Ode to Mom

Today is my mom’s birthday.  It is the perfect day for me to reflect on all of the blessings she has shared with me.  We have shared joys, laughs and sorrow.  She has been there to hold my hand or give me words of encouragement in the face of some very challenging times.  I never envisioned the pain we would share or how we would grow closer because of it. 

My mom has a distinctive laugh one I think I may have inherited.  I love to hear my mom laugh.  Those times when she laughed so hard tears were streaming down her face.  I have this picture etched in my mind.  It always produces a smile.  

I talk to my mom almost daily.  The talks can range from topics of kids to religion and everything in between.  I haven’t lived close to home since I graduated high school.   The separation of miles has not deterred our ability to remain close.  I am so grateful for this.   

I remember when I was younger hearing “just wait until you have kids of your own.”  Am I the only one who heard that from their mother?  I am indeed a mother and have grown in understanding what was meant by this phrase.  However my mom omitted one little detail….things get magnified through the generations. 

As I celebrate My Mom’s Birthday, I celebrate love and caring.  I have been blessed to have a rich and rewarding relationship with my mom.  Mom’s are special.  

Mom I am sending you sunshine and visions of banana cream pie on your special day. 

Happy Birthday.

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Game Day

Can you hear the roar of cheering crowds this time of year?

Football has indeed returned.  Whether it’s the Friday night lights illuminating the sky in small towns across the United States or major stadiums rocking with action in major cities on Sunday….football is back.

For me, football is filled with tradition.  There are school songs to be sung and special meals to be made.  Who can attend a football game without a hotdog and a cold beverage?  Then there is the special attire.  Depending on the weather this could range from snow boots to sandals and the favorite jersey for my team.  The preparation can take a good amount of time and thought.

The excitement builds on and off the field.

For the teams, there’s the pre-game meal and rituals, warm up and then…the grand entrance.  When I think about all of the people involved in creating the hype of the game the numbers area staggering.  The band is playing, the crowds are singing and the food vendors are keeping the grills cooking.  It is an American pastime. 

There are so many things to celebrate both on and off the field.  The spirit of competition and pride is heartwarming.  Many life lessons can be applied to game day.  Teamwork, perseverance, hard work and dedication to name a few.

So as you watch your favorite team hit the gridiron, think about all of the hours of hard work put in by the teams, the support staff, families and more.  Go team go!

Dreams

Recently I had the opportunity to support a family member in pursuit of a dream. It is an honor to support others.
I wish we spent more time focused on how to support other people – family included. There is much celebration about being the leader however there is very little celebration for the supporting roles. They are also important an vital to success.

I compare it to being on an athletic team. You won’t find a successful quarterback on a football team without an outstanding offensive line.
The same rule applies to a person with a dream. It is critical to have a support group around you. Other people can bring different viewpoints, energy as well as support. These synergies create something wonderful.
You also learn by being in a support role. Watching another person pursue a dream, a passion in their life provides many lessons. You start thinking about, how can I add value? How can I compliment efforts here?
When the focus is on someone else – amazing things happen.
I am grateful for my recent journey and my renewed faith in the power of having a dream. Is there someone you can support? Is there a dream calling your name?

The possibilities are endless……

Ode to Oprah

Were you like me? Did you catch the last episode of Oprah and reach for kleenex? How do you take 25 years of learning and put it in to a 40 minute program? Here is a woman who has interviewed some of the most interesting, dynamic and memorable people on earth.
But then……
She gave us her points of wisdom. We all want to feel validated. We all want to be heard. We all want that common bond of acceptance.
She thanked God, acknowledged God and blessed the future “for the glory of God.”
It was a fabulous moment in television history.
Oprah also encouraged all of us to listen for the little voice inside all of us….the message that comes from God. The divine message which helps guide us towards that life which brings fulfillment and more importantly serves others.
Can you imagine the change we would see not only in ourselves but in the world if we could tap in to a small portion of this potential?
Oprah it has been an honor to take this journey with you for 25 years. I thank God for the gift of YOU and pray that we will all find our gift to share with others.

With Gratitude!

‘Tis the Season…….

It is Holy Week. This week is filled with emotion and gratitude.
I have spent much of the week thinking about sacrifice and dedication. What have these words evolved to mean in society today? Are we willing to make sacrifices to attain our goals? Are we willing to make sacrifices to help others? Are there things you have gone without? What have the people around you sacrificed to help you? Time, resources or perhaps their own needs and dreams?
Can you take my idea a step further? Are there things that you can do to help others? Can you help others attain their dream? How would this feel? Can you provide a meal for a hungry soul? There are opportunities all around us if we simply take a moment to look.
It is humbling to think about what others have done for us. I would encourage you to take some time and think about this topic. I hope it will stir a new level of gratitude within you and perhaps action to help others.

Happy Easter

Holiday Pep Talk?

Are you feeling it?

As I undertake all of the my errands during this season…it’s just not feeling like Christmas.  I don’t know what it is but this season feels different to me.  Could it be the ads that start running well before Thanksgiving or the fact that holiday decorations are now crowding out the Halloween stuff in October?  The extension of Christmas well in to October can be exhausting.

The tree is up and the lights are on the house…I am playing the Christmas Carols but something is missing.  Could it be snow?  I guess that is a possibility.  I have a feeling the root may be a little closer to the heart.  This is my first year without a child at home fulltime.  Notice how I qualified that.  I have a wonderful son going to school in Omaha and he blesses me nearly weekly with a visit and we talk on the phone frequently.  My daughter is 3 hours north of me completing her first semester of college.  I see her on occasion and am proud of her maturity this fall.  This is my first season with no children living at home.  It sounds like heaven – right?

The house has been very quiet this fall.  They refer to this as an empty nest….I think it’s a weird reference.  I thought I was ready for this change.  In some ways I was…. but in most I was not.  I miss the entourage of friends coming in and clearing the refrigerator or getting ready for the big event.  I can remember many events when I walked in to a cloud of hairspray and glitter as the girls prepped for their “big” night.

Now there’s Saddie, Sully and Lucy.  They are my other 4-legged kids and they do fill in many of the voids.  They are entertaining, warm and cuddly.  However, it’s still not the same.

I have a new appreciation for parenting during this season.  Our window of time is so short with our children and it is a blessing in so many ways.  For the holidays, I have adopted a family and many other children to help during this holiday season.  I know turning my attention to others is the first step in helping me to get in the spirit.  I am also going to re-read a couple of my gratitude chapters and focus on ALL that I have been blessed with.  Family, friends, wonderful neighbors, a nice place to live, a fun car to drive, laughter, smiles, and above all else:  LOVE!

As I am weaving through my gratitude list I want to make sure it starts with prayer.  I pray for guidance, wisdom and the heart to express love to everyone I come in contact with. 

It’s starting to feel more like Christmas……join during this time of spiritual renewal.

Just a Giggle

I walked by a playground today and was touched by the laughter I heard. It was the greatest melody I have heard in quite some time. The kids were playing and chasing with such energy and enthusiasm. They were smiling and swinging. Little girls in pigtails and little boys with baseball caps running around without a care.
I was grateful for the moment. I wanted to take it in and savor it. If I had had a tape recorder with me, this would have been the best wake up song.
When was the last time you stopped and just listened to kids giggling? Take a moment, listen and perhaps you will find a reason to smile.
School is back in session and there are plenty of kids running around laughing….enjoy!

Thank goodness for tiny voices who produce amazing sounds.