If I were to ask you, or most people, what your favorite animal is, I’m sure you, or most, would answer “cat,” dog,” or other similar such creature. My children have always thought me a bit strange because I have a great love for (they would call it an obsession with) elephants, sharks, and whales. Since I was a small child, I have always been fascinated by these three majestic creatures. When I was very little, I had a small collection of whales – glass figurines, stuffed animals, and such. As a teenager and young adult, I had quite an extensive collection of elephants – everything from clothes to glass and wooden figures to unique collectibles from around the world (gifts from friends and family). For Christmas a few years ago, my husband gave me a shark dive in Australia. It was the most amazing experience ever! Read more
Several years ago, a movie starring Jack Nicholson made the phrase “bucket list” a regular part of our vocabulary. Nowadays, I hear people talking all the time about things that are on their bucket list. I’ve never really had what I called a bucket list, but I’ve always had several life goals that I hope to achieve. Some have a set timeline, and others are just lofty aspirations.
Of course, as a young woman, my goal was to have a career that I enjoyed, a husband who I loved, and happy and healthy children. I was able to achieve all of those things at an early age having met my husband just after graduating from college. Ken and I were blessed to have three beautiful girls by the time I was 31. I worked as a librarian for 15 years, a job that I absolutely loved, and then we were lucky enough to have the stability for me to stay home and begin my next career as a writer. I’ve dreamed of being a published author since I was about eight years old, and now I have two published books and a new novel coming out next month!
But of course, those aren’t exactly bucket list items. My list of life goals is not very long, so I have every reason to believe that I will be able to reach them. Nothing on the list is impossible, and nothing is quite as exciting as bungee jumping over Victoria Falls or climbing Mount Everest. Still, I hope that my list will inspire you to start thinking about your own list. After all, what is life without lofty goals? Read more
Many years ago, a very wise man told me something that I have never forgotten. After I graduated from college, I moved back home to find a job and save some money until my next great adventure came along. The first weekend I was home, I attended Mass with my family at our church. Our pastor, Father Paul (now Monsignor Dudziak), welcomed me home and asked me how it felt to be a college graduate. I told him that it felt good but not great because I had graduated magna cum laude and not summa cum laude and had missed the higher honor by less than a tenth of a percentage point. Father Paul nodded without comment and then asked me to follow him. When we reached the altar he pointed to the floor and asked me “Do you see this carpet?” I nodded, unsure of why he was asking, and he continued. “This carpet has handmade by Persian monks. It took months, maybe years, because it was intricately planned and woven by hand. They are experts at making rugs and create the finest works of art. However, in every rug they make, they always weave into it a mistake.” He looked at me and asked, “Do you know why?” I shook my head, and he replied, “Only God is perfect.” Humbled, I blushed and nodded. Read more
I’m sitting here this morning drinking my tea in the silence before the girls wake up, and I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s Eve. Twelve hours from now, I’ll be hiding in my bedroom with Jodi Piccoult while twenty teenage girls sit here in this kitchen eating ice cream sundaes and talking about boys. When did my baby get so old? How did time go by so quickly? Rebecca is already a sophomore in college, but it feels like she graduated yesterday and was just born the day before that. Time marches on so fast, we hardly have a chance to take it all in.
This morning, I watched the year in review on the news, and I was amazed to think that all of those things happened this past year. From three missing airliners to the rise of ISIS to the loss of the great Lauren Bacall and Mickey Rooney. Less than a year ago, we were talking about polar vortexes, and this past summer, we witnessed a string of devastating tornadoes and wildfires. Yet here we are; life zooms by, and we hardly notice. We lose loved ones, and we go on; we see beheadings and mass kidnappings, yet we procreate and celebrate the joys in life. People are an amazing creation – resilient and motivated despite all that we face and witness in life. Read more