The Story of My “Stuff”

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Stuff! I have lots of stuff all over my house. My desk is piled high with papers, my kitchen drawer is jammed packed with the latest gadgets, and my closet – well, let’s not even go there.

So, as I was dusting my cabinet the other day, moving my stuff around and swearing that I will get rid of it someday, it suddenly occurred to me:

This isn’t just stuff, it’s MY stuff. The gems I have collected along the way that tell the story of my life:

  • There’s the picture frame my brother gave me filled with photos of our childhood
  • There’s the book I found on my mother’s bedside table the last time I saw her
  • There’s the souvenir my husband and I bought on our last vacation (what a great trip!)

Every one of them tells a story and brings a memory to life. They warm my heart and bring a smile to my face. And right there, before my eyes, all that “stuff” turns into treasures that I will cherish forever.


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Listen to Their Stories

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I just read that November 23rd is the National Day of Listening.  This intrigued me so I turned to the almighty Google to learn more.

It appears that the Friday after Thanksgiving has been declared a day to listen – actually LISTEN to the people who surround you and hear their stories. It’s a time to record and/or video interviews with your family or friends or even stories about your community.  What a fabulous idea!

You know, it sometimes seems like the people we love will be with us forever, and there’s always tomorrow to listen to their stories, but as you get older you realize that life doesn’t always work that way. 

One of my greatest listening memories was with my Mom and helping her sort through hundreds of photos that she stored in shoe boxes.  Yes, that’s right, shoe boxes!  You see, this was a time before cell phones or computers, so we actually printed our photographs.  My Mom had three shoe boxes overflowing with photos.  Neither my brothers nor I had any idea who the people were smiling back at us in these photographs.  So, for several afternoons in a row, I sat with my Mom as, one by one, I held up a photo and said: “Mom, can you tell me who this is?”

Now, by this time, my Mom had developed dementia and couldn’t remember what she had for lunch, but she could remember with great detail what happened fifty years ago.  And so I listened to her stories.  I never thought of recording them, and to this day, that is one of my greatest regrets.  One thing I do have, though, are those wonderful memories, sitting on her patio with the warmth of the sun shining down on us, hearing the stories of her best friend, Ann, and the fights she had with her sister, and how she met my father.  Those moments we shared together are priceless and those memories will stay with me forever.

So now we come to today and this age of technology.  All we have to do is pull out our cell phone and hit the record button.  Young and old, we all have stories.  Here’s to capturing some of them.  I can’t go back and record my Mom’s voice, but I sure can start today and gather a lifetime of memories with the people who still surround me.

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The Sights and Sounds of the Holidays

Personal Development-Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude

I LOVE the holiday season. There are certain smells, sights and tastes that you can only experience this time of year.  Let’s see – there’s eggnog lattes, decorated trees, gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, and so much more.

I spent the last few days in Chicago and it made me realize that I really enjoy the hustle and bustle – it gives me a natural high. Everywhere I look, there are lights twinkling, fabulous decorations, and people laughing.  It brings back so many special memories.

When I was a kid, my Dad used to dress up as Santa Clause. We lived in a very small house on the south side of Chicago, and one year I was sitting on a chair in the kitchen.  There was a knock on the window, and on the other side was Santa peering in, looking straight at me.  I jumped so high I almost hit the ceiling.

And isn’t that the most fun of all – bringing joy into the lives of others. Creating smiles and memories that will last a lifetime.

What memories do you have of the holidays – either the ones you experienced years ago or the ones you are experiencing right now – this year.  Share them with us and share a smile.  I would love to hear from you.

My wish for you is that you find all the love and joy your heart can hold during this special time of the year.

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Sibling Similarities – or NOT!


It never dawned on me before. Not until my brothers were visiting me this past week-end, that we never know how much we influence others. We never know what impact we have made in someone’s life – sometimes for the good, and sometimes the not-so-good.

As the three of us reminisced about our childhood, we all had such different memories, such different experiences. It’s almost like we were raised by different people, but we weren’t. We were all raised by the same parents in the same neighborhood in the same house.

One thing was constant, though – we certainly had a deep connection to each other. Not even the 14 year age difference could diminish that.

We hiked out to Picnic Point in Madison and it was an absolutely glorious day. When we got to the end of the trail, I noticed a tree leaning over, ready to fall.   The only thing that held it together was its roots, strong and firm and unwavering – just like my love for my brothers. Nothing can ever take that away from me.

And for that, I thank my parents. Somehow, someway, through all their differences, sometimes for the good and sometimes the not-so-good, they gave us the roots we need to bond and love and laugh and create memories for a lifetime. Thank you Mom and Dad.

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Say Good-bye to Summer

In just five days we are officially saying good-bye to the summer of 2015. Yes, it’s Labor Day week-end already – where does the time fly?

Every day I am conscience of how very precious time is. Maybe it’s because I’ve lost a father, a mother, and a sibling. I’ve learned the hard and valuable lesson that every single minute counts.   I try to make the most of every day – every season.

So, do you have any new, exciting, loving memories from this past summer? Memories that will make you smile every time you think of them – every time you see that photo. If not, you still have some time left. You have one full week-end to pack it all in. Summer 2015 isn’t over yet. How will you spend it – with your friends, your family, your-self?

In case you are looking for something fun, check out the Thirsty Moose in Poynette, WI. I ran across this place totally by accident and what a hoot! There was live music, dancing, sand pits, and sunshine. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Who knows, maybe I’ll visit again to celebrate the end of summer. And maybe I’ll see you there.

The important thing is to enjoy your time, however you choose to spend it.

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