Love can be tough and blind

addiction, health & wellness, holidays, thoughts for living, Trends, Uncategorized

m-scott-peck

Love is blind. This is somewhat true, but more realistically people can be blind to love, especially when others make a tough decision to step back to allow the natural order of things to occur.

Families oftentimes are placed in double (love) blind experiences when they are trying to find their way in helping someone recover from a drug addiction. The first function of a family is to support its children in learning skills, morals, and values. When addiction strikes a family member, normal approaches to building a thriving family unit can be affected. Oftentimes, a family member’s addiction will drive the individual to decisions which do not fall within the societal norms of morals or values.

Unknowingly, non addicted family members can be caught up in a perpetuation of fueling the addiction through co-dependent choices. A family member needs a ride somewhere and what caring family member wouldn’t give one? Or can they borrow a few bucks until they get paid? Saying no to simple requests seems petty and punitive. But within the illness of addiction, keeping the affected individual comfortable may literally be “loving them to death.”  People are only as sick as their own and other people’s secrets, and addiction is sneaky and secretive. People don’t know what they don’t know.

Before families realize what is happening, the constant conflict and anxiety created by addiction, has begun to break down the family unit. Substance abuse is a leading reason married couples seek divorces. When a child is the one suffering from addiction, families frequently cope with a degree of grief and anguish that only other families battling life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, can understand.

Consequently, all family members become blind to love. Underneath the person suffering from addiction is the valuable human being God created. But the manipulation and deceit of addiction destroys trust. In periods of sobriety, the restored family member resurfaces and others within the family welcome them but are confused themselves as to how they can so harshly judge a relative.

tough-loveEventually, family members may begin to see that trying to fix the consequences for their loved one’s addiction is making it worse for them and the addict. Yet, it is scary to relinquish control. The illusion for the non addict family member is they make better decisions because they are sober. However, if  consequences of some bad choices aren’t allowed to be experienced by an addict, then no motivation exists to change.

Addiction can and does kill and it can’t be cured. But it can be managed. Just as a family wouldn’t treat a loved one’s cancer, family’s ought not endeavor to manage another’s addiction. Working with professionals is as important for the family members who don’t suffer from addiction as it is for those with the illness.

When a family suffers from an illness, love is tough. Tough love may be the highest form of love one can offer another.

And when a family sees this, then addiction can no longer blind people to love.

 

 

 

The world’s greatest personality

holidays, meditation, thoughts for living, Uncategorized

131213172520-09-face-of-jesus-horizontal-large-galleryWith Christmas around the corner this 1955 piece by  Howard E. Kershner  (b.1892-d.1990) seems a fitting tribute to the reason for the season.

Published through the now defunct Christian Freedom Foundation, Kershner, who founded the organization, was a conservative economist with a liberal Quaker service devotion to advocating for the needs of children worldwide.

Nothing in all history has ever held such fascination for mankind as the personality of Jesus Christ. The following lines from an old hymn learned at my mother’s knee long ago, express something of the longing that is felt by young and old alike throughout Christendom:

“I think when I read the sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men,
How he called little children as lambs to his fold,
I should like to have been with him then.

Oh that his hands had been laid on my head
that his arms had been thrown around me,
that I might have seen his kind look when he said,
let the little ones come unto me.”

What manner of man was He who so captured the imagination of all who came to know Him as to hold them in willing lifetime servitude? That He must have had an irresistible personality is evident from the record.

“He saw two brethren, Peter and Andrew casting a net into the sa and He called to them,  “Follow me…And they straightway left their nets, and followed him,” Matthew 4:19,20.

“A little later he saw two other brethren, James and John. They were in a ship with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets. He spoke to them, “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” Matthew 4:22.

These men did not ask for credentials and references. They did not inquire about where Jesus had been educated, what degrees He held, or what positions of responsibility He had filled. There was something so luminous and convincing about His personality as to make lesser things seem unimportant.

There was no discussion, no asking of questions or imposing of conditions; no requests for time to think it over, no question of wages, rewards, or fringe benefits; but under the fascination created by the personality of the Son of God, “…They straightway left their nets, and followed him.” “…They immediately left the ship and their father and followed him.”

Here was a man who “…taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:29. “Never man spake like this man.” John 7:46.

Jesus wrought the greatest revolution in the history of mankind. He changed being good from a duty, to a pleasure; He wrote the moral law into the human heart and caused it to be observed, not from fear of punishment, but because man felt that way inside.

Here was a man who proved that love was stronger than hate; that the desire to serve could be stronger than the desire for prestige, power or gain. Not that He disapproved of diligence, or success in business, for He approved of both; but He did not want men to ignore eternal values.

One who gets even a little inkling of the personality of Jesus, will never be happy with lesser things. He will be haunted all the days of his life by that ideal and will be unhappy unless continually striving to live in accordance with it.

In tribute to Jesus Christ men toiled for centuries throughout the Middle Ages erecting great temples to honor Him. His personality inspired artists to their best efforts. The greatest music was composed and sung in His honor. Men and women whom the world recognized as Saints were those who succeeded best in their efforts to live lives similar to His.

Men’s hope of conquering poverty and achieving peace, center in Him. Those who have served Him best have made the most progress toward achieving something on this earth which might be said to resemble, in some degree, at least, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Before we close, something should be said in tribute to the four men mentioned above, who straightway left all and followed Him. If all who name His name would so respond with such immediate and complete dedication, this world might quickly be transformed from  a place of much suffering and terror to one of harmony, peace, security, and joy.

 

Which immigrants are responsible for you being an American?

creative non fiction, holidays, Iowa life, Marriage, Social Trends, thoughts for living

Mary Christine Fredvorst gave up her first-born son to foster parents.  An orphan herself, Mary Christine was surviving as a Goose Girl, sleeping in the barns and sheds of the families for whom she herded.  Whether it was a traumatic or romantic encounter that resulted in her son, as a single, young mother her capacity for supporting herself and child was non-existent in mid-1800 Germany.

Mary Christine had no formal education, but she did possess an abundance of wits and wisdom about her future in Mecklinburg, Germany. And so did John Schwarck. A  decade older than Mary Christine, John was a skilled cabinetmaker. As a betrothal gift, he offered her a Bible with her initials in gold on the cover.

A set of triplets was their first experience with parenthood as newlyweds in 1856. But one of them was buried shortly after his birth. With the entrenched Germanic feudal system, the Schwarck’s outlook for prosperity was bleak. The couple knew their children’s future would be even darker in their homeland.

baltic shorelineAs beautiful as the Baltic sea shoreline was, a feast for the eyes is not going to fill the stomachs of a family of four…

This is one of the snapshots of my family history, embellished (slightly, as you will see later) by me.

If you have a family member who has been the oral historian, I hope you will take the time to document your generational stories. Down the road you will be grateful you did and even further down the road your descendants will be glad, too, although they may not yet know it.

With the recent passing of my mother, I am uncovering papers and memorabilia which offer me a broad stroke view of my maternal family history.

The Fourth of July is an appropriate time to remind us of the cost many of our immigrant ancestors paid and are paying in physical and emotional toil to gain their (our) independence from economic poverty and other tyranny. The “Know-Nothing” Donald Trump counterparts alive in the mid 1800s, (President Martin Fillmore of the Whig-American Party) also were ignorant loudmouths of the quality of people who were teeming to our shores. The saving grace is my relatives and others like them may only have known their native language when they arrived and couldn’t understand the vitriol.

And like Ben Affleck and his embarrassment of distant relatives who were slave owners, I, too, have family skeletons that force me to face my genogram dynamics and how they may affect my and future generation’s lives. But unlike Mr. Affleck, I am willing to face these rattling bones because to deny them denies me insight which can help move future generations forward. I am the offspring of my great-great grandparents, and just like them, I have a strong compulsion to improve my life. Had my ancestors resigned themselves to their Germanic feudal system fate, my existence is moot.

Understanding the full breadth of my ancestor’s choices to leave home gives me an opportunity to take my children off their bubble-wrapped pedestals and encourage them to take the risk of venturing out. The new lands of discovery may not be the soil of foreign countries, but, instead, may be the vistas of our generational psychology.

While the following family history is specific to my family, I hope it inspires you to investigate the story of your heritage.

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The Schwarck-Price family, Grundy County, Iowa

My great-grandmother Hannah (Schwarck) Price provided oral history to relatives who transcribed it in 1966. Fifty years later, I offer it as it was written then with minor editorial changes to reflect correct spelling, grammar.

Schwarck Family History

John Peter Schwarck was born in Mecklenburg, Schwerin, Germany, May 13, 1818, and passed away at his home in Grundy County, Iowa, Aug. 29, 1888. Little is known of his early life or of his brothers or sisters. He became a skilled cabinet maker.

Hannah Mary Christine Fredvorst was born in New Vorpommern, Germany, April 4, 1830. She was the youngest of three children, a sister and brother being older. Their parents died when Mary was a small child and the three children were put in different homes quite a distance apart so that they became strangers to each other. The brother, when he was a mere youth, was drowned. Little Mary was shuttled from place to place. One of her jobs was being a Goose girl, which is to herd the neighborhood geese. Often she ate and slept whenever and wherever she could. However, she managed to survive. One day, when Mary was probably an early teenager, she received a package containing the wedding bonnet of her older sister who died shortly before her wedding day. In this bonnet was a long red hair so she thought her sister must have had red hair but she had not seen her for many years and she didn’t really know.

With the meager funds he had, John gave a betrothal gift to Mary, his bride-to-be, a German Bible with her initials and date in gold letters on the cover. They married in Germany and triplets were born in 1856. One infant passed away soon. The other two, William and Mary, came with their parents, to the United States. Ocean travel was not as comfortable in those days. Here was a time when people on the seas had to furnish their own food whether the journey was a few days or several weeks. At best, it was not an easy trip. The ship was small and very crowded. It probably was a sail boat. Aunt Hannah said her mother (Mary Schwarck) told her that a bad storm came up and they were afraid the ship would tip over. So they ordered all the able-bodied men to man the oars but John was honored. He was excused from rowing because he was the father of twins on the boat. The storm eventually abated and they reached New York safely. There were no stevedores so John carried most of their earthly possession from the boat in a trunk and Mary carried the twin babies. But New York was not the goal. John knew he wanted to come to Iowa. He had heard of farms to be had by homesteading and he was interested. They did not tarry long in New York. They had a little money but not much. So he spent the most of his money for train tickets, but it was not enough. It carried them to Naperville, Illinois. When the ticket ran out, the train conductor put them off.

Now the urgent need was to find some place to stay and something to eat and a means of earning enough to provide these necessities. There were still plenty of woods, and most people burned wood for heat, so John set out to find a wood cutting job and Mary took in washing whenever possible. They managed to get along. The days passed into months and years. About 1858 little baby Bertha was born. Her life was not long nor are the dates very accurate, but it is believed she left this life about 1862.

Henry was born in 1861. He remembered in later years of his mother finding a small toy that had been Bertha’s. Christian, commonly called Chris, came in 1862, and George, in 1864.

With three little boys so near the same age, it was not easy to keep clothing in readiness. Sometimes the clothes were washed at night, but with five children besides the parents in one small sleeping room, where was there room to hang clothes to dry in the winter? There was no money for extra clothes. But this place was not where John wanted to go. He kept hearing of the open prairie where farms could be had for living on them. He was restless and wanted to go on to Iowa.

By frugality they had saved up a little money, so in about 1866 they gathered up the family and bought train tickets and started. The people on the train could not help but notice this family of lively youngsters and their parents and they visited to pass the time. Upon hearing where they were going, some of the passengers told Mary that the Native Americans would surely get them out there on the prairie and she became so frightened that she refused to go further than Cedar Falls, where they lived a year or so. John still wanted to go on. He wrote to try to sign up for a homestead but there was none. However, he could buy a farm at $1.25 per acre, which he did. Here again, in Cedar Falls, they must find a place to live and work to do. They lived in an upstairs room with no electricity and no water.  Again Mary took in washing, carrying all the water up the stairs to wash and emptied it by carrying it all down again.

Hannah was born in Cedar Falls in 1867. Sometime during that summer John hired a team and buggy and came to see the farm he had bought. It was the first place south of Ivester, a good piece of land and there were no Native Americans to be seen. He was pleased with what he saw. He went back to his family to make preparation to move them here.

The next spring they started for their new home, with oxen pulling the covered wagon and a cow tied behind the wagon. The wagon contained all of their possessions and as many of the family as were not able to walk. All the older children walked, thus relieving the already heavy wagon from their body weight.

There were few good roads and still fewer bridges so many streams must be forded. Few miles were passed in one day. Though it is not far by car now, it seemed a long ways by ox team or even by horses. On one occasion the tire came loose from the wagon wheel. They had to stop and build a fire and heat the tire and replace it; finding fuel to heat the tire was the big problem, so John sent the children to gather up cattle chips from the prairie pastures.

When they reached their new home, there was no ready house to move into but first one had to be built. How so many people found a place to sleep in so small a house is a miracle even to the modern idea.

In 1869 Charley Ernest was born, followed by Freddie in 1871. He lived but a short while. Then it became John’s task to make the little box in which to lay him away. He was buried in the family lot at the Ivester Cemetery, where others came later.

At a very early age Henry’s job was to collect the neighborhood cows together with their own and herd them all day on the prairie grass, and then return them to their owners at night. One day it seemed a very short day; it commenced to get dark fast. He was miles from home. The chickens went to roost. He started home but soon it was so dark he couldn’t see where to go. There he was alone with the cows and he didn’t know which way to go. He was very scared, not of the darkness but because he thought he had failed to bring the cows home on time. He didn’t ordinarily cry, but what else could he do? The black darkness didn’t last very long, until it began to get light again. There had been an eclipse of the sun. Bigger people than this small boy were frightened because they didn’t know the eclipse was coming.

Henry, age nine, and Chris, age seven, both tied bundles of oats and/or wheat with a wisp of straw on the platform of that wonderful invention, the harvester that cut the grain and saved the hard labor of scythe-cutting, heretofore used. These little boys had nimble fingers and soon learned to make such motion count, so they could keep the harvesting going. At nine years of age, Henry was plowing corn with a walking plow drawn by a team of oxen. One day it was hot and the flies were bad. Henry was having hard work keeping the oxen going. They wanted to brush off the flies with the corn stalks so they took off down the field and Henry could not stop them. All he could do was get help as soon as he could.

In 1874 Robert Thomas was born. He loved animals and he made friends with all of them. One day they missed him and found him asleep with a hog for a pillow. Their lives were not all work. The Ivester Church had a singing school in the evenings. Anyone could come but it was especially for the young people and they all enjoyed it. Here they learned to sing by note without benefit of an accompanying instrument. Henry, Chris, George and Hannah attended, perhaps others of the family also. Henry sang tenor and Chris, bass. The teacher evidently did a good job because these men’s voices were often heard and enjoyed in church services the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile the children were growing up, and, with six boys coming up, they would soon be able to farm more land. So when John had an opportunity to buy another farm, he bought it. It is located the first place in the second mile east of the Hardin-Grundy County line on what is now the paved highway 57 (75 now). They built a small house and a barn and two of the boys moved up there. Twice a week Hannah or Mary cooked food and brought fresh supplies to them. This went on for a number of years. John and his sons had made an agreement that if the boys stayed at home and worked till they were 21 years of age, each would receive a stipulated sum with which he could start for himself.

In the winter of 1881 George W. Smith of Hubbard came to the Ivester neighborhood to visit his lady-love, Mary Schwarck, one of the twins (or triplets) of John and Mary Schwarck. She had been a dutiful daughter and remained at home to help her mother and Hannah longer after her 21st birthday. George drove a horse and buggy some 20 miles or more, so he came with the intention of staying overnight or possibly over Sunday. But he did not count on the big snow storm that blocked the roads. When the intended staying time had elapsed, he still could not go home, but he was not overly anxious. In the meantime, he and Mary decided to be married, so she could go home with him and save that long drive over there again soon. George borrowed a clean shirt from one of Mary’s brothers and on March 16, 1881, they procured a license at the Grundy County Court House and were married by A.P. Strickler, the minister of the Ivester Church. John Dinnis and Christian Schwarck acted as witness to the ceremony.

William was now also past 21 years of age and was farming for himself though he was not married. He lived at home awhile.

It was about 1882 when the family moved from south of Ivester to the new place. The younger boys took over and the older ones moved out for themselves.

Here in 1888, John, age 70, passed away and in 1893, Mary, age 63, also passed away. This left three unmarried sons, George, Charley, and Robert, and one daughter, Hannah, though only Charley and Robert and Hannah were living at home. Charley worked away part-time. After her parents’ deaths, Hannah kept house for Rob until she married. Meanwhile, George and Charley had married. Rob, together with a hired man, kept bachelor’s hall awhile, then Rob also married, and all of the big family had homes of their own. Rob remained on the same farm the rest of his life.

John Dinnis’ arrival. When John and Mary Schwarck left Germany, they left behind Mary’s son, John, who was raised by foster parents by the name of Dinnis. So he had assumed that name, also. In 18XX, he jumped ship from a German ship in New Orleans and came to St. Louis. There he wrote Mary a letter saying where he was and that he would like to come if she wanted him and if she would send him the money, which she did.

(To be continued, many generations to come…)

Star Shining Sisters and the Countdown to Christmas

christmas, holidays, shopping, small business

My personal commitment this holiday and Christmas season is to purchase my gifts from small business owners and, better yet, from small business owners I personally know.  I invited my entrepreneurial friends to share with me their personal and professional goals so I could share them with you.

Each of these women featured brings a unique gift to the marketplace. As you consider your gift purchases this holiday season, I hope you will consider my friends and their services/products as a choice you could make to help support small business and hardworking people in our local communities.

Brilliance by Design

DSC02444For 37 years, my friend Donna Bauer has been helping people make their surroundings more beautiful. When I bought my first home nearly 25 years ago, I was inexperienced in decorating an older home. I was inexperienced in decorating. Period. Added to the challenge of a first-time decoration project was that my 1920s-era home had plaster walls and four layers of wallpaper. When I asked Donna if she could help me, in her characteristic way she said absolutely.

Donna scraped and prepped and painted and re-papered my two-bedroom bungalow and helped me turn it into a home I was proud to own. In a field that tends to draw more men than women because of the physical work involved, Donna is one of the hardest-working individuals I have met. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and she sticks with a job until it’s done.

From her early days of working primarily as a house painter, Donna has expanded her business to refurbishing and up-cycling pieces of furniture that others have declared as useless. Donna has the heart for saving what others have given up on and the creativeness to draw out the beauty of a piece that has been covered by the wear and tear of life.

“In 2004, I learned the art of decorative and faux painting and in 2012 we expanded our painting abilities once again when we discovered the beauty and joy of refinishing antique trunks,” said Donna of how she learned the art and craft of upcycling furniture.

Donna currently sells her pieces in two stores in central Iowa; however, she is able to show you all of her work through her website and can make arrangements for delivery.

0_0_0_0_629_472_csupload_62256348She also produces her own artwork and for the holiday season she has hand painted winter scenes on vintage screens, hand painted wood signs and “a few other goodies”

“With our years of experience, we know how to work efficiently with as little inconvenience to you as possible while still delivering a final product that surpasses your expectations,” said Donna of her approach to customer service. “From the initial consultation to the last walk through, we keep you abreast of our progress, so you know exactly what we are doing and how much it costs.”

Donna gives back to her community by donating her furniture and other pieces to local charities and fundraisers. The philosophy which guides her the most and is evident in her kindness to others is a strong relationship with God. Through this relationship she has developed a personal philosophy to “never give up, to do my very best always.”

Heartlines by Sandi

IMG_4167It’s been said that “women hold up half the sky,” but in the case of my friend, Sandi Browne, she’s one of a special cadre of women who have walked on the sky.

I met Sandi when the universe asked me if I would extend my stay as a mental health therapist at the local hospital in the town in which I lived up until October. I’m glad I followed the universe’s bidding because otherwise I would have missed the delightful experience of Sandi Browne.

As is characteristic of mental health therapists, we got down to brass tacks in sharing about ourselves in our first day. When I mentioned that my first career was as a journalist, Sandi shared about the book she recently authored, “Touch the Sky.”

IMG_2638”I have had an unusual life as an Airshow pilot and wing rider during earlier days of aviation.  I wanted to share the adventure of flying and the choices of balancing career and family,” Sandi said of her motivation to write the book. “I am a creative person who enjoys challenges and learning new things.  Writing was a new area to explore.”

Now deceased, one of Sandi’s mentors was Tracy Pilurs, who “was an airshow pilot, built her own airplane and wrote a monthly column for a national aviation publication. I wrote about her in my book,” said Sandi. Sandi also took numerous classes and worked with a writing coach to ensure she offered a professionally prepared memoir.

Since Sandi is a mental health counselor, she contributes positively to her community nearly every day.  (That’s a whole other story!) She mentored me during the time we worked together as therapists. Sandi’s other ventures include jewelry making and spending time with her beloved family.

Whether or not you are an aviation aficionado, you will enjoy reading about the adventurous spirit of Sandi and the other air show performers in her book.

Younique with Tracy D. Haynes

10015116_823336371015034_229457299_oSomeone needed to take my place at my last position when I moved to Houston, and I am happy to say the universe sent Tracy D. Haynes. With her hearty laugh, Tracy has a centeredness about her that lets others know it’s going to be okay. As a social worker, Tracy has contributed to the world around her by working with kids in the foster care system and in her spare-time as a mentor for at-risk kids. But a woman has to eat and social workers aren’t counted among the overpaid in our commerce-based economy, so Tracy is earning extra income with Younique, a direct sales company for cosmetics. “I chose to start selling Younique makeup for the extra income as I am single parent,” said Tracy of what prompted her to begin this business in August of this year. “My goal is to use my earnings to help pay off my student loan debt as well as purchase a home.”

Tracy chose Younique’s products because they are “mineral based and last longer than the competitors. The makeup is made of natural ingredients and the best part is the money back guarantee,” she said.

10613021_976247989057204_4523186656862772128_nWith my eyes nearing 50 years, I decided to give Younique’s popular 3D Fiber Lash Mascara a try. And, wow, the promoters weren’t overselling it either when they said it boosts lashes by “300 times their natural length.” For the month of November, Younique is including a free lip stain for every $150 in purchase. I say stuff the stockings with Tracy’s products. Everyone will be happy with the quality of the product and the experience of Tracy.

Natural Nesters

katrina fullerKatrina Fuller and I met at a social gathering for which the purpose was to raise our experience of spirituality in our daily walk around in the lives we live. There, I first learned about the commitment Katrina has to Natural Nesters, her business that provides pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and breastfeeding education and support, and integral therapy services to families. Since 2009, Katrina has worked diligently to spread her message that natural approaches to child rearing are the best and she has invested a large amount of time and resources to earn several certifications and credentials, including her Ed.D.

What motivates Katrina to work as hard as she does is the knowledge that when best practice is used in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, breastfeeding and parenting, she is influencing positive growth for families and their children and that it spreads exponentially. Katrina quotes Sheri Dew about her impetus to advocate for mothers and children: “Perhaps having influence is not about elevating self, but about lifting others.”

While most of Katrina’s in-person clientele is located in Lea County, New Mexico, she is available to consult through email and phone sessions. Except for professional trainings, Katrina is offering a 10 percent discount on her fees for the month of December.

small businessBut you don’t have to be a woman about to give birth to work with Katrina. Katrina offers a robust menu of services designed to provide more awareness of the mind-body connection. She offers the following slate of services:

Henna Designs

  • Silhouette Painting
  • Plaster Casting
  • Digital Photography
  • Birth Art & Stories

Yoga Instructor:

  • Prenatal
  • Postnatal
  • Mommy & Me
  • Guided Meditation
  • Infant Massage

Reiki Practitioner:

  • Individual
  • Couples
  • Children
  • Pets
  • Distant

Placenta Specialist:

  • Meal Preparation
  • Encapsulation
  • Tincture & Salve
  • Prints & Keepsakes
  • Burial Consultation

“I learned the most important life lesson not just from the families I serve, but from my own family as well,” said Katrina. “I have experienced the joys and challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and parenting and am able to utilize my own experiences and professional trainings to help other families be successful in their own efforts.”

Barefoot Books

sam, dan, meI am ending this with a shameless plug for myself. I am a founding member ambassador for Barefoot Books, an award-winning publisher of children’s books. I chose to do this because of the company’s core values of offering an “authentic alternative to the commercialization of childhood. Barefoot Books encourages parents to make time for make-believe, and to share stories from all over the world with their children, so that they can glimpse the simple truth that the human condition is universal.”

itookthemoonforawalk_pb_wMy goal is to earn enough money to pay for my younger son’s attendance at the Westview School, a school for children with special learning needs. I need to earn money in such a way that it gives me the flexibility I need to care for my family, including as a caretaker for my mother.

The most important lesson I’ve learned, so far, in this endeavor is that if I stand up and ask for what I need the Universe is grace-filled to deliver.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) is an American Express sponsored day set aside to remind consumers that the lifeblood of our economy is a small business. None of us featured above have a personally owned shop on a Main Street, U.S.A. (yet). However, we all have a small business from a brick and mortar home and big dreams for our lives to provide economic security for our families. I invite you to explore my friends’ websites and I trust you will find many special Gifts of a Great Life among them.

small business