Viewing Category: Personal   |   Back to Posts
May 5, 2016

The Unexpected Gift Of Cheese

Published in Personal
Maybe it is the smell of banana bread or the song Sweet Caroline. Perhaps it is each time you eat gnocchi or see a beautiful white swan. Whatever it might be, there are things we see, smell, and hear that cross our paths and trigger a specific memory or make us think of a someone... Some of these things no one knows about but us. We hold it deep in our hearts like a buried treasure and smile each time we see our "swan." 
 
For me, one of of these thing is... wait for it... fresh parmesan cheese. Yup. And not like the fake shake kind that comes in a can with the green label and holes in the lid for sprinkling. The real kind that still has the rind and has been aged for years and requires you really to lean on the knife when you cut a chuck off. THAT kind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Oh and it usually kind of stinks a little. That's the best kind. 
 
When I was in college lets face it, it took a little getting used to a steady diet of Ramen noodles, canned tuna, and whatever else I had on hand. It was a fine balance of allotting money for food each month with putting aside money for roadtrips and fun weekend plans. An expensive sushi dinner out with my roomates might have meant Ramen noodles for the next two nights.  
 
When I was a sophomore l remember the day the package arrived. It was marked "perishable" and shaking the box have me no clue as to what was inside. As I opened the box I saw that whatever it was was actually packed in dry ice. As I lifted away the packaging, there lay the BIGGEST block of stinky Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese I had ever seen. It was amazing. I grabbed the card and while still reading it I called home knowing exactly who had sent it. My stepdad, and fellow Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese lover, Anthony. Why? Cause he is that kind of awesome. As he answered the phone he explained that he know how much I loved this kind of cheese and thought he would just send me some. No reason. Just because. To make me laugh and let me know he was thinking of me. He explained he figured I was buying the fake shake cheese while away at college - he was right. 
 
Every time see a block of fresh amazing Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, it reminds me of Anthony's just-because delivery. It makes me think of the effort he went through to find a place that would ship it from CT to PA. Just because. That block of cheese lasted about 3 weeks and was the perfect compliment to a can of tuna or whatever I was eating for that matter. Anthony is one of the most thoughtful and sweetest people I know and constantly reminds me of the importance of unexpected just-because-no-reason gestures, big or small.
The Unexpected Gift Of Cheese
Destructive Comparison
May 3, 2016

Destructive Comparison

Published in Personal
Recently on two separate occasions someone said, "Comparison is the death of many things." Oh man, you know when you hear someone speak a truth that just lingers in the air and rings in your heart? These words have stuck with me over the past week as I have been reflecting on the truth that lies within them. Comparing IS the death of so many things... It can cause the death of marriages, friendships, being content, businesses, confidence... happiness. Comparisons can rob us of the joy that can be found in all that we are and all that we have. It can drain every drop of our own happiness as we look to who others are, what they have, their accomplishments, their lives.  
 
You know why comparison can cause the death of all these things? It's simple. The outcome of comparison is one of two things. Comparing ourselves can give us bigger heads and replaces humility with being pompous and proud. We walk around like we are better then those around us. In the same token, ironically, comparisons almost certainly always make us feel less then. When we compare we are left feeling like we aren't enough... not smart enough, talented enough, rich enough, popular enough, seen and heard enough, loved enough, successful enough, appreciated enough, good enough, special enough. Comparing ourselves always leaves us feeling this way because as sure as the sun rises each day, there will ALWAYS be people we will perceive as more and better then ourselves. We will ALWAYS be able to find someone that we compare ourselves to and will feel less then. Maybe it's looking at another person's marriage or family, maybe it's someone's bigger newer house, maybe its their booming business. We look at what they have and in feeling less then or wanting what they have, we are robed of seeing and enjoying the blessings overflowing in our own lives. Of the things we DO have. Of the way God has shown His unfailing love to us over and over again. Of the things right in front of us that some people don't have and wish they did. We lose sight of our individuality and how special and extraordinary we are. We forget that we are one of a kind and always enough. 
 
With social media having such a strong influence and presence in our culture and lives it makes falling into the trap of comparing that much easier. With a swipe of our finger we can compare the perfectly curated profiles on facebook to what we know are the realities of our own life and feel empty, resentful, alone, less then, unordinary and ungrateful. Our happiness and contentment is replaced with the jealousy, bitterness and insecurity left in comparison's wake. We can let these comparisons influence the way we treat, speak and think of others as well as ourselves and with that the death of so many things has already begun. 
 
So what's the antidote to comparisons? Stop comparing? So much easier said then done, amiright? Just as one of the woman speaking suggested, I believe that the answer is found in gratefulness. It's changing your outlook from outward to inward with a grateful heart... looking at your own self, your own life, and seeing all that you do have and the beauty it's bursting with. It's seeing all the blessings that have been poured over your life, all the prayers that have been answered, all the things in your life that bring you happiness. Its focusing on the fact that you have a beautiful roof over your head, that you have money to buy food, that you have a job, that you have your health, that you have a clean and safe place to lay your head each night, that you have a spouse and family that loves you dearly and whatever else it may be. 
 
So many people, including myself fall into the comparison trap because, lets face it, it is so easy to do again and again. And before we know it, it disintegrates the things that fill our hearts and give us life. I know that the comparison temptation will never go away, but I pray that God would give me daily a heart that is content and filled with gratefulness for His love and grace in my life. One that celebrates my individuality and cherishes my blessings and does the same celebrating and cherishing of others.
Apr 27, 2016

A Creative Mind

Published in Personal
Honestly, sometimes I feel drained of my creative juices... I feel like I get stuck in routine which leaves me feeling less then inspired. Whenever I need to feed my creative side, I try and make it a priority to take the time to do just that. No matter how busy I am or how many things are on my plate to complete, I know the importance of staying inspired and creating things... whether it's creating new ideas, writings, photos or whatever it may be. One of my favorite things is spending some time outside. Stepping away from the editing and emails and soaking in Mother Nature's details. Pouring a cup of coffee and going for a walk outside helps clear the monotony that can come with running a business and the daily tasks of life and lets the creative side of my mind race.  
 
I came across this list on Pinterest and just love it. However, I think #34 should be "Go For A Walk Outside" Amiright?! : )  
 
Happy Wednesday!
A Creative Mind
A Love Like Theirs
Apr 7, 2016

A Love Like Theirs

Published in Personal
The DJ announced that it was time for all the married couples to join the newlyweds on the dance floor... One by one each couple grabbed their partner's hand and found a spot on the floor. The slow song began to play and I scanned the crowd to find the one couple I knew I wanted to make sure to get a photograph of dancing during this song. But I didn't see them. I looked to my left and sure enough there at the table right by the floor, the two sat smiling from ear to ear watching the couples sway from side to side in one another's arms. "If you have been married for more then 5 years, please stay on the dance floor..." The DJ's instructions only resulted in a few folks leaving the dance floor. I leaned over towards the couple still sitting at their table and with a smile I said, you two should be up there dancing... As if they had been waiting for an invitation, they looked at one another and without waiting another second, he gently took her hand and escorted her to the dance floor. Now they realized it was the anniversary dance as the DJ announced for couples married for 30 years to remain on the dance floor.  
 
I couldn't help but watch the couple and notice how truly happy they were. They had their arms gently around one another and without saying a word he just smiled and made her laugh as he spun her around slowly. I remember thinking at that very moment, that I was in the presence of love in its purest form. I was witnessing everlasting love. THIS is the kind of love that I think everyone desires. It's not fancy or showy, its not boastful or pompous. It's sweet and gentle. It's a happiness that pours out from the couple and is indescribable to those witnessing it. Before I knew it, the dance floor was cleared except for the one couple as the DJ announced "...more then 50 years, more then 55 years..." Finally he asked how long they had been married and the husband exclaimed as if he had been waiting for someone to ask, "65 years!!!" He looked at this wife, pulling her in close and hugging her as she nodded in agreement. It was a moment I won't ever forget. It was an everlasting love. 
 
Their dance was over three years ago and is still one of my favorite wedding day memories...
Apr 1, 2016

That Kind of Cheerleader

Published in Personal
There needs to be more cheerleaders in the world. People that come along side you and cheer you on... motivate you to keep going. To go further. To tell you you are doing a great job and remind you that you are capable of doing more then you think you are. Yes, the world needs more people like that. Genuine cheerleaders. Because truth be told, there are enough of the other kind. We don't need more people to point at you when you fall, or see you struggling and look the other way. Or see helping those struggling purely as an opportunity to make a profit. We don't need people that will pick you up and when you are up and standing, look around to see if any one saw their good deed while patting themselves on the back. This world is already fully stocked up on that kind. The world needs true, genuine cheerleaders. Individuals that are not self-serving and help others even though there is nothing it for them. People that will come right next to you wherever you are and encourage you because they truly care about you and your journey. People that will tell you to reach further, fight harder, run faster, and go further then you had imagined.  
 
But in order for there to be more cheerleaders in the world, we each need to be a cheerleader for somebody else. We need to be that person. We need to come along side someone and root them on, telling them not to give up... That they are doing a great job and can do it. That they shouldn't settle for their comfort zone, but should strive to go beyond it. Even if someone is running a good race, everyone has doubts and fears... wondering if they are good enough and feeling like they are struggling to put one foot in front of the other. Fast and slow runners both need encouragement. Everyone needs a cheerleader and to be a cheerleader. The world is desperate for more of those kind of people.  
 
So today, send that encouraging text messege. Give someone a ring this afternoon who you know could use a little Rah-Rah-Rah You Can Do It! Mail a card telling them you believe in them, set up a coffee date to remind them of how far they have come, swing by their house to inspire them to dream bigger. Encourage, love, champaign, support, inspire, pour into and motivate just because. Be the kind of cheerleader that this world could use more of.
That Kind of Cheerleader
// 1 of 47 //