Turning 55~ WHAT?

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In early February I turn 55.  There, I said it!  It’s out in the open! I am not ashamed! 🙂

Ever since I turned 50, birthdays have affected me differently than when I was in my 30’s or 40’s.  I tend to reflect more, look at my choices in a new way, and think about the idea of “legacy” so much more!

I remember at age 18 bargaining with God; telling Him that I really wanted to anticipate His coming, BUT I did want to go to college, get married, and have children. Did you do that too?  All the key turning points of life were before me and I didn’t want to miss a thing!

At almost 55, God has graciously granted me that joy of experiencing all these sweet turning points.  The newest turning point at 55 will be precious.  I will be embarking on a new role: grandma, or Mimi, or Granny, or…………………..

However, at nearly 55,  I think about my impact, the “mark” I am leaving.   Have I honored the God I love? Represented the Salciccioli name well? Cared for the people in my “yard” well? and Mentored the younger generation as we are commanded to? I pray that I have.  At 55, I think about these things….

How about you?  What drives you to look at your life?  What causes you to look at your present choices assuring yourself that you are living a life that is rich and impacting?  Birthdays, the older I get, do this for me.

Heard this saying over the weekend; I believe it is true:

Andy Stanley –
“Every leader leaves a mark, what kind of mark are you going to leave?”

These are my “birthday” thoughts.  🙂

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!

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!! 🙂

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! 🙂

Being Family!

It’s shocking but true, Family members don’t always get along!

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One of the most difficult matters to confront with respect to challenging family relationships is that we don’t control the entire relationship ourselves. Whether the relationship thrives or withers isn’t up to us alone. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. So often, family members get stuck. Despite our best intentions, we can become stubborn and defensive with one another.

When major family relationship problems are encountered, it’s common to attempt a control strategy. We try to get the other person to change, to understand the situation from our point of view.  Sometimes this approach can work if we are compelling and sincere enough.  But many times it just leads to frustration.  A second strategy might be to simply accept the other person, difficulties and all, just as they are! Yet, this could also result in frustration, as there may not be any true resolve within our hearts.

There is, however, a third alternative for those times when changing the other person & accepting the other person as-is are both unfruitful. That option is to change us in order to solve the problem. This requires that we redefine the problem as an internal one instead of an external one; meaning that I must change my attitude and filter in order to understand my family member and their point of view.

As long as we keep looking outside ourselves for the answers, we may continually find ourselves frustrated by our family members choices or decisions; always finding conflict with OUR personal values and choices. Once we start looking inside ourselves for the problem, we might find it easier to bring resolution. This does not imply “agreement”, simply relational resolution.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a close family that is genuinely supportive of the person you are, that’s wonderful, and in that situation, you’ll likely find the closeness of your family to be a tremendous source of strength to you! However, in many families, not all members are close or in agreement as to how life should be lived; thus conflict can occur, values differences cause hurt.

So, if we find ourselves in a family where some of the members are experiencing distance or challenge, it may feel impossible to be conflict-free. However, if we keep an open mind and a forgiving spirit we will keep the count of offenses lower; which will ultimately help in keeping family peace.

One way of experiencing “Family” in a fresh way is to give ourselves the freedom to re-define family to include those with whom we share our lives; kindred relationships that often times feel closer than our natural born families.  To nurture these relationships and invite them into the gaps that have been left vacant by our natural born family members who have chosen to remain distant, can be incredibly sweet and ultimately, rewarding.

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My point is simply this: Life is short.  We are born into families and it is our responsibility to navigate them as best, as kindly, as honestly as we can. If we find that after all is said and done we cannot call those family relationships “close”…invite trusted, caring friends into your “family circle” and share your life richly with them.

As I said in my first paragraph:  “Whether the relationship thrives or withers isn’t up to us alone. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango.”  Do you feel connected to family? Have you sought understanding and clarity? Do you have others who love and care for you that have “become” family to you?  Life is short, family matters!

Pink Shirts and Blue Caps~~

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As far as my eye could see, stretched out in every direction, I saw a sea of “pink”!  Pink shirts, hats, shoes, & even tutu’s!  Young children with the imprint of their pillows still showing on their faces, folks with dogs covered in pink bows, and senior citizens who were being brought to the starting gate in wheelchairs. Large and small company’s alike gathered with their co-workers after a long week of work on a day that could have been spent sleeping in, or some other rest-filled choice.

Why would they come?

I arrived on the scene at 6:30 in the morning only to find that there were volunteers already preparing to serve and care for all who would be attending. Blurry eyed individuals holding cups of Starbucks coffee as they kindly smiled at one another with anticipation for the morning ahead!

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Why would they come?

There are many fantastic fundraisers that take place every year in our town; they are well attended every time. 5k’s for Diabetes, ALS, and as in this case Breast Cancer. We could all simply write a check to raise the finances. But why do we come?

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I believe there are many reasons we volunteer to be a part of these events.

1. Relationships: We have people we love and some we have lost to these diseases. These events help us heal, help us remember, and help us do something tangible that we feel gives honor to those who have suffered bravely. 80% of the runners had a pink paper attached to their running numbers, this sheet was filled with the names of Friends and loved ones! It was incredibly moving to read the names and to think about the impact those lives had on each runner!

2. Legacy: We all want to be a part of a passionate group of people who want to make a difference in the world. It is incredibly inspiring to stand shoulder to shoulder with others who want to have impact on key issues and diseases in our world. It helps us to focus on the “bigger picture” and allows us time to get our eyes off our own challenges. It helps give us perspective.

3.  We DO want to raise finances for on-going research. We do hope that the next generation will suffer less as we find answers!!

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Right before our run began, the event creator (a breast cancer survivor) asked all who were also Cancer survivors and wearing the Blue caps to remain standing.  She asked that the rest of us would bend a knee to the ground to honor our brave sisters. It was very emotional to look around at the multitude of precious faces who had faced the uncertainty of what Cancer might mean for them; for their families.

We all have opportunities to be a part of those facing challenges. The events, create a collective opportunity and each day we have the opportunity to step out of our busy life and “volunteer” to stand with those in challenge.  We can do it out of relationship, for legacy, as well as help to create change!

Just do it!! 🙂 Your life will be richer for it!!

Happy Birthday to a man I admire~~

013April 6th is my father, David Wray Jr’s,  birthday.  My father is a precious man.  If you could all spend one hour talking with him, you would know what I mean! My father is a man of wisdom and yet he is a man with a great sense of humor.   My dad is very kind hearted but can also be quite firm on what he values.

I wanted to take a moment to point out the elements that make a man a wonderful father:

1.  He allows you to make mistakes and loves you anyway.

2.  He is consistent in what he believes and stays true to his values.

3.  He shows affection often, listens well, and gives meaningful advice.

4.  He prays for his children.

5.  He makes time for his children.

6.  He loves his children’s mother.

7.  He doesn’t have a bad temper.

8.  He loves to create shared memories:  backpacking, fishing, vacations.

9.  He has a love and trust for God that is evident in all he does.

10. He is interested in his children’s lives and does all he can to be involved.

All of these represent the father that I have been richly blessed to have. It is my hope and prayer that my life is one that exemplifies that of a “loved” daughter.

Dad, thank you for overcoming obstacles, persevering when being a father of 6 daughters must have been overwhelming, for loving our mother so well, and for leading us, ultimately, to knowing that God is loving and trustworthy.

I love you.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!  🙂

Please remember me!!!

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” ~ Steve Saint

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Have you ever thought about how you would like to be remembered?  We only get one chance to LIVE a life that will be remembered so considering HOW we want to be remembered is important!

I suppose it would be considered morbid to think about what you would like your obituary or gravestone to say. However, if we consider that now, I can only imagine our behavior could be shaped by it!

Do you want to be remembered ? for your kindness? Your creativity? Your leadership? How about your family?  When people think of you, how will they express who you were in their life?

A Legacy is built year upon year.  As you respond to the changes and challenges of your life; you are building your legacy! As you choose your priorities and expenditures; you are building your legacy!

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A great expression of how to build a legacy is this:

“To focus on leaving a legacy ultimately reminds us that life is short.  Whether you get 40 years or 95, it is your responsibility to do the most with what you have, and leave this world a better place than you found it.  To do this, you need to discover and cultivate your gifts, take care of yourself to ultimately take care of others, and seek to impact as many people positively as you can.  A great goal is to leave this world and the people in it with a little more than when you got here, and never to rest until you have fulfilled that task.”  Training for Warriors

What do I hope for?  I hope to be remembered as someone who loved her family and friends. A person who loved God and made every effort to seek peace.  I pray I will be remembered as a woman who was “real” and allowed others to be real also. I pray that I will be remembered as a woman who cared for the hearts of women, young and old, and  I also hope that I will be remembered as a girl with “blingy clothes” 🙂

( I just added that!!)

Fortunately I still have today to make choices to have a legacy that matters! What about you? How to you want to be remembered?  Think about it, pray about it–then make choices towards your desired legacy!

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The greatest treasures of all.

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As a young girl I imagined my future family; little girls running around my house making “girl noises” with pink clothes everywhere!  I have 5 sisters, love them all, so a family full of girls was all I knew to anticipate.

Imagine my surprise when my OB/GYN looked at me and said ” You and Greg are having a boy~~~not once, but twice! Nathan and David Salciccioli…..they make my heart sing.

God is so great to allow us to serve Him, to partner with Him to love and care for so many incredible people as we walk out the precious days of our lives. I have appreciated all the roles I have had the joy to fulfill throughout my life! However, the role I have loved the most is: MOM.

Often in my coaching career I talk with my leaders about using their time to put their “fingerprints” (their efforts) where it is most importantly needed; for me it was always my family.

I felt compelled to use this week’s blog to talk about my kids because they inspire me!!  When I talk with my boys I am constantly thinking that I want to be more like them when I grow up!  🙂

Nate and Dave’s courage, honesty, compassion, passion, ability to question and challenge the status quo, love for others, and love for their precious brides astounds me and challenges me.

If I found that my life was to be over shortly, that my time on earth was done~~ I would have no regrets because I know for sure I chose to pour all I had into the Greatest Treasures of All!!

Life can surely offer so many wonderful distractions; be certain you place your efforts on those things that mean so much to you…………..  🙂

Where do your FINGERPRINTS matter the most?? have no regrets…..

Why Wait?

So often people wait until someone passes away to tell them of their value; of their impact. I have seen in the news that many express their adoration, respect, and love for people AFTER their lives have ended.  Why do we do this??  I have been pondering this lately.

My parents are very much alive; for this I am so incredibly thankful!!! Their friendship and impact on my life is truly immeasurable! I am going to allow you into my heart as I express my feelings, my thoughts to them while they are vital and healthy~~I will not wait until it becomes an obituary!

Mom and Dad, David and Beverly Wray~~~I love you.

More than loving you; I respect you. I could never ask for parents with greater love, richer hearts, sweeter spirits, and a tenacity to love others than YOU!

How I got so blessed, so fortunate to have you as my parents is a real mystery for which I will be eternally grateful!

Thank you for loving God and for accepting Christ as your Savior! That decision alone impacted my life more than you can ever know.

Thank you for being willing to allow black boys from Kenya to live with us in the 60’s ` in the height of Racism without caring what others might think.

Thank you for adopting my two sisters whose lives carried promise but had endured much neglect, loving them as your own and calling them your daughters~ your example and depth of love is so precious!

Thank you for a lifetime of safety, of love, of discipline, of teaching, and mostly a legacy of great faith.

I remember singing in the car, learning to cook, sewing, camping, picking apples, singing in the church choir,  and learning to play piano.

Thank you for teaching us empathy and letting us purchase and deliver gifts for those who were hurting and lonely on our street (Green Valley Road) at Christmas time.  These opportunities to love others during the holidays had HUGE impact on the person I have become.

I remember many heartfelt conversations, as well as needed challenges.  Because of your tough love at the age of 19; you helped me to grow into the woman God wanted me to be!

Mom, Solvang with you was precious. The chocolate on the side of the bathtub as you drew water for me spoke of the greatness of your love and the sensitivity of your heart!

Dad, you are my sweet spiritual mentor~~ we have shared hours and hours of conversations that have let me know two things: how deeply you love God and how richly you love me.

Mom and dad~ you have been our greatest cheerleaders, our wisest counselors, our sweetest helps in times of emotional and financial need, and the most precious grandparents to our children who completely adore you!

I love you both. I am so thankful that I get to see you, love you, talk and laugh with you whenever I want to!!! I am so very blessed!

You mean the world to me! I love you

Dianna

Is there anyone you want/need to share your heart with??? why wait??

DO IT TODAY! 🙂