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!