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Thanks. Giving.

Thanks. Giving.

 

It’s November and Thanksgiving is but a blink away. This is my favorite holiday because it’s focused on generosity, gathering with people we love, and eating food from recipes handed down by generations.  "We Gather Together" the Christian hymn of Dutch origin is my go-to Thanksgiving song.

 

My early memories of Thanksgiving are of the smells coming from my grandmother’s kitchen. Turkey roasting in the oven next to the homemade Icebox rolls, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and the oyster dressing she made just for my dad. And it wouldn’t have been Thanksgiving without my grandpa’s “Best Yet” cranberry salad. My great grandmother Mayme (grandpa’s mother) would always exclaim, “Elmer, that cranberry salad is the best yet!” And hence the name stuck! I have grandpa’s original recipe card in his own handwriting, and now Tori, his great-granddaughter has a copy.

 My mom and Tori with the...

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The Best and Worst of Times

focus hope wholeness Nov 06, 2020

THE BEST AND WORST OF TIMES

 

Here we are, the first week of November 2020, and we have broken two all-time highs: 

  • more American's voted in this Presidential election than ever before in the history of our nation and 
  • COVID19 cases frighteningly hit all-time highs this week, higher than any time since the pandemic began only nine months ago

 

To say these are challenging times is a gross understatement. I am reminded of the historical novel A Tale of Two Cities (1859), by Charles Dickens.

 

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…". 

 

And now, 160 years later, we still facing similar dilemmas. Half of us say it is a season of Light, and half of us say it is a season of Darkness....

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Fear and Faith

faith strength Oct 10, 2020

Fear and Faith.

 

This week I have had enough. Enough of Covid19, enough of soul-numbing politics, enough of horrific wildfires, and hurricanes, and enough of isolation from friends and family. Enough already 2020, I’ve had enough of you!  The feeling of frustration had seeped into me like the smoke of the wildfires seeps into everything.  

 

Finally, I stopped and faced my fears and took control of my emotions. Instead of watching the news I went back to my morning routine of meditation, walking, inspirational readings, and having faith that the world will continue to spin, and the sun will continue to rise.

 

I have learned the more I face my fears and keep moving forward, taking action in harmony with my values and integrity, I emerge stronger.

 

Fear is normal.  Fear is helpful.  Fear is an emotion that says “Hey! Take notice of this, something’s up!”.  Don’t ignore fear…Ask “what are...

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Perspective

leadership perspective rbg Sep 25, 2020

PERSPECTIVE

 

The Notorious RBG is being laid to rest today. Regardless of politics, her spirit was/is luminous. She said her legacy was “to make life a little better for people less fortunate” than she.

 

What she did for my generation of women and future generations of us all was monumental. About 10 years ago, I was in the Delta sky club at Kennedy International airport, tired and looking forward to going home, I had found a distant and quiet place from the crowd to sit alone. I noticed several secret service-type people coming to my corner looking around and I thought “somebody important is going to show up soon”. Then, this tiny woman slowly walks in as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders and stands by the window with 2-3 other younger women. 

 

I recognized Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg right away and was star struck. Throwing caution to the wind, I got the nerve to ask one of the women if I could speak with her, and to...

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The Power of Thank You

The Power of Thank You

 

Summer of 2020 is behind us, loneliness still abounds, and I continue to miss our friends and family in spite of technology that is meant to keep us connected. Today I was reading a story of volunteers who write letters to people living in nursing homes isolated from their loved ones and to doctors and nurses on the front lines. Their simple acts of kindness made me feel encouraged and hopeful.

 

That story took me back to the home of my friend and mentor Laura Carmichael. Her desk was always filled with note cards, rolls of stamps and a sharp set of sheers, a City Directory (this is an old-timey book of names and addresses of everyone who lived in the city), a telephone book (another old-timey artifact that had phone numbers and addresses), and her coveted address book. For more than 60 years Mrs. Carmichael would clip pictures of the brides from the Sunday paper (remember those?!) and mail the copy with a congratulatory note to the bride and her...

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Over the Rainbow

beauty rainbows resilience Aug 28, 2020

Over the Rainbow

I have always been a fan of rainbows. My favorite song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. In the “before times” (pre-pandemic) when Steve and I would go to out and live music was performed, he would always make a secret request and I would be in complete delight to hear the piano player strike up Over the Rainbow.

When I first saw Judy Garland as Dorothy singing it in the iconic movie Wizard of Oz, I wanted to go over the rainbow with her to where skies are blue and the lovely little bluebirds fly. There is such hope in that song and yet we know it originates out of sadness. Dorothy is searching for a better place where all is well, and wishes come true and troubles melt like lemon drops. Wouldn’t we all love for that to happen now?

My sweet mom died 8 years ago today. All of her life she always had a smile, and a laugh even after her stroke that left her completely disabled. Her eyes smiled and her entire face would light up with love when I saw her,...

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This Little Light Of Mine

encouragement inspiration Aug 14, 2020

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE

Have you ever gone tent camping? Years ago, I took a solo camping trip to prove to myself I was an independent woman who could pitch my own tent and make my own way. The north Georgia state park where I spent my first night was virtually deserted. No other campers were enjoying the cool October evening and my resolve began to waver.  What was I doing out here alone in my brothers’ pup tent protected only with the pocket knife my father had given me before I left?

Darkness encircled me like a blanket thrown over my head. Every sound was amplified, and fear began to creep in. Then that magical moment happened when I struck a single match to ignite my merger campfire, and the darkness was at bay. A single match had made the difference between my fear of being alone in the woods and the confidence of seeing beyond my immediate surroundings.

Each of us has the opportunity to be a single flame to keep the darkness at bay. Every great movement started...

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Forgiveness in the Time of COVID 19

Forgiveness in the time of Covid 19. 

These days I’m constantly looking for relief from the worry and anxiety of the chaos in our world. Relief can come from taking a walk in the woods, reading an inspirational book, watching a sunset, calling a friend, and eating comfort food.

These past few months I have felt fear, uncertainty, confusion and angst. And I have been compelled to find relief with home remedies. Remedies like regular doses of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food (aka chocolate+ ice cream), or the ingestion of medicinal Tate’s chocolate chip cookies or my go-to soul food, pepperoni pizza paired with a tasty chardonnay.

None of this may seem unnatural to you, but for me, these self-treatments feel like a comforting embrace. You see, before Covid19 I had not eaten any sugar, grains, or dairy for nearly 5 years and felt terrific. Then enter the global pandemic and the uncertainties of the future led me to relief-eating. I reasoned if you are going to get...

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ENDURANCE

ENDURANCE

How have you been feeling lately? Overwhelmed? Lonely? Depressed? Isolated? Grateful? Thankful? Happy? Joyful? If you answered “yes” to all of these emotions, join the club.

I have come to the realization that Covid19 will now be with us for a long time. Scientists are suggesting that for the next 18-24 months we will be grappling with this virus.  I live in Florida, the sunshine state. Many thought Covid19 didn’t like sunshine and heat. Nope, it turns out Covid19 is spending the summer in Florida, and Texas and Arizona, and it is thriving here!

 So, what do we need now?

Endurance. 

Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity for a prolonged period of time, to have persistence.  Endurance in Latin means “To Last”.

Many of us are good at starting projects, cleaning out the garage, or painting a room or filing that pile of papers on the floor.  Then at some point, it gets boring, or I get tired or...

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We The People

We the People…

"Don't judge people for the choices they make when you don't know the options they had to choose from"

Each July 4th I think of our founding fathers who risked their lives to create a new country pledging their honor to claim their independence from England. Declaring freedoms that no other nation enjoyed at the time: freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and petition.

 

The 56 courageous and dedicated men who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 knew they were committing treason when the ink was dry on their signature. And still, they accepted that risk to ensure “…certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

 

In the 244 years since that monumental day, many of ‘We the People’ are still searching for complete freedom. People who are of a different race, gender and/or ethnicity than those 56 white men want the same freedoms.  We expect freedom...

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