Monday, December 30, 2013


   Ah, the new year. Time for that mental image of a clean slate and starting anew.
   Many of us think of making resolutions and getting organized.
   What are your resolutions this year? Do any of them have to do with living your dreams? Finding your life passion? Feeling more fulfilled? Falling in love with life?
   Why not make 2014 the year you do something you’ve always dreamed of?
   When you pinpoint that special something, get organized in order to make it happen. You can begin by making a list of everything you need to do to work toward making your dream a reality.
   1 — Research. Find out what special requirements you’ll need in order to fulfill your dream.
   2 — Break it down. Write down the steps you need to take to accomplish your dream. This makes achieving your dream manageable, not overwhelming.
   3 — Create a special dream calendar. Customize your very own calendar (paper or electronic) that you use exclusively for writing all your to-dos related to fulfilling your dream.
   A customized calendar is important for two reasons. First, you don't really want a calendar of your life's dreams and passions cluttered with your schedule of bill payments and dental appointments, do you? 
   And second, you can customize a calendar with your own photos and artwork that relate to your dream. These will serve as visual reminders of your dreams on a daily basis.
   It's also simple to do. One way is to download and print a free 2014 calendar template at Calendarpedia, then customize with your own pictures.
   4 — Commit to one goal a month. Each month, do at least one thing that pertains to living your dream. Looking at your dream calendar every day will help keep you motivated.
   5 — Live your dream, day by day. As you do things on your list, written and illustrated in your special calendar, remember, you ARE already living your dream. The journey is just as important as the destination.

   Find your wings … at any age.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, 
the child of a peasant woman. 
He grew up in another village. 
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. 
Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. 
He never wrote a book. 
He never held an office. 
He never had a family. 
He never went to college. 
He never put His foot inside a big city. 
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. 
He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. 
He had no credentials but Himself...

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. 
His friends ran away. 
One of them denied Him. 
He was turned over to His enemies. 
He went through the mockery of a trial. 
He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. 
While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property 
He had on earth – His coat. 

When He was dead, 
He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, 
and today He is a centerpiece of the human race 
and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, 
all the navies that were ever built,
all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, 
put together, 
have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that 
one solitary life.

This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr. James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp. 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).

Tuesday, December 17, 2013




It’s that wonderful time of year again. Time to sip hot cocoa on a snowy evening and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family. As simple as this seems, slipping into a cozy evening at home – watching my favorite Christmas movie with my favorite people – is like living a dream.

For George Bailey, however, staying home was anything but a dream. He was chronically  frustrated because he had given up his life's dreams to stay in Bedford Falls.

But, this year as I watched again, I wondered. Did George really give up his dreams?

It seems that way. In the scene where George is walking Mary home from the high-school dance, he says:

“I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I’m comin’ back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I’m gonna build things. I’m gonna build airfields, I’m gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I’m gonna build bridges a mile long…”

George never does any of the things he dreamed about. And not only does George not see the world, he never ventures outside his hometown!

George lives a life, in fact, which seems antithetical to the purpose of this blog – to find your wings … to discover your passions … to fulfill your life’s dreams and desires … to go for it… at any age!

So how can “It’s a Wonderful Life” be my favorite Christmas movie?

Let's answer these key questions.

1 — Was George forced to stay in Bedford Falls?

2 — Was he a victim of circumstance, or did George make choices based on a deeper, perhaps hidden life passion?

 3 – Were the things George talked about (world travel, college, building bridges), really his dreams?

Let’s look at George’s reactions to several key life circumstances:

1 — Death of Pa Bailey: George was about to go on a trip to Europe when his father dies. George didn’t go, but he could have. George could have postponed his trip until some time after the funeral. He chooses, instead, to stay and take care of his father’s business, the Bailey Building and Loan Association.

2 — George walks away from two money-making opportunities: Sam Wainwright offers George a chance to invest in a phenomenal new product called plastics. George, instead, chooses to dedicate his time at the Building and Loan. Then, Mr. Potter, a slumlord and chief shareholder at the Building and Loan, offers George a high-paying job along with trips to Europe — part of George’s “dream. George chooses not to take the offer and, in fact, runs away from it as fast as he can when he realizes Potter’s plans to take over Bedford Falls.

George could have said “yes to either of these money-making opportunities. And, if he had, he would have acquired the means to travel around the world and attend college to study engineering. He could have “lived his dreams.

3 — George marries Mary. But he didn’t have to. In the early scene where he tells Mary what he wants to do in life, his plans don’t include her. They are all about George, George, George. He could have said his last good-byes to her the night he walked her home from the dance. But, in the end, George listens to his heart, not his head.

George’s choices are guided by the convictions of his heart — ones he may not have even known existed at the time he proclaimed, early on, that he was going to “shake the dust of this crummy little town.”

What are George’s core convictions?

Before facing the frightened and angry crowd during the bank-run scene, George looks at his father’s portrait.  Underneath it are the words: “All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.” This phrase is the foundation of George’s core convictions throughout all aspects of his life:

1 — Marrying Mary is more important than a trip around the world.

2 — People’s lives and livelihoods matter more than a honeymoon trip.

3 — Upholding his father’s ideals is more important than high-paying jobs.

4 — Serving his community and saving it from evil forces and destruction are more important than making a fortune.

5 — Selling his soul for a high-paying job is never an option.

6 — Living a life of sacrifice for the benefit of others is 100 times more fulfilling than one based on selfish motives.

Ready for the crux of the movie? George’s guardian angel, Clarence, shows George how life in his community would have turned out — not only if George had never lived — but if George had left Bedford Falls to “live his dreams.”

If George had left Bedford Falls to travel the world and build airfields and skyscrapers and bridges...then:

1 – The Bailey Building and Loan would have collapsed and people would have lost their life savings.

2 – Mary would have lived a lonely life.

3 – The old house George and Mary bought and raised a family in would have remained in ruins.

4 – Bedford Falls would have become a honky-tonk Pottersville – the result of a greedy and evil leader.

5 – There would have been no Pete, Janie, Tommy and Zuzu.

6 – Clarence would never have gotten his wings.

And now are you ready for the super-crux of the movie?

Without knowing it – or perhaps knowing it on a subconscious level – George does fulfill his life’s dream, only in different ways. 

George said he was “gonna build things” – and he did.

He built a family and home life.

He built bridges between people and their life savings. 

He built ways for the people to keep their life savings.

He built so many friendships they could fill hundreds of airfields.

He built a life of service to others as tall as a skyscraper and saved a community he loved from collapse. 

He built a life based on character, integrity and honor.

He built a wonderful life.

In the end, Clarence finds his wings because he helped George realize he had found his wings all along …

Find your wings … at any age.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013



      When I was in high school, there was a violinist in our string ensemble who played notes as if he were playing from a cloud. He played with such precision and passion, his interpretation of the music melted your heart. 

      During his senior year, I asked him what he was going to do in college. 

      “I’m going to be a business major.” 

      The words sunk in my heart.

      Business. Major.

      I understand he may have had a flair for business. I understand there needs to be businessmen in this world – if that’s your passion. I also understand people need to make money, and he, being a male, perhaps had felt the pressure to do so even more. 

      Yet, in my heart of hearts, I felt he wasn’t following his heart. I felt he was following someone else’s. 

      He had found his wings, then clipped them.

     How about you? Have you found yourself veering off track? Is there something you used to love to do, then stopped? Or is there something you’ve always wanted to do – and have never done it?

      It’s never too late to find your wings … either again, or for the first time.

      Here are five tips for getting in touch with your dreams – or getting reacquainted with long-lost dreams.

      1 – Get in touch with your innermost dreams.

      What do you truly love to do? Make a list of things you loved to do when you were younger. It doesn’t matter how “far-fetched” they seem. 

      Do you love to stargaze? Play the violin? Write poetry? Do you want to finish college? Travel to Antarctica? Photograph polar bears in Alaska?

      Think with your heart, not your head.

      2 – Listen to children.

      Listen and learn from the children in your life. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Notice how they are not inhibited by the “practicality” of a profession. Adults spend so much time teaching children, yet there is so much we can learn from them. 

      Listen to the things children want to be when they grow up: 

      First person on Mars. World explorer. Astronaut. Spiderman. First woman baseball player in the Major Leagues.

      There are no inhibitions. Let your list of desires flow!

      3 – Think in terms of a “bucket list”

      What are some things you’d love to do before leaving the earth? Would you like to go on an archaeological dig? Write a song? Swim with dolphins?

      Again, don’t be afraid to include “far-fetched” things. Say, for instance, you’ve always wanted to volunteer with Blessed Mother Teresa’s “Missionaries of Charities,” but, for whatever reason, cannot make the very long  flight to India. Don’t give up hope. Perhaps you can find a “Missionaries of Charities” near where you live and find out how you can help them.

      Where there’s a will, there’s always, always a way.

      4 – Do you have a strong desire to help people?

      People automatically think of the health professions for helping people. But, not everyone can be a doctor or a nurse. What are your talents? Figure out how those talents translate into helping people. 

      Are you funny? Do you make people laugh? You can write a comedy skit and share your flair for humor by performing for older people living in a nursing home.

      Laughter is the best medicine anyway!

      5 – Live your dream – every day, in some way.

      Set aside some time every day to do something you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. That few minutes will eventually become a few hours. Depending on how much you truly want to do something you love, it could transform into a full-time endeavor. 

      Start slow, and build up. 

      I have a co-worker who takes vacation days on Fridays so he can visit MoMA in Manhattan when the museum offers free admission. This is a cost-effective way for him to spend time doing what he loves most – immersing himself in the world of art. Then, he takes this inspiration home to do great things with his own art. 

     As for the violinist from high school, perhaps he has revisited his music in some way. Who knows? Maybe he plays Nikolai Rimsky-Kosakov's "Scheherazade" for folks in a nursing home on weekends. Or maybe he has passed on his musical talent to his children. And maybe his children are living their dream. ...

      Find your wings … at any age.

Friday, December 6, 2013


"Find Your Wings ... at any age," has been pinned by Guideposts magazine. Check out Guideposts' sister publication, "Mysterious Ways," on Pinterest ( You'll be glad you did.

Find Your Wings ... at any age.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013




     I recently had the pleasure of working with the very lovely folks at Guideposts magazine who published my article about an epiphany my mother and I experienced together. You can read more about it in Guideposts, "Faith in Flight," December 2013. I would like to share how the epiphany played out later in life. 
     Let me set the stage. Mom and I were flying back from a trip that symbolized for both of us conquering our fears … at any age. 
     As Mom had conquered her lifelong fear of flying, I was in the process of conquering my fears of facing an unknown future. 
     During the red-eye flight back home, I had fallen asleep. Then, I felt an emphatic tapping on my shoulder.
    “Wake up! Wake up! You have to see this!” 
     I looked out the window. The sky was pitch black. It didn't look like anything spectacular. Then I saw it. A scintilla of light amidst the darkness. A yellow-orange dot with a golden crown, slowly growing bigger, more and more intense. 
     We were flying into the sunrise at 35,000 feet. 
     “Don’t you feel like you can reach out and touch the sun?” Mom mused.
     Witnessing the birth of this new day symbolized for both of us new horizons we were yet to encounter. It was a moment of faith. If Mom could fly in an airplane at 75, I knew that I, too, could accomplish anything ... at any age.
     Exactly one year after that flight, I met my future husband, Angelo – a wonderful, warm man from the same region of Italy where my grandfather was born.
     Two years after that flight, my Mom passed away. But not before she painted the sunrise we witnessed together. To this day, I look at her painting and realize that after every dark night comes the golden light of dawn, opening the path for more glorious days to come.
     On the night of Mom’s death, an overwhelming feeling swept over me. I wanted to be a mother. After decades of being a ‘career woman,’ the only thing that mattered was giving life to another human being. 
    Angelo wanted to be a father, too. But the clock was ticking. I was already in my late thirties. 
    Six years after that flight, it happened. At 42, I was about to give birth.
    But it would not be easy. There had been a lot of commotion – and many prayers – the morning my water broke. Although I had had a text-book pregnancy up until that point, and was ready to give birth, the doctors were unable to induce labor. My baby was “in distress.” An emergency C-section needed to be performed.
    I was scared. I didn’t care about the pain or the scars. I just wanted my son to be OK.
    Angelo walked into the operating room with a surgical cap and mask, and held my hand during the entire surgery. Then, I heard it. The most beautiful sound in the whole wide world. The cries of our baby boy. 
    The epiphany was complete. I had given birth to a son – eight days before his due date – on the eve of Mom’s birthday. 
    After my husband and family members left the hospital that first night, I lay on the bed holding my son to my chest.
    The hospital room was pitch black, except for a tiny light shining on a round, old-fashioned clock on the wall in front of me. There was complete silence, except for the ticking.
    As the minute hand ticked closer toward midnight, I began to cry. How I longed for Mom to share this amazing moment with me. 
    I wanted to tap on her shoulder: “Wake up! Wake up! You have to see this!” 
    Then I recalled what Mom whispered to me that early morning on the red-eye. Gazing into my newborn’s tiny face, and feeling his heart beat with mine, I discovered what it means to reach out and touch the sun. 
   Find your wings... at any age. 
   P.S. Check out Guideposts magazine website –, and the Guideposts Facebook page, 

Saturday, November 30, 2013


     To find the best path forward, look back.

     If you desire to unearth a meaningful course for your life, look back at those special activities or experiences that gave you a heightened sense of being alive.

  • What were you doing when you felt you made a difference, either in your life, or in someone else’s?

  • Have you ever traveled to a special place that made you feel more enriched? More enlightened?

  • Have you ever learned something new that made you feel fulfilled in a way you haven’t felt in a long time?

  • When you were a child, what were the things you did that gave you complete and utter joy?

  •  What did you dream of becoming “when you grew up”?

     Pinpointing these “peak” moments from your past will help you determine your core values. Determining these values i.e. helping others, creativity, adventure, family is the first step in your journey of finding your passion(s) in life.

     Find your wings… at any age.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


    Thanksgiving will always be a bittersweet holiday for me, and not because of the (bitter) cranberry sauce and (sweet) potatoes I inevitably find on my plate every year.
    As the last holiday my mother and I shared together, I dreaded the holiday as it rolled around each year. It was painful for me to get through the traditions of carving a turkey, eating pomegranates, and watching “March of the Wooden Soldiers” without her. She had died the following Monday, and, some years, Thanksgiving falls on her anniversary. 
    With the passing of each year, though, my grief began to change. I began to think about how much Mom loved Thanksgiving, and that my dread of this beautiful day was not honoring her spirit.
    I began to give thanks. And as I give thanks, my grief transforms into the realization that the special bond between a mother and daughter never dies.
    I give thanks that Mom absolutely loved this holiday, and that we were given the gift to share it, one last time. 
    I give thanks that I have a wonderful husband and son to share this day with. 
    I give thanks that I have a wonderful mother-in-law with whom to share it, too. 
    This Thanksgiving, I give thanks that my best friend of 30 years and her family are sharing the holiday with us. 
    Earlier today while they were in the kitchen cooking breakfast, my sister called. She told me she had a dream of Mom eating olives, then chipped her tooth on an olive pit. Sis and I had a good laugh over that!
    When I got off the phone, I decided to set the table for Thanksgiving breakfast with our friends with a new tablecloth an aunt brought us from Italy. Opening the box for the first time, I took it out to look at the most beautiful pattern... OLIVES! 
    Thanks, Mom.
    What are some things you give thanks for?
    No matter where we find ourselves in life, there is one thing all of us can give thanks for. 
    We can all give thanks for Thanksgiving. 
    We can all give thanks that a woman named Sarah Hale deemed the value of giving thanks important enough to dedicate 38 years of her life writing thousands of letters and editorials, pleading to have Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday.
   We can all give thanks that Sarah Hale found her wings, and that this simple woman – with her unstoppable passion and belief in the transformative spirit of giving thanks – could make such a beautiful difference in the world.
   Find your wings... at any age.


    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first minuet at age 6. He wrote his first complete symphony at age 8. He composed 33 symphonies between the ages of 8 and 19 – representing over one half of the total number of symphonies he’d write during his lifetime.

       Grandma Moses painted her first painting at age 78. Up until then, she’d spent her adult life as a farmer’s wife, taking care of her children, feeding and watering the chickens, and making butter for extra money. After becoming one of America’s most influential “primitive” painters, she spent the next 23 years devoted to art. 

      Two artists. Two tales. Two opposite ends of the spectrum.

      Mozart found his wings early in life. Grandma Moses found her wings late.

      What’s age got to do with it anyway? The important thing is they discovered their life passions.

      My mother was 75 when she found her wings – literally. That’s the age she conquered her lifelong fear of flying and boarded a jet to Las Vegas. You can read an article, "Faith in Flight," I wrote about it in the December 2013 issue of Guideposts magazine, (

     Not only did Mom conquer her fear – once she had a taste of the amazing feelings of flying at 35,000 feet and seeing the world from a totally different perspective – she embraced her new passion.

     “Where are we flying to next?” she’d ask me every time we got together.

     Ten months later, Mom boarded an 8-seat Cessna on a trip to Cape Cod.

     “You’re kidding!” Friends and family were flabbergasted. “YOUR Mom is going on THAT small propeller plane?”

     “Yep,” I said. “She’s an adventurer now.”

     Having recently celebrated my 50th birthday, I am embarking on my own new adventure – this blog. Here, I’ll be posting many tips on finding your wings. I hope you will stop by from time to time to share your own tips and experiences.  

  • Have you found your wings? 
  • Have you tried something new, something you’ve always wanted to do? 
  • Have you embraced the things in life that bring you the most joy and fulfillment?

     It doesn’t matter how old – or young – you are. You just have to find that special spark within yourself and go with it.

     If I can make one more wish for my 50th, my wish is for this blog to become a community of “fellow flyers” – a place where people share their life passions – and encourage one another to find theirs along the way.

     The time is now. It’s never too late.

     Find your wings... at any age.