Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are You Feeding Your Loved Ones???

Nonna was well known for cooking and feeding her family very well. She was such a talent in the kitchen and really had some award winning dishes. Even to this day, when I have a great meal, my thoughts go toward my mother.

I asked you if you are feeding your loved ones because if you are not, you are missing out on one of life's greatest treasures. Yes, Nonna was a great cook, but she also excelled in feeding her loved ones much more than food. She also fed us love, understanding, commitment, laughter, sympathy, dedication, and everything else that makes up a great mother.

The nourishment that you offer to those around you should become your best gift. Be kind, when it may be easier to be mean. Be considerate, like you are when you try to create a good impression on strangers. Show sympathy when your loved ones are struggling with something important to them. Make a commitment to be the best person you can for those who care about you. Laugh as much as possible when you get the chance, laughter is great medicine.

Nonna was all of these things and much, much more to those she cared for. It was a way of life for her. It all comes down to making a sacrifice sometimes, to be this way, but the rewards that you will receive will far outweigh those sacrifices. Ask yourself this, am I putting as much effort into my personal life as I put into my career? It's totally up to you to decide!

Love John

Monday, October 19, 2009

Did You Make The Most Of Your Gift?

As the sun sets on another day, did you make the most of the gift that you received? That's right, we were all given a gift from God by having another day to live. It seems too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday living, trying to just get through another day and impatiently wait for the weekend to arrive, that most people overlook the most precious gift we have been given, the gift of now.

For way too many people, now is all they have. They are suffering from illness or maybe nearing the end of their lives. Most have few regrets when asked would they change much in their lives if given the chance. Most would take more time to reflect on the little things that occurred day to day and most would relish the time spent with loved ones as the most important. Not many would mention the career that they pursued or the money they earned. Why is this? My guess is because they rate low on the list of memorable times when compared to the little things. I'm not telling you to quit chasing that rainbow, just understand that the purpose of the lives we lead should be in a particular order. God first, family and loved ones second and money third. Any deviance from this will get you out of sync, and you can not be totally fulfilled.

When Nonna was on the Cattle-Car leaving Russia, she watched as the sun began to set over her homeland. She spoke of how it was the most amazing sunset that she had seen up to that point in her life. Nonna did not know what was going to become of the situation that she found herself in, but she talked later about that sunset, and down inside she felt like she would never again go home. It was the closing of a chapter in her life, filled with many good and many painful memories and the beginning of an unknown future. What Nonna came to realize was that every day was a gift, no matter how it came wrapped. She decided to trust in her faith and live each day going forward to the maximum, thanking God for each new sunset that would come her way.

I hope that today's sunset finds that you made the most of your gift and that you will continue to find blessings in your future sunsets!!!

Love John

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Your Eyes Are The Windows Into Your Soul

There are things that can be seen in a person's eyes. I want you to take a close look at Anna's eyes in the picture above, so warm and loving they appear to be. The eyes that saw too many horrible deeds in her lifetime to mention. The eyes that saw love that was deeper than any ocean. The eyes that nurtured and loved her children in the best and hardest of times. The eyes that offer you a window into her soul.
Nonna would spend countless hours sitting in this window, gazing out and wondering what was next for her. She longed to see the eyes of her mother, to feel her embrace and to be together once again. She also knew that her life was to be forever changed, not knowing what each day would hold for her as she sat in this window and prayed silently for answers.
Nonna had choices to make, choices that could not have come easy for her. She had to reach deeper inside her being than at any time in her young life, she had to find strength to pick up the pieces and move on. This strength Nonna found was in her Faith, her inner most belief that God was good, no matter what she had faced in the past.
If you are at a moment in your life when you are looking out of the window, wondering what is next for you, try Faith. Nonna was correct that her God was a good God, that by allowing him to lead her next steps was the best answer. It is only human to wonder about our future, just don't doubt what God puts before us, for he truly has a plan for us all. You see, through adversity comes wisdom and strength that goes all the way into our souls. When you grasp this faith like Nonna did, God will walk with you in every step of your life.
May you open your eyes so that others can truly see your soul!!!!
Love John

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Who Would You Die For....Who Would You Live For...

We have all probably loved so deeply before that we have thought we would do anything for that person, even die for them. I'm here to tell you that that would be the easy way out. Yes, if you love someone or something as much as to be willing to die for them, I have a question for you. Why don't you live for them instead. That's right, the hard part is the living.

As I was walking down the beach this afternoon and the sun was beating down, I was caught up in watching the waves continuously come in and recede back out to sea. No two were alike as they rolled upon the beach, leaving little crabs and shells behind as they disappeared. The thought hit me that people are just like these waves. All of us are different in some manner, and although we sometimes seem similar, we are all unique. At that time is when I wondered how many of us truly dedicate our all to the ones who matter in our lives? Do we just sort of appear with the tide, then fade in with others? Or do we place family and loved ones above everything that seems to be important in each life?

When death was an easier option for Nonna, she chose to live instead, to carry on and create a lasting impact on those that she met. Nonna picked the hard road when faced with the loss of all that she knew and started over, determined to live on. She lived her entire life for her husband, children and loved ones, so that she would make a difference to them. And what a difference she made for us all.

The lesson that can be learned by Nonna's life is the secret to true happiness. We must chose to LIVE for the ones who matter to us. I ask you, are you living to those you care about?

Love John

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nonna Learns How To Drive........

The year was 1959 and life was going good for Henry and Nonna. They were getting settled into their new home, had welcomed John into the world and Henry was just starting his new job with H.J. Heinz Co. With this job, came many benefits, including a company provided car. Henry owned a 1957 two-toned Chevy that was just sitting in the garage. He tried to talk Nonna into learning how to drive, to no avail, so after a couple of years, he sold his car.
Nonna was perfectly happy calling on neighbors when she needed to go somewhere, which in those times was the norm. People knew their neighbors very well and visiting over coffee and talking was a part of everyday life. Nonna saw no need to drive, after all, milk was delivered fresh to your front door and the Fuller Brush man took care of any cleaning supplies that you needed, the kids walked to school and home each day, so everything was working just fine for her.
As time moved on and the kids got older, Nonna began needing to go more places and she came to the conclusion that it was time to learn how to drive. When Henry came home after a week of traveling, she told him that she needed a car, so dad went out and bought her a 1946 four-door Ford for the grand sum of $100. That's right, a hundred bucks!
The next Sunday, after church, we all loaded up in that old car and headed to the Baton Rouge Airport so Nonna could learn how to drive. I remember this day as if it were yesterday. Back then, most airports were closed on Sunday's, so you had a lot of room in the parking lots, and this made for a great place to teach someone how to drive. There we were, Henry in the passenger seat, teaching Nonna how to use the clutch, and the three kids in the backseat, being tossed around, but consistently hanging out of the windows. What a sight this must have been. After about three hours of lessons, Henry was done teaching and said " Ok Honey, now drive us home" to which mom replied " but I can't drive yet" and Henry said " oh yes you can!", and off we went!
For the next couple of years we went everywhere in that old car. The neatest thing to us, as kids, was that the back floorboard was rusted out and we could lift the rubber mat up and watch the road go by as mom drove. This was cool to a kid!!
Nonna loved the independence that having a car gave her and that was a good thing. I think most of us can relate to this feeling and although we take this ability for granted, it gives us freedom.
Love John

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hug Your Mom Today..........

The picture above is Nonna and her dear Sister-in-law Rosa. Nonna loved Rosa like a soul sister and they shared many happy times together and, for them, the focus was always on the family. Nonnitchka and Rositchka, as they fondly called each other, were very special moms that their children were lucky to have.

I can remember once when Nonna had back surgery, which at that time, was a very invasive and painful procedure, coming home from the Hospital and starting her recovery. I had come home from school a couple of days later, and I went to her bedroom to give her a hug and to see if she needed anything. Mom was sitting at her sewing machine, in obvious discomfort, but steadfastly working the peddle. There she was, making a dress for Elizabeth. I told her that she should not be up and she had better get back in bed, when she replied, " No, I have to finish this dress for your sister first, I've been sewing on it all day". One word comes to my mind all these years later, Sacrifice!

I was lucky to have a mother that was willing to put herself behind others in her life. Her husband and children always came before her own interests. Doing this seemed to really satisfy her and we just reaped the benefits of her loving ways. I miss talking to my mother. I miss hearing her calm and wonderful voice. I miss giving my mother hugs. I miss Nonna.

If you would be so kind as to remember Rosa in your prayers today, as she struggles to recover from a stroke, I will be grateful, and Nonna would thank you. If you are lucky enough to still have your mother with you, Give her a big hug today from Nonna!

Love, John