Tag Archive | family

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!