Pearls of wisdom


I LOVE the holidays! My family has so many traditions like fonduing on Christmas eve, seeing over 100 people in our family for Minnesota style salads (which always seems to include Jello, cool whip, canned fruit, and marshmallows), and lighting our house (and neighborhood) like the Griswolds.

I messed up.

I booked my flight for Wednesday morning of Thanksgiving week. The WEDNESDAY of Thanksgiving week!!!

Forgiveness has always baffled me. What is it actually? How does one do it? Why is it so hard?

My journey with my biological father, who is diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, is where I have learned the most about forgiveness.

An incredibly hard-working, over achieving woman shared her dream of studying Shakespeare with me. I watched her eyes sparkle. I felt her get lighter. I could see her go off in some imaginary land that I wanted to instantly be a part of.

Have you ever chased a dream – and then when you got there – it was not where you wanted to be?

As a young child, I found myself on a rare and exquisite trip to Jamaica with my family. This trip was my first taste of traveling abroad – the welcoming smiles of the Rastafarians, the liveliness of reggae music, and sliding down a waterfall in Dunn’s River Falls. This trip was also one of my last good memories of my father before his behavior became more unpredictable and violent due to his experience with schizophrenia.

How would you describe the color blue?
Really, please think about it for just a moment.

Did you think of the bright blue sky? The deep dark ocean? An electric blue neon sign? Someone’s sparkly eyes?

Does blue have a smell? A sound? A taste? A feel?

There are many different flavors of failure…

We fail because we are ahead of our time. We try something that the world is just not ready for, yet.

We fail because we did not have everything we needed (alignment in an organization, financial resources, the right skillset, etc.) to make it happen.

We fail because our goals changed.

Purpose is powerful. It inspires you. It drives you. It fulfills you.

Everywhere you look, there are messages reminding you to live with purpose. Shucks, I even talk about it. This is shucktacular if you are living your “purpose” or you use it as inspiration to experiment with new ideas or ways of being.

Why then, do some people feel like grit and go inside their shell when it comes to purpose?

When was the last time you shellabrated YOU? Really, really shellabrated you?

So many of us have been taught that sharing our accomplishments make us arrogant, conceited, or makes someone else feel small. This is such a shame because it encourages so many of us to dim our sparkly pearls.

What we focus on grows. If we are not talking about all the incredible things we have done in our life, they get diminished, or even worse, forgotten.

I love, love, love the spirit of the holidays. My nose is titillated smelling all the smells like fresh pine needles or cinnamon simmering on the stove. My eyes are dazzled with all the decorations and lights. My belly explodes, both in joy and size, with all the memorable meals and my favorite holiday treats. My heart overflows with gratitude knowing how blessed I am.

Years ago, I volunteered in the Philippines with children living on the streets doing informal education. Since we did not speak the same language there was a lot of dancing to Low by Flo Rida.

The song is especially important because it was that song that reminded me of my recent ex. The ex I was supposed to marry. The ex that dumped me the same week I was fired from my job all while my savings were slipping away in the recession.

There I was, ordering my Iced Venti Soy Chai at Starbucks. My eyes were like a hawk watching the barista make my drink every single day to ensure they were using soy milk. It was an intense time for me every morning. It took a lot of focus. I couldn’t smile at anyone, or even talk to those that I knew, in the off chance they were making my drink and I would miss them putting in, heaven forbid, milk!

Years ago, I was paralyzed making a HUGE decision in my life. I had been consulting in San Diego and traveling there for the past year and a half from Chicago. I had fallen in love with EVERYTHING San Diego – the beach, the biking, the slower pace, and so much more!

The project I was working on in San Diego came to a completion. The CIO said he no longer had the budget for me to be a consultant though he would love to take me on full time. The choice was to stay in Chicago as a consultant or take a corporate position San Diego.

Last week I lost my precious friend, Louis Amoroso, at the age of 45 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. The picture is at my 40th birthday party where he came not knowing a soul and leaving as friends with everyone.

Louis spent his life inspiring others so I thought it only fitting to share some of that with you in hopes he touches your heart too.

My secret goal for my book was 1000 copies. It felt so big and scary that I didn’t even tell a soul. Not one person. Not even myself.

Wait, what? You might be thinking how could she not even know her own dream? It happened.

I didn’t actually realize it was my goal until I got a book in the mail from a friend last week titled “Your First 1000 Copies”. When I saw the title, I had all sorts of feelings. It hit me. I wanted to get 1000 copies of Shuck This Way in the world.

I just wanted to be able to say I would like pepperoni pizza for dinner.

I wish I was joking. In 2013, I literally wanted to be able to tell someone what I wanted for dinner. On the surface it seemed relatively simple. Deep dish, I mean deep down, much more was happening. I myself wanted to know what I even wanted for dinner. I had spent my entire life trying to make other people happy. There is absolutely some beauty in that. The problem is, through the process, I lost my voice. It was time to find my voice and then use it!

“Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the mouth.” ~ Mike Tyson

2020 punched a lot of us in the mouth. It is what you do with the punch that matters the most.

Are you letting 2020 knock you down?

Are you letting 2020 take you out of the fight?

Or, are you using it to build resilience and strength to win at life?

In the spirit of the holidays, I had to share that I just received one of the BEST gifts I could have ever hoped for outside of the peace, love, happiness and health for all – pictures from my childhood!

During my parents’ divorce, my father took all of our pictures and in a strange way, it felt like my childhood been stolen from me. My memories. My innocence. My everything.

This week – 35 years later – I got my childhood back. I can see, and feel, the joy in my eyes. I can see, and feel, the bond between my mother, brother, and me. I can see, and feel, the love.