Friday, November 29, 2013


Today is the fortieth birthday of my very dear friend, Joe. I met Joe a few years back at an advertising conference - on a bus - headed to Downtown Disney. Both of us flying solo. The rest has been history. Orlando, San Diego, Austin, Akron, Phoenix and Rochester have served as our stomping grounds and points of face-to-face reconnection.

It's not often that you meet a person, connect and develop a lasting friendship. I have found that with Joe. An amazing person. A creative mind. A generous heart.

Cheers to you, Joe, on your 40th birthday! May you have many, many more blessed years.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Wise 7 Year Old

Dinner conversation is ALWAYS the best...everything gets put on the table. Eavesdropping on Sidney and Ashton's conversation was priceless.

Sidney: Mommy bought me bras today when we went shopping.
Ashton: (nods his head)
Sidney: She let me buy padded ones this time.
Ashton: (nods his head)
Sidney: They aren't the big padded ones. They have just a little padding.
Ashton: 'Sinney' (as he calls his sister), you really don't need to tell me this.

Conversation over.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Baby Momma

Sunday afternoon the family ventured to Aurora Farms to make returns, use gift cards and squeeze one more thing into an already jam-packed day.

Everyone got something - consider the day a success. I got a new leather laptop bag and a huge laugh from Wilson's Leather. As I was checking out, Aaron was standing next to me and the kids were touching everything on the counter. I am paying no attention to the cashier other than to transact and get my  two misfits out of the store! When I looked up she looked at me and asked (very sincerely I might add!) "Is your hair naturally blonde?" It threw me for a loop. Um, come again? Blonde? No. You see me standing right in front of you, right? I responded politely and curiously, "No, I am not a blonde...." The next question out of her mouth was the jaw-dropper. "Are those your kids?" Yep, sure are - those are my kids. I promise I didn't find them at a store and shop-lift them out from under their blonde parents! "I was blonde as a child, hence my blonde kids."

People never cease to amaze me. Or, fail to entertain me!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Clutter Equals Imagination

Friday morning I was on a conference call while Ashton was left to his own devices for about 20 minutes. Thank goodness for the mute button! There was a huge eruption of noise coming from the living room while I was battling myself to stay focused to the task at hand. Whatever was going on in there was a lot more interesting than the onslaught of information I was consuming.

I popped into the living room and motioned for Ashton to come get his things and move out to the driveway to wait for the bus. What I found was a floor littered with cars, airplanes, trucks, hex bugs and even one sole superhero - Batman. Surprisingly this didn't send me into an OCD fit with and urge to get it all picked up. Rather, I looked around the room in admiration of Ashton's creativity and big imagination. He's such a bright little mind.

What a great way to start the day. Batman, car races and helicopters - all in the midst of a conference call.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Laughter is Power

Have you ever seen Monsters, Inc.? Crazy looking monsters who capture children's screams at night to power their city? It's a great concept - alternative energy if you will.

A few weeks back, my little clan (my small group of friends) and I ventured to the Vermillion area for another weekend of relaxation, wine drinking and long overdue bonding. Of course, no trip to that region is complete without a stay at The Cabin in the Woods. Our hosts, as always, were gracious and very tolerant. Tolerant of incessant laughing. Laughter of insane magnitude causing side stitches, sore abs and watery eyes.

Upon our departure, Walt our innkeeper and friend, told me that if our laughter could be bottled and used like it was in Monsters, Inc., it could power all of New York City. He meant it with all sincerity and in appreciation of our friendships and intentional endeavor to have fun and kick back.

What he said stuck. Laughter is power. I need to generate more power!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Making Mistakes Since 1964

This is the tagline of my dear friend, John Puglia. "Making Mistakes Since 1964." The first time he said that to me I laughed hysterically thinking that he had just made some witty comeback to my accusation of him missing something that I had provided to him earlier in the day. Turns out, it's his official sign off - and he had the rubber stamp to prove it. Really, he did.

John had a real liking for taglines apparently - he bestowed two upon me. The first one should be no surprise to anyone - "The Girl on the Grid." He teased me incessantly for living and dying by schedules, getting excited about well-created spreadsheet and matrices and being a machine in some cases. In fact, he would leave me notes on grid paper just to reinforce his theory and thereby validating the tagline. The second tagline he gave me was "Blonde Roots. Really." I had a picture of my Granddad and I sitting on my desk and I was about three years old - and blonde. John would often tease me for being book-smart and lacking common sense - and specifically having no navigational sense whatsoever. Despite my dark hair, he was convinced the blonde roots were still there.

Our friendship really took hold a year ago - during a 24-hour, round-the-clock, work frenzy known as CreateAThon. I was on John's team and we really got to know each other well and had some quality bonding time through that experience. Nothing says bonding like a 1:30am walk to The Interstate - a notoriously gay bar - in Akron. I suppose he thought it would be good to wake me up if the cold air in the wee hours in the morning didn't do it. He was right. This was the first of many experiences we would have and share for the next year.

He introduced me to a new realm of restaurants, drinks, live music venues, speak-easies and bands. He also instilled in me an appreciation for experiences. These should not be understated. He invited me into his world - knowing it would be completely different than what I was accustomed to. He lived life to the fullest - experiencing every moment and challenged me to do the same.

I lost John a week ago today. I did. His boys did. His parents did. Numerous other friends and family. We all lost John - and what a loss that is. I still have not fully comprehended his expedited departure despite the fact that I attended his funeral only days ago. It was too soon. Far too soon for a person so full of life, energy and amazing talent. He loved life and that passion was contagious. To say I will miss him is a gross understatement.

John and I - CreateAThon 2012

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mad Men Meets Pharmaceuticals

Nearly all of my professional career has been spent in the marketing and advertising world. Tomorrow it changes. Tomorrow I leave my comfort zone to move into a field that is relatively foreign to me. If someone would have told me that I would wind up in the healthcare(ish) industry one day I would have told them they were off their rocker. My Grandie always wished me to be a nurse while I was growing up and I politely disagreed - no thanks. No blood, bodily fluid or needles for this girl. While I will not be functioning as a healthcare provider, being in the industry is still a bit bizarre. But, it affords me what I need - time.

For far too long I have been running on fumes and while I have done a kick-ass job in my professional career, I have done a mediocre job as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, volunteer. This is not me being melodramatic or a martyr, this is me keeping it real. The Mad Men lifestyle has afforded me many opportunities, growth experiences, travel, new relationships, fun and yes, even cocktails at my desk and over lunch. But, not without a cost. The cost being at the expense of the people most important to me. What it really comes down to is the realization that life is about five-minutes long. Recognizing what's most important to me and how can I achieve more life becomes the goal. Not the career. Not a job. People and life - that's what matters to me.

"There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow; so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live."
- Dalai Lama 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Birthday S+

Since May 1st, I have listened to the countdown to the birthday of Sarah Cross. May 19th is the magical date that this vibrant force entered the planet.

S+ (Sarah Cross) is my project manager, right hand and friend. She is pushed and pulled all day long by two very demanding account executives and still manages to inject humor, levity and spirit into the daily grind. She brings flair and life to everything she touches. Her consummate desire to learn and grow is inspiring. Her ability to add "light" to the gloomiest of days is refreshing.

She has laughed with me. Cried with me. Prayed for me. Supported me. Inspired me. Worked with me and for me - long hours and in tough situations. She challenges me. Always keeping me on my toes.

She loves life and it is evident in everything she does. She adds beauty as well as captures it. She is an amazing woman.

On this day and every day I wish her a life full of happiness + celebration.

Happy Birthday to you, S+. May you have many, many more!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Hebrews 11 states, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Whether or not you believe (in God) faith is something that can be a difficult practice. Webster defines faith as "a firm belief or complete trust in something for which there is no proof." Not really my strong suit. I'm more of a fact-based, show me the data kind of a girl. I'm finding the facts and the data don't always point to the appropriate solution.

Sunday morning I sat in church listening to a message on faith. Actively listening. Reading ahead in Hebrews 11 to the next verse. Hungry to refresh myself on the notable acts of faith. Parting of the Red Sea, ark building....that's serious faith. 

I'm making the shift to demonstrate greater faith in virtually every aspect of my life - personally and professionally. Leaps aren't easy. I guess why they are leaps of faith.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Have you ever just had life jump up and smack you in the face calling for your attention? As in, "what the hell are you doing and why?" I suppose there are points in life where you need to be face-to-face with complete loss before you fully realize what you stand to lose. And, how profound that truly is.

To say that the past several months, and arguably the past year, have been trying and turbulent would be a gross understatement. Watching yourself slowly slip away from things and people that absolutely make you a whole person is painful. Fairly torturous. Hearing those closest to you say, "you've changed", "you aren't yourself anymore", "you've lost your levity" and knowing that it is all true is pierces a soul.

I'm here to say healing has begun. It's a tough path. It's not instantaneous. But, it's progress. And progress is success.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Finer Things in Life

Who thought that basketball - fourth grade basketball - would fall under a headline like "The Finer Things in Life...."

I have had the privilege of witnessing my daughter's growth - both on and off the court - for the past several months. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your child sharpen her skills. Develop confidence. Experience the value of being a member of a team - a tribe, if you will. Exuding passion that most adults cannot fathom. It's been truly refreshing and inspiring.

Her tenacious spirit is contagious. She keeps me grounded - reminds me what the finer things in life truly are.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Perfection in the Way of Progress

Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else's life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Steve Jobs

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Desperate Why

Remember my 2012 Reflections? The overarching theme of what is important in life. Well, I had a face-to-face with that reality again this week. This time it wasn't my story. It was a story that my friend shared with me - one written beautifully by one of her friends who has learned what the meaning of life truly is.

"What is your DESPERATE why?"

In a flash my eyes welled up as I felt a jolt of pain in my chest.

Want to know my desperate why?

These four men are my why. Jeff and I got caught up in the rat race in the last two years. Which took us away from what mattered, family. We spent very little time together, no enjoying life and very little laughter. Instead, we were when you throw something into a fan. Split and tattered into a million pieces. It almost broke us down, enough to rip our little family apart. Thank God we woke up.

Now, we are committed more than ever before to simplify our lives. We reminded one another about the reason we decided to build a life together to begin with. Truth is, success is never defined by "things" or "money". True success is finding joy and honoring love. Savoring every moment that we are on this earth. Waking every morning with thoughts of gratitude. Gratitude for the love you have, not for the things you have.

Now, this does not mean we will not continue to put our strength behind our work, this just means that our priorities shifted. They are where they should be. And although we still have our work cut out for us, we are now present every step of the way. And that my friends, is priceless.

I urge you to ask yourself these questions:

Do you know your "Desperate Why"?
Are you stuck on the wrong path?
Is fear of change holding you back?
Are you more concerned with what might be said about you if you shift your path instead of what's right for you and your family?

It is never too late to make a positive change in your life.

Thank you, Denise, for sharing. And, thank you - Anna Cummins - for being bold enough to share your hard life lessons. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Unkowingly Profound

Sidney's basketball team has been on a bit of a losing streak. They play well, but they fizzle at the end of the game. By the 4th quarter, will and stamina are not considered equal.

Prior to suiting up for Saturday's game Sidney issued a very profound statement. "Mom, I need a win." Tired of losing. In desperate need of seeing the fruits of her labor. A win is needed. Indeed it is, Sidney.

Her team won and she left me with a statement that addresses an ongoing pain of mine. I, too, am in need of a win. It will happen - it's just never fast enough.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Reflections

It's that time of year. Not a time to project what the new year will bring, what resolutions I will make and break, but rather to reflect what I have experienced. 2012 has proven to be a rebuilding year. Personally and professionally. Rebuilding certainly brings challenge. But, it also can yield reward.

I've learned...when one door closes, another one opens. But, walk cautiously because you don't know what is on the other side until you are through it.

I've circle is small. Tight. And, that's the way I like it.

I've learned...even "food poisoning" can be funny in the company of good friends and it never gets old talking about it.

I've learned...fourth grade homework is work - even with a college degree.

I've can find friends in unlikely places - embracing a new relationship while exposing potential vulnerabilities leads to rich experiences.

I've heart is in service. Not the rat race.

I've learned...setting a goal and achieving it is quite possibly one of the most rewarding feelings a person can have.

I've kids are flipping hysterical and not a day goes by that they haven't made me laugh.

I've learned...while time heals, it's never fast enough.

I've only go around once. Make the most of it. Carpe Diem.

I've learned...self control is easier said than done. Especially while being a spectator at my kids' games.

I've learned...sunshine can be found in any situation. Sometimes you just have to dig to uncover it.

I've learned...there's nothing "half" about a half marathon.

Here's to 2013. May it be filled with health and happiness.