Happy Mother’s Day

Mom on Beach8 months ago we wondered what was going on with mom. Her forgetfulness had surpassed the normal “senior” moments, and she had started repeating herself in the same conversation.

We knew she needed to get checked out, but unfortunately, she was in Italy for a several month trip. What to do? We decided, that we needed to get her home. We probably didn’t appreciate the extent of my mom’s mental impairment, and my poor mom had to navigate trains and planes in a foreign country.

My dad arrived at the Denver airport to pick her up, and she never showed up at baggage claim. We knew she had gotten on the plane to Denver, but where was she? So he started walking around the airport and discovered her just wandering around not quite sure where she was or where she was going.

A visit to the emergency room confirmed our worst fear: brain tumor. But we wouldn’t know what kind until the results of the biopsy. While we were waiting, we turned to the internet and we discovered a new worst fear: Glioblastoma Multiform, an aggressive brain cancer with a median survival rate of 12-15 months.

The results from the biopsy confirmed it. It’s difficult to describe the shock.

My mom was 59 years old and in great health. My mom was full of energy and filled her days with activities. My mom was independent and fearless; she lived in Mexico for part of the year and traveled the rest. My mom was a social butterfly and brought people together at happy hours and parties. And almost over night, she became a shell of who she used to be.

She started a treatment of chemo and radiation and the first MRI showed the cancer was responding. But the second MRI showed it growing again. And we made the very difficult decision to stop treating the cancer, so we could focus on quality of life.

We don’t know if she has 3 weeks or 3 months. It will go as it goes, but we know that she will not be suffering. She sleeps most of the time, and when she’s awake, we talk and laugh– at least my my mom still has her sense of humor. She was always the funniest person in the room, and you couldn’t not laugh when my mom was around. And she’s still still throwing out the one-liners.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mom on bike

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and naturally I’m looking at it with fresh eyes and with heightened appreciation for my mom.

Maya Angelou wrote, “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”

For much of my life, I did not fully appreciate my mom and her gifts. But when I look at the impact she’s had on others, when I realize what she sacrificed to give my sister and me a shot at what she never had– and that it worked, when I appreciate the challenges she faced in her life, then I’m filled with so much gratitude for who she is and what’s she’s done. And I wish I could go back and spend more time appreciating her.

So, I would like to wish my mother the Happy Mother’s Day I should have always given her and honor her for being the force of nature she was. Thank you mom for your life, your love, your light, and your laughter. Thank you for always doing the best you could with the tools you had at the time. You always did your best to make Jess and me proud of you. Well, congratulations, it worked. We are so proud of you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s. Poverty Busters member Darlene is a new mom. Poverty Busters and Pets member, Gail is a new grandmom. To all the mom’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day <3

Earth Day Challenge

I’m here with the next installment of our 12 Month Giving Challenge.

I designed this challenge to intentionally to touch on many different areas. This world is a vibrant tapestry composed of countless individual threads representing the billions of people, animals, environments, and interests on this planet. Each thread is crucial to the tapestry’s integrity and beauty, and each month in this 12 Month Giving Challenge touches on a different thread of this world’s beautiful tapestry, and I believe that if each one of these threads were cared for, restored and honored, then our world would be amazing!

In April, we will give to the planet to recognize that our lives are possible because of her gifts. Her air fills our lungs. Her water quenches our thirst. Her plants and animals provide our shelter and food. And if we love ourselves, we must love and care for that which makes it possible.

Like John Muir cautioned us, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” And so our physical and spiritual health is hitched to the health of the planet.

Here are 3 ideas on what you can do to celebrate Earth Day that will make this planet and us just a little healthier.

How Are Your New Year’s Resolution Going?

Time flies! Can you believe that March is over??? That means that 25% of 2014 is behind us! This is a great time to check back in on your New Year’s Resolutions.

Did you make a goal to give back more this year?

If so, you’re a lot like me. I know that I have been so fortunate in my life and there are so many who don’t get the same opportunities. There are so many people, animals, causes I want to support, and because I want the world to be a better place, I resolved to give back more this year.

But life has a tendency to get in the way. We’re so busy and there is so much demand for our time and money and sometimes even though we want to give back, we just don’t do it as much as we would like.

This video will give some tools and inspiration for you to stay on track or get on track, so you can make 2014 your most generous year yet.

What Is Generosity?

An Example of Generosity

In the O’Henry short story The Gift of the Magi, Della has one prized possession and that is her long and beautiful hair. But more than anything in the world, she wants to give her a husband a Christmas present worthy of him. So she sells her hair for $20, cutting it short to her chin, to buy him a chain for his watch.

She knows that her husband Jim also has one prized possession and that is his watch, and this chain is the perfect gift for him. Jim also wants nothing more than to buy his wife the perfect Christmas present, so he sells his watch to buy Della two pure tortoise shell combs to hold back her gorgeous hair.

I love this story, because it captures the generosity we are capable of us humans. We are willing to sacrifice the possessions we hold most dear for love.

Generosity is a beautiful thing. But what really is generosity? We want to be generous. We want to be thought of as generous. We want the world was more generous. But what does that mean?

And that is the topic for this video.

Let’s Start With…

In 2009, The University of Notre Dame started the “Science of Generosity” Initiative. And for the past 5 years, they’ve been studying generosity- what is it? when are people generous? and how can people become even more generous?

They offer a definition that identifies three different components of generosity:

  1. Generosity involves giving to others not simply anything in abundance but rather giving those things that are good for others. Generosity always intends to enhance the true well-being of those to whom it gives.
  2. Generosity is the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly.
  3. Generosity is in its mature form, a basic, personal, moral orientation to life…. Generosity entails not only the moral good expressed but also many vices rejected.

Watch Out For

I’ll go in-depth into each of these components and help you avoid common mistakes.

Then End With…

What I hope is my succinct and clear definition.

Share With Me

What do you think generosity is?

How do you express generosity in your life?