Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Grandmother's Voice

Mama and me as an infant
Hello There. VivBounty here to share a tender moment. Today is ten years since I last heard my grandmother's voice. This is the photo I have on the shelf in my office overlooking my desk where I write.

I took half a day off from my job in Pittsburgh, PA on this day ten years ago to meet my sister, Tinky so that we could drive to the hospital in Peterborough, ON to see Mama knowing she didn't have much time left. We arrived to find many of our family members gathered around her and overflowing out into the waiting area on what was the last time we would hear her speak, two weeks before she would make her transition out of her earthly body back home to heaven.

My Mum, her daughter, Doris asked her again if this is what she really wanted, meaning opting against dialysis knowing the renal failure would soon take her. She insisted she'd had a good long life of 87 years. I asked if there was anything she would ask of us or wishes we could carry out.

She asked that we not be somber once she's gone, wear only respectful colors, not black and that we do this for eight days as a period of mourning. So I would wear a beige, cream and burgundy pantsuit to her funeral and eulogize her in a way I think she would have approved of.

I asked her if she minded if I have one of her rosaries. She bequeathed me her black onyx one which she always carried in her handbag, and which I now always carry in mine.

As a baby, I spent much time with her and my grandfather, Toto who was Italian. He used to feed me spaghetti, one noodle at a time as I sat on his lap.

As I grew into an adult, in my 20's and 30's she shared stories with me of how she lived her life to the fullest without regret and advised that I should do the same. I traveled a lot in those years and Mama was always there to help me pack, sharing travel and packing tips with me from her days of adventure traveling around the world.

I knew she always had my back telling me not to let the gossip get to me and to just say with conviction that I am living my life to the fullest, enjoying my journey and so what? I wasn't hurting anyone.

She would tell me to keep my cards close to my chest, not to share too much or trust too easily, pointing out where the gossip leaks were from time to time over the years, always fortifying me with her support.

I miss her voice but I know she's still showing me the pitfalls in life. I sense her in spirit as I feel her guidance always. I pray on her rosary and I know she's pleased about that. 

I inherited her fierce love and protectiveness of my family, her strong beating heart, her sense of adventure and certainly her feisty spirit.

There is no lesson here today, just a reminder to hug those you love, keep them in your heart as they are always gone too soon.

Bountiful blessings,


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspired By President Obama's Mention of Grandmother Age 55 Returning To School

Hello There, VivBounty here to share with you the story of my sister, a grandmother aged 54 going back to school to reinvent herself. Reminded by President Obama in the debate in Denver last night when he mentioned meeting a grandmother age 55 going back to school on the campaign trail, I thought I'd better share this timely story with you.

What may seem at first glance, and in my humble opinion to some as laziness in the case of the unemployed may be a lack of self-confidence, a loss of faith in the job market or job search process and generally a series of events like companies closing or relocating to another State taking only the few chosen executive staff, cut backs, lay offs and all the things which are currently happening in today's world economic crisis.

The relocation of the company in the above scenario was my sister's case only she was administrative support staff so would not be moved to another State at the expense of the company but instead laid off, let go, or whatever politically correct buzzword you choose to substitute here. While her children were in a middle school with very high tuition, she chose to work at the school again in a secretarial, administrative support capacity in exchange and application towards a portion of that tuition. It was important to her that her children go to a good school and to her that meant private school for which she sacrificed much.

In addition to working in the school office she also worked at a local credit union as a banking teller. These two jobs continued until her youngest child went on to high school when she landed a great job with benefits at a tax accounting firm for the next six years. It was while at the tax accounting firm her granddaughter was born. Joy was soon to become worry as her position was eliminated and she found herself jobless yet again.

Two years of being unemployed, skilled but unable to find work where she could use her general skill set, she did all she could, attending job marts, registering with employment agencies, consulting with employment counsellors and basically pounded the pavement unable to find work. Finally she made the decision to go back to school. It was time to acquire a more specialized skill set to qualify her for the job openings in the current market.
Our Proud Graduate

For the next 8 months she attended Everest Institute full time. Determined to show her children and for the future of her beautiful granddaughter she forged on each day, all the while encouraging the young mothers in her classes to the the same. She would say, "If you just do the modules, show up every day, do your homework when it's due, you won't get behind, you'll be prepared for class, be able to keep up, get good grades and you will graduate to be employable for the jobs that are out there today". At the end of the course, the college assists the students in job placement. Instead of waiting to be given leads or sent on interviews, my sister immediately went on her own search coming back to her teachers and counsellors with information where they might give her reference to the job openings she had found. To her credit and success, she now works in the legal department of the largest health care insurance employer in her State

On August 28, 2010 at the Hilton Hotel at The Point, we celebrated with great jubilation, her graduation from Everest Institute in the Allied Health Department with the honour of making the Dean's List awarded to students with GPA 4.0. As I video taped her during the procession into the auditorium in her cap and gown, she said to me trembling through moist eyes, "Oh my sister, I have goose bumps".
Processing into the auditorium on Graduation Day

You see ever since she was a little girl in East Africa, this woman has sung the Star Spangled Banner, wanted to live in the USA, and graduate from college just like you see in the movies. As the faculty addressed the graduates there was a moment when they were each given a rose to present to the person who inspired them most to keep going through the trials and tribulations and finally complete this journey.

Mya on the happy day of  her Gammy's graduation
For my sister the one little person with such a huge impact on her heart and her life is her precious granddaughter, Mya, now almost 6 years old. I ran all over the auditorium behind her in the chaos of the over 300 graduates looking for their special person not knowing who she was searching for until we finally found little Mya to take this momentous photo with her "Gammy". We hope she will always treasure it, inspiring her and fuelling her on when she comes upon the hurdles in her life as most certainly every little girl does growing up to be all that she wants to be.

This is the sister that has always believed in me until I could believe in myself. She's my inspiration and my support system. Whenever I stumbled in life she has always been there to help me dust myself off, pull my socks up and keep right on going putting one foot in front of the other towards happiness and success. I share her with you and the world here because she is a gift. In fact I even said to a cousin who doesn't have sisters recently that I'm happy to share my sister with her because I know what a treasure she is, how supportive, inspirational and encouraging she is in my life. As Bishop T.D. Jakes once said, and I paraphrase a little bit here,  "like the scaffolding around a building, our loved ones are there to hold us up, surrounding and supporting, never leaving until we are able to stand on our own. And for that we thank God".

3 sisters
I know just as sure as I'm sitting here that my sister, the scaffolding of my life, will come and prop me up, surrounding me and protecting me with her matter-of-fact love and counselling every time I need some renovation and improvement and as always to celebrate my joy and successes, big and small regardless of how far we live from each other, which just happens to be 1,797.3 km at this moment. We are interwoven in the fabric of each other's lives and as we sisters, all three of us, say to each other, "we come as package", something we have been embued with by our Mum, who was the proudest of her that day.
None more proud than our Mum

My beautiful sister was such an inspiration to her teachers that she was asked to come back the next semester to address the graduating class and share her experience. As she stood up there, speaking off the cuff and from the heart with pride in her accomplishments, she assured every one of the graduates that they too could do it. At the end of her speech a woman in the audience approached her saying that she too was a grandmother in her 50's and was so very encouraged and inspired by her words to go back to school and reinvent herself as she now knows it's never too late.

Until next time, I live in search of more inspiration to help you manifest your bounty, whatever that means for you.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Develop the Courage to Face Your Fears

Hello There, VivBounty here to share with you ways to develop the courage to face your fears with these self-help ideas written by Judith Conroy, Reiki Master. Judith has given me permission to share her articles with you on my blogs.

Fear is one of life's hindrances that can keep you from reaching your full potential. In
fact, it’s the likely culprit when you tell yourself that you're not able to do something
that you have every ounce of ability to do. Fear can turn your world upside down in no
time if you don’t confront it face to face.

Of course, you might be saying that it's easier said than done, because you've tried
your best to overcome your fears and it just hasn’t worked. It's totally
understandable if that's your stance right now. However, why not take a look at
some self-help ideas that could assist you in building the courage to stand taller than
whatever you're fearful of?

Are you ready? Let's go.

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Take a minute to reflect on the fear that's holding you back. Take a closer look at
what you think will happen if you take a head-on approach to your fear. What's the
worst that could really happen?

  • If you're worried about rejection, focus on a positive outcome to get past it.
  •  If you're concerned about failure, think about the lesson you can learn from the
    experience that can continue to move you forward toward your goal.
  •  If you're fearful about disappointing others, remember that "this too shall pass."

Conquer Smaller Fears First

If you're like most people, your fears range from the smallest, most insignificant
things to major scenarios that could be life-changing. But there's really no better way
to develop courage than to get some practice at facing your fears.

So why not start with smaller fears? Are you afraid of insects? Or are you worried
about taking a driving exam because you fear you'll fail? Start with things like these -
the fears that aren’t heart-crushing, but which still take some amount of courage to

  • Tell yourself you're capable of facing the fears because you're prepared.
  •  Comfort yourself with knowing that you'll never get more than you can manage
    in life.
  •  Remind yourself that what you fear is nowhere are large as your will and desire
    to conquer it!
 Look at Everything as a Learning Experience

Above all, it definitely helps a lot if you look at everything - even situations you fear -
as a learning experience. Putting a positive spin on something usually makes it much
easier to deal with.

Take some time to think about what positives you can discern from something you
fear. If you think about what conquering a specific fear could mean for you, consider
how proud and extremely happy you'll be when you actually make it through.

Think about how you'll feel on the other side of the road when you look back and
realize that making it through was much less of a challenge than you thought it would

There's no greater success than the type that comes with overcoming obstacles. And
without a doubt, fear is an obstacle you can overcome.

Developing the courage to face your fears will likely be a work in progress for a while,
but it's truly possible. By using these self-help ideas, you'll be able to take baby steps
towards becoming brave enough to conquer what's preventing you from reaching
your fullest potential. Give it a shot and discover what you're really made of!

 ~ Thank you so much Judith ~

For my part, I can attest to Judith's advice above. I had a terrible fear of speaking in public. My high school French teacher sat beside me as I gave my oral presentation at end of term which represented a huge portion of my mark. She gave me looks of encouragement and if I stumbled she prompted me with a word or a phrase. She knew my fear I had me stalling to the point of being ill  and that I was more than capable of doing a great presentation. She was right and my classmates applauded me at the end of it and I got a really high mark for that class, I knew I could speak in public without passing out, and that skill has paid off numerous times for me.

I went on to have a travel career escorting groups of tourists around the world and even giving presentations to tourists on location. Speaking to the congregation in Church, sad task though it is, I have been called upon to give a eulogy or two for those I love over the years giving great comfort to the family and friends gathered knowing I was the only one to effectively pay tribute to that particular soul's life. In the moments I have been called upon to speak to large groups, the focus has always been on what they need to hear, drawing on my source, intending to impart upon the group the knowledge, information or comfort they seek as a group and individually so that my fear or nervousness is not even on the radar anymore.

In fact, next month, well into an early retirement, I am escorting a fund raising bus tour for PEDVAC, our local social agency. On last count we had 30 ladies booked, some of whom sit on the board of directors with me. Take a look at the bus tour itinerary and great work this agency does at the Web site I created for them here.

Until next time, this is VivBounty telling you that you have nothing to fear but fear itself. 

Inspiring You To Manifest Your Own Bounty.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Honour Of Those Who Lost Their Lives Ten Years Ago Today

Hello Fellow Inspiring Ones, VivBounty here to share with you a little message of hope from a New Yorker who happened to be in Ireland on that fateful day, September 11, 2001 when the world changed.

This morning I happened to be going through my recipe folder and on the back of a recipe called Mama's Beef Stew from Guideposts Magazine, 2002, the following article appeared.

I add this article and share the prayer I posted in our church bulletin this week:
"Lord, help us to find a way to make peace with those who have harmed us."

And finally I wish to share the timely arrival of this most inspirational video in my In-box which not only brings home the horrific attrocities of war but the immense triumph of the human spirit.

Enjoy the video:

It doesn't matter what colour our skin is, whether our eyes are oval or slanted, we are more alike than we are different and we all want the children who are our future to have a fighting chance at a good full life, honouring their divinity which they came here to share with us. 

May all adoptive mothers on earth be blessed for all the children you rescue who then go on to bless your lives beyond measure.