Today I’m going to share something a bit personal.  I woke up knowing that I was going to hit the gym and burn off a minimum of 500 calories of pudge…have a healthy breakfast….and then head to the office to catch up on some work.  

But along with my “agenda”, I knew I was going to honor my Mom a bit today.  You see, today is the 19th anniversary of her death.  I’m pushing 43…and although 19 years have gone by since her fatal heart attack at the young age of 65, I still think of her often.  As I grow older, I’m inspired by her inherent optimism even more than when I was younger.  We’re talking realistic, cautious, Scandinavian Midwestern optimism — but optimism, nonetheless.  My sisters, brother and I often heard the following wise words from her (maybe these sound familiar to you from your parents?):

– Don’t worry about it until the time comes (again, this wasn’t ridiculous Pollyanna-ism on her part….she was a realist reminding us to live in the present as best we can.)

– If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say it.

And…my favorite:

– Laugh and the world laughs with you.

This last one had special meaning to her.  The phrase comes from poet and author Ella Wheeler Wilcox who was from Windsor, WI, where my Mom spent her childhood days growing up on a farm.  My Mom attended the grade school that was named in Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s honor.  Wilcox’s most enduring work was “Solitude”, which contains the lines: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone.”  In a way, Mom led her life with those words always present in her mind.

As some of you may know I’m really not all that religious but I do have a strong sense of spiritualism…which I normally don’t discuss on my blog as I’m pretty private person about it.  BUT….I just had to share the following:

After my workout this morning, I read our local newspaper, The Oregonian.  All the bad news.  651,000 layoffs in February.  The economy is in the worst situation since the Great Depression.  I have to admit I was getting a depressed about it all.  You probably can relate, you’re reading and hearing the same stuff I am.  

And then….I read my horoscope, which I don’t do every day.  I’m a Gemini.  Here’s what it says today:

“Laugh and the world laughs with you.  The best way to combat negativity is by being at peace with the world and fostering optimism”.

Enough said.  Thinking of you too, Mom.  Love you.  Thanks for the message of optimism…..and one I want to share with others in your honor.

Brian

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