One Purpose

Every day is our first without my beautiful mother in law, my friend, my confidanteour mom, nana, wife, aunt and sister.  As a family, we will have a minimum of 365 firsts in the next year.  With every day being a new different for each of us… the same rang true with our Easter.  A day full of so much purpose… a day that reminds us that she is truly in a better place because He lives!  Yet a place that is removed from us for now.  Our family needed to get away.  We needed to escape the daily reminder that nothing will ever be the same.  The constant change of life was gripping our hearts and at times squeezing our purpose right out of us.  We have gone from a family of 6 to 5 just like that… 1/6 of our heart was no longer beating the way it had for so many precious years.

One purpose

3F8C2CB3-37F0-4126-9A34-63EBA429D5B8We set off for Canada.  A bucket list moment for the kids was to see Niagara Falls and we were determined to make it happen.  They have seen some of the world’s most beautiful sights and this was one yet to be seen by them.  My father in law was on board.  An immediate “yes” was his response to our curve ball of a holiday plan.  He may be one of the strongest people I know.  The love of his life gone after 50 years.  Twenty-four hours/seven days a week simply different.  Yet his focus stays the same.

One purpose

We arrived.  Pictures were being snapped by the second.  We were all thinking the same thing, but no one spoke of it.  We smiled.  We created new moments.  We shopped, turning to tell her to look, but she wasn’t there.  We ordered drinks wanting to ask for her favorite, but didn’t or couldn’t.  I watched my father in law settle in to his first trip away… without her.  I watched my husband make the best of every moment given without his mom.  In a far off distance, I heard a child say, ” Nana, look!” and I prayed my own family didn’t hear the reminder of the absence we were all feeling to our core.

Then it happened.  Trent, my 15 year old son and sparkle of Nana’s eye, decided he would join me for a trip to the spa…. something I would have done with mom and was about to do alone.   We arrived and were greeted by the kindest woman.  She immediately took us under her wing to this new found “a la carte” spa treatment.  She noticed Trent’s age and let us know he typically would not be allowed to join me, but that she felt he was mature and was welcome.  She handed each of us an oxygen canulla and told us to insert it in our nose and drape behind our ears.  We were about to refresh ourselves with this gift of oxygen… rejuvenation.  Trent and I looked at one another, and proceeded as if we were speaking the same language.  In that moment, this woman had no idea that mom/nana was on oxygen for the last year of her life as she battled the deadly disease of lung cancer and lost.  She had no idea that mom hated oxygen and loved it all at the same time.  The same way we felt in that moment.  We were taken aback, yet found comfort.  The hum of the concentrator.  Mom was right there… exposing us to an anxiety that neither of us were prepared for, yet embraced.  Nana found a way to get him in the spa to be with me… something so like her to do!

One purpose 

Easter arrived.  I decided to stop at Starbucks before we left the hotel.  I opened my wallet and saw my gift-card from a special friend, Tamara Letter.  A dear friend whom I never met in person, but one I hold dear to my heart (My PLF).  One that reached out to me when mom had passed away to tell me I needed to take a moment for myself and when I was ready she would buy me a coffee to sit and reflect.  So I did.  I reached in and pulled out that card… and I smiled. #kindness

We packed into the car and headed for home.  No Easter “best dressed” this year.  No ham in the oven.  We were in our comfy clothes made for traveling.  Our meal would come at a rest stop or random restaurant with an OPEN sign lit.  Yet, we did have one constant.  A bond that defines our family.   We were all thinking of the same person… and smiling.  Mom loved Easter.  It was a time in the year she knew the birds would start to sing, the flowers would start to bloom, and the breath of life would shine down in the warmth of the sun.  With winter on it’s way out, you would catch her smile grow… a little wider and a little brighter.  She would find balance again.  We drove home with the sun shining down on us.  We reminisced about the beautiful moments…. the new memories we created.   We smiled.  Dad reminded us all that the one thing we cannot stop is change.  Profound connection between my family life and my passion for teaching.

One purpose

Mom’s purpose redefined over the years from daughter and sister to wife and mother.  The one purpose that she held above all was creating joy for others, especially her precious grandchildren Trent and Jack.  She could do this with one simple action.. her smile!  Our family created joy together this Easter.  With her, without her, and always through her.  The kind that radiated from her.  Her legacy lives on in each of us.

1E10DF39-AFEF-48D9-8999-A7359182D44C
Nana and her boys Easter 2016

 

One purpose

creating joy!

#ThatSmile 

 

#OneWord2018 pure “GOODNESS”

I’ve been pondering my #OneWord for 2018 over the last few days.  Many words have spun through my mind, but yesterday I actually experienced one that spoke to me.

Pure “goodness” is what I witnessed as we drove home from the mountains in the frigid cold of winter.

A bitter day.  A mere heat burst had just come through and lifted us up to 9 degrees.  Not the type of weather you want to be out in.

As we sat in our cozy warm truck we thought nothing of the hours of driving ahead.  Never once did we think we would need anyone but ourselves to make this simple journey home… one that has been driven countless times.

Never once did we think we would need to rely on goodness in this world.  In a society that lives with such fear and ugliness.

Do you worry?  Do you fear harm coming your way… often wondering if pure goodness still walks the earth.  I am not a natural worrier, but I do have others in my life that are… that find it difficult to trust, especially once they are scarred by fear.

I live in the moment.  Generally not worrying about what lies ahead.

I believe in good. 

The moral compass of goodness.36189A6D-24D9-4235-ADF3-DEAF074039D3.jpeg

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the world is not filled with kindness and those paying it forward.  But as much as I feel goodness is a lot like acts of kindness, I do see a difference.  As I create and instill this value with my students, these random acts can be calculated and in the safety of our own terms and conditions.  Yes, they are amazing and wonderful and need to happen… even if we have to create the opportunity ourselves.  However,  I feel goodness spontaneously spills over in a moment… not necessarily a choice but rather a “moral or value” to live by.

goodness (ˈɡʊdnɪs)
n
1. the state or quality of being good
2. generosity; kindness
3. moral excellence; piety; virtue

Pure goodness is what I felt yesterday… moral excellence in another person.

As we drove down the highway, our check engine light came on and we had to pull over.  Just as we came to a stop, we put our hazards on warning others of our situation.  That’s when I witnessed goodness… a vehicle pulled up behind us without hesitation.  Let’s face it, most people drive right by those in need… most likely assuming everyone travels with a phone these days and the chance of something bad happening overpowers the good.

We were lucky enough to not need assistance so we waved him along.  He waved back and off he went down the highway.  Pure Goodness rang through me.  I had warmth in my soul.  It felt to me to be beyond a random act of kindness.  To me it felt that the traveler lived in the moment of goodness… the right thing to do… so pure. 

This moment stayed with me for the rest of the ride.  I never actually met the person, nor did he physically do anything to impact me, but his goodness had a lasting effect.  The kind that changes the world.  The kind that changes it for the better!

So I choose GOODNESS… PURE GOODNESS!  I want to be able to give another person that same rekindled spirit and belief that there is goodness in the world.  I want to act on what I believe and not live in fear of what the world has shown us through the lens of destruction.  I myself have been a part of that destruction on a smaller scale.  Maybe not news worthy, but so not okay nontheless.  Oh, I mess up… life gets tricky.  I have chosen a less admirable path over time… truth.  I make no excuses.  I own it.  Now, I am empowered… with a better choice.  I will take this opportunity and I will own it! 

As Pirate leaders and teachers, we refer back to a compass quite often as we steer learning and leading within our districts and communities. Having my compass continuously point to good is so challenging when I am faced with negativity and unkind words.  It is so crippling to have others choose negativity towards my actions of an open mindset.  A mindset I have been blessed with through the actions of George Couros, the author and speaker that is changing the face of education with an educational best seller “Innovator’s Mindset”.

This year my compass will point to goodness.   The pure kind to which my actions will live in every moment.  I won’t overthink the reaction.  I will not fear the negative closed mindset of individuals too afraid to create positive change.  I will not fear being disliked.  I will not fear being called out by closed mindsets.  So go ahead… 

Call me out…

because I will become the good!  Compass set… I will strive for pure goodness!

 

 for more #EMPOWERING music CLICK HERE

00714AF4-BC12-453A-BE8D-6BB3A01E516E