Tag Archives: life

Symbols of My Grandma

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October 13, 2017 will forever be a date that I remember. It was the day that I learned that my grandma, Nene, passed away. I was broken hearted because I had gone through so many life milestones with Nene and I couldn’t imagine her no longer being in my life. I had the opportunity to write her eulogy, along with my mom, and share stories about Nene’s life from a granddaughter’s perspective. I wanted to pass along my words about Nene to you as she was a person that I, and many of us, can aspire to be.

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“I have spent time reflecting on what Nene has meant to me. I wanted to share a few symbols of Nene with you that will always remind me of her.

First, the rosary. Nene was one of the most faithful people I knew and was also an inspiring model of church principles, treating everyone with love and compassion. I am blessed to have a grandma who guided me in my own faith, encouraging me as she was my sponsor for my confirmation in the church. She answered my questions along the way and was the best sponsor I could ask for.

Second, a deck of cards: Nene always knew how to have a good time and was the best friend to those around her. She played cards regularly with her friends, often going out to lunch or planning get togethers. I was blessed to join her in some of those get togethers as a little girl, where she taught me Pinochle, Old Maid, and War. She was so caring that when I would cry about the prospect of losing a game, she would make sure I won by the end. I can say with confidence that not many people would do that for others, and that’s just how caring she was.

Third, French anything, starting with French toast and more recently with the French language: Nene made the best French toast I’ve ever had, and I remember vividly eating it at Nene’s black kitchen table, sitting between Nene and Papa Ed, when they would babysit me on weekends. To me, French also symbolizes exquisite taste, which Nene definitely had. She always dressed stylishly and classically like the French. And most recently, while I spent time in Paris and FaceTimed with Nene, she could understand my host mom speaking French in the distance and would respond with “oui oui.” I hope to continue to embrace the French culture that Nene demonstrated to me for the rest of my life.

Fourth, candy: Nene was infamous for her candy cupboard, which was like the holy grail for our family growing up. When all of us would visit Nene, from Sprucewood in Farmington Hills, MI and even in the nursing home, we knew we could find candy. Nene always made sure her guests felt welcomed with treats, and the candy again reinforced how sweet and generous Nene was. She has inspired me to always have treats at home for when guests visit me as well.

Last but not least, chardonnay or vodka, depending on the occasion: Every day was a celebration with Nene. Every time I got together with Nene, we would toast to something, whether I was having apple juice as a little girl, or a glass of Chardonnay as an adult. It always felt like a special occasion. I’ll never forget having my first shot with Nene when I turned 21, or when I made vodka gummy bears for Nene to share our love for vodka and gummy bears. Nene was the perfect example of living life to the fullest and enjoying each day. She was always ready to toast with a glass of Chardonnay or vodka!

As the days pass and we come across these symbols and others, may we be reminded of Nene and the strong faith, love, care, and joy she shared with us. Nene – I know you are already having a great time in heaven and I can’t wait to share a glass of Chardonnay with you there in the future!”

I hope that these words inspire you in the same way that Nene inspired me!

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Eastern Philosophy to Simplify Life

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While in my global strategic management class, I heard the following insightful quote:

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, subtract things every day.” -Lao Tzu

Our class was learning about the importance of considering eastern and western philosophies when expanding business globally. In East Asian strategy, simplification is a priority for business success. As a person who has been mostly influenced by western philosophy, I was inspired by this quote from the eastern part of the world. Outside of the business context, this quote has lifestyle implications about simplifying our days to become wise. I am constantly trying to add more to my life: more school, more certifications, more social events, and more experiences. Tzu’s quote reminds me that I can grow just as much, if not more, by simplifying my life, subtracting distractions and filtering out any excess things.

Source: Oracle Modern Marketing Blog

Source: Oracle Modern Marketing Blog

It has taken me many years to understand the importance of simplification, and it wasn’t until my experience studying abroad in Spain that I learned to simplify and prioritize the people and activities that bring me the most joy and positive energy. Now in graduate school, I am easily tempted to add things every day, but I am working to remind myself to stay focused and prioritize in order to achieve my long-term goals. Graduate school is a time to specialize and if I truly want to be an expert (a happy expert I might add), I need to continue to live simply. Regardless of our life stage, we can all remember the importance of simplification in order to maintain balance at work and at home.

Over the past couple months, I have enjoyed learning global perspectives from my international business classes. It has been fascinating to combine international philosophies in the field of business. I will continue to share my favorite insights with you!

When Life Brings You Storms, Go Surfing (or Do Yoga!)

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Today I woke up to stormy skies, rain trickling down my window, and cool temperatures. My first reaction, especially because it was a Sunday, was disappointment as I felt held back from going outside and exploring Cleveland.

My mindset quickly changed when I received a reminder that my community yoga class at Edgewater Beach was still happening (despite the rain!). I arrived to Edgewater Park and followed a trail of hopeful yogis and their colorful yoga mats walking through the moist sand to a pavilion. I was surprised to find dozens of yogis spread throughout the pavilion, eager to begin practice with the friendly instructor.

The yoga practice was very relaxing and nourishing, with rain sprinkling around me as I overlooked a forest with Lake Erie in the distance. I felt one with nature, appreciating the fresh air, birds chirping, and beautiful green scenery.

Our yoga pavilion. Photo from Yoga for Every BODY, the community yoga organization that provides free outdoor yoga opportunities for Clevelanders.

Our yoga pavilion. Photo from Yoga for Every BODY, the community yoga organization that provides free outdoor yoga opportunities for Clevelanders.

I was reminded of an important message in life: Don’t let the storms of life hold you back from enjoying your days and pursuing your dreams. This message was further emphasized when I walked back from the class and passed Lake Erie beach again. Scattered throughout the shores were surfers appreciating the rough waters for the thrill of surfing. In their minds, a stormy day is the ideal time to go surfing in Lake Erie, as the waves are large enough to create an exhilarating experience. Whereas most of us would think of a storm as something negative, and interfering with our plans, others view storms as opportunities. The storms in this case demonstrate that the storms of life, or challenges and obstacles, can be turned into something positive. It all depends on our mindset and perception of the storms that come our way.

With this refreshed insight I am challenging myself and inspirNational readers to change our mindset about the storms and challenges that come our way. With each storm, let’s find ways to create our own version of surfing and appreciate each day as it comes!

Changing Our Perspective About Change

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Change. It seems to be the major theme of our mid-20’s. Or some may argue that change is the theme of life.

I can’t help but notice all the changes that have occurred over the past several years. How is it possible that so many life events can begin and end in such a short amount of time? How can we adapt to all the uncertainty in our day to day lives and predict the future?

As a person who thrives when there is structure and certainty, I’ve had to learn to adapt to change. While overall I have learned how to handle change well, becoming a working professional has forced me to adapt to change faster than ever. Common changes for those of us in our mid-20s:

  • Career (from high school to college to entering the workforce to graduate school)
  • Family (beginnings of relationships, ends of relationships, funerals, weddings, births)
  • Friends (new friends, old friends, roommates)
  • Relationships (single life, the dating scene, boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses)
  • Location (moving away from home, studying abroad, traveling the world, moving away from our home state or country, living in a dorm/apartment/house with and without roommates)
  • Technology (it’s hard to believe that just a few years of us most of us did not have smart phones)
  • Perspective (from thinking like an adolescent, to thinking like a young adult, and for some, to thinking like a husband/wife or mother/father)

While it can be challenging to accept all these changes and to continue moving forward, it is important for us to not forget that change is good. We shouldn’t fear it; everyone experiences change and it helps us develop into the people we are and will be.

Today, I came across this great quote, which changed my perspective about change. I came to realize that change is the best way for us grow as people and advance the world.

Source: NOOMA (drinknooma.com), a beverage company from Cleveland, which is an excellent (and tasty!) form of electrolyte hydration

Still not convinced? Here are more of my favorite inspirNational quotes that remind us to embrace change:

“Don’t be afraid of change. You may lose something good, but you may gain something even better.” -Anonymous

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” -Jim Rohn

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou

“Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” -Norman Vincent Peale

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi