"Expanding Your Child's Mind for
Their Best Future"
2023 Will Be Legendary
It’s here…2023 has arrived.
Are you ready to make this year legendary?
You are probably wondering what I mean by that.
Every year a choose a word to inspire me and move me forward in all areas of my life. Last year it was “Forward” and I focused on moving forward in two businesses, my health, my relationships, and my spirituality.
Overall, I was successful in that forward momentum and looking back feel accomplished in that goal. The year was not without its setbacks as I lost nearly three months to a health issue early in the year. But once that was behind me, I was propelled forward culminating in massive growth in the final quarter of the year.
As I looked toward 2023 I wanted to push myself. In searching for my word for the year I kept coming back to “Legendary”.
What would it take for me to make 2023 a truly legendary year. In choosing the word legendary I am making a promise to myself. A promise to both understand and live my life as if it already is legendary.
But, what exactly does living a legendary life look like? Rather than the description that someone or something as legendary meaning that they are very famous and that many stories are told about them. I choose to focus on the definition of living a life that is remarkable and extraordinary.
What does that mean?
It means doing what others are not willing to do.
It is thinking out-of-the-box.
It is breaking some rules or beliefs that are holding you back.
It is being open to new ideas.
It is saying yes to those things that make you happy and joyful.
It is being true to your word.
It is doing what pleases you even if others think you are crazy.
It is taking inspired action.
It is moving forward even if everything is not perfect.
It gives others inspiration to stretch their own self-imposed boundaries.
Living a legendary life puts me in the spotlight. It also means stepping up to shine my light on others so that they too can grow and shine.
How am I going to make 2023 “Legendary” for me? Here are the six areas I will be focused on throughout the year.
Listening: the act of concentrating on hearing something, the act of paying attention.
How often has someone told you that you have two ears and one mouth. You should be spending twice the amount of time listening instead of talking. Listening is the most important part of communication. Everyone wants and needs to be heard. How do you know what someone wants or needs unless you allow them to tell you.
Being a good listener is essential to leading a legendary life. It is only though listening that you can understand how you can best serve a customer, help a friend, offer guidance to a troubled family member, or identify a new opportunity. Ask questions that encourage engagement instead of one-word answers.
Give them time to speak. Give them time to put their thoughts together instead of jumping in during an uncomfortable pause.
You are not listening if you are thinking ahead of what you will say next. If you think you know what someone is thinking without letting them talk you make assumptions that make others feel unheard. If you are not clear on what they want, ask more questions, and allow them to speak.
This is an area that I know I can improve on. Working to improve my listening skills is the first step in stepping up to living a legendary life.
LEARNING: Learning is the process of gaining knowledge through study.
Always be learning. The more you know about this amazing world we live in the better prepared you are to understand and solve problems.
We have the world at our fingertips. Anything you want to know is just a click away on the internet.
The quick answer to a question is not what learning is all about.
How do we learn new things? We learn by doing. We learn by repetitive action. We learn by using multiple senses to truly integrate new knowledge. Using that new knowledge for practical applications in our lives and business is when we have truly learned.
Learning is an investment of time. Learning may also require an investment of money. Learning is an investment in yourself.
I have invested in myself as an entrepreneur. I have had and continue to have business coaches to guide, teach, and push me forward. I continue to invest in learning how to take my life and business to the next level.
Learning is fun and an essential element to living a legendary life.
LEADERSHIP: the action of one that leads, guidance; direction; leadership,
the position or function of a leader, ability to lead
Another essential part of leading a legendary life is leadership. Ask yourself if you are a boss or a leader? A leader takes the blame for failure and attributes success to the team they are leading. A leader gives clear guidance and direction for expectations allowing for feedback and adjustments. A leader creates an environment of positivity and team.
Leadership in your field, community or organization means becoming known and respected by your peers and team members alike.
There is also leadership in being a member of the team. Your respect for other team members. Your willingness to help others that are facing challenges with the project without taking over for them is an important leadership skill.
Leadership incorporates both listening and learning skills as foundations of great leadership.
Whether you are a natural or reluctant leader. It is a skill that is essential to becoming legendary.
LIVING: living refers to the quality of people's daily lives.
What is the quality of my life? Am I happy? Am I comfortable? Am I living my life fully and completely with joy, gratitude, and happiness.
If there is an area of my life that I have control of that is not bringing me these things. Can I change it? Do I want to change it? What can I do to change it?
Truth is that the quality of my life is up to me.
Can I find something to be grateful for every day? Can I see a lesson learned from a setback or failure and move forward instead of giving up? What makes me happy?
I choose to live a life filled with joy, gratitude, and happiness. If something is not bringing those things into my life, I choose not to do them. If there are tasks that must be done that I hate doing, I will find someone that enjoys doing them to do it for me. This opens time for me to do the things that bring me joy. There is No shame in letting things go.
I can choose to say yes or no. It is empowering once you know the choice is really yours.
Releasing the have to, must dos, should haves, and could haves and replacing it with “GET TO”, is truly transformational.
This is an inside job. It is how you feel about your life. The words we use become who we are. I choose Happy.
LOVING: Loving actions are done with great enjoyment and care.
Do you love what you do? I love what I do. There is a passion that burns within me that compels me to be The Crisis Planner and the creator of The Science Labs. I love solving problems and creating solutions that others can use.
So much of what I create is born out of a love for others. I love seeing a frown turn into a smile. I love creating memories with a friend or family member. I love helping in my community.
Loving is giving of yourself without expectation. It is giving freely from the heart. When you are committed to give of yourself in a loving manner wonderful things come your way.
You smile at someone, and they smile back at you. You say something nice to the grocery clerk that tells them that you see them. You thank someone and they are surprised. You donate to a cause that touches you, your family, or your heart.
You believe in someone more than they believe in themselves. You help someone open the “gift” that makes them special, releasing their confidence and setting them on their path of success.
Loving yourself and others freely is essential to leading a Legendary life.
LEGACY: anything handed down from, or as from, an ancestor.
I keep asking myself, what is the evidence that I was ever here? For many it is children and grandchildren that are the legacy of your existence. As for me I do not have children. Legacy is how I will be remembered
Will my legacy be the books I’ve written? Will my legacy be in the lives I’ve touched? Will I be remembered as a teacher? Thinker? Visionary? Will people still remember me when I’m gone?
How will they remember me? Will they think of me as a leader? Adventurer? Creator? Inspiration?
Will my vision touch one other person or impact the world? How can I make it so?
There is a legacy in the stories I tell. Why am I sharing that story? What is the lesson I am communicating? How will my stories be retold over time? That is what legends are made of. That is legacy.
Without legacy you cannot truly be Legendary.
As we begin the new year, I invite you to think about what your intentions and goals are for 2023.
Only you can determine that.
What is the word that will define and guide you to having the best year of your life?
Once you choose your word, what does it mean to you?
What are the key components of living that word every day, to achieve your goals?
Where does that word lead you in your life’s journey?
Spend some time thinking about where you are and where you want to be at the end of 2023.
Then live every day as if it already is as you wish it to be.
Happy New Year!
A Holiday Tradition
The “BOX” arrived from Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was the week before Christmas. The “BOX” wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string was finally here.
The “BOX” from Grandma Osiecki is one of my most cherished Christmas memories.
Even before it was opened, we could smell the goodness that was carefully wrapped and tucked inside.
Grandma had been baking for weeks and now we were the recipients of all the wonderfulness and tasty goodness that would be found inside.
There were frosted sugar cookies decorated with sparkling sprinkles, silver balls and red hots. Rum Balls, Molasses Cookies (my favorite), Hungarian Butter Horns (my sister’s favorite), Mint Surprise, Peanut Rolls, Divinity, Pecan Puffs, Melt-aways, and of course wonderful creamy fudge.
Everything was carefully wrapped in wax paper, two cookies back-to-back to minimize breakage.
We didn’t care if they were broken. They tasted fantastic whole or broken.
The arrival of the box even inspired my mom to do some baking. While she never liked cooking or baking there was something special about baking Christmas cookies that inspired her.
She stuck to the simple and traditional. Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter, and Spritz Cookies. She would press out the Spritz Cookies with a manual cookie press - green Christmas Trees, pink hearts, and white wreaths which we decorated with a variety of sprinkles.
The spell cast by the smell of freshly baking and baked cookies filling the house is one of my cherished memories of the season.
Our next-door neighbor Jean was busy making her mini Pecan Tarts, jam filled cream cheese delights, and her famous crescents. She guarded her crescent recipe and would not share it with anyone.
My other grandmother was making some of her traditional German cookies. She baked the most buttery butter cookies that melted in your mouth, almond meringue topping a delicate cookie disk, and Pfeffernüsse.
A second box would be delivered to her house from family in Germany. Her sister would send traditional Christmas Stollens, marzipan, and brandy filled chocolates.
All these marvelous holiday confections were shared making for a beautiful display on multitiered cookie trays starting on Christmas Eve and refilled and shared throughout the holiday season.
We would bring a tray of cookies when visiting friends. Our offering would be mingled with their own for an endless variety of treats.
I grew up with a love of baking especially tied to the holidays.
When I was first married, I sat down with Grandma Osiecki and asked her to share her recipes with me. She did so happily as we talked about how much I loved watching her bake and especially loved seeing that special “BOX” arrive, each Christmas.
For her baking was a labor of love and I embraced her love for baking throughout my adult life.
I sat down with my Grandma Reichert and not only was able to get her traditional German recipes I also received my very own metric measuring cone as all of her recipes were in grams.
My father started making Christmas Stollen when my Grandma Reichert was in a nursing home. He struggled a bit with the yeast in the beginning but soon produced a Stollen to be proud of. This made my grandmother smile as she slathered the thin slices of Stollen with butter.
Jean finally shared her Crescent recipe with me.
Every year I baked Christmas cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. I made quick breads, pumpkin, cranberry, and lemon bread. I made 10-11 varieties of cookies and 4-5 types of candies. I would wrap up trays to give away to friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
I baked when I lived in Boston. I baked when I lived in Kwajalein. I bake now in New York.
My Grandmother sent the “BOX” every year. She even sent a box the year she turned 90 in 1991. She passed away one month later, that January.
My Grandmothers, my mom, dad, and Jean have all passed away but they live on in my baking.
Every year I take out my recipe box and pull out the flour and oil stained recipe cards.
I lovingly recreate their recipes. I think of them while I am baking and smile remembering all the wonder filled Christmas celebrations, they were a part of and how they are still a part of them even today through the baking I do.
I would spend four days baking.
My husband called me the “White Tornado”. I would come home from Costco with a giant bags of flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, eggs, and pounds of butter. At the grocery store I filled my cart with cream cheese, graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, brownie mix, butterscotch chips, candied fruits, sprinkles, cornstarch, baking powder. baking soda, vanilla, and Chinese noodles.
On baking days the Christmas music was blasting as I put on a holiday apron and went to play in the kitchen. I always thought of it as play not work.
I’d pull out my trusty Kitchenaid Mixer, my Cuisinart food processor, my trusty rolling pin, mixing bowls, mixing spoons, measuring cups and spoons. Ready for a baking marathon
Ready to make the double and triple quantities of Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Scotchies, Peanut Butter, and Spritz coolies.
I perfected a Peanut Butter Fudge recipe at long last.
Most other recipes were in single batches. I made trays of bars to be cut into squares. Every giant cookie tin I owned was lined with wax paper and filled with fresh baked goodness.
Some things required refrigeration before baking, and some were refrigerated after baking or making.
Every morning for two weeks before the holiday breaks I would fill 10-12 cookie trays, wrap them in cellophane and tie them up with decorative Christmas ribbon. They would be delivered throughout the day to my clients.
I would laugh as some willingly shared them with their staff and others hid them to take home to their families or eat all by themselves.
When I retired 11 years ago, I no longer needed to bake in the quantities I did before.
Over the past few years, a new baking tradition has evolved. I no longer spend days in my kitchen baking by myself.
Instead, I get together with my sister and her daughter and we all bake together. We each make 3-4 kinds of cookies. They have reigned me in; but, I often push the envelope and make 5.
The Christmas music is playing, the mixers are humming, the ovens are pre-heated, and we are sharing the baking experience together. My sister’s grandkids join in cutting and decorating the sugar cookies.
I’m still the “White Tornado” and the flour is flying. My brother-in-law follows us all, but mostly me on cleanup making sure the floor does not become a hazard.
After four hours we stand back and admire our work and set about dividing the bounty we have created.
Everyone has a favorite cookie.
Once, all of those favorites are accounted for, everyone is happy.
Smiles all around!
Joy to the world, another holiday baking marathon is completed…
• What are your treasured holiday food and baking traditions?
• What are the foods that remind you of times past?
• Have you sat down with your grandmother, mother, aunt, or neighbor and told them how much the special things they make every year mean to you?
• Have you asked them to show you how they make the things they make? (sometimes, there are secrets that are not written down that can only be seen when you work together)
• Have you written the recipes down that mean something to you?
• What are you doing to pass the traditions down to the next generation?
Holiday traditions are an important part of your family legacy.
They connect one generation with the next and the next after that.
Creating a family cookbook of those traditional recipes can be a fun family project.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Self-publish your family cookbook or use a cookbook service.
• Take pictures of the food, table settings, and family members preparing and enjoying the food together.
• Put them together in the cookbook along with the recipes.
• Put notes and stories in the cookbook about the people who created or made the foods being highlighted.
• Put their pictures next to their recipes.
This way their legacy will never be forgotten.
You will have created a family treasure that will be passed on for generations to come.
Also know that some traditions may evolve and change like my own baking tradition has.
Embrace those changes as they include the generations behind you.
When the next generation feels the same magic you do you have successfully passed on the love that made the tradition meaningful to you.
Celebrate your holiday food traditions this year and every year.
Do so with joy and love in your heart.
Remember those here and long gone with the holiday traditions that make the holidays so special.
I know I do, and I will continue to.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year to all…
Season of Gratitude
Life is good!
I love to travel.
Air travel used to be fun and exciting.
For many traveling during the past two and a half years has been difficult at best and for some nearly impossible to do.
Despite all the restrictions and hoops that that have been put in the way of travel I have managed to do a fair amount.
Even in 2020, after the world shut down, I traveled to Atlanta, New York City, and even Acapulco Mexico. In 2021 I went to California twice and completed a much-delayed trip to Costa Rica.
This year I went to Philadelphia, San Diego, and then on to Acapulco Mexico once again.
Traveling in these times requires a bit more patience, especially in the airport and on airplanes.
The numerous cancelled and delayed flights have been frustrating to many, caused missed events and cruise sailings and tour departures. Lost luggage issues have been on the rise as there has been a shortage of personal throughout the industry.
Even my recent trip to San Diego had its own tale of adventure. We had a short delay getting out of New York as the was a flight attendant that was a last minute no show due to an emergency at home. That delay was not significant and would not have delayed our arrival.
About an hour into the flight, midway through the drink service, there was an announcement, “We have a medical emergency! Is there a doctor in the house?”
A flight attendant passed out cold in the isle while serving coffee. Her eyes were wide open as she crashed to the floor of the plane hard, spilling coffee on the passengers as she went down.
Not 30 minutes later there was a second announcement, “We have a medical emergency! Is there a doctor on the plane?”
Now I was confused.
Was it the same emergency or a new one?
Turns out a second flight attendant fell and tore up her knee and could not stand or walk.
From that point on there was no drink or snack service on the plane. It was scheduled to be a five and a half-hour flight. We could all survive the remainder of the flight.
As we approached our destination the pilot announces that there is heavy fog in San Diego, and we have been placed in a holding pattern as visibility on the ground is extremely poor and unsafe for landing.
Round and round we go for an hour.
Next announcement, “This is your captain speaking. I am sorry to tell you that we have been rerouted to Las Vegas for fuel. This should take an hour on the ground. Prepare for landing in Las Vegas.”
We landed in Las Vegas after flying past the landmarks on the Las Vegas Strip.
Next announcement, “This is your captain speaking. Please remain seated and keep the isles clear so medical personal can safely evacuate our two injured flight attendants. We will not be deplaning passengers. Please remain in your seats so that we can get back in the air as quickly as possible following refueling.
The flight attendants were taken off in medical stretchers.
I made a mad dash to the restroom as at this point it had been seven hours since I had gone. Safely back in my seat before the next announcement.
“This is your captain speaking. Six passengers have requested to get off here in Las Vegas.” They were standing at the front door, of the plane, with their carry-ons in their hands making a lot of noise with the crew.
“If I let these six people off the plane, everyone will have to get off the plane with their belongings and it will cause an even greater delay of the flight.”
There was an audible groan from everyone. We all glared at the passengers in the front making a scene to get off.
Thankfully they returned to their seats, stowed their carry-ons, and sat down having been publicly shamed.
Two replacement flight attendants arrived, and we were once again on our way to San Diego.
We touched down in San Diego three hours later than scheduled. Of course, then we had to wait for a gate to open another 20 minutes delay and the bags took forever to arrive at the carousel.
Chatting with my fellow travelers we were more concerned for the recovery and health status of our downed flight attendants than our minor inconvenience of the flight being much longer than expected.
We were all grateful to get to our destination safely and looked forward to where we could get something to eat and drink as we were parched and starving.
We were grateful for how the captain kept us informed on what was happening and what we needed to do.
I am most grateful that those that thought getting off in Las Vegas would be a good idea, decided to sit down instead of inconvenience everyone on the plane further.
I am grateful to Jet Blue for their prompt apology for the unforeseen issues we experienced and their generous credit for future travel with them, without having to ask for it.
I was grateful that I had planned to arrive at my destination before any of the scheduled events and I did not miss anything due to delays.
I was grateful that I was able to travel to beautiful San Diego and enjoy the retreat I attended and the beautiful weather there.
From San Diego I traveled to Acapulco for three weeks of seminars with my business coach and mentor.
As I sit here writing this story for Positive Tribe this month from Acapulco Mexico. I have just spent three weeks working and playing at one of the most beautiful places I have had the pleasure to travel to.
In a private villa tucked into the hills high above Acapulco Bay I am truly blessed to be here learning from two of the best, with my fellow attendees.
Every day I express my gratitude in my morning meditation.
I have so much to be grateful for.
• I am grateful to be here in beautiful Acapulco.
• I am grateful that I am feeling good and that my latest cancer scan showed that everything was stable, and I should keep doing what I am doing.
• I am grateful for the amazing place I am at physically, mentally, creatively, and spiritually.
• I am grateful to be surrounded by amazing positive people.
• I am grateful for the gorgeous sunsets.
• I am grateful for the amazing peace I feel knowing that this and every day is perfectly unfolding before me just the way it’s supposed to.
What are you grateful in this season of gratitude?
Every November we take time for my favorite national holiday, Thanksgiving.
As you gather around the table with friends and family this Thanksgiving take a few moments to think about the things you are grateful for in your life.
What is the thing you are most grateful for?
Go around the table and share your gratitude with each other. Encourage the children to participate too.
You don’t have to wait for a special occasion.
Anytime you gather with family, friends, or colleagues is the perfect time to express gratitude.
Gratitude and expressing gratitude to each other for both big and little things is important to finding the joy and peace we are all seeking in our lives.
What if expressing gratitude became a daily habit; for you, your family, your community, your country, and the world?
What if everyone in the world expressed gratitude on this day of Thanksgiving.
Imagine the positive energy we would all send out into the universe.
Imagine the collective sigh around the world as we release the negativity, hate, and angst all around us and replace it with love, positivity, and gratitude.
That is a world I choose to live in.
That is a world that can go a long way to healing the things that divide us.
That is a world that will finally find the peace we all so desperately seek.
It can all start with three simple words.
I’m Grateful for…
I ask you again,
What are you grateful for?
Squirrels Gathering Nuts
Wow, that one just missed my windshield! It almost made me instinctively duck as another acorn bounces off my car driving down the road.
Then I see it. It’s almost laughing at me. A big fat, fluffy tailed squirrel with an acorn in its mouth runs down the tree and runs across the road behind me.
Chattering loudly at me, “Can’t you see I’m busy? I’ve got so much to do. Winter is coming and I must be prepared.”
I laugh to myself.
I know exactly what that squirrel is talking about. (Talking squirrels now I know I’m losing my mind.)
Have you noticed?
Have you felt the burst of energy and urgency in your own life?
The squirrels have been very busy and so have I.
It was a beautiful summer, and I took time to play and enjoy myself.
Maybe I slacked off a bit as my to-do list got longer and longer.
Actually, there was no maybe about it. I did take a breather.
But now it’s time to get back in gear and get things done.
It seems that every year, at this time, I find myself as busy and productive as that nut gathering squirrel.
The cooler weather allows me to open the windows and allow the air to circulate in my home instead of being holed up in the closed air conditioning.
As I allow the house to breath, I find myself breathing in the freshness of the crisp fall mornings and evenings.
I sleep better able to enjoy the feel the soft comforter around me without throwing it off in the middle of the night.
The days are getting shorter. Darkness comes earlier and earlier each day. Soon we will get that hour back we lost in the spring and then it will be dark even earlier.
I feel the urgency of getting things done stir inside me.
I am getting things done.
Every day, I find myself checking off things on my to-do list that I have allowed to stay there much longer than they should have.
I’ve been talking about the need for a garage sale for much too long.
Dare I say years.
I have been piling things in my garage as I have cleared the clutter from my basement, closets, and office spaces for a garage sale.
The garage had become so packed with stuff that I had only a footpath the width of my foot to get from one end of the garage to the other.
It was packed to the ceiling from the front to the back.
A friend reminded me that I would never have that garage sale unless I set a date for it to happen.
I set a date for September 24th and 25th.
Then something amazing happened.
I knew I had to go through everything in the garage and sort out the garbage from the stuff to be sold.
It was a four-day process.
It was exhausting.
Every part of my body hurt.
I swear I was broken, but some Advil took the pain away.
But, oh it was so worth it.
I feel so accomplished.
I discovered that there were some things best sold on Facebook Marketplace.
I found the things that would be best donated.
I figured out how, when, and where to advertise.
I found friends that were willing to help me set up and be there on the days of the sale.
Most important of all, I found a junk removal company that would recycle, donate usable items, and remove everything after the garage sale was over.
I made a promise that once I put things out for sale they were NOT coming back into the house.
What an amazing feeling.
Decluttering is such a fulfilling experience. I have lived in the same house for 42 years and I have only scratched the surface in the decluttering process. I find that taking it one step at a time, I can do it.
Now I am focused on decluttering my workspace with both physical decluttering and task decluttering. I have checked so many things off my to-do list I have started to add new things to the list.
When the list gets too long, it is frustrating.
I learned a long time ago, that when you have a “Honey Do” list for your spouse it’s best to keep it to no more than five items. More than five nothing gets done. It’s like they go on strike. You are asking them to do too many things, and can’t you see they need time to watch football?
You can only add to the list as things are completed.
The same thing applies with your own to-do list.
If you create a list of five things, you want to accomplish today you can get them done.
Start with the most urgent items.
• What is the due date?
• Is the person you want to connect with only available at a certain time?
• How much time will the task take?
I try to have a mix of things on my list. A combination of both long- and short-term items. Some that may be completed quickly and some that will be completed over time.
The long-term projects can be broken into manageable pieces. By creating an outline of the tasks involved you can plan backwards from your due date, even it is self-imposed. You can create a flow chart of what needs to be done in what order to complete the task in the allotted time.
Always remember that everything takes twice a long as you think it will.
• There will be interruptions, the dog wants to go out, your child wants to play.
• There will be distractions, you look up something on the internet and get taken down the rabbit hole.
• You need a break; your stomach is growling and its two hours past lunch time.
• You can’t connect to the person you need when you need them, text, email, and phone not responding.
• You are waiting for an answer to move forward.
• You are stuck on hold in an automated answering que.
• An emergency takes priority, the basement floods, a friend needs you, you or a family member needs medical attention.
• Technology breaks down at the most inopportune moment.
Factoring all that in you can still check off five items on your to-do list.
Are you ready to make an impact on your life and business this fall?
• What is it you want to accomplish?
• What are your goals?
• What is your plan?
• Are you prepared?
• Have you created a realistic to-do list?
• Do you have the tools you need to do each task?
It is the season to stop procrastinating and start taking action and do it.
Become the implementor of your ideas.
Take inspired action and make things happen.
Turn your dreams into reality.
Winter is coming and with it a whole new year.
What you do now will set you up for greater success in that new year.
Are you ready to get down, get dirty, and be your most productive self?
You may think I’m NUTS.
I know you can do it.
It’s time to be that busy squirrel…
Pass It On
The first floor had been divided into two apartments, one family in front and one family in back.
One family with a daughter and one family with two sons.
The daughter made her communion in a dress of lace and roses, Crinoline underneath,
A cloud of white organza. The dress of a princess, for that most important day.
The dress was carefully cleaned and packed, not to be worn again by that princess…
One neighbor to another, “Here, you take the dress. I want to pass it on…”
Someday you too, will have a daughter and she will make her communion.
“Okay, if you insist, but I have two sons, a daughter is only a dream…”
Moving from the small Queens apartment to a new home on Long Island new neighbors next door.
One family with two sons and one family with two daughters.
Two years later, the first daughter would make her communion,
In the perfect dress of lace and roses, crinoline underneath, in a cloud of white organza.
The dress of a princess, for that most important day.
The dress carefully cleaned and packed until it was time to pass it on again…
In the meantime, the family with two sons was blessed with a daughter of their own.
Before she would be of age, the dress was worn again.
The communion of the second sister, in the beautiful dress of lace and roses, crinoline underneath,
In a cloud of white organza. The dress of a princess, for that most important day.
Carefully cleaned and packed to be passed on once more…
Five years would pass before the dress would be worn again.
The daughter so dreamed of would have her communion day,
In the cherished dress of lace and roses, crinoline underneath, in a cloud of white organza.
The dress of a princess, for that most important day.
Once again carefully packed away until it was time to pass it on…
This time the dress would take a long journey. It traveled from New York and all the way to Poland,
Where a young lady would make her communion, in a dress of lace and roses, crinoline underneath,
A cloud of white organza. The dress of a princess for a most important day…
The dress passed on from one to another. A joy shared by so many young ladies.
It would be worn by a new princess each year and passed on to the next.
Each time, the dress was carefully cleaned and packed. Oh, the stories the dress could tell.
I was the second to wear the dress, on my communion day,
In that special dress of lace and roses, crinoline underneath, in that cloud of white organza,
I felt like a princess…
I know each girl, who wore the dress before and after me would feel the same.
I was grateful to wear the dress and happy to pass it on…
Today we live in a disposable world where things are not cherished and preserved for the next to use.
We are missing something. The something that adds special value to our lives.
There is love in the lace and roses, the crinoline and cloud of white organza.
There is history and legacy too. Most of all there is the joy shared by so many,
When we were blessed
To pass it on...
Recycling today is so often done out of duty. We recycle things that have no value to us when we a done with them. Bottles, cars, computers, paper, plastics, and clothing are all put to good use, shredded and repurposed as something completely different from what it started out as. We recycle because it is the right thing to do. We hope that we are being good stewards of the environment in doing so.
We often do not see the value in things that can be passed on from one generation to another. Tossing into the trash mementos, china, paintings, cookbooks, pictures and so much stuff that generations before us passed down with love.
Have we forgotten our heritage?
Does Legacy no longer have a place in our lives?
The people at Ancestry and My Heritage would be out of business if this was so. Somewhere deep inside each of us there is a need to feel connected the past to the present. While digital connections serve a purpose there is nothing like gently turning the pages of an old photo album or following a recipe from your grandmother’s cookbook the pages stained with oil and flour.
Sometimes we have no choice but to let a family treasure go. This was true when it came time to sell the home, I grew up in. The home my father built without the benefit of power tools following WWII. Each piece of lumber sawed by hand and each block of the foundation laid with love. It was the home my parents shared together for 60 of their 65 years of marriage.
Letting this home go was not an easy choice for my sister and me. It held so many memories. But we each had our own homes for many years and were content with where we were. Even my married niece had a home of her own. We knew it was time to let the house go.
The house sold quickly and we cleaned out 60 years of memories.
At the estate sale the parents of the young man buying the house stopped in to purchase some essential tools to start the couple off right. They were getting married the next year.
I asked, “When is the wedding date?”
“June 30th” came the replay.
My eyes welled up with tears as I shared that June 30th had been my parents wedding date too. It was then that I knew that the house would be treasured, and it was destined to bring the same joy and happiness my family had known to this lovely young couple just starting out. I could feel my parents smiling down on me in that moment.
There is so much to be grateful for in our lives. If I am not going to use a treasured item any longer it brings me joy to find someone that would not only need what I no longer want but would also treasure and value it.
I was widowed 4 years ago. I have no children to pass things on to. I recently gave my wedding dress to a young lady that did not have the money to buy something new. She was so excited to find something that she fell in love with for her wedding day. I was grateful that someone would once again be wearing my dress of lace and roses, Crinoline underneath, a beautiful cloud of white organza, for her very special day.
I was truly blessed to pass it on…
An ongoing series of informational entries
Building Strong Foundations
Thirty years ago I owned a beautiful house overlooking Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. The house sat on the top of a hill on a point that jutted into the lake. While we did not have any lakefront property we had a magnificent view from neary every window, of the lake.
Unlike many of the lakefront houses that were summer cotteges that would be closed up for the winter this was a year round house.
The stone foundation and rough hewn brown siding with yellow shutters blended perfectly with the environment.
Inside the walls were covered with tongue and groove knotty pine boards. Their warm amber glow made it feel cozy even on the coldest winter day. The stone fireplace in the center of the house went three stories up through the cathedral ceiling.
The ceiling…now that was the problem.
The ceiling was just the open roof beams covered by the roof sheething. There was no insulation which resulted in all the heat going right out through the roof. We were effectively heating the outdoors.
My father decided that it was time to take care of that problem and I volunteered to assist him.
My dad was an engineer. He approched every project with a plan. That is one of the reasons I became The Crisis Planner, as I too am a planner.
We arrived at the lakehouse ready to tackle the job.
We unloaded the truck with all the tools we would need for the job.
Next we needed to go to the local Rickles ( now I really am dating myself ) to pick up supplies.
I expected to bring home a truck full of insulation.
I was surprised to see my dad in the lumber yard picking out a massive amount of lumber.
12 ft long boards of many sizes soon filled the truck. 4x4’s, 2x8’s, 2x4’s and 1x4’s.
What in the world was my dad doing?
I didn’t say a word. I hoped that he knew what he was doing. I wanted to believed he knew what he was doing. After all, he did built the house that I had grown up in. I have to admit I was a bit confused as there was not even one bail of insulation to be found.
We arrived at the house, unloaded the lumber and went inside.
Once we were inside, my dad unfolded a piece of paper with a sketch on it.
It was only when I looked at the sketch that I understood.
We were to be working on a ceiling nearly 25 ft above our heads.
In order to do so we needed a platform to work on.
We needed a scaffold, a sturdy foundation that would be safe to work on for the duration of the project.
The planning and care that went into constructing that scaffold really was the most important part of the project. Without the scaffold everything would have been more difficult if not impossible to complete. Without the scaffold it would not have been safe to work so high up.
The foundation of the project was something I had never considered before we started.
I never imagined a scaffold in my vision of the project. I am glad my father did.
How often do we embark on a new project without considering the foundation? We have all seen houses built on faulty foundations slide down mountains or be washed away by the sea.
There are essential foundations in every aspect of our lives and business.
Foundations that make the difference between success, frustration and failure.
The simplest foundation may be something that grounds us to our day.
How do you start your day? Have you noticed if your morning routine is disrupted your whole day can be off. If you oversleep, you may not feel put together all day. If a crisis distracts you, your reaction may surprise you and actually add to the chaos.
In that case, your foundation for the day needs a reset. The amazing thing is that it is possible to reset your foundation and get your day back on track. You just need to pause, breath and create a new starting point.
I’ve looked at the foundations of long lasting marriges. My parents were married for 65 years. They met during WWII. My dad a G.I. from Green Bay, Wisconsin and my mom singing at the U.S.O. were set up on a blind date, They fell in love, got engaged and my dad was shipped out to Europe. They were married shortly after he gratefully returned from the war.
My dad never forgot the foundation of their love, every year on October 12th a bouquet of flowers would appear commemorating their first date. My mom was always surprised, yet he never forgot.
At their grand-daughters wedding they were the last couple dancing the anniversary waltz, having been married the longest of all the attendees.
The MC asked them to share the secret to their long marriage.
My mother replied, “Never go to bed angry.” My father added, “Spend a lot of time in bed!” Everyone laughed. But there is so much wisdom and truth in their words.
It speaks to the foundation of relationships!
Mostly unseen and hidden from view foundations are the strength upon which everything else is built.
Foundations are what you build your home, your family, your relationships and your business on.
• What is the condition of your foundations?
• Are they solid and strong, able to weather the inevitable crises of life?
• Are they serving you today as they served you in the past?
Foundations are not something that you build once and forget about. They need to be inspected, maintained, repaired and even rebuilt. Sometimes a foundation that has served you no longer does and it is time to move on.
Is it time to build a new foundation to stand on?
Just as we built the scaffold to work on the ceiling of the lakehouse.
Subsequent trips to the hardward store filled the truck with insulation, lauan plywood, 2x4’s for decorative beams, gallons of paint and stain, nails, paint brushes, rollers, pans and poles.
We spent a week working on the solid foundation of that scaffold.
The job done, we disassembled the scaffold, our foundation for the work was no longer needed.
The completed ceiling looked beautiful.
It was time to move on to new projects with new foundations.
Life is like that.
Our foundations can change.
That is all okay, as long as you recognize that with each change you will start with a new foundation.
Life can sometimes shake you off your foundation.
When I lost my gentle giant, the love of my life three years ago my foundation colapsed beneath me.
I built a new foundation to replace that one, a foundation of gratitude, legacy and service to others that is solid once again beneath my feet.
I am standing tall on my new foundation knowing that all I do is solidly grounded in JOY and LOVE!
Take the time to build your foundations.
Knowing that the time you spend building them will serve you well as long as they are needed...
New School Shoes and Dressing for Success
September is here and It’s back to school across the country. Some areas may start a little earlier and some not until after Labor Day. Everyone is back to school in September.
Dressing for success started with the first day of school. While my mom sewed most of our clothes growing up. Our back-to-school outfit was always special. It was store bought.
I fondly remember shopping for that first day of school outfit. It had to be perfect. Be it a dress or a skirt and blouse ensemble it even included new underwear and socks.
I also remember shopping for new shoes. It was time to be fitted properly at Buster Browns shoes for sturdy shoes. As I entered 6th grade and middle school, this is where the battle began.
My mom was always concerned that I had a tendency to walk a bit pigeon-toed and believed that I was best served with sturdy tie shoes. They were clunky and ugly. Some years they were brown, some years black and I never liked them. In fact, you might even say I hated them.
I was not given a choice, nor was I asked if I even liked them. They were the shoes I was going to wear to school. In those days sneakers were canvas Keds and worn only for gym class.
In elementary school this had not been such an issue. The year I was to go into middle school I balked. I desperately wanted Penny Loafers. I begged!
In the end we came home with those awful tie shoes. I might have been appeased with saddle shoes but that was not even an option with my mom. She did not want to deal with the constant polishing of the white on the saddle shoe and that was that.
In my disappointment I hatched a plan.
A couple of days before the start of school, I put on my new back-to-school shoes, got on my bike, and dragged the toes in the dirt and gravel destroying the entire front of the shoes. The leather had huge holes in it and was beyond repair.
I was sure my plan would work. I concocted a story that I fell off my bike and that’s how the shoes were ruined. That might have flown if it had only been one shoe but both shoes were evenly destroyed.
My stunt did not go over very well with my mom. It took everything she had to control her anger with me. Shoes were not cheap. We did not have a lot of money and now I had destroyed them.
• What was she going to do?
• How could she teach me a lesson?
• What would my punishment be?
She decided that I would go back to school wearing the shoes I had just destroyed. I was humiliated not only by having to wear the shoes I despised but now they were even uglier with the toes all torn up making me look like a total ragamuffin.
She made me realize that she was smarter than I thought she was and that she was still in charge even if I thought I was more grown up than I really was.
A week later we were back at the shoe store. This time I did get my Penny Loafers. I was so happy as I put shinny new pennies in the leather slots. I happily went to school the second week with my new school shoes.
By the end of the week, I discovered that there was pain to getting what you want as I was sporting huge blisters on the back of my heels. There was indeed a learning curve to wearing Penny Loafers. A price I was willing to pay to feel dressed for success.
Mom had taught me a valuable lesson.
I learned that it was important to take care of my things even if they were not exactly what I wanted now and that sometimes when you get what you think you want there is a price to pay.
Conquering Fear and the Big Scary Hill
Linda's a Chicken!
That ends today!
Today is the day!
I’m going to do it today!
All the neighborhood kids have done it!
I need to do it today!
I have to admit I’m a bit nervous as I pull on my long underware, flannel lined pants and itchy wool socks. I tuck my undershirt into my pants and add a bulky sweater.
Its still snowing as I look out the window.
I can feel my heart beating in my chest. Yes, I can do it today.
I wrap a scarf around my neck 2 times and one more time across my mouth, pull on my wool cap and add my winter jacket. Pulling on my rubber snow boots.
I finally add my favorite mittens and make my way to the door.
“On my way out”, I yell, “Bye Mom, I’m going to play in the snow with Barbara and Richie”
If she only knew where I was going she would have stopped me.
I can’t let that happen, not today.
Entering the Garage I see it.
My Flexible Flyer.
It is standing there mocking me.
Well mock no more sled.
Today I’m going to do it!
I pull my sled out onto the snow covered driveway and join the other children walking down the street in the snow.
We are all walking in the same direction toward the woods at the end of the street.
Some of the kids are laughing and horsing around throwing snowballs at each other.
I am concentrating on staying calm as I pull my sled through the deepening snow toward my destiny.
My destiny with DEATH.
“Suicide Hill” awaits.
Today I will conquer my fear and meet the challenge of the hill.
I keep walking, three blocks seem like a million miles and the sled weighs a thousand pounds.
The snow is sticking to my face and melting off my nose. My socks are starting to itch and the wind feels like it is blowing through me.
I feel the chill in my bones even with everything I am wearing.
I’m almost there and see one of the boys, walking in the other direction his lip bloodied.
I hesitate a moment.
Just what am I thinking?
He shouts at me, “So, you’re finally going to do it chicken!”
“Yes, yes I am”, I reply in a false bravado.
“This I got to see!”, wiping the blood from his lip, he turns around and walks with me the rest of the way.
I stand in the cue of kids waiting their turn at the hill.
One by one I watch.
Some, well they don’t.
I watch as they trudge up the hill some bloodied and bruised some smiling and laughing.
When its my turn I pull my sled to the edge and survey the hill before me.
It is a winding narrow path filled with rocks and bolders with an enormous oak tree right in the middle.
You have to steer your sled around the tree or risk certain death all the while your sled is accelerating down the hill at a frightening speed.
Standing there, at the precipice, the kids standing around at the top of the hill are staring at me.
They are waiting for me to make my move…
My heart is pounding.
Okay this is it.
I take a deep breath and lay face down on the sled.
I feel the sled tip slightly as I start moving down the hill.
I am accelerating faster and faster.
he tree is directly in front of me.
It is coming up really fast now as I manage to steer around it in one deft manuver.
I negotiate the final obsacles and reach the bottom of the hill.
I leap off my sled and stand trumphantly to the muffeled mittened appalause from the kids standing at the top of the hill.
Walking up the hill towing my sled I feel so light.
I practically skip home through the snow.
My 11 year old self so confident so powerful.
I had faced my fear. I had prooved the kids taunting me wrong.
I had succeeded. I had conqured “Suicide Hill”.
Of course mom would never know, but that was okay. I knew and that was what mattered.
Throughout our lives we will encounter things that are scary.
On the other side of fear there are amazing experiences, opportunities, and life lessons.
If we give into our fears we will never truly live fully.
That was the first of many fears I have faced in my life.
Each time I have looked into the face of fear and decided to push through it has made me stronger.
Each time I find it a little easier to make the decision and put fear aside.
There are so many opportunities on the other side of fear.
That frightened 11 year old girl who looked fear in the face and just decided to do it is now a 69 year old woman that says yes then figures it out.
I’ve said yes to diving with sharks, sleeping with wolves, and living in and traveling to places around the world I would never have dreamed of.
I have started new careers, created businesses and experienced failure, loss and success.
I would have never had the amazing life I’ve had if I had not faced “Suicide Hill”.
Do I still feel my heart pounding when I am facing a big decision?
es, of course I do.
I just choose to identity that feeling as excitement instead of fear.
You each have our own fears.
Fears that stop you from living the life you dream of.
• What is the big scary hill you fear?
• How will your life change if you cast your fear aside?
• Do you dare to take the leap to change your life path?
• Most importantly, what will not happen if you never face your fear?
Several years ago, I took a walk to the end of the street where the woods still stand.
I stood in the same spot where I laid my fears to rest at the top of “Suicide Hill”.
Looking down at the hill on that day, the rocks did not seem to be so big and the oak tree was not so formidable.
I was surpised to see just how small the hill really was.
Our fears are like that.
Once we put them behind us they can seem small and insignificant, leaving us wondering why we had any fear at all.
Only when we face our fears do we give ourselves permission to soar.
Only then can you truly be free and be everything you are destined to be...
The Gift Within Revealed - Uncover the special gift in your child
The Lily lay on the side of the road.
The pot smashed, the soil scattered,
The flowers dry and withered,
Discarded with the trash...
She bends down slowly,
And lifts the broken plant.
Slowly she walks the three blocks home,
Cradling the dying plant in her arms.
Standing in her back yard,
She finds the perfect spot.
Trowel in hand, she digs the hole,
And places the Lily upright in a place of honor…
The spring turns to summer,
Summer turns to fall and fall into winter.
The Lily dries up and loses its leaves.
Gentle rains give way to winter snow.
The snow melts and the sun warms the earth,
The gentle spring rains return…
The empty spot in the garden, suddenly erupts,
The Lily pushes up through the earth.
It reaches for the sun,
Responding to the loving attention she gives…
The stalk grows taller and stronger,
And buds appear in a large circle at its crown.
Still growing ever taller, A second circle of buds appear…
It is a warm sunny day,
The buds burst open in celebration of life.
A clarion of 46 blooms,
now five feet tall,
From the Lily given up for dead…
The Easter Lily, Symbol of resurrection –
It lives again, in glorious splendor,
And she smiles,
knowing its truth all along….
How many of us have been bruised and broken as this lily? How many of us have been bullied and told we would never be anything more than this discarded flower.
All it takes is for one person to see something inside of us that we do not see in
ourselves. One kind word of encouragement can make all the difference in who we allow
ourselves to be. One mentor to take our hand and guide us onto a path of greatness.
It does not matter where you come from. The past has no place in this process. It is
about this moment going forward and fulfillment of your life’s vision and mission.
Each one of us possesses a gift that can make a difference for ourselves, others, and
the world. All we need is for someone else to see it within us.
• Someone that will create a safe place for us to unwrap our gift,
feed it and nurture it.
• Someone that will encourage us and show us a path that will lead to fulfillment, happiness and joy.
• Someone that will share our dreams and help us stand if we should stumble and fall along the way.
• Someone that may have only touched our lives for a short time but has a profound impact on the journey we will take.
It could be a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, minister, boss, friend or acquaintance that helps you see what you are unable to see.
• That you are amazing!
• You are smart!
• You are creative!
• You are worthy!
• You are heard!
• You can do it!
• You can and are making a difference!
• You are special!
• You matter!
• You are loved!
Believing in yourself is so much easier if you have someone that believes in you standing by your side if not physically there but in spirit.
Who is that person that made a difference for you?
What is it that they said that gave you courage to believe in yourself?
What is the gift you have yet to unwrap?
What is the dream you keep pushing away because you don’t think you can do it or
it’s not the right time?
I am here to tell you that now is the time to realize your dreams. Release your gift in all it’s glory and be that magnificent lily standing tall and proud in the sunshine with a crown of beautiful flowers displayed for all the world to see.
The story of the lily I have shared here is a true story. If I had not seen this lily with my own eyes, I would not have believed it was possible. My grandmother had an amazing garden. Everything she planted grew bigger and taller and had more flowers than anything I have ever seen. She was able to bring out the gifts hidden within them and the world was a better place for her having done so.
Be the lily… Share your gift…
Let this spring be the resurrection and renaissance of your life…