Tag Archives: Gratitude

My Messes Are My Message (and the New WOW)

To live in harmony, I’ve had to make peace with the messes in my life.  Yes, I’ve looked at them through the lens of bitterness and victim-hood, which did not serve my hope for a happy future.

Instead, I have chosen to see messes through the lens of gratitude and a believe that a Divine thread has woven them into the blessings that sculpted the person I am today.

So, as I shared with my fellow Toastmasters in my first speech this past week: There are three primary MESSES in my life that have made me who I am.

No one wants to ride the seesaw with a 100 pound kindergartner.  Yes, you heard correctly.

Born a month too soon in 1963, Sal and Bette Costello weren’t sure I was going to make it!  Hooked to tubes in an isolated area, four-pound me needed to reach five pounds to finally go home with mom and dad.  When finally released, the need to feed was never a problem again.  Getting me to STOP was.

…and there I was in kindergarten, 100 pounds.  Twice the size of most of my classmates, I had to have special clothes and shoes made for me; I couldn’t run (without peeing my self) – but my mess became my message.  I learned that what I could create between my two ears and come out of my mouth could build the bridges that my lack of looks couldn’t.

This mess birthed in me an empathy for the underdog; a sensitivity to those whose feelings might be hurt. It’s a mess that made me.

For mess #2, we must fast forward to age ten. My mother had long ago put me on a diet, so my weight was no longer an issue.  I was in 5th grade, just starting to discover boys…and I was particularly excited for the annual roller skating party where I knew that Aldo Falasca would be and who I hoped would invite me to a couples’ skate.

We whirled around the rink, girls giggling and boys showing off…and I heard my name called over the loudspeaker.  Had I won a door prize?  I excitedly skated to the office and saw Mr. Coccaro, a friend of the family, with a somber look on his face.

I knew something very bad had happened.

Before a word was said, I blurted, “Was it Mommy?” He shook his head. “Daddy?””

He nodded.

At the very age I am today, one fatal heart attack stole him from our little family and with it, robbed me of so much security.

But eventually, my mess became my message.  We all suffer loss in life – mine just occurred earlier than most.  And what it taught me is to never take someone you love for granted, because their tomorrows – and yours – are not promised.  Oh, I’d give anything to have that stolen time with my dad back, but what a valuable lesson to learn:

That love and gratitude reside in your heart to be expressed…and that if you live a life of love, you live a life with no regrets.

My third mess was the heartbreak of being single when everyone else was married.

My sister was married at age 20, and I had lived through ALL of my twenties and most of my 30’s with NO Mr. Right (and truthfully, very few dates.) I had, however, been in almost ten weddings (to my chagrin) and well-meaning friends encouraged me that, “When you least expect it…”

Ha!  I went to every outing – including the grocery store or hopeful visits to Home Depot expecting…and expecting…and expecting.  Nothing materialized.

Fortunately, I had a full life filled with friends and family and challenging work.  In fact, in 2001 I was writing an annual report for the local government.

Printing companies from around the region competed in a bidding process to win the job and, once awarded, the vendor called to arrange a meeting.

“Oh, it’s not even ready yet.  When it is, I’ll call YOU.”

The printing rep called again in a few weeks and by this time, under pressure to meet my deadline I responded with more agitation:  “I will call YOU when it’s ready; please don’t call me again.”

You know how you create a mental image of a person you talk to on the phone?  This guy was to me Danny Devito from Taxi.  Short, gruff, tubby and probably with a cigar sticking out of the side of his mouth.  I was not impressed.

Then the day came for the file to be picked up.  And this was NOT Danny DeVito.

No, this was more like Tom Selleck from Magnum PI.

I couldn’t find my powers of speech.  I fumbled to act professionally, while searching that left hand to see if it was adorned with a ring.

When I least expected it…

…three months later we were engaged.

Fourteen  years later, I am still in love with that printing salesman.

My mess is my message: If it is in your heart, it is your destiny.  Don’t waste time being sad because what you desire WILL eventually come to you, because I believe with all of my heart that desires are planted there to be fulfilled.

It’s the waiting, though, that makes you grateful when the dream is finally fulfilled.

In closing, is there something that might be a mess in your life today.  Hold on, my friends. It could actually end up being your message.

And that’s how I ended my speech!  Thanks for letting me share it with you, and I do believe that making peace with your past and seeing through the lens of gratitude makes for a much more HARMONIOUS life.

Drum roll please for the new Word of the Week!:

Ah, WISDOM!

The scriptures say if we ask for it, we will receive it liberally.  Here’s to huge doses of it for all of us this week!

xoxoxoxoxo

Brenda

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A Merry WOW to End the Year!

Merry Christmas!  (Or whatever you celebrate, I hope it is super merry!)

It occurs to me that we don’t use the work merry enough in regular life.  It tends to pop up only around Christmas.  But I think I want it to be MY word year-round.

Yes!  Extra doses of MERRY all year – for ALL of us!!!

Since I was headed to PA for a work trip, I knew I would have the pleasure of staying at what I affectionately call “Kamp Kantor.”

I’ve written about my dear friends, the Kantors, many times before.  Back in 1994 we became next door neighbors.  As 2017 approaches, we are not just the best of friends, but are family to each other.

It was a week of sleeping around! I was also able to spend one night at my sister’s home in Ventnor, NJ.

Both the Kantors and the DiBaccos have beautiful homes, but what makes them both my favorite places on earth (aside from my own home) are how filled they are with LOVE.

I found myself thinking throughout my whirlwind trip, “What did I ever do to deserve this kind of love?” 

And the answer is even better: Nothing.  Because this is the kind of love that is truly without conditions.

If I’m at my best or at my worst; through thick (or thin – literally), these people LOVE me.

And isn’t that the best present of all?

It was in my heart to ask my camera-shy friend Renee to assist me with the new Word of the Week to end 2016.  After all, she is the one that introduced me to her Angel Cards many years ago – and I was thrilled that she agreed.

The video is a little dark and the audio a little light, but turn your speakers up because the word my dear friend picked COULDN’T BE MORE PERFECT to end a year and start another:

My wish for all of you is that you snuggled up somewhere with someone you love (even if it is a furry, four-legged friend) and that you are so busy counting your blessings that you can’t even remember the things that didn’t go your way this year.

(I mean, counting your sorrows?  What good did THAT ever do anyone?)

Someone once suggested that to start a new year, make a practice of keeping a blessings jar.  Every time you have a blessing, write it down…and at the end of the year, go through them all.

I didn’t do that this year.  But my heart is full.

My cup runneth over.

I have a VISION for 2017, and it is lavish, abundant, joyous, FREE and happy.

What’s yours?

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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A Season for Gratitude (and the New WOW)

I’m grateful.  And gratitude is my (and our superpower.)

In a week when so many people were up in arms (on both sides of the political fence) I was reminded of my puppy dog…my husband…my family…my friends…my job…my health…my home…the sun…the bright moon…the taste of strong coffee…the pleasures of a good book…my three years of sobriety…and oh, the list goes on.

This is not to deny anyone’s right to be angry or upset.  It’s just that in this brief experience called life, I want to drink in and exhale joy.

There have been many times in my life when I have felt real despair. But the sun has eventually shined once again and when I look over my shoulder, I realize with gratitude that what didn’t kill me made me stronger.  And more empathetic.  And kinder.

And that’s what I want.  To be better, not bitter.

Which is why I was so delighted to receive this week’s new WOW:

com·pas·sion
kəmˈpaSHən/
noun
noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions
  1. sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
    synonyms: pity, sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth,love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity

    “have you no compassion for a fellow human being?”
    antonyms: indifference, cruelty

    This week, try a little tenderness.  With others…and with yourself.

    And count your blessings.  It will comfort your heart.

    xoxoxoxo

    Brenda

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A Fabulous Man: The Contented Markeith Price

My grumbles of discontent were stopped in their tracks this week as I encountered a very contented man who simultaneously maintains a champion’s internal fire to win.

My discontent was simply a product of VERY long days spent on my feet and a week away from my husband and puppy dog. Don’t get me wrong – my week at a work-related trade show was a thrilling success, but my body is used to being comfortably ensconced at my desk for hours on end.

I LOVED the ability to connect with our clients and make new connections (but even the ugliest shoes built for comfort were no match for a hard convention floor.)

Then I met Markeith Price.

Mind you, I had talked to him previously; he is one of the athletes who uses our product. His story is even more compelling because he participates in the Paralympics as a visually impaired track and field athlete, who just happens to own four US records and will be headed to Rio to represent our country in August.

Somehow a few e-mails and phone conversations didn’t convey fully who I was about to encounter.

When I received the call that he had arrived at the registration desk, I trudged the LONG length of the convention floor and up two flights to meet him.

I could tell who he was right away, wearing a US Team track suit and the presence of a champion. After I shook his hand and welcomed him, he said, “Lead the way…” and at that point he whipped out his cane to ensure the walk would be stumble free.

Because he carried himself with such confidence and had such physical beauty, it was almost a disconnect to see him walking with a cane. Or when seated at the autograph table, for him to put his cell phone one inch from his face so he could tweet and invite people to come and see him at Booth #2087.

Markeith at table

I had the chance to interview him later in the day, and he is one grateful guy. (Yes, gratitude is the bridge back to contentment, isn’t it?) Instead of grumbling about the condition that progressively stole his eyesight, he found his passion, his calling, his joy and has never looked back from pursuing his dreams.

I asked him, “How do you do it?”

Simply put, “I hear the gun and I GO.”

Boy does he go.  He flies!  It’s a ballet of speed and grace; a thing of beauty to watch.

He has made peace with the physical challenge he must live with but never has let it stop him from running toward his dreams.

I see a gold medal in Rio in his future.  He sees it too, though not with his eyes.

Markeith in color and ring

And I?  Found the spring in my step again, thanks to Markeith.

Here are my parting thoughts on CONTENTMENT and the unveiling of another word that embodies Markeith…

May we find our second wind this week and draw from the well of resources that are unseen (just like those extra miles available even when your tank is on E.)

Take the time to refresh your body so that it can catch up to the infinite wellspring contained in your spirit.

Have a beautiful week, everyone –

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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