In the past two months I’ve had to say a final farewell to quite a few people, but none was as difficult as saying goodbye to my cousin Vinnie.  Yes, that was really his name, and yes, he was really my cousin.  Everyone knew Vinnie; he had a smile and friendly greeting for everyone.  He taught me so much, but nothing as important as how to live life.   When I’d be feeling blue about losing my Mom, he’d remind me that I couldn’t spend my time dwelling in the past because I’d get stuck there. He’d say, “You’ve got to enjoy the present and look forward to the future. If you keeping looking at the past, you’re going to miss the now.”  At the end of our nightly phone calls I’d say, “I love you” and every.single.time. he’d say, “Stop that!” Well, Vinnie, I love you and finally I have the last word.

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I love the sound of early morning.  I’m here at my desk by the window, drinking my coffee, enjoying the sun shining in on me. The birds perched in the tree outside are chattering away; the heat of the day hasn’t silenced them yet.  I hear the rhythmic flap-flap-flap as a runner passes by; the pastry shop down the street is emitting a heavenly aroma and I find myself craving a warm, fresh muffin topped with sweet butter. This is my favorite time of the day. The pink-gold light, the sounds of the world as it slowly stirs, the quiet before the hustle and bustle hits full stride.  Easing into my day…..

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My sister visited with us this past week and what a pleasure it was to see her again.  She lives down south and as a rule, we don’t often get to see each other.  One of the blessings in life is when a sister or brother stops being just an irritating sibling and becomes a true and dear friend.  Last month we went to a destination wedding and shared a suite with my sister and her husband. My brother and his wife were there too and we all had such fun enjoying each others company; dancing, laughing, and talking away until the wee hours of the morning. I miss them and feel lucky that we had the chance to catch up.

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This week as we celebrate our Independence Day, take a minute to reflect what that means and what we need to be doing to ensure that we are always a free and independent nation. Liberty and democracy were hard-fought for; We the people rule and the people elected to our government are there to serve us.

Happy Birthday, America. May we celebrate many more.

 

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