Monday, February 25, 2013


14's wall above her bed

So at the beginning of February I started writing love notes to my family. Each day each member of the family got an "I love you because..." note. As the days passed, the notes became more interesting. I had to find individual characteristics to write about each person. The least 10 and 14 ....came to look forward to the notes. On the 14th I wrote each one a card and made their valentines lunches.

It was a good exercise for me to focus on the good in each one and good for each of them to know the many reasons I love them. It is my hope that they each remembers these small gestures as they get older and perhaps create some of their own memories with their families.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Last week  was a tough week. I used to channel my emotions into food, and still do. Now, however that channel is a bit different. I used to channel my emotions into food through eating. Now I choose to feed others. I find great comfort in the nourishment and happiness of others in my life.

Sunday we learned of the sudden death of a 48 year old friend of ours. When I got the news, I felt as though I had been dealt a strong, swift kick to my gut. I could not breathe. I had difficulty processing the loss and my feelings at first as it all seemed unreal. The rest of the day Sunday seemed to just evaporate into thin air.
Monday I was so busy with work and preparing to coach that I lost track of time. My cousin, his wife, my aunt and uncle were planning to come for dinner.  The cousins wanted to see the kids one last time. They received word that they are leaving for Angola for a job. They explained some of the basic dangers to the family over dinner.  As excited as my children are for them, they are also a bit nervous. It was and will be a great learning experience for all of us….albeit a scary one.   I allowed the kids to stay up late and enjoy time with my cousin and his wife as well as my aunt and uncle. It was a very emotional goodbye when they all left. I prepared chicken and potatoes…just basic comfort food. Nothing fancy. Having 9 people gathered around my table sharing stories, telling tales and laughing til we cried was more than satisfying.  Spending time with family was priceless.

Tuesday was Mardi Gras and a rare night off for Dad. We prepared dinner together and sat as a family in the dining room. Stories, tales of our days and more laughs as we ate dinner and dessert satisfied our stomachs and souls.

I spent Wednesday night preparing red lunches for my own kids and 5 of their friends. Baking red bread, making sandwiches and bagging treats refocused my grief into love
Thursday was Valentine’s Day and the funeral Mass for our friend. I delivered lunches to 3 different homes and then got breakfast and lunch ready for my family. The feeling of feeding the bodies of these young people was my focus and filled my heart with joy. Each was thrilled and excited to receive a special lunch. My husband and I attended the funeral that same morning. As I sat in the church,  I was filled with  feelings of immense sadness, gratitude and love.  The lunch afterwards with the filled with more tears and laughs, as well as stories of great love. When we arrived home a good friend of mine was waiting with a dinner prepared for us to enjoy later in the evening. What a treat!

The feeding of bodies and souls is something soothing for me. I find comfort and solace in filling the need for food. To some it is just a meal....for me it is so much more.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Life is made up of moments. It is up to us to recognize and savor each one for we will not pass that way again.

A few weeks ago 13 attended the opera with my mom. She was in no way thrilled to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to "screaming", as she put it. I told her I was jealous. She was about to see my favorite opera, LaBoheme. Such a wonderful love story. Off I sent her and hours later I got a short, sweet text..."how was it?" "GREAT!"....And then...."mom, I cried!" My heart soared.

Thursday we had a big heavy snow and I knew I needed to shovel as my husband was working late and I didn't want him to do it when he got home. I geared up and headed out. 9 come out and asked if he and the pup could 'help'. Of course, I said. I didn't ask about homework or anything else I just wanted them to play in the snow.

It was already dark and I was shoveling by streetlight. 9 was building a snow fort and pup was trying to bury herself in the snow. It was so peaceful with just the 3 of us in the half dark. As I shoveled, 9 told me of his day and then out of the blue began to recite a poem..

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.


Robert Frost

What he failed to understand as I started to cry is that this poem is dear to my heart. It is a part of my college song and holds so much meaning to me. In the low light he didn't see the tear rolling down my cheeks as he recited the words. I asked why he decided to say that poem. He said he had to memorize it for class and wanted me to hear just happened that it was quiet enough for him to feel comfortable... My heart danced.

Last night I was feeling frenzied but wanted to try a new recipe so I started cooking after a long, busy day. I was working on meals for 2 nights. As I worked, 14 joined me in the kitchen and asked if I needed help. What? An offer of real assistance? That is unheard of around my house! I immediately accepted. I turned on the Sinatra Pandora stations dn soon we were moving and chatting and cooking up a storm....then she began to I didn't realize she knew. I asked her where/how she knew the song. Her response was quick..."mom, I have heard you sing it a million think I am not paying attention...I am..." My heart took flight!

Life is filled with little moments...little miracles. We have to be awake. We have to cherish these times of wonder. We have to appreciate the little moments that make up our lives. It is these moments strung together that make a that never seems long enough.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


"Real greatness isn't always what you do in life; real greatness is often best measured by the greatness you inspire in others."

Steve Hartman

I heard this during a news story over the weekend and it has stuck with me since. I could not remember it verbatim so I looked up the story (thank goodness for the internet!). When I read the words for the second and third time the impact was even greater.

I have lived my life with the goal of inspiring others to be the best they can be at whatever endeavor they choose. As a mother and a teacher, my goal has been for all my 'kids', my own and my students, to see the greatness they they possess and use that greatness to the best of their ability. This is no easy task. I often have to push and the push back it hard to handle. I often have to be the 'bad guy' which is no fun. The resistance appears insurmountable sometimes but I have to soldier on with the big picture in mind. Building self esteem and self confidence is a delicate dance of mixing tough love with praise. The praise given must be genuine because children see right through fake like looking through a plate glass window. So while the praise is not always frequent it is honest and earned.

As a Girls on the Run Coach, I work with my girls to find their inner beauty and focus on the parts of their personality that make them unique. Once they tap into these things, they become unstoppable...a true force to be reckoned with as they grow older.

As I have aged, I have begun to see the fruits of my labor. More and more students contact me with news of their accomplishments...small and large. It is what makes every good and bad day worth it. Seeing my own children, my Girls on the Run and my students reach their fullest potential is my reason to get up and moving every day.

It is in the inspiring of others that I find my inspiration and fuel to keep moving forward. Each and every child, student, person, I come in contact with on a daily basis inspires me in some way to be better. Each have a lesson to teach me and it is my job to learn and to grow.

It is my hope and my prayer that when I am gone, I will have inspired others to be great and that they pass that on....


Friday, February 1, 2013


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
Helen Keller

Ah February...the month of hearts and flowers and love. Actually it is one day that is filled with all the hearts and flowers. We wait and prepare for the 'big day' ...Valentine's Day. Women have high hopes for romance and men have high hoops to jump through and are stressed to plan the 'perfect' day/evening. Kids look forward to the exchange of cards at school...making the 'mailbox' and hoping to get a favorite card from a friend. Oh what expectations we put on one day.

What we forget is that it is about the expression of love. Valentine's Day is about letting others know we care. Why do we wait for one day? Why is it about the grand romantic gesture? 

Thus I have challenged myself to express my affection this month...or at least for the first 14 days of the month. Each day this month I plan not only to SHOW the people I love how and why I love them but also to tell them why I love them. People we care about the most are often the last ones to hear our kinds words and be the recipients of our kind deeds. We get so caught up in the minutia that we forget all that is good or fail to express our love. I am so guilty of this. As a  mother I think about the reasons I love my  kids throughout the day but forget to verbalize my thoughts. I am often too focus on the chores undone, bills unpaid, clothing unfolded, etc...

This morning I sent each of my older girls a text with just one reason I loved them. I left my kids at home a note that said "I love you because..." and a Hershey kiss. It is my goal for the next 14 days to express my love, affection, gratitude, and appreciation to those who are important to me. I am not saving up for one day. So....I challenge you to join me yourself!