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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Moral Fiber?

Did the title of this post catch your attention.

When you think about the term moral fiber you may immediately think of religion or something spiritual.

I would agree that moral fiber is spiritual.  I believe it is part of our internal wiring.  How we are made.  As I think about gratitude and the many things I am grateful for I realized many of these values are woven in to my moral fiber.  If I lose sight of the things I am grateful for my disposition changes.  It is not a good feeling.

Realizing that gratitude serves as my compass for thoughts and actions has been powerful.  Gratitude has grown far beyond a card with sentiments written on it.  If you were to use the same tool for your compass where would it lead you?

I am grateful for the laughter of children – this leads to a happy heart.

I am grateful for the love of my husband, my children, my family – this leads to contentment.

I am grateful for the dawn of a new day complete with heavy raindrops, mist and fog – this leads to new birth and renewal.

Where can gratitude lead you?

Sky High Faith

Inspiration….
Wow you just never know when it’s going to hit you.
Someone very close to me recently went skydiving. I was nervous and excited for her. It also called my faith to the frontlines. Faith in her judgement. Faith in the people helping her. Faith in the tools being used for the jump.
Faith.

I never thought about it much outside of the context of day-to-day areas like health & well-being. I realize well-being and skydiving may not seem like obvious twins but in this case they both challenged my depth of faith.
As my baby flew in to the horizon for her great adventure, my faith was called out. I had to give it all up to God.  This wasn’t easy.  The situation was completely out of my hands – literally.  I decided to envision God was with her holding her in the palm of his hand gently guiding her moves and ultimately her landing.  Sounds a bit like everyday life doesn’t it?
I am happy to report, the jump was a huge success and my daughter is back on the ground.
She was exhilarated and I was blessed.

My children head to college this week and it gives me yet another opportunity to have faith.

Children present us with many gifts. I am grateful for their presence in my life and relish all of the lessons they bring.

Bonjour!

I recently returned from the city of lights; Paris.

The history and culture of this fine city was incredible. I made this trip with my 18 year old daughter and it was interesting to watch her reaction to the different sites. It reminded me that appreciation sometimes requires maturity. There is no replacement for experience and education.

The expansion of art and architecture was unmistakable. The sidewalks had brilliant mosaics and doorways were anything but square. I left for Paris with great anticipation in regards to the food and I would not be disappointed. 

The first place we ate at ended up being our favorite. Angelinas.

If you have been blessed to try this eatery you have enjoyed the savory confection of sugar, cream and chocolate. While this tea room restaurant is known for its African Hot Chocolate, we tried many of their cheesecakes and cookies. each bite was delectable.

We also met a delightful lady there on our last night in Paris. She was a native to the area and absolutely wonderful. She told us she was a well-known patron and each restaurant employee greeted her with a smile and several kisses.
She shared with us that he birthday was coming up however she also told us she was “20” in her heart and mind therefore any other number simply didn’t matter.  One can only hope to have this same level of optimism as our exterior matures. 

Our encounter with her was a delightful last chapter to our Paris adventure. We had a lovely time during our vacation however the old adage still holds true – there’s no place like home!  I am grateful for the experience of Paris.  Travel provides a tremendous opportunity for growth and appreciation for many things.  Have you had a summer adventure?  Bask in the glow of the final days of August…..where summer gone? 

I wish you the spirit and decadence of a great cup of cocoa!

Have a great day.

My Daughter in front of Angelina’s in Paris

I Do!

I attended a family wedding this weekend and relished in watching a young couple pledge their eternal love.  Isn’t it amazing how powerful 2 simple words can be – I Do.

It was also a living reminder of what is truly important.  I flew home late Friday and knew I was looking at a long car ride on Saturday to get to the wedding.  To say I was jet-lagged was an understatement.  I had a thousand reasons to not go and contemplated not attending.  As I looked at the piles of laundry and mail I felt defeated.  Where would I even begin to dig-out? 

Well after my 30 minutes of self-pity I packed my bag, put a smile on my face and got in the car.  The car ride was a bit tense and thank goodness I have a patient husband.  We arrived at our hotel.  It was beautiful.  My disposition started to shift and in one fell swoop I finally got my head around the basis of the event.  We had the honor in sharing in the celebration of love.  The fragile union of two souls witnessed by friends and family. 

I was teary-eyed as I watch to two young hearts profess their love and exchange vows.  I met new family members and felt such a warmth from the dinner and reception. 

It was a perfect night.  Their perfect night.  Mr. and Mrs. Adam Ahern. 

I was honored to be a part of their celebration and all of my concerns from earlier in the day simply faded in to the sunset. 

Dancing, laughing, smiling ~> it was the perfect medicine for my ailments.

If you have the opportunity to celebrate love – take it…no matter how large or how small – CELEBRATE.  In the end….it is the most important thing we have.

A Work Of Art?

I began painting months ago and I have found it to be exactly the outlet I have been looking for.
I am able to express feelings, concepts and expressions through acrylic.

Do you have such an outlet? When you tap in to this area of your mind and soul a new energy emerges. It is an activity I embrace with amazing enthusiasm. Each canvass encompasses a new adventure. You start thinking you know the destination and when you realize the final destination is something different a wave of “WOW” takes over. It is a beautiful moment.

I am grateful for this gift and hope it is a blessing to others.

Gratitude in a Taxi!

I had a miraculous taxi ride in Portland this week.  The taxi driver and I had an enlightening discussion about simplicity.  This gentleman has 4 children, a wife, a mortgage and drives taxi for a living.  He scrimps and saves however he is dedicated to his family time.  When his work is done, he is done.  He does home and helps to parent the children.  He said he doesn’t have much extra but his children have what they need in the way of material goods and above all else, they have his time.  He doesn’t miss family functions and was positively content with his schedule.

He said that he would have plenty of time post-children to save money and travel.  This is one of his passions however he enjoys living vicariously through the stories of all of his taxi cab passengers.

This was a fabulous reminder regarding gratitude.  The gratitude in the simple things.  A smile, a giggle, a fabulous sunset or the cheerful greeting from my puppy.  I forget to savor some of these moments.

I hope you will find a few moments to savor with each day.  Gratitude is all around us!