Sunday, June 28, 2009

Passages...

I work in the Funeral Industry, I experience death, tragedy and grief on a daily basis. I witness the best and worst of family dynamics, parents, children and siblings who are estranged, many pass from this life literally alone. This week brought death into view for most as Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer and Michael Jackson's life came to an abrupt end. We mark their passing with TV tributes, stories, twitting, face book comments, text messaging and conversation between each other. Michael Jackson's death brought the Internet to a stand still as millions were trying to come to terms with his passing. A world left in shock to think the King of Pop as we knew him had experienced death. Many have shared stories of his unhappy, unfulfilled life and miserable life. Others have paid tribute to his phenomenal musical talent, his profound influence on pop culture and how he crossed the color barrier with his music.

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

Carla

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Character, Communication and the Beach...

I had a chance phone call Tuesday afternoon, not only did this call take me completely by surprise I found myself evaluating my feelings on character, communication, acceptance, love and understanding. The call was from Evan....Evan and Kylie have been dating since January. I found myself at times feeling very closed off and even distant from wanting to really get to know Evan. Like every relationship there have been ups, downs, tears, laughter, planning, talking about the future and spending time really getting to know each other. As a mother of a beautiful young daughter my hope, dream and wish for her has always been to find her prince charming, the man of her dreams that will help her fill the measure of her creation.

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...

Mom

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Keeping your options open.....

Tonight Kylie and I met up with my Mom and Patty Jones at Golden Spoon for a frozen yogurt. They had just finished getting nails and toes done. My mom is very persnickety about keeping her nails and toes in tip top condition. She was thrilled to see Kylie and I, the four of us sat down in the middle of ciaos to enjoy a yogurt and great conversation being lead by a great teacher.

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.

Carla

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Monday that feels like Friday....

You know its a good day on a Monday, when you roll out of bed early with no alarm, are having the almost perfect hair day (prior to ANY COMB being run through your hair), its 73 degrees at 5:45 am in the middle of June, I assembled the perfect wardrobe and accessories in under 15 minutes (a new world record and personal best time for me) and felt completely put together as I was rushing out the door. I have come to RELISH Fridays and almost despise Mondays....However I decided to experiment this week. My Friday was the BOMB....dinner at Joe's BBQ with my gal pals....great ~Chick~ conversation, mild flirting going on with those patiently waiting in the order here line. I thought my luck was about to change when this tall, dark and devastatingly handsome man smiled and asked me....What I would recommend off the menu....Of course my thoughts immediately turned to....PICK ME....

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.....

Carla

Friday, June 12, 2009

Inspiration.....

stimulating influence upon the intellect or emotions of others. I had the great opportunity to have dinner with two women I really admire tonight. The three of us are very different personality wise, yet together we are energy, powerful, intentional, gifted, supportive and inspirational. Our circumstances are similar yet very different. We share a common understanding of spiritual and divine teachings. We are mothers who love our children and want only the best for each of them. We are women of strong conviction, we each embrace the fact we can band together to improve our neighborhoods and communities. We understand where we have come from, why we are here on earth and where are journey will ultimately take us.

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

Celebrations....

Today we gathered as family and friends to help Marty K celebrate his birthday. It was an afternoon filled with family, friends, great food, great conversations poolside, a ping pong tournament, great music, birthday candles, presents, cake, amazing cheesecake...(from the Cheesecake Factory), singing, blowing out candles, laughing and counting blessings.

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.....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Word Power.....

Kylie picked me up from work today and as we were driving home she said...Mom you really need to read Emily's blog...she was blogging about you. I sat down to read her sweet post. Emily is darling....it's been nearly a month since she and Brett were married. They decided to embark on a grand adventure this summer working in North Carolina. Emily is amazing she not only has a million dollar smile....but personality plus....sales is right up her alley. She is working a very demanding and difficult sales job, not to mention being away from home, trying to settle a new home with a new husband...many new and exciting changes....but she is working with PEOPLE.....easy to understand how that in itself could get you down. Nothing can ruin a neighborhood faster than neighbors...to quote my good friend Dan Boyum...(Boone)

I started thinking about my own week at home, work, with family, with friends.....then I thought about how easy it is to have one negative thought start a cascade of self doubt. Words are the basis of our communication. Without words communication would be very challenging. We are constantly thinking...our minds never shut off....we may feel the need to re boot at times but essentially we are thinking 24/7/365....so what do you think about? what words do you use?

I would love to share some of my favorite words...Love, Gratitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, Compassion, Inspire, Passion, Joy, Wisdom, Bliss, Happiness, Accomplishment, Peace, Tranquil, Confidence, Spontaneous, Humor, Wit, Charming, Self-made, Secure, Knowledgeable, Nobility...

Some of my favorite sayings.....

1. Bless Your Heart.
2. You must be the Change you wish to see in the World.
3. Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
4. You have on the Ruby Red Slippers..
5. You have the ability to change the world.
6. Thoughts become things.
7. Be intentional.
8. Count your many blessings.
9. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
10. Merry Christmas!
11. Sweet Dreams!
12. Pixie Dust makes everything just a little bit better.
13. Eyes are the windows to your soul.
14. Play full on.
15. Embrace life, love and your passion.

As I am typing these very meaningful words, thoughts and phrases I am invigorated, inspired and feel as though I just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. It's amazing how we have the ability to control and change our thoughts at anytime.

We all have MOMENTS.....sometimes DAYS....and even YEARS...that are hard and seem unbearable. Keep in mind...Words are power...words that uplift and inspire can and will also slay those negative dragons that love to deflate our dreams. Each of us has a mission to complete and time frame in which to accomplish our dreams.

I am listening to my wind chimes...which by the way are blowing and chiming in the breeze tonight....Makes me feel......Fabulous....love to hear those chime....Music is also a very powerful way to change your mood....instantaneously ...Uplifting music that resonates within our hearts...and a great Book....and yes for me....Twilight makes me feel instantly better...(yes I am a huge Fan-Pire.....)

Emmy...I know you are along way from home....which is only distance.....Love knows no distance.. Don't be discouraged...you are where you need to be, doing what you need to be doing...and your husband is right by your side.

Make a list of Power Words.....Use them daily...and when those little negative thoughts try to make their way in.....hold up your STOP sign and STOP what your thinking....and bring into play your power words....it's amazing how quickly everything will turn around.

Treasure those heartfelt moments, cherish the new experiences and relish the sweet memories you are creating...

I love you back.....and big....

Mama Carla

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Life's little treasures....

I am sitting down composing my thoughts and feeling almost giddy.....I had a simply amazing day. I started to reflect on the little treasures that continually make my life so grand...What surprised me was how many new treasures I am constantly adding to my treasure chest...When I think of my greatest treasures, my children are front and center. Seriously they are each amazing in their own right, all are great conversationalist, each are interesting, knowledgeable across the board, opinionated (yes they all take after me!), fearlessly running after their dreams, each blessed with compassion, humor and charity. Each willing to serve their family, friends and in their communities. Its so rewarding to see them each succeed and exhilarating to be able to experience their victories with them....Its humbling to share every aspect of their lives.

Another little treasure is taking time to STOP and count my blessings. Sitting out in the sun, enjoying a moment in bookstore, Starbucks with Ethan, Golden Spoon with Kylie...Sushi with Griffin, Taco Johns with Brett and Cori....The feeling of my freshly fluffed feather bed and pillows... NICE....watching Twilight, reading a great book, teaching my Sunday School class, great friends, breakfast at Crackers, the perfect evening, stars, Sonic ice, the smell of jasmine, good health, a perfect hair day, phone call from a good friend who is traveling through Windom, Minnesota, finding the perfect pair of reading glasses, great fingernails...the perfect red nail polish, a pedicure, a crush, hallmark cards, living in the moment and with passion..and the list goes on...

I love the quote ~" Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."~

One of my greatest treasures is feeling happiness, joy, the sense of great accomplishment in my life. Being at peace with myself and learning to dance in the rain.

Next time you see feel the skies darken, the winds start to blow and the storm is raging....grab your dance partner and start dancing like you mean it and you will find the silver lining that awaits you on the other side.

Take an inventory of your little treasures tonight....you will be astonished how blessed your life is.....

Infinite blessings ....

Sweet dreams....

Carla