Living Generously

Mom and her delicious Finikia!
Mom and her delicious Finikia!

“Give , and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

I would have to say that my mother has set the best example for me of living generously.

She does not have all that much but what she has she will share with you unselfishly. Preferring not to spend money on herself, she will lavishly offer to spring for lunch or try to give me money when I buy her something that is really a gift.

Case in point, my sister Mary is coming to town in a couple of weeks and my mom already has the itinerary pretty much finished (this is why I am an event planner!). One day’s activities involves going to our church’s mini food festival and mom has already told me she is paying for dinners- lamb, pastichio, stuffed grape leaves, etc.

Over my objections (it does no good) she has told me she will take care of the food bill that night.

I used to think my mom financially cut herself a bit too close at times but as I get older, and closer to God, I think honestly she has the right idea. Everything she needs has been provided to her. She is well taken care of and in good health now (thank you!). Happy to be with her simple things, she is content to have just enough.

I firmly believe the old wives saying of “you can’t take it with you”. I love how wealthy people are giving their money away in clever and creative ways, not leaving it all for their children but making them earn it themselves.

I found this link recently to an article about wealthy people who have decided not to leave their fortunes to their kids. Warren Buffet for instance has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth either during his life or before he dies. He has already pledged 83% of it to the Gates Foundation.

What about simple folk like me? I am still finding creative ways to be generous, despite my limited income these days. Giving of my time (without expecting payment) to good causes is my favorite generous act of late. I also like to treat to things that are only a few dollars- coffee or dessert for a friend, a nice book from the used book store. I love these forms of generosity; they keep my feet firmly planted where they need to be, in service to others.

If I am tempted to be selfish with my time or money, I remind myself how generosity will come back to me multiplied.

Blessings to you today! What is your favorite act of generosity?

Join me on my graceful journey.
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What Is It About Mothers?

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children. Jessica Lange

Mom and the Three of Us!
Mom and the Three of Us!

Whether she was wiping noses, cooking dinner or teaching us life lessons, my mother dedicated herself to her family. When I look back in time, she was tireless. Ever cleaning, ever cooking, ever managing the household- that was Mom.

I have many friends like me who have aging parents with issues. Some have parents who have passed. As I feel my own age more and more, I grow in awe of what Mom did for us, despite some serious obstacles. I can wipe away a tear just thinking about moments in time and how Mom managed and survived major stresses. At the time those events happened, I had very little awareness of the gravity of situations. Now I know better.

Mom was a real stunner!
Mom was a real stunner!

As I take care of my mom now, I realize how she took care of my dad all those years ago. He had some of the same issues she is having right now, yet I do not remember ever worrying about him (or her) or offering to assist much. This bothers me a bit today but I know deep inside, mom shouldered this all because she just had to. And likely she would have not wanted it any other way.

My own stint with motherhood has taught me many things. One is that I am not always right. Second, I have a lot of power. These two things can sometimes get the best of us moms into trouble. When we tell our kids they don’t do this right or that right, they are listening. I used to think my kids did not listen to me. Then I realized that they were very much listening, watching and learning.

As parents, I believe we have a tremendous responsibility not to use our kids to fulfill our own unsatisfied life dreams. Rather, they are here to be their own individuals, embrace their gifts and qualities, and contribute to society as a whole. I have learned the hard way to love and accept my children (and grandchild) for who they are, rather than to try and force them into what I think they should be.

John and Michelene
John and Michelene

As I have said in previous posts, I have really realized the power of unconditional love. My daughter was a single parent at age 18. She finished her GED ages ago and attained a Bachelor’s Degree just a few years ago. She is working hard and getting ready to buy her first house. I am very proud of her.

My son is following his instincts and doing what brings him satisfaction and happiness. Though I sometimes wish for other things, I want him to come to his own conclusions about life’s journey. What I try to do is encourage, support and love him just for who he is…a wonderful human being.

My vocation as a Mother will never be over. I try and remember every day that I will leave a lasting legacy for my children and grandchild. As I remember the gifts my mother and grandmother gave to me, I can only hope to leave behind some fond memories of myself… and a great recipe for baklava. 🙂

This post is in honor of my mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to you! What is your favorite part of Motherhood?

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Someone’s Watching Over Me

Sunrise 2

“I was not sure where I was going, and I could not see what I would do when I got [there]. But you saw further and clearer than I, and you opened the seas before my ship, whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing to be my rescue and my shelter and my home.”
― Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

This quote speaks volumes about the last month or so of my life.

My mom was ill almost all of February and now as she progresses in her recovery, I have a chance to look back and reflect on what really happened.

It is clear that I’ve been watched over. And a path was cleared along the way for me.

Twice last month I narrowly missed being involved in a car accident. If I’d have been seconds later or earlier I would have been hit. I was not.

One morning I was scared and worried about my mom. It was at the beginning of her illness and she was very sick. I happened to be standing at my kitchen sink, looking out the window into my side yard. A singular, enormous doe came out from behind the pine trees and began walking towards my house. She stopped right outside the window, just feet away. I froze as I met her gaze and it was as if she looked right through me. I knew at that moment that my mom was going to be ok. To me, that was a sign of Grace.

The truth is, I have had signs all along the way. People have shown up for me, my mom and my sisters. I finally began to tone down my worry when I realized all I had to do was believe. It was really that simple.

I swear God sees things coming. He sends in reinforcements, interceptions and angels. When I remember to truly Let Go, I just stand back and watch the magic unfold.

A few days after my mom was on a new floor, a rehab floor, I walked into her room and there was a sweet dear friend of mine assigned to my mom as her nurse’s aide for the day. Imagine! In a whole hospital full of people, my friend was assigned to my mother. Was this a coincidence? I think not.

When we believe and have faith, our life can be full and rich and bursting at the seams. No one said it was going to be easy. But someone’s watching over me (and you!) and all we have to do is trust.

Do you ever feel like someone is watching over you? Protecting you? Tell me about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.
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