Funeral held today for Baby Jeremiah Michael: newborn found dead in Chicago Ridge recycling plant

Dear friends and family:

This is without a doubt the saddest assignment I’ve ever covered. The mother is out there, likely somewhere in the northern suburbs of Illinois or southern Wisconsin. Someone knows who she is. She knows who she is.

There are options for unwanted babies. You have up to 30 days after delivery to safely, legally and anonymously relinquish your unwanted baby to anyone inside a police department, fire house, hospital or a security office on any college campus in Illinois.

Spread the word. You will save a life.  Please read story in Chicago Tribune (link below).

And until next time hold your kids tight, thank God for the all the good in the world and pray for the darkness to be lifted.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-funeral-unidentifed-newborn-chicago-ridge-20130516,0,4008708.story

Learning lessons, breaking free from our prisons

Hi friends, family and followers:

This morning I wrote over at ChicagoNow Bittersweet.com about lessons to be learned from our “prisons.”

In life we will all find ourselves in prisons of all kinds -physical, emotional, mental, relational.

I believe there are lessons to be learned and reasons we are all dealing with all that we deal with.

I heard a message this weekend that helps make a little sense of it all.

Please click on link below and let me know you visited. I value your comments and feedback.

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2013/04/breaking-free-from-our-prisons/

Simple securities now gone ….

Hi dear friends, family and followers, please visit Bittersweet over at ChicagoNow and share a short little ditty I wrote expressing feelings of loss and regret in light of our daughter’s recent health issue. As always, your thoughts and insight mean so much to me and I’d love anything you’d like to share.

Until next time……

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2013/03/what-id-give/

Still holding my breath ….

Our lives have been flipped upside down in recent weeks. I wrote a post over on Chicago Now Bittersweet.com about what has been going on in our lives here at home. My daughter’s medical issue has consumed me and fear has taken over. But she is strong and full of surprises and she amazes me. So please visit and share your thoughts. In case anyone is concerned that maybe I should not have written about her, I asked her if it was OK and she said it was. See, she amazes me!

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2013/03/when-my-world-shakes-my-heart-breaks/

Until next time….

Emily and Abby – working and achieving gracefully

Hi friends please visit Bittersweet on ChicagoNow. We, as a family, have been so all-consumed these past few months with Emily’s show and Abby’s dance competitions (as I know most families are busy with their own children right now).

This morning, with a few calm hours until I start running them here and there, I wanted to pause and  share a tale of their hard work and well-deserved achievements. I know, we as parents sometimes complain that things are so busy, but I have to remind myself that this timeframe right here, right now with my daughters is so fleeting. Soon they will be gone and I won’t know, or have much of a role in their lives.

I just want them both to know how much I really do appreciate them and recognize all of their hard work.

Please click on, or paste the link below in your browser. I’d love for you to share your stories with me of your own busy families and your kids’ hard work and well-deserved achievements.

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/2013/02/emily-and-abby-hard-work-paying-off-beautifully/

Until next time….

I’ve added a new adventure! Won’t you all join me?

 

Well it’s a new year (in a few hours) and I have a new adventure!

I am now writing for ChicagoNow under the name of Bittersweet. On this new site I will share thoughts and spin words as I see fit in the moment. I do hope you all will follow me over there and keep this adventure we call life moving along together! I will not be canceling this site as it keeps my work all linked up and tidy!

For my first blog in the new location I shared thoughts on the old year and the new year. (I know not very original on this day when writers everywhere are covering this topic, but we all have had different experiences and will likely have different angles to discuss and share.)

Happy New Year to everyone. Stay safe and well.

Love each other!

Visit me at this link below and let’s keep our friendship going!

http://www.chicagonow.com/bittersweet/

Merry Christmas, this is what I know

As I sit here in our warm home on the eve before Christmas Eve, with a fire burning in the fireplace,  the yummy smell of food being prepared for the next couple of days of holiday celebrations, and  presents all wrapped up and under the Christmas tree, I think about what I’ve learned or was reminded of this Christmas season.

People I love are invaluable, irriplaceable. (This may sound mundane, but really take some time to read this and let it soak in.)

Life’s most important lessons are not complicated.

My family is wonderful, precious, sacred. (Again see info in parentheses above)

Even though our family is not perfect, I really miss my mom and dad who are far away from me this Christmas.

I learned that I should never live as if I know everything about what is going to happen next. Meaning that there are plans in the works and I will not ever know all the details. So, I should always live as if the next thing around the corner is going to be awesome!

I learned that I too matter to others.

I was reminded that there is a certain type of wicked evil in the world, but there is also way more goodness and kindness than there is this evil.

People are all capable of good and evil. It is a choice on how you want to exist in this world.

I learned that I can help other people with simple acts. There are things I may unwittingly say or do that will change a person’s day for the good -or the bad (I’m not perfect). This reminds me to be aware of how I interact in the world as to never make someone’s day worse.

I was reminded that no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot protect our children from all forms of harm, cruelty, hatred. We must show them even more love and kindness inside our homes to make up for what  they see out in the world, in school, on TV.

I learned that, although I do like to get presents as does everyone this time of year, there really is nothing I really need or want this Christmas that is not inside this house with me at this very moment — Tony, Emily, Abby, Minnie, Maggie and Lucy — and the people outside this house whom I love more than words or things can express. That’s a very long list!

Sometimes when I think this is the best it will get, and there is nothing better to come into my family, home, work – something else wonderful happens! This is the fun part of life!

Oh, and the most important lesson – I  was once again reminded that when Kohl’s screams at me from my TV to get into the store for this one and only and final “One-Day Sale!!” they are lying! There are One-Day Sales at Kohl’s every day! (Lying liars!)

What did you learn in these last few weeks.

Merry Christmas. Love each other.

(PS I’ll soon be blogging for ChicagoNow, I’ll keep you posted. Thank you for all of your support!)

Never Land

Unfortunately, we don’t live in Never Land, and they grow up.

This was quite a weekend.

My oldest daughter, Emily, turned 17 on Saturday, Nov. 17, her golden birthday! And she spent her birthday on stage playing an Indian in Peter Pan. She was on stage on her birthday and I know she would not have wanted to be anywhere else on this planet. I was so happy for her.

Peter Pan, about the boy who never grew up, the three children, Wendy, John and Michael, who trusted this boy and without any sense of fear, flew away with him to a mysterious land, danced with Indians and fought Pirates.

And the mother of the three children waited in their bedroom near the oversized window from which they flew into the night sky with Peter. Oh how she longed for their return. From the way the story goes it seems like it was years that their mother faithfully waited for her children to return. The children’s flustered father went to close the oversized window one night and the mother snapped! She commanded him to never, ever close the window because one day her children might return home. He promised to never, ever close the window.

Emily is about a year and a half away from leaving home for college. Abby is just a few quick years behind her. After college they will likely be on their own in their own homes or an apartment somewhere…… They will both someday, in a sense, fly away to some mysterious land, fight with pirates, dance with Indians, and hang out with some young man.

I will be like the mother of Wendy, John and Michael.  I’ll never close the window just in case they come back home. Our window will always be open and I will always be here for them to return, no matter how far away they fly, and I know they will fly far.

Share, like, comment. See you next week!

My glimpse of heaven

The view down to the Valley where all of the week-end wedding events occurred.

I think I went to heaven this weekend.

No, not a scary near-death experience, but I traveled with my family to a place that I cannot describe to truly make you feel the awesomeness of its beauty.

I was with people – many of whom I had just met and others I knew, but had the opportunity to get to know a little better.  Everyone was kind, sweet, beautiful …. authentic.

There were very few electronics, aside for folks taking pictures and sharing them on social media. There were lengthy, meaningful conversations, not just quick one and two word answers. But real conversations among people, many whom were meeting for the first time. People sharing stories of their lives, feelings and experiences. People really talking and laughing and genuinely engaging with one another. People from all sorts of backgrounds, ages, education, careers and places.

We were at a family wedding in N. Carolina. We stayed on this beautiful farm surrounded, almost protected, by the Blue Ridge Mountains. I felt so removed from the rest of the world.

It felt like no wrong could be done here. It felt as if we were all safe on this preserved, mosaic patch of earth. We were all there because we were selected to be there, through the love of the kind and generous couple being married.

Nicki and Ben stood in front of us all, about 140 people from all over the country– as they have made dear friends in every place they have traveled in their lives. She was glowing in love and lace and the anticipation of her new life path with her handsome young groom. They stood near a babbling brook (yes it was babbling) and a dear friend married them and she spoke of love and kindness. So many people present and all you could hear were their words exchanging loving self-authored vows, the trickling river, birds and the breeze.

I felt the spirits of those loved ones who had passed on too soon, including the bride’s own parents, my father-in-law and the groom’s relatives. They were there. They were protecting us all, bringing a warmth and burst of sunshine to the day, all in the name of goodness and love. They wrapped their arms around the bride and groom.

It felt as if not one person among us was a stranger. We all came together for this sweet couple and we all became friends. Nicki and Ben made a promise to each other while committing us all, if only for this one beautiful weekend in heaven.

I think this weekend was a glimpse into what God intends for all of us, in every nook of this world, not only on a given weekend for a special occasion, but always.

I’m home now, back in the hectic suburban duties of work, kids, house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and noise and cars, lots of cars…. But I still feel the love and goodness that created this weekend and that I was so lucky to have been able to witness and absorb. It reenergized me and my own relationships and reminded me that there is so much good in this world. And I have so much to be thankful for.

Thank you Nicki and Ben.

Nicki and Ben share their vows with one another.

Have you ever felt you were in heaven, surrounded by natural beauty and the kindness of strangers who turned friends?

Please share, like, comment. See you next week!

Me and the family tree

I love a good, full, strong, colorful tree.

Whether it be a light early summer green, or an August deep forest emerald, a fall-kissed yellow, orange or red.

I love watching the change of each and every tree and its leaves outside my kitchen window, year round.

You know the ones that have an intertwining bunch of branches, or those with the super large trunks you only see out in the forest preserves?  The way they shoot strong, fearlessly into the sky. I love the trees out by my friend’s lake house in Wisconsin. Just watching them on a summertime visit, so deep and green and prominent in the summer sun as they silently dance, glide in the summer breeze…. It brings me peace and serenity like nothing else.

And as the season’s change those leaves morph into a multi-dimensional display of changing colors. I love that each leaf of any and all trees is completely different. And I marvel at how any leaf you focus in on becomes a completely different leaf, depending on what time of year it is.

Like people, there are no cookie-cutter trees, leaves, branches, twigs or trunks. Like people, each product of nature is unique, special and intentional.

And I stand in awe of the older trees, like the Red Woods on the West Coast that I have only seen in pictures. They are gigantic, heavily defined and have twisted bark, their wide trunks, and long, multiple branches are intentional, committed, everlasting. Some families are like those trees.

As seasons change the branches, either turn in new directions seeking the warmth of the fading sun, or those that are not strong, mature or sturdy enough to survive the seasonal elements, simply fall to the ground. They break away from the efforts to survive because it just become too difficult. They seek their own, singular path. They break away from the original, shared path that at one time was committed to. Instead, they do their own thing. They quit.

When my daughters come home from school and ask about our “family tree” because they are doing a school project, I cringe.

After I cringe, and swig a sip of my cocktail, I turn the girls right over to  my husband. He knows his family lineage with such certainty. His family tree has long, strong, sturdy branches, that stay together, and leaves of the same proud, bold colors. I admire his family and their family tree. He knows  exactly who is connected to who and what nationality everyone is. He can tell you what boat his father’s Italian family came over from Italy on. He knows his grandparents’ and his great-grandparents’ names. They stayed together through the whole life cycle, as they promised to God that they would. That then led him to me.  That then gave me my beautiful daughters. That then gave me my life. A new tree to grow.

My family, which I have long referred to as not a family tree, but  broken branches and fallen leaves, presents a cluster of uncertainty, questions that will never be answered, sadness, disappointment, disfunction, shame, guilt and regret. My weak branches are like those that have drifted to the ground on a windy day.

My leaves, however, are bright, multi-colored. They are, at times feared, avoided, yet desired. Some of my family branches are like fragile twigs, too afraid to be who God meant for them to be, while others are strong. But those left this earth far too soon.

For me, I am only trying to grow into a new, strong, proud branch with a multitude of colorful leaves to share with my daughters, who will one day add on to my small tree. Though small, my tree will be complete for them. As I promise to grow from what comes from love, truth, honesty and goodness.

I think that my girls will have an amazing and colorful family tree that will withstand the winds of change, embrace the sun in the summertime, dance with the blowing wind, while embracing each and every unique leaf, and stand strong in the winter months as the ice and snow weigh heavy upon each and every branch.

I have learned in my life that nature is more beautiful the more unique it is, the more different it appears.

So in my life, my tree with its broken branches and fallen leaves, is beautiful, strong, ever changing and everlasting.

I do hope my daughters see the perfect blend of their father and I and our very different families’ trees, strong branches, broken twigs and fallen leaves as gifts – gifts that I believe God intended for them all along.

My tree, their tree, will from today forward grow in strength, honesty, love, and reach for the sun season after season. No longer will my tree’s branches, their tree’s branches, break away and fall to the ground. And their tree will have no sadness or shame only love and promise.

 

Tell me about your family tree.

Please comment, like, share.