For My Grandmother

The subject of saying goodbye has been the hot topic of many movies, songs and books.

There was even a movie called the “Goodbye Girl.” It is something we will all experience in a vast array of settings with audiences of all kinds.
There are goodbyes that will make us laugh.

Some that will leave us silent.

Others may make us sad.

Then there is the one that is final.

This past week I experienced something that is almost indescribable and yet something people go through all the time.
My grandmother died. She was 86 years young and lived 2 states away from me. I hadn’t seen her in 9 years.
Life sometimes gets in the way and before you know it, 9 years have passed.
My grandmother had Alzheimer’s.
She received amazing care, love and respect. I raced 537 miles to say goodbye to my grandmother. The spirit moved me and off I went.

In the end, I made it.
I was able to say goodbye.
I was able to tell her how much I loved her.
I was able to pray next to her bed and feel the warmth of God’s love and reassurance.
I basked in the glow of  her warm memories.
I reminisced with other family members. Our memories were filled with love and scents of all the “good cooking” that went on in my grandmother’s kitchen.

I have always told my children, my grandmother made the best pies

                                                                                                                                        and cobbler

                                                                                                                                                                     and chicken & noodles…the list                                                                                                                      goes on and on.

We sat in my grandmother’s room,  we talked, we laughed and we cried.

Her memories will no doubt live for many generations to come.

And then we said good-bye.

I love you grandma. Peace be with you.

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For Love of the Game?

This time of year is amazing.

The colors of leaves change from vibrant greens to yellows, reds and orange. .  This is not the only place colors are changing during this season.  There is another season that is erupting throughout fields everywhere…..

Friday nights are filled with high school competitions between gridiron teams.  Fans are yelling in the stands and cheerleaders encourage them to yell a little more.  Saturday’s we get an encore with the next level of football and we are entertained with more athletes, pursuing their dreams of a touchdown and victory.  I can hear the distant drum of a band breaking out in song as their team takes the field.  The sights, the sounds the splendor.

Sunday arrives and the football hangover is starting to mount but before it can really take hold, our professional teams take center stage and give us more to cheer for.  

October is especially interesting in that it is also the finale of the other sport; Baseball.  

The World Series.  If you cannot find a team to cheer for during the month of October – you are simply not looking hard enough.  If you are going to be a part-time fan – this is the month.  Pure athletic entertainment every night of the week. 

Let’s take a closer look at these competitions.  Have you ever noticed what an athlete does after a great play?  After they score a touchdown, make a run or perhaps a great tackle – there is an enthusiastic response.

You may also witness them pointing to the sky, saying a prayer and offering thanks to a power much bigger than themselves.  Refreshing.

After an athletic contest, think about the interviews.  What do these players and coaches say?  They usually talk about the blessings of those around them. 

Team sports are a great testament of gratitude.  A feeling of gratitude towards other teammates, coaches, parents and spiritual power.   So who is on your team?  A team could be a family, a work group, a volunteer organization, the possibilities are endless.

As we cheer on our teams and enjoy this festive season, I pray that we will maintain a spirit of gratitude inside.  It is such a blessing to partake in these sporting events.  The athletes, fans, coaches and spectators are fortunate to share in these athletic pastimes.

With a grateful heart – GO TEAM!!

The Case for Faith

In the last couple of days I have been going through a faith overhaul.  I have been reading many articles, watching documentaries and really evaluating the basis for why I believe what I do.  I have found this to be a helpful and intriguing exercise.

I am shocked at the daily barrage of negative messages and ugly news stories that are transmitted through the media in all forms.  If I were to buy in to the headlines, the human spirit is fading in to a memory of yesteryear and today’s version is manipulative and superficial.  If I were an impressionable teen how would I embrace this level of pressure?

It is all very negative and not representative of the world view that I see.  Now mind you, I am of sound mind, get a healthy level of sleep and have had my share of disappointments in life.  However, my glass is typically half full.  I believe in the philosophy of failing forward and making the most of life’s lessons.  I have been reading passages of the bible and have found the flaws amongst God’s most chosen leaders to be far worse than mine and yet these leaders served such an important role in FAITH.

So what about faith?  For me faith is not faith until it is acted upon.  Do I reflect my faith?  Do I go out of my way to put others first?  Do I wake up in the morning focused on how I can help others?  This last thought is a tough one.  How many of us wake up and think about the new aches that emerged overnight or the lack of sleep we got?  Do we really wake up thinking – wow – what can I do to make life better for someone else today?

I realize it sounds like I may be unconscious in this way of thinking but I have never felt more conscious.  That has been a part of my faith journey this week.  I know that in order to establish a new habit I have to do something different for 21 consecutive days and then it will start to weave in to the fiber of my being.  So, I am on a transformation journey.  For the next 21 days I am going to emerge from my slumber and ask myself – what can I do to make life a little better for someone else?

I don’t have the answer to this question…….that’s the beauty of it.

This is an evolving exercise.

It is also the first step in my faith overhaul.  I am excited to see how this one change will manifest in to actions.  I am confident that this will make an impactful change.  Will you join me?

Here is a tip;  a blessing is not a blessing until it is spoken.

For the next 21 days may I am focused on being a living blessing.  Here I come.

Wisdom of the Ages

Blessings come in the most unexpected areas….

Last week I was flying home from a business trip.  While making my connection I was unexpectedly upgraded on the last leg of my flight.  What a treat!  I was excited to have more room and was hopeful I would get some sleep on the way home.

As I entered the plane and looked up, I noticed an elderly woman in the seat next to mine.  Her eyes were large with wonder and probably fear.  She was wearing a cute hat and jeans.  I scooted in to the seat next to her and started a conversation.  I could sense her relief in our discussion and liked her immediately.

As our flight took off I learned that my new friend Dorothy had missed her connection home because they forgot her between flights.  She had spent the better part of the day sitting in the airport waiting for her next flight.  She had a good attitude about this but was anxious to get home and see a familiar face.

She shared stories about her life.  Dorothy went to a country school and walked 2 miles each day to receive her education.  She had relatives involved with the pony express.  I listened to a delightful discussion about history and her experiences. 

I basked in her presence and was grateful for her company.

I also reflected on the fact that I have a grandmother about the same age as Dorothy and she is in no shape to make a flight.  I miss her.  My grandmother lives 12 hours from me.  Will I also benefit from her stories?  There is only one way to find out.  I decided after my encounter with Dorothy I would make it a priority to see my grandmother in the near future.

The elderly people in our lives possess the history and knowledge we need.  They fill in the blanks, answer the questions and solve the mystery of our heritage.  They are a gift!

I will be forever grateful for Dorothy and her amazing heart.  She made such an impression with me and I will be forever blessed with her spirit. 

Who will bless you today?