I Salute You, My Dear Friend

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I didn’t want to write this blog. I mean, I was really trying to avoid it. I didn’t want to talk about that life lesson we’ve all heard a million times. You know which one I mean:

Hug the people you love because you never know if this is the last time you will see them.

No matter how many times we hear it, we all seem to fall back into our old habits of taking each other for granted.

So that’s why I didn’t want to write about my dear friend, Jill Morganthaler.  I didn’t want to fall into that old cliché.

But I couldn’t help myself because I can’t seem to think of anything else…

Some people told me I screamed when I heard the news. Jill had suddenly and unexpectedly died while scuba diving.  She was on vacation with her husband. I refused to believe it, even after someone showed me the Facebook message that her brother posted.

“It must be a mistake,” I said. “Someone is playing a sick joke on us.”

But my kind, caring friend, the one holding the phone up for me, shook his head slowly, whispering: “It’s not a joke.”

Jill was a retired Army Colonel who served 30 years in the Army. She was an Iraq vet and had a stare-down with Saddam Hussein as he was leaving the courtroom. She was one tough woman. Over the years I heard stories of her triumphs and her defeats; of her happiness and her fears. We shared victories when we won the Toastmasters contest together and drank martinis before heading to our meetings. She was powerful and forceful – you always knew when Jill was in the room. She was bigger than life itself.

So, I’m not going to tell you to hug the people you love – you already know that. Instead I am just going to be content with the memories and lessons that Jill has etched in my heart. She lived life to the fullest. Even in the last hour of her life, she was doing what she loved – scuba diving. Even in her death, she is leaving behind a story to be told. We are all better for having known her.    I know my life will never be the same.

Rest in Peace, my Dear Friend.

 

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The Power of the Mind

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Last week I talked about dealing with the unpredictability of life.  For me, it was my husband’s surgery and waiting to hear how my life could possibly change.  I’m so happy to report that everything turned out fine.  It seemed like the anticipation and the “getting ready” phase were far worse than the actual surgery itself.

Now that I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, I am reminded once again of what helped me through this very difficult time.  Like all the other times before, it was my friends and family who were there for me.  With their constant calls, emails and texts, I never felt alone.   

One day, as I talked to a friend in a frantic voice, she calmly asked me: “How do you envision it?”   

Without hesitation, I answered: “That everything will be all right.”

Now, as I reflect on that conversation, it reminds me of this picture I have hanging on my bedroom wall.  It was created by Jason Kotecki and I love the possibilities it holds.  One box, the same box, can be anything you want it to be.  You can picture an outcome that you can work towards.  This concept truly helped me keep my sanity during an extremely stressful time.

So, take a minute to look at this picture, embrace all the different possibilities, then ask yourself:

“How would I fill in the blank line at the end of this picture?  How do I envision my life?”

 

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Your Life Can Change in an Instant

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

One phone call, one email, one word can change your life forever – in an instant!

So, this morning, as I sit in the waiting room of the hospital, barely breathing as my husband is in surgery, I wonder what one word or phrase or sentence the surgeon will utter when he walks up to me.  What will be the expression on his face?  The look in his eyes?

Bottom line is – I’m scared.  I’m trying to stay positive.  After all, isn’t that what I share in my presentations?  Just like I’ve told so many people in my audiences: I’m writing my gratitude list, using the word curious and envisioning every positive picture I can think of.  But it’s so hard.  This experience is too fresh; too new.  I’m right in the middle of it.  So, for now I’m going to embrace the uncertainty and believe that everything will be ok.  After all, what other choice do I have?

One thing is for certain: life will change.  The quote I share here brings me some peace.  Maybe it will help you when you face some challenging times of your life.  Here’s to being strong and believing in yourself.

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Hello – Is It Me You’re Looking For???

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I don’t get it.  I mean, I truly don’t understand what is so important that everyone is constantly on their phone.  And I’m not just talking about the young people who grew up with this appendage attached to their ear.  It’s also the “older folks,” people my age, who can’t seem to survive 15 minutes without checking their phone.

Now I know I sound like an old lady – like a GET OFF MY LAWN old lady – but I can’t be the only one who feels this way. 

A few nights ago, my husband and I planned a “date” night.  We chose a lovely venue that offers a unique dining experience called The Vignette Dining Club.  The idea is to make you feel like you are dining in someone’s home.  They entertain small groups of approximately 16 people with an intimate atmosphere that celebrates good food, connecting with old friends and making new ones. 

As we were all seated and enjoying the delicious food, I turned to my right to hear what the chef was saying.  He was describing the dish that was in front of us and how he prepared it.  To my surprise and irritation, there were three people who were on their phones.  REALLY!  The teacher in me wanted to grab the phone from the woman next to me and scream: “You’re being rude!”  Of course, I restrained myself, but it was really, really hard.

I truly understand that there are valid reasons that people need to be available – babysitters, aging parents, and many more.  But checking your emails when someone else is talking is not one of them.  That blaring light from your phone affects the experience of those around you.  Can you go one or two hours without checking your email?  If not, maybe you should stay at home.  (Yikes – there, I’ve said it!)

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