Happy Mother’s Day And Other Important Words!

Happy Mother’s Day And Other Important Words!

Hot Pink GeraniumGrowing up, Mother’s Day usually marked the beginning of a week of special events since my mother’s birthday was on May 16th.  Like most mothers, my mom didn’t need a lot of fuss and fan fare–she usually just liked having us work in the yard together, cleaning up the porch and patio to get them ready for all the fun family parties in the spring and summer weeks to come.  One of my mom’s favorite flowers was hot pink geraniums; she loved them scattered about with other beautiful flowers in her yard!  Even after I was married, one of the things I loved doing to help celebrate Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday was to help her plant big, pink geraniums in her flower beds.  I enjoy planting a variety of geraniums in my yard now, as well as putting some in hanging pots, to remind me of all the good times spent with my mom this time of year!

I have been on vacation this week at a wonderful resort in Puerto Vallarta, called the Grand Velas!  It’s been a wonderful Mother’s Day week!

Grand Velas Resort in Puerto VallartaGrand Velas Resort in Puerto Vallarta

Amazing morning and evening views that leave you without words to describe the beauty of the Grand Velas in Puerto Vallarta!  

Important Words To Remember As We Celebrate Mother’s Day!

Since I just got back from vacation, and I’ll be telling more about my mom in a few days on her birthday, I thought I’d just share one really neat thing I learned while on vacation that I’m sure will resound in the hearts of all mothers out there!

My husband attended some work meetings a few hours a day during part of our time at the Grand Velas.  One guest speaker was Don Yeager, a former associate editor of Sports Illustrated.  Mr. Yeager recently wrote a wonderful book titled,  Greatness: The 16 Characteristics of True Champions!  I read this book while enjoying some relaxing time at the resort infinity pools and beautiful white sand beaches. (I know, rough week! Ha!)  There are so many inspiring stories and quotes in this book, but one statement really touched my heart and made me think of my cute mom and all her sage advice and how much fun we always had together!  I think you might hear your own mother’s voice in these words, since like mine, she probably offered up similar sentiments to you at some point during your life!

A Short Course in Human Relations

The six most important words:  I admit I made a mistake.

The five most important words:  You did a good job.

The four most important words:  What is your opinion?

The three most important words: If you please…

The two most important words:  Thank you!

The one most important word:  We… 

The least important word: I…

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing mothers keeping it real out there; I know that most days we all work hard to be better than we were the day before…and that’s enough!


Dream Big…Then Work Hard To Make Your Dreams Come True!

Dream Big…Then Work Hard To Make Your Dreams Come True!

Dental SchoolHappy Graduation from the University at Buffalo Dental School, Jake!

Talk about dreaming big and working hard to make those dreams come true…Jake has done that and more!  As a family, we are proud of Jake and are in awe of the perseverance and tenacity he’s had to achieve his dream of doing well in school!  When I asked Jake to describe his dental school experience, he replied without hesitation that it was a roller coaster ride, extremely intense, but so interesting!  I’d say Jake is definitely well prepared for life in the “real” world and going after his piece of the “American Dream”!  I suppose it’s always an ongoing process to continue to dream big in our lives and then work hard to make our dreams come true!

A Grandfather’s Advice To Dream Big

My dad spent his professional career as an educator and felt strongly that getting a good education was key to making countless opportunities available to pursue our dreams.  He wrote the following statement in his history:

“In sorting out those things in my life I value most, I consider the fine education I have received to be one of my prized possessions.  This is not intended to compare my education with anyone else’s, but rather to consider what my life would have been without it.”

My children were always happy to have their grandfather show an interest in their school classes and activities.  My dad’s considerate encouragement and occasional rewards often seemed to have a bigger impact on my kids than most of my spirited “dream big” pep talks.

A favorite song of mine is “Dream Big” by Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband.  Here are a few verses to that song:

When you dream, dream big

As big as the ocean blue

‘Cause when you dream it might come true

So when you dream, dream big!

And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud

‘Cause it will carry all your cares away

And when you see, see the beauty all around

And in yourself and it will help you feel okay.

And when you pray, pray for strength

To help you carry on

When troubles come your way.

And when you dream, dream big

As big as the ocean blue

‘Cause when you dream it might come true

So when you dream, dream big!

Some of Jake’s dreams were fulfilled when he participated in service projects like Operation Smile in Ecuador and Hope Alliance in Peru.  Most recently, Jake went to Tennessee with some dental student volunteers and helped give care to over a thousand patients in just three days.  Through Jake’s example, I’ve learned a more meaningful definition of how to truly be in the service of others!

Dental aide in Peru

The keynote speaker at Jake’s graduation, Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin, Executive Director of the American Dental Association, encouraged the graduating class of students to “Do well by doing good!”

Dream Big And Keep A Good Sense Of Humor

Dental cartoonDespite long hours spent in class and studying for tests, as well as many clinical hours, I’ve been impressed that Jake has kept his sense of humor; I’ve always said that if anyone was able to make going to the dentist “fun”, Jake could do it…and without even having to administer laughing gas!

Dr. Michael Glick, the Dean of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo, made a powerful statement in his closing remarks at Jake’s graduation.  He said:

“In school you are given lessons and then you take tests.  In life you are given tests that help you learn lessons.  Learn to laugh at yourself and don’t take life too seriously.” 

What I’m learning now is…

As parents, we always hope that our examples will inspire amazing dreams and aspirations in our children’s lives.  However, what I’m learning now, more than ever before, is that I am also grateful for the influence of other mentors in my children’s lives; gifted teachers have the extraordinary ability to enhance the lives of their students by expanding the view of their future!

What advice would you give a graduating student today?  Do you remember any advice you were given that helped you “dream big” in your life?


Happy Birthday Wishes And Reflections!

Happy Birthday Wishes And Reflections!

Happy Birthday CakeIt was a fun weekend for Happy Birthday celebrations and reflections!  My father was born April 27, 1914, he would have been 99 years old on Saturday!  Happy Birthday, Dad!  My dad believed his birthday was just another great day to enjoy life!  Even on his last birthday, April 27, 2002, just a few days before he died, dad’s calm demeanor and sense of humor were intact.  By this time, my father’s vision had deteriorated significantly over the past few years from macular degeneration, a hereditary condition that affects the retina.  My dad couldn’t read unless it was magnified into very large print.  Knowing that his birthdays were being cut short with his recent leukemia diagnosis, dad reflected a bit that birthday afternoon as I visited with him; we both chuckled when he said, “Maybe I’ll get a new pair of eyes in this deal!”  My father added to his birthday wish list by saying that he hoped there would be some well stocked book shelves in heaven with a soft leather chair nearby!

“We are all a reflection of those who came before us!”  

My father’s life was indeed a reflection of the wonderful upbringing his parents had given him.  In turn, as I celebrate more birthdays, I hope my life reflects the amazing example set by my parents!

Dad with ringlets cut off

The caption under this picture in my father’s autobiography states that it was taken right after his ringlets were cut off!  My dad always had a full head of thick wavy hair, he didn’t even start turning gray until he was 80 years old!  

Growing up, my mom had us make our birthday cards for family member’s birthdays.  I came across one I’d done in some mementos my mom had saved.  The coloring is smudged and my handwriting indicates I was grade school age–the real image is too faded to show, but here is the gist of my birthday card…

Crayon Happy Birthday


Asks questions


 Helps me

 Earns money

 Really fun

Good times with dad!

This picture of me and my dad was taken by my mom in an attempt to get us back on task after we were caught horsing around during a homework break where we nearly upended the lamp and flowers on the end table.  As you can see, we’re doing our best to look contrite and apologetic!?  ( I would imagine that the lamp and sofa pictured would go for a pretty penny at a vintage store today!)

If I adapted the Happy Birthday sentiment of “father” today, it would read more like this:

  Faithful         Articulate         Tireless         Hopeful         Endearing       Rare

My dad wrote this recollection on one of the last pages of his history:

“I have never had a day since my birth that I have not been blessed in countless ways!”          

He obviously had the foresight to be aware of the “countless ways” his life was blessed and make note of them!  Again, Happy Birthday wishes to you, Dad!  It was a beautiful day to celebrate your birthday!  Meanwhile, I hope you are enjoying a good book!

We also enjoyed a happy birthday celebration for my oldest daughter, Malia, and her darling family this weekend.  I remember when I was expecting Malia, (and in those days, you rarely knew whether you were going to have a boy or a girl before your baby was born) I told my dad that I hoped my baby would be his birthday present that year.  With a knowing grin, my father said that my baby deserved her own special birthday!  My cute, little baby girl, Malia, with her thick mass of dark hair and round, kiss-able cheeks was born early on the morning of April 28, 1981.  In keeping up with the tradition I started on my dad’s birthday card many years ago, I’ll write a few Happy Birthday sentiments for Malia now too!

Adorable girl, Malia

 Boating in Hyrum

My friend

Amazing mother

Loves her family

Interested in others

A beautiful daughter


What I’m learning now is…

I once heard it said that, “Your past is the landscape of your life.”  What I’m learning now is that when each birthday rolls around, (as they inevitably do…) it might be a good chance for us to reflect on our lives and enhance that landscape…as well as recommit to making it one that all our loved ones will have the opportunity to enjoy for many years to come!

Take the opportunity to spell out your loved ones names on a paper and consider the fun words you’d write to pay tribute to the unique impact they’ve had on your life.  Surprise them with your thoughts for their next birthday!