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Posts from the ‘Family’ Category

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“There's something just magical about flight. Period.” – Graham Hawkes

“There’s something just magical about flight. Period.” – Graham Hawkes

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Bertrand Russell

No further than a playground swing and magic unfolds. The delight of flight. The sheer joy in simple play. Children have it figured out and what we can learn from these wise souls. No over complicating. No distractions. They enter each moment as an explorer, an adventurer, a believer of goodness and light in the world. It is only when we grow up that we dull our wits and surrender our joy.

We can transform our days by sharpening our wits. Take back your joy.

Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Pursue with Confidence

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thorton Wilder

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thorton Wilder

My niece Jenna graduated from law school yesterday. What a wonderful moment for her and for all of those in her life cheering her on. When we truly love, we share in each other’s struggles and triumphs.

As with all lasting victories, it was achieved through hard work, diligence, uncertainty and long hours. There are no short cuts and the daily journey is the substance of a meaningful life. So as I see this young confident woman, wide-eyed and enthusiastic, in the beginning of her career as I am on my 30th year of my own, I tell her and all other young women to keep up the hard work, never let your enthusiasm and optimism be depleted and keep diving in no matter what others say or think. Be your own person and be kind. Return to yourself again and again anchored in deep faith that you have a purpose here and be gratefully aware that God is behind you, aside you and ahead of you every single step of the way.

And on this day that we honor mothers and those who have given love like a mother to others, feast on your life now as you are in it and know that your love has carried so many to find their own journey. Pursue your life with confidence and light.

Love After Love by Derek Walcott

“The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”

Honor Thy Father

“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.” – Branch Rickey

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Dad’s passing. Missing him is a daily occurrence that I don’t expect will ever change. But rather than focusing on what is lost, I am choosing today to focus on all that I am grateful for including what he instilled in me and my family.

A quiet unassuming work ethic, give your best and the outcome will take care of itself;
Love of family and friends, help others and expect nothing in return but the gift of generosity;
Have a sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously, the only way to joyfully get through this life;
Finish what you start, be resilient and find your grit;
A deep faith and pursuit of God, not so much through words but in our actions.

So Dad, I miss you every single day and thank you for remaining in all of us as we continue on our journey. And the best way I can honor you is living out what you have instilled in me. Be kind, humble, celebrate the wins, accept the losses gracefully and never underestimate the power of hope and faith. Cast Light.

Run with Joy

“Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude… Don’t complain; just work harder… Never give up.” – Randy Pausch

When we were young, we were light on our feet, untethered. Each day a new adventure filled with delight and awe. Naïve, they say. So we grew up and got “real.” We traded possibility and fun for rules and limitations. We allowed other voices in and proceeded to become “wise” by over-complicating it all. “Yes!” was swiftly replaced with “no.”

My great nephew Liam was born the same year that my Dad and my two dogs Molly and Lily passed away. He was and still is a bright light, an oasis in the desert. And he just keeps getting better by the day.

"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." – Mark 10:15

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” – Mark 10:15

He runs with joy. Uninhibited, pure sweet joy. And he invites me in to his world to be silly, to dance and sing like no one is watching. And if they are, who cares, they can join in too. I enter his beautiful, innocent world filled with wonder and all of the stuff that clutters and distorts life floats away with the bubbles he chases into the sky as he yells “bubbles!”

Each of us has the capacity and the calling to run with joy, to chase bubbles and to see the world through the eyes of our inner child who keeps asking us to come out and play.

Enjoy your life unbound and with splendor. And by doing so, you give others an invitation to join you and if but only for a moment to find solace in difficulty and the rainbow after the rain. Run with joy.

You Never Know

“I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift.” – Steven Pinker

“Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.” – Vanessa Paradis

“Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.” – Vanessa Paradis

Two years ago on this Sunday, I backed out of my parents’ driveway after spending the day with them as I often did every weekend. Molly and Lily in the front seat with me and my Dad standing looking out with his hand in the air waving and watching until I reached the end of the driveway.

It turned out that this would be the last day I would see him alive. He died on Thursday while I was stuck on a plane coming back from a work trip. I didn’t make it back in time to say good-bye. We spoke everyday and nothing was left unsaid, so no regrets. Only deep loss and missing him every day since and until I see him again. This coming Saturday on the two-year anniversary of his passing, I will be back on a plane for another work trip. Flying has never been the same since that day two years ago.

In a moment, life changes. And then we are reminded again of that which we so often forget. Each day is a gift and joy is found in simply spending time together.

Be present, grateful and profoundly aware of all that surrounds you each and every single day. We have no guarantees of what is to come. Love fiercely. Hug longer. Forgive often. Laugh hard. Soak it all in.

Today was a beautiful sunny day as the 60+ degree temperature slowly melted the late snow away and spring softly enters a bit late. There are many doors and seasons we pass through. Each one has its own gifts. Open them all.

Redefine

“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne

When “busy” is the only answer that you can muster when asked, “how are you?” It’s time to question the value and meaning of what you are busy with and at what expense.

Redefine the quality of your day not by the number of items checked off your “to do” list. Rather define it by depth, width and height of each day that you are awake and aware. Of moments steeped in gratitude grounded in experiences rather than mere activities.

Day 3 of no complaints, only gratitude – slow down, look around in close proximity and be in awe of the many gifts and blessings in your life right in this very minute.

A Dog’s Joy

“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born.” – Mary Oliver

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Sasha is one year old today. Birthdays, weddings, funerals, anniversaries all mark days to remember and celebrate. But they not only honor the person or dog in this case, they remind us of how their presence in our life changes us, makes us better, more kind.

People and dogs enter and exit our lives in a flash. Yet their imprint and impact on our lives remain. When someone leaves, we are never the same, yet we go on while a part of us goes with them. And when someone enters our story they weave their way in and their birthday becomes our own as we are reborn to new possibilities for joy.

May we all have the joy that a dog is and a dog brings to each day. We would be better humans to be sure. Happy Birthday Sasha and me!

Soft Sweet Light

“Earth is crammed with heaven.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

There are certain days that it doesn’t feel like earth is crammed with heaven. Many days, we are reminded of loss. If not our own, others. Death of a sister, a dad, a grandma this past two weeks. It’s been a year and a half and not a day goes by that I don’t miss Dad. And loss grows heartfelt empathy for others when they enter where you’ve been.

And at the same time, others are experiencing great joy. The innocent child-like anticipation of Christmas. And there in lies the essence of life – the weaving of struggle and delight, loss and gain. A pendulum of sorts.

The passing of time brings a certain acceptance and perhaps even a bit of peace. And in the loss, we gain a new appreciation for the moment, for forgiveness, for letting go, for loving without condition. Even in the dark, light remains constant, ready to slowly pull us back into the earth that is crammed with heaven when we are ready to re-enter.

So as Christmas is at our doorstep again, be light for those who are amidst loss and grief. Show them that even in the struggle, joy can and must co-exist so it can lead us back to our new normal, to our next self. Be the window to a bit of heaven for another.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Seeds and Roots

“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.” – Muriel Rukeyser

A beautiful Sunday drive brought Mom and me through the “old” neighborhood. First past her home on Sixth Street, then to Dad’s house on Earl Street where his parents landed after they immigrated from Poland. We finished the “tour” by the still white house on Ivy where they came together to raise our family. All three are within a few miles or so of each other. Families back then didn’t land too far from home. It was both familiar and distant.

“We come to beginnings only at the end.” – William Throsby Bridges

“We come to beginnings only at the end.” – William Throsby Bridges

Many good memories with neighbors who remain friends still. Beginnings anchored in hard work, struggle, laughter and faith. By today’s standards, the houses are small and yet somehow we made it through with one bathroom, sharing a room with my sister and a small kitchen with no dishwasher. Those were the days with alleys where the neighborhood kids gathered to play boot hockey, ride bike and make forts from piles of snow.

“The journey is my home.” – Muriel Rukeyser

“The journey is my home.” – Muriel Rukeyser

Every now and then, we need to go back to our beginnings to see how far we have come as well as be reminded where we need to return to. Seeds and roots.

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson

The Root

“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” ― David Steindl-Rast

There is always something to be grateful for. Always. And the fruit of gratitude is joy. Slow down, take a breath and fully receive the blessings planted throughout each day. What is right in front of us is so often what we miss. Open your eyes and heart.

Jeanne gave me a grateful sign for my birthday. I put it in the living room right next to the television so I can’t miss it. Don’t miss the signs and follow accordingly.

“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.” ― David Steindl-Rast

“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.” ― David Steindl-Rast

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