My Lemonade Story

In April of 2010, my family was devastated by the murder of my 19 yr old nephew Carl.  Carl’s day had started out with him surfing and he was so excited because he was finally able to execute a maneuver that he had been working on for some time, and one of his friends caught it on video.  He then went to work at O’Neil’s Surf Shop and later went to spend the evening at a friend’s.  They walked across a park to visit with some friend at a neighboring apartment.  Around 11 PM they went to walk back across the park to his friends condo, so he could pick up his bike and go home.  As they left the apartment complex a gang banger stepped out of the bushes and shot Carl three times, he passed away in the ambulance on the way to the trauma center.

Word on the street is that the apartment complex that Carl had just left, has some gang members that live there and that this guy was from a rival gang and was supposed to be killing some member of this other gang and shot Carl by mistake.

Carl was my younger sister’s only child and she was devastated.  I had to come to terms that there was nothing I could do to fix this, I couldn’t take her pain away and make everything better as I had when she was young and would skin her knee.  With our encouragement, she started a nonprofit called “Mother Grizzlies Against Gangs”, and they had some marches and rallies to draw attention to the gang problem in her town.  After a few months, she ran out of money and the nonprofit went silent.  As I am sure you have experienced in your own life, it was one of those moments that caused me to take a look at my life and ask, Do I make a difference?  Carl’s murder however sparked something down deep inside my soul and I knew that no matter what, I was going to find a way to make a difference in our communities  – not just the one that I lived in, but every community, in this nation, and around the world.

This took a lot of meditative thinking – what could I do that would lead to a real impact?   I did a lot of research when my sister’s nonprofit went silent, and I discovered that this happens a lot.  So I came up with the idea of creating a company that would work with the individual “mom and pop” charities that we all have in every town (like my sister JoAnn had started), and help them to raise the funds they needed to make an impact in their  communities individual social needs.  In addition; we would teach  them  how to become a celebrity for their charity and raise awareness and get people in their community really involved with them.  We would create a community forum where the LemonadeMakers can get together and help support each other with successful ideas and brainstorm new ideas to raise awareness and community involvement to support their charities.

At BraveHeart Women’s annual convention in Los Angeles, Rise 2013 we announced to a crowd of 1,200 women  LemonadeMakers was being created.  It is a website platform that will give a base for all of those women and men out there, who are what we are calling Lemonade Makers.  Life gave them a lemon, through a loss – it could have been a death, a devastating illness, the unbearable sadness of children who suffer from lack of food, healthcare, homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness – any one of a myriad of things.  These women and men took that lemon of what seemed like unbearable heartache, and they formed a charitable foundation and have set about helping others.  They are trying from that heartfelt place of passion to make a difference in their community and to the world at large.

This base will help them to educate themselves on the missing pieces they need to bring their visions to the world.  It will provide a place to create a bigger impact and to collaborate with other Lemonade Makers. We will celebrate each other’s successes, and we will lighten the loads they carry so that they can keep on impacting and changing lives for the better.  We will look at the near misses and see what we can do with out of the box thinking to make a bigger impact on our world.  We will create videos and interviews, and leverage social media to the fullest extent, so that these Lemonade Makers create the positive changes in this world that we all need.

From this platform we will then create the reality T.V. show which will be televised internationally, as these Lemonade Makers show the world what is possible when a visionary is given the right tools and encouragement to fully expand out their vision and change not only the situation in their own town, but the situations that we all see on the world news every day in our living rooms, into something positive and world altering.  I think that you will all agree with me that this is something that we need in our world – the encouragement to be the difference

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GAPs

It is up to us to be a prisoner of our past, by remaining in it; or to be a champion of our future by building it. If your life path was to travel from one of these formations to the next one and so on to the end, how would you do it?
You could climb down and walk to the next peak and scale up and repeat over and over again.
Or, you could become a bridge builder.
Neither way is wrong or right. Just different choices. We could for sake of argument take opposing viewpoints on the better, faster way to walk this path. We could discuss how those that follow us would make better speed with the bridge. Or how scaling up each peak would define us, and make us stronger.
But at the end of the day, the analogy is that each of us has our own path of divine destiny to walk.
Rainer Maria Rilke said, “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” I love this. This is the synopsis my most recent experience of the past year.
For many years I knew that in my journey in life, I was having one foot on the gas, and one foot on the brake in accomplishing my goals. The pattern began when I was four years old and I walked in on my mom having sex with a man that was not my father. What I took from this experience is that it wasn’t safe to be seen.
So I spent years of my life trying to be invisible, and it worked. Thus one foot on the brake, and one foot on the gas. Every time my foot on the gas caused me to be close to my goals, I slammed on the brakes and hid.
I worked on this and in the past few years thought that I was no longer being invisible. I had widened my circle of comfort and felt that I had my foot off the brakes. Instead of hiding in crowds I am very social. I speak on stages to hundreds without fear. But the chameleon quality of this life pattern came to my attention this past week.
I had been trying very hard to get my website completed, and I realized that I was again driving with one foot on the brake. In the past 6 months I have been the hold up. I am expanding my comfort zone and that invisible foot was being slammed on the brakes. I was being defeated by a “greater” thing.
Many teach that we came into this life to have a certain experience. Mine seems to be dealing with this pattern of foot on the brakes, when I am pushing hard on the gas to accomplish a goal. Now I recognize it has chameleon like qualities. I know that when I feel like I am not progressing towards my goals, I have to go looking for that sneaky lizard.
This life pattern is my GAP – Gods Area of Preparation. This is where I learn about new ways that my life pattern has shifted, and I learn new ways to build bridges to close that gap. Can you see GAPs in your life pattern? Do you see where you need to learn to build bridges to close off the gap to get to your destination?

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Adventures

Adventures are how we grow and realize the hidden strengths that are inside each of us. Today I am started a new adventure with two great friends. For all three of us, it is a leap of faith headlong into a new adventure.
Martha Beck in her book, “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World” speaks about leaps of faith. She says that the term for a collective (like herd of cows) for leopards is a “leap”. A leopard will jump up into the branches of a tree with an antelope carcass in its mouth that outweighs it. Each time the leopard leaps, it is an act of faith that it will make it up onto a branch 10 feet above it. If the leopard doesn’t make it, it could mean it’s death, as it would most likely land on its back with the weight of the antelope on top of it.
She goes on to say that each time we face an unknown, with creativity instead of grasping at known quantities, we leap. Each time we dare to think that our art (I insert here whatever your personal genius is) can sustain us financially we leap. She reflects that each time we surrender to the way things want to happen (not under our control), we leap.
I highly recommend the book – I bookmarked it for you to check out. http://amzn.to/1Xbnz56
What we discover when we leap, is what we are really made of. Do we shrink back at the challenges or opportunities that present themselves to us? Do we pass by the aid of angelic guides, because we think that what we see isn’t the answer we were looking for? That one is too easy, this one is too hard?
Today I took a leap. trusting in the magic of my soul. Today was the day that I took a deep breath, let go of certainty, trusted my heart, and leaped into “seeing what happens next.” D Elton Trueblood said, “faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” So today we traded in all of our fears for faith and trust without reservation in divine guidance.
I think of Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz. She learned so much about herself with her adventures. She had her companions with her, just as I do today. I don’t know the “how” part of this decision. But I listened to my heart, which said that it is the right decision. Dorothy didn’t know the “how” of getting home, but she listened to Glinda and set out on the journey.
Glinda the Good Witch tells her at the end, “you had the power to go home from the very beginning”, so Dorothy of course asks, “why didn’t you tell me?” Because Glinda said, “you would not have believed it. You had to learn it by yourself.”
The same is true for me, and you. Adventures is how we learn what are powers are, and what we are capable of creating together.

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Advice for Protecting Your Homes

According to the most recent FBI data from 2010, more than 60 percent of all burglaries involved forcible entries, with over 30 percent considered ‘unlawful,’ meaning they didn’t require force to break in.

I have to say that this is great advice for every exterior door in your home, not just an apartment. I never even considered the difference in the length of screws preventing someone from kicking in the door.

See More: Her Dad Took Out the Door Screws In Her First Apartment and She’s Warning Everyone To Do the Same…

Helping Hand for Cancer Patients

Picture those commercials with the mom sick with a cold, and the husband and kids make her breakfast. Then they pan to the kitchen, which is a disaster. Now think about how hard it would be to do housework when you are recovering from cancer treatments.

Stacey Steele was diagnosed with ovarian cancer nearly two years ago. “I was so weak that showering would literally be my main activity for the day,” Steele told Today. “And when you’re not feeling good, the last thing you want to do is go into a dirty bathroom.”

Steele said Cleaning for a Reason, a nonprofit that provides free housekeeping to women undergoing treatment for cancer, changed her life. Having a clean home freed Steele up to focus on her health and “keeping things routine and normal” for her kids, she told Today.

LemonadeMaker, Debbie Sardone, founder of “Cleaning For A Reason”, first had the idea to offer complimentary housekeeping to cancer patients years ago when she was the owner of a cleaning company. A woman called for an estimate but said she’d have to call back because she couldn’t afford it — radiation and chemotherapy treatment had left her unable to work

This year marks the organization’s 10th anniversary. So far the group has provided $5.5 million worth of cleaning services for more than 19,500 women. They work with partner companies across the country and Canada to fill about 1,400 requests for service each month. While the businesses do not charge cancer patients for services rendered, Today reports, their employees are paid for their work.

See More: This Amazing Nonprofit Cleans Homes for Cancer Patients Who Can’t

The Syrian refugee giving back to Germany

A friend had uploaded a photograph to Facebook of Assali feeding homeless people on the streets of Berlin. The caption below read: “Acts of kindness: A Syrian refugee mans a food stand for the homeless, to ‘give something back to the German people’.”
The image went viral – it was shared more than 3,000 times on Facebook and nearly three million times on Imgur. Assali, 38, had become an overnight social media sensation.
Over the past 11 years, Assali has had to flee two countries – Syria and Libya -after speaking out against political corruption and human rights abuses. He has built up businesses, been successful and lost it all. He knows what it is like to be homeless and hungry.
When in Syria civil war soon broke out and, in 2013, groups affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) entered Zawiya. Everything changed.
“When ISIL arrived, people were killed for having an opinion. Every day I saw someone dead on the streets or in the sea,” he says.
Assali created a Facebook group to expose ISIL’s crimes. It attracted 25,000 followers. This led to his arrest. Three months later, he was suddenly offered freedom – in return for his house and car. Assali agreed and the man he made the deal with paid for him to reach Sabratha city, where he was to board a boat to Italy.
For days, he waited for the boat at a farm alongside hundreds of others. When they eventually boarded, there were 380 other people with him. The boat sank mid-way through the journey.
For two hours, he was drifting in the sea, unable to feel his own body. More than 100 people drowned that night, but Assali was eventually rescued by the Italian navy.
A few weeks later, he arrived in Germany, where, in June 2015, he was granted asylum. Now he gives back to his temporary country, who has given him a chance to live there for five years, while he hopes he can return to his homeland when it is safe.

See More: The Syrian refugee giving back to Germany

Life is short. Do what you love to do.

I found out yesterday that my dentist passed away the day after Christmas. We had become good friends over the years and it really hit me, because I had been in his office just a few days before he passed away. He was just a few years older than me, and we would often talk about all of the things we would do when we retired. Now he will not do any of those things.

So here are a few things that I have been thinking about, since hearing this news.

Life is short. Do what you love to do.

If you don’t like something in your life, then change it. You are the only one who can.

If you are looking for your soul mate, then become the person your soul mate is looking for.

Open your mind, it is the only way to learn something new. Open your heart and let down the drawbridge that is keeping everyone else out. Open your arms and hug someone like you mean it.

Travel some place new every year. Take out that bucket list that you are saving for when you retire. Go out and do those things now.

Dance in the rain, splash in the puddles. Release the wild abandon of your inner child.

Live your dreams, Create wondrous events in your life. Succumb to the life you really want, but are afraid to have.

Eat chocolate. Drink wine. Laugh often. Be proud of the wrinkles on your face, because they show what a wonderful life you are living.

Don’t wait until your are old to wear purple, big hats, and foolish grins.

Getting onto the Right Path

One of my favorite stories comes from Love, Medicine and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Seigal. A young man wanted to become a violinist. His parents said no, become a lawyer. He went to law school and started practicing law. He then developed what was diagnosed as terminal cancer. Thinking he was going to die, he got a job playing violin for an orchestra. Years later, he was still alive because he realized he was on the wrong path. He had to live his life, not the life of his parents. Knowing when to walk away is wisdom, being able to do so is courage. Isn’t it amazing that cancer is what gave him courage enough to walk away?

“We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life” James Van Praagh. Our bodies know when we are not living our authentic life, and we will receive a wake up call. It is important that we listen, look within, and then have the courage to make the changes that need to be made.

It is also important to realize that just because we are walking down the right path, doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles. Our need of courage includes being courageous enough to know that we will still make mistakes, experience disappointments and despair. This is where the ability to look about and within becomes important.

It doesn’t mean that we are on the wrong path just because something goes wrong. It could just mean that we need to grow more, to be able to continue the journey. Don’t allow yourself to become the boulder blocking the path. Listening to the heart and soul is like the magnetic needle on the compass. Always go to “true north” and you will be on the right path.

I have always maintained that U-turns are part of every journey to some place that I don’t know. I expect them, I laugh when they happen. U-Turns can be really interesting. What I have learned in my life is that every single experience has something important in it that I needed to learn. I only understand later, why that piece of knowledge was required.

I have been in the mortgage industry for almost 35 years. So I have lived through good and bad cycles in the financial industry. Years ago I had a good job, but the owner of another company kept calling me to come and work for him. Finally after months of getting his phone calls, I gave notice and went to work for him. This job would end up being a U-turn for me.

He had hired a free lance writer to create a manual for the mortgage brokers he worked with, and she seemed unable to finish the project, so as part of my job I took that project to completion. Then two weeks later I was laid off, when the interest rates hiked up and his business slowed down.

I really yelled at myself, because I felt I had made a wrong decision in taking that job and should have stayed where I was. We ended up having to move out of state in order for me to find work. But what happened next, was really interesting. The Savings and Loan I went to work for needed manuals written for their servicing department, and because I had that experience I got the job of being both an underwriter and a trainer. I created several training programs for them, as well as the servicing manual.

Then I got a second part time job teaching at South Seattle Community College for an adult education class for loan processors and loan officers. I ended up creating new manuals for this position too, because their manuals were so bad. Both of these jobs would not have been available to me, if I hadn’t taken that earlier job and got the experience of creating a manual.

So we will fall down. We may even get lost. U-Turns are a given. But as long as we take out that compass, listen to our hearts and the courage in our soul, we will be on the right path. As long as we tune into true north, we can take that step into the unknown, knowing that this is the right path.