When You Believe

Seeking faith and speakin’ words
I never thought I’d say
There can be miracles
When you believe

From When You BelieveStephen Schwartz

After much thought and consideration, I finally settled on my word of the year for 2016. It is BELIEVE. When I found the video above, I got tears in my eyes because Whitney (God Rest Her Soul) and Mariah’s words echo my heart.

Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe

2015 was a really a whirlwind for me. It was a year of much soul searching, God seeking, and self love. I put myself first and then pulled God and my family and friends in even closer. Things are happening that I can hardly believe. I believe that even more will happen.

I never take my current state of affairs for granted. I know how fast things can change. When you truly give your life over to a spiritual journey, you have to let each day unfold as it will. This doesn’t mean I don’t make goals. I just leave some flexibility in them and go with the flow.

I believe that my faith will go higher, my relationship to God even closer. I fret sometimes that I rely too much on Him, but that is what works for me. And I know going forward that this is the right place to be.

May you believe, with me, that this year can hold great promise. If we just believe….

Believe
Believe
Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Girl’s Day Out

Sewickley Creek Greenhouses at Christmas
Sewickley Creek Greenhouses at Christmas

The weather had been blustery for a couple of days, but luckily last Wednesday it gave us a break. That’s when my mom, Aunt Joy, Michelene (my daughter) and I came together for a girl’s day out of lunch and Christmas window shopping.

Soergel's Yellow Truck
Soergel’s Yellow Truck

We chose a local Eat’n Park as our starting point. After having lunch there, it was only a short ride to Soergel’s Orchards and Greenhouse. They’ve been around for ages and Michelene even remarked that my mother had taken her there as a small child. We were not disappointed when we decided to look in Soergel’s bakery for a sweet treat. Even with choices of baklava, chocolate or pumpkin gobs, or small lemon merigue pies, Michelene chose sugar cookies that turned out to be pillowy puffs of almost cake like goodness, with a fine sprinkle of sugar on top. With a cup of coffee, it was the perfect winter treat.

I was happy to have Michelene along as we maneuvered mom and Aunt Joy through aisles chock full of Christmas treats and treasures. Soergel’s has an amazing Christmas shop with lots of ornaments, decorations, ribbons, sleigh bells and table linens. It was a feast for holiday eyes and hearts.

Fun at Soergel's and their delicious bakery
Aunt Joy (L), Michelene, My mom Katherine (R), Fun at Soergel’s

After some time at Soergel’s, the ladies were still game for one more stop. We hit Sewickley Creek Greenhouses on the way back to my mom’s. We could smell the pine and candles when we walked in the door of this beautiful greenhouse and gift shop. The owners were so friendly and asked if we needed help with anything. We loved just walking around and looking at all the gifts.

Sewickley Creek Greenhouses Golden Tree
Sewickley Creek Greenhouses Golden Tree
Sewickley Creek Lemon Curd Candles
Sewickley Creek Lemon Curd Candles

Here’s what I think of on these kind of days. Every moment is precious and I will remember these days with a fondness. So if I get a bit tired or distracted along the way, I stop and remind myself to be in the moment. I have this experience with my mom, aunt and daughter that time will never erase. My friends tell me to enjoy every minute. I think that’s good advice.

 

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

View From A Farm

The Field at the Farm

“Sometimes I think there are only two instructions we need to follow to develop and deepen our spiritual life: slow down and let go.”
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance: Moving To the Rhythms of Your True Self

Every now and then I take the time to slow down and I remember who I am again. It happened last week when I spent four days with my sister Mary and her partner Starr.

Mary had a big event she could have used some help with and well since I’m an event coordinator (after all!), it was easy for me to head down to be of assistance. While I was there, I met some amazing new people and got to visit with some wonderful old friends. This event was called “In Good Company” and was a first time fundraiser for the Winston Salem LGBT community center North Star. I declare it a great success. There were 250 guests plus awards, speakers, music, food, silent auction- what more could a person want?

Mary and Rex at In Good Company
Mary and Rex at In Good Company

When that was over, I spent the next couple of days eating Greek food (and visiting with an old friend), going to the movies, shopping, and having Starr’s wonderful homemade cooking. I had lunch with my webmaster and learned some new things. My favorite gift hang out is still in downtown Winston Salem, Earthbound Arts, which you absolutely have to check out when you’re in the neighborhood.

But guess what I did in the down time? Nothing. Yes, that’s right. NOTHING. I laid in the big bed of my room and read and slept. I took lavender scented baths, and looked out the window. Here’s the view.

Sunrise on the Farm

Amazing, isn’t it?

What do you do when you slow down? For me there was no cooking, no driving, no laundry, no meal planning and only worrying about me. That is a hard thing to come by these days since my life revolves around my family and business. But this is important. This is necessary. This is what taking a break is all about.

And since Mary and Starr live on a farm, there were great views and scenery to remind me to keep it simple.

Even on the plane ride down and back I read, napped and took it easy. Unbelievable. But I have to tell you. I had a great time!

Morning Walk with the Dogs
The Barn
The Field Mid Morning
View from my Window

Thank you to Mary, Starr, Julia, Susan, Tamara, Gordon and the North Star friends who made this trip really special.

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Being There for Grace

Photo by Zack Wilson
Photo by Zack Wilson

Faith is a living daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. Martin Luther

There were some particularly poignant moments this past summer when my weddings were in full swing that I felt it. I felt touched by grace and in awe of being witness to such beauty and love. I have been thinking about those moments lately and I wanted to share a couple of them with you.

In June, I had fluffed Shaina’s bridal train at the back of the church, the doors to the sanctuary still closed. The music began and my assistant and I opened both doors simultaneously. Shaina and her father walked arm in arm down the aisle, down to Shaina’s beloved Rob. This is when people I have worked with (yet really barely know) become like little beats of my heart. That is when I know God has given me this magnificent job.

Thank you to Zack Wilson for this photo
Thank you to Zack Wilson for this photo

Then at the reception, I saw it again when Rob danced with his mother Cindy. She was the one who originally contacted me to assist with the wedding. I was honored she hired me and I told her so. I loved the venue, a traditional old country club, and I knew how much it touched Cindy that Rob and Shaina were getting married.

Cindy cried on and off all day and I know this is how I am going to be when either of my children get married someday. We put our heart and soul into raising our children and then- BOOM- all of sudden they are grown up and jumping out of the nest. Next thing you know they are in college, marrying, and where did the time go?

Somehow the families didn’t get a big picture taken at the church and Cindy’s husband asked me at the reception if I could make it happen. I went back and forth between the photographer, DJ, and family tables and coordinated the timing. Next thing you know, everyone is outside and the big picture gets taken.

This Photo is just Gorgeous! Thank you to Zack Wilson!
This Photo is just Gorgeous! Thank you to Zack Wilson!

Now it doesn’t get any better than this does it? I absolutely thought this was a magnificent display of God’s grace and love. A family together, celebrating a beautiful event and wow, how much they love each other.

I tell you, I really have the best job.

More wedding stuff later. I need another box of kleenex.

Blessings,

Joanne

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

What To Do At A Party

What to do at a party

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.” 
― Frederick Buechner

How have you been? It’s been a busy couple of weeks but I so wanted to say hello and touch base.

I have been blessed with lots of activity. My sister Mary visited from North Carolina and my cousin Christina is here with her daughter Arial. A beautiful reception to coordinate was dropped in my lap and two more weddings to oversee have magically appeared as well. God is truly keeping his eye out for me.

One of the summer events I had the privilege to attend was a memorial picnic in honor of a young woman who passed away five years ago. Her children were there as were many others to remember and cherish the beautiful person that Mandy was. It was while I was there that I spied the creative and inspirational poster of sorts that you see above.

Take a moment and notice which activities were already checked off the “What To Do At Party” list. Read books, tell jokes and jump on trampoline were already checked off. I wish I was there for the trampoline part, but then again, maybe not. 🙂 I especially loved make tambourines- wow!

This poster reminded me of what it was like to be a kid all over again. What things did I like to do when I was a child? I loved to color and make creative paper drawings. I loved to listen to music and pretend I was in a band. My friends and I would get together and go bike riding every day. We would definitely drink root beer floats.

In this age of too much, too soon, I think we can sometimes forget the simple things that are good and uncomplicated. A family meal, not elaborate, but eaten together. Time well spent just talking and walking on a trail or on the beach. A chance to get back to ourselves and get quiet.

I’m guessing it was Talulah, Izaya and Willow that made this poster. I have to thank them when I see them next. I really love it.

Blessings to you for a joyous summer! How have you been? What were some of your favorite things to do as a child?

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015