There’s No Place Like Home.

Recently I have travelled to see my parents and returned to the home that I spent most of my childhood in. It was a welcome change to enter familiar surroundings. All the sites, sounds and smells I remember with a couple of upgrades of course. The first thing I noticed was that my room was clean. That was not the case when I lived there during high school. But the walls told stories of many athletic events, dances and late night conversations.
It was a delightful visit and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations, activities and laughs we shared.
While I have a family of my own there is something comfortable about going to my parents home. I regress to some of my old habits and ways. For a fleeting moment I allow myself to be the child and then the thought is interrupted by the needs of one of my own kids. I am a mom, a daughter, a friend…a character.
I am grateful for the new memories we created and the opportunity to spend time with my parents.
Time – it is the one element we all have the same amount of. No matter what your height, weight or economic status may be – we all have the same amount of time. My challenge is gain a greater consciousness about how I am spending it. Am I making it count? Am I adding value to the lives of those around me?
These are great questions to ask……they help me find my center. Mom and dad – thank you for a fabulous visit. I will see you again soon.
With Laughter and Love, April

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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

Big Sky Gratitude

I spoke to a group in Big Sky country this week. It was a unique event. The warmth and energy of the crowd was contagious.  I also got to witness a professional group rallying to the support of a fellow member who had suffered a tragic loss.  It warmed my heart to see so much caring and compassion in one group.  They shared laughs, smiles, tears and prayers for their fellow member.  I could hear them coordinating activities to help sustain their member in his time of need.

This is truly what the human spirit it all about.

When we are presented with the opportunity to help another, do we take it?  Better yet, do we look for ways to support each other? 

I was also part of festivities prior to a large fundraising extravaganza surrounding ART!  I was able to tour the beautiful and inspiring pieces being auctioned.  Can you imagine collaborating with 100’s of artists and 100’s of people to help others?  The trick to this event is to ensure you are channeling all of the positive and free-flowing energy in to a positive outcome.  It would be a daunting challenge however a most rewarding one if executed properly.

This one was sure to be a tremendous success. 

As I previewed the artwork on display I was dazzled and amazed with the level of detail, the use of color and the vibrant life of every piece.  I was grateful to share in the moment, the event, the community.

I am anxiously awaiting the start of the event and will follow the progress as 1000’s of others people around the globe.  If you want to check out the event:  http://www.cmrauction.com/Website/Default.aspx

A Fabulous Fabric

I flew out of Omaha yesterday, early in the morning.  It was cold and we were getting snow showers.  We had received 6 inches of fresh snow over the weekend.  I was heading for San Jose via Phoenix.  My flight departed at 6am and the sky was heavy and dark sprinkling the ground with snow.  We spend 45 minutes going through de-icing and finally we were ready for departure.  De-icing is an interesting phenomenon.  While it adds time to your travel and you would like to grow impatient you fight that urge because safety is far more important.  So we de-ice.   20 minutes in to the flight the light on one side of the airplane started to change it was the sunrise as 20,000 feet finally above the cloud cover.  It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen.  The clouds rippled like a fine carpet in front of me.  The sun rose and the reflection of color off of the clouds was amazing.  The hues of pink, purples and peach welcomed us to the sky. 

I was so happy to see the sunshine.  It was magnificent.   I was grateful for that moment.  The view.  It was breathtaking!

I hope you have a moment like this – drink it in and enjoy!

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?

Gratitude Takes Flight

When was the last time you were on an airplane? 

If you travel frequently do you remember the last time you had a flight crew that was friendly, helpful or just plain nice?  It is definitely the exception these days.  After you check in, pay to have your luggage thrown on the plane, disrobe to make it through security, the last thing you want to encounter is crabby people.

Unfortunately it seems to be quite the standard in travel today.

As I read article after article about customer service and loyalty, I would strongly encourage the airlines to re-read these chapters.  In today’s tough climate there is nothing more powerful than an encounter with a grateful heart.  Be grateful for our business and for the opportunity to serve others.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? 

There is some food for thought after making 3 gate changes for one flight only to take a major delay.  I am still grateful for the moment and the opportunity to fly!

See you at the next gate.

Landing with Gratitude!

My day started at 3:30am.  It was a day of travel.  I got up and out to the airport on time and walked up to the gate just as they started boarding my flight.  The day was off and running. 

When travel is on the docket, I can never tell how the day will go however I have always known that keeping a sense of humor is essential.  I was delighted that I had not had to use it – yet.

I boarded the flight and sat down next to what appeared to be a business traveller.  He had a sunny disposition and I was glad to see a friendly face.  As I settled in to my seat we started talking.  It was one of those chats that you continue simply to learn and understand more.  As we talked I realized who I was sitting next to and this gentleman had a stellar reputation and was known as a very successful businessman.  I was honored with our conversation.

We talked about areas like ethics and education.  He went on to talk about his dedication to educating children and how our future depended on this area.  These topics resonated for me.  I was impressed by this man.  Successfull businessman with a compassion for community.  What a combination.

By the time we landed 2 hours later, I felt my day was complete.  I had made a terrific contact and learned so much in a very short amount of time.  It was one of those gratitude moments that we all savor.

Even though I left early and travel can be unpredictable, this trip was off to a fantastic start and I couldn’t be anything but grateful.  It is going to be a great day!  Wheels up!