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Posts Tagged ‘family’

The most important relationship that any girl has with a parent is the one with her father.   As today is Father’s Day, I felt that it was only fitting to discuss the relationship that I had with my own father that formulated the person that I am today.

First of all, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I loved and respected my father very much. But, my father was raised in a very strict environment and that is the home that he created for us.  I was the middle child with an older sister and younger brother.  My brother was only 15 months younger than me so I was never really the baby.  As for my sister, she was the first to experience everything so that it wasn’t as exciting by the time things were handed down to me.  Of course, this included clothing as well as just about anything else that you can think of.

The biggest thing that both my sister and I faced with our father was that he was extremely concerned with our appearance.  For my sister, at a young age (under 10), he put her on an exercise regimen that included sit-ups, etc.   Since that didn’t work for my sister, he decided that he would put me on a diet and if I didn’t lose 10 pounds by summer, I was not going to be allowed to wear shorts.

The other big thing for me was that my father, and later my brother, never felt that I measured up to my potential.  Nothing that I could do was ever good enough.  When I got great grades in school, it was expected, not rewarded as they were for my brother and sister.  When I became a cheerleader, my parents never once came to any game or to any parade in which we marched.  When it was college time, there were three of us in school at the same time so I stayed at home to go to college and worked every day after school from the time that I was 16 so that I could pay for my own education.  My reward was that there was never enough money left for me to get new clothes, etc. after they got those things for my brother and sister and paid for them to go to college out of town.

As a result, when I found a man who was interested in me and gave me attention, I was “grateful”, I guess.  I finally had a male who thought that I was something special.  My dad didn’t seem to think that I was special so I would show him.  And when I got married and my dad told me that I was not welcome in his home if I brought my husband because he did not approve of him, well, that was the final straw.

Although I didn’t experience any abuse from my husband until after we were several months into the marriage, I could not bring myself to let anyone know.  After all, I had once again proven my dad right by not being smart enough to know what I was getting myself into.  It was up to me to either fix it or be smart enough to find my way out of it.  What a mess! 

I never did figure out what was going on at the time that I was in that relationship but I did learn so much about myself.  Although it took until the point where I could not stand the abuse any longer for me to leave, I am so glad that I had the presence of mind to do so.  And the most interesting thing is that it was my mother and father who were there to move me out the day that I left.  How ironic!

I would love your comments.

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I have always enjoyed the celebration of Easter.  I understand and appreciate the religious significance and have always felt very spiritual on this day.  I am sorry that many of the other traditions associated with the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have gone by the wayside in recent years.  But I do enjoy the fun of the Easter egg hunts, the awesome floral displays provided by nature and the special meals associated with this beautiful holiday that is celebrated in the glory of a most gorgeous spring day.

Last year, I was not able to celebrate Easter.  Although it was not on the same weekend, Kirk and I found ourselves on a plane to Florida in order to attend my brother’s funeral.  He had died unexpectedly earlier in the week in surgery and we were all walking around in a state of shock.  I suppose Easter will always hold those memories but I definitely have incorporated all of my family’s traditions into the celebration again this year.

I suppose what I love most about the holiday is the way that it is celebrated with family and friends.  It is so nice to see everyone getting dressed up in their best finery and going to church together.  I love the joy of the children hunting for the hidden candies and the delight when they locate them.  I love the fun that we all have while rolling the hard boiled eggs to see who has the winner from the nest.  I really enjoy preparing the meal where we all sit down together and share lots of good conversation.  But, most of all, it is the togetherness that reigns supreme.

I hear so many people talk about how they wish that the spirit of the holidays would remain all year around.  The interesting thing is that if you gather your family and friends near you and keep them there, you have that same sense of happiness and holiday all of the time.  In these days and times, it seems that everyone is so very busy that they can’t seem to sit down together for a meal or plan some time to spend with one another.  They are missing out on the important things in life.  If you must work long hours, it is not only important to you but also to your family to give them some dedicated time.  It may be only 10 or 15 minutes but not only do you have a moment to wind down but also they know how important they are to you if you make them feel special in this way.

If possible, share at least one meal a day with your family and/or friends.  It gives you time to sit back and relax and talk and laugh rather than plopping yourself down in front of the TV or computer and not even being able to enjoy your meal.  If you can go out on a porch or patio and enjoy the sunshine and beauty around you, this can vastly improve your experience.  If you are all alone, then prepare something really special for yourself and light some candles and turn on the music and sit back and relax.  You work hard and you deserve to treat yourself in a way that rewards your efforts.

No matter what you choose to do, you will be so much happier and alive if you include the spirit of a holiday into each day of your life.  Put a smile on your face, picture a cute bunny in your mind and send out tons of happy greetings to every person that you meet along the way.  If that is your focus, you can count on your day being so much brighter.

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Although the final count is not tallied, the Crespi Carmelite High School male lacrosse team raised more than $44,000.00 by the start of their premiere event that was held yesterday at the school. What an awesome result in only two months!

The guys will be sponsoring a variety of other events in their effort to raise $140,000.00 by the end of the year. They are also looking forward to meeting up with three other lacrosse teams in New York City on April 9th and walking the last 6.98 miles of their total goal of 5,500 miles which is the distance from the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge to Time Square where they want to present a check to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America”.

For those who missed it, the team had a very special last minute walker join their them.

Now despite all of his hard work, Guy was not successful in raising so much as a single dollar for his efforts. So he has decided to keep on walking and walking and walking until such time as he sees some positive results and can collect some funds in his name in support of this cause.

As soon as he is rested and can begin the next step on this journey, we will post more videos on his behalf so that you can see the progress that he is making.

If you care to donate some funds on behalf of Guy, please let me know by writing to letlifehappen@gmail.com and we will make the necessary arrangements for acceptance of your contribution. And if you would like to follow the progress of the team and their continued fund raising efforts, please log on to the website at www.crespi.dojiggy.com. This is only the beginning of the Coach’s Challenge where high school athletic teams throughout the country are being enlisted to join in this cause.

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Walk Like A man

Walk Like A man

Last week I wrote an open letter to the Crespi Carmelite High School lacrosse team members. I asked the girl who had involved me in this project whether she would provide a copy of the letter for each of the team members and have the team coaches hand them out to the guys. She agreed to do so and I was so happy that they would know how much all of their hard work and efforts meant to me and to the women who would benefit from all of their hard work.

I received an e-mail from my friend to whom I had made the initial request. She informed me that the coach read my letter to his players at practice. They were so moved by what I had to say that they upped the ante and although they have already raised $35,000.00 in less than two months, they challenged themselves to reach $50,000.00 by the time the event takes place next Saturday on February 14th.

Can you believe that? Most high school guys would have responded by resting on their laurels and thinking about how great they were. These men understood the message and stepped up to the plate to push themselves that much harder to set a tough goal for themselves.

Okay, that is why I am begging all of you to please help out in any way that you can. Please make a contribution to the cause if you can. Purchase some merchandise if you are able to do so. But if you are unable to do anything financially, I would really appreciate it if you would log on to the coach’s e-mail at joswaks@crespi.org and let them know how awesome they are for taking on this challenge and giving back to their community in such a big way.

This coach and his coaching staff and every member of the committee that put together this event and every member of the team that is raising money for the cause are our special angels. They have all literally been giving themselves to this cause to make it an unbridled success and are truly the angels in our community.

I have been checking the weather reports and there is nothing but rain in the forecast for next weekend. I know that everyone will still show up and do their part regardless but please, please help them and support them. I will be there myself come rain or shine so please feel free to send a message to me for them if you wish and I will be sure to pass it to them.

I can be reached at letlifehappen@gmail.com and would appreciate it if you would help all of us. And if you can make a contribution to the cause, please log on to the website at http://www.crespi.dojiggy.com and help in any way that you can. Your contributions will be appreciated more than you will ever know. I will update you on the results from this event in my blog next Sunday. Please, we need your support.

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Yes, I wrote “Merry Christmas”, not Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings or whatever else is suppose to be politically correct these days. I respect all holidays throughout the year and the remembrance that each represents and Christmas is no exception. The spirit of the season is just wonderful.

Of course I don’t expect everyone to embrace this spirit. There are many reasons that people choose not to do so and I truly feel sorry for them as they are missing out on something that is pretty special. I don’t care what your circumstances may be or what you have had on your plate during the past year. The spirit of caring and loving and giving that fills the air at this time of year is freely given to all who want to embrace it and it doesn’t cost a single penny.

I have had Christmases where I was unemployed and had no money for presents. I have had Christmases where I have dealt with personal and family illnesses. I have had Christmases that I could not spend with my family. But, regardless of the situation, I have always found a way to enjoy the holiday, spend it with others and embrace the spirit of the season.

What I have found over the years is that despite whatever else may be going on in my life, the Christmas spirit can override it all. It has never been about the gifts that one can or cannot give and/or receive but rather about the love that one is willing to share. Have you ever noticed the extra laughter in your work place or the efforts made to get together with co-workers and associates and friends? It is all about the spirit of the season.

And most importantly, I am sure that if you focus on all of the wonderful Christmas seasons that you have experienced, they far outweigh those that may have been not so good. Embrace the memories from your childhood and those of the children that have surrounded you over the years. Remember those feelings and you have the opportunity to experience them again year after year if you just choose to embrace the child within. My Christmas Wish for you this season is that you enjoy the peace and warmth and wonder and good will of the season this Christmas and hold on to those feelings for as long as you can for every day in the future.

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So I had my surgery on Tuesday and everything went well.  I have tried to stay focused on all of the positive things in my life but I think that all of the stress of two rounds of cancer and three surgeries and the loss of my brother in a little more than a year began to catch up with me.  I could only see all of the sad things that had happened and couldn’t help but wonder if this was only a prelude to the future.

Thank heavens that Kirk had taken the time off from work this week to spend with me and basically do everything possible for me.  He has taken care of my every need and I don’t know what I would have done without him.  That is why it was most important that when I completely fell apart, he was also there for me. 

He listened and listened and listened as I talked and sobbed and told him how I was feeling.  He understood that it had nothing to do with him and that which was most important was my just being able to vent.  I talked about not only the current frustrations of the last 6 days but also about how they were just the latest manifestation of the same patterns over a very long period time.   

After I was done, we chatted for awhile and afterward, I felt such a great sense of relief and release that I knew that I could no longer hold on to the past and the behaviors that had led me to such sad, sad feelings.  I suddenly realized that I felt better than I had felt in quite some times.  I didn’t want to feel like I had in the recent past and I am determined that what is in the past will remain there.

Regardless of what else may come my way, the most wonderful holidays are right around the corner and I intend to enjoy them and am anticipating them as much as I did when I was a little kid.  Thanksgiving has always been my favorite and this year I have even more than ever for which to be thankful.  I will be spending Christmas with my family and sharing the time with those people who love me the most in this world.  And then there is the New Year which represents a whole new beginning but this year, I do not intend to wait until January 1.  Today is the beginning of my new year and my new life and the most exciting things yet to come and they are all just covered with a big mound of whipped cream.  Kirk will understand that!

   

 

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It’s that time of the year again.  Today is my birthday.  While it is probably the least celebrated birthday ever, it is the most appreciated.  What a year it has been!  There is no way that I could have imagined the monumental changes that have taken place since this time last year.

 

I have this thing about birthdays.  I think that a person’s birthday is their very special day of the entire year and that it should be treated as a very special event.  I think that your birthday is the day that God gives you a promotion.  Remember when you were in school?  If you completed a successful school year and learned your lessons, you got promoted to the next grade.  Well, that is how I think of birthdays.  If you complete your year successfully by learning the life lessons that you need, then God promotes you to the next year.

 

Now I also think that we all have some subjects in school that were harder to learn than others.  And when we didn’t make the grade in that certain subject, we had to repeat the lessons until we learned what we needed before we passed.  I look at life lessons the same way.  I really believe that we get a chance to learn many lessons in this lifetime and that we have to repeat those lessons over and over until we learn them and then we can move on.  Therefore, we can pay attention to what we are doing and learn the first time over keep repeating them as many times as it takes to get them right.

 

Oh, life can be so easy if only we would allow ourselves to make it so.  Each day can be such a pleasure that we can enjoy by doing a quality job and sharing our time with lots of really incredible people.  And we can laugh and enjoy our experiences and grow in life by learning from each other. 

 

So today I got promoted.  This was the hardest year ever but I can truly say that despite all of the obstacles that I encountered, I learned so much more about all of the people around me.  I cannot begin to tell you what it means to have the best husband in the world who not only has been there in the good times in the past but who proved how awesome he is through all of the toughest times that came my way this year and he showed me what it means to share them all successfully and come out the other end better than ever.

 

I had family members with whom I have not had much contact in recent years suddenly come forward with offers of support and help in every way imaginable and they have not just faded into the sunset after the hardest hurdles have been crossed.  I have had friends and co-workers with whom I have reached levels of understanding and appreciation that I could never have imagined. 

 

All of this has added up to one understanding in my mind and that is that had I taken the time to appreciate all that I have in my life with so many awesome people, maybe I would never have had to go through the whole cancer crisis to learn this lesson.  I hope that I am wiser for understanding how I have grown and that I will never be foolish enough again in the future to have to learn a lesson the hard way.  What a wonderful life I have!!!!

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