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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Farewell Niko!


We cannot measure the love we feel for our pets these beautiful creatures with gentle souls. They are a constant comfort to us.
This beautiful dog, Niko
was my best friend's best friend. Yesterday she said goodbye to him.
 He passed quietly in his sleep. For 15 years she was blessed to have him.
For all that he gave, he asked nothing in return save a daily walk, a belly rub and love.
He will rest easy knowing that he left his family well loved and enriched for having known him.
He may be gone but he will never be forgotten; leaving behind memories of kindness, warmth and gentleness of spirit.

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” 
― John GroganMarley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Privilege To Be Alive

Make a promise today. Say five positive things for every negative comment you utter!
Can you do it?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"You are Never too old to Chase your Dreams."


How many people have reinvented themselves late in life and committed to pursuing dreams that were placed on hold because they were busy raising families or doing things that were expected of them. There may have been no time for adventure or risk taking. Much of life's work is about getting from one day to the next.
But as we grow older we are bolstered by the wisdom that comes from decades of life experience and we are less afraid to take risks. We know the clock is ticking.
Fortified by the fact that we have survived many of the challenges of living we wonder why not? 
After all what could possibly happen?
So we may get rejected, people may scoff at our silliness. But who cares.
Isn't it worse to never have tried than to try and fail.

Nothing is gained from being fearful.
Your thoughts govern your behavior.

Only a handful of people will pat you on the back for your successes and those are the ones who love you. And that's all that matters.






Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why do we Grow Old?

“People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and then only, are you grown old. And then, indeed as the ballad says, you just fade away.”
Douglas McArthur~

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Be Well Traveled

Travel is the manner in which we see man's connection to Nature; the beauty, harmony and the overwhelming force. A great deal of care needs to be taken in order for us not to completely destroy the perfect balance of life.
China's landscape is among one of the most stunning that I have ever seen; filled with green fields, ethereal mountains, expansive rivers and valleys. 
  On route to Guilin from Yangshhuo we stopped at this small farm. As I watched the farmers work, I marveled at how connected they were to the earth and how much respect they had for it. Their backs were bent and their skin was weathered beyond their years yet they still bestowed us with a kind smile, demonstrating great pride in their yield.
The land does not belong to them, none of the land in China belongs to the people, yet they care for it. 
It is the magical dance between the wisdom of mankind and the beauty of Nature that makes both endurable.













Friday, September 20, 2013

Life is the Journey Upon Which we are all Travelers!

Life is the journey upon which we are all travelers. No one knows where the road will end. It began the day we were born and will continue until the day we die. Our journey will be one filled with adventure, laughter, sorrow, and pain. It will be shared with the people we love, and the ones we encounter. They are our travel companions; shaping our path as it twists and turns, meandering like the mighty rivers. Our companions are our beacons in the darkness. They share our joys making them twice as sweet. They share our sorrows making them half as painful.
And when our journey finally comes to an end we must have no regrets. We will be wiser, kinder and older. We will have found ourselves. We will feel content that we have worn out our shoes, tired our bodies, and sated our souls. 
Travel well my friends!
My journey took me to China this month. One more check on my bucket list!


My life partner, travel companion and love of my life!


The Great Wall of China!

The Terra Cotta Warriors!

Pandas!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

They're Not Little Forever

Our children don't stay little forever. 
Now that mine are adults I often find myself wishing for the days filled with rambunctious play, chocolate chip cookies and milk, bedtime stories, Disneyland....
There was never enough time.
What would I say to a young mother if she asked for my advice?
Savor every moment even when you are exhausted from a long day of work, give up that extra hug, read their favorite book just one more time before you turn out the lights, go to the park instead of doing an extra load of laundry, laugh at the silly things they do. Know that you children will make endless mistakes and don't get angry instead reassure them that you will always be there to catch them when they fall. 
Don't let anyone make your child feel bad about themselves. It is your responsibility to protect them as much as you can but not to shelter them from all of life's happenings. Rest assured that there will be many people in their lives who will hurt them and not always be kind. Support them as best you can so they do not become jaded. As difficult as it is to watch, these will be the things that will define them. 
Teach them life skills; cooking, cleaning and laundry, grocery shopping, they will need to know how to do these things when they leave home. 

Make family time important; visiting grandparents, Sunday lunches, birthdays, dinner time, breakfast before school. They need to belong and honor traditions.
Teach them to have faith in something bigger than themselves, to respect others and the natural world.
Teach them generosity and gratitude. They are not entitled to everything and they need to know that most things must be earned in life.
Teach them humility and humanity.
Above all else give them the gifts of your time, unconditional love and respect.
And know that undoubtedly you will make many mistakes and that's okay.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In the Crowd

http://cian1675.deviantart.com/art/We-re-the-most-lonely-in-a-crowd-356137542

I was in an elevator the other day and watched as the people already on the elevator shuffled away when new people got on, or they averted their eyes and turned their heads.
I thought how awful, what does it take to smile at someone and say hello?
What are we afraid of?
How many people do we pass in a day, a week, a month?
Hundreds!
How many times do you think people smile at a passerby and greet them?
Probably never.
Sometimes even people in our own work settings seldom take the time to say hello.
Why is that?
A greeting costs nothing, a smile is free and hand shake is worth a thousand words.
Share one!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

To Be Overwhelmed!



I was watching a movie the other day and this comment was made when one character did something totally out of his element and extended a kindness to another. 
The recipient of the generosity commented,
"I don't know what to say. You overwhelm me!"
I stopped and thought, "That is such a powerful statement."
To be overwhelmed by the nature of someone. 
And it gave me pause to consider if I had ever met one single human being who overwhelmed me not just in a moment of kindness but by the manner in which they lived.
Was there one person who was selfless, considerate, who gave freely not for recognition but because they believed in the cause, who governed themselves by a strong moral code, who knew instinctively when a friend needed a helping hand, who never faltered, who led by example, a person that was the rock in the strong tide of life and upon which many anchored themselves.
And I thought if there was a single person who was all these things then they would  be wearing enormous shoes wouldn't they?
Perhaps no single person could be all of this but to have even a few of these qualities would be a fine way to live our lives.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Mindfulness

I often find myself using this 11 letter word.
MINDFULNESS

M   Taking time to find Meaning in the things you say and do.
I    Living with Intention.
N  Never hurting others with your words or actions.
D  Delivering on promises and commitments.
 Falling in love with people and circumstances.
U   Unto the earth leaving footprints and making them grand!
L   Laughing often.
N  Never feeling diminished.
E   Expressing your thoughts.
S  Finding a cause big or small and Saving someone.
S  Savoring every moment for it could be your last!

What is your state of mindfulness?



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bed Time Stories

Maurice Sendak-Where the Wild Things Are
At 8:30 p.m. every night for more than ten years, I turned to my children and said, "It's almost story time!"
No one fussed or argued they simply
 scurried to the kitchen for a glass of milk and chocolate chip cookies and then off they went, scampering up the stairs to brush their teeth and put on their pj's.
Story time was sacred, it had it's own rituals.
Who would be the host of the night's adventure?
Amid the debate of who had it last a choice was made.  The lights were dimmed, the blankets pulled back, the pillows fluffed and then we snuggled. They waited with anticipation as I pulled out the book that was tucked under my arm.
They did not know what my selection would be. Sometimes it was a new title and other times I would bring out old favorites.
And then
three sets of avid little eyes turned their attention the book and the adventure began. 
My voice changed, the tempo increased, monsters came and were conquered, dragons were slain, fairy tales came to life. The children laughed, gasped, and waited. They were awed and transported to far away places.
When the story was over it took its place on the shelf where it waited to be summoned once again. 
And as I tucked them into bed and we shared good night kisses, I would think of the time that we had just shared and I knew that they were
  moments that would never come again. 
And I cherished every one. 



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Children Don't Come with a Manual

Children Don't come with a Manual

A Letter to A Mother,

Just about everything we own and purchase comes with instruction manuals. We go to school for years to hone the skills we need to succeed in the professions of our choices. Yet, that tiny little bundle of joy that you will love and nurture until the end of your days, comes with no guideline, no return policy and no specs.

Being able to create a new life doesn't automatically make us good mothers. A six week prenatal course, and the unsolicited advice of family and friends, doesn't prepare us for the trials and tribulations of motherhood. We can read a thousand books on the do and don't, hows and whys. But the truth is that each of us faces our own unique journey with our children. Read wisely, learn from the information you read and use the advice with caution. There are so many opinions and views its mind boggling.

I am an Early Childhood Educator and when I had my first child I considered myself well armed for the years to come. But the truth is I made many mistakes and in retrospect I would have done a few things differently. Some of the teenage years were painful and I often prayed for time to pass quickly. But we survived! My children are now young adults and I am so very proud of them.

The early years are the easiest. Cherish every minute, every sound, every hand print and spilled glass of milk, honor the adventures, and the songs you sing together. Those memories will warm your heart and bring tears of joy to you long after the house grows quite. And it will come, that time when they break away from you to follow their own paths.

Set clear guidelines for your children.  DON"T overindulge and remember that NO is not a bad work. No one can have everything they want all the time and giving in to your child's every demand gives them a sense of entitlement that will land them into trouble. The teenage years are the most challenging and the ones that will keep you awake long after your children get home from that party. You worry about everything; drugs, drinking, driving and drinking, sex, school marks, bad friends. Guess what? You have little control over any of it. It's a roll of the dice. Hopefully, by the time they reach high school the voice of reason you tried to embed will play like a tape recorder in their head everytime they are faced with choices.

Respect you children as a citizen of the world with rights. There is never enough love but don't confuse that deep love with a need to spoil them. Don't be afraid to set expectations for them; to keep their rooms clean, to work hard in school, to attend family functions.

One of the best things you can do for your children is put them into organized sports; it keeps them focused, teaches them how to be part of a team, to follow rules, to cooperate and negotiate. And most of all, well into their teen years, it allows you to stay bonded with them.

And perhaps you may consider introducing a musical instrument; studies have linked school success with the playing of instruments.

Support your children through good times and especially bad times. They will make many mistakes but those mistakes will define them.  Create a relationship wherein your children don't fear your anger when they fail. Instead they should know that there will be clear consequences for the choices they make.  We all mistakes!!!

Take time for yourself-being a mom doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the person you were before your children were born. And remember you can't be a mother and father to your child.  It takes a village to raise a child-find yours!

I wish you all a wonderful journey!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jaded

We face many disappointments in life. Some of our doing while others are inflicted on us by circumstance or people we care about.
These disappointments leave us feeling bitter and so we distance ourselves.
We stop trusting and retreat.
But we shouldn't. 
We have to break free from the disappointment otherwise we empower the person who hurt us long after they are gone.
We can't blame life it just happens. Let's hope that the good outweighs the bad.
And remember that just because some people are cruel and thoughtless it doesn't mean everyone you meet will be.
Give life a chance and set yourself free!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Just Jump!


Letting go of fear is the first step to truly living!
Most of us like our comfortable routines; we wake up, we have breakfast, go to the gym and then head off to work. Then on weekends we busy ourselves with social events; dinner with friends, a movie, the occasional party, family visits and of course lets not forget that we have to squeeze in the grocery shopping, housekeeping, laundry and if we have them running around after the kids.

Now what about adventure, the kind that exhilarates us and makes us remember how exciting life can be?
Those just jump moments that make your heart race, your palms sweat, and make you say,
"WOW"
This is not to say that we have to skydive or slap on a squirrel suit but that are many trails you can embark on that can elicit these responses;
a hike in the forest, running through a field of flowers, a walk along the ocean, standing in the rain, watching the sunrise, rock climbing, paint ball..... 
We need these times to remind us of what it feels like to truly be alive.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Step Away from Sadness


The is little doubt that we will experience many moments of sadness in a lifetime. But we must step away from the sadness into the light and walk forward.
Challenges, difficulties, sorrows, all these "things" define us. They mold us, teach us to be empathetic  kind, considerate, and understanding of the human condition.
But we are equally graced with days of respite and joy so savor them.
Live and love abundantly and remember that
laughter is one of our greatest gifts, use it without reservation!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Faith

It's a small word with a powerful message. 
We can't buy it, sell it, barter it, or negotiate it. 
Faith is simply faith. 
An infinite belief that everything will be as it should be or is intended to be.
Sometimes we feel like we've lost it but it can never be lost. It is simply misplaced when we are cast adrift by difficult circumstance. 
One thing is for certain, we cannot live without it.
Whether it's the faith we place in something greater than ourselves or the faith we place in loved ones.
It sustains us and gives us hope for better tomorrows.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Of Kings and Men

We often live in awe, wonder and envy of those who are set higher than us. But what makes a man a King?
Is it his station, his wealth, his empire?
I met a King many years ago. A man who had more money than he could possibly spend in ten life times.
He called me at home and asked me to meet with him.
The day of, I was escorted to his office and when the door opened there he was waiting for me.
He rose from his desk and grasped my hand in a firm shake.
"Thank you for coming!"
He smiled at me and I was instantly at ease. 
For two hours we talked about life. He shared the story of his climb to the top.
I was impressed, not by his wealth, but by his kindness, his love for family and his devotion to them.
I left thinking that I had indeed just met a King. 
"Kingliness" is not about wealth and power.
For we can all be Kings if we consider the human condition and set ourselves on a path of kindness, caring, respect for others, generosity, and honestly. 

It is these deeds that leave whispers and for which we will be remembered.
I was saddened by his recent passing.




Thursday, May 2, 2013

Forever Young!


The key to staying young forever doesn't come from wrinkle creams, Botox, or plastic surgery, it comes from the heart of the child that lives in our souls. No doubt that the everyday duties of life keep us hopping but we all need a break. Last year I gathered the women in my life and invited them to join my newly formed  A-Z Club.  These women, my sisters, nieces, daughter and dearest friend are among the most cherished people in my life.We meet every six weeks and enjoy an event planned around a letter of the alphabet. Baring extreme sports, the sky is the limit. It's wonderful to laugh, be silly and just have fun. I must say we have found some creative things to do and I look forward to many years of adventure. Post some suggestions in the comment box and start your own A-Z Clubs.

Be forever young!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Swing


I had a great aunt that I really loved. 
Her name was Carmela. My childhood memories of her are more about the sounds, the smell of her perfume, the feel of her hug, than actual days and even now, years after her death, I still hold fast to the tenderness of her.
One night, I had a dream of a day spend with her on the swings outside my apartment building, perhaps I was three or four years old. 
As always, I felt the anticipation of the first push. I could sense her behind me getting ready and then she shoved me propelling the swing into the air.
I threw my head back and the wind moved through my hair swirling it about. My dress lifted. I kicked my feet.
The laughter erupted from deep inside my belly.
I turned to look at her cherubic face and she smiled. 
And then I woke up wanting very much to see her again.
At that time she was in her eighties and I had not seen her in almost 20 years.
She lived for the most part in Boston and Italy.
The phone rang and I scurried to the kitchen. It was my mother.
How wonderful I thought now I can tell her about my dream.
"Aunt Carmela died last night," she said.
I hesitated, "Do you remember when she used to visit us and take me out to the play on the swings?"
"Yes," she answered, "Why?"
"I saw her in my dreams last night. She came to say goodbye!"

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Storm



Sometimes a storm comes our way. An unexpected downpour that leaves us gasping for air.
We feel like we are drowning, lost at sea. 
Eventually we surface because it is in our very nature to weather storms. 
We have no choice but to meet them head on and hope that by some miracle or leap of faith everything will work out in the end or at the very least that we will survive. 
There is no doubt that storms leave scars.
They define us, mold us, temper us, humble us but do not break us.
Some of us are led in new directions while others suffer great losses. 
In the end we are all on the same road called life.
Safe journey!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One Perfect Day



What makes a perfect day? 
Is it the weather, the people you encounter, or an event?
My perfect day comes when I live in the moment. When I don't linger in the past or fret about the future. It comes when I am totally present in the moment.
I think many people spend too much time dwelling on what happened yesterday, last week, last year, ten years ago. They carry grudges and are burdened with resentment.
Others live for all the tomorrows. 
 We should set a course for ourselves but we should always be open to the probability that not everything happens as we plan because life happens.
I often think of life this way. 
You can be the person who spends all their time taking photographs of your life, so much so that you miss it as it unfolds never enjoying the moment until you revisit the photograph or 
you can have a perfect day and live in the moment. 
Tell me about your perfect day?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Give Me Wings to Fly!


What would be the best gift we could receive from the people we love or better yet what would be the best gift we could give to them.
I would say this,
"Give me wings to fly! Be the wind that lifts me and watch me soar!"
We share ourselves with many people, in many different contexts. We are mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, mentors, girlfriends, daughters....
And in being all these things, we sometimes loose sight of our true selves because we are too busy doing instead of being.
We all have dreams and aspirations but the mechanics of life anchor us.
When a loved when asks you what would you like for your birthday, Christmas or any other special day, offer this response.

Love me but do not ground  me.
Hold me but do not anchor me.
Lift me but do not carry me.
And when the gentle breeze blows release me and I will always remember to fly home.

A life lived without dreams is no life lived at all.




Friday, April 5, 2013

Time is a Delicate Master



http://www.redbubble.com/people/squarepeg/works/3820774-father-time
Time is a delicate master for he rules all things.
Seconds, minutes, hours, years, the changing of the seasons, these are his tools.
He plays favorite to none and does not yield.
So serve him well and he may grant you longevity.
Enjoy each moment for you will never have it again; breathe and notice, touch, smell, taste, laugh often, be joyful and pay attention.
You just grew a little older!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Save the Last Dance for Me

Save The Last Dance for Me




Think of all the people you've met and how they have touched your life or how you have touched theirs.  Even brief encounters, which may have seemed insignificant helped to shape you and them in some way.
Now imagine that today is your last day and God says to you,
"Look at the line of people that stand before you. From this line choose one person with whom you would share your last dance."
Who would that be? Don't be concerned with male or female. 
Pick one.
Can you do it?
Now God says, "Don't pick a family member or dear friend for you have shared many dances together."
Now who would you pick?
Here is my answer.
Years ago, when my daughter turned 16, I chaperoned her birthday weekend in downtown Toronto. On a cold December night, at the stroke of midnight, I found myself sitting on a bench in Nathan Phillip Square watching the girls skate.
As I conversed with my friend, who was brave enough to join me, a young man approached us.
Handsome, warmly dressed and well spoken he said,
"Do you think you can help me out. I'm a little down on my luck right now."
Immediately I thought of my own two sons who would be close to his age.
I reached for a twenty dollar bill and handed it to him.
He leaned over and kissed my cheek.
"Thank you. I want you to know that this will really help. I promise.One day, I'll finish up at UFT and get my degree and I'll never forget you."
This would be my last dance partner.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Set Your Life on Fire


Herein lies the key to our success, to surround ourselves with people who fan our flames.
This is not to say that we need to glorified or validated every waking hour but it does affirm that we should walk with people who appreciate us for who we are and not what we can give them.
It is not how many friends we have but how much we are loved by the few who we share ourselves with.
 Being encircled by like minded people in both our personal and professional lives keeps us true to our life's purpose.
At the end of the day life is a leap of faith. Let's make sure we stoke the right flames.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Let's Talk about Love

Isn't love an amazing word; all it encompasses, the feelings it transmits, the commitments it implies, the devotion, adoration, longevity or brevity of it.
Four letters, one word and a universal understanding of all it implies.
We fall into it, fall out of it, we search for it, we find it, we cherish it, we squander it.
Undoubtedly we cannot live without it.




Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Tear of A Woman

A little boy asked his mother, "why are you crying?' "Because I'm a woman," she told him. "I don't understand,” he said. His Mom just hugged him and said, "And you never will." Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?" "All women cry for no reason," was all his dad could say. The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry. Finally he put in a call to God. When God got on the phone, he asked, "God, why do women cry so easily?" God said, "When I made the woman she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort. I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children. I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining. I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly. I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart. I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him. And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed." "You see my son," said God, "the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart the place where love resides."




Saturday, March 30, 2013

Courage What A Big Word!


Courage by definition is 'the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, without fear."
I believe that acts of courage are not absent of fear but happen in spite of it.
A soldier goes into battle, a firefighter enters a burning building, people battle life threatening diseases, a child faces a bully... all acts of courage that happen because fear is embraced, relinquished and conquered.
We don't have to look to larger than life acts to see courage because it exists in every moment.
A child let's go of a mother's hand on the first day of school;
A teenager walks into an new high school not knowing a single person;
A father walks his daughter down the aisle;
A man learns to walk again after a car accident.

Our lives are filled with defining acts of courage. 
What are yours?











Thursday, March 28, 2013

Inspired Day Seven

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8451524@N08/5427930544/


I'm sorry I'm late with this one. Sometimes inspired falls behind hectic.
A comment on the radio caught my attention this morning, 
"Woman are often times so busy measuring up to the expectations placed on them by all the people in their lives;spouses, family, children, that  they forget about, or place their own dreams on the back burner."
Do we do this?
I'm inspired by women that follow their stars.
It's never too late and you're never too old to grab a hold of what makes you feel happy.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inspired day Six-Free to Be Me!


It's a great day when you wake up and think, "Today is my day and I'm free to do whatever I please."
Now that's inspiring!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Inspired Day Five-Wedding Day

An old photograph opens the gateway to our memories; moments, days, years. As they come flooding through you're overwhelmed with how clearly you can recall the sounds, smells and thoughts you had.  Time passes, inevitably we all get older and life changes. Our hair turns grey, soft wrinkles form around our eyes, we lose our youthful appeal but in exchange we have gained a lifetime of love. Now that leaves me feeling inspired.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Inspired Day Four

My oldest son, Daniel calls me, every day, on his way to the office to say good morning.  On those rare occasions when he's busy or forgets, I call him. Life is so hectic, for all of us, and those few minutes of time devoted to the people we love are so important. 
This leaves me feeling inspired, that no matter where life leads my children, I will always have a special place in their hearts, a place that was not my given right but earned from the love, respect and nurturing I shared with them.