Have Faith


Have Faith

Hi There,

“Have faith.” How many times have you heard that simple, yet powerful phrase? What does “have faith” really mean?

Have Faith: is it real or just another social media post?

Like many people, I first learned about faith from the church my family attended. Since the beginning of time, faith has been at the center of almost all religions.

Since I was a child I was told on numerous occasions, “have faith, God will lead you in the right direction.”

For the most part, I really believed this. Especially when I had to make a decision that would have an impact on my life.

And when things go your way, you tend to believe having faith is all you need.

Just look at all the social media posts regarding faith.

“Faith can move Mountains”

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear”

Many of these posts are inspirational and reinforce having faith. Yet, many times in my life I’ve wondered…

How do you keep faith when life isn’t going as planned?

Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced disappointment, heartache or grief in their lifetime. Even children face downturns in life.

  • Not making a team or being asked to join a group
  • Receiving a bad grade after studying so hard
  • Not getting the job or promotion you wanted
  • Losing friends, family, pets

The amount of losses one experiences over a lifetime can really add up. So, again, I wonder…

How do you keep Faith during life challenges?

Before I can explore that question, I’d like to ask a different one: What does faith mean to you?

For me, Faith is the belief in a positive outcome without any tangible proof.

When my husband Larry died and I was left alone to raise three boys, I’ll admit, there were many instances where fear and pain was all I could see. In those moments I found it really difficult to have faith.

I worried about what kind of future my boys would have without a father.

I worried about what kind of life I would have without Larry by my side.

I felt very alone, like I was existing but not living. There was no joy in my life, only sadness when I thought about the future.

Surrounded by so much darkness, there were many times I wondered: “Could something as small as a five-letter word, faith, really have that much of an impact?”

Not long after Larry died, in the privacy and solitude of my home, I questioned everything, including my faith.

Could I really rely on faith to get me through such a horrific time?

In searching for the answer, I revisited my past and the other times I relied on faith to help me through.

Be an active participant in where Faith takes you

As I evaluate my life, I realize I’ve always had faith. Yet, the times I was successful is when I used my faith to give me courage to take the first step.

When Larry died and I was left with paralyzing fear that my kids and I may not heal, I turned to faith. Faith gave me the ability to believe my kids and I could heal, but it was up to me to get us the tools we needed to heal.

I chose to have faith that each step I took was with the belief it would yield a positive outcome.

I chose to have faith in myself that if the step didn’t yield a positive outcome, then I could take another step in a different direction.

The more steps I took, the more I relied on faith to give me strength to take another… and another.

It turned out when I questioned my faith the most was when I realized how much I really needed it.

Throughout my whole life, faith has been the catalyst I needed to make a move.

Faith doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome

Once you take a step, don’t give up on faith, regardless of the outcome. Take ownership of the choices you made. If it turned out to be the wrong choice, well, have faith once more that you can do something about it.

Sometimes you must dig deep to find Faith

It was in my darkest hour that faith brought me a light, a glimpse of what could be. But what faith didn’t give me was a road map, I had to figure that out on my own. What I’ve learned over the years is that the two go hand-in-hand.

The more faith I have, the more I’m willing to take a step and vice versa.

So while I understand how easily the phrase “have faith” gets thrown around these days, I want you to know that I really do have faith.

I have faith the boys and I will continue to heal and find happiness.

I have faith that you will too.

I wish you and your family much love, happiness and faith as you face each day.

Many Blessings,


Still Dreaming


Still Dreaming

Hi there,

Have you ever woken from a dream (or nightmare) and wondered what the heck does that mean? You’re not alone. After my husband, Larry, died I’ve had some dreams that filled me with a sense of peace and others that left me shaken.

Where do Dreams come from?

Dreams have a long history of being studied and interpreted. From ancient philosophers to current day new age beliefs, interpretations of dreams can be fascinating. Some believe your dreams stem from your sub-conscious thoughts; others believe your spirit and soul are connected to your dreams. I like to believe my dreams are a combination of both, my sub-conscious and people who have had a strong impact on my soul are represented in my dreams. Which is why I was so upset after Larry died that he didn’t come into any of my dreams.

When Dreams are all you have left

It’s not fair”, I cried, as I sat across from my grief counselor during a session after Larry died. The fairness I was referring to in the session was not that my husband Larry had recently died, I was crying that it wasn’t fair that I hadn’t seen him in any of my dreams since he passed away.

Each night that I went to sleep, I kept hoping he would come to me in my dreams, it was all I had left of him. It was bad enough that I could no longer physically touch or see him, I so desperately wanted to touch him and see him in my dreams. So why wasn’t he coming to me?

My counselor listened attentively to my angst of not being able to see Larry in my dreams, then shared with me that she had some experience in analyzing dreams. She offered one explanation, that I wasn’t ready yet.

Losing Larry had been such a shock to my body and soul that my subconscious was trying to protect me from any more pain. What if seeing Larry in my dreams caused me more heartache?

On one hand, I understood what she was trying to tell me, on another hand, I didn’t like it. I was willing to face any pain that may come my way if I could just see his face one more time.

I spent a few months agonizing, and even trying to connect telepathically! “Come on Larry,” I said more than once, “it’s ok, please come to me in my dreams.”

I tried to tell myself to have faith, when the time is right, he’ll come to me in my dreams.

Meanwhile, each morning I woke up I had to face the day ahead of me. Besides the day-to-day tasks of taking care of my children, I had to decide on where we were going to live.

I’ve shared with you before we sold our house in Illinois just when Larry received his diagnosis. We had a temporary living situation in Arizona so there was no rush to decide. Instead we put our stuff in storage and concentrated on getting Larry the medical care he needed.

After Larry died, I couldn’t put off the decision any longer. Do I move back to Illinois, uproot the boys from their school and group of friends? On the flip-side, they would be closer to family.

I weighed the pros and cons, but in my heart, I wanted to follow the dream Larry and I had already established while he was alive. We were going to build our own home in Arizona. A home that our boys could grow up in and that we ourselves could grow old in and enjoy having the kids bring their own families back to visit us. I just didn’t know if I was up to doing this on my own.

One day, I came across a piece of property in an area that Larry and I wanted to live. The house was old, and the property was in foreclosure. At the time, the real estate market was picking back up and if the house was priced right it would be snatched up quickly. After I took the boys to school I drove by the house and realized this could be our new home. Over the next few days everything happened quickly, I made an offer and after some negotiating my offer was accepted.

And then I panicked. What did I get myself into?

A new beginning

With the events moving so quickly I didn’t have time to ponder any of the emotions that come with the making this big of a decision. That night I went to bed wondering if I made the right decision. I fell into a deep sleep and started to dream. In my dream I was in a room engulfed in complete darkness. Someone was walking towards me. As he got closer, I recognized it was Larry and he was carrying a baby. The baby appeared to be about six months old, bald except for some fine wisps of hair on the top of its head. The baby was smiling and clinging to Larry.

Larry looked wonderful! The last month of his battle with leukemia had been difficult on his body. But the Larry I saw in my dreams was the Larry I remembered from when we first met. He was grinning from ear to ear, his dimples prominent and the happiness radiated from his eyes.

I honestly don’t know how long I stayed in the dream but when I woke up, it was the first morning I had felt peace in my heart. I was thrilled! Larry finally came to me in my dreams. The baby had to be the baby that I miscarried. It brought me comfort that they had found each other.

I couldn’t wait for my next session to tell my counselor about my dream. She listened as I shared with her the details of my dream, the details of the happiness I saw on Larry’s face and the baby he was holding. I told her about the miscarriage I had between Henry and the twins, and I believed the baby Larry was holding was the baby I lost.

When I finished sharing my dream, she agreed politely that that’s what my dream could’ve meant, however, as a dream analyst, she also wanted to share that a baby in a dream can represent a new beginning. Perhaps the dream came at the perfect time. With all the turmoil I had been feeling about moving into a new home without Larry, this dream could ease some of the conflict I struggled with. It was OK to have a new beginning and takes steps to move forward into a new home.

As I mentioned above, I do believe dreams stem from our subconscious, yet I still believe individuals who have an impact on our souls are the ones represented in our dreams. Who better to ease my conflict than Larry?

Larry was my husband, the love of my life, but he was also my confidant, my best friend and the one person I bounced all my ideas off and the one person that could help me decide, especially a big decision.

I believed then, and I still do, Larry came to me at just the right moment.

Not all dreams are good dreams

Since then I have had other dreams with Larry in them. Some have left me feeling elated, others disturbed.

Before Larry died, he had been a real estate investor and developer. I worked with him mostly behind the scenes taking care of all the accounting and administrative work. From permitting, getting architect plans to picking out finishes we discussed every step of the process with each other. After Larry died, I had to take on a more active role in his business. Over the years I’ve had to make decisions, some of them more difficult than others. Many times, I’m left wondering if I made the right decision.

I remember waking up in a panic after experiencing a very disturbing dream. I dreamt Larry and I were arguing over the business. We were arguing about decisions that were made since he passed away. In my dream he was no longer dead. He was alive, and he wasn’t happy. He was yelling and asking why I made the decisions that I had. I woke up shaken and disturbed by his demeanor. Of course, Larry and I had our share of disagreements, but most arguments stemmed from our personal relationship, not our business relationship.

I was stunned. Why was he so mad at me? Again, I brought this up with my counselor.

Personal conflict can manifest in angry dreams

It was her belief, that I was conflicted. I had no choice but to make decisions for the business, yet, I didn’t want to make these decisions without Larry. Subconsciously I had worried whether I had made good or bad decisions. The worry, the conflict I faced manifested in my dreams as an argument between Larry and me.

One of the strongest attributes to my marriage with Larry was mutual respect. I guess even in death I hoped he respected the decisions I made, but I would never know and these disturbing dreams brought those feelings to the surface.

Let the good Dreams overshadow the bad ones

Over the years I’ve had many dreams about Larry, some have seemed so real, that I’m heartbroken when I wake up and realize it was just a dream. Most of my dreams are pleasant and bring me peace. I’m glad I learned the meaning behind dreams, because now I can always pinpoint the root behind Larry appearing upset with me. It’s still unnerving, but I can shake it off much quicker.

“Dreams, that’s where I have to go, to see your beautiful face”

 The summer after Larry died, I listened to the song “Not Over You”, by Gavin DeGraw over and over. Above are some lyrics from that song. I still love this song. It’s helped me to realize, regardless if it’s a good dream or a bad dream, I’m just happy that I’m still dreaming of Larry.

It truly is wonderful to see his beautiful face in my dreams.

I pray your dreams bring you peace.

Many Blessings,



P.S. For more information about the meaning of dreams, go to http://www.dreammoods.com/

United in Grief

United in Grief

September 11, 2001. I’m sure you can visualize where you were that tragic morning as our country was being attacked. I was changing Henry, who was only nine months old, when I heard Larry screaming from the living room for me to come and see what was happening. We watched in horror as the twin towers collapsed.

Disbelief, shock, anger, overwhelming sadness, were just a few of the emotions many people felt that day and for many days, weeks, months and years to come, as we learned how the events unfolded and heard from families who lost a loved one that fateful day.

Even if you personally didn’t know someone who died, you grieved. The magnitude of lives lost was unfathomable.

How in the world will we recover? Can we recover?

As a nation we were all grieving. And grief has a way of uniting people. Grief is humbling. Grief can bring out our humanity that allows us to transcend beyond nationalities, religions and economic status.

As a nation we had a choice. Do we live in fear or do we rise up, celebrate every day we have and move forward? I like to believe we chose the latter. Babies continued to be born, weddings were held, and other life celebrations went on as planned.

We had to move forward.

After the attacks, I watched every interview of surviving family members and cried as they shared their story. How horrible, how will they go on? I wondered many times. How does one survive such a tragic and unexpected event?

I prayed for the families and hoped they would find a way to heal. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, I related to the surviving members as best I could. At the time I couldn’t, didn’t, want to even think about how I would cope if I lost someone so close to me.

Unfortunately, losing my husband, Larry, in 2010, I started to understand the grief of such a devastating loss.  

Fast forward to 2015. I chaperoned a school trip to New York City with George and Charlie. They were participants in the Montessori Model United Nations conference. Before the scheduled events took place, we decided to visit the 9/11 memorial site and museum.

I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion as I walked by the bronze parapets surrounding the memorial pool. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the names of all the innocent victims of 9/11. Once more, I thought about the families as well and prayed they found a way to live again.  

While exiting through the museum store I started to watch the video on display interviewing surviving family members. I felt a tremendous amount of empathy as I listened. Hearing one woman speak in particular made me catch my breath and fight back tears because every word she said is exactly how I felt after Larry died.

The woman was talking about her husband and the shock she experienced afterward, how surreal it all was, and she couldn’t believe he was gone. She described how she would look in the closet and see all his clothes and think, this can’t be real.

While the circumstances of our grief were different, the sorrow she expressed looking at her husband’s clothes was exactly how I felt looking at Larry’s clothes in our closet.

I stood many days outside of my closet that I shared with Larry just staring at his clothes. For a while, I didn’t want to wash them, because I didn’t want to lose any odor that reminded me of him. So, I would straighten anything out of line, refold if necessary and some days grab a T-shirt and hug it tight while I cried.

Respectfully I am not comparing my loss to the woman who lost her husband to the tragic circumstances of 9/11, but I am relating to her loss.

The same way I could relate to her loss, I remembered all the stories that gave hope. I have watched over the years as news coverage aired stories about the families and the wonderful ways the they’ve been able to honor the loved one they lost. Positive, uplifting updates on where families are today, sharing the struggles they faced and finding joy in their lives. All these stories have been inspirational and reminds me everyday that no matter how bleak the future appears, hang in there, somewhere on this path of grief you will find hope.

Needless to say, I found hope at one of the last places I could’ve ever imagined, at the 9/11 memorial.

After spending some time at the waterfall, I walked around the grounds surrounding the pools of water. I came across a Callery pear tree (pictured above) and was shocked to learn that it was found amongst all the rubble at ground zero, its roots and limbs snapped but there was one branch budding to alert someone that there was still a little life left in it.

The tree was taken, replanted and carefully nurtured. When the 9/11 memorial site was built, the Callery pear tree was brought back and remains at the site today.

The tree continues to flourish and is known as the Survivor tree. But has provided a much greater significance, it’s become a symbol of endurance, resilience, and hope.

For me, it’s a reminder, if you are broken, you must find time to nurture yourself, allow yourself to just be, allow yourself to heal. We don’t know what the future holds, but I do believe whatever we nurture today, will bloom in the future.

It’s hard to believe something so beautiful came out of something so horrible. Goes to show what a little TLC can do!

I pray you find endurance, resilience and hope on your path to creating a life you WANT to live.

Many Blessing,


P.S. Photo of the Survivor Tree is courtesy of Forbes.com

Re-establish the nucleus of your family


Re-establish the Nucleus of Your Family


I shared with you before that Larry and I dated for an extended period of time (almost nine years!) before we decided to get married and have children. Obviously, things didn’t happen overnight and there were many adjustments along the way.



Our first adjustment was getting used to living with each other. Fortunately we had known each other for so long and knew each other so well that the adjustments were minor. Then came the biggest change in our lives: becoming parents. While it may have taken us a while to get to the altar, truth is we wasted no time in having children.


Our first son, Henry, was born shortly after we got married, followed two-and-a-half years later by the twins, George and Charlie. In three years we went from a family of two to a family of five! This required a lot of adjustments and a conscious effort on both our parts to ensure everyone in our family felt loved and respected.  


The birth of our children and becoming parents brought us an immense amount of joy and any adjustments we had to make, we made for the benefit of our family.


Some of the changes we had to make were with respect to creating “family time,” “couples time” for Larry and me, and “one-on-one time” with each of the boys.


Family time could be as simple as all of us walking to the park for a few hours and spending uninterrupted time pushing the boys on the swings, helping them climb the monkey bars or playing tag as they got older and loved to run.


Couples time consisted of anything that involved the two of us without kids! We loved our kids so much, but we recognized parenthood was an all-consuming role and we didn’t want to forget that this family started out with just the two of us.


One-on-one time was precious to the boys, especially when it was time alone with Larry. I could see it on each boy’s face when he came back from an outing with Larry. He would walk in the door standing tall, with his chest puffed out making sure the other two could see what he had in his hand; a slushy, piece of candy, whatever treat Larry let them have. He would act all cool as the other two would say things like, “aww man, dad got you…” Yes, each boy had their moment to brag, it was comical and endearing all at the same time.


And then Larry died. I not only lost my companion in life, but my partner in raising our children.  


I felt broken and alone. Very alone.


If I felt this way, I could only imagine how the boys were feeling.

In an instant my family of five became a family of four. The nucleus of our family circle was shattered and it was up to me to try and put the pieces back together. The one person I wanted to talk to and get advice on how to fix our broken family was gone.


I had no idea what to do, the only thing I knew was that it couldn’t be fixed overnight. Just like Larry and I had needed time to adjust to marriage and the birth of each of our children, I would need time for my children and me to recreate the nucleus of our family.


The first step was the hardest. I had to face the reality that Larry was gone and our family of five would never look the same again.


But did that mean we weren’t a family any longer? Absolutely not!


Many families today face the same challenge of re-creating a family unit that has changed with a marriage, birth, divorce, or death. Adult children moving back home and caring for elderly parents in the home is becoming all too common. Each time the dynamics of a family changes, roles need to be re-established, boundaries need to be evaluated, and time needs to be spent developing relationships.


Through individual and group counseling I received guidance and courage to take positive steps to rebuild my family.


I would like to share with you some of the guidance I received and implemented with my family.


Be clear on the new boundaries and expectations:


Originally all of the house “rules” were put into place as a team: mom and dad. After Larry died I had to figure out what rules I wanted to keep and what ones I didn’t. If your children are old enough, engage them in conversation and get their input regarding the establishment of boundaries and expectations. Once you have determined what the boundaries are (bedtime, homework, extra-curricular activities, etc.) sit down with your children and be clear about your expectations. I recommend reevaluating this at least once a year. As children grow, the expectations and responsibilities change as well.


What about adult children living back at home? Or, elderly parents moving in?


Sometimes having adult children move back home is harder than having little ones! But it’s your home, boundaries and expectations need to be established no matter what the age for any family member moving into your home. The purpose is to create a living environment that is as harmonious and peaceful as possible.


Spend time collectively, unplugged, as a family:


One of the gifts Larry left the boys and I was his love of travel, especially road trips! At the time Larry passed away, there was a remarkable family from my children’s school who had plans to spend two nights at a cabin in Greer, Arizona. It’s a beautiful town northeast of Phoenix and offers a quiet, serene get-away. When they heard of our loss, they decided as a family to gift us the fully paid stay in the cabin. I was in awe at their generosity. I saved their gift and used it on the one-year anniversary of Larry’s death.


I piled the kids and two golden retrievers (who had recently joined our family) into the mini-van and took another step towards redefining what our family vacations would look like going forward. On the way to the cabin we reminisced about all the previous road trips we had taken with Larry.


Sharing stories about Larry brought smiles to our faces and laughter filled the car. I never would’ve imagined the year prior that any of us could laugh so easily.




We had taken many steps to heal individually and collectively as a family, and this was one more: a step taken together to mark one the one-year anniversary of Larry’s death and the addition of two more members, Star and Cruiser (pictured above).


We have since taken more road trips, some of the best ones include the dogs. We have laughed, bickered (remember 4 people and 2 good size dogs in one car and one hotel room!) and even shed some tears. All these moments have re-established the nucleus of my immediately family.  


Now, here I am, almost nine years after Larry died, and the nucleus of my family has changed again. With Henry off to college, I need to reevaluate all the steps I mentioned above. From minor issues like splitting chores (George and Charlie don’t think this is minor!) to creating family time just for me, George and Charlie. This part is a little harder now that the boys are teenagers, George has his own license to drive and a girlfriend.


I’m doing my best to find moments when it is just the three of us and I can pull out a deck of cards or UNO and tell them it’s family time. I’ll admit it’s a little awkward in the beginning. You don’t realize that impact one person has on a family until they are no longer physically with the family. Family bantering combined with individual personalities makes family time unique, so when a member leaves or joins the family, time is needed to re-establish the ever-changing family nucleus.


As I sit here and write this, I remember the pain I felt each time I looked at a family picture of me, Larry and the boys. I felt my family was forever broken, shattered. But now, I can look at that same picture and smile at Larry and say, “Look what we created!”


While the picture is sure to change again, my love for him and my boys will forever remain the same. This love has given me strength to put the pieces of my family back together. The pieces are different and may not align perfectly, but neither do the pieces in a mosaic picture- and it’s still beautiful.


I pray you will find a way to make your shattered pieces fit together once more. 

Many Blessings,