Life is a preparation…

Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.

~Albert Einstein

This week, focus on not only planning your week, but also being present and aware of the little opportunities for spontaneity that arise as you execute your plans. (from my Passion Planner)

’nuff said…

YOLO!

~Jan

Farm Wedding…

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires, will come to you….

We attended the beautiful wedding of a long-time family friend this weekend. It was a joy filled, international event at a lovely TN farm location. Guests were from USA, Germany and Brazil! Somehow I missed taking pictures in the garden…sorry about that.

Congratulations to Patrick & Denis!

Memorial Day 2015

Middle TN Veterans Cemetery

Middle TN Veterans Cemetery, May 24, 2015

Growing up as the daughter of a career US Army Officer…military holidays were marked with much pomp and circumstance. Depending on the event there would be parades, ceremonies, wreath laying, reading of names, the playing of taps, demonstrations by the soldiers, flyovers, military band concerts, etc. We always were immersed in the true meaning of the holiday. I thought everyone lived that way.

As an adult living in the civilian world, I find that it’s easy for us to “forget” why we have this long weekend. We are bombarded with retail sales events, as the unofficial start to summer – people head to the beach or the lake, there are many outdoor family gatherings and BBQ’s. We need to be intentional about remembering and honoring the reason for this extra day off.

Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring those who died for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America. I hope each and every American will pause and reflect on this at some point today. And be grateful.

My husband and I drove out to the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery yesterday. It’s a beautiful, serene setting in the rolling hills of TN. We happened to arrive while a Memorial Day Ceremony was happening at the main buildings. We drove through the cemetery in peace and quiet, marveling at the beauty of the American flags adorning each and every grave. The main thoroughfare had larger flags waving in the breeze. It was a beautiful, yet somber sight. Families were visiting individual graves. Some of those graves are fresh. The reason for the holiday was abundantly clear. Some gave all. Some didn’t come home.

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It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.   ~ General George S. Patton

May God Bless America!

YOLO!

-Jan

Luke 2:19 “but Mary kept all these things in her heart…”

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image from 4catholiceducators.com

In my Bible study this morning, as I was reading through the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, chapter 2, I was struck by verse 19:

“…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” ~Luke 2:19b NLT

And then again by verse 51:

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” ~Luke 2:51b NLT

My role as a mother has changed as my children have grown into adulthood; however, my concerns and love for them has only deepened through the years…if that’s even possible.

I’ve always prayed for and over my children; for their health, well-being and happiness, for them to grow up strong and confident, for them to be righteous, honest, people of integrity, contributing members of society, for them to realize God’s purpose for their lives, for them to lean on their faith in times of difficulty or trouble and to be grateful in the good times, for them to know that I love them unconditionally and so much more.

So much I have stored and pondered in my heart. So much I will continue to store and ponder in my heart.

So much like Mary.

God has instructed us to pray; I believe this “storing and pondering” is prayer. I love that prayer is my touchstone and conversation with God. And one of the most important jobs I have as a mother.

I’m thankful that while my children are grown and discovering all that life has in store for them, I can continue to pray over them…even though it’s no longer at their bedside each night. It’s my gift as their mother.

YOLO!

Jan

New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.

tree_jeep

 

New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…

YOLO!

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Coffee Date…

One of my favorite things is to have a good cup of coffee and visit with friends & family. It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down (you can’t drink hot coffee quickly) and be present, in the moment, sharing all the good in our lives.

I’d love to have a virtual cup of coffee with you! Venti pumpkin spice latte’s (with an extra shot) are my favorite fall splurge. The cost of one pumpkin spice latte (approx $4.86) will provide 18 MEALS for AT-RISK CHILDREN! Just 27 cents will provide a nutritious meal for a hungry child.

Our church – Highland Park Church is sponsoring a Feed the Hunger Pack-a-Thon on October 17th and 18th. Our goal is to pack 60,000 meals; half of the meals packed are being designated for FREM orphanage in Haiti…8 members of our church visited them last spring and discovered that they currently receive ZERO outside support and they were praying for food. HPC Haiti Relief was born.

Here’s where you come in…we NEED donations to meet our goal of 60,000 meals!

We need donations IMMEDIATELY! 

Will you please meet me for a virtual coffee date and buy me my favorite fall splurge – or two – or even three?! My life, and  most importantly, the lives of the children at FREM, will be enriched and blessed by YOUR generosity!

Donations are easy peasy: go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fthdonate and donate with credit card or pay pal. Scroll down and select “Nashville Pack-a-Thon” as the special purpose to designate the funds.

I’ve already bought YOUR cup of coffee…will you please buy me one?

Haiti Relief Bucket Cover

Blessings to you!

Yolo!

Jan

Vision…

As humans, we hunger for a vision. If we are unable to create a compelling vision for ourselves, we will latch on to someone else’s vision. With no vision for our future, ours or someone elses’s, we extinguish our powerful internal fire.

The GOOD news? You can re-ignite it at ANY time.

~Ray Higdon

Happy Birthday, Florence Nightingale!

As a nurse, Florence Nightingale is a very important part of the history of my profession.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing was born on May 12, 1820. Her most famous contributions came during the Crimean War; by improving sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, she played a major role in reducing the death rate of wounded soldiers from 50% to 2%. She became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for making her nightly rounds tending to the wounded.

Here’s an interesting video I found on youtube – “Who was Florence Nightingale?”

And then I found this rare recording of the voice of Florence Nightingale.

I am amazed and astounded by the strength of this woman. Lives saved. History changed. Medicine and nursing forever improved.

Happy Birthday, Florence! Your legacy lives on…your lamp is still shining brightly!

-J

Mother’s Day…

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Mom & I with our buddy Jack!

It’s Mother’s Day afternoon and I’ve enjoyed a beautiful day already: mother/daughter night at the ballet last week, church today, brunch at our favorite after-church-breakfast spot (free box of candy for all Mom’s – too bad I’m not eating sugar…my office will benefit tomorrow!), sweet texts from family & friends near and far, phone call with MIL, a tear-jerking, heart tugging, loving email from my son who is traveling and plans for dinner cooked by hubby, daughter & SIL! My life is full of love indeed.

I’m so very grateful for my mother, who among many other things, raised me to love God; to be kind towards others & treat others as I would want them to treat me; to be a woman of integrity; to serve others; and she instilled in me her love of travel, big cities and sandy beaches! I hope that when I grow up I can be a small measure of the woman my mother is! I love you Mom!!

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson proclaiming Mother’s Day a national celebration in the United States, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes.

  • “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning
  • “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.” ~Robert Brault
  • “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.” ~Lionel Kauffman
  • “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” ~Irish Proverb
  • “Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” ~Marilyn Penland
  • “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” ~Chinese Proverb
  • “A Mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep
  • “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.” ~Lisa Alther
  • “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” ~Rudyard Kipling

I am a mother only because God chose to give me the blessing of raising two beautiful children. I truly believe that is my main purpose in this dance called life. I am learning as I enter this next phase of motherhood…as my children are grown and living out their life’s purpose…that while the role of being their mother changes…the love I have for them only deepens. I can only imagine the love my mother feels for me and my siblings. Wow!

Blessings to all the Mom’s out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

YOLO,

Jan

 

 

First quarter of 2014 is in the books…

How did you do with your first quarter goals? As we begin the 2nd quarter of 2014, it is important to do a review of your accomplishmentsImage (or lack thereof) in the 1st quarter of the year; are you progressing towards your annual goals?

Historically, I set annual goals at the beginning of the year and like a lot of people I often fell short, even forgetting what my original goals were. Both personal and professional. It becomes too easy to just “wing it”…and at the end of the year you/I am often wondering…where did the time go??

Working at Keller Williams, years ago, I learned the value of setting annual goals broken down into monthly goals and further broken down into weekly goals. . This system, called the 4-1-1 (4 weeks, 1 month, 1 year) is one of the best systems I’ve used for keeping my focus on the big picture – my annual goals.

This year, I’ve added in a quarterly review; businesses (and a lot of schools) operate on quarters and this timeframe just makes sense to me. While this is still short term, it is a bigger chunk of time than the monthly review and gives me a slightly bigger picture of where I am on the road to my ultimate destination – my annual goals. I find it also holds me accountable so I don’t lose track of time and procrastinate thinking “I’ve got 9 months left to accomplish that”. The older I get the quicker time seems to fly by; I’m realizing the value of using this goal review period as a management tool of my time. Let me rephrase that…as a management tool of my LIFE!

You’ve heard it before: Plan – Do – Review – Adjust….repeat…

This would be a REVIEW session:

Don’t forget to WRITE IT ALL DOWN!

  1. Review. Look back at the past 3 months. What did you accomplish? Did you progress toward your goals? What did you do to work towards your goals? What worked and what didn’t?
  2. Evaluate. How can you change things to improve progress? Do you need to bring yourself back on track? Are you happy with your progress and just need to stay the course?
  3. Re-prioritize or verify your priorities.  Make your main focus the MAIN focus for the next 3 months. It’s ok to defer appropriate items to later in the year. Just make sure they are part of your next quarterly review.

Going through this process will help you REFOCUS! Remember – just like your mother used to tell you – you can do anything you want and DECIDE to do! It will require action to make it happen. A goal without action is just a plan. You will never reach your goals without action.

This part is especially true for me: Get out of your own way. Take the actions that are necessary so your dreams can come true! Live with the spirit of YOLO!

YOLO!

-Jan