The Season of WOW - December 30, 2014 - Receiving Gifts

Counting down the top gifts of 2014

10.  The gift of attitude - As the year began, I continued to find myself in a dark place.  Although I had begun to make some changes in my life, I still did not find joy in each new morning.  I continued moving forward, one step at a time.  I tried very hard not to shame myself when I slide a step or two backward.   I learned, over time, that attitude is always a choice.  I thought about Viktor Frankel's famous quote.  "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." - Attitude

9.  The gift of books - The wisdom of the world lies in books.  I read and read and then read some more.  Books, magazines, articles on the internet - searching anywhere there might be a snippet of wisdom that might help me find my way.    Books.

9.  The gift of calling - By March, the dream was really beginning to take shape, in my head at least.  A vision, had been born and I took on the job of ushering it into the world.  It seemed at last, there this was right.  I was in the right time, the right place, with the right talents and for the right reasons.  The universe was behind me now and I could feel its power.  Calling. 

8.  The gift of good health - My shoulder and both hips continue to function well.  I highly recommend joint replacement.  It's like getting the transmission fixed.  Now I can go another 60 years.  All around me people in my age group and younger are being challenged by much more threatening diagnoses.  Good health.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony on December 5 with Kate and Trevor.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony on December 5 with Kate and Trevor.

7.  The gift of a growing family - Trevor, the partner that Kate has chosen for herself, has become family.  As an only child, with parents living hundreds of miles away, he bravely chose to move to Chicago for Kate.  He didn't realize at the time that he got me too.  He's delighted.  So am I.  Family.

6.  The gift of support - As the year flew by and I immersed myself in my new adventure -, I was surprised by the amount of support that I received and from where it came.  It seemed that just as I voices a need or wish, someone or something fell into my path to provide it.  Angels do live among us.  I believe.  Support.

5.  The gift of new memories - As I look back on this year, there were so many memory making moments - celebrating 100 years of Wrigley Field with Kate and Trevor, the first success story at, learning how to build a web site, signing a lease for space, a ribbon cutting ceremony with the mayor, Thanksgiving with new friends, Christmas in Oak Park at Kate and Trevor's apartment...I could go on and on.  The year was packed with new experiences which are seared in my heart.  Memories 

Kate and Vero - December 2014

Kate and Vero - December 2014

4.  The gift of a daughter - Vero Castro Lopez is my daughter from another mother.  She visited for a short, but memory filled week just before Christmas and I was reminded of how much I love her.  A daughter.

3.  The gift of a silk thread - Kate.  I've long believed in the special connection between mothers and daughters and mothers.  I feel it.  I know it exists.  I've been blessed to experience both sides of the relationship with two strong, beautiful women.  More than anything, it defines who I am.  A silk thread.

2.  The gift of a meaningful life. - I know now that whatever happens, I have been blessed beyond measure.  I have lead and am continuing to lead a meaningful life.  I have known love.  I have been both the giver and receiver of great love.  And, I know that I have made a difference in the lives of others.  A meaningful life.

1.  The gift of hope - This year has been one in which I have learned to live with the questions.  I understand, although it is never easy, that I'm not in control and don't have all the answers.  Although some days that is still a struggle to fully embrace, I accept that I am a work in process.  I have much more to accomplish.  I have learned again, to allow hope to fill my soul.  I am blessed.  You are too.