The past 30 days have been a whirlwind, of which I’m grateful for the opportunity to recall in the form of 150 blessings…
My grandmother passed away, just days before my birthday in late February. She’s mentally checked in and out (so to speak) slipping into Alzheimer’s in these final years, and the journey was long–especially for my father, who cherished her with all his heart, and who provided only the very best in terms of care and support, but who rarely was even recognized, or remembered..
I always loved her. She used to say “Oh, thanks, thanks”, twice like that. Not “thank you”, but rather, “Oh, thanks, thanks.” She used to snort a little when she got to laughing hard, and she smiled almost always (as Joy was her natural state), and she giggled at almost everything, and found the humor in almost anything. Her smile was radiant, and her energy attracted some of the most beautiful people in the world.
She was a Hollywood Movie and Television Actress…she starred in I love Lucy, The Ten Commandments, and the list goes on.
I never did ask her much about any of that, because whenever I tried, she shrugged it all off like it was no big deal, and changed the subject.
I think I’ve seen every I love Lucy episode, watching for Grandma Phyllis.
She always came to spend Easters at the Beach House, and Grandma Phyllis and Dad were always just as eager as I was to head over to the high school for the annual egg hunt. I’d ride with her in her car, because then I didn’t have to miss her company. Her car was as immaculate, and well kept as she was.
She was stunning.
What a beautiful woman to have in my life for so many years.
Day’s before she made her transition, I went out sailing/whale watching with my Dad and boys–we saw more dolphins than we had ever seen before in our entire lives. It was as if the ocean had come alive, as thousands of jumping, smiling dolphins danced across the water for as far as the eye could see, and right up next to our boat. It was…likely one of the most…magnificent, and profound natural events I’ve ever witnessed. We couldn’t believe our eyes…
We all wished Grandma Phyllis was there to see what we were seeing. Her most favorite creature on Gods green Earth, was the dolphin.
1. I’m grateful for memories; the fastest, safest way to travel back in time to the brightest places.
2. I’m grateful for grandmothers–I had two of them, and was blessed to have them in my life well into my 30’s..how blessed am I.
3. For Grandma Phyllis’s freedom. She is free now~free to swim with the dolphins.
My youngest heard me talking with my Dad about the Dolphins, and their freedom paralleling her own now, and later my 7 year old Man-Sprout asks me, “Mommy, did all those Dolphins come for her?”
4. For the brilliant mind, clear perspective and open heart of a child.
5. For her legacy–one of unbridled love, relentless trailblazing, humor and exquisite kindness.
6. For Reruns.
7. For the example of my father–what a kind, loving, and compassionate man.
8. I’m grateful for Edible Arrangements–Dad said the large bouquet of Chocolate covered strawberries actually DID help sooth his soul!
9. I’m grateful I opted against flowers, and instead sent chocolate covered berries, and made a donation in her honor to Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.
10. I’m grateful for a birthday spend on the water kayaking with my family, watching the sea lions bounce around the harbor, and the waves roll in with the grey clouds following close behind…
11. Fish and Chips
12. A Live Band
13. A strong hand
14. New places
15. Familiar faces
17. Laughter through tears
18. for Blessings that rhyme
19. I don’t do this all the time!
I came across an old friend.
I found her Etsy site online—her last name was hyphenated, indicating I’d found my childhood friend, and reminding me that we were both now all grown up.
She’d become an artist, and was selling her ceramic jewelry online. I loved what I saw, and one bracelet in particular, one with little butterflies on it, had clearly been made for me.
I purchased it, included a short note, and waited for my bracelet to arrive.
The small package arrived within days, and the bracelet was even more exquisite in person than it had been in the pictures, and I quickly put in on, and moved it slowly around my wrist, catching every detail of one of the prettiest, most perfect things I’d ever purchased for myself. I saw the tiny butterflies, so intricately painted, and remembered us as little girls, running barefoot through the sawdust from my booth to hers, laughing almost always–
And, I remembered her little brother, and wondered if he remembered me, too—I always have wondered what he remembered from that day…
I’ve never forgotten that day; not a single detail.
Inside the box my bracelet came in, was a note from Sierra, including her phone number, and an “if you’re ever here in Vegas” note.
While I felt like I’ve been everywhere else during the months that followed, I hadn’t been to Vegas, so I hadn’t called her, but I did wear my favorite bracelet quite often, and I always received compliments, and thought of her when I did.
One day, a woman in a restaurant walked by and stopped at my table to admire the piece of jewelry, and even moved it around my wrist, the way I did when I first saw it, taking in every detail, and finally asking, “Wherever did you find such a unique piece of jewelry? I love this!”
As I wrote down Sierra’s online information on the back of my business card for the stranger, I wondered to myself, “why haven’t I reached out and why hadn’t I let her know just how many people go crazy over the beauty she expresses through her art?
Later that night, I called the number in her little note inside the box my bracelet came in, but there was no answer; and I was unprepared to leave a message, so I hung up, vowing to try again another time.
Not even 10 minutes later, she called me back, and after 30 minutes of catching up through our familiar laughter, that day came up.
Her little brother did remember the day, and she remembered the day, too, although she’d forgotten about how it had been in the newspaper. I think I only remembered that it was in the newspaper because the reporter stated that “2 boys had nearly been abducted at Bluebird Park”, but it wasn’t 2 boys. It was a little boy and a little girl, and those children were her little brother, and Me.
We talked about that day, and what we recalled. Her little brother remembered too, and she said, “in fact, not even 10 days ago, we talked about that…how weird.”
Then she asked, “What happened?”
Sierra and I talked about the way it had affected us all in our parenting today, and about our children, families, work and lives, and reminisced over a childhood we both agreed was a gift in that dreamy little town. The fun we had, the trouble we got into, and the smoothies we shared…it’s as if it all happened yesterday.
All you need to bring the beauty and joy of yesterday alive again, is an old friend.
Oh, and what happened that day??
We all, even her little brother, went to the Girls Club after school every day.
The girls Club sat nestled above Bluebird Park, and every day, a councilor or two would take us down to the park to play. Sierra’s little brother was cute; I always liked him, and always felt sorry for him when he’d get left out. On this particular day, he wandered off alone and up the bike path, behind the tall trees, and sat on the curb of the bike path to play alone in the dirt.
Across the path from him, and just up from the tall trees were some logs—like telephone poles, all placed strategically for children to climb on. Leaning on the poles, across from where he was playing in the dirt, a man forced a “casual” lean, but his energy was anything but casual as he watched my small friend with long shaggy blond hair, play innocently and unsuspectingly in the dirt.
I immediately had a bad feeling about the man, and went to where *Sam was playing, and said, “come on Sam, let’s go,“ while the man stared on.
I remember Sam arguing, and I remember him being intent on staying right where he was, and I remember getting upset with him and scared all at once. I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t leave him there alone…
I looked at the man, and his eyed locked with mine. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach… the urgency in my chest.
“Come ON, Sam, let’s GO!” I demanded, and the next thing I remember was wondering how that man could move so fast.
I remember him coming at us, so fast, his arms stretched out wide, like an eagle honing in on its prey, as he reached out for us both, and I remember my scream…one continuous scream that surely all of Laguna Beach could hear, and I ran, screaming…
Terrified and running down the bike path, I looked back, hoping to God that Sam would be running right behind me—praying that he got away.
I saw the man, running up the hillside toward the parking lot in the distance, and Sam running right behind me, his look of sheer terror, and his shaggy blond locks bouncing with every step…
We got away.
And we never forgot it.
Where were we? Ah…#20.
20. We got away.
21. For old friends to take us back to the brightest places within the reach of our recall.
22. For lessons learned.
23. For my bracelet–I *love, love, love* my bracelet.
24. For unique and perfect gifts unto the Self.
25. For butterflies..
26. For those old friends who hyphenate their last name, making themselves easier to find!
27. For black and white mental pictures of yesterday, suddenly infused with color when ever so slightly reminisced upon.
28. Sawdust, Bare Feet, Baby Dolls, Butterflies, Sleepovers, and Smoothies.
29. And little brothers, too.
30. And for Dr. Seuss…he turned 108!
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss,
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday from Us,
And from Thing 1 and Thing 2!
31. For the Lorax–I loved it.
Check out the song, “How Bad Can I Be.”
32. For the truth, in riddle.
33. For the truth in song.
34. For Movie dates with a 7 year old who insists we hold hands.
Again I ask, is there a gift more grand than motherhood?
As I prepare to launch my next book, I struggle still with my cover art. SO, I decided to accept the challenge, and paint my own cover…
35. For second, third, and 45th tries.
36. For determination.
37. For art classes…
38. For the forgiving medium called, “Watercolor”.
39. For Inspiration~found absolutely everywhere, in everything, and inside of everyone.
40. For aspirations…good things come to those who dream.
For the 5 things I know:
41. It’s happening FOR you..not TO you.
42. Love IS the Answer
43. JOY is your birthright
44. UNITY ROCKS.
45. Gratitude heals.
46. For stirred pots and rocked boats.
47. For Girl Scout Cookies…specifically, “Thin Mints”.
48. For Project Forgive, created by my friend and EBC Council colleague, Shawne Duperon. It’s one of the most powerful films being produced right now, and I have personally sponsored this project.
I have quite a bit of experience in the forgiveness department…
49. For my friend and fellow children’s book author, Laura Marlowe, author of “Tommy the Throwaway Dog”, who took my book, “What Love Is A-Z” to a school with her recently, and sent me a picture, and a recap that melted my heart…
I love what I do, I love the people work with, I love the children who inspire us all to continue doing what we’re doing, and I love that I’m living my biggest dream.
50. I’m grateful for the questions and comments from the students:
51. “Can I write “K” and “H” for kisses and hugs instead of “X” and “O”?
52. “I like the picture where the friend is helping a friend in a wheel chair”.
53. “Is Elle’s hair really that dark?” (a child asked, referencing my photo on the back of my book).
54. “I like the picture of the sleeping butterfly at the end..”
55. “Love is a dangerous game”, said one precocious – yet totally adorable – 7 year old.
For gentle reminders to the heart in Quotes:
56. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~Dr. Seuss
57. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein
58. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~Anais Nin
59. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
60. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ~J.K. Rowling
61. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ~Lewis Carrol
62. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank
63. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~May Sarton
64. “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~Mitch Albom
65. “May you live every day of your life.” ~Jonathan Swift
And for Writers Quotes~~~
‘There is no test of literary merit except survival, which is itself an index to majority opinion.’
‘F*** this, I’ve had enough of writing. I don’t like the book world. I don’t like most books, even. I don’t like sitting on my own in a room for hours on end.’
Alex Garland on writing your second novel (which took him nearly ten years)
HAHA! Which leads me to the best advice I’ve ever been given as a writer:
68. “Write what you know.” ~Stephen Hobbs, Best Selling Author, World Speaker and Global Visionary
69. (Is this my 69th blessing already?)
For how easy, fun, inspiring and magical it is to sit and reflect on life’s magic–
70. And back on track..
‘Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.’
For a few of my favorite things:
71. Peanut butter on toast
72. 71% OFF sales at The Mint Fashion Exchange (I LOVE THAT PLACE!)
73. New shoes
74. Background Music
75. Fancy Shoe laces in converse tennies
76. For people who say, “Wow what bight shoe laces you have”, because then I get the chance to say, “As bright as your mouth is big!”
(OK, I haven’t actually said that out loud….yet.)
77. For For those who inspire me to write a book of etiquette. I’ve been inspired for quite some time now…
78. For those who only reach out when they want or need something. I don’t feel angry–I feel reminded.
79. For choice. The perspective we embrace is ours to choose–how we feel is up to us entirely.
80. Fresh Squeezed OJ
81. Clean Sheets
82. Hot water
83. Good friends
84. Big plans
85. Dreams come true
86. Open doors
87. Open Hearts.
88. Current humanitarian calls for action
89. Those brave enough to cross the lines and reach the masses
90. For Justice.
91. Truth Tellers
92. Way See’ers
93. Light Givers
94. Trail blazers
95. Heart Inspired Leaders
For the In’s and Out’s of Daily Life:
96. For my broken finger–I’m completely intrigued by just how fast I can type with just 9 fingers and a splint.
97. For the curling iropn burn on my forehead–a reminder that I am having a human experience here and that I need to slow down and take care…or keep burn cream on hand.
98. For the mail lady who brings biscuits to my Pup
99. For Printer Bees, printerbees.com. Ask for Nicole, and tell her Elle Febbo sent you. THIS COMPANY ROCKS! Above and beyond in customer service, and their quality is DIVINE. Now, the school children in the Alhambra School District will each have a FREE “What Love Is A-Z” Bookmark.
THANK YOU PRINTER BEES!
100. For 100 blessings sitting at the forefront of my heart and fingertips, aching to move through me, and attract even more of all there is to feel abundantly grateful for.
101. For the people in my life who make it all worth while no matter how challenging the journey can become, reminding me of my divine tools and talents; reminding my soul that I have been perfectly and divinely prepared to live this life.
102. For Insight
108. Freedom to let go
112. Prayers answered
116. and the courage to break the rules–
117. 1st World Problems
118. 3rd World Masters
119. Compassionate leaders
120. For a Beta state of mind
121. Spring Break
122. Spring Cleaning
123. Spring…just Spring.
124. For the little boy cuddled up close to my right
125….for exactly where I am, right this second.
126. For homemade smoothies
127. Rented Movies
128. Rainy Days
129. Gabriel Meyers (Please Google this 7 year old messenger.)
130. For Hope
131. For Love
132. For Change
133. For those who speak for the voiceless, stand for the battered, and Heal the wounded
134. For the possibilities–equal only to the number of stars in the infinite night sky.
135. For Boggle for Books through RIFSoCal–will I see you htere! Come play boggle with me!
136. For all who donated dresses, shoes, handbags and accessories to the Belle of the Ball event for the Orangewood Foundation.
Read more about this event and why I’m involved here: Entertainment News Express
To learn more about the Orangewood Foundation or Orangewood Childrens Home, visit http://www.orangewoodfoundation.org
137. For Dr. Rev. Sharron Stroud, Innerfaith Spiritual Center Worldwide, Palm Springs Ca.–her example, leadership and authentically loving heart leave me in awe. I’m grateful to her for reminder to my Spirit that I have a story to share and should never be ashamed of being a former foster child. She is the mother of my heart.
138. For choice–and for every choice I’ve ever made.
139. For the divine unfolding of life. The suspense is fantastic!
140. For the option of quietly letting go to what no longer offers room for growth
141. For Authenticity–the more I express it, the more I recognize it and appreciate it in others. YES!
142. For invitations and opportunities when you least expect them
143. And for closed doors…if I have to struggle to open it, I’ll assume Gods got it locked up for a reason…
144. Antique, mis-matched coffee cups
145. Toenails painted by my 7 year old son
146. The death of yesterday, the anticipation of what tomorrow might bring, and the gift in this one Now Moment
147. The ability to dive deep within, or fall comfortably (and temporarily) into the role of the casual observer
148. For the self given gift of time and space to quietly reflect on all there is to feel grateful for
149. For those who are still reading…THANK YOU!
I’m grateful for you.
150. For Gratitude, in and of itself.
What are you grateful for today?
Count your blessings!