Monday, May 17, 2010

When you follow your Bliss..........

life becomes an extraordinary journey. I have become more aware of the "why's" and less concerned with the "how's". There is no question this past semester has been incredible and the opportunities I have had the chance to experience are only the beginning. Meeting Tom Nazario was the opportunity of a lifetime. His story caught my attention late one Saturday night in late January, while I was watching channel 8.. the educational channel... The documentary "Road Trip" nation caught my eye, but when I saw Tom and heard his voice, I knew our paths would cross and they did. His visit to Phoenix April 21-22 was amazing. It's hard to describe Tom. He is soft spoken yet dynamic, he is generous with his time, yet focused on his goals. His love for the forgotten people of the world is genuine and compelling. His personal story is one of persistence and courage. The story of his life parallels those he passionately serves. We are friends most likely old souls.. He has invited Laura and I to be his guests to meet the Dali Lama in October in San Francisco. I am in the process of getting my passport renewed so I can travel to India next summer..

The second highlight was being invited to a VIP event with Dr. Jill Biden, Bob Schireman the under secretary of the Dept of Education, President Crow from ASU and countless other dignitaries. The evening was spectacular! We met at the home of Sandra Day O'Connor which is now a historical site. Dr. Biden's passion is education, the value of the community college and keeping students on tract to complete their educations. Jill Biden is a lovely person, with smarts and class. I enjoyed our private conversation.. My passion is opening up opportunities for women my age to go back to school and embrace the wonder of education. It's never to late to set an educational goal and enjoy success. I made new friends..and the experience was life changing. Jill told me how important my story is.. where there is hope and determination there will be success and prosperity.

It's amazing how the greatest challenges I have faced have transformed my life into the greatest achievements I could experience. I am so proud of my children. They are all unique, talented and incredible. Having the opportunity to raise them alone has been the greatest privilege of my life. I have been blessed with great friends who are like extended family and love my children. It's not always been easy, it's always been worth it. Watching them grow into really nice and accomplished young adults is beyond rewarding. Learning to love them unconditionally has been priceless. I am so grateful my children have been blessed with the gifts of unconditional love, forgiveness, kindness, compassion and wonder. They are my greatest inspiration and they believe in me and my abilities to accomplish my dreams.

The times in my life when I have held on to tight, were the times I needed to let go sooner. Living an unfulfilled live is easy.... having the courage to commit to my dreams has changed me life. Leaving the safety net of a miserable existence was just the first layer. Learning to love myself from the inside out, accepting my gifts and talents and choosing my path have all been a huge part of my self discovery. All in all.... my results are amazing. I feel completely alive following my bliss.

Today exercise your courage.. it's OK to be unique, be who you are, if your not sure, spend quality time with yourself. Invest in you. Follow your bliss with intensity and purpose.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day ..

It has been a wonderful day. I wanted to capture my thoughts and feelings as I am sitting in my office and my house is quiet. My adventures in Motherhood have span 27 years. There are so many thoughts, feelings and experiences that my heart is full. My children are such a gift. When Greg and I started our life together many years ago we both shared an love of children and a want to start our own family. It's hard to share the feelings of love I have for each of my children. I am so proud of each of them. Each one brings a unique dimension of love and inspiration into my life. A reward of Motherhood.... enjoying the fruits of my labors...Watching my children grow into absolutely amazing adults who are great friends in turn. They love each other, support each other, stay in close touch and really enjoy the time they have to spend together. As I spoke to Cori this afternoon, I smiled as I thought within a few short weeks she will also start her journey as a new mother.. Her role of a lifetime. Cori will make an exceptional mother. To hear the excitement in her voice touches me to my very core. I will take on the role of "Grand".... still working on that part... but grand it shall be.

To celebrate my mother, we had her come to breakfast yesterday. I made some of her favorite things, had a few of her favorite magazines to read and we watched a movie. My mom is an extraordinary woman.. Her legacy will be her service to others. I appreciate the great example she set for me. We shared some funny jokes and stories and then she decided she was ready to go home. Our stop included "Sonic" for her beloved "Lime Ricky" a simple thing which means so much to her. Learning to stop and enjoy the simple things is one of the greatest gifts of life. Life is to short not to. I am grateful for the memories of my mother I have that I will always cherish.

It's a great time in my life, as I transition from "hands on mom" to grown children living their own lives...This morning Griffin and Jackie invited us to brunch, Lisa, Jackie's mom also joined us. Brunch was delish.. the conversation was outstanding and sitting on the porch enjoying the moment was timeless. Spending time with my kids is time well spent. I love their positive energy.. I love to hear them laugh and reminisce about growing up... I love to hear them talk of the future, their families and the incredible opportunities that await them. I smile and catalog their expressions and the sounds of their laughter.. I hold them close when we hug and always tell them how much I love them. Being a mother has been the role of my life. I have succeeded in raising four of the most amazing children. A job well done.. the measure of my success is evident through the relationships we have built together. We as a family have learned to communicate through the hard times, develop a deep abiding respect for each other never resorting to undermining with criticism or sarcasm. We are not in competition with each other rather a cohesive family unit who love, encourage and completely support one another.

Today as memories flooded my mind, the constant theme of my thoughts was... How profoundly blessed and watched over I have been. The Lord has been so good to me and my children. The past few weeks have been extraordinary with the people who have come into my life and the experiences I have had. I understand the power of surrounding myself with positive and inspiring people who support my dreams. I understand the power of intention and it's role in assisting me in creating the life I know is within my reach. Dreams really do come true...

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 1985

25 years ago today I was resting comfortably at Alta View Hospital, my beautiful daughter Cori was born. Cori wasn't due until May 31, however on May 3, 1985 Cori decided early that morning she'd had enough.. It was time to upgrade to more leg room and wide open spaces. The morning was overcast and rainy as we started the 30 minute commute to Alta View Hospital in Sandy Utah. The decision was made shortly after I had arrived.. I would not be able to deliver Cori and would need emergency surgery. Cori arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon. She was gorgeous from the start. Her olive skin and jet black hair was incredible. I remember being overwhelmed with such emotion as I had those first few precious moments with her.

Life is funny...some days drag on and on, while others pass in the twinkling of an eye, but the years all fly by. As I pondered on the last 25 years.. where can I start? so many memories and treasured moments.. so many kisses, lots of ouchies, some girl drama, superman pajamas's, battles over wearing hair bows, blue eyes, piano lessons, turning 8, the scooter accident, 9 stitches, Hannah dog, TCBY, Gigglebees, The Empire Mall, The Gap, basketball, sleep overs, Hy Vee, driving, prom, The Last of the Mohicans, Titanic x 12 :)..friends, tears, hugs, loves, Christmas, traveling Europe, Mexico and the birds,Sex and the City, Designer handbags, shoes, Waldo's, eyebrow waxing,tanning,true love and Brett.

Cori is going to experience motherhood in June, she has prepared herself well for this moment. Cori is going to be an exceptional mother. I am so very proud of her. It's been so fun to hear her talk about the little details that make a pregnancy so grand... feeling sick, feeling better, ah! feeling the baby move, watching a 3D scan, the phone call.. MOM WE ARE HAVING A GIRL!, counting her fingers and toes, anticipation... assembling the perfect nursery, making sure every detail is taken care of. Watching her open shower presents and knowing she is feeling overwhelmed with love and excitement. Watching her grown into a beautiful young mother and been a privilege.

Cori you are simply amazing. Your accomplishments in life are many, and the possibilities that await you are endless. You have lived well, laughed much and loved with all of your heart. Continue to live your life with intensity and purpose, after all I believe you have the ability to change the world.

I adore you Cork! Happy Birthday ..

We are having a baby :>) soon!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Invitation.....and Greater Opportunity!

I was just coming off an extraordinary week of meeting Professor Thomas Nazario when I received a phone call inviting me to attend a special VIP event with local dignitaries from the Maricopa Community College system, Northern Arizona University and ASU. The special guest was Dr. Jill Biden. The opportunity of the meeting was to discuss the importance of the Community College and retaining student while preparing to transfer to a university and complete a bachelors program. I knew little about Jill Biden with the exception of her being the wife of Vice President Joe Biden. I did my research and found Jill is an exceptionally educated woman. Jill is in her 15th year at a Community College in Delaware, where she teaches English composition. She also spent 13 years in the public schools, where she was a Reading specialist and English teacher as well as a part-time teacher with Rockford Psychiatric Hospital Adolescent Program.

While working full-time and raising a family, Jill earned two masters degrees: a Master's degree in English from Villanova University (1987) and a Master's degree in reading from West Chester University (1981). And this past January, Jill earned a Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware in 2007. Her dissertation focused on how to retain students in community colleges.

There was a small group of about 20 invited to the home of Sandra Day O'Connor located within The Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park. We gathered after 5 pm for introductions and a social hour. It was incredible to see Air Force Two flying directly overhead on the way to Sky Harbor and within 20 minutes Dr. Biden and her staff had arrived and we were ready for introductions. I was one of four students asked to come and share my story of why I made the commitment to return to school. I sat next to Bob Shireman, Deputy Under Secretary with the U.S. Department of Education and Arizona State President Michael Crow. It was an amazing evening.

For me it was very interesting to be a room so politically diverse. Yet no one was wearing their party affiliation on their sleeve. The common consensus was an urgency to encourage a greater awareness of the community college and the vast opportunities and programs that await students. President Obama has pledged his support and the necessary resources to help students who are willing to commit to finishing their programs and graduate.

Little did I realize a year ago where I would be standing today... The loss of my job has turned into one of the greatest blessings of my life. The opportunities that have come my way to meet such influential people and work with them is extraordinary. I have relished every minute of this experience.

I am getting ready to close out my spring semester. I have worked hard and will have earned more than just high marks. I am learning, new perspectives, new paths to take, being open to the differences that make each one of us unique. It's refreshing to let new ideas take hold.

I am so thankful every minute of the day. My life is so rich and filled with good things! For me the greater opportunity is to live my life knowing I am my own person, free to experience all of the opportunities that await me, no longer burdened with old pattens of thought and habit that never served me well.

It's empowering to understand who you are.... it's life changing to love and accept yourself and your potential.. it's success when you apply both and live your life with intensity and purpose.