• When you stand at the altar to look into the eyes of your beloved and speak the words “in sickness and health, scarcity and wealth, in the best and worst of times, til death do us part” as a 25 year old gal at the start of her adult life, it’s hard to imagine what life will serve up decades later.

She’s in the prettiest dress she’s ever worn and having a very rare and good hair day.

She’s looking into the eyes of the man she loves the most, while surrounded by family and friends and warmed by the sun and the ocean breezes blowing lightly on a perfect San Diego, California day.

What could be more perfect?

It’s funny the way life is and how it unfolds.

You have your happily ever after moment.

The photos are taken for the photo album.

(Yes.  Back in 1983, photo albums were a thing.)

And then you journey forward on the road of life together.

Make a home together.

Advance on the career ladder or find the courage to start and grow a few businesses of which some succeed and one does not.

Add a pet or two to the family.

Then, perhaps its time for the baby carriage.

If you’re a box checker, things are unfolding just as you hoped they would.

Then,  life hits the fan and you are tested in ways that you had no idea you had the strength to navigate or endure.

  • The E Coli outbreak of 1983 killed children for eating under cooked hamburgers, and your job as a marketing manager for a company that launched your career gets harder than you ever thought it could be.
  • You make a cross country move when hubby gets a great job opportunity and your company creates a job for you in the new city.
  • Post partum depression after the birth of your son lasts longer than any of us could have imagined.
  • Two home burglaries turned my world upside down within a 15 year period.
  • My husband and son earned frequent flyer points in the emergency room or the intensive care ward at the hospital.
  • Two breast cancer scares with related surgeries and procedures just about brought me to my knees.
  • The Great Recession almost takes us down, if not for finding a new gear to create something new on a dare from a friend.
  • We said goodbye to 3 parents, two cats, and two dogs.
  • I said goodbye to a dear friend from high school whose life was claimed by breast cancer, while creating an abiding memory for her and her daughter and involving my graduating class from 40 years ago in making the dream come true.
  • We join millions of others as we face a global pandemic called COVID 19.
  • In a socially distanced way, we celebrate our son's graduation from university.

The comings, goings, and new beginnings are a big deal on their own.

When they happen all at once, that is a horse of a different color.

There is a campy movie called Dodge Ball.  It’s described as the classic story about underdogs.

One of my favorite lines from that film is this one:

  • Dodge Ball doesn’t create character.  It reveals character.

Makes me laugh every time, even through my tears when life gives me more lemons than lemonade.

When life hits the fan in minor incidents or as a domino effect during a single summer, that’s when you get tested.

That’s when you have to make decisions about how you are going to show up and make your life and work count for something because you know that tomorrow is not a promise.

It was a beautiful Bellingham evening on Sunday, June 21 of 2020.

My 23-year-old son and husband are sitting at the dining room table, preparing to enjoy the made-from-scratch Chicken Parmesan dinner I prepared to celebrate Father’s Day.

Just as the chicken was being transferred from the baking dish to the plates, the phone rings.

It's my sister.

Without warning or any fanfare, she says our 89 year old mom has died.

Now, in addition to finishing a workbook I was on deadline to complete, lending support to my husband who was in the weeds to complete the first part of his business succession plan by July 1, and finding a way to support my son in finding a new place to live in Austin, Texas to start his PhD program for an August start date, and I am also faced with tending to this passing, remodeling Mom’s home, and selling the house.

The comings, goings, and new beginnings all at once. That's a lot for any mere mortal to take on.

What did I do?

I called on my resilience. I called on my focus. I turned off the TV news. I got busy controlling what I could control to tend to the tasks at hand.

I decided to create blessings for others and for myself through these hardships.

What happened?

  • I staged a Buy Nothing Project open house for the neighbors who could take whatever they wanted from mom’s house before the junk removal service came to take everything else. As a result, an old worn out desk turned into a pretty pink study station for a little girl tending to her second grade lessons from home. A hand-made dress lovingly created for me is gifted to a little girl who loves it as much as I once did. An old, dated dresser got restored to have a modern day vibe. Families received essentials and furnishings and were grateful for the blessing.
  • We hired a team to remodel mom’s house so contractors needing work would have it.
  • My sister and I savored the satisfaction of turning this old shabby house that was never pretty into the house we always dreamed it could be.
  • I found a new gear to update and upgrade a workbook to be a blessing to speakers, experts, and authors who need to speak up virtually and set a course for my newly re-launched business to succeed after releasing the dream I had for the other business I started two years before.
  • I finished my workbook on time and the preview became an Amazon #1 best-seller the first week of July. The first week of September, I brought the full workbook to market to rave reviews and sales around the world.  I used the content within to create a free training that could serve thousands of speakers, experts, and authors around the world. A new website will debut by the end of the month to signal an entirely new and amazing chapter for my business.
  • We expect that mom's house will sell by the end of the month as multiple showings have already been booked.
  • Hubby is breathing easier, biking and fishing more, while enjoying his work more than ever. We appreciate the gift of time we have to enjoy our lives together in our new home in Bellingham that we affectionately call Shangri La.

When life hits the fan, I allow for tears and upset.

Sometimes, I check into Pity Party Hotel and overstay my welcome.

Then, I shake it off, get focused, and navigate a path to better outcomes.

That often means creating something that can be a blessing for others that can also be a blessing for me and my family, too.

That’s the way I navigate my life and work — even though I might not have known this would have been my approach on that beautiful wedding day in September 33 years ago.

In the tale of two cities, Charles Dickens starts off with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

In baseball, it's often said that it doesn’t matter about rain or shine.  You have to suit up for every game.

In real life, you figure out that you either have the guts and grit to make your own way and create blessings for yourself or others — or not.

I am the first option, and that has made all the difference.