The impact of Nanny and Eva~

My office is filled with decorations, games, gifts, and baby items as I prepare  to give my precious Daughter in Law, Azlan, a baby shower.  Not at any moment do I actually forget that I will be a grandma soon, but these items do serve as a daily reminder to me.

When I think about the kind of Grandma I want to be I find myself thinking about the Grandmothers that impacted my life; they set the bar pretty high for me.

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My Nanny was musical; she played the Organ in her home beautifully. I always remember lots of home-cooked food; she liked to make jello salads! I remember sitting in front of her silver Christmas tree watching the wheel of color changing hues, thus changing the color of the tree.  I also remember an old picture that showed Jesus standing at a door welcoming all those who would willing enter.  The verse at the bottom said “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”  My Nanny loved flowers.  I can remember many times playing dolls in her backyard filled with sunshine and the smell of roses. I remember how my Nanny used to send me letters in her sweet handwriting.   I remember all these things.  One thing I do not remember, ever, was my Nanny being angry or harsh with me.  I can’t recall her ever raising her voice to me at any time.  I deeply appreciate that about her. I want to be that kind of grandma.

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My grandma Eva had a contagious smile, she was a joyful person.  I remember taking walks with her to feed the donkeys down the street, Irish music playing in her home, and the three-pronged tiny stool where I would sit in her living room and listen to her engage in interesting conversations.  I remember picking figs and chasing squirrels in her backyard, and I remember that I always ended up with a “Pixie” haircut by the time I would head home after “my week” with grandma!  I remember all these things.
What I do not remember, ever, was my Grandma Eva ever being too busy to talk to me.  Eva never made me feel like I was in the way or a bother to her, just the opposite, she made me feel incredibly valuable and loved.  I deeply appreciate that about her.  I want to be that kind of Grandma.

The bar has been set high for me. However, because of my grandmothers’ impact on my life I believe I will be mindful to make my grandchildren feel as I did!

Who has impacted the person you are?  Who set the bar high for you? Take time to remember and appreciate those that poured into your life; honor their impact on your  life by returning the favor to those around you.

Our Little Girl~

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I’ve only known for a month, only a month, and yet my heart melts knowing she is on her way.  I imagine her little nose and a sweet mix of her parents features; this make me smile. She will change our family forever.  Our first grandchild. 🙂

My heart longs for her life to be full of joy, peace, laughter, and safety. Yet, I know she will experience challenges and sadness as she grows into the amazing woman God has designed her to be. Because of this, I will bathe her life in prayer and along with her parents, reminding her again and again that she was designed by a God for a meaningful purpose.

………and then……….I will spoil her, play with her, read to her, cook with her, play Hide n Seek with her, pray with her, dance with her, sing with her, count stars with her, color with her, play make believe with her, ride bikes with her, and attempt to kiss away every tear!

Most of all, I will trust God for her sweet little life because I know He is the one who created her, knows every hair on her sweet little head, and loves her, already, more than I can even fathom!

So, sweet little one~ we await your arrival.  🙂

“Strawberry creams and wonderful dreams,

Ladylike airs and teddy bears,

Fairy tales and wedding veils,

That’s what granddaughters are made of.”

Thanksgiving Thoughts~

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Thanksgiving is a time to savor and reflect on all that we are thankful for; an opportunity to gather with those we love to share our hearts and a meal too large for us all!!

I thought I would try to list the Top 10 things that I am Thankful for ( knowing that 10 things would never cover all that I cherish in my heart…but I will make a brave attempt!

MY TOP 10

1.  For God~His grace and mercy, favor and care, comfort and correction. Where would I be without the Lord in my life? Cannot imagine!

2.  For My wonderful Italian husband, Greg, without whom my life would not be nearly as interesting, fun, and love-filled. Together we have weathered many seasons and assignments, all of these experiences have made us a stronger, more loving team.

3.  My amazingly smart, talented, and kind sons.  Their ideas fascinate me, their questions challenge me, and their kindness warms my heart. Nate and Dave are two special men with whom I am incredibly proud.

4. My beautiful daughter in laws.  Oh my, I love them.  These ladies are thoughtful, creative, funny, and smart. When I watch them love on our sons, my heart swells. These girls are also my dear friends and I feel very lucky for their friendship!

5.  My precious parents whose consistent love and generosity continues to amaze me.  Their ability to love deeply, pray regularly, and creatively love on all of their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren is an example I pray I will follow.  My parents legacy in my life cannot be expressed in words. I am so thankful for them.

6.  My “extended” family~  The word “extended” encompasses so many precious people:  my incredible sisters, creative and caring nieces and nephews, Aunts and Uncles that I adore, Cousins who I care deeply for, my mother and father in law whom I love, so many people who bless my life and heart!

7.  Dear loyal friends. So many amazing people who have walked alongside Greg and I for years and years; cheering us on, giving wise counsel, making memories, and weathering storms….If I named them one by one the list would go on and on……

8.  Our Coachwell Clients (leaders and friends)~I find it simply amazing that I have the incredible privilege to work with, care for, and be a cheerleader alongside so many world-changers!  These leaders bless me more than I could ever express…but I will never stop trying to let them know how much they mean to me!

9.  Our Coachwell team.  We work with a team with such great hearts; loving towards our clients, vendors, us, and one another.  We look forward to continuing the journey with them alongside us!

10. My Church.  Our spiritual family are a gathering of kind people.  We have enjoyed 4 years of growing alongside so many folks working hard to grow in Christ and make a difference in our community and beyond.  Whether it be a teaching, worship, small group, or a women’s events~ all of it has given me opportunity after opportunity to grow! I am thankful for them.

Well, when I started this list I wasn’t sure where it would end up.  However, One thing that I have realized is that PEOPLE are what I am grateful for!  So on this Thanksgiving Day I hope you find yourself somewhere in my LIST and know that I am very thankful for YOU this year!

Have a truly meaningful Thanksgiving this year. 🙂

Important Conversations!

” The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

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I have heard this quote numerous times, I find it incredibly profound every time.  It is never easy to have a difficult conversation.   No one ever wakes up in the morning eager to jump into a discussion that could have an uncertain outcome. No one naturally wants to feel uncomfortable or to create possible conflict. If they do, frankly, then may have other personal issues that need to be dealt with. No~ no one really enjoys a “Crucial Conversation”.

In the Book “Crucial Conversations” the term in the title of the book would be defined as a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.

In order to navigate relationships in your family, workplace, community, or place of worship there will be times when the need to have a direct conversation will be clearly evident, left unaddressed gaps in relationships, teamwork, or productivity will be the result.

Have you ever gotten a phone call or email that you simply ignored because in order to move forward there would need to be a conversation? Have you ever walked “around” a teammates office so that you could avoid a tough conversation? Have you ever abandoned a friendship because having a hard conversation seemed too challenging?

I have to say YES to all of these situations. In trying to asses “WHY” I would have avoided challenging conversations I would have to discern that it was because I assumed I wouldn’t fare well; that I would cause more trouble.  But often these types of conversations can bring fresh understanding, resolve conflict, and relational rebuilding.

 In considering a crucial conversation we have 3 possibilities:

1.  We can simply avoid them.

2.  We can face them and handle them poorly.

3. We can face them and handle them well.

I feel that most of us would choose either #1 or #3.  Assuming  you have picked #3, I would l like to offer a few suggestions that I have learned in my years of being a Leadership Coach. (I am not an authority by any means; I continue to be a learner!)

Prepare yourself for  the conversation.  What is the end result you desire?  What is the temperament of the individual you need to address? Are you angry? Have you already indited this person?  Can you see your part in the challenge? What words will you use to clearly communicate? Are you prepared to listen?

Set a quality time/place for the conversation. Timing is key when addressing a challenging topic.  I always tell young brides that it is NEVER wise to address challenging topic with their spouse after 8:30-9:00!! Two tired people addressing conflict will rarely provide a positive result!  Does this conversation need to be in private? Do you need a 3rd party present for accountability?

Follow up within 24 hours. It is important be sure that your crucial conversation truly created the clarity needed between every individual involved. Do an understanding check as well as a relational check. Your conversation may not result in complete agreement but see if it has cleared away the intensity of emotion or misunderstanding.

Difficult conversations are necessary as we grow in every area of our lives and the results of having them successfully will empower us to be brave enough, kind enough, and wise enough to address them well.

Are there conversations you’ve been avoiding? Situations that need to be addressed? Relationships that need reconciling? Gaps on your team at work?  Instead of focusing on how negative a crucial conversation could be, consider how much fruitfulness is to be gained. 🙂

Newsflash: Call me Grandma! :-)

Remember the game where you and a buddy would hold your breath and wait to see who could hold it the longest?  As the minutes passed there would finally be a huge GASP and the participants would take in the much needed air!  That has been me for the past 10 weeks!  For the past 10 weeks I have been holding my breath, carrying a secret that has rocked my world!! I can finally let it out! WE WILL BE GRANDPARENTS IN APRIL!  The joy of this news is indescribable.  First I cry, then I rejoice, and then I cry.

Legacy.  The  family DNA  of the Koops and the Salciccioli family is being passed on to a new generation, into this new precious life.  My heart is stirred deeply at the thought of this.

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Watching Dave and Azlan walk into this new blessing; seeing them tearily recognizing God’s sweet favor for them and acknowledging the love of family that surrounds them, has been sincerely heartwarming.

I am 54….I got here pretty fast…my baby will be a daddy for the first time and that churns up so many emotions. Yet as I watch Dave and Azlan I am moved by their maturity, their love for their unborn child, and the care they have taken as they approach this new season. They will be amazing parents.

I know, when they look into the eyes of the child they have created together, they will be smitten at such a deep level; love more deeply than they have ever loved before.  I cried learning they were pregnant, and I am sure I will cry when I hold our precious “beloved child” for the first time!

Call me Grandma or granny, I do not care………….just CALL ME to babysit, snuggle, care for, and support this precious little life…….My arms and heart are abundantly ready!

Overwhelmed by God’s favor!  Excited about the season ahead!

It’s a Screen Free Day!! Enjoy it!!

On a trip to Kauai a couple years back Greg and I went on a Catamaran Excursion.  We love to to that; just to get out on the vast open sea looking for dolphin, flying fish, turtles, and perhaps even a whale or two!! On this particular trip we were most struck by something else we saw~~ a couple who were aboard spent the entire trip using their cell phones at opposite ends of the boat!! They didn’t really interact much, appreciate the view, or enjoy the romance of it all. Nope~ on their phones the entire time!!

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Recently, at one of my favorite restaurants I looked across the crowded room only to observe a family of 5 having dinner together.  Well, actually they were eating in each others presence, but they were all on their “smart phones” sending texts or playing games! So much for their family dinner!

Driving home from work I always pass a great little park filled with kids; there’s a climbing wall, fun slide, and lots of room to run.  Along the outside of the park there are places for parents to sit to watch there kids playing.  This particular day  I observed that 4 out of the 5 moms had their eyes firmly fixed on the screen of their “smart phones” missing out on the fun and giggles coming from their young children!

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Yesterday, a gal driving a small car right behind me on the overpass continually came up too close behind my car as I headed home.  Looking in my rear view mirror I could see that she was looking down at her lap sending and reading texts the entire time, rarely looking up to see what was ahead.  Had I needed to stop quickly we would have been in a frightful situation!

So, I think it’s time for everyone to start to take some “Screen Free” time!! Catch your breath, disconnect from social media and your phone for a little while.  Remember back in the “old days” when we would come home and get our phone messages? Back when we weren’t so readily accessible?

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Read, connect with a friend face to face, play with your kids, go for a walk~~ so many wonderful things to enjoy!  Give yourself permission to regularly disconnect from your screen, any screen, and fully engage in your life in fresh ways!  It’s the weekend, try it today! 🙂

We are HOME!!! :-)

Honestly, I love the sound of a room full of people sharing a meal, conversation, and hearts!  Nothing fills my soul more!  It is with this heart that I decorated my wonderful new home.  I wanted a place where my loved ones felt at peace, cozy, and welcome.

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It was huge for me to create a space for any children that might enter my home; a place created JUST for them.  Imagine being a child coming into a home without a place to “hang”, to play??  I created that place.

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My husband and I are truly blessed to enjoy the home we have purchased; many miracles have brought us here.  Because of this we know this home will be rich with memories of laughter, tears, teaching, and prayer.

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How about you? Can you see your home as a place of love and warmth? Have you created an atmosphere that would welcome neighbors and friends alike?  Consider seeing your home as a place of love and outreach in a world that often times is cold and closed!

We are the light of the world…….our homes can be a great place to shine!

We are blessed and because of that we pray that we will also bless others.

Newlyweds~

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Being on the Hawaiian Islands in the month of August can only mean one thing! We will be surrounded by honeymooners!  After encountering one or two, I soon realized that, of course, this was wedding month!

29 years ago it was “wedding month” for my husband and I!  In a church with orange pews and brown panel walls, I walked down the aisle in a white dress towards my teary bridesmaids all dressed in Pink ( or Mauve, as it was known in the 80’s)! My tall young husband smiled a crooked smile my way filled with both anticipation and anxiety about the huge step we were making! 29 years later he still has that cute crooked smile! 🙂

After an Anniversary holiday in the Hawaiian Islands, Greg and I climbed onto the plane enjoying the fact that we would be sitting in the Emergency Exit seats that provide lovely leg room! Greg on the aisle, and I took the window seat keenly aware that there would be a “random” individual between us.  When he came, smiling an impish grin, he slid into our row.  Joseph was a newlywed…..his sweet new bride was two rows behind us. He kept looking back at her longing to have her by his side…but the plane was taking off.

Joseph was outgoing, found out he had a rich faith in Christ; he was from a family of 12 children.  Learning we had been married for 29 years, he began asking questions to learn how to find success in marriage; asked good questions.  This young man was eager to live life as a newlywed forever…so cute!

Our advice?  Stay friends, forgive, pick your battlegrounds, pray together, continue to play, get away together, and fight the urge to fall into being partners in life~~stay pals, friends, and lovers!

Well, once I knew he had gleaned all he needed from me I was keenly aware that it was time to switch seats with his precious bride, to let them cuddle the rest of the flight.  Seeing them all snuggled in from my tight seat two rows behind made me so happy.  I turned to the little gal next to me and said “where are you headed?” She smiled and said “I am a newlywed”.  so ….we chatted……. 🙂

Sweet, unexpected moments! Sweet reminders of how precious marriage is!! 🙂

Keys to key Relationships! (re-post)

Building  Amazing Relationships!

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Relationships can bring us our greatest joys and our deepest wounds. We can’t control how others choose to respond in their relationships with us, but we can establish our own ground rules for having and maintaining quality relationships.

Below are some thoughts to consider as you navigate the relationships in your life:

1.  Surround yourself with positive people- finding like-minded, positive people will fill your cup. Spending the bulk of your time with those who suck the happiness out of you is unwise and unhealthy.

2. Accept people just the way they are – Save yourself the needless stress of trying to change people who don’t want to change. Fight the urge to engage in fruitless conversations, rather look for areas where you can agree and show support.

3. Forgive people and move forward –  holding anger or bitterness affects us much more than the individual we have been hurt by.  Forgiveness is not saying “What you did or said was okay.”  It is saying “I’m not going to let what you did ruin my happiness or steal my joy.” It doesn’t mean you forget it simply means that you choose to let go.

4.   Do little things for those in your life –  A card, a visit, a gift, an email, a text. Simply take opportunities to connect with and appreciate those your care about.  We all feel a little more valuable when we realize that someone has been thinking of us.

5.  Talk a little less, listen a little more –  Our relationships will grow if we move away from being the talker and take the time to listen! A listening ear is the greatest gift we could give to those we love.

6.  Be Loyal – be the kind of person that believes the best about those you love. Everyone needs to know that someone “has their back”. Be that person.

7.  Pick your battlegrounds – don’t pick petty arguments. We aren’t always “right”.  Focus on the things that truly matter and let the small stuff go!

8.  Encourage and cheer them on –  be excited for those you love! Spur them on! Don’t look at their opportunities or dreams with the lens of what it will cost you, rather keep them the priority.

9.  Remember that everyone has baggage –  we all enter relationship with a suitcase filled with past experiences; successes, disappointments, hurts, etc.  Sometimes that “baggage” effects the relationship and needs to be addressed. However, using grace and understanding will always be the most fruitful approach.

10. Let go of friendships that are no longer healthy – some relationships can run their course and a necessary ending needs to take place. To force relationships to continue when the season is over can be exhausting and eventually more harmful than good.  Be willing to appreciate the relationship for what it was, and then release it and move forward.

Relationships are our most valuable assets and worth the effort to keep them strong and healthy! Test these tips out and see if they help create healthier interactions in your relationships!!  Flourish in the days ahead!!

I am a Millionaire~~

I am on vacation with my family…On the island of Kauai. This fact alone is enviable and I apologize if it even remotely appears I could be bragging.  However, this trip is not what makes me a millionaire! Rather, it is the people I am sharing this experience with that makes me feel incredibly rich!

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Today we spent 6 hours on a lovely beach; the sun, palm trees, and amazing, warm waters were sincerely lovely BUT the sweet conversations, deep laughter, family banter, rough housing, and the love expressed remind me again, I AM RICH!!

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My family fills my heart.  These individuals are kind, smart and interesting. Watching them interact, respond kindly to those we encounter, and listening to their thoughts and engaging ideas, make me a MILLIONAIRE! It does!  I am deeply grateful and I do not take this precious family for granted!

I pray that when you experience your own families you feel so rich, so fortunate, so blessed~~ Aloha, my friends! 🙂