Saturday, December 19, 2009
I have come to a profound realization in my life, it's not always your immediate family who have the desire or ability to be a support system. My greatest disappointments in life have come when I have depended on the false support of my parents and siblings. My greatest accomplishments in life have come when I have exercised belief in myself wrapped in the unconditional love of my children and beloved life long friends. My profound realization..... “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh” ...
As I returned to school, I made the following commitment to myself. I would give my very best effort 100% of the time...every day.... I my goal was to finish the semester with a 4.0 GPA. As I pulled up my grades online....the tears came streaming down my face... just to the right of each one of my classes was an "A"..the tears represented many feelings, emotions and triumphs...especially knowing that what others think of me no longer matters. I am braver than I believed, stronger than I seemed and definitely smarter than I thought....How sad that instead of celebrating the greatest accomplishment's of those closest to us, so much of time has been spent trying to undermine and criticize.
I am free, it NEVER matters what others think...it only matters that we Believe in our own abilities and dreams... I profoundly understand the person and I am along with my potential.
I am so grateful for the experience of healing, opening my heart and mind to divine inspiration and understanding how love does conquer all..
As I spoke to each of my kids to share my good news, they each told me how very proud of me they were. They also told me, they know what I am capable of achieving in life..... Out of the mouth of my babes.... They always knew...they never doubted, never asked why... They always cheered me on.. Mom you can do this...Mom run after your dreams....How very accomplished I feel on many levels...As I am taking my victory lap...the feelings of hard work, giving my best and then some, never giving up and loving learning has been a great experience.... a tremendous accomplishment.
I hope my continued quest will include working hard to be a 4.0 student of life...working tirelessly on improving myself...loving without condition, giving without reason, being a great mom, better grandmother, great neighbor, great citizen...a women who desires to be the change she wishes to see in her world.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Today take a minute to breathe.... instead of worrying, rushing around and feeling overwhelmed with all that is not going your way....STOP to enjoy the still small voice....ask for guidance, I know divine directions will come your way. Seek to find the Good in everyone and everything...You will be glad you did...for you will find the extraordinary qualities of goodness everywhere you look...don't forget to Knock especially on the door of your heart...Tis the season! Open your heart to the beautiful and unconditional love of the Savior who's birth we celebrate..Fill your life with Gratitude....Start today, live your life with intensity and purpose!
Sending infinite blessings to all of you!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Then December...What a fabulous month...31 whimsical days of preparation, decorating the house and tree, baking, shopping, touching base with those we love, Temple lights, Christmas music, caroling, celebrating, brilliant red, green, white, silver and gold lights. Sugar Cookies, Chex Mix, Carmel Popcorn, pine and cinnamon smells..Cherish movies...It's a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and of course The Grinch who stole Christmas just to name a few. Every time I watch George Baily struggle with that age old question of...Does my life really matter? My heart is warmed when Clarence answers him and says....~ Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?~ I love the gentle reminder how vital each of us are on this earth.
December is a magical month... a month where random acts of kindness and service inspire those who's hearts are touched to "BELIEVE"....I love Christmas.... I love the story of Christ's birth in Luke especially chapter 2 verse 19, But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. As a mother, how often I have experienced that same feeling...The sheer wonder of creation and all of my blessings. I clearly see and feel the divine all around me. As a mother I see the God given potential in each of my children to live noble lives and to make a difference. Little do we know what lies ahead.. I "BELIEVE" the possibilities are endless, especially if we keep in mind..."We reap what we sow..." "We get what we give". Our ability to unconditionally love and forgive ourselves as well as others will unlock our hearts and minds to understand the power of living in the present, and accomplishing personal growth we never dreamed possible. To live with intensity and purpose.
I encourage each of you reading my blog, to leave a post. Tell me what you are grateful for and what you believe in. Bring the magic of this Holiday season to life. Dare to exercise the faith of your inner child. BELIEVE!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
As I continue to live my life, I have relished the relationships I have with my four children and their respective partners, I have been so blessed with cherished friends, great employment and now educational opportunities. I have come to embrace the realization that life doesn't always work the way I want it to, I am not only a survivor of life's experiences, I am thriving..growing and learning about myself, my biases, my capabilities, my ability to change those things in my life that no longer serve me..Courage to forge ahead...having confirmation that I am on my path..
I want to take a minute to thank my kids. Griffin, I am so very proud of you and your many accomplishments. I am so proud of your courage to live your life....at times when you have felt judgment from family. You have been blessed with great gifts...especially with knowledge and compassion. I've always told you, you have the ability to change the world...and you are doing just that...
Cori, I am so very proud of you and your many gifts and talents...I am also proud of the life you have chosen to lead and live. You are making new friends, and influencing those around you for good! I admire your strong will, great sense of humor and great love you are willing to share with those around you! I know you are change the world.... one great recipe at a time!
Kylie, I am so very proud of you, the life you choose to lead and your example. You have been blessed with great gifts especially with your testimony, your kind heart and your willingness to serve those around you. I admire the young woman you have become. I admire your courage to listen to your heart...Your accomplishments will be many...
Ethan...my baby...I am so very proud of you. You have been blessed with great talents and abilities. You are very in tune with those around you, always ready and willing to make an other's day brighter....you are an old soul..for sure. You are in the process of changing the world...one music track at a time.
I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate each of you! I appreciate your support of my going to back to school! I appreciate the willingness to help me with math! I am so proud of the amazing young adults you have grown into.
The past 12 years have been a journey for all of us. We have learned to pull together and not apart, for that I am so grateful! I appreciate each of you, your interventions especially on my behalf when I needed you all the most! Your forgiveness, your unconditional love and support, your telephone calls and text messages, your posts on face book....and most of all....your hugs, kisses and outward expressions of love... you all continue to fill up my cup!
As I reflect back over the past years and continue to transition into the future that awaits me..I know one thing for sure, my journey is unfolding better than I could have ever expected. Thank you dear Lord....I am blessed.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I love the word ” Serendipity”. Wikipedia’s definition of Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated. The older I get, the greater my understanding of “Serendipity” and how amazing this energy works in our favor. Many times in my life I have felt anxious wondering how a chapter in my life would play out…during those most difficult times it felt impossible to experience the “Fortunate” in what I perceived to be “Unfortunate”. As I look back on those hard times, I have developed a greater understanding and appreciation for “Fortunate Accidents”. Every experience we have, is perfectly choreographed in sync with our Individual Learning Plan…. Every life is complete with a list of why’s and why me’s. There is no question each of us will face loss, death, illness and challenges. On the other hand each of us will experience: love, joy, bliss, accomplishment, success, fulfillment and if we are really “blessed”…..Serendipity… Next time you are caught in traffic or feeling overwhelmed, running late or like your world is falling apart….take a deep breath and embraced the little accidents that have been thrown into your path. There are divine reasons we don’t always get everything we ask for when we ask for it…. To quote Robert Frost: “ Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” When you choose to live in awareness, you feel the heavenly swirls and understand the divine nature in every breath and step you take. Serendipity becomes a trusted companion, as you look upon the events of your life with wonder. It could be running into an old friend you have been thinking about, being in the right place at the right time to help someone in need, an answer to a prayer, a stranger who offers a smile, understanding the power of attraction, love and forgiveness.
In July when my employment unexpectedly ended, I was divinely guided to start my own consulting business and finish my education. I was guided to the perfect advisement counselor who in turn has become a friend..as she has helped me chart my course. (Interestingly enough she just completed her masters degree in Social Work) she was worth the 2 hour wait…that first day I went to explore my options. Melissa as waiting for me. Every detail has effortlessly fallen into place. Simply Serendipity ! In the process of feeling uncertain I accidentally discovered myself, my dreams and passions….which is very fortunate for me.. especially while looking for something entirely unrelated. ~Serendipity~
There are no coincidences in life….. just glorious experiences filled with moments of Serendipity!
Today…embrace the energy of Serendipity all around you! Live with intensity and purpose!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
we would astound ourselves.~
September 1, 2009…. a very important date at one time in my life… My wedding anniversary today…just a date.. There are many important dates in our lives. Birth dates, Engagement Dates, Wedding Dates and Death Dates. There are benchmarks, milestones, landmarks and touchstones that signify great personal accomplishments.. New Ventures, new partnerships and new opportunities that await each of us.
The past several weeks my life has been a divine swirl of new ventures, new partnerships and new opportunities that have consumed my time which is why, many of my ~Bella Friends~ may have felt my absence…but let me assure you…I am present..
I have started my own consulting business, gone back to school to complete my degree in Social Work and have the great joy of planning my daughter Kylie’s wedding. This past month I been present while putting the pieces of my new business together, every piece divinely coming together. Pursuing my education has also proven to be a great blessing. Serendipity placed me in the right place at the right time…The right adviser, proved to be invaluable as she encouraged and inspired me…. I was very present Thursday evening August 20, 2009, when my future son in law called me, to ask my permission to marry my daughter. An unspeakable privilege and true Kodak moment of a mothers heart.
Last Friday evening I was present as we celebrated my oldest son’s 26th birthday, my future son in laws 25th birthday, the engagement and a new house. We had a blast! I watched my kids now young adults interacting with each other, congratulating each other, hugging, laughing, sharing war stories of growing up. Talking about the future. I was present and felt accomplished for the role I have been blessed to play in their lives.
I have made a greater effort to be present for my friend Claudia who is battling breast cancer. She is my hero. She is fighting her battle like everything else she does in her life with the utmost dignity and privacy. She shares her fears of waking up and having her gorgeous hair lying on her pillow no longer alive or attached… She shares quietly making her way to the bathroom not to alarm her youngest daughter who is present that she is desperately sick and throwing up would be a blessing. Claudia just smiles and moves through her day. Praying that tomorrow will be better, easier, less nauseated, more energy…counting her first Chemo treatment off her calendar…and focusing on getting back to her elementary school class room to finally meet her new little students…who have no idea what an amazing teacher Claudia is.
I spent more time with my sweet mom who has advancing Alzheimer’s. At times I am not sure how I feel about loosing my mom…this battle is hard, her enemy is persistent and unrelenting. She continues to slip quietly away…everyday shows the signs of a battle losing ground. My mom has come to the realization that: a box of DOTS makes the perfect day, a good Sandra Bullock movie with popcorn soothes the soul, Jim Rockford is a hunk….and Angelia Landsbury makes the perfect detective.
I make an effort to spend time in the service of my Lord. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 I am present to give thanks..daily for the amazing and abundant blessings I constantly receive. it’s like magic…The more you Give the more you Get!
What is absent? Fear, Limiting thoughts, Seeking Validation Externally, Self Defeating Behavior, Discouragement, Despair, Feeling Overwhelmed…
Christopher Robin was absolutely right when he told Pooh…~“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!
Go ahead…Show up and be present today!
Live with intensity and purpose!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Today Monday August 10Th, 2009 I officially placed myself on notice...NO MORE EXCUSES as to WHY I AM NOT LIVING MY DREAMS.... I would guess its safe to say...since I couldn't find the time to define my goals, it was impossible for me to visualize my goals...armed with a dust cloth, hammer and nails...I decided there was NO time like the present ...It's time to commit my Vision Board to my bedroom wall as a constant reminder of my commitment to my dreams and possibilities....with that thought running through my mind...The inspirations and visions materialized in my mind as I committed each goal to paper, complete with a clear picture of the end result. I committed to my family, career and personal goals the intentions in which I will transform my dreams into reality.
I am a collector of inspirational quotes...The more I feed my soul encouragement, inspiration and faith..the more encouragement, inspiration and faith I receive back like a huge boomerang.... I surround myself with positive thoughts, people, music, books and most importantly...the key relationships I spend time in are positive, loving and equally reciprocated.
A new passage has opened signaling the start of a new season in my life. I am in a state of bliss...as I experience the amazing opportunities that await me.
"Finally, what I really want is to be happy in this moment, where the magic and miracles happen. Stay in the moment and all gifts are added as you breathe and take inspired action" - Joe Vitale
I am blessed to have your support and prayers...
Live with intensity and purpose.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
It was in one quiet moment as the prelude music swept over me...I heard that still small voice talk to my heart....and pierce my soul. The tears started to flood my eyes...yet I felt so calm....such peace embraced me..and in that very small moment I not only knew...I felt the direction of my life change...and with courage and faith I decided to walk down the path. I have always been a hard worker...with amazing doors of opportunity opening at just the right time...In recent years I have felt very frustrated with my career path and the options available to me. My gift is the ease in which people are drawn to me. I have been told by many friends...My personality if like a giant magnet....I attract people into my life. Along my way I have learned to never under estimate the power of kindness, the importance of righteous influence and networking.
Today I am taking my gifts/talents and knowledge to a new level and launching my own consutling company....Doing the work I love, teaming with the families/churches/service organizations I have great relationships with. I
I have much work to do...I have great friends who are helping me every step of the way...another blessing...friends who encourage and inspire me!
I have made the leap ....I am breathing...living and embracing this place I am in... and learning to ALWAYS TRUST in that still small voice. I have heard...~the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step~ I am present in the realm of my possibiilties....
Life live with intensitey and purpose...
Monday, August 3, 2009
I was floating down the lazy river contemplating the past 11 years...years of growth, change and acceptance... just like learning to go with the flow..It was so cool to watch my kids interact with each other as adults. The belly laughs of those "Growing Up Memories", what my kids thought they got away with...and what I always knew... hearing them talk of their dreams, goals and future families was precious. The time together was treasured. I am so grateful for my children and their companions..its hard to express the feelings of my heart when I think of how extraordinary each of my children are...The reward for surviving the "teenage" years is young adulthood...and that I can celebrate! We enjoyed time with Grampa and Gramdma Mannes, we had a great time at lunches, dinners and the movies...We did some entertaining with treasured friends....Cori was the center of the kitchen on those cooking occasions. She is such a talent...all we could say was YUMMY!
As I type this post I have just returned from having lunch with my dear friend Claudia who is recovering from breast cancer surgery. She looked absolutely radiant...she looked adorable in her blue and white pin striped pj's...in perfect Claudia style, her make-up and hair...Perfect. She shared her good news on her positive scans...her recovery will continue to be a test of faith and perserverance..the good news is...Claudia's cup is over flowing...she always looks for the silver lining...in everything. She is amazing. Please keep her in your prayers....
I am in a new season of my life....SO EXCITING..... more to follow...
"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."
Life with intensity and purpose!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
At one point I asked those in my class if anyone had experienced adversity during the past week...a few hands went up, most heads dropped, the silence was deafening. Those who had the courage to share...talked of fighting cancer, the surgery of a 6 year old grandson, employment that was lost, families on the brink of financial collapse. Every family feeling some overwhelming challenge...
For me the Temple is the best place to seek understanding and clarity. A place where I feel close to the spirit..prayers are offered, prayers are answered. I leave feeling inspired and renewed.
I have a dear friend in my ward, her name is Claudia. We hug and laugh every time we see each other only to say...We really need to make the time to GET TOGETHER then we let days, weeks and months slip by without rescheduling. She is absolutely an angel. Her smile is contagious, her heart always open, her hands always busy helping another..she is a legendary woman having the qualities of a hero, a woman admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities... she is brave, strong and in the fight of her life.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in early July. Her cancer is aggressive and uninvited..I have thought of her often since hearing the news...I knew she was having surgery Monday..and decided it was time for our play date. I hate that feeling of....I wish I would have done...talk to sooner, called before now, written a letter...apologized....if only.... I went right from the Temple to Banner Desert to spend time with my friend, she was thrilled to see me.
She is a beautiful woman with the most amazing hair...her hair is her trademark..always in a very cosmopolitan bob...always perfect..Her hair is the envy of all. We embraced...we laughed...we cried....she was generous to share her story, feelings, emotions, dreams, fears, concerns and her afternoon with me. I was so humbled sitting there listening....I choked back tears while looking away for a quick second...I found myself trying to catch my breath....Claudia and I were discussing REAL LIFE and Death issues...her cancer became all to personal to me. We would be talking...about the little things...when a gust of emotion would blow in and suck the oxygen out of the room...Claudia would apologize for tearing up...I just held her while she cried, feeling helpless..Her day had been long, a day of additional testing...poking, prodding, emotionally she was spent.
She talked about her ~BUCKET LIST~...the summer projects she really wanted to start and finish...she talked about her sweet husband..and how worried she is about him...she talked about her time in Utah with all of her kids.. she talked about her sweet little elementary school kids, she is worried about not being there on the first day of school, she is worried about losing her hair...she wasn't going to tell her children...the she told me ..."I need their prayers!". What Claudia has is an extraordinary husband...Randy is her best friend, he is right there with her, her children and extended family, her ward family and numerous friends who will fast, pray and watch miracles unfold.
We talked about how sudden life can change. I took a rare moment to spend on myself a couple weeks ago...just to get reacquainted with myself...and reflect on my feelings about life, how I spend my time, what is mission critical, what is NOT...learning to incorporate love, gratitude,service, forgiveness in everyday living.
I am adding a post I wrote for The Bella Life...Enjoy...and take a minute to inventory your ~To Do List~...focus on Mission Critical....let go of...doesn't matter...
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
I took a personal liberty this afternoon; I decided I was going to spend the afternoon with myself. This chance meeting presented itself after weeks of relentless work and longer hours. I needed to decompress, regroup and recharged my overloaded and dead batteries. I felt the need to nourish my spirit and breathe.
I have always had a love affair with the sun. I love to sit outside and feel the warm rays penetrate my entire body. For me the sun has been a constant companion; encouraging my healing, helping me pause and take notice of the life going on around me - which creates the center of my universe.
Armed with my Ray Bans, i-pod, beach towel and bottle of water, I set out for the pool to find myself. No sooner had I slipped into the water…my i-pod on shuffle, I heard Donny Osmond start to sing….”Season’s of Love” from Rent.
525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love.
Seasons of love.
I found myself reflecting on 525,600 minutes…sounds like a lot…Yet every year those minutes become more precious and fleeting. I wonder how many of those precious minutes I spent worrying about a situations that never came to pass, finances, my kids, my parents, my work…Time is marching by daily…never stopping to wait for me.
As the words to the song continued to play…I found myself smiling… I asked myself how you, Carla, measure a year. Here is my version of …”Season’s of Life”… In daylights, in sunsets, in laughter, in tears, in friendships, in touches, in hugs, in kisses, in kindness, in prayers, in gratitude, in service, in teaching, in learning…Every minute of every day can be filled with non essentials, like worry, fear, loneliness, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.
As women we center our universe around our children, spouses, and employers; providing constant care and nurturing everyone except ourselves. By the end of the day, week, month and year there is no more energy to expend on ourselves. We are exhausted, frustrated, angry, resentful and weighed down..
Ladies…this is no way to live the measure of your creation. There is no shame in nurturing yourself. You cannot fully love another until you fall in love with yourself. Start today by taking the time you need to understand who you are, what you need and how you plan to embrace and make use of your 525,600 minutes…
The reality is, THERE ARE NO ROLL OVER MINUTES.
Live with intensity and purpose.
I read this short story Monday...and LOVED IT! If you are single and wondering IF GOD does LiStEn...have the FAITH to read this true story...
"God, if you ever want a man in my life, you will have to put him there. In fact, he will have to be standing at my front door wearing a T-shirt that says you sent him." Those words, spoken from bitterness and disappointment for the crushed relationships in my life, stated exactly how I felt about men, as a single mother.
Years passed, and my busy life centered around church, my four sons and my job. My parents lived out of state, so our church became our family.
Slowly, I turned all my joys, heartaches and triumphs over to God.
During those healing years, my youngest son established a friendship with a man who assisted our youth music minister. Dean was a quiet, somber man, but one who lived a life modeled after our Lord. He urged youth to find their identity through God's unfailing love. I admired Dean's patience, understanding and giving ways. More so, I appreciated his friendship with my sons.
At first, I felt suspicious of him spending time and effort on them, and I researched his background to ensure my sons' safety and well-being. He received glowing reports for his integrity and devotion to God. I decided he had been sent to fill the void in my sons' lives and to be the role model they so desperately needed.
Over the next year and a half, Dean spent more and more time with them. He took the youngest to Cancún during Christmas break and took two of them to Branson, Missouri, shortly afterwards. He purchased one of the boys a car so he could take a part-time job. Dean showed him how to pay for gas and insurance and still have spending money. He listened to my sons' escapades and problems, and he never judged or condemned their behavior. He and I were great friends. I felt no threat, because Dean was twelve years younger than I.
One summer day, the doorbell rang. Dean stood in the doorway wearing a T-shirt with the logo "God Listens." At that moment I remembered the words I had uttered years before. I felt the color rise to my cheeks, and my stomach knotted. Dean handed me five additional shirts with the same "God Listens" logo printed on the front.
"I got these at the Christian bookstore, and there's one for each of you," he said.
All I could think was, "Oh no, Lord, not Dean. He's not the right one. He's too young, and he's - well, he's my friend." Naturally, I said nothing, but thereafter the "God Listens" logo haunted me. I attempted to rationalize the entire incident, and I asked God to handle the matter for me. He did.
Two months later, Dean proposed. The boys were excited, and I realized how happy our lives had become since he first began a relationship with us. Still, I felt nervous and fearful of being hurt again.
Dean and I talked a great deal about a Christian marriage and the value of open communication. We made a budget, attended premarital classes, prayed together and talked about our future.
Neither of us had family nearby, so my sons and a few close friends were all we wanted to attend the ceremony. We scheduled the wedding for ten o'clock on a November morning. Shortly before 9:30, the boys and I drove to the church where one of Dean's friends waited outside to video the whole thing. I'm not very comfortable in front of a camera, but I tried to relax and act normal―whatever that is.
Once inside, I stared amazed at the number of friends who had come to share in our vows. My best friend, my sons and I stood in an empty office while a photographer snapped various poses of us. Of course, the video rolled on.
Promptly at ten, the pastor stepped in and announced it was time for the wedding. We walked down the hallway to find even more friends waiting.
But Dean did not stand among them.
The pastor reached inside his suit pocket and produced a folded piece of paper. "Dean could not be with us this morning, but he did leave a letter for DiAnn."
A hush fell over the room, and I teetered between hysterics and sheer bewilderment. Why couldn't the pastor have pulled me aside to break the news? My heart pounded furiously as I stood there in total humiliation and disappointment. Too stunned to even utter a protest, I watched in horror while the pastor unfolded the letter. Suddenly, the thought of fainting held merit. If only I could stop him - but it was too late.
With heartfelt words, Dean began his letter explaining how he had gradually fallen in love with each member of my family. He stated how his friendship with me had grown from admiration to a deep love. His first love was Jesus, and he knew I shared the same feelings. Together we would establish a loving, Christian marriage and realize the blessings of our Lord. His love and commitment extended to my sons as well.
The letter concluded that he waited for us at a secret destination. There, he awaited me at the altar.
The pastor tucked the letter back inside his suit coat and escorted me to a church bus. I didn't know what to say for fear the lump in my throat would explode into a pool of tears. Where could Dean be?
We boarded a church bus, with the video still filming my every emotion, while I searched futilely for a possible wedding location. Each time I thought I knew where Dean intended to meet me, the bus drove right on by. We continued driving, and my mind raced with the possibilities. Then the bus turned into a lovely subdivision. There stood my husband-to-be in front of a beautiful and spacious new home. In the front yard, a sign leaned against a huge pine tree. It read: The Mills Residence, established November 24, 1993.
Inside, in the dining room, I found a wedding cake and food for all our friends. Candles and baskets of pink flowers surrounded a kneeling bench in front of a marble fireplace. Dean stood there, arms outstretched. A black grand piano filled the room with the music of love.
Dean's T-shirt had been right―God does listen!
I know God not only listens....he is cheering us on everyday...closer to the true desires of our hearts!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Ethan and I hit a little rough patch prior to his leaving. After having a week away both of us had a chance to revisit the situation, words that were spoken and the feelings of frustration we both harbored. I found myself really taking inventory of my relationship with Ethan. I found I really missed his companionship, his great sense of humor, our late night conversations on life, love, relationships, the daily news, friends, spiritual topics, my daily hugs and kisses, the daily text messages and updates on face book. I paused long enough to feel his absence and renew my commitment to breathe, enjoy the ride, live in the moment and let the non essentials go.. Its so easy to get caught up in heated and frustrated moments. Easier to loose my temper, easiest to speak words that are angry, words that encourage silence, distance and hurt.
As we sat on the couch...Ethan shared his experiences with Marty, Stephanie, Jennifer, Haley, Kayla and Zach. Many times there were no words to express his love and appreciation for the Kurtz Family, only tears. He mentioned one late night conversation with Stephanie in particular, (I met Marty and Stephanie when Stephanie's mother passed away). As the conversation turned towards the night before Ethan left...Stephanie assured Ethan that relationships between parents and children are difficult and strained at times, but in the same breath she told Ethan about regrets....regrets of childish selfish behavior towards her mom at times. What she wouldn't give to go back to those hard times and make them right...and how desperately she missed her mother. In a precious teaching moment she helped my son understand another perspective. The dangers of taking those we love for granted and more important life is to short, unpredictable and fragile to spend time being resentful.. As Ethan spoke the tears continued free falling, he expressed his love and appreciation for me, my example and my courage. I have tried unsuccessfully to express my thoughts and feelings here tonight....What I can express is....I wouldn't trade my days of raising my kids for ANYTHING. I have been present and accounted for through out their lives, I have prayed with my kids, kissed hurts, wiped tears away, bought prom dresses, wedding dresses, rented tuxedos, fixed breakfast after Homecoming dances, taught them how to drive the car, provided a loving home that smells like cloves and cinnamon...taught them to love each other, to serve others, to believe in miracles, to exercise kindness.......the greatest blessing in my life raising my children. Then Ethan expressed his desire to be a fabulous future husband and father it again brought tears to my eyes..
As I share this experience with you...my heart if full....actually overflowing... I give thanks for everything, everyone and every moment I have had raising my children. There have been many difficult moments, more exhilarating moments...but I have stayed the course. I have grown into Motherhood...and learned to love the ride.
Marty and Stephanie...even I am at a loss to express my love and profound gratitude for your righteous influence, the sacred trust which has been created, the unconditional love and constant encouragement you show Ethan. You may never know the seeds you have planted...and the bountiful harvest that is to come....Ethan's perspective has been renewed and opened to the realm of possibilities..
Monday, July 6, 2009
Michael Jackson is one person who decided early in life to discover and develop his God given talents to entertain and create music. His lyrics proclaim love, charity, change and a world of hope, his music timeless. Feel good, foot tapping, finger snapping melodies that you can't stop til you've had enough...for most of us...there is never enough ~Thriller~, Billy Jean~, Man in the Mirror~Beat It~, Rock with you,~ and on and on.... He was one person who made a huge difference in all of our lives. He lived big...his death tragic....his memory will be timeless.
My name is Carla Mannes, although I will never entertain millions with music and dance, my influence will be carried down through generations of family and time which is priceless. I am a single mother of (4) two boys, two girls....I am one person who has made a conscious choice to discover and develop my God given gifts and talents. My relationship with my Savior has also experienced ups, downs, periods of closeness and periods of separation. Yet he walks along side of me daily to cheer me on...lift me when my spirits are blue, comfort me when I feel overwhelmed, forgotten and lost, he loves me perfectly. He knows me intimately...he has created my strengths, hand picked my weaknesses and understands how great the worth of my soul. He has blessed me with the ability to provide financially, spiritually, emotionally for my children. He has blessed with an enormous book of remembrance...treasured teaching moments, one on one time with each of my children, many late night conversations, first dates, first dances, first loves....lots of hugs, loves, tears, laughter, joy...every emotion possible to feel and experience. I have succeeded....with my children.....and I have accomplished this largely on my own....
My influence is felt today in my 4 absolutely amazing children. As the years passed I have grown to treasure and cherish my experiences as a single mom. After years of questioning myself, wondering if I really did measure up, was I strong enough to survive, feeling much judgement from many....I am confident it saying.... Christopher Robin was right...
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - Christopher Robin to PoohNot only have I survived...I have flourished...I took a truck load of lemons and made gallons of lemonade...I have laughed much, cried more and have learned to embrace life, and love who I am...I am courageous, I am strong and I am super smart.... I look at each of my children who are loving, kind, compassionate, driven, intelligent, witty, clever, intentional, self made, honest and dedicated to making their world a better place. My influence in their lives runs deep and is far reaching. I am first a mom, second a spiritual leader in my home, a friend, a confidant, a cheerleader, a tutor, a nurse, a short order cook, a decorator, chauffeur, event planner a mother who loves each of her children unconditionally, is open to learning new things, forgiving, kind, compassionate, driven and intentional.
As I have pondered (D&C 18:10, 15–16). "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. …
“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!”
Our Father in Heaven gets...how great each of us are...individually and collectively....He has sent each of us down here with a specific mission and time frame. Each of us is famous in our own right...each of us is creating a life story, posterity and history that we will ultimately leave behind to those who carry on our names. Our influence and examples are timeless and eternal. Each of us is responsible to write our own chapter....revise what isn't working....re-write and try to perfect our characters and more importantly our souls. It is impossible to assist anyone along our path who is in need of help, if we can't make the time to improve ourselves.
I believe we are all braver than we think, stronger than we seem and smarter than we think individually and collectively.
I express my profound gratitude for understanding my role and place in my Father's kingdom. My wish....for each of us to take the time to be a lot kinder, more patient, more giving, more understanding, more loving...bring more of our brothers and sisters to understand their role in this eternal quest....individually and collectively...there is strength in the number 1.....
Friday, July 3, 2009
I have always had a love and passion for ~Great Thoughts~. I find myself frequenting a couple web sites that are filled with inspiring, exhilarating, stimulating and encouraging thoughts, quotes and sayings.
Most of the contributors are or were ordinary people with extraordinary vision, determination and chutzpah. The one common denominator in those who think and live positively is they live by faith...not fear....They are willing to pay the price of failure to experience the thrill of winning, succeeding and crossing the finish line. Ordinary human beings who in the twinkling of an eye transform fear into courage and muster the strength complete the task required. Persistence prevails when all else fails. I am fortunate, my nature is tenacious and persistent. I have spent the last 5 years working diligently on become reacquainted with myself. Marriage, children, career and divorce have a way of changing one's perception. I have come to accept that no one is responsible for my happiness or fulfillment...only me. Which has turned out to be one of my greatest blessings...not always easy or comfortable but no one can walk in my shoes but me. Learning to accept and love myself has been key in my healing,. One of highlights from my road less traveled has been developing a love of reading material that is high energy, spiritual and inspiring on a daily basis. I have come to understand this is ~Soul Food~ for me. I will share just a few of my favorite thoughts....Read with care....be open to gratitude, change and personal inspiration. My hope is you too will seek out of the best thoughts daily for a little inspiration. My dad has always told me ~Rome wasn't built in a day...and it didn't burn over night....~ translated...means....change is a one step at a time process, you can't possibly do it all right now, nor would you really want to. Get to know who you are, how you feel and what inspires you.
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest” - Mark Twain
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - Christopher Robin to Pooh
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”
If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas A. Edison
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions. Albert Einstein
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be - Abraham Lincoln
Some have the bucket list....I will continue to grow My ~Thought List~....I would love to hear your thoughts....
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Passages are transitions and change in our lives. Each of us will experience many passages in life until we ultimately graduate from ~Earth School~ and have earned our wings. I have been reflecting on the many passages in my life, the lives of my parents, my siblings and my children. Last night as I was coming home from the grocery shopping, Griffin and Jackie were waiting in the drive way. They came out to have dinner and chat. A passage.....there is a time in ones life where friends are less important and the relationships with parents and siblings become paramount. We enjoyed the nicest visit. We reminisced about Griffin's younger years....talked about his work which he loves and he and Jackie talked about their future plans. I took in every minute. As I looked at my son, I was humbled at the man he has become. I am blessed to have had a small part of his upbringing. I have told Griffin from the time he was little I believe he has the ability to change the world. Griffin is very intentional, intellectual, loving, passionate, kind and resourceful. He will make is mark in science and music. Jackie is a wonderful companion for him. He is at peace in his life...he feels joy and accomplishment...
Kylie returned from a week at the beach...she called me Friday night to talk...she was not feeling well, a little bit home sick and definitely ready to come home. My heart smile as I looked back over Kylie's life. There has been so much growth as she has developed her talents. Kylie is beautiful, her physical beauty parallels her spiritual beauty. She will leave her mark caring and serving others. She is spiritual, influential, intentional and driven. As she returned home, there was a change, she returned as a confident young woman who is sure of her direction in love and life. It's amazing what time away from those you love can teach you...if your heart is open. I ran into Kylie and Evan on their way out the door.. it was clear....there had been a passage....a greater appreciation, love and commitment between the two. The future feels good and Kylie slept well.
Ethan is going to start the last year of his high school career...another passage.....12 years of personal growth, learning experiences both positive and painful, learning to ride a bike, to driving a car, learning how to choose good friends, dating, dances and coming into his own. Ethan is very much like Griffin when it comes to being very intentional, driven, confident and successful...Ethan also has the ability to change the world...Ethan will make his mark in music and creating a world wide service organization....He is very humanitarian....which makes me smile.
I looked at old pictures of Cori. Its funny to think there is another human being that looks so much like me...She is so talented, outgoing and just plain fun to be around. Cori is the ultimate hostess, excellent cook and entertainer. She is hardworking, determined and successful. Cori has always looked for the road less traveled. She has never been interested in being like everyone else, she has always made her own way. Cori picks herself up after a fall, as grown into a beautiful, talented woman and wife. Cori and Brett share a wonderful companionship and deep love...Cori and Brett suffered a miscarriage earlier this year...not a set back....just a passage...their time is coming and Cori will transition from young woman to young mother....
My life has been almost story book...there are those chapters that need revising...family relationships aren't always easy or attainable. One of the challenges we all face.. When I go back and revisit the early chapters of my life with my own children I clearly see my passage...young mother, single mother and successful mother....The hard lessons are my most treasured. As my children have grown into adults I have come to understand the scope of my role as their mother. I smile when I see the passage of the last 11 years as a single mom. Not only have I survived, I have healed my heart, healed the fractures in the communication with my kids, and I feel accomplished, respected, supported and loved by so many. I have been blessed with health, strength and a strong testimony of my beliefs, I have come to understand compassion, tolerance and patience..I have learned what it feels like to be nice, instead of worrying about having to be right.
Passages are amazing times in our lives....not only does a passage signify the important events in our lives, more importantly a passage is the route or course by which a person or thing passes or travels....
"I expect to pass through this world but once: if therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
William Ashmead Courtenay
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
This past week has been filled with tears, frustrations, relationship fears and physical distance between Kylie and Evan. The decisions that face these two are life changing, scary and exciting all at the same time. I have shared of my concerns with both of them as I have watched their relationship grow and evolve.
I was simply not prepared to have Evan call me, dig deep into the recesses of his heart, share his deepest feelings, thoughts and plans for the future with Kylie which was no easy conversation to have with me. Yet there we were....having a very poignant and emotional conversation. As I was listening very intently I also placed myself in his shoes. The depth of my feelings was overwhelming. The tears were free falling as I listened to him. I came to understand in one precious moment just how much we both love Kylie.
I was so touched by Evan's sincerity and courage. I am humbled by his gracious nature, his willingness to look past my many weaknesses and imperfections without judgment. Our conversation as raw and truthful as it was....has created a trust and respect on all sides while opening the door to greater communication, understanding, acceptance and love.
I am grateful for the tender mercies of my Savior. His willingness to always stand in the gap for me, even when I can't muster the faith or strength to stand on my own. I am grateful for continued opportunities to stretch, grow and work to develop Christ like attributes...like grace, compassion, wisdom, patience, gratitude, long suffering, forgiveness, unconditional love and service which at times feel uncomfortable and most difficult for me to embrace...A fact of my mortality, yet I am so grateful to see and feel his presence around me daily through the goodness of humanity that each of us possess. Random acts of love, kindness, charity, compassion and tenderness that are within my reach every day....He is there cheering me on...supporting me and sustaining me even when life's finish line seems well outside of my reach.
Its amazing how much you can learn when your daughter is at the beach....you answer your phone....and you are willing to see another in a pure light....a light that allowed his character to shine through. Thank you Evan...proof positive....you can teach an old yet cosmopolitan dog new tricks....
Sweet dreams Prince Evan....and somewhere close to the beach is his princess.....
I love you both...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
My mom's motto has always be preparedness. She never thought twice about stocking up on towels, underwear, luggage, books, candles, tweezers, magnifying mirrors....and of course movie size boxes of DOTS. As the conversation turned towards Kylie and her seriously dating Evan, my mom decided it was time to stop and focus on getting Kylie a ~Hope Chest~. I'm not sure about you....but I gave up any hope for my chest years ago...and Kylie was feeling a lot the same tonight. With three older and much wiser women sitting around Kylie we all decided what she really needed tonight was sage advice, documented with real life dating experiences. Each of us stepped up to the mic and shared what we felt were profound experiences of love, dating and marriage. Our laughter over took Golden Spoon. Grama Mannes in her profound wisdom told Kylie what she really needed was to pick out some towels...whatever color she wanted and they would be monogramed. Grama said...Let's have your initials KS (Kylie Schmidt) put on the towels...and go ahead and leave your options open for the time being, we can always have his initials put on later.....The four of us laughed so hard we cried....Just like my mom....she always begins with the end in mind....
Just like my mom...always keeping her options open and teaching yet another profound life lesson over a frozen yogurt. Isn't' that what life is really all about...Learning to keep your options open....or maybe even open to the realm of possibilities. I've experienced first hand just how magical life can be....just how smooth the rough spots can get and when you least expect it....the answer to a prayer, the confirmation of your decision, your knowing you are on the right path, its like the universe is conspiring for you, with you, in your favor...it's the planets aligning perfectly, the tide knowing when its time to come in, it's your life unfolding just the way it is suppose to.
I treasure those moments when I am called upon to teach, guide, listen and offer up my perspective with my children. I believe those are called ~Kodak Moments~...those tender experiences that draw us closer as individuals and more importantly families. As a single mother I can honestly say....I have become a professional at keeping my options open. I've learned that love does truly conquer all, forgiveness is a gift, the best things in life are free, great music can change your mood, Sonic Happy Hour is a spiritual experience, Jack in the Box will do in a pinch, there are no strangers among us...just friends we haven't met, the right job always materializes ..I am constantly learning, growing and evolving, my door is always open, there is nothing better than late night conversations with my kids, money can never by happiness, chips and salsa are a start for world peace....Faith always wins....kindness cures the blues, walking a mile in someone else's shoes usually gives way to huge blisters, first impression are usually wrong, you never know anyone until you've had the opportunity to be in their home...
Tonight I am right with my mom....The scenic view of life is breathtaking....when you decide its worth keeping your options open.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Alison, Becky and I were laughing so hard....it was impossible to properly answer this handsome man....So I invited him to sit down next to me....and as the story were to play out....He told us he had just finished tubing down the Salt River....and his entire family were at Joe's...for the first time....I suggested ....let's see...I can't remember ...but then when we started talking about work....I told him the three of us amigos worked in a Funeral Home...He smiled and said he was very familiar with our line of work and often lent a hand where and when he could....Then the truth came out as I probed further to see what part of the valley he lived in...He smiled and said he was visiting from Indiana...and that he was a Pastor....(Gulp.....I saw my life pass before me...mildly flirting with a man of the cloth.. BTW Just my Luck....or Not) so we laughed even harder....
Then comes Monday....the day that signifies putting the week end behind and starting all over again....grinding out the 40 hours needed to equal another full week....with the carrot being another Friday only 5 days away.
I decided this morning as the usually mundane details of my morning routine were so easily falling into place...Why Not Think and Feel Friday....even on a Monday....so I did and I am happy to report my day was amazing...
My Funeral Service was perfect, I was told I exceeded the expectations of my family....which made me smile....I received many hugs and a kiss for my service rendered....The cemetery was gorgeous...a light breeze, unbelievably beautiful, the dove release was the high light....The eternal contrast of the white doves against the blue sky gave everyone a reason to stop and give pause for their extraordinary beauty and grace.
I felt such gratitude for my team as were able to help this family during their grief.
A Monday that feels like a Friday is nothing short of miraculous....But then again....isn't that how life is.....
Friday, June 12, 2009
Not one of us envisioned the adversity and challenges that would be strewn along our path. Nor could we have possibly experienced the personal growth, change and strength that would be our constant companion. I love the quote...~Life isn't about surviving the storm, it's learning how to dance in the rain~. My greatest challenges have also facilitated the greatest growth and understanding of myself. Learning to like yourself not only takes practice....it requires courage. At times it may seem easier to think of ourselves as others do...or to place damaging labels on our self worth. That would feel like the path of least resistance....allowing ourselves to wallow...and to become common place.
The road less traveled requires courage, conviction, perseverance and the ability to keep moving upward. We choose to live in the realm of possibility seeing the world as our oyster. We choose to change limiting behaviors, eliminate defeating self talk, leaving behind destructive relationships. I choose to surround myself with those who seek enlightenment, embrace personal change, welcome new perspectives, understand the power of love, charity and kindness.
On my journey I have been guided, blessed and lead to many of these great women whom I call my friends. True friendship is a powerful and loving force.
Tonight as we talked about many things there was time for laughter, making new friends along the way, discussing good books, enjoying a great dinner...and what a brainstorming session.... I came home inspired, uplifted and ready to embark on a life long dream. We all left feeling inspired..
Thank you Alison and Becky.....I am most fortunate to have made your acquaintance on the Road Less Traveled.....
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I was glad Ethan, Kylie, Evan and I were invited and able to attend. As I watched everyone interacting, talking, discussing, sharing advice, stories from the past and taking in a gorgeous Sunday afternoon...I realized how symbolic celebrations are..There are a couple of main ingredients that make celebrations grand. 1). A great guest list. 2). The perfect location (poolside in this case). 3). A fabulous menu (Marty K never skimps on the food). 4). A location (like the Kurtz home) that is warm, inviting, welcoming and no one ever wants to leave.
As I was coming home tonight I was reflecting on how much I love to celebrate! There are so many opportunities in our day to stop, pause, reflect and enjoy the numerous reasons to celebrate. I love the joyous occasions of success, triumph, accomplishment....which can translate into....the perfect day, a great compliment, a birthday, an engagement, a marriage, an anniversary, having a baby, a new house, new job, overcoming a personal obstacle, the perfect weight, entertaining in my home, oh Henry bars, Pico De Gallo, the holidays, a feeling of inner peace, mending a relationship fence, enjoying the perfect evening in the desert, a beautiful sunset, a thunderstorm, a hallmark card, that surprise phone call, a hot shower, finding the perfect accessories, a great book, sleeping in, popcorn, a clean car, the feeling of rain on my face, perfectly painted finger nails, dinner at a new restaurant, music from the 70's, taking a personal inventory of all that is good, blessings received, prayers that have been answered, knowing my Heavenly Father loves me, the whisperings of the spirit, having faith to know the whys will be explained at a later date, understanding opposition can be your friend, a hug, a touch and knowing I belong.
I am grateful for the ties that bind my family, my dear friends and my beliefs. Much like Clarence there isn't a day that goes by that every time I hear a bell ring, I know that a sweet angel has received their wings.
There is always a celebration in full swing....
Thank you again....Kurtz Family.....