Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Aging, Authenticity, Family, Food and Drink, Gifts, Love, Self worth, Wholehearted | 1 comment

During the past decade and a half I have grown emotionally and spiritually in ways I never would have foreseen. An inextricable foundation for this blossoming has been practicing extreme self care. I shifted from a place of believing that taking care of myself was selfish and silly to a life affirming empowering practice of giving to me as a reflection of how deeply I love and approve of myself. The chasm I crossed was huge, Grand Canyonish. And so the summer days leading up to my birthday were planned around being unplugged from my purple 'puter, filled with family and friends and surrounded by delectable food, laughter, and joy. Celebrating my birthday is all about being loved, and I am blessed to be loved in so many ways by so many precious people. Then the rain started and didn't stop—it still hasn't stopped. And I learned again (wash, rinse, repeat) the grace of flexibility and spontaneity as I canceled some plans due to weather and created new ones on the spot. I experienced the truth of my coach's wise words, Whatever is good and right for you is almost always what is good and right for everyone involved. Every day Friday through Monday has been a unique celebration of my first breath and I am still reveling in the love. There are unfortunately no photos of Jeff and I at Crescent Beach huddled under our bent beach umbrella (the wind was that strong) waiting out the sudden downpours until we could sit back and read again. (I love you JS!) The ocean was wild and magnificent and my soul rose up in mirror image of nature as a force of action envisoining the endless possibilities awaiting me, in this, my forty-eighth year....

Read More

who was I then?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Aging, Authenticity, Celebration, Family, Healing, Love, Wholehearted, Writing | 1 comment

Day 19 of Verb Tribe we were asked to choose a childhood photo and look at it and then write, Who was I then? I have always loved this photo of me and mom but I've only looked at 'her' for clues to what she was thinking, what that hidden smile meant, how she's holding me. The photo says 1967 making me three but I look younger. I thought this photo would trigger loss and sadness but I feel only joy and love looking at it now. Here are a few excerpts from my bag: "On my God! I was gorgeous—I look like a plump angelic cherubim—my eyes are wide with wonder and I am besotted with my mother—I love her with every iota of my being and she belongs to me." "My happiness bubbles up from a hidden well and this pure joy cannot be contained—I laugh, I spin, I run, I swim, I play; I am love in action. In my heart there is only me and my mother—I am safe." My mom knew how to love and dote on me as a child—I was her life (she'd been told not to have another child after my sister, eleven years my elder). But she was relationally and emotionally unavailable as I grew and in my adolescence I fought (as only a teenager can) for my freedom and left home at sixteen. We were still close after that but on my terms. When my daughter was born she transferred all the love and doting to her. Mom became ill with dementia about ten years ago and I was finally able to celebrate the independent spirit she gave me and the example of living as a non-conformist and always doing things her way as a business owner and optimist. I did not love mom like I did in this photo until the last few years of her life as her caretaker, our roles reversed. I would always tell her she was safe and loved as I tucked her in (exactly as she had done for me, I was terrified of the dark) and I gave her my lifelong Teddy to keep her safe and I would say I love you…and often she would parrot the words back and sometimes not respond at all. But one clear night after a particularly good day I said, Goodnight mom, I love you. And she said with emotion and joy, Oh, I love you more every day. That's what this photo means to me and who I was…and who I am still today.  Mom would have turned eighty-one today—happy birthday mom!...

Read More

my left hand

Posted by on Apr 4, 2012 in Caretaking, Challenges, Love, Wholehearted, Writing | 1 comment

Day 14 of Verb Tribe we were invited to write our daily prompt, ten minutes on a paper bag, with our nondominant hand. I met this invitation with full resistance which looked like closing the prompt and doing everything else but write with my left hand. Eventually I came full circle and returned to the prompt and to the page, or bag. Here's what I shared after the prompt: Oh resistance! Huge crooked letters…and then an in rushing of sadness…this is how mom wrote at the end…oh how this frustrated her…I wrote through the sadness and struggle until the end of my bag. Then I flipped it over and with my right hand, wrote this: Say It's too hard, she says. Keep at it, I encourage. It looks like chicken scratch, she says. I can read it…kinda. Pfffffft. She says. Mom—you can do this. She picks up Mount Pen. I don't say it is chicken scratch. Her cursive handwriting was the first to go Along with memories of where she lived and who I was. She moves Mount Pen incrementally the letters of her name printed like a kindergartener. Great job! I say. If you say so, she says. I...

Read More

Christmas without Mom

Posted by on Jan 7, 2012 in Authenticity, Celebration, Challenges, Family, Gifts, Healing, Love, Spirituality, Wholehearted | 4 comments

My mom loved Christmas! She would hoard little treasures from yard sales and flea markets all year long and store them in a trunk to give to us at Christmas. Presents had to be distributed one at a time and in a certain order so we could all watch the recipient open and share their joy. 😉 In the early seventies she excitedly drug home her most exciting find and we assembled it in the living room: a garish silver artificial tree made of some sort of aluminum strips. Once the lights and decorations were on she added the final finishing touch by pouring white Styrofoam ‘peanuts’ over the top to simulate snow. At nine I was completely enchanted! Her enthusiastic giving continued even when she was seventy-nine. Mom became ill two days before Christmas last year and I transferred her to Hospice the day after Christmas. We stayed with her until she crossed over on January 7th. I’m sure we celebrated Christmas after that but I don’t recall it. And I know I must have taken the tree and decorations down and put her unopened presents away but I have no clear memory. So this year I wasn’t sure I wanted to celebrate Christmas. Did I want to put up the tree she and I found for five dollars at a thrift shop and we’ve used and loved the past seven years? We even considered traveling for the holidays. But I knew I wanted to be with Brin wherever we were and I knew Mom would not want me to give up Christmas. I gave the tree away to a neighborhood family and wished them many happy memories around it. Our family tradition since Brin was a toddler was to get a ‘free’ live tree on Christmas Eve bring it home and decorate it, have dinner, and then open presents. Oh about the ‘free’ tree—you know those empty lots near shopping centers that pop up after November strung with white light bulbs and cut live trees lined up along a mesh fence? Well this free tree ritual began literally because in those days we could not afford to buy a tree! My parents and sister and brother-in-loveand even our neighbors always joined us. We practiced this tradition for over a decade into Brin’s teens and well after I moved on from working Christmas Day at a movie theatre and could afford to buy a tree! And over the years most of those loved ones for one reason or another join us now only in Spirit. This year we reinstated the tradition which Brin explained to her boyfriend and we learned she never realized it started because we were broke—we all found this quite hilarious! Brin cooked for us Christmas Eve at our house and Jeff and I went out to look for a tree. Our little town used to have them everywhere but this year we couldn’t locate even one. Sigh. Soooo, Brin’s three foot tall purple pre-lit artificial tree would have to grow on me. I set it up on a table in the living room window and dug out the Christmas decorations brought in from the shed but I could only find the bulbs mom and Jeff and I had painted together last year. Oh it was a brilliant idea but a bigger project than I had anticipated as it was too challenging for her physically. But we muddled through and had a great time. We gave each of her caretakers and family and friends a special bulb to remember us and this Christmas.  They actually...

Read More


Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Authenticity, Books, Inspiration, Love, Wholehearted | 1 comment

My mom's subscription of O Magazine has arrived each month all year and I have piled them in a basket without reading them. Not because of the magazine but because it was something mom loved to do and had struggled with so much in her final months. She was always tearing out tidbits and words to share with me from magazines. I miss that. Last month when I was ready to create my weight goal vision board I used the magazines to cut out words and photos that spoke to me. I also couldn't help but read a few articles and was wowed at the content and insightfulness. Mom would want me to read them, of course she would! I know it seems such a glaringly obvious fact but for me this was an AHA moment. I read January's edition from cover to cover and the final page "What I Know for Sure" by Oprah resonated with me immensely and I hope you'll go here and read it in it's entirety. Here's an excerpt that seeped deep into my core and settled quietly, stilly, basking in the truth and power of these words: "I choose to see it (2012) as the dawning of a new year of alignment, because with alignment comes enlightenment. When you're aligned with your heart's desire, when you're in sync with who you're meant to be and how you're supposed to contribute to our magnificent Earth, you feel a shift in perception. You start to notice that miracles show up regularly. Some people call these miracles coincidences or serendipity. I like to call them marvelisms. Because when I'm doing everything I'm meant to do to keep my mind, body, and spirit whole (which for me means meditating twice a day, eating healthy, and exercising at least one hour daily), I constantly marvel at how other experiences fall into place. It's as though that beautiful line in Paulo Coelho's novel The Alchemist comes true: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."" Isn't that the best word!? Marvelisms. What marvelisms do you want to attract for yourself in 2012 dear reader? I have made great strides the last month of 2011 to answer that question clearly for myself and already on this fisrt day of the New Year feel I am on the exact right path and it feels…well it feels...

Read More

Vugs to hugs

Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 in Authenticity, Creativity, Family, Gifts, Love, Wholehearted | 1 comment

My dear hubby really is a dear and dotes on me and my whims to an extreme. I'm not complaining mind you, I love the results. They go something like this; Honey, I have an idea to send friends a special momento of the AssistU Homecoming. He knows I love giving 'hands to hearts' gifts. He comments that's a great idea. I extrapoloate and say but it's something for you to make on the scroll saw. I smile sweetly and bat my eyelashes at him. Oh. Long pause and then always something like, a loud guffaw and then, Okay, what do you want me to make? Jeff has been my best friend and partner for twenty-eight years and we have made a life filled with love and adventure. He is always there for me. He always supports my work, my passions, my crazy ideas, my life—which is whole and complete because of us. ♥ I love you Jeff! (Oh, and happy birthday!) In case you're wondering what a 'vug' is I kinda coined it when I was in AssistU's Virtual Training Program instead of signing: Hugs, Laura I sent a virtual hug and wrote: Vugs, Laura. It stuck! So our slogan at Homecoming was "From vugs to hugs". Here's one of the signs he made this week which are winging their way to friends right now:     Tami shared hers on Facebook with the card I sent. 😉 Friends posted and said they wanted one, too! They are not painted or varnished so you can leave them natural wood or paint them yourself. You can place your order with Jeff via: neofab at cox dot net. Won't he be surprised to hear from you! <grin> I'm thinking a donation to your favorite charity in lieu of a payment. Whatcha think? Big...

Read More