Archive for the 'Share Your Story' Category

Create a Supportive Life Story for Your Life

Heart of a Mother, Heart of a Woman, Heart of a Woman in Business, Heart of the Holidays, Share Your Story, Tips & Trivia| No Comments »

Create a Supportive Life Story for Your Life

We all have our own life story.
It is filled with relationships and events that help shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perspective and willingness to grow, our experiences can become fodder for negativity and patterns of playing the victim, or they can fuel a life of empowerment and continued self-development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.

Take a moment to look at the life story you create for yourself on an ongoing basis. If you generally feel peaceful about the past and trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way, then you are framing circumstances in a manner that serves you well.

On the other hand, if you retain a lot of guilt or resentment and often feel weighed down by life, you may want to start telling yourself a new version of past and present events. No matter who the characters are in your story or what they have done, you are the only one who can give their actions the meaning they will have for you.

You are the only one who can define what role you will play in your own life. By taking responsibility for your story, you are able to learn and grow, forgive and find compassion, and most importantly, move on into a brighter future.

From now on, you can choose a life story that supports you. Let it be proof of your own resilience and creativity. Be kind with the roles you give yourself and generous with how many chances you get to learn what you need to know. When you remember that you are the author of your own story, you are free to create a masterpiece.

Story: The Woman in Me, by Miguel Angel

Corazón de Mujer, Share Your Story| 1 Comment »

The Woman in Me
by Miguel Angel

My mother’s pride
Was in her hands
The piano was her soul
I watched in wonder
As she played show tunes
Miles off from Rock & Roll
What she loved she taught me
Now music’s what I do
And often when I am writing
In my hands
She’s there too

If I sing, you are the music
If I thrive, you are why I’m good
If my hands can find some magic
You are the one who said they could
When the child who’s still inside me
Finds a song in empty air
When there is joy in making music
It is you who put it there.

I had heard this song several times before and I remember focusing on the bridge, which is the second set of stanzas. I assumed the song to have a romantic overtone and being directed towards a lover. It wasn’t until recently that I actually listened to the lyrics and realized it was directed to a mother; and while listening a tear peeked in my eyes.

No, my mother didn’t play piano or any instrument for that matter—neither do I—and she didn’t need to. There were so many other things she did…and did well.

I vividly remember seeing her for the last time, and I recall how much I cried at the certainty I was not going to see her alive again. I also remember clearly the words a friend offered to help me deal with such a heart-wrenching moment.

“When we pass, we don’t just disappear into nothing. We simply become more a part of those we leave behind. Your mother will always be a part of you,” he said that evening over dinner at a fancy restaurant overlooking beautiful Acapulco Bay.
When I was a child, I am embarrassed to admit, I don’t believe I appreciated my mother. How could I? I was a child and therefore the world had relevance only in reference to me. My mother was not a human being with feelings and needs then. She was there to provide me with care, love, and attention. No more and no less.

I remember however, in my earlier years, thinking of both my parents as these giant, all-powerful, all-capable people. I admired the fact that both of them had no formal education—my mother barely finished second grade and my father third. They, nonetheless, had a great sense of what was proper and right, and their common sense and set of values was admirable.

My mother was quite the disciplinarian. Being the one who stayed with us all day, she was the one who laid the law and enforced it in the house. But that is not to say that she was harsh; quite the opposite, she was able to remain loving in spite of having to deal with 5 children all day long. I do not know how she did it. All I know is that mothers like mine should automatically qualify for sainthood.
I remember some hot nights in Acapulco, when I was about 4 years old, in which I would wake up unable to sleep because of the heat. My mother would take me outside and give me a bath under a sky laden with stars telling me stories prompted by the endless questions I had about everything around me. I remember her telling me once that when people were no longer with us (she was smart enough to know not to use the word ‘die,’ God only knows what line of questioning would have ensued) they became the stars we saw above.

We also had cooler nights, and I remember waking up because my blanket had slipped off and I was cold. As if I had summoned powers beyond me, two hands like butterflies would grab the edge of the blanket and cover me gently, at the same time that rose-petaled lips would kiss my forehead and tell me everything was OK.

When I had a project in school, something for which we needed our parents help, I would be all worried when, before going to bed, I would realize I had not done it. My mother would tell me not to worry and, the next day, things would be miraculously materialized before my eyes.
I remember how she told each one of her children separately we were the one she loved the most. She also told us not to share that with our siblings. Her voice could be thunderous when she had to, but for the most part she was soft and tender. I loved the way she call me ‘papa’ or ‘mi rey,’ which means my king. I have many memories of her willingness to help others, her inability to refrain from giving, and her capacity for being caring.

I remember how beautiful I found her even on a ‘bad hair day.’ I remember how simple she was, how unsophisticated, and how humble. Although the latter is something I didn’t get from her, I was fascinated about how much I looked like her in my teens when I tied a scarf over my head and around my chin. That was until I started growing facial hair though.
I imagine how challenging it must have been for someone from our culture and with her level of education to deal with having a gay child and yet I can’t find a single instance in which she made me feel I was less of a child of hers because of that. As it is common for our culture, my sexuality was not something we spoke about openly, but there was always the uttermost respect for who I was and I always knew myself to be loved as much as my brothers and sisters.
In my later teens I suddenly grew to appreciate the woman who game me the gift of life, and I remember how we would joke and tease each other. “You should have stopped having children after you had me,” I would say to her.
“I should have stopped having children right before you,” she would be quick to reply.
See all this gray hair on my head?” She would say, “You gave it all to me!”
My mom grew old
Her hands grew numb
Now she cannot play
I came to visit
She sat and asked me
How it could be this way
I couldn’t find an answer
I played this tune for her instead
My mother sat there, smiling
For she knew what it said

When she grew sick with cancer, she kept most details about her illness from her children, especially those of us who were away, in order not to worry us. I was fortunate enough to be able to see her 3 months before she died ten years ago, as I was fortunate to spend a few weeks caring for her and pampering her exactly the way she deserved. She would not take that easily though. She still wanted to be the mother and she wanted to get up and cook and make me feel like everything was normal, like she was still the mother and I was her child. I would hide from her and cry because I found it so unfair for her life to end that way and because there was only so much I could do about it.
If I sing, you are the music
If I love, you taught me how
Every day your heart is beating
In the woman I am now
If my ears are tuned to wonder
If when I reach the cords are there
If there is joy in making music
It’s a joy that you put there

It is true; I am blessed to have known for a few years now, that when we pass we don’t just disappear. We simply become a part of those we leave behind.

There is a wonderful woman in me and it has nothing to do with my sexuality or my flair for feather boas and high heels.
I get to experience that woman all the time, when I feel successful and accomplished, when I feel capable and proud of what I have done, when I experience myself as a caring, giving member of the human race, when I am able to extend a hand to someone who is in need, and most especially, when I get to be nurturing and loving.
I have 3 children in my life now—Jesse, Aiden, and Liam—who remind me of my own childhood and my mother almost every day. When I read to them before they go to bed, it is my mother’s voice I hear; and when I go into their rooms to cover them, it is those butterflies of my mother’s hands which grab the blanket; and when I kiss them in their sweet foreheads, it is my mother’s rose-petaled lips which kiss them.

I often talk to them and called them ‘papa’ or ‘mi rey,’ and when they make me laugh I hear my mother’s joyful peal of laughter ringing in my ears.
And even though I never told you
It took time until I could see
That if I sing, you are the music
And you always sing with me
Yes, you are always there in me.

To the woman in me, the music in my life, my mother, Sylvia.
When I look to the night sky you are the brightest star in the firmament. May you always live in me!
With Love,
Miguel Angel, (Your favorite child)

Story: The Easter Bunny Came to Visit

Easter & Spring, Share Your Story| No Comments »

True Story: The Easter Bunny Came to Visit

The Easter Bunny came to visit my house yesterday.

I know this because he left blood on the rug where the cat put him after playing with him a bit.
When I found him, he was still alive, so I took him outside, followed closely by the cat.
You see, my cat knows how to open the front door. The door is kept unlocked because if the cat finds it locked, he continues to TRY to open it until the door suffers damage. We have learned it is easier to let the cat have his own way. So when the cat trotted past with a mouth full of bunny – I quickly followed and retrieved the little animal.
About an hour later, I heard the front door open again. Now I had seen the remains of the bunny on the back porch. I didn’t want the leftovers brought into the house, so I responded very quickly. I got to the family room in time to see the cat put down the Easter bunny’s twin, which promptly ran under the couch. Obviously, this bunny was NOT close to death. A frantic game of hide-and-go-seek followed between the three of us. I won. I finally caught the bunny, having turned over the furniture, knocked over lamps, and generally disrupted the house which had already been cleaned for Easter. I turned this bunny loose where he dived into my garden, there to eat himself silly.
At the end of all this, I have bunny leftovers on the back porch, a very confused cat who STILL can’t find the second bunny under the couch, and a locked front door. The next time the Easter bunny comes to visit, he can knock.
Happy Easter!
Nancy Christensen, March 21, 2008

My Cat’s New Year’s Resolutions

Chinese New Year, New Year's, Share Your Story| 1 Comment »

My Cat’s New Year’s Resolutions

*  My human will never let me eat her pet hamster, and I am at peace with that.

*  I will not puff my entire body to twice its size for no reason after my human has finished watching a horror movie

*  I will not slurp fish food from the surface of the aquarium.

*  I must not help myself to Q-tips, and I must certainly not proceed to stuff them down the sink’s drain.

*   I will not eat large numbers of assorted bugs, then come home and puke them up so the humans can see that I’m getting plenty of roughage.

*  I will not lean way over to drink out of the tub, fall in, and then pelt right for the box of clumping cat litter.  (It took FOREVER to get the stuff out of my fur.)

*  I will not stand on the bathroom counter, stare down the hall, and growl at NOTHING after my human has finished watching The X-Files.

*  I will not fish out my human’s partial plate from the glass so that the dog can "wear" it and pretend to be my human.  (It is somewhat unnerving to wake up, roll over in bed, and see the dog grinning at you with your own teeth.)

*  I will not use the bathtub to store live mice for late-night snacks.

*  I will not drag dirty socks up from the basement in the middle of the night, deposit them on the bed and yell at the top of my lungs (Burmese LOUD yowling) so that my human can admire my "kill."

*  I will not perch on my human’s chest in the middle of the night and stare into her eyes until she wakes up.

*  We will not play Herd of Thundering Wildebeests Stampeding Across the Plains of the Serengeti over any humans’ bed while they’re trying to sleep.

*  Screaming at the can of food will not make it open itself.

*  I cannot leap through closed windows to catch birds outside.  If I forget this and bonk my head on the window and fall behind the couch in my attempt, I will not get up and do the same thing again.

*  I will not assume the patio door is open when I race outside to chase leaves.

*  I will not back up off the front porch and fall into the bushes just as my human is explaining to his girlfriend how graceful I am.

*  I will not complain that my bottom is wet and that I am thirsty after sitting in my water bowl.

*  I will not intrude on my human’s candlelit bubble bath and singe my bottom.

*  I will not stick my paw into any container to see if there is something in it.  If I do, I will not hiss and scratch when my human has to shave me to get the rubber cement out of my fur.

*  If I bite the cactus, it will bite back.

*  It is not a good idea to try to lap up the powdered creamer before it dissolves in boiling coffee.

*  When I am chasing my tail and catch my back leg instead, I will not bite down on my foot.  This hurts, and my scream scares my human.

*  When it rains, it will be raining on all sides of the house.  It is not necessary to check every door.

*  Birds do not come from the bird feeder.  I will not knock it down and try to open it up to get the birds out.

*  I will not stuff my rather large self into the rather small bird feeder (with my tail hanging out one side) and expect the birds to just fly in.

*  I will not teach the parrot to meow in a loud and raucous manner.

*  The dog can see me coming when I stalk her.  She can see me and will move out of the way when I pounce, letting me smash into floors and walls.  That does not mean I should take it as a personal insult when my humans sit there and laugh.

*  Yes, there are still two very large dogs in the backyard. There have been for several years.  I don’t have to act as if I’ve just discovered the Demon Horror of the Universe each time one of them appears in my  window.

*  I will not play "dead cat on the stairs" while people are trying to bring in groceries or laundry, or else one of these days, it will really come true.

*  When the humans play darts, I will not leap into the air and attempt to catch them.

*  I will not swat my human’s head repeatedly when she’s on the family room floor trying to do sit ups.

*  When my human is typing at the computer, her forearms are *not* a hammock.

*  Computer and TV screens do not exist to backlight my lovely tail.

*  I am a walking static generator.  My human doesn’t need my help installing a new board in her computer.

*  I will not bring the city police to the front door by stepping on the speaker phone button and then the automatic 911 dial button.

*  I will not speed dial the overseas numbers.

*  I will not walk on the keyboard when my human is writing important emiognaioerp ga3qi4 taija3t v aa35 a.

*  Any critter that lives in the house (hamsters), stay in the house and any wild critters (frogs and earthworms) stay outside. I am not allowed to set the hamster free in exchange for finding a frog to put in the fish tank.

*  I will not stalk the deer in the apple orchard next door. They have sharp hooves and could hurt me if they weren’t laughing so hard.

*  I will not watch the guinea pig constantly as the guinea pig likes to sleep once in a while.

*  The goldfish likes living in water and should be allowed to remain in its bowl.

*  I will not put a live mole in my food bowl and expect it to stay there until I get hungry.

*  I will not eat spider plants and hallucinate behind the toilet.

*  I will not drag the magnets (and the papers they are holding up) off of the refrigerator and then bat them underneath it so that they adhere to the underside.

*  I will learn to relax at the vet’s office so they will start writing things in my records like "Good Kitty" and "Sweet Kitty" instead of the stuff that’s there now like "MEAN!!" "BITER!!!" and "GET HELP!!!!!"

*  I will not be miffed at my human all day and then kiss her on the nose at 2:00 a.m. to tell her that she is forgiven and can now pet me.

*  I will not scratch the children of lawyers, no matter how much they chase me or how hard they pull my tail.

*  If I MUST claw my human, I will not do it in such a fashion that the scars resemble a botched suicide attempt.

*  If I must give a present to my human’s overnight guests, my toy mouse is much more socially acceptable than a big live cockroach, even if it isn’t as tasty.

*  I will not soak my catnip toy in the water bowl to make tea.  I will not get high and sit there drinking my tea and kneading the floor afterwards.  I will not then get delusions of grandeur and make tea in the toilet bowl or the tub.  And I will not try to make tea with used socks, dirty panties or hair scrunches when my humans take the catnip toy away from me.

*  A warm pepperoni pizza is not a good place for a nap. 

*  I will not drag a golf ball up the stairs and bat it around the tile floor of the office at 3:30 in the morning.  Despite the fact it’s reportedly impossible for a cat to pick up a golf ball, not to mention carrying it upstairs, my human isn’t impressed with my resourcefulness at oh-dark-thirty. 

*  I will not swat glassware off the kitchen countertops just to watch it shatter on the tile floor.

*  I will not sit right behind my human when she’s fixing dinner and then loudly complain about it when she steps on me. 

*  My human did not buy that rare betta fish as an early morning appetizer before my breakfast. 

*  Things that sting do NOT make good toys.  This includes bees, wasps, and scorpions. 

*  No matter how frightening it may be, the vacuum cleaner isn’t actually trying to eat me. 

*  Items such as glasses and cell phones were not purchased as toys for me. 

*  "Breaking in" new furniture doesn’t mean using it for a scratching post. 

*  I will not try to help my human mop the kitchen floor by batting all the water out of my water bowl in the middle of the night. 

*  The kitchen table is not meant to be my pedestal where my loyal and devoted followers can worship my greatness.   I should not take it personally when I’m unceremoniously removed deposited back onto the floor. 

*  I will not bulldoze over my human in an attempt to dart out the door as my human is coming in.  This is an especially bad idea at night, and even more so when there are skunks in the yard. 

*  Skunks smell bad, are quick to panic, and don’t make good friends. 

-Submitted by Michelle Weisser


Heart of a Woman, Share Your Story, Spanish| 2 Comments »



El libro, “HEART OF A WOMAN”, publicado en 2007 en inglés, está siendo traducido este año al español por Elisa Castañeda en San Diego, California, para los lectores hispanos.

Se necesitan contribuciones que reflejen y celebren exactamente a esta población orgullosa y a sus apasionados lectores. Por favor, ENVÍE este mensaje a otras personas para que puedan enviar sus contribuciones lo antes posible. Puede ser un poema, cuento corto o experiencia personal que le haya conmovido o su cita predilecta.

CONTRIBUCIONES que se necesitan en español:
• POEMAS originales
• Cuentos cortos, un máximo de 1.000-1.200 palabras
• Citas – originales o traducidas
• Homenajes a mujeres increíbles
• Filosofías

IDEAS / TEMAS (cuentos cortos, poemas y citas):
Abuelas / Abuelos
Amor incondicional
Baile, bailando
Balance entre trabajo y vida personal
Celebraciones, fiestas y feriados
• Aniversarios
• Bautismo
• Cinco de Mayo
• Comunión
• Cumpleaños
• Descubrimiento de América
• Día de la Independencia
• Día de la Inmaculada Concepción
• Día de la Madre
• Día de los Difuntos
• Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
• Día del Abuelo
• Día del Amigo
• Feriados judíos
• Jueves Santo
• Llegada a la Mayoría de Edad
• Miércoles De Ceniza
• Navidad
• Noche de San Juan
• Pascua
• Primero de Mayo
• Viernes Santo
Cosas divertidas que ocurren
Crianza de los hijos
Educación y aprendizaje
Baile, bailando
Flores y huertos
Gratitud y el Día de Acción de Gracias
Hacer una diferencia
Hágalo de todos modos
Hermanas y hermanos
Historia, acontecimientos históricos
Intuición de la mujer – Cómo confiar en ella
Maridos y los hombres
Muerte de los padres 
Mujeres en el negocio (empleadas)
Mujeres en el negocio (empresarias)
Mujeres en el negocio (en la oficina)
Mujeres en la historia hispanoamericana
Mujeres hispanas valientes
Niños – cosas lindas o graciosas que han dicho o hecho
Obstáculos – cómo vencerlos
Programas favoritos de televisión
Relaciones entre personas
Relaciones de las hijas con sus madres
Viviendo en los Estados Unidos

FECHA DE PUBLICACIÓN: 1 de abril – antes del Día de la Madre 2008
Usted puede presentar más de una contribución, y es posible que TODAS sus contribuciones SEAN seleccionadas e impresas.

Envíe preguntas en inglés a la autora Sheryl Roush al:

Envíe material en español a la traductora Elisa Castañeda al:



Las historias originales, citas y poemas permanecen en propiedad
del contribuyente. Usted mantiene los derechos de autor de su material.

Sheryl Roush
Oradora profesional, autora de 10 libros
“Reina de la Esperanza” 2007
“Corazón de San Diego” 2004 y 2005

“Sparkle Presentations”
¡Son presentaciones que inspiran, encienden el espíritu,
elevan las expectativas y crean entusiasmo!

Llame por teléfono al (858) 569-6555

Mire los títulos en la Serie Libros del Corazón 2007 publicados en inglés y disponibles en la Librería Borders y en
Heart of a Woman,
Heart of a Mother,
Heart of the Holidays,

Submissions due July 14 for Heart of a Woman in Business Book

Heart of a Mother, Heart of a Woman, Heart of a Woman in Business, Heart of the Holidays, Share Your Story| 4 Comments »

Stories, Strategies and Skills for Business Success

Deadline for submissions —- July 14, 2008.

Supporting today’s women in business and her unique needs, professional speaker and internationally top-rated trainer Sheryl Roush is accepting submissions for the forthcoming publication in the Heart Book Series, entitled: Heart of a Woman in Business.

Sheryl is the President of Sparkle Presentations, Inc., based in San Diego, working with organizations around the globe to improve morale, boost attitude, and increase productivity through communication and customer service skills. Her conference keynote programs and on-site trainings, rekindle the spirit, raise the bar and create excitement.

The Heart of a Woman in Business book is “sisters sharing with sisters” at its core…. lessons learned, tips, insights… those precious conversations.

“If I knew then what I know now!”
How to get started in business… how YOU got started
How you found your ideal niche, clients and industry
How you are using your unique talents and gifts in service
How you nurture your mind, body and spirit
How your business has changed/evolved over the years, and why

Contributors are encouraged to submit success stories, tips, ideas… You will join colleague Business Owners, Managers, Supervisors, Employees, Speakers, Trainers, Coaches, Mentors, Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed…

   • Original Women in Business Stories, up to 1,200 words
   • Original Poems, Cherished Scriptures/Proverbs, Quotations
   • Advice, Anecdotes, Philosophies, Ideas, Suggestions, Quick Tips
   • Best Practices, Insights, Sage Wisdom, and?Success Stories


  • Attitude and Boosting Morale
  • Customer Service, Sales, Marketing and Dealing with Difficult People
  • Communication Skills
  • Creativity & Innovation Tips
  • Diet, eating healthfully at the office, snacking suggestions
  • Dressing up your office (personalizing your area)
  • Exercise for Busy People, Quick Tips
  • Funny things that have happened
  • Interviewing Tips, Recruiting New Team Members
  • Giving back…the heart of charity, mentoring others
  • How to keep the passion alive for what you love
  • How to Re-Center Your Energy throughout the Day
  • Keeping Employees Happy
  • Lessons Learned from being in business
  • Life Balance (work and personal)
  • Networking from authenticity
  • Professional Play-novelties, toys, hats, shoes
  • Public Speaking Tips, using your voice in today’s marketplace
  • Retreats, Special Celebrations, Holidays, Traditions
  • Stress Reduction & Relaxation Techniques (easy things you can do at your desk)
  • Supervising others, Teamwork, Cooperation, Trust
  • Tips for working with someone very different than yourself
  • Travel Tips and Favorite Places to Rejuvenate
  • Using Creative Visualization, Guided Imagery, Meditation, Treasure Mapping
  • Youth/Seniors in business – getting started at any age

Suggestions from YOUR perspective?
What would YOU want to read about, being a woman in business?

EMAIL your text or Word.doc to, before July 14, 2008.
Include your company name (optional), position/title (optional), website (company or your own), a potential title and suggested chapter in the book.

Contributors maintain all copyrights to submissions. If reprinting your original submission with permission from another publication, indicate name of publication. There is no fee to participate, and no royalties are paid for submissions.

SCHEDULED RELEASE:  October 1, 2008.

“All Lit Up” by Mona Mordoff

Share Your Story| 3 Comments »

 On-Line Story:
"All lit up"  means so many different things…

I can’t remember a year of Christmas going by when mom hadn’t gone out of her way to decorate. Her style and taste had such class to it. There were delicate white lights that lined the eaves and outside staircase on the old redwood log house. The twinkling red, green, yellow, orange, and blue strings were carefully placed on the shrubs that welcomed our guests at the entry gate; the arbor to the front door was lined with holly shrub, loaded with red berries. The exterior décor everyone awaited each year.

But the grand presentation was the decorated European style Douglas fir that stood in the center of the living room from the fist of December through New Years Eve. The awe it demanded by it’s intricate trimmings, was a walk back in Danish (and the family) history. There were "nisseman" (elves), finely hand blown glass ornaments glistening in the colored lights that beaded the needles. Actual candles at the end of the branches, symmetrically placed from top to bottom, only to be lit during the traditional around the tree dance. The angel gracefully placed atop kneeling as if in holy reverence to the meaning of the season – the birth of our Lord Jesus – the baby king in the manager.

Over the years there were additions and replacements of some of the glass adornments, the wax candles were replaced with simulated electric ones, respectfully the message that has survived through the years was "the birth of Christ Jesus, for US." The bird’s nest with the one chick and mother bird was the tradition of this message and always will be – the birth of the special One…

Whether it be electrical lights, candle lights, the child’s spirit enlightened, from December One to December Thirty-first, "everything was all lit up."

Fifty years (plus) have raced by and this child has grown up. Grandparents, Auntie, and Dad that branded their traditions on the holidays, have since passed; first one then the other. But the memories are stamped, and the affects are eternal – living from heart to heart. Perhaps the years gone by have adjusted the method and style to the new days of celebration, but the root of their meanings remain. Mommy Ellen of 76 years, continues her content while embracing the new. The last of the original clan; her hand in mine, and our culture etched hearts and ever-bound we look into the future, with a freshness to change.

Inclusive, the celebrations now are with sister-in-laws and family – sisters, husbands, nieces and nephews, and a grandbaby on the way – it should be June 2007, Prince? Or Princess? We’ll find out. The blend of the old embraced, the new coddled, and the “to be” awaited, have and always have had and will continue to have a sense of community; an unconditional loving of one another, regardless; it’s family.

Time is forward moving and our clan endured a integral loss– 2004, mother Mordoff – a light that lit up hearts, bringing them alive, encouraging; brother (in-law) Ray was one of those whose heart came alive. At the celebration of her life, in May of that year he poignantly expressed his heart, “We must stay together as a family, with our traditions, and community. We are a special family and family is the most important thing we have, and we must never discount and forget it. I mean that…”

That statement echoed in me continually after 2004. Every one seemed fine and healthy.
Brother Ray had become very ill shortly before Mother Mordoff’s timeless future – eternity. But…

He had had a femoral arterial aneurysm, which bled and should have been fatal – one in 10,000 cases live. He had made medical history – an anomaly. *_But God _*– by His grace He fed the hemorrhage back into a vein and kept him alive until surgery was done. Then shortly thereafter, diagnosed with fatal levels of cancer throughout his body. The light of life remained in his heart, while the doctors announcement was, “everything is all lit up…you’re light will soon go out…” The scans were showing dye illumination of the affected areas in all different colors and organs. It was then news went out; the emails heralding a pleading for prayer, from Nancy – our youngest sister and Ray’s wife.

Once again time shifted into another gear, and accelerated forward to 2006 – it was august and the notion slammed full force … we have to have a reunion! Ray… he said, “We have to stay together…” I couldn’t shake that thought.

The calls… the meshing of everyone’s schedules, time off from jobs, travel plans, and then the big decision… where?

“Nancy, is Ray able to travel? How far? Would he be up for it?”

The answers would be uncomfortable (i knew), but needed addressing. They went into discussion. We all awaited for the other to respond… everyone responded that they willing to do what it took to be together, and especially with Ray. Within a short period of time, Nancy was host to the 2006 Christmas Family Reunion. Ray wanted to be in his home with his family.

My husband and I were the last to arrive at their house in Neptune Beach, Florida, four days before New Years Eve. With the rest of the family awaiting with smiles, and cheers in the foyer, the greeting smile at the door was Ray’s. Thin, gaunt, smiling and with a set of eyes the glistened with joy. His smile and eyes seemed iridescent – his heart was alit; his family was together, and he was there. There were four days of laughter, sharing, announcements (the new arrival for the niece and her her husband – family as well), day adventure trips, sibling tomfoolery, even big fireworks on the 30th — what a finale! Everything was all lit up with color and shimmering airborne glitz!

On the morning of everyone’s departure (December 31st , 2006) a memory of a man that has the hand of God sustaining the light in his heart, smiled… and said, “I’m all lit up like a Christmas tree inside. What a great four days. Thank you! Ya’ll have the light too… keep it shinin’, cause mine is dimmin’. I love you…!!!”

We love you too Ray…

-Mona M. Mordoff, a tribute to Ray Pace and family

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