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Looking for the Gifts

18 Jan

We are wading into a brand new year and I (belatedly!) offer my best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy 2018.  The past year for me was a challenging one, and yet, because of the love and support I’ve had from friends and family, I am happily looking forward to this coming year.  I’m on a journey I’d never have chosen, but am doing my best to find the gifts along the path.


Recently,  I was feeling down because I’d fractured a bone near my ankle.  As I sat in the doctor’s waiting room, I looked across the way and saw a pretty mom with her young son. Then I looked down to see that she had not one, but two prosthetic legs.  Much like the quote, “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet” the universe had reminded me that my situation was merely a temporary inconvenience.

How often do we find ourselves complaining about something simply because our schedules have been disrupted? How we handle these disruptions says a lot about us… and can determine our happiness.  Which brings to mind this quote, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him about your plans.”


Lately, I’ve been trying to notice the gifts in my daily comings and goings and want to share a few with you.  Hopefully, I can encourage you to find the gifts that have been placed in your path.

This year I was lucky to be in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.  It was a warm day and I joined a long line of folks waiting to buy a beer. To pass the time, I began a conversation with the woman in front of me.  Melissa and I were just sharing small talk at first, but then she told me that she had recently battled cervical cancer and was now cancer free.  I was honored that she shared her deeply personal story with me and was inspired by her determination to survive for her young sons.


One of the greatest gifts this year has been the chance to spend more time with my adult children.  We celebrated holidays together, but also did simple things together, like taking walks and cooking dinner.  It’s been such fun to witness the lovely beings that they have become and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.

Finally, on my return trip home, I found myself waiting at the gate for my last flight. The plane was delayed and there were many unhappy travelers.  One of those travelers was a 7-week old baby who was screaming non-stop.  Her parents were struggling to soothe her and I inched my way over to them because I’ve been in their shoes. I began by saying something like, “You know, she’s only doing what we all want to do right now,” and then I asked her name and age.  The baby continued crying and I so asked, “May I hold her for a moment?” Her Mom looked at me quizzically but handed her over.

We continued talking and within a minute the baby stopped crying. The Mom was stunned and I told her, “I think what’s going on is she’s noticing that something is different. Most likely she’s picking up on the fact that my scent isn’t the same as yours.”  We talked some more and as I continued to sway the baby drifted off to sleep.  Then it was time for them to board and we said goodbye.  Later the Dad told me the baby had slept the whole flight and he thanked me.  Then, I thanked him for giving me the chance to hold their baby.  It was such a precious gift.

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”  Pindar



Day 18: Miss Carolyn

25 Apr

There are people we know who are part of the fabric of our lives.  Carolyn is one of those people for me.  She has a daughter who is the same age as my daughter.  Over the years we spent many hours together working on school related projects whether they were fundraisers, yearbooks or celebrations of one kind or another.

If you had a child in Mt. Ashland‘s MARA program a few year ago, you know Carolyn.  She spent many a weekend in the ski lodge at Mt. Ashland helping with the various races that were held and she didn’t even ski!   She was there for your kids and mine as they tested their skills on the challenging race courses of Mt. Ashland.  She gave up much of her free time to help with this sport.  Sure, she was there to support her kids, but at the same time she was there supporting countless other kids as well.

This morning I brought Carolyn a quiche as a small token of our appreciation of her service to all of us.  Carolyn, thank you for your gentle nature and your giving spirit.  The world needs more people like you.

And to everyone, Happy Easter.

Some Days are Harder than Others

17 Apr

It seems as if I have been going all day.  There was so much to do today… My first (self-imposed) task was to make a delicious treat for the volunteers who were working on the grounds at the soon-to-be open Medford Food Co-op.  I was unable to participate in the cleanup day but I wanted to share my gratitude to the folks that are working to make this dream a reality.   Fortunately, I was able to connect with someone who was able to take my offerings to the work party.  (Thank you Amy!!!)

My next priority was to make a treat for the Rotary Garden volunteers.  At first I thought that I would have time to work in the garden, but soon it became clear that I would not have time to go there today…. my dance card was overflowing.  I called around and found that Tim was able to pick up the bagels I made for the gardeners.   I hope that he conveyed my sincere desire to be there among them!

Later in the day, I spent time with friends helping another family during a most difficult time.  I brought sweets (that is my favorite thing to make) and it seems that they were appreciated.   We visited and shared a few laughs as well as many tears.   It seems that this is what loved ones do.  We help each other through life’s challenges.

And just so you know, I also made a pie today.  It was a simple gesture of reconciliation.  Fresh fruit, lovely pastry, butter and brown sugar.  What could be more wonderful?

I hope that you all had a lovely day and I look forward to sharing a delicious pie with you tomorrow.

Hugs, and many thanks for joining me on this journey,