Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Dear Jordan Elizabeth,

Today, you are a quarter of a century old! This, of course, signals something that’s incredibly important: I need to stop telling people that I’m 35.

As you entered the world in 1991, the United States was embroiled in the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas endlessly grilling him about sexual misconduct allegedly perpetrated by him against Anita Hill. In other news, the Berlin Wall had just recently come down, and the stock market had just come up to over 3000 for the first time ever. The “world wide web” had sprung into being in 1991 and revolutionized our way of life… just as you did! … (and, arguably, you have made an even bigger impact than it did).

As your dark, sparkling eyes and magnificent head of gorgeous baby hair graced my hospital room for the first time, you made headlines of a different kind in our life that would never fade like the news of the day and here we are – in the blink of an eye – celebrating the 25th year of that magnificent blessing to us. You originally arrived as the most perfect specimen of life we could have imagined and now you enter the next quarter of life with an abundance of spirit, an unwavering conviction to excel, a generous heart for your family and an abiding love for God and your neighbors that is still perfect in our eyes. Well done. Really, really well done, my dear.

As the lyrics of this beautiful song in the video describe, you had better anticipate that, STILL,

In the morning when you rise,
I bless the sun, I bless the skies.
I bless your lips, I bless your eyes.
My blessing goes with you.


When your weary heart is tired,
If the world would leave you uninspired,
When nothing more of love’s desired,
My blessing goes with you.

In addition to all of the blessings that have always been with you is also a special birthday prayer. Now that you are a 25-year-old adult woman with buckets of your own wisdom, my prayer is that you learn early what your 50-something parents took twice as long to fully grasp: Go forward into the next wonderful quarter-century pursuing only those meaningful things and relationships that your future self will thank you for.

As a stockbroker, you know the importance of making sound financial investments. Protect the rest of your assets in the same way. Love, fidelity, loyalty, kindness, generosity, fun, laughter, beauty of heart, patience, understanding and all of the wonderful traits that make you “YOU” are the blessings you carry to others. Your future self will never regret sowing those seeds, especially among the like-minded. Your future self will prosper greatly if you never take those same blessings in others for granted in any way. That is how to not only count your blessings, but to make all your blessings count.

So, my amazing daughter, let me wish you an equally amazing and happy birthday today and, as the lyrics say:

When the storms of life are strong,
When you’re wounded, when you don’t belong,
When you no longer hear my song,
My blessing goes with you.

This is my prayer for you,
There for you, ever true,
Each, every day for you,
In everything you do.

We love you so much. Dad and I are incredibly proud of you. Twenty-five years after your birth in 1991, Supreme Court judges continue to be nominated, our country is still talking about walls, the stock market has risen five-fold and the “world wide web” now delivers your birthday greeting via Facebook and my personal blog, neither of which any of us imagined, way back when you were born. Events come and go, many things change, but these two things will stay the same forever – and beyond: I bless you and you bless me too.

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Don’t Miss the Train You Truly Want to Take

I’ve had some wonderful conversations this week, with some inspirational people who happen to be going through some particularly tough times.  Words of comfort – especially for those who are usually the comfort-givers – are hard to discern sometimes… but I’m going to try.  This blog is for you….


When it comes to life, you need to take the right ticket and leave your bags at the station. Problem is, that when your bags have finally gotten so heavy that you can’t travel with them anymore, it knocks you to your knees, and you realize that maybe it’s time to travel lightly and to let go of what has been weighing you down and putting a burden on your heart. My sweet husband has been trying to gently and lovingly tell me this for years, in one way or another.

I wonder if the reason this has finally registered in my brain is that I didn’t always carry so much stuff with me or that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just become less tolerant or more aware of the weight. My occasional affair with luggage has, perhaps, been at least a consistently inconsistent one; I was probably shaped by being the youngest child who was always eager to please, who was always concerned about aging parents and, more than not, a fairly deep thinker. Moreover, my belief system has always drawn me to the suitcases labeled “Kindness”, “Loyalty”, “Generosity” and “Care”, without always realizing that those were exactly the ones that also carried the highest degrees of risk. Heaped inside those same suitcases, were surprising amounts of equal and opposite kinds of toxic stuff: stuff such as betrayal, hurt, mean-spiritedness and resentment. If only Isaac Newton could have applied his theory of paradoxical phenomena to matters of the heart we would have each been forewarned…and the fallout to well-intentioned, chronic care-a-holics like me would have been averted. Along life’s way, in a strange combination of masochism and optimism, instead of letting go of my tight grip on my suitcases, and despite the hurt or disloyalty I was semi-conscious of carrying, my fingers hung on. Perhaps I also bought into an illusion that my suitcases doubled as protective gear – being kind would enable me to ignore feeling hurt, that being loyal would allow me to pretend that those I loved would never betray me, and that caring about and caring for others would inspire others in kind. This is, in a word, dumb. Sooner or later, carrying negative stuff around makes daily life too painful to to navigate. In addition, the sad reality is that many times, other people simply don’t care enough to come walk alongside you to hear about the weight of your burden, nor will they acknowledge their toxic contribution to it. Dr. Laura Schlesinger, in her book entitled, Surviving a Shark Attack (on Land), explains that most people seek only ways to justify the stuff they’ve handed you to carry along the way. In Dr. Laura’s perspective (unlike Isaac Newton’s perspective), in the world of real people, the universe does not have a way of equalizing things. According to her, most people just don’t really feel remorse, take responsibility, make sincere efforts to repair brokenness or avoid repeating the hurtful things they do and say to others. She calls these the four “r”s.

Now, we can adopt a simple Christian perspective for the chronic luggage aficionado like me: it is a metaphor of God as the engineer, with sin and pain as the bags we carry and Jesus as the guy we hand them to at the platform.

The story unfolds. The Lord sees you holding on tightly to all of your bags with both hands and, without even opening your luggage, he knows what you’re carrying. Your ticket is clenched (and now mangled) between your teeth. But, just before the train pulls away, you finally let go of your grip, put down the luggage and turn around. Jesus offers a different ticket to you and takes the now-gummy one from the clutches of your pearly whites. In deciding to take his fresh ticket, however, you need the use of your hands, so you lay down your bags and you just leave them there, on the station deck.

New ticket in hand, you board.

There is, of course, an epilogue to the “Leave Your Luggage at the Platform” story and, in it, you learn not to pick up more baggage once you’re on the train. You learn from your past. You don’t allow others to disrespect you or put you down. You don’t confuse being kind and polite to others with allowing people to treat you harshly or try to diminish your sense of self worth.

You continue to embrace your kindness. You continue to be exceedingly generous. You keep your integrity intact and you remain humble. You do “good” – in every way you can, with as many people as you can, as long as you can. But you also don’t pick up the stuff that weighs you down along the way, and you don’t continue to place yourself in hurtful environments. This is particularly important for many of my women friends who are helper-giver-pleaser types, as I am. Oh…and once you’re riding on those new rails, you find a seat in the “Dignity” car. That’s where you’ll have the healthiest view of the landscape, of life and of others for the remainder of your ride. You cannot ride the freight train anymore because the hurt and the baggage you carried are in His grip now, not yours.

Don’t miss the important journey you’re meant to enjoy… and don’t miss the train you truly want to take.

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