient, even in the constant dishes he washes to help her with her home bakery business. He takes delight in hunting down the good deals at the stores for her supplies. He mans the money-box at the farmer’s market so she can chat and sell her yummy treats. I love to watch their partnership and see how much they love each other in what they do and how they look at each other.

My Dad – the thoughtful, kind, faithful, funny gentleman is also one of my heroes. May he have a blessed Father’s Day! You be blessed too!

Tiny Fawn Gift


Yesterday I was graced to see a family of deer crossing by while at a SoulCollage®  class. The entire group was delighted by the brief sighting, which included the smallest little fawn we had ever seen. It was about the size of a medium-sized dog. The legs were so fragile and you could tell it was tentatively and trustingly following mama very closely. It was a sweet moment in my day.

In addition to it being a tender moment of appreciation of the beauty of the animals it made me think of my role as mother.  Right now I’m in that in between stage with my children. They are legally adults and starting to create their independent lives. And yet they are still within reach as they live at home. Well, ok to be clear, they sleep at home. While I no longer direct their moves there is comfort in knowing they are not too far yet. They can reach back to me in a moment of need. They are still close enough that I know their friends. I have some view into their daily lives. I am close enough to see their bold and courageous  moves out into the world. I  am proud that they have kept the essence of what I taught them. They are kind, morale young people with a creative spirit. They are so different from each other but I can recognize myself in each of them. There is something beautiful in awareness. I hope they have learned well and carry with them the best in me.

Yes, that little deer family gave me a gift yesterday. They allowed me to take a moment of awareness to look at my own family with appreciation and gratitude. Nature always seems to bring a gift when I take a moment to really see it.

I am blessed. Be blessed too!

Emotional Rituals


A long time ago I consciously realized how much humans are a ritualistic people. I don’t think we actually measure the passage of time by the clock or the calendar, but rather we mark time through rituals and ceremonies. We create rituals for weddings, births, deaths, graduations, birthdays, wins and losses in sports, promotions, retirements, holidays, new years, and the list goes on and on. They are all important rites of passage that help us mentally shift from one circumstance to another. I believe that’s why traditions are so important for people. They are the actions that mark time and the shifting of seasons. It’s how the human brain allows things to end and begin. It helps us with the difficult shift of change.

But there’s one area of life that we seem to neglect, and that’s emotional rites of passage.

Part of my work in human resources is helping with personnel issues. I started to notice that a lack of ritual was at times keeping people emotionally stuck. It showed itself when a project suddenly ended because of priority shifts or lack of funding and teams unceremoniously and abruptly disbanded. This left people with feelings of separation and incompletion. Sometimes it was when roles shifted and people suddenly found themselves temporarily without a manager. Without warning their career support system was just gone with no idea when someone new would be coming. They felt abandoned, even though they intellectually understood what was happening. Other times it was when someone was demoted and quietly moved to other work. This left a list of emotional stuckness for the person and sometimes for the managers who had to make the decision. People can’t always articulate what is in the way for them but moving forward seems extra hard or nearly impossible. I have learned some things from these struggles and have been able to help people create their own private rituals to make the emotional shift, thus helping them mark one time as over and the next to begin. I’ve seen it work time after time.

Because of that work, I started to notice the times when I am stuck because there was no ritual. I became increasingly aware of the need to create my own private rites of passage. I have found that it has made all the difference. Here’s a few examples:

> Going through a divorce and dealing with the sudden change at home was the first one I noticed. Sure there was the court date that served as ceremony for the divorce and marked the shift in marital status. But where I found myself stuck was with the sudden and awkward emptiness in the house. The way we interacted in the space had suddenly changed and I felt like normal routines were shifting like quicksand. In this case, the house wasn’t filled with loving family helping to box up or sort through personal belongings or memories as would happen if there had been a death. It was just me and my kids, suddenly and obviously filling and using the home differently. So I created a blessing ceremony. My kids and I lit a candle and walked through each room of the home saying a prayer of peace and harmony. I reclaimed the house as my own and blessed it. That made all the difference to me emotionally and whether they knew it or not, I believe it made a difference for the kids as well. It felt like I was “moving in” to my home on a new emotional level.

> As my daughter moved to college, and later to New York for her co-ops, I knew the moves were temporary but they were a shift in my emotions. I felt awkward and alone in a different way. I wasn’t officially an empty-nester yet but it was coming in waves. So after each time she temporarily moves out I have created my own ritual. This one always starts with a few tears. For those who know me – no surprise there! They are not tears of mourning as much as sentimental tears as I do a mini walk down memory lane of the little bitty girl who I’ve proudly watched grow up and become independent. I don’t plan on this part of the “ceremony” but since it keeps coming up spontaneously I’ve learned to accept it as part of my what I need. Then I will make myself a cup of tea or glass of wine and I sit and make a list of things I want to accomplish while I have this time of solitude. I follow that by viewing a favorite movie that I have enjoyed with her over the years and I mark the ceremony as complete. It really has made the transition go more smoothly for me when I’ve done this.

> When I was selling the home that I raised my kids in, it was on the market for 5 years. I had renters for a little while, but when they moved out there was a lot of cosmetic but costly damage. I worked hard and fixed it back up to sell. Through that time, although I no longer lived there, I found it emotionally hard to go through the house in its empty state. I wanted so desperately to sell it, but it felt like the house was clinging to me. I needed to somehow move emotionally past it in order to sell it. So one day I decided to do something different. Rather than avoid the memories and the emotional ties, I chose to have a releasing ceremony. Again I walked through each room of the house. This time, rather than claiming it, I released it. I sat in each empty room and allowed the strong memories to come to me. I smiled. I cried. I forgave. I acknowledged. I mourned. It was all about the people and experiences that had taken place there. I had loved that house so completely when I had moved in. So I energetically thanked the house for sheltering me and my family. I placed a drop of the essential oil named Release in a corner of each room and left a silk flower on the window sill in the kitchen as a gift-giving gesture. I verbally and ceremoniously said good-bye to that house and with a heart of gratitude I left the house differently that day. Yes, I know the house wasn’t actually clinging to me, but I was emotionally clinging to it as my “family” home. That ceremony allowed me to make the emotional rite of passage I needed to move from owner to maintainer. Shortly thereafter the house finally sold. Was it magic – no. Was there an energetic and emotional shift there – absolutely!

Those are a few examples of ceremonies that I have created. They have worked so well for me and I’m thankful that I learned to be conscious of my emotional/mental need for ritual. I encourage you to look for the places where your heart is stuck. Do what works for you as a ceremony. And be blessed.

My Fashionista


Well, it’s official. As of around 2:00 this morning, I no longer have any children in my household. My youngest, Maria turns 21 today. I have such mixed feelings about this. As I tell her, you may not be “a baby” but you’ll always be “my baby”. This never sits well with her but it makes me giggle none the less.

I’m sure she’ll demand I remove this post as soon as she sees these pictures, but, alas it is in the parent’s handbook that we get to embarrass brag on our children as we see fit. I intend to do so.  Grab a cup of coffee  Girlie-goo and chillax about it!

Here’s to you Maria – you’ll always be my little princess. I love you and could not be more proud.  Happy Birthday!

Wonderin' and Ponderin'

Little Flower Girl

Aloha to grade school

Beauty of the Ball

Sr. Year

Off to College

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Fashionista

Legacies


Today I was watching a documentary about Abe Lincoln. I’ve never really been a history buff because in grade school it was all about the memorization of dates. That was of little interest or use to me. But the one element that I did enjoy was the telling of stories. When I could hear the stories of the characters of history, instead of or in addition to the dates, I suddenly had a different opinion. Likely this is because I live my life in the service of connection with other people, not just in the facts and figures of their lives.

One element of Abe’s story that was told today was about his ongoing battle with depression. The interesting thing about it was that he rose to fame and glory almost in spite of the depression. He allowed himself to feel what he felt but still went on the quest of a meaningful life. He stated at one point to a friend that he did not want to die without being remembered for something important, and for him it was the Emancipation Proclamation. That was indeed something worthy of being remembered.

This post isn’t really about Abe though, but rather, it’s about legacy.  I do believe that each of us has a legacy, or legacies, that we are called to leave behind. Some of them may be consciously created, like Lincoln’s, and others are simply alive in the memories of those we interact with but are not declared. As I look at those that I have lost in my family I can clearly see their legacies – joyful strength, strong work ethics, patience, love of family, and smiling faces.

As time creeps on and I get closer to retirement I have spent some time thinking of my own legacies. At work I’ve been blessed to hear from some people what they “remember” about me. One woman recently commented that I’m always smiling. That was one I wasn’t even conscious of but it delighted me to know. Several others have mentioned how they love the weekly inspirations I post on my board and how they deliberately walk by my office to see what I’ve shared. This pleases me so much because I want to consciously and deliberately touch the lives of others and inspire them to be their best selves. Still others have mentioned my passion for diversity and inclusion and they can see the mark I am leaving on the organization because of my work in this area. That is a good legacy and I’m motivated even more to continue with this. And as much as I never planned on it, I’ve been told that I am known for my skills and abilities in dealing with employee relations issues. As an HR professional, this is a very good skill and I’m glad to be known for it. I’m sure I have other legacies, some less noteworthy or positive, given that I’m a flawed human being. But for the most part, I am pleased that these are the things I’ll be remembered by.

From a personal standpoint I know that many people will remember me for my book, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God. Not just the book and it’s content, but also the story of how the book was written. That is a legacy that I am more than delighted to leave behind. And, with more time, I intend to add more books to the list. God willing!

As a daughter, sister, friend and mother I am much less sure what my legacies would be. I guess that is the story left untold for now. I know that both my good points and bad points show themselves more frequently to those I love. I hope the good outweigh the bad. I hope what I believe in and stand for overshadow that which I failed at or stumbled through.

Do you know your legacies? I’d love to hear who you’ve been in the world – it does inspire me and others to hear your story.

Share your legacies and be blessed!

Touch a soul


Inspiration is a funny thing.

At work I’ve been talking with a colleague about ways we can help people connect their work plans with the organization’s purpose statement in more meaningful and inspiring ways. While that’s important in the workplace, it leads me to the bigger questions about motivation and inspiration. What is inspiration, really? It’s such a vague and personal thing, this inspiration. For some people it’s easy – all about dollars and cents. But for most people, inspiration is so much bigger. It carries a life of its own and often leads to action and creation, not because someone is compelled by a job or external expectations, but rather they are called and pulled and almost magically motivated because they are inspired.

For me, there are so many images and songs and events that motivate me to think or have emotions. But there are limited numbers of things that inspire me and then compel me to act. I’m inspired by:

> The desire to see my children and family happy. That’s a very motherly thing to say and “aren’t we all” comes to mind.

> The desire to touch another person’s life in a practical way. That’s what drives me to volunteer in the community to help children, elderly, or disabled people.  This makes my faith real in the physical world and it feels like I’m giving back. Considering how much people helped me, particularly when I was a child in the orphanage, this is inspiration becoming action for me. I can’t even the scale but this helps me get closer.

> But the biggest, is my desire to touch another life at the soul level. This is something I think about all the time. It’s not a fleeting fantasy. It’s not a lofty dream. This is real. This makes me breathe air in and out each day. This is why I do the work I do in HR – craving the ability to touch a life. This is why I meditate on my life’s purpose. This is why I write about God and inspiration. I want to shine the light so strongly that others see their own gifts and possibilities. If I touch a soul, my life has been relevant. That’s what really inspires me.

I’d love to know – what are your inspirations? And what are your gifts?

Be blessed!

 

Sing it loud and proud …


I’m a firm believer that the music makes the man/woman. And for some reason I have the music of my childhood running through my head. So instead of waxing sentimental I think I’ll just share.

So here’s some music from the man who was supposed to be my husband (or so I thought when I was 12 – seems no-one told him). Donny Osmond (dramatic swoon…..)

And here’s to the boy who could dance and sing, Michael.

My Grandpa taught me how to slow dance when I was a young girl.  This one’s for you Pop!

My Mom and I used to clean the house to music to make it go faster. I know every word to every Bobby Vinton song so I had to include one of them.  Grab a rag and let’s sing with Bobby …

My Aunt was more “hip” and I’d hang out with her and listen to the 3 Dog Night. Love you Aunt Debbie!

My little sister would serenade me all the time with this song. We still joke about it and I can’t help but smile when I hear it. You light up my life Tammi!

And when I met the “bad boy” of my grade school and knew I could help save him from himself. I would day-dream to this tune. Oh how funny I was back then – so this one’s for S.F.

And for my true first love, you know who you are and this was the song … :-)

Ok, that’s enough of a walk down musical memory lane. I hope your day is full of songs that make you happy! Be blessed!

Gotta make something!


I really wanna make something. Ever have one of those days? They seem to creep up on me from time to time.  And today is one of those make something kind of days. I wasn’t always this way …

When I was younger, in my early 20′s life was all about work, career, success, getting ahead, and finding my place in the world. I was a “business professional” and that was that. Then lo and behold my husband got a job out-of-state.  He assured me it was no big thing – just over the border and he’d commute each way. Nothing would change. Oh, but I knew deep inside that this would change everything.

So, after several days of treacherous weather on winding country roads with no lights, he slid dangerously off the road on ice, nearly careening over the edge of a steep hill. Yikes! That was that.  No more commuting and my life as a career woman was about to end. We moved to a little town in the middle of no-where Indiana. There was no work for me there and I suddenly (yet secretly and joyfully) became a stay-at-home mom.

Oh, there were the joys of waking up slowly with my two toddlers.  The slower pace was delicious.  That was the good part. The other part was the solitude of being new in a small town. Alone – no family to pop over. No friends to meet for dinner. Nothing but a 2 and 4 year old with the cutest “kissing” cheeks around. Well, that and plastic toys. Heavy sigh. I was on the slow train to nowhere and the fast track to stir crazy. I was torn in two between absolutely loving the experience of being 100% mom and wondering if I’d ever have another adult conversation. It was slow going to make new friends as we were the only family with young kids in our newly budding neighborhood.

Then one day, one glorious unexpected day, the local hardware store was having a “learn how to faux paint class.” Figuring I had nothing to lose I packed up the kidlings and headed on over. And what to my wondering eyes should appear … a rainbow of paints and some mini-fake walls. The kids finger painted on the bottom of my wall while I learned to twirl, dab, smudge, swish and brush. I was in heaven! The Pandora’s box to my creative self came busting open. Can’t you just see the sunbeams bursting and the “ta-da” music wrapping around me?! No, oh, well, I did.

And ever since then, the creative juices and flair have been unable to be restrained. I learned to paint and did it for all my new friends’ homes. I sought out all manner of creative outlets from basket weaving (don’t laugh!) to cross-stitching. I made home-made gifts and decorations for my home. I became the make it maven of my family.  The secret crafting fairy had sprinkled me with fairy dust and my heart was set free to do arts and crafts and get my kids involved as well.

And that was the beginning of my “gotta make something” days. Oh how I hear the sweet call of my creative siren. I’m going to have to borrow my sweet little niece for some painting or pottery very, very soon!

What about you – what are you making these days?