Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Professional...Human?

  If I were a professional soccer play, or even a serious amateur, I would research and purchase the best equipment. I would want to be on the best team with the most knowledgeable coaches and do whatever it takes to stay there. My life might depend on it.

If I were a professional skier, or even a serious skier, I would research and hire the best instructors. I would research and purchase the best equipment. I would do this because my life would actually depend on my decision to do so.

If I were a professional graphic artist, I would research and enroll in the best courses. I would research and purchase the best computer equipment. My livelihood would depend on it.

If I were a professional race car driver, I would want the best and most attentive partners. I would research and drive the best possible vehicle, equipped with the safest and best inside and out. Because my life would depend on it.

If I were a professional anything, I would buy or acquire the best equipment for my field, and hire or associate with the best leaders and coaches. Because I know how important quality and efficiency are if I truly want to succeed.

I am professional human being. Well, you know what I mean. I am all I’ve got to be me. And I want to be the best me in every way. Simple and pure science proves that if I don’t take care of this body -inside and out – I cannot live life to the fullest.

The only way for my body to be strong and for all its parts to work well, is to feed my cells with quality, whole foods. It’s the only way my cells can be healthy to replicate other healthy cells. You know, cells that make up all of me, like my heart and brain, and all my muscles and organs and bones. It’s proven that junk food – that processed stuff we eat -  is, at the least, no more than empty calories or, at the worst, harmful to cell structure. Why would I do that to myself?

And I can’t fool myself that every single day I eat the proper amount of unprocessed, whole, organically grown, pasture-raised food that my body needs for energy, stamina, and overall good health. So I should add to my diet well-researched supplements of the (proven in real science) highest quality to fill in nutritional gaps. Again, so that I can live fully the life God originally designed for me.

Regular exercise, prayer and meditation keep my body, mind and spirit growing in the right direction.

Hiring a life coach, engaging a spiritual director and/or physical trainer will help keep me on a good track overall.

Just as my industry requires top quality in every area for my success, I will not skimp on the quality of any requirements to be my best me because, a) I don’t want to waste my money and, b) I don’t want to hurt myself.

Do you skimp on what your body needs to be the best you can be?

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

And Then There Were Three

Elaine Sadie Brancato Foster is known to me as Mommy. I’ve written about her often because there is much to say about that great woman. She sacrificed her own wants and needs for the best of her three children and husband.  She was funny and kind but her three most important life lessons to me were to put God first, to show hospitality to all, and to forgive regardless of the pain inflicted on her or those she loved. I am grateful to our God for placing me in her arms nearly 69 years ag

Last year I had the privilege to share Mother’s Day with two new mothers on this earth. One year later, as they approach their second Mother’s Day celebration, it seems appropriate to tell the world how honored I am to be their mother.

I have watched these two women grow into their role of motherhood with Grace and Love. They are attentive to the needs of their children, and, like all good mothers, sacrifice their own time, energy and money for the well-being of their own. I watch them teach and play with joy. They are rightly proud of their children’s accomplishments and they ache when their children are hurting.  They pray for their children and seek guidance of His Wisdom as they raise these little ones in His ways. They love unconditionally, even as my own mother loved me.

As I received the gift of my mother, I am also gifted to watch Rebecca and Annie lean into God to fulfill their vocation with their entire being.

And now there are three, whom I love, celebrate and honor on this Mother’s Day.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

I Am Me

I haven’t blogged in such a long time. I mean, blogged. Talked about my thoughts and feelings. About? Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Life.
I’m watching Julie & Julia. It reminds me that I need to be who I am.
I am a wife, mother, grandmother. I am a Catholic Christian. I am an author. I am an entrepreneur. I need to be all of those things. Everyday. And I need to let the world know. Why? Because in each of these realities, I am called to make a difference.
God help me never forget to be.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Find me Here....

Most of my regular posts are on my website. Occasionally, but not often, I post here. If you'd like to follow me, then please follow me here and at
Thank you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Music in My Genes

Music is in my genes. My earliest known forefather of music is Stephen Foster, composer of “My Old Kentucky Home” and other songs of Americana was an uncle of a grandfather a few generations back. I grew up listening to my paternal grandfather play jazz vibraphone. He was at as good as Lionel Hampton, I am convinced. As far back as I can remember Dad’s clear bass has been a valuable asset to his church choir, with many solos to his name. Invitations by small music groups to share his snare drum talent continue to this day. My mother’s uncle sang at the Met; her brother had a voice that would make women swoon. And in her day, I’ve been told that even Mom could belt out “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me” as good as any one of those Andrews Sisters. In their twenties, my parents were swing and jitterbug winners of nearly every contest they entered.

Where’s the evidence of music in me?  Now that’s a tough one. I pined for piano lessons as a child and the lady next door even said she’d teach me for free. But we had no piano for me to practice and in those days no one was giving away the old family uprights like they do today because they weren’t old yet! I grew up in the 50s and 60s when rock and roll made its debut. This new music genre gave me a chance to express my love of music through dance. Not dance like foxtrot or waltz. Dance like the watusi, the mashed potato, and whatever we did with jitterbug undertones. And what was that go-go-girl ‘dancing’ called? Ed and I had many great dance nights in the early years of marriage. After all, he is quite the accomplished musician. One of our most memorable was New Year’s Eve 1979 at the Officer’s Club at Oceana, moving our feet to “You took a fine time to leave me Lucille.” Gazing into each others’ eyes, he nearly proposed to me while that crazy song kept our feet moving. I guess that’s just an example of what music can do. Over the years we both forgot whatever we knew, and we never kept up with the changing culture of contemporary dance.

Did I sing? No. I wanted to. I remember singing a duet with my dad at a church picnic when I was in my early teens. We sang “Edelweiss.” I worked so hard to maintain control of every note. It came out all right but real classical vocal training would have helped me at least breathe through the song. What a workout! Somehow by the time we lived in Jersey, I had developed a decent voice and for seven years co-led worship that the congregation actually appreciated.

By the time we got to the Midwest in 1996, my dancing days were long gone. And, hard as this may be for some to grasp, the church situation we found ourselves in stifled all sense of self in me, including my vocal talent. From day one upon arriving, I could not continue past one verse without my voice closing off. It’s never come back even though we left that group twelve years ago.

For quite some time, ten years maybe, I have been begging Ed for us to take ballroom dance lessons.  Since we do both love music, we find ourselves at many places where dancing is encouraged. But I’m embarrassed to be on the dance floor, looking like two old has-beens, clueless to real dance designs. I wanted to start with the foxtrot and swing and eventually move into all the pretty Spanish dance styles.

By a stroke of fate, we recently met two incredibly talented dance instructors, Jessica and Jim of Paramount Ballroom. Two days ago we had our first half hour group lesson to learn basic swing. And last night we tested ourselves at a 1940’s Hangar Dance at the National Airline History Museum in downtown KC. I was intimidated and self conscious at first. But a few dances with Ed,  and with a friend named Joe and, of course, with Jim, I began to relax. Eventually I was able to let Ed lead me around the dance floor to swing, a foxtrot and even a rumba. All very basic steps, mind you. But still intended steps to real dances. By the end of the evening, we were laughing.

Contentment and self satisfaction made me smile as I drifted to sleep later. This morning I wondered, “Why does it seem like last night was the beginning of a magical time of my life?” Since 1999 I have been observing myself becoming me again. This next step to who I am beats to the music in my blood and soul that has been freed to flow again.

August 2011

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Birthday to the Best Mom Ever!

Today would have been my mother’s 86th birthday. I am grateful to have been in Myrtle Beach on that day in 2013, when my sister and I surprised her with a (very small) birthday celebration with a few new friends in my parents’ new state and town. We did it specifically because Dad realized a month or so before that Mom had never been given a surprise birthday party – in her whole life, perhaps. By that time he knew he wouldn’t be around much longer and asked Jo to make sure it happened. So, 16 days after he left, we did just that. She was quite surprised and overflowed with the pure joy a child knows. Not one person there could imagine it was her last birthday on earth. Such a bittersweet memory, as so many memories of the last years with them.

I am grateful for Mom that she and Dad were re-united so quickly after 64 years of marriage. I am also thankful that she is no longer weighed down with self-criticism, and fear and worry, which sadly, were two of her fairly steady companions. Don’t misunderstand: she experienced much joy and happiness.  Her greatest joys involved giving of her time, her listening ear, and her gift of hospitality to make others know they were loved. Yet fear and worry never lurked too far away – from fleeting moments to long hauls. And her critical look at self did not make receiving love, or pure joy, easy.

Generally, Mom was afraid to die, even though she was certain that this life on earth is a temporary preparation for true life, which is eternal.  A phrase in a movie we watched the other night struck me as worthy of contemplation for the truth it holds, “The people who are afraid to die are those who are afraid to live.” With June 29 approaching, it led me to thoughts of my mother.

Mom, I rejoice that at last you are living life fully unencumbered. You know your worthiness and are able to receive the Love you so willingly gave. You are free, at last, to experience peace, joy and happiness that can never be stolen again.

Happy Birthday, Mommy. I love you forever.

Mommy and Me 2013

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Musical Christmas Memories

Musical Christmas Memories

My parents were seriously into music.  They both sang – all the time. I do believe if Mom had only a little vocal training she could have been sensational. Dad had a deep baritone voice and played the snare at home, at parties, at church. And, their jitterbugging together won many prizes. Dancing with the stars has nothing on them! My dad owned every jazz album ever produced, beginning with the 78 rpm discs through the CD and mp3 eras. Music, mostly jazz, literally filled our house.

As a little girl, one of my favorite Christmas songs was, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa  Claus.” I didn’t understand what it would have meant for a wife to kiss another man, even if he was Santa, but to me it was a sweet thought that Santa would take a minute to give my mom a little kiss in the midst of his busy Christmas Eve schedule.  I was two years old when a 13 year old recorded the song so it’s no wonder it made a musical impression on me. I loved to sing it and imagine the scene in our living room by the sparkling tree that Santa had just decorated (yes, the tree was decorated while we kids slept Christmas Eve), with colorful packages scattered around. I even imagined myself sneaking down the steps to peek.

The song really hit me emotionally the year I learned all about Santa. And from that moment, I still cry nearly every time I hear the song.

Because that special Santa who paused during a busy evening to give my mommy a kiss was my own daddy.   I still see them standing under the mistletoe in the home they lived in for 57 years. He takes her in his arms, kisses her warmly and says, “Merry Christmas, Elaine. I love you.”

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for wonderful Christmas memories.

May all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Frame by Frame

In a dream the other night, I watched my life play out on a film strip. I participated in my life, on the film, but at the same time I was most definitely an observer. Frames clicked along, I participated/observed with each. I maintained an absolute and perfect peace.

I pondered the dream all day. The next morning, it’s essence dawned:

Be active in life, stretch to become all we are destined to be; love life. But all the while, recognize that real life is not the day to day that we are involved in on this earth. In fact, stay detached from the things of our world, don’t fret over them, don’t try to delve too deeply into the meaning of the things we do or say, don’t want too much of whatever that could even lead us to behavior not becoming of our character. Ask our heart how wonderful it would be to be filled with peace regardless of what’s going on around us or what we’re involved in here, on this planet. And if our answer leads us to want that peace more than anything, the way to it is to keep in highest value what is eternal - real life - and cling to that.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

What’s Bike Safety?

When my dad taught me to ride a two wheeler, bicycle safety was part of my lessons.  He taught me which side of the street to ride on, how to use hand signals, and to obey road signs like STOP. He explained why riding from sidewalk to sidewalk could be dangerous: drivers of cars expect people to walk on sidewalks and to stop and look both ways before crossing. They don’t expect cyclists to be riding on sidewalks. If I would ride my bike on the sidewalk and cross the street at intersections as though I were on a street, a driver could, at the worst, hit me because he wasn’t expecting a bike to fly out from the sidewalk. At best, the driver’s surprise at seeing me where I didn’t belong could cause a near accident. We taught our daughters the same rules.

My observation of kids on bikes the last several years has led me to believe that few parents give bike safety teaching time to their children.

I very nearly hit a boy a few weeks ago as he zoomed down the sidewalk and into the street without pause. No pause at the intersection would be expected if he had been on the street where his wheeled vehicle belonged. But he didn’t pause. He flew right in front of me as I turned left onto that same cross street. I never saw him until I was in the middle of my turn and he was directly in front of my car, in the street. I wasn’t looking out for a bike rider to enter from the sidewalk.

The kids in our neighborhood ride their bikes erratically up and down the street. They swerve, pop wheelies, and turn round and round in circles. They rarely see a car approach because they rarely look for one. When a car does approach, they usually continue their fun until they are ready to stop. And then they just stop where they are. Either way, the cars must yield, stop, and go around them. It makes driving down the street hazardous and backing out of my driveway frightening.

What’s going on with parents these days who don’t care enough about their children’s welfare to teach them responsibility for their own safety?

 We try to stay on bike trails - not even streets!

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