Tag Archives: Birthdays

Little Things and a BIG Life

My friend Roseann has said for years that it’s the little things, like sharing dinner at the table with her husband, Mike, that make her life rich.

This view of life never resonated with me. For 14 years, I ate by myself on the couch while we each “did our own thing.”

I became the queen of the grand gesture.

The trip to Normandy…the lavish birthday parties…the Tag Heuer watch.

To me, it was a “go big or go home” approach to life.  Little?  Ha!  That’s for losers.

Now that I look through the lens of lessons learned, I see that my grand gestures were desperate attempts to bring meaning and satisfaction to a life lacking in what mattered most.

Tenderness. Connection. Laughter.

My grand (and expensive) strokes were also my stabs and finally doing the great, big thing that would make my life WORK.  

Do you remember when old cars took some work to “turn over” on a cold winter morning?  You’d turn the key and pump the gas; the car gasping for life…

…yes, that’s how I see many of the years in my rear view window.

This is not a post about regret, however!  No, no, no!  This is a post about finally seeing the light!

It’s about really and truly and finally understanding that no external thing could fix something wrong on the INSIDE.

That no grand or lavish gesture can evoke love that isn’t there already.  And that nothing you do can make other people happy if they choose to be miserable.

And most of all, if you are not happy, no one else and nothing else can make your motor run.

Finding peace within my heart and falling in love with ME has changed everything.

I beat this drum with everyone now, and I’m sure it is a bit annoying.

But can you really say that you’ve settled into a full-blown love affair with yourself?

Can you boldly say, “I’m wonderful!”

When you think of yourself, is it with the tenderness that you would offer an innocent baby?

This seismic shift changed everything for me.  It took a trek to Costa Rica and a visit with a shaman to get there, but man was it worth the journey.

Now friends, you don’t have to go to Costa Rica or take a psycho-spiritual journey to get there, but whatever it takes, please get there!

Oh please forgive yourself!  Oh please stop regretting the past!  Oh please…because life is too short to put a band-aid on and we were never meant to be the walking wounded.

How tragic to get to the end of our days (and gee, we don’t know if that will be TOMORROW!) and consider that we wasted it all being unhappy and that unhappiness served NO purpose.

And how tragic to numb ourselves or empty our bank accounts in the attempt to compensate for a broken heart we never forgave.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of picking up Shasta for a play date.  Mark and I wandered around until we ran into an arts and crafts festival.  We meandered hand in hand.  I bought a cheap anklet, we sampled kettle corn and Shasta was loved on by every passerby.

And I said to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

Louie Armstrong, I get it!  Roseann, I get it!

In a lifetime of talk about having an expansive life, I realize just how BIG little is.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE sniffing the air at any Ritz-Carlton.  I plan to visit Greece and publish a few books.  And birthdays?  Puh-leeze!  I love an excuse to party plan!

But those things will all be the icing on a cake that is sweet already.  And I wish the same for you, too.

Here are my closing thoughts on EXPANSIVENESS and a brand-new, never before received Word of the Weeks!

It’s a week to speak up!  (And to listen…)

May these last two weeks of February bring riches to your heart.

Love, love, love –

Brenda

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Faith Works by Love (and the New Wow)

What I had faith for was that I should go to sleep and wake up when this birthday was over.

To look at the circumstances (which is never a great idea when it comes to faith), my life was in flux, my marriage over and the future uncertain.

Uncertainty, by the way, is the #1 culprit of fear…and since faith works by love, well you know where this story is heading…

…except I was love-bombed.

With each gesture of love, like a flat tire being inflated, so were my spirits.

First, a pre-birthday card from my mom, with a $10 bill to “go buy ice cream.” Thursday was like Christmas – every hour I got a call from the lobby desk saying, “We have a package for you, Ms. Viola…”

There are so many flowers in my apartment right now, I feel like Miss America, not Ms. Viola!  (Thank you Renee and Steve and Roseann and Mike).

Cynthia is NOT a card person.  But she knows that I am and she sent three awesome cards – two laugh out loud funny ones, and another tender one that prompted liquid to spill out of my eyes.

OK, I need to share this one with you:

Then Linda sent me a card that touched me so deeply I have to share the words with you:

THE OAK TREE

A might wind blew night and day

It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,

Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark

Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground

While other trees fell all around

The weary wind gave up and spoke,

“How can you still be standing, Oak?”

The oak tree said, “I know that you

Can break each branch of mine in two,

Carry every leaf away

Shake my limbs and make me sway.

But I have roots stretched in the earth,

Growing stronger since my birth.

You’ll never touch them, for you see,

They are the deepest part of me.

Until today I wasn’t sure

Of just how much I could endure

But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,

I’m stronger than I ever knew.


I am writing this on Thursday night because another present is arriving.  My friend Anita hopped on a plane today and she will be here with me all weekend.  Vats of coffee, endless conversations, laughter and some tears comprise the agenda. And some Face-time with the rest of the Fab Four throughout our time together.

I am blessed.  I am rich.  I am not alone.  I have faith for tomorrow.

Love wove a miracle, stitched my broken heart together and has given me the best birthday of my life.

Who’d have thunk it?

Prior to being love-bombed, I faced another form of faith that attempted to suck the wind out of my sails.  Here’s more on that and the new WOW:

Never, ever, ever have I picked the word BEAUTY.

What a lovely word to begin a brand new year of my life.

Thank you for sharing it with me.

I love you –

Brenda

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