"Expanding Your Child's Mind for
Their Best Future"
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…